07 November 2006

Election Reflections

Democrats control the U.S. House, the Colorado State Senate, the Colorado State House, and the Governor's mansion in Colorado. Democratic control of the state house will be stronger than it was before the election, and there are a couple of Senate seats that could ultimately go to Democrats as election day ballots are still being counted. The Colorado delegation to Congress will now be, at least, 4-3 in the House and 1-1 in the Senate.

Angie Paccione has a dim chance of pulling a come from behind victory in the dark hours of the night, but is trailing now in the 4th CD race. Still, she brought Musgrave to her worst ever electoral performance, just 46% of the people in her district voted for her. Musgrave remains an endangered Republican in what should be a safe Republican district.

Three close U.S. Senate races, in Missouri, Virginia and Montana, must all go our way for Democrats to retake the Senate (and even then, they will need Lieberman to do so). But, Democrats are leading in the current tally in all three races with most of the vote counted in Missouri and Virginia, and a more comfortable lead, despite having only 60% of the vote counted, in Montana. Still, Democrats will definitely increase their numbers in the Senate, and have a real shot at gaining a majority. It will be much harder for Republicans to push legislation through the Senate in the next session.

Not every ballot issue went the way I would have liked it to go. Amendment 43, putting a marriage definition into the state constitution passed, while Referendum I, establishing a state domestic partnership statute, failed, both by margins too great to attribute to Denver election mischief. Still, Amendment 43 simply restates a Colorado statute, and Referendum I's defeat simply leaves us with the status quo. Amendment 41 prevailed by wide margins, as expected, and while it is a bad constitutional provision, it isn't catastrophically bad and won't ruin the state as Amendment 39 might have. Referendums H and K involve such small sums of money, and have so little substantive impact, that their outcome doesn't matter much. The failure of Referendum 1A in Denver, likewise, simply leaves us with the status quo on pre-school funding, although it makes a blow to Mayor Hickenlooper's mythic reputation for being able to convince Denver voters of anything. H and 1A are close enough the continued ballot counting could impact them.

While it didn't end up having too much policy effect, most likely influencing some less important ballot issues and down ticket statewide races, if any, Denver's utter election disaster will leave a lasting impression. I doubt that the Denver Election Commission will be running many more elections at this rate, even if its structure is not inherently at fault. A similar disaster in 2008 would be unacceptable, and even this snafu puts the 2008 Democratic Party National Convention at risk.

Practically speaking, what does all this mean?

Bill Ritter's platform will be Colorado law in short order.

There will be an intense effort on the part of Republicans to make their last ditch efforts to pass partisan legislation in the lame duck session this year. Maybe, for once, Democratic Senators will feel emboldened to filibuster these efforts.

Bush will no longer have any ability to change the legislative status quo, or to write his own budget, without Democratic party consent, for the remainder of his Presidency. Democrats will be pressuring him to back down on the Iraq War and to cut the corruption that pervades his administration. The Republicans in Congress, meanwhile, stripped of many of their moderates, will likely grow even more shrill and out of the mainstream than they already are now.

1 comment:

Jon W. said...

Now that it's "goodnight, Gracie" for Burns and Allen, I think it's safe to talk about the new Senate. With the likely rejection of recess-appointee John Bolton (whom even the ousted Chafee opposes), are we done with a rubber-stamp Congress? Is there any reason to oppose Gates to succeed Rumsfeld?