Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Election wish list

Barack Obama is going to win and Democrats will do well all over the country. Here's my wish list of all the other election goals that are most important to me. These are all things we can reasonably hope to achieve, not one of them is big long shot.

1. A 60-seat, filibuster-proof majority in the Senate
To do this we'd have to win 9 of the 11 competitive races for seats currently held by Republicans. Tops on my list are of course a victory for Al Franken in Minnesota, and a win for Bruce Lunsford in Kentucky over Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

2. No on California's Prop. 8, the Equal Marriage Ban
What kind of stupid state allows its Constitution to be amended on a major civil rights issue by a simple majority vote on a ballot referendum? Yes, that's right, if Prop 8 gets 50% of the vote on November 4th, California's Constitution will be amended to take away the right of gays to marry. Up until recently, progressives weren't too worried about this, as Prop 8 was down by about 15 points in the polls. But a huge advertising blitz by hate-mongering conservative churches has drummed up support for Prop. 8 and made the final outcome any one's guess. Frustratingly, only one pollster is surveying this issue. If Prop 8 succeeds, the cause of equality in this country may be set back for decades.
Update 10/23: A new poll shows Prop. 8 going down to defeat 44-52. Let's hope so!

3. and 4. Christine Gregiore for Governor and Darcy Burner for Congress (WA-08)
Here in Washington, we're hoping that a big victory for Obama will help Christine Gregoire to reelection over right-winger Dino Rossi, and help brilliant anti-war candidate Darcy Burner in her dead-heat race versus incumbent Republican Dave Reichert.

5. Elwyn Tinklenberg defeats Michele Bachmann in MN-06
Super-crazy Michele Bachmann was elected to Minnesota's most conservative congressional district in 2006. She was considered to be a good bet for reelection until five days ago, when she appeared on MSNBC and said that she was concerned that Barack Obama, "may have anti-American views." When asked by Chris Matthews "How many people in the Congress of the United States do you suspect as being anti-American?" she replied "What I would say is that the news media should do a penetrating expose and take a look. I wish they would. I wish the American media would take a great look at the views of the people in Congress and find out, are they pro-America or anti-America?" The incident has so damaged Bachmann's campaign that the National Republican Congressional Committee is pulling its media purchases from Bachmann's race. That means they're conceding the race, and it would now take a miracle for her to beat Tinklenberg.

6. Larry Kissell defeats Robin Hayes in NC-8
Nobody paid much attention when unknown teacher Larry Kissell challenged four-term incumbent Republican Congressman Robin Hayes in North Carolina's 8th district in 2006. After the election however, the Democratic Party wound up kicking itself for not supporting Kissell as he lost by just 329 votes. In this year's rematch, Kissell has run a great campaign, and he's now expected to win. Crazy coincidence: Four days ago, just one day after Congresswoman Michele Bachmann did the same thing, Hayes made a disastrous remark in public that has hamstrung his campaign and caused the Republican Party to give him up for dead. Speaking at a John McCain rally, Hayes said that, "liberals hate real Americans that work and accomplish and achieve and believe in God.” He then repeatedly denied that he had made the statement and accused reporters of "irresponsible journalism," until an audio recording attesting to the statement was released.

7. Dan Seals defeats Ron Kirk in IL-10
Republican Ron Kirk narrowly won this congressional district just north of Chicago in 2000, and has managed to hold on since then despite the district's Democratic lean. He is also a titan of fundraising, and every two years has enough cash on hand to make campaigning against him a daunting challenge. Dan Seals is an outstanding (if underfunded) Democratic candidate. Hopefully, Obama's big coattails in Illinois will be enough for him to win.

8. A 100-seat majority in the U.S. House
If Democrats pick up 32 seats on November 4, they'll control the House 268-167. There's no particular significance to a 100-seat majority, its just a good target for us this year. The best estimate I can find today suggests we'll net about 26 seats, but I think this may be low considering some of the Republican debacles of the last few days. Let's go!

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