We live in a county in which we are blue dots in a sea of red. Yet in our neighborhood, only one house nearby had signs, and they were Obama signs.
In 2004, one spent the commute to work following cars with the ubiquitous "W"
sign, as the Texan who has been among the worst presidents in history was widely supported in our county. This year, bumper stickers for McCain and Palin were few and far between.
Our county is still a very red county, and it voted red. It remains the reddest county in a red state, and one of the redder counties nation-wide. Yet even in this red county, the lack of enthusiasm for the red side showed.
My wife and I hosted tx_cronopio for an election watch. We dined on very good chili and pumpkin pie. When the commentators "called" Ohio for Obama,
we added up the "safe" west coast states and confirmed that the election was won.
Then it was just a matter of waiting for the west coast polls to close so that we could hear the "formal" annoucement.
Amid the joy of many elections turning out the right way, there is also the sadness that many important elections turned out the wrong way--and, incredibly, a few key races still hang in the balance as of 7 a.m. the next day.
We watched the Obama acceptance and, like much of the country and the world, breathed a sigh of relief that eight long years of immoral and mishandled government ended last night. Actually, one could argue that it ended when the response to Hurricane Katrina proved so inept, as this has been one of the longest lame duck eras I can recall.
I think it's wonderful that the people who organized the Democratic effort learned a valuable lesson from 2000 and 2004. The "ground game" matters. Rather than focusing on extraneous things, the effort focused on turnout and getting voters to the polls.
There is another lesson Democrats can learn and employ. The last time that a surge of new voters went to the poll to elect someone on a wave of populism, the new president was an odd fellow named Ronald Reagan. Mr. Reagan, too, came in during troubled economic times. Mr. Reagan's supporters mastered the "ground game" of turnout. They created a right-wing movement that did deep damage to this country.
But we can learn from them. When they got Reagan in, they realized not to stop there. They realized that with a great ground game, they could go to work to try to
win more seats in Congress. In the first mid-term election, their ground game turned out once more for them. They did not stop merely because Reagan won.
In two years, a new set of senators and representatives will be up for election.
A new set of ballot initiatives can be filed to undo the damage of the ballot initiative results last night.
We can have a democracy based upon human dignity, and a government which follows sound economic policy. We can elect the people who will run our governement with prudence, and not as an arm of corporate lobbies.
The effort to fix this country will be a long, hard effort. It will take more than four years to undo what the Republicans did with their eight years.
But we can see change coming--and we can be part of it.