If you’re a pot smoking Republican, last night could not have gone better!
A lot happened last night. Here are some of our final thoughts on the 2014 midterms. And then let us never speak of this again. Because we’re tired…
The Night Summed Up in One Tweet
So voters want a higher minimum wage, legal pot, abortion access and GOP representation. Ok then.
— Ben Casselman (@bencasselman) November 5, 2014
The Waiting Game
Last night the legalization of marijuana was on four ballots; Alaska, Florida (medicinal use only), the District of Columbia, and Oregon. It passed in all of the ballots, except Florida where it was just shy of getting the 60% approval needed to pass. If you were to look at the exit polls, the medical marijuana initiative crossed gaps in every aspect whether that was race, economic, or educational boundaries. The one boundary it couldn’t cross however was with old people.
This vote proved that the elderly doesn’t want marijuana legalized. While this is not surprising, it does however make one thing perfectly clear. The legalization of marijuana in the US isn’t a question of “if” anymore, it’s a question of “when.”
With the only real opposition to marijuana coming from elderly voters and human sarcophagus Sheldon Adelson (who single handily bankrolled 85% of Florida’s anti-pot campaign), at this point all you have to do is… wait. Like rock & roll and comic books, which were once viewed as the catalysis to the downfall of Western Civilization, things like this tend to be fixed naturally. So to speak…
In case you’re confused, we’re talking about death.
Hope. Then the Numbers Came In.
“I’m not saying in 2016, but maybe in two election cycles or so we can change Texas into a blue state and we can start by Democrats preforming strong in these midterms!” – Every Democrat Before Tuesday
Yup, that was basically the Republican response…
Internal Thoughts That Will Keep Them Up at Night
Democrats: You not only had a fundraising advantage, but you also had the incumbency advantage. And you still lost big! But here’s the real kicker! The initiatives that easily passed in various states are all ideals that Democrats, for the most part, support (higher minimum wage, safe access to abortions, lighter sentencing on drug arrests, ect). So the fact that you lost doesn’t mean your policies are the problem, it means your candidates are! If that’s really the case, 2016 may not be enough time to fix that kind of problem.
Republicans: There is very little to be depressed about here. You not only beat the Democrats, you crushed them! But before you congratulate yourselves too much, answer this, did the Republicans win these midterms or did the Democrats lose them? Because based on the voter initiatives passed in each state (many of them left-leaning) and the exit polls (voters hated anyone that was in office), these midterms might be less about the Republicans winning and more about the Democrats losing! In other words, much like a jilted ex, voters used the Republicans as a rebound to send a message to Democrats that they are going to do just fine without them, meanwhile your speeches of fiscal responsibility and the overturning of Affordable Care Act go on deaf ears because voters never really loved you, their heart still belongs to the Democrats! True you did win these midterms, but the bigger question, what did you exactly win into?
By the Numbers: Money in the 2014 Midterms
Here are some of the figures for the disgusting amount of money spent on these midterms. (All numbers are provided by OpenSecrets.org)
3,670,000,000 – The total amount of money spent on the 2014 midterms
81,089,238 – The amount of money outside groups spent on the North Carolina Senate Race
36 – The number of races in which outside groups outspent political campaigns
1,750,000,000 – The amount of money spent by Republicans in these midterms
1,640,000,000 – The amount of money spent by Democrats in the midterms
13 – The percent that outside groups are projected to have spent in the overall election cost
215,600,000 – The amount of money projected to have been spent by “dark money networks”
After reading those numbers, it’s safe to say that we’re all in Eeyores Gloomy Place” right now.
Remember to Give Your Pollster a Hug
Being a pollster must be hard. For the times that you get it right, people just shrug. For the times you get it wrong, the pitchforks come out. What’s worse, they are constantly working with imperfect data. From the start you’re in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. So it brings me no joy to say for the 2014 midterms, the pollsters were off.
Not WAY off, but still off.
I won’t get into the nitty-gritty details – FiveThirtyEight has already done an excellent job of that – but basically most of the polls this year had a Democratic bias to them. Races like Arkansas, which was projected to be close, ended up being blowouts due to inaccurate polling. Regardless, if you’re giving a Democrat a hug, make sure you hug a pollster too. Because last night wasn’t easy for them either.
Text of the Night: Red Rocket
Reporter Friend in NYC: Did CNN and the Republicans just “red rocket” the Empire State Building?
Ok So Now What?
I think purely based on last night’s results, the next two years should be interesting. Because last night voters picked Republican candidates to pass overwhelming progressive legislation.
Take Nebraska for example. Nebraska overwhelmingly elected Pete Ricketts as their governor. They also voted on increasing the minimum wage to $8 next year then to $9 the following year. Here’s the thing, Gov. Ricketts believes that raising the minimum wage would hurt more than help lower income families. Yet Nebraskans are clearly behind raising the minimum wage.
So how does a fiscal Republican implement a minimum wage law that he doesn’t believe in? For that matter how does the Republican Party as a whole tackle issues (legalizing pot, access to abortions, raising the minimum wage, ect) that they don’t believe in but their constituents do? How does all this even work?!?
Your guess is as good as ours.
(Photo Credit: Google Images, Getty Images, Associated Press)