November 3, 2010

Interpreting the Election Results

2010 electionNot surprisingly, I have been getting some emails this morning asking me what I think about the election results. I posted my initial reaction here. The takeover of the House by the Republican Tea Party should not have surprised anyone - it was exactly what everyone has been predicting for some time. But that doesn't mean I am any less disappointed. I was really hoping we could somehow avoid Speaker Boehner, but we did not manage to do so.

My prediction is that progress in Washington will now grind to a halt. The Republican Tea Party majority in the House will be able to effectively block any progressive legislation. However, with the Democrats controlling the Senate and White House, it seems unlikely that the new House majority will be able to pass much crazy legislation of their own. Of course, this will depend on Senate Democrats taking a stand and not simply rolling over, so we may still be in trouble.

The most discouraging part of the election results, in my opinion, is that loss of some of the key progressive voices in an otherwise hopelessly conservative Democratic Party. Pelosi is no longer Speaker, Grayson lost in Florida, and Feingold lost in Wisconsin. This means that Congress is going to have fewer truly progressive voices.

What atheists will likely be most interested in is the fate of some of the crazier members of the Republican Tea Party, a stellar group from which many of my Idiots of the Week have been drawn, the picture is mixed. Christine O'Donnell was soundly defeated, and Sharron Angle lost to the unpopular Harry Reid. I suppose we better brace ourselves for the "Second Amendment remedies" Angle threatened. It is indeed good news that these candidates lost, but it has to be balanced somewhat against victories by Rand Paul and Marco Rubio.