Election day 2014 in Florida -- and the aftermath

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It was a good day, a better day that anyone expected, a real wave election.

The reaction of my local liberal friends on Facebook reveal their contempt for the state where they live, their bigoted opinions of conservatives, and their disconnect from political reality. One wrote a very apt "chin-up" post -- the sort of things I've seen conservatives write to console each other after a loss -- but she ended it with this weird attempt at a barb: "And to those of you gleeful over the election results, I just want to remind you that our President is STILL BLACK." I imagine she imagined people like me shaking our fists and gritting our teeth at those words. (Never mind that the first African-American was just elected to the Senate from a Southern state since reconstruction -- and he's a Republican. Never mind that her party never elected an African-American to statewide office or congress during almost a century of dominance in Oklahoma -- but the GOP has.) Now if she'd said "STILL A SOCIALIST" or "STILL A MISERABLE FAILURE AT HOME AND ABROAD" -- that would have spoiled my gloating a bit. But if she thinks the president's ethnic background is the source of conservative dislike, she and her pals are going to continue to lose elections. So much for the soi-disant "reality-based" community.

I spent part of my Tuesday in a library in Hialeah, Florida. I was in the area on business, free during the day but working during the night. The library was in a large city park where I'd hoped to attend a rally with Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Jeb Bush that I'd read about online, but I had misread the date. (I think it had been two days before.)

When I arrived and pulled into the parking lot, I found two teams of electioneers, one Democrat and one Republican, handling out pamphlets and ballot cards. An older couple with the Democrat group stopped the car in front of me to chat with the driver and give her some literature. Another Democrat electioneer waved me around the blockade.

Once parked, I walked toward the library and heard an older man calling out to me. He was with a group of a half-dozen volunteers -- both young and old -- holding signs for Republican candidates. He handed me a card for Gov. Scott, a card for the GOP county assessor candidate, and a card listing all the GOP candidates in Miami-Dade County. All three cards were in English on on side and Spanish on the other. The man said to me, "Please vote for Gov. Scott. It's important!" I gave him a thumbs-up and walked on.

This must have been a key precinct, because near the entrance was a reporter in a suit holding a microphone and talking to a camera, occasionally interviewing voters.

Inside the library, I had a view through interior picture windows to the polling station set up in the library's meeting room. I pondered the possibility of pulling a reverse Kathy Taylor -- voting in-person in Florida and absentee in Oklahoma -- but I could see that I'd be thwarted by Florida's racist voter suppression laws. Florida does not have election day registration, and with photo ID required, I couldn't very well pretend to be someone else.

I was pleased to see that Florida, like Oklahoma, uses scanned paper ballots. Voters are given a big green folder to carry their ballots privately from the voting carrels to the ballot box scanners. I watched as several waves of voters came and went. Election workers walked the floor, directing incoming voters to the sign-in desk and helping voters with finished ballots feed them into the machines.

That evening I spent an hour after the polls closed at the Miami-Dade Republican watch party at a Cuban restaurant on the western edge of the city. We ate fried plantain chips, carnitas, empanadas, and tequeños while cheering the results. The crowd of about 60 -- but this only one of many GOP watch parties around Miami, I learned -- were especially pleased that the local Democrat congressman, Joe Garcia, had conceded defeat to Republican school baord member Carlos Curbelos. We all held our breath as Gov. Scott maintained his narrow lead over the oompa-loompa-colored flip-flopping former governor, Charlie Crist.

More analysis will have to wait, but here are a few post-mortems worth your time:

The New York Post's Michael Goodwin called for a repudiation of Obamaism ("a quasi-socialist commitment to a more powerful government at home and an abdication of American leadership around the world") and the voters delivered.

Via Ace, a good Washington Post story on how the GOP national apparatus upped their game to win the Senate this year.

The finger-pointing begins: Chris "Tingle Up My Leg" Matthews says Obama lost the midterms because he's surrounded by yes-men.

Pro-immigration-law-enforcement Democrat Mickey Kaus notes that Democrat supporters of amnesty lost their seats.

Philip Klein notes that almost half of the Democrat Senators who voted for Obamacare are gone -- four more lost on Tuesday and one more is likely to lose in December.

MORE:

Some Republicans are saying that, since this was Pres. Obama's attitude toward Republicans in 2009, this should be our newly elected Republicans' attitude toward the Democrats:

(For the record, I liked the Depp version better than the Wilder version and this scene is one of the reasons why, but it works for the current purpose.)

HotAir luxuriates in the agony of MSNBC commentators as the scope of the Democrats' collapse emerges in a series of hour-by-hour videos.

Victor Davis Hanson calls Tuesday the Democrats' Waterloo. He notes that the Democrats ran away from their record and their legislative initiatives rather than on their record: The administration's handling of Russia's belligerence, Iraq's collapse, and the Ebola crisis, Obamacare, open borders, barriers to energy exploration, cap-and-trade.

Democrats understandably chose to ignore both what they had voted for in the past and what they were likely to support in the future.

Instead, they ran on the same old progressive idea of community organizing to get out the base. Obama was the past master of this strategy: energize American voters by contending that we have been separated by race, class, and gender; claim that conservatives have been waging pitiless war against blacks, Latinos, gays, women, and the poor; and then cobble back together the aroused and aggrieved interests to form a majority.

So why, after prior successes, did Obama's race/class/gender attack finally sputter out like the French at Waterloo?

Unhappy voters thought the anemic economy, Obamacare, the collapse of U.S. foreign policy, the scandals in government, and the incompetent handling of everything from the Islamic State to Ebola were the only real issues. Democrats' refusal to acknowledge them did not make these failures go away.

Harry Reid, after eight years of stomping on the minority, is begging for mercy, in a way:

Reid has run the US Senate for the past eight years like a dictatorship, steadily eroding minority privileges to the point where Republicans couldn't offer amendments or put up any significant resistance to Barack Obama's radical appointments, unless Democrats forced Reid's hand on either score. After watching his party lay a historic egg in the midterms -- the size of which is still not yet fully known -- Reid tried spinning the results as a mandate for the kind of compromise that he's blocked ever since winning control of the upper chamber in 2006.

At the American Spectator, Ross Kaminsky pities President Obama who was sidelined from the campaign trail by Democratic candidates, despite his efforts to remind voters that these candidates were his faithful followers.

In a generic way, he tied the "political millstone" to Democrats across the country a month ago when he said, "I am not on the ballot this fall.... But make no mistake: These policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them."

And two weeks ago, when asked why he wasn't being invited to campaign for Democratic Senate hopefuls, Obama suggested that his presence would boost GOP turnout but added helpfully (to Republicans, that is), "The bottom line is, though, these are all folks who vote with me; they have supported my agenda in Congress.... These are folks who are strong allies and supporters of me, and I tell them, I said, 'You know what, you do what you need to do to win.'"

As if "my supporters are not just bad on policy, but they're liars, too" is a winning political message.

The Texas Tribune reports on the sophisticated microtargeting and turnout effort that helped Gov.-elect Greg Abbott to a 20-point win over Wendy "Abortion Barbie" Davis. The site also examined the implosion of Battleground Texas, the campaign to make Texas competitive for the Left. Technical problems and inexperienced plagued the effort and may jeopardize the organization's ability to persuade donors to fund the group in future elections. The story notes that Davis barely fared better than a down-ballot Democrat who made no effort at all:

Jim Hogan, the Democratic nominee for agriculture commissioner, came into the race as a complete unknown. He didn't spend a moment or a dollar campaigning. He received no direct support from Battleground. Yet he earned almost 37 percent of the vote in his race.

Even with all her help, Davis ended the night with 39 percent of the vote.

The Washington Free Beacon offers a handy three-minute video montage of Democrat gaffes:

Writing prospectively on election eve, Ben Domenech says the 2014 midterm was "an election about a failed presidency," a failure that grows out of Obama's naive view of the presidency:

Now the president is full of resentment, fatalistic, irritated at being ignored or disrespected by his people and The People. But this doesn't come from long years of attempts to bring the parties together to forge compromise - it comes from his realization that he'd rather golf than put up with the demands of the job. If Obama truly thought that politics only consists of getting elected, he was truly naïve about the demands of the presidency - just as he has been naïve about the nature of the Republican Party, conservatism and libertarianism, party and congressional politics, the public's desire for wage growth and job security, even middle eastern dictators' and terrorists' assessment of their own interests.

The stunning part is the nature of this naïveté. It is not that it is the high-minded academic view of a cloistered college professor - it's the naïveté of a dim-witted screenwriter, an acceptance of an beau ideal of the American presidency that is most recognizable as an invention of Aaron Sorkin, not a reflection of history. The president who walks into the room, says "I am the Lord your God", and wins the argument. Only in the world of Andrew Shepard or Jed Bartlet does the president demolish his adversaries and win major political battles merely by reading his lines....

For Obama, the presidency, to paraphrase Chesterton's line about the Christian ideal, was not tried and found wanting - it was found difficult; and left untried. The problem begins with Obama's vision of himself, a vision completely unlike the presidents who did not view themselves as world-altering historical figures from whom opponents cower and melt away, and toward whose will history bends. The idea that Obama attempted change and was trapped by existing unchangeable systems is nothing more than a comforting delusion, whispered by courtiers to the god-king who cannot understand why others did not bow down. He has become the worst kind of leader in American politics - a leader who feels the people no longer deserve him, and would prefer to dissolve them and elect another.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 5, 2014 10:36 PM.

Oklahoma election 2014: BatesLine ballot card was the previous entry in this blog.

Oklahoma CD 2: Will Democrats find a winning substitute for the special election? is the next entry in this blog.

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