Did that really happen?
Obviously, we shouldn’t be as hasty in our celebration as, say, Wendy Davis’s campaign director was in her complete and utter social media meltdown: the Republicans still have to govern effectively to earn 2016. And while Sally Kohn might believe that Republicans are about to undertake the most egregious systematic oppression of women since cavemen first clubbed us over the head and dragged us to their caves, not all of us are as confident in their effectiveness as a political party.
But here are five things you need to know about last night.
1. Last night was a landmark for women. More women will serve in this next Congress than have ever before. And of those women, we can count the youngest female to ever be elected to national office, Republican Elise Stefanik, who took the open seat in New York’s 21st, and the first black Republican Congresswoman, Mia Love, elected in Utah. If you were a woman of Democratic sensibilities, you weren’t so lucky. Wendy Davis got clobbered in the Texas gubernatorial race, as expected, and even Sandra Fluke lost by a 2 to 1 margin. But congratulations are definitely in order for notorious pig-castrator, Joni Ernst, who became Iowa’s first female Senator, and Susanna Martinez, who was re-elected governor of New Mexico, among many others. Except none for Kay Hagan.
Not only did women see electoral victories, but it seems they’ve finally turned the tide in the War on Women itself. Poor Mark Uterus. I mean, Udall.
2. The Senate majority GOP does not have all it’s numbers just yet. Last night, the GOP officially picked up seven seats: West Virginia, North Carolina, Arkansas, Iowa, South Dakota, Colorado and Montana. Others are very close, and could be in our camp by the time this is published, since I have to write three other lessons learned from last night. Louisiana still has a runoff to conduct, with Landrieu now clearly hobbled by bad returns, which could bring the total to 8. And then there’s Alaska and Virginia, who might still be counting votes next Tuesday (though Virginia is pretty much over). So, to recap, there’s a potential for a ten seat pickup – albeit a slight one – which means Democrats would be at a significant hardship to turn the tables back in 2016. And to think, I called Dick Morris “drunk” on Twitter for merely suggesting that we could get close to ten. And Angus King, Independent from Maine, who has caucused with the Democrats for the last decade, may switch.
All in all, even if the GOP stands firm at 52 or 53 seats, today, we can officially say the words, “Harry Reid, Minority Leader,” which is very sweet indeed. Although…
SenReid statement: “The message from voters is clear: they want us to work together.”
— Shannon Bream (@ShannonBream) November 5, 2014
3. The House Republicans made some significant gains, too – between 14 and 18 seats. So many gains that, in a fit of morbidity last night, Chuck Todd may or may not have suggested that the Democrats don’t look to be in good shape to win back the House until 2022. NBC News was predicting 246 Republican seats, which is easily the most that Republicans have held since World War II. Future President Hillary Clinton will, of course, be pissed. And current President Barack Obama, despite calling Republican leaders last night to offer them a seat at his Friday lunch table, has not yet issued a statement congratulating Republicans on their victory. Although, it very clearly isn’t his fault or anything, so why expect it?
4. Nate Silver was forced to unskew the polls, which were biased towards Democrats, despite claims from Democrats pretty much the entire time that the polls were exhibiting a bias against them. The bias is, of course, hard to pick up, unless you look at individual states, where the bias was giving Democrats false hopes of close margins and narrow victories. Polls predicting Senate pickups were more favorable to Democrats than actual results, and polls predicing that close gubernatorial races like Wisconsin, Michigan and Illinois would stay up in the air for days, were underestimating Republican votes by anywhere from two to three percent. Or in the case of Maryland? More like ten percent. Nate Silver chalks the problem up to “poll trending,” a phenomenon where polls mirror one another’s bias in order to exhibit a national voter predilection, which he says isn’t uncommon.
So, lesson learned? Don’t trust polling. Pretty much ever.
5. Joe Biden is running for President. Check out that dye job.
Keep up the good work, America!
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