I wasn't worried. The chess match played out as I expected. But to be honest, even after reading Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight blog in the closing days and watching President Obama's chance of winning go from about 73 percent on October 29 to 91 percent early yesterday, I was a bit concerned. Not to a great extent, but just enough. I wasn't so worried about the polls -- I find it impossible to take them seriously on an individual basis, the polling criteria are so varied, but summarizing them and determining the trends and such, the Silver calculus works for me. (This will not change my mind about the baseball stat geeks and their Moneyball junk, however.)
My biggest concern was that the GOP would try to steal Florida or Ohio again. Well, if they did try, they failed.
But beyond the Obama victory, other events offer signs of hope. The asinine GOP extremists who opined that there's such a thing as "legitimate" rape and rape that "God intended to happen" both got their asses kicked. Beyond the win in Wisconsin by Tammy Baldwin, making her the first openly gay U.S. Senator, California sends to the House the first LGBT person of color in Congress. And Arizona -- Arizona!?! -- may have elected a bisexual woman to Congress (the race is still too close to call).
What really stunned me, though, was the results from the four states where marriage equality was on the ballot. The last 32 or so times that voters had their say on the issue in some way, the pro-equality side lost every single time.
I saw a comment from a pundit saying (and I'm paraphrasing) that it would be helpful/important to have two victories out of the four. I guess that would constitute a trend. I was honestly hoping for just one.
Maine, Maryland and Washington all voted to approve same-sex marriage. Minnesota denied an effort to change their constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
No losses. Four wins. Four.
I've often said that the anti-gay forces are slowly dwindling, that they're like dinosaurs, stuck in the tar pits of progress, soon to be extinct. The worst of them won't ever change, but they will get old and die. Those who are open-minded are slowly seeing the light, and young people are increasingly and overwhelmingly in support of equality.
There will be setbacks, to be sure. Who knows how the Supreme Court will end up ruling when the time comes, especially considering four of them are currently ages 74, 76, 76 and 79. Over the next four years it's reasonable to assume there will be changes. But the tide has turned. We are winning the fight. And as time goes by, we WILL win once and for all.
It's important for President Obama and the Democrats to not rest on their laurels now. They need to keep the pressure on the GOP leadership to stop their stonewalling, ignore the Tea Party extremists and get things done. We've compromised enough over the last four years. It's their turn now.
But for now, we celebrate.
Four for four.