The good people of South Dakota decisively voted down the draconian anti-abortion law by a measure of 56 percent to 44 percent, according to the Rapid City Journal. The law would only have allowed abortions to save the life of the woman. The Journal quotes Jan Nicolay -- a former state representatives who works with the group Healthy Families -- as attributing the victory to the fact that they were able to educate people about the law. She added:
I don't think people think government should be telling them what to do. I just think we stuck to the facts, and that's hard to argue with.NPR says Arizona voters did defeat the same-sex marriage ban. An Arizona news website agrees, putting the unofficial vote at 51 percent to 49 percent.
The senate races in Virginia and Montana are still too close to call, but the Democrats have a small lead in both places. In Virginia, the Board of Elections website says Webb has a 7,000 vote lead -- not much out of 2.3 million votes. But if the Dems hang on in both states, they'll be running the Senate. The margin may be razor thin, and keeping Democrats on message is like herding cats, but it's a start. Maybe the moderate and intelligent conservative Republicans will cross lines more often, too.
The Washington Post says the Democrat O'Malley won the Maryland governor's race. The percentage seems solid -- about 53 percent of the vote and close to a 100,000 vote difference -- so the fact that the right wing current governor isn't conceding is likely just sour grapes. I'm glad to see the Post editorial for the Republican didn't have much effect.
There is bad news: Arizona is the only state that voted down a same-sex marriage ban -- seven others approved one. And the Republican victory in the Tennessee Senate race seems to show that negative and racist campaigns still work against African American candidates, at least in the South.
A lot of people are doing the happy dance. I notice that Juan Cole is as close as he ever gets to giddy with enthusiasm. He sees a likelihood that Bush and his posse will be called to account for some of their actions and says we're much less likely to invade Iran. Plus the Senate should be able to block any bad Supreme Court nominees.
I'm happy, too -- first election in years where I haven't been sunk into the sloughs of despair. But I'm tempering my enthusiasm until I see the Democrats really do something. We've repudiated Bush and his posse, but now we have to start cleaning up his messes and moving the country forward. It's not going to be easy.