Mojo - November 2008

California's Abortion Measure Failing

| Wed Nov. 5, 2008 1:56 AM EST

With 45% of precincts reporting California's abortion notification initiative is now losing narrowly (52%-48%). Back in 2005 and 2006, voters shot down similar measures, with 54% and 56% opposed, respectively. Prop 4 includes a mandatory waiting period, a restriction currently mandated in 30 states. Currently, 34 states require parents are informed if a minor wants an abortion, with 22 states requiring parents to okay the procedure. Such restrictions on young women's right to choose can lead to unsafe, illegal measures, especially where family relationships are strained.

The American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Health Association, and the American Academy of Family Physicians all oppose mandatory parental notification.

*An UPDATE on the same-sex marriage ban: Prop 8 is ahead 53%-47% with nearly half (47%) of the state's votes tallied. Less than two weeks ago polls showed only 44% of Californians in favor of the ban.

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Obama Wins and Redefines Real America

| Wed Nov. 5, 2008 12:53 AM EST

So who's a real American now?

With his decisive triumph over Senator John McCain, Senate Barack Obama made obvious history: he is the first black (or biracial) man to win the presidency. But the meaning of his victory--in which Obama splashed blue across previously red states--extends far beyond its racial significance. Obama, a former community organizer and law professor, won the White House as one of the most progressive (or liberal) nominees in the Democratic Party's recent history. Mounting one of the best run presidential bids in decades, Obama tied his support for progressive positions (taxing the wealthy to pay for tax cuts for working Americans, addressing global warming, expanding affordable health insurance, withdrawing troops from Iraq) to calls for cleaning up Washington and for crafting a new type of politics. Charismatic, steady, and confident, he melded substance and style into a winning mix that could be summed up in simple and basic terms: hope and change.

After nearly eight years of George W. Bush's presidency, Obama was the non-Bush: intelligent, curious, thoughtful, deliberate, and competent. His personal narrative--he was the product of an unconventional family and worked his way into the nation's governing class--fueled his campaign narrative. His story was the American Dream v2.0. He was change, at least at skin level. But he also championed the end of Bushism. He had opposed the Iraq war. He had opposed Bush's tax cuts for the rich. He was no advocate of let-'er-rip, free market capitalism or American unilateralism. In policy terms, Obama represents a serious course correction.

And more. In the general election campaign, McCain and his running mate, Sarah Palin, turned the fight for the presidency into a culture clash. They accused Obama of being a socialist. They assailed him for having associated with William Ayers, a former, bomb-throwing Weather Underground radical,who has since become an education expert. Palin indirectly referred to Obama's relationship with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, who once preached fiery sermons denouncing the United States government for certain policies. On the campaign trail, Palin suggested there were "real" parts of America and fake parts. At campaign events, she promoted a combative, black-helicopter version of conservatism: if you're for government expansion, you're against freedom. During her one debate with Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden, she hinted that if her opponents won the White House there might come a day when kids would ask their grandparents what it had been like to live in a free country. At McCain-Palin rallies, supporters shouted out, "Communist!" and "terrorist!" and "Muslim!" when the Republican candidates referred to Obama. And McCain and Palin hurled the standard charges at Obama: he will raise your taxes and he is weak on national security.

Put it all together and the message was clear: there are two types of Americans. Those who are true Americans--who love their nation and cherish freedom--and those who are not. The other Americans do not put their country first; they blame it first. The other Americans do not believe in opportunity; they want to take what you have and give it to someone else. The other Americans do not care about Joe the Plumber; they are out-of-touch elitists who look down on (and laugh at) hard-working, church-going folks. The other Americans do not get the idea of America. They are not patriots. And it just so happens that the other America is full of blacks, Latinos, gays, lesbians, and non-Christians.

McCain, Palin and their compatriots did what they could to depict Obama as the rebel chief of this other un-American America. (Hillary Clinton helped set up their effort during the primaries by beating the Ayers drum.) Remember the stories of Obama's supposed refusal to wear a flag pin or place his hand over his heart for the Pledge of Allegiance? The emails about Obama being a secret Muslim? The goal was to delegitimize Obama, as well as the Americans who were moved by his biography, his rhetoric, and his ideas. It was back to the 1960s--drawing a harsh line between the squares (the real Americans) and the freaks (those redistribution-loving, terrorist-coddling faux Americans).

It didn't work.

Ban on Gay Marriage, Abortion Parental Notification Both Winning in California

| Wed Nov. 5, 2008 12:21 AM EST

With 14% of precincts reporting, Prop 8, which would amend California's constitution to eliminate equal marriage rights is leading 55% to 45%. Still too soon to call, but it's not looking good.

On a similar note, California's initiative that would mandate parental notification for minors who want an abortion is also leading with 13% reporting, 51% to 49%.

Click here for the most up-to-date numbers.

The Old, Likeable McCain Delivers Concession Speech

| Tue Nov. 4, 2008 11:21 PM EST

During his concession speech McCain was the most sincere and likeable he's been since the campaign began. Disconcerting though that people started booing at the mention of Obama, and when he said "I don't know what more I could have done," came shouts of "Reverend Wright!"

Cue the healing.

Barack Obama Will Be Our Next President

| Tue Nov. 4, 2008 10:50 PM EST

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We called it a little after 9pm, but the networks took almost another two hours. But just after 11pm, as polls closed on the West Coast, the networks called the 2008 presidential race for Barack Obama. John McCain is expected to concede shortly, and Mother Jones' Washington bureau chief David Corn will be reporting in shortly from Barack Obama's victory celebration in Chicago. Stick around. History has been made tonight.

Photo by flickr user Barack Obama used under a Creative Commons license.

Minnesota Senate Race Too Close to Call

| Tue Nov. 4, 2008 10:34 PM EST

Currently Al Franken is up 42.6% to Norm Coleman's 40.9% with 16.5% of precincts reporting, in what has become the most expensive, and ugliest, Senate races going.

UPDATE: Nearly tied with 33.5% of precincts reporting.

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Shays (R-Conn) Cites Democratic "Tsunami" in Defeat

| Tue Nov. 4, 2008 10:32 PM EST

Says the 10-term incumbent in his concession speech:

"I was really hoping that a very positive campaign could overcome this tsunami we knew was there."

If Dem Jim Himes, a former Goldman Sachs VP, does win in CT the victory would give New England an entirely Democratic delegation. Tsunami-like, maybe, but perhaps more like a surge. This whole night could be described, when it's all said and done, as the ultimate progressive surge.

Shocker! Nader Out (Plus Senate News)

| Tue Nov. 4, 2008 9:29 PM EST

Ralph Nader has withdrawn from the race. Writes the Free Press:

"The streets are going to be filled with revelry … both here and in Africa," Nader predicted, followed by a 10-minute denunciation of most of the Democratic Party candidate's policy and record.

Good times.

In Senate news, Democrat Kay Hagan will defeat Republican Libby Dole in North Carolina (Dem pickup), Democrat Jeanne Shaheen will defeat Republican John Sununu in New Hampshire (pickup), Democrat Mark Warner will defeat Republican Jim Gilmore in Virginia (pickup). Democrat Tom Udall will defeat Republican Steve Pearce in New Mexico (pickup). Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell will retain his seat, defeating Democratic challenger Bruce Lunsford (no pickup).

All the safe seats are progressing as you would expect. Franken, Begich, Merkley, and the other Udall (other potential pickups) are still outstanding.

If Fox News Is Right, Barack Obama Will Be The Next President of the United States

| Tue Nov. 4, 2008 9:12 PM EST

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Fox News just called Ohio for Barack Obama. Obama is on pace to win every Kerry state plus (at least) New Mexico and Ohio. Barring shocking results in Kerry states west of the Mississippi, Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States.

By the way, Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight.com predicts that it is literally impossible for John McCain to win the election without Ohio.

Update: The other nets have called Ohio, too.

Photo by flickr user Barack Obama used under a Creative Commons license.

9:00pm Poll Closings

| Tue Nov. 4, 2008 8:45 PM EST

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The major networks all called Pennsylvania for Obama between 8 and 9pm. But the 9pm poll closings were the real moment of truth for Barack Obama. Fox News called traditional blue states Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, and Rhode Island for Barack Obama. Fox also called New Mexico, which went for Bush in 2004, for Obama. If Obama wins the rest of the traditional blue states plus Iowa and Colorado, he will be the next president of the United States.

Photo by flickr user Barack Obama used under a Creative Commons license.