The obligatory post on the Mid-Terms...

...from a fairly uninformed observer.

Firstly, the myth that Nancy Pelosi is some sort of pinko; she voted for the Patriot Act, for instance, as well as privatising the San Fransisco Presidio Park, although she is strongly liberal on most other issues. Pelosi is apparently going to be the first female leader of either house in the US Congress.

The election is notable for some other firsts
  • the first US Senator to openly describe themselves as a 'democratic socialist' - Bernie Sanders from Vermont, who won by a whopping 33% from his Republican challenger
  • the first Muslim member of either house, Keith Ellison in Minnesota's 5th district
  • the first black nothern governor, Deval Patrick in Massachusetts
It is a testament to the racism in the US that despite something on the order of 13% according to the 2000 Census, it is deeply worrying that only now are these breakthroughs being made.

However, this shouldn't be seen as a massive victory for the Democrats; the GOP lost it over Iraq, corruption, vice and hypocrisy. If the Democrats are going to take the White House in 2008, they will have to present themselves as more than just a way of kicking out the current incumbent. Hilary Clinton will probably win her primary but will struggle at the national polls, while McCain has the opposite problem; however, the GOP may know it's on a sticky wicket and so go for someone with more mainstream appeal.

Some well-targeted inquries - did the US go to war on false premises? was there a plan? crucially, what should the plan be now? - could help the Dems build themselves. Vindictiveness is not the order of the day. Pelosi's First 100 hours could be interesting as a means of rallying the Democrats in the New Year.

One of the big winners, particularly if Virginia and Montana go democratic, will be Howard Dean; his fifty-state strategy has already paid out and may yet hit the jackpot. The Daily has a good look at the current state of play here.

In any case, we have at most six months of politics before the 2008 Presidential Race begins.



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