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The new political balance

After a long night’s sleep recovering from a long day working the polls, I awoke this morning to news of a Republican House and a Republican Senate majority starting next year.

Birthers believe that just about everybody knows deep down, and that everybody includes members of Congress, that Barack Obama’s biography is false and his identity documents are fakes. If that is truly the case, then what is to prevent those in Congress, the majority of whom are not of the President’s party, from holding investigations, passing resolutions and even starting impeachment proceedings against the President based on those beliefs of identity fraud? I can see nothing blocking such outcomes except the falsity of the birthers’ underlying premise that people in Congress believe the nonsense birther conspiracy theories.

I do not know what the effect of new voter ID laws has had on this election. All the votes in South Carolina have not been tallied, but so far it is the lowest voter turnout in any election for which the South Carolina Elections Commission provides data (since 1984). At my precinct, every voter had an ID, but publicity about the law may have kept others from trying. Whatever the cause, most South Carolinians did not vote yesterday, something that has happened only one other time since 1984. We turned away two voters, neither of whom was registered to vote. Lines were not long and even at peak times, I doubt that anyone waited more than 15 minutes.

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43 Responses to The new political balance

  1. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG November 4, 2014 at 10:51 pm #

    Though I’m disappointed that it looks like the Republicans will have both the house and Senate, I do look forward to the gobsmacked expressions on the birthers faces, when they realize none of the things they expected to happen under a Republican congress are going to come to pass.

    Now, that said. If I were the devious sort, who had a sock puppet account at Gerbil Report, I’d probably be guy who posts the seed of doubt in their minds. Posting something along the lines of “Don’t you see? They let the Republicans win this, to lure us all into a false sense of security! That way we’ll be completely caught off guard, by what comes next!” Oh, but that would be cruel to rain on their parade like that. 😉

  2. avatar
    Bonsall Obot November 5, 2014 at 12:08 am #

    They have their hands full already; these witches aren’t gonna hunt themselves!

  3. avatar
    roadburner November 5, 2014 at 2:39 am #

    i feel it is my duty to remind the birfoons that despite the GOP winning the senate, they still don’t have a big enough majority to get a conviction on an impeachment vote.

    must be frustrating for them – so near, yet so far

    😀

  4. avatar
    The Magic M (not logged in) November 5, 2014 at 5:01 am #

    roadburner: despite the GOP winning the senate, they still don’t have a big enough majority to get a conviction on an impeachment vote

    It was again funny to see the birther dichotomy of “when the GOP wins the Senate, it will be the end of Obama” and “the GOP is complicit in the cover-up of the forgedy-forged forgery”.
    In other words, it’s really 2010 all over again.

    Now wait for the “impeachment will start in February, yeah, Zullo’s next promise happens to coincide with that, we win!” croaks.

  5. avatar
    Craig HS November 5, 2014 at 7:06 am #

    As an Australian, where the balance of our upper house is currently held by independents, I am constantly gobsmacked at how Democrats stay home in mid-term elections. You don’t have that many independents, so if the democrats don’t turn up and vote, and the only other option is republicans, how do they hope to win it?

    *shakes head sadly*

  6. avatar
    JPotter November 5, 2014 at 7:25 am #

    Craig HS:
    As an Australian, where the balance of our upper house is currently held by independents, I am constantly gobsmacked at how Democrats stay home in mid-term elections.You don’t have that many independents, so if the democrats don’t turn up and vote, and the only other option is republicans, how do they hope to win it?

    *shakes head sadly*

    Both parties here are minorities. The largest political faction in America are the Voluntarily Disenfranchised. There is widespread cynicism and malaise. I haven’t heard the final numbers, but the early reports were of a 35% turnout here yesterday.

  7. avatar
    Curious George November 5, 2014 at 8:13 am #

    With the GOP “win,” the pressure is now on Team A/Z to put up or shut up. The GR loons expectations will be momentarily high, but those expectations will soon be crushed. The GR loons will once again revert to “eating” their own when they realize, There ain’t nuttin gunna happen. The GOP won’t tarnish their victory by entertaining a bunch of rust bucket anarchists from GR.

  8. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy November 5, 2014 at 8:35 am #

    I moved all the post-election comment from the Vote! article here, since the seemed to fit this morning’s article.

  9. avatar
    Arthur November 5, 2014 at 8:42 am #

    Curious George: The GR loons expectations will be momentarily high, but those expectations will soon be crushed.

    You can’t keep a good birther down. He or she will quickly devise another conspiracy to explain why things didn’t go according to plan.

  10. avatar
    The Magic M (not logged in) November 5, 2014 at 8:48 am #

    Curious George: the pressure is now on Team A/Z to put up or shut up

    Not from a birther perspective. This GOP win gives them weeks of entertaining the hopes that Congress will start to impeachify the usurrpurr, or that now is a good time to write to your GOP Congressman to demand he personally arrest the BLACK guy in the WHITE House, or that another round of “Shurf’s Kitt, Part Trois – À la recherche de Vattel perdu” is in order.
    This will give Zullo breathing room to schedule his next non-event for some time in March 2015. Had the Democrats won, OTOH, pressure on Zullo to release something because “he’s our very last hope now” would be massive.
    So not only the GOP but also Mike “Nev-R-Deliv-R” Zullo scored a big win last night.

  11. avatar
    Northland10 November 5, 2014 at 9:01 am #

    The six year itch is almost never kind to the party of a sitting President.

  12. avatar
    Lupin November 5, 2014 at 9:49 am #

    Americans should be forbidden to vote. Maybe then they would vote.

    Seriously now, everyone predicted this would happen, so I’m not particularly surprised, although it takes a strong stomach to digest the reelection of your wannabe-Lex luthor from Florida.

    As a citizen of a warming planet, I am of course distressed that the fate of the world is partly left in the hands of a bunch of idiots because of apathy, demagogy and xenophobia.

    On a positive note, the GOP’s policy of rolling the dice purely on (a) a 100% Obama is satan platform and b) old white voters does not seem a good recipe to defeat Hillary.

  13. avatar
    Arthur November 5, 2014 at 10:18 am #

    Lupin: On a positive note, the GOP’s policy of rolling the dice purely on (a) a 100% Obama is satan platform and b) old white voters does not seem a good recipe to defeat Hillary.

    Don’t you mean Hitlery? Sure they’ve demonized Obama, but just wait and and see what happens in 2016.

  14. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG November 5, 2014 at 10:26 am #

    One thing I know for sure, regardless of the job the Republicans do with a non-deadlocked congress; The birthers will be left wanting. There will be no lawsuit, impeachment or frogmarching. I imagine that garden variety RWNJs will be disillusioned with reality too! “But we control everything now! What do you mean we can’t reinstate DOMA?!”

  15. avatar
    Dave B. November 5, 2014 at 10:45 am #

    They’re still going to have a hard time finding a duck that weighs that much.

    Bonsall Obot:
    They have their hands full already; these witches aren’t gonna hunt themselves!

  16. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy November 5, 2014 at 11:35 am #

    As an aside, the largest turnout in recent South Carolina history, over 80%, was when Bill Clinton ran against George H. W. Bush and H. Ross Perot in 1992. Clinton lost by around 8%.

    Lupin: On a positive note, the GOP’s policy of rolling the dice purely on (a) a 100% Obama is satan platform and b) old white voters does not seem a good recipe to defeat Hillary.

  17. avatar
    wrecking ball November 5, 2014 at 12:15 pm #

    “Between now and the midterms, shocking revelations will be brought forward by Sheriff Joe.”

    – Mark Gillar April 5, 2014

  18. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG November 5, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

    wrecking ball:
    “Between now and the midterms, shocking revelations will be brought forward by Sheriff Joe.”

    – Mark Gillar April 5, 2014

    Someone should compile a list of failed birther predictions. I bet it’ll make for a long read.

  19. avatar
    Thrifty November 5, 2014 at 12:29 pm #

    So the subject of low voter turnout came up in these comments. This is always a thing during mid term elections. I stopped following politics about 2 years ago, because I found it was too stressful and having a negative impact on my quality of life. A lot of the usual ads were running but at this point in my life they’re basically just white noise that I skip over until the show comes back. Technology has really done wonders in the avenue of insulating us from ads.

    So I barely remembered that the midterms were even happening until my therapist brought it up last Thursday. Then I still forgot and almost didn’t vote until I saw the “POLLING PLACE HERE” posters outside an elementary school I frequently pass by. So then I did cast my votes, which were pretty inconsequential because none of the elections in Delaware are really close this year. I think the last close one was back in 2000 when it was Tom Carper vs. incumbent Bill Roth for the Senate.

    So the GOP has majorities in the House and the Senate, after extending their majorities for 3 straight elections. Can we drop this nonsensical idea that the Republicans are a declining party?

  20. avatar
    Crustacean November 5, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

    The GOP have proven themselves incapable of following, and they sure as hell can’t get out of the way, so now we get to find out if this particular crop of clowns can actually lead. I’m not so sure they’ve got it in ’em.

  21. avatar
    CarlOrcas November 5, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

    Andrew Vrba, PmG: One thing I know for sure, regardless of the job the Republicans do with a non-deadlocked congress; The birthers will be left wanting.

    You are absolutely correct.

    A two vote (maybe another one or two) majority in the Senate that requires 60 votes to get things done is still essentially deadlocked (ask Harry Reid how that works).

    Obama’s removal on impeachment requires even more votes as does an override of a veto on, oh say, repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

    The Republicans don’t have a mandate. They do have an opportunity to demonstrate that they can participate in governing for all the people.

    We’ll see how that goes for the next two years.

  22. avatar
    Thrifty November 5, 2014 at 1:09 pm #

    CarlOrcas: You are absolutely correct.

    A two vote (maybe another one or two) majority in the Senate that requires 60 votes to get things done is still essentially deadlocked (ask Harry Reid how that works).

    The Onion ran an article yesterday saying “GOP Poised to Retain Control of Senate”. Too true.

  23. avatar
    Joey November 5, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

    JPotter: Both parties here are minorities. The largest political faction in America are the Voluntarily Disenfranchised. There is widespread cynicism and malaise. I haven’t heard the final numbers, but the early reports were of a 35% turnout here yesterday.

    Australia has compulsory voting! I wish the U.S. would offer state and federal income tax deductions to people who vote.

  24. avatar
    Joey November 5, 2014 at 1:33 pm #

    CarlOrcas: You are absolutely correct.

    A two vote (maybe another one or two) majority in the Senate that requires 60 votes to get things done is still essentially deadlocked (ask Harry Reid how that works).

    Obama’s removal on impeachment requires even more votes as does an override of a veto on, oh say, repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

    The Republicans don’t have a mandate. They do have an opportunity to demonstrate that they can participate in governing for all the people.

    We’ll see how that goes for the next two years.

    Add to the excellent analysis above the political reality that the Senate Democrats are now those who are the least likely to compromise with Republicans. Most of the Democrats who lost were “blue dogs” who were “Republican-lite.”
    In his first six years in office President Obama only vetoed two bills. That’s the fewest vetoes since James Garfield in 1881 who vetoed no bills but was assassinated after six months in office. The Senate Republicans will be about 14 liberal Democrats short of veto overrides.
    I expect the number of Obama vetoes to increase exponentially in his last two years in office. Be careful of Carpal Tunnel syndrome, Mr. President!

  25. avatar
    sfjeff November 5, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

    Well we have seen the Birther reasoning before why Congress won’t take on Obama’s Birther issues…..

    They claim its because Congress is afraid that Negroes will riot in the streets!

    Anyway- not thrilled about a Republican Senate, but it is our system in action- and we will have a peaceful transition from majority Democrat to majority Republican- and once more- to the disappointment of Birthers- our Constitutional system will work as intended.

  26. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG November 5, 2014 at 1:38 pm #

    Joey: Australia has compulsory voting! I wish the U.S. would offer state and federal income tax deductions to people who vote.

    I don’t believe that people should be rewarded for simply doing what is expected of them.

  27. avatar
    Joey November 5, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

    Andrew Vrba, PmG: I don’t believe that people should be rewarded for simply doing what is expected of them.

    The scores of possible tax deductions and subsidies available have always done precisely that. Incentives have always been a motivator for positive human behaviors.

  28. avatar
    CarlOrcas November 5, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

    Thrifty: The Onion ran an article yesterday saying “GOP Poised to Retain Control of Senate”.Too true.

    Great line.

  29. avatar
    CarlOrcas November 5, 2014 at 2:13 pm #

    Joey: Add to the excellent analysis above the political reality that the Senate Democrats are now those who are the least likely to compromise with Republicans.

    Thank you but I have to disagree just a touch: The folks most likely to disagree with the Republican leadership are other Republicans…..especially in the Senate. Watch Ted Cruz.

    The best chance for anything to get done (again especially in the Senate) is for enough Democrats to vote with the GOP leadership to neutralize the Tea Party folks.

  30. avatar
    Rickey November 5, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

    Joey:
    I expect the number of Obama vetoes to increase exponentially in his last two years in office. Be careful of Carpal Tunnel syndrome, Mr. President!

    I expect that there will be more Senate filibusters than vetoes. What goes around, comes around.

  31. avatar
    Rickey November 5, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

    In Wisconsin, 500,000 people who voted for Obama in 2012 didn’t show up to vote for Mary Burke in her effort to unseat Governor Scott Walker. If 1/3 of them had made it to the polls she would be the new governor.

    In most places the voters get what the voters deserve.

  32. avatar
    RanTalbott November 5, 2014 at 9:35 pm #

    CarlOrcas: They do have an opportunity to demonstrate that they can participate in governing for all the people.

    They just had one of those. Arguably two, since they also had a solid cloture-blocking minority in the Senate. They blew it. Badly.

    And absolutely everything they’ve said in the lead-up to this election says they intend to continue blowing it.

  33. avatar
    Arthur November 5, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

    I sure it surprises no one that when elections or court decisions go against them, birthers claim it’s a conspiracy, but when the opposite occurs, it’s justice.

  34. avatar
    Andrew Vrba, PmG November 5, 2014 at 9:52 pm #

    Arthur:
    I sure it surprises no one that when elections or court decisions go against them, birthers claim it’s a conspiracy, but when the opposite occurs, it’s justice.

    What baffles me, is if “Massive Voter Fraud®” is how Democrats win one half Congress, how do RWNJs explain it when the Republicans win all of Congress, like they did last night?

  35. avatar
    RanTalbott November 5, 2014 at 10:09 pm #

    They’ll pat themselves on the back for getting out the word so the Eebil Votin’ Fraudmakers wuz thwort frusterat beat.

  36. avatar
    CarlOrcas November 5, 2014 at 11:30 pm #

    RanTalbott: They just had one of those. Arguably two, since they also had a solid cloture-blocking minority in the Senate. They blew it. Badly.

    And absolutely everything they’ve said in the lead-up to this election says they intend to continue blowing it.

    I can’t argue with you. I am not optimistic.Hopeful but not optimistic.

  37. avatar
    CarlOrcas November 5, 2014 at 11:32 pm #

    Andrew Vrba, PmG: What baffles me, is if “Massive Voter Fraud®” is how Democrats win one half Congress, how do RWNJs explain it when the Republicans win all of Congress, like they did last night?

    The Democrats forgot to reset their clocks for Daylight Savings Time and missed voting time????

  38. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy November 6, 2014 at 8:03 am #

    The software used in South Carolina voting machines was written before 2007 and as a result it has a wrong method of determining daylight-savings time. Some of the machines were set to the correct time before voting started, some were changed midday, and some were never fixed resulting in the machines declaring end-of-day early. When that happens, a poll manager has to override the shutdown before each voter can vote after 7 pm, and if they ever make a mistake in doing, the machine is disabled for further voting. In Richland County (where the state capitol is), there were 14,000 people waiting in line to vote at 7 PM, and some were still there at midnight.

    CarlOrcas: The Democrats forgot to reset their clocks for Daylight Savings Time and missed voting time????

  39. avatar
    Arthur November 6, 2014 at 9:06 am #

    Andrew Vrba, PmG: What baffles me, is if “Massive Voter Fraud®” is how Democrats win one half Congress, how do RWNJs explain it when the Republicans win all of Congress, like they did last night?

    MVF is only bad when the other party wins.

  40. avatar
    CarlOrcas November 6, 2014 at 11:35 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: The software used in South Carolina voting machines was written before 2007 and as a result it has a wrong method of determining daylight-savings time.

    Once again…..truth is stranger (or at least as strange) as fiction.

  41. avatar
    Benji Franklin November 6, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: what is to prevent those in Congress, the majority of whom are not of the President’s party, from holding investigations, passing resolutions and even starting impeachment proceedings against the President based on those beliefs of identity fraud? I can see nothing blocking such outcomes except the falsity of the birthers’ underlying premise that people in Congress believe the nonsense birther conspiracy theories.

    BR published Sharon Rondeau’s classic Birther favorite logical fallacy mechanism displayed there in a comic book style newspaper headline format bleating
    ; “LONG-FORM BIRTH CERTIFICATE AND SELECTIVE
    SERVICE FORM FORGERIES REMAIN UNADDRESSED
    Sharon Rondeau

    Of course she’s trying to bend reality to work against Obama by using, existential import. That’s where you imply the existence of something by mentioning it. It works with some children, as in mentioning Santa, and proceeding to report on his habits. “He knows if you’ve been good or bad, so be good for goodness sake!”

    She talks about accusations against Obama as though they had been OFFICIALLY proven, and then starts whining about OFFICIALS not OFFICIALLY pursuing Obama. Oh, she wants the letter of the law to pursue her accusations; she just doesn’t want the letter of the law to restrain her attacks or to enforce the rights of her accused. She’s just another Obama-hating Birther cry-baby playing newspaper editor. Another nutbag like Mike Violin, And/Orly who probably make the public officials they approach with their lunacy fear for their own and their children’s lives.

    The most frightening part of these extremists, is that they don’t realize how crazy normal decent folks see them as being. It confirms how out of touch with reality that they are. Mike Violin doesn’t understand that the members of Congress who he has forced “Sheriff’s Kits” onto, feel the same way they would feel if he left a “Ming-the-Merciless Emperor of the Universe” kit on their homes’ front porches.

    So, Sharon, when you print, “LONG-FORM BIRTH CERTIFICATE AND SELECTIVE SERVICE FORM FORGERIES REMAIN UNADDRESSED” you aren’t convincing reasonable people that either type of forgery actually exists. You’re just letting us see that you still report your opinions as facts superseding the official truth. You’re an anarchist having a hissy-fit because you can’t dictate what the Constitution means for all of us, instead of respecting the opinions of the officials empowered by the Constitution to settle such disagreements. The Founders would have spit on the likes of you for pretending to defend their creation. You’re the kind of person they hoped our country would survive.

  42. avatar
    JPotter November 6, 2014 at 7:12 pm #

    Thrifty: Can we drop this nonsensical idea that the Republicans are a declining party?

    Part of the beauty [snark] of the two-party system, is that the 2-parties are a constant duality in all respects. One is conservative, one is liberal. One on the rise, one on the decline. One for the youth, one for the aged. One for management, one for labor. Etc., etc., etc.

    Two parties, like counterpoised sine waves, the sum of which is white noise.

  43. avatar
    RanTalbott November 7, 2014 at 5:03 am #

    Thrifty: Can we drop this nonsensical idea that the Republicans are a declining party?

    Not without some careful analysis.

    In the 2012 elections, the GOP got fewer total votes for their House and Senate candidates than the Democrats did, yet they wound up with a substantial majority and a “near-miss”. I _think_ that was also the case in 2010 and 2008, but I’m not sure.

    So it’s pretty likely that their House dominance is a result of better gerrymandering than the Democrats’. I think there’s also a good chance that their strength in the Senate is a result of their appeal in low-population, mostly-rural states.

    I’d really like to see an analysis by someone with the expertise to know about factors like whether party-affiliation polls are skewed, what state ballot initiatives might have changed turnout, etc, of the last 50 years or so of elections. My suspicion is the the GOP _is_ in decline, but some other factors (like their older members living longer, and having won redistricting power at crucial junctures) have temporarily masked it.

    I believe the country was much better served when we had more ideologically-diverse, and less blindly-partisan, parties, and we’d have a better future if the GOP pushed its wingnuts back to the margins, and returned to serious philosophical debate with the Democrats.