Election Day was certainly not a day to celebrate for Virginia Democrats, who saw the State Senate become a divided body that Bill Bolling will control with his tie-breaking vote. However, across the nation there were bright spots for those of us who have worried that extremism has become the norm in tea-poisoned American politics.
In Arizona, State Sen. Russell Pearce, the man who concocted Arizona’s draconian immigration law, was voted out of office in a special recall election, replaced by a saner Republican who had opposed that law. The new Sen. Jerry Lewis (no, not that Jerry Lewis) also vowed to introduce a bill to ban gifts to members of the legislature, a law we sure could use in Virginia.
The far-right’s attack on public employee received a knockout punch in Ohio as high-flying Gov. John Kasich, the face of the law that banned collective bargaining in that state, watched a recall election nullify the law. More than 60% of Ohio voters rejected S.B. 5.
In Mississippi of all places, an attempt to amend the state constitution to declare a fertilized human egg a person from the instant of conception went down in defeat. The amendment was an obvious attempt to outlaw abortion, even for victims of rape and incest or to save the life of the mother. It also would have banned some forms of birth control and probably would have outlawed in vitro fertilization for infertile couples.
Elsewhere, Kentucky Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear won re-election in that Republican state. In Michigan Rep. Paul Scott, who had championed a change in the state teacher tenure law and the slashing of educational funding, was recalled from office. Finally, a new poll in Ohio, a must-win state for Dems in 2012, shows President Obama leading all GOP challengers by substantial margins. So, there may be hope for this country yet.