November 07, 2012

What's different?

A few observations about this election, just off the top of my head:
  • After months of campaigning at a cost of around $6 billion, it looks almost exactly like the status quo ante to me. We've got the same president; the Democrats picked up two seats in the Senate (hooray for Elizabeth Warren!), but nothing like a super-majority; and the House is essentially unchanged, with the Republicans still firmly in control. Think this crew will be able to accomplish any more than they have the last 2 years? If so, please explain.
  • I've now finished reading American Nations, the book I recommended earlier, and I must say I'm somewhat disappointed with it, especially in regard to Woodard's conclusions about how contemporary America is divided. I've been perusing a fascinating breakdown of the returns by state and by county at, and it seems to me the most obvious divide we have is between urban and rural. To be sure, many of Woodard's nations do appear to hold up, especially El Norte, the Left Coast, and Yankeedom; but the Deep South and the Far West, in particular, don't seem to be quite so solidly Republican as we're led to believe. In fact, nearly all the cities in those areas went to Obama, often by large margins. That, to me, bodes ill for coming to any kind of consensus on where to go from here.
  • Isn't it high time we discarded that elitist relic: the Electoral College?
  • Congratulations to Colorado and Washington for voting to legalize marijuana; shame on Oregon for failing to do so.
We'll know by Christmas a whole lot more about how much things have changed, if at all. I'm not holding my breath ...

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