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Election 2006: the Good

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Posted on Nov 7, 2006
Good News
Illustration: Karen Spector / Truthdig

Election 2006 In case you missed it, here are some of the exciting developments from Tuesday’s elections:

Senate Races

As of 7:30 a.m. EST, control of the Senate still hangs on Virginia and Montana, but the results look a lot better for the Democrats than many expected, thanks to some well-fought (and close) races.


  • McCaskill (D) beat out Talent (R) in Missouri’s nail-biter, bringing the Dems that much closer to control of the Senate.

  • Ben Cardin won out against Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, holding the seat for Democrats.

  • Potentially winning control of the Senate came at some cost for the Democrats, who successfully ousted one of the more moderate voices from across the aisle when Sheldon Whitehouse (D) unseated Lincoln Chafee (R).

  • Sherrod Brown’s race against incumbent Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) was one of the more memorable and hard-fought campaigns, and it paid off in the end.

  • Pennsylvania: Casey’s victory over Rick Santorum was a loss not only for the Republican Party but the politics of polarization and reactionary conservatism.

  • Bernie Sanders’ win in Vermont was good news for Democrats.  Although Sanders is listed as an Independent, he will be the Senate’s only socialist and is expected to caucus with the Dems.

  • House Races

    The Democrats snagged control of the House, picking up at least 28 seats in the process.


  • Milestone: Nancy Pelosi is expected to be the first woman speaker of the House in our nation’s history.

  • What a difference a DeLay makes.  Corruption was a major issue for the Democrats leading up to the midterms, probably nowhere more so than in disgraced former Rep. Tom DeLay’s Texas district.  Democrat Nick Lampson took the seat with a margin of 14 points.  Bob Ney and Mark Foley’s seats also went Blue, giving the Dems the triple crown of corrupt-politician pickups.

  • John Ellsworth kicked off the night with a big win in Indiana.

  • Ballot Issues


  • South Dakotans said no on a referendum backing the state legislature’s near total ban on abortion. 

  • Voters in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Montana, Nevada and Ohio decided to raise the minimum wage.

  • The Missouri stem cell research initiative that caused such an uproar in the media was approved by voters.

  • Governors

    The Dems added six governors to their ranks, giving the party a national majority with 28.


    Democrats made major gains in state legislatures around the country, giving the party a boost when it comes to redistricting—a crucial issue now that the Supreme Court has empowered statehouses to redistrict without waiting for census data.

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    By EJ Preston, November 9, 2006 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    My, my…  it seems we have a rather independent, possibly even libertarian with a small ‘l’, crowd of more dedicated participants here at


    Report this

    By Ann, November 9, 2006 at 4:45 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    As a british world/citizen, I am happy to see that the Dems have taken the majority in the house, but, being as the actions of the USA affect the rest of the world, I hope that those dems who have voted in favour of many right wing policies and laws, will now get off there butts and do something to change that. or else same **** different wrapper.

    Dont be complacent and make sure that public enquiries and accountability are fair and open.
    The present situation in Iraq, will need to be sorted out, not just left to disintergrate even further.

    Sort out your economy, find out where the missing billions have gone,take back that which has been stolen.
    Outlaw the use of election machines that can change a vote in minutes, before the 2008 election.
    Dont let Bush carry on with his outragous policies for a second longer.

    An illegal war. killing thousands of innocent people, and hes still “in charge”  tsk tsk sort yourselves out for goodness sake!!

    Report this

    By Stephen, November 9, 2006 at 1:44 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    I heard Senator Reid say yesterday that one of the top things on the agenda in the new Congress will be “the reconciliation of the parties.” And Nancy Palosi is all over MSNBC talking about a “spirit of bi-partisanship.” I do believe that we need
    those things…, but let’s not be too hasty. There are some heads that NEED to roll first, first among them, that of the President.

    Its not about revenge. This president has gone to great lengths to subvert and evade the Constitution of the United States, and there can be no bi-partisanship, there can be no reconciliation until this president has been publicly “smacked down” as a historical reminder to future presidents that this kind of activity will not be tolerated and cannot repeated.

    This president has amassed more power to himself than any past president, and he has used that power to spy on American citizens, to roll back the Bill Of Rights, and, by use of the signing signature, to exempt himself from laws that he doesn’t like. These
    things alone are reason enough for Articles of Impeachment to be brought against Mr. Bush. More than this, this president has been the very author of the partisanship and polarization that has plagued this country, and he must be called to account for his uses of fear and terror in order to divide the people of this country.

    All the corruption of this Congress, from the Jack Abramoff scandal, the Foley cover-up, the voter fraud of the 2000 elections in Ohio and Florida, the Haliburton scandals, Tom DeLay’s scandals, the utter failure of the policies and war plans for Iraq, Bob Ney’s scandals, energy policy being decided by oil company leaders behind closed doors and with no public accountability, ALL OF IT (click the link to go to Salon’s list of all the Republican scandals) done under the auspices of the Bush administration and the unprecedented secrecy in which it chose to operate. This president has, on so many levels, undermined the foundations of our Democratic way of life and has sought, by whatever means available, to guarantee the continuation of power by his own party, and he has brought us as close to fascism as we could ever want to come.

    Finally, Goerge W. Bush must be impeached because of the lies he told the country concerning Iraq. Iraq was never an immanent threat to the U.S. There were no WMD’s, and there were no high level contacts between Iraq and Al-Qeada. This was a war for oil, and Mr. Bush lied to us at every juncture in the run up to hostilities. His minions criscrossed the country telling us that the evidence was going to be a “mushroom cloud,” and that they knew “exactly where the WMD’s are.”

    Yes I agree that we must be willing to join hands with the Republicans and try to move forward in a spirit of bi-patisanship. But Mr. Bush is a boil on the ass politik that must be lanced, now.

    Report this

    By Wet Blanket, November 8, 2006 at 8:21 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Look, people. Can we just be honest?

    What is the REAL reason that so many Democrats, though elected on a wave of opposition to the Iraq war, are unwilling to say we ought to get out of Iraq fast?

    I’ll tell you what the reason is: because Israel doesn’t want us to to get out.

    We undertook this stupid war for Israel, and now Iraq is such a mess that even the Israel-centric neocons regret having pushed for the war.

    But think of this: wouldn’t it be a wonderful lesson to Israel and the neocons? This should be our lesson to them:

    “If you subvert America’s government and undermine its financial solvency by lying us into a disastrous war for your benefit, and this is the mess you get. Have fun; we’re outa here!”

    Report this

    By EJ Preston, November 8, 2006 at 2:54 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    to Colombo: 
    We’ve never had a democracy because we were founded as a Republic and have slowly but surely disintegrated into a coming tryanny.  Before one decries a Republic, keep in mind that a democracy does not provide for unalienable rights, as our Constitution does (though not empowered any longer). 

    Be glad that we do not live in a democracy where 51% of the mob can pass ANY law they want, including confiscating your home, guns, cash, etc.  We are meant to live in a Republic, where the individual retains their god/nature-given human rights, rights that are not provided by government but rather by the simple act of being born. 

    to us all: 
    Yes, a repeal of the Military Commissions Act is a good start to getting us back on line towards our Constitutional Republic, but we must be very aware and informed in coming years.  The left is just as complicit as the right in the scandals and anti-american laws/treaties that have disabled our Union and left our economy in the deepest of debt.

    While I certainly applaud the new balance of power, likely resulting in a sustained gridlock of DC for at least a couple of years, I cannot help but think that this also means nothing will change regarding the war on terror and the dismembership of our human rights.  Be very aware, be very informed, because this country can sink into a tyranny no matter what “party” is in control.

    Report this

    By Dan Noel, November 8, 2006 at 2:43 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Corruption in Washington did not start with the GOP. Let’s remember that segregation was a Democratic invention and that it was a staple of Democratic politics until not long ago.

    It is likely that the Democratic party will do some clean-up in Washington. It is also likely that some Democrats will be content with a Republican promise to give them their cut of the federal cake.

    Watch for roads being built with federal dollars that will magically double the value of pieces of land owned by Democratic members of Congress…

    Report this

    By radmeister, November 8, 2006 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    I did my job and went out and voted for the lesser of two boll weevils, and my boll weevils won! I will be writing to all of them soon about getting out of Iraq and holding the other boll weevils accountable for torturing everybody for so long. Robo calls have gotta go! We have to secure our ports and borders, and give amnesty to the illegal workers that are already here, but arrest any more illegals that try to cross the border. Raise the minimum wage for the whole country, and give all of our veterans the benefits they deserve. So much to do!

    Report this

    By Ricardo Gomez, November 8, 2006 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    It is impossible to ennumerate all the reasons to celebrate. But let’s not allow the celebration to obscure the other the other war we are losing, one that after innumberable victims and vast expenditures has yet to show any progress: the war on drugs. This war, like the Iraq war, has only served to benefit the prison industry and some contractors and special interest groups. It is high time for legalization to be considered and to begin the redirection of the resources currently wasted on interdiction and incarceration towards education and rehabilitation. Consider that over $700 million a year are wasted in military aid to Colombia (see alone where this money does nothing other than perpetuate the misery we sustain over there with our drug policies. We must remember that to “stay the course” in this war will lead to another Iraq at our doorstep.

    Report this

    By Colombo, November 8, 2006 at 11:22 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    I am 84, and have just witnessed the worst electoral campaigning ever in my life. If anyone thinks that we have a democracy in America, they need a refresher course on the essential elements of a democracy. At the top of the list is the need for an informed electorate. And right up at the same level is the need for the information to be easy to acquire. Voters need to know the position of every candidate, in detail, on the essential issues. Distortions and lies, as well as untrue personal attacks need to be prohibited. Since we as a nation lack all of those essentials, as evidenced by this latest despicable campaign season, we cannot call ourselves a democracy. Here is the easy way to bring democracy to America (we actually have never had a democracy).

    These are the simple requirements I propose:

    (1)  Every candidate must file a detailed position paper covering all major issues.
    (2)  Only one position paper would be permitted for each candidate to ensure that every voter hears the same position on all issues that the candidate espouses
    (3)  The government would make all candidate position papers available in all libraries, and other public places (within the electoral district) at no charge.
    (4)  Any unexplained deviation from a position paper, during public campaigning, would make the candidate subject to a fine or disqualification
    (5)  Any untrue personal attack on an opponent, during public campaigning, would make the candidate subject to a fine or disqualification.

    Here are the benefits:

    (1)  We would have an informed electorate on all major issues
    (2)  Candidates could not tailor their message to each audience
    (3)  Untrue personal attacks would be prohibited under penalty of law
    (4)  It would totally undermine the value of TV 30-second sound bites
    (5)  It would eliminate the need for elected officials to raise campaign money
    (6)  Without the need for campaign money, the power brokers would lose their power to   influence lawmakers
    (7)  TV viewers would also be spared most of the stupid 30-second campaign gibberish they are forced to swallow every time they turn on their TV set.
    (8)  It would greatly shorten the length of the campaign and all the nonsensical speculation that goes with it
    (9)  It would open up more time for discussion of actual current real happenings thereby keeping the public better informed.

    Think about it—and then do something about it!

    Report this

    By NJ Rich, November 8, 2006 at 10:42 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    It’s the dawn of a new day in America!!!!!!

    My faith in the electorate has been (mostly) restored.

    Report this

    By Sylvia Barksdale Morovitz, November 8, 2006 at 9:50 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    I am so releived that I have no words to expain it!  Oh my!  What a difference a day makes!  Yesterday I was almost ready for suicide.  This morning, though raining and cold in Massachusetts, I feel as if I’ve hit the BIG lottery!

    Now, I’m hoping and praying that a democratic senate will knock the Buch butt kissers out…out…out!

    Whatever the case, Bush’s all out power grab will be considerably lessened.  His little hangers will shrivel and it will be almost impossible for him to bear.  Ah, but this victory is the sweetest of all.

    It’s a strong message for the 2008 elections, too.  That Governor Romney of MA and Governor Bush of FL could run this nation is nothing less than a laughing matter.  We must begin thinking of this NOW because, as we know, Prez Bush has stolen enough cash to buy the “holy” cow into the oval office.

    Report this

    By Chuck, November 8, 2006 at 9:12 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    It’s time to change priorities in the house and senate. Look at Iraq differently; get Rumsfeld out of office; let Iraq rule their own country now: Insist on troop withdrawls in Iraq. Look to the people’s needs in the USA: Health care (46Million people without Health Care!), balance the budget: reduce the HUGE deficit, work on shifting the balance of trade to more US exports abroad, especially China, Japan & the rest of the Orient.Reduce lobbying. It’s time NOW to RE-ENGINEER THE WORKINGS OF THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH & CONGRESS even thinking about impeaching Bush.

    Report this

    By BoDo, November 8, 2006 at 6:53 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Now we have to keep on the Democrats to undo all the damage and horror the Bush administration has wrought.  The first order of business must be the repeal of the Military Commissions Act.  Restore our Constitution and Bill of Rights!

    Report this

    By Yes-butter, November 8, 2006 at 6:02 am Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    Yes, but ... this was an election in which the most crucial looming issue - the Bush administration’s determination to drag us into a new war against Iran - was not even discussed in the major media.

    Iran is being set up for an unprovoked, “preventive” nuclear attack by the US and/or Israel, and the pollsters didn’t even ask about that issue, which isn’t supposed to exist yet.

    If the Democrats let Bush go forward with this, then we are truly doomed - and this midterm vote for “change” comes to nothing.

    Report this

    By Meg, November 7, 2006 at 10:38 pm Link to this comment
    (Unregistered commenter)

    One of the biggests upsets of tonight happened in NH, Carol Shea-Porter defeated republican incumbent Jeb Bradley to join Paul Hodes in the U.S. House. This woman is great!

    Report this

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