Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Is the Tea Party Almost Over? Nov. 5th Election Results Set Tone for 2014 Mid-Term Elections

Democratic Governor-Elect Terry McAuliffe
The election results in New York, New Jersey and Virginia  have given me a sense of hope that I haven't felt about this country in awhile.

As I sit here writing this, I'm listening to Democratic New York Mayor-elect Bill De Blasio give his post election victory speech from Park Slope, Brooklyn - which in itself is a pretty big statement for New Yorkers. The former NYC Public Advocate's lofty goals for a more progressive direction for the city include universal Pre-K for all children, an end to the widely discredited Stop and Frisk program by the NYPD and efforts to bridge the growing income gap between rich and poor.

Down in Virginia a majority of voters elected Democrat Terry McAuliffe governor by a slim margin, rejecting the extremist Tea Party ideology of State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, the first state attorney general to sue the Obama Administration over the implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act and a climate change denier who supported archaic state legislative anti-abortion laws that mandated intrusive and unnecessary vaginal probes for women seeking abortions.

McAuliffe on the other hand is a supporter of sensible gun restrictions backed by most Americans, abortion rights for women and same sex marriage - of course having President Obama stump for him, raising over $34 million and being a close ally of the nation's resident "Explainer-in-Chief" former President Bill Clinton and his wife the presumed Democratic Presidential front runner didn't hurt either. 

In my home state of New Jersey voters overwhelmingly passed a ballot initiative mandating a raise in the states minimum wage that is now permanently linked to the Consumer Price Index. This is a huge step in the growing movement towards a living wage standard for American workers and an important move towards recovery for the working and middle class.

NJ also re-elected Chris Christie by a wide margin, demonstrating to the extremist ideologues who now control the GOP that a moderate Republican who has (gasp) hugged President Obama can actually sway African-American, Hispanic and younger voters, who nationwide tend to avoid Republicans like the plague.

Time will certainly tell but these election results are looking more and more like a broader mandate on the Tea Party and their recent disastrous shut-down of the Federal government.

There's a growing sense that Americans have simply had it with the tiny faction of politically right-wing obstructionists who've decided opposing virtually any initiative the President supports, even efforts that would benefit the American people and improve the economy. Opposing even basic gun restrictions in the face of week after week of public shootings (LAX? Paramus Mall?), denying science, tolerating bigotry, ignoring outright racism and shutting down the Federal government to pass policies that mainstream Americans would never vote for is NOT what this nation is about. And it's too late for me to get into voter repression laws (peekaboo North Carolina!).

But don't take my word for it, the numbers speak for themselves. In Virginia a number of the states top Republicans voted for McAuliffe. Tonight New York Times reporter Eric Lipton reports that tomorrow a newly-formed political group of moderate Republicans (remember them?) calling themselves Main Street Advocacy will begin airing political ads opposing the Tea Party and holding them accountable for the kinds of political party losses the GOP suffered tonight. Admirable effort?

Maybe, but frankly mainstream Republicans are a dollar short and day late to finally start taking on the wing nuts who've seized control of the GOP and seem determined to steer it into total oblivion. Where was MSA when the Tea Baggers were questioning the President's birth certificate or Donald Trump was questioning whether Obama's Law degree from Harvard was legitimate? Hell, where was the MSA when Clint Eastwood was standing on the stage of the GOP convention talking to an empty chair?

Not that I don't wish the MSA luck but based on tonight's results, it's pretty clear Democrats are on track to reclaim the House Majority in 2014 and if you think a delusional self-serving Tea Party hack with no original ideas and an agenda from the 12th century like Senator Ted Cruz has a prayer of beating Hillary Clinton in 2016 I got a bridge to sell you. The country has a long way to go, a lot of folks are still out of work and wages are still low - but tonight I'll sleep a little better, I may even dream of hope.

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