Last night was an unmitigated Democratic victory. Democrats control Kansas politics to an historic degree. Nationally, Democrats won not just the House, but took stronger positions in state legislatures and Governors’ mansions. And the Senate is still in play.
Furthermore, the success of minimum wage initiatives was a strong endorsement of a progressive agenda.
The Republican party clearly lost big, especially the President. But even more so, the religious authoritarians lost in this election. Parental notification laws were rejected in Oregon and California, and South Dakota rolled back it’s harsh abortion law. Hyper-religious track star Jim Ryun didn’t lose because voters rejected his running ability, they got tired of his do-nothing religiosity. Phill Kline lost because he spent his four years trying to make the Kansas Attorney General into a general in the culture wars.
In Missouri, the religious authoritarians who fought against stem cell research failed to convince their fellow citizens.
Voters rejected the divisive politics of Karl Rove and George Bush, but more importantly, they rejected the sectarian politics of the religious right. They came to understand that morality doesn’t have to be legislated through religious symbols. The Bible doesn’t say anything about stem cells or whether to inflation adjust the minimum wage, but that doesn’t make it any less of a moral issue to learn how to save lives or ensure the quality of life by guaranteeing fair wages.
This was a victory for values. Not sectarian values, but American values. Honest work and honest pay for it, respect for evidence and for other people, respect for successful institutions. That’s what won last night.