If you need some good news, here’s the sliver I can see from where I am. In California, things went pretty well yesterday. Jerry Brown was massively outspent by a cookie-cutter republican politician and he won handily; as Calitics puts it,
“The Whitman bust is one of the most laughable and epic political failures we’ve ever seen. She spent $160 million to lose by double digits. Ultimately she and Fiorina could not overcome the basic contradiction of Republican politics: their base hates Latinos, but California’s elections are increasingly decided by Latinos.”
If California now shows you where the rest of the country will be in a few years, this is a very good thing. And Whitman isn’t the only anti-immigrant hawk to get clobbered; Tancredo and Angle also lost. Of course, New Mexico, Georgia, and South Carolina now have vocally anti-immigrant governors, but I’m optimistic enough to think that the future will look a lot more like California and Colorado than it will like Georgia.
More than that, a Democratic governor plus some of the ballot initiatives we passed will do California a lot of good. The passage of Proposition 25 — which will give us majority rule instead of 2/3 super-majority for passing budgets — will take power away from a handful of obstructionist Republicans on budget matters and give it to what is likely to be a permanent Democratic majority. We’re still hamstrung by requiring a 2/3 majority for tax increases, so the major underlying fiscal problem California faces remains in effect (and prop 26 will make that even worse). But at least the people trying to bail out the sinking ship are relatively progressive politicians like Brown and the California Democrats. That may prove to be a very different cast of characters than the Governator and the handful of Orange County assholes that have been bleeding the state to death for the last eight years.
Update: Also! The Blue Dogs (caucus with the Democrats; vote with the Republicans) got clobbered. Granted, most of them were from districts that aren’t safe Democratic seats — so they’d be the people you’d expect to see do badly — but it’s not a bad thing that 22 of the 46 who were up for re-election are now looking for work in the corporate industries they used to fellate. These are the people who made sure the stimulus bill was too small to do enough good; if the election was decided by the economy, they’re the politicians who did the most to make sure it stayed good for business and bad for voters. And the progressive caucus did quite well. The leadership will still be DLC flacks, of course, but the main caucus moving left is a good thing.