Other winners and losers yesterday
So we all know President Obama won reelection, the Republicans kept control of the House and the Democrats held onto the Senate. Some other winners yesterday:
- Gender diversity. The new Senate will include a record 19 women--despite the fact that two current female senators (Hutchison and Snowe) did not seek reelection and their seats were won by men.
- Gay rights. One of these new female senators is Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, who is also the first openly gay senator. More dramatically: Maine, Maryland and Washington all approved same-sex marriage by popular vote, a first (and second and third). And Minnesota declined to ban it.
- Undocumented immigrants. Maryland approved its state-level Dream Act, enabling students without documents to go to state schools at the in-state rate.
- Separation of church and state. Florida declined to start allowing taxpayer money to go to churches and other religious organizations.
- A saner approach to controlled substances. Colorado and Washington State voted to legalize recreational marijuana, and Massachusetts approve medical marijuana. But Oregon rejected recreational use, while Arkansas and Montana voted against medical use. There's also the minor matter of federal law.
- Math. The number crunchers were right about the presidential race. In politics as in baseball, this may well mean more and more credibility for Nate Silver and other "quants" relative to the instinct-oriented pundits we've tended to look to.
- The food movement. Agribusiness money beat back California's effort to require labeling for genetically modified food. GMO labeling has been voted down elsewhere as well, but California's size, huge farming sector and role as a ballot-initiative-driven laboratory make this a tough loss for food reformers.
- Representative democracy. U.S. House races continue to be determined largely by how the districts are drawn and redrawn--by partisan state legislatures. Where I live, this means Republicans didn't have much of a voice yesterday; elsewhere it's the opposite. In either case it's an outrage.
- The seamless garment of life. California failed to ban the death penalty.
- Clean energy. Michigan failed to increased its renewable-energy target.
- Low-income Marylanders. The state voted to raise funds in a painfully regressive way: by expanding casino gambling.