Ezra Klein says we should stop, catch our breath, and get some perspective on "a remarkable, historic period of change." Read the whole thing, but here's a bit:
Step back and take an accounting of these last few years: The United States of America, a land where slaves were kept 150 years ago and bathrooms were segregated as recently as 50 years ago, elected and reelected our first black president. We passed and ratified a universal health-care system. We saw the first female Speaker of the House, the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice, and the first openly gay member of the Senate. We stopped a Great Depression, rewrote the nation’s financial regulations, and nearly defaulted on our debt for the first time in our history. Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Maine, Maryland, Washington and the District of Columbia legalized gay marriage, and the president and the vice president both proclaimed their support. Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana. We killed the most dangerous terrorist in the world and managed two wars. We’ve seen inequality and debt skyrocket to some of the highest levels in American history. We passed a stimulus and investment bill that will transform everything from medical records to education and began a drone campaign that will likely be seen as an epochal shift in the way the United States conducts war.
Americans of good faith disagree over the worth of these initiatives and the nature of these milestones. None of us know the verdict that history will render. But we can say with certainty that the pace of change has been breathlessly fast. We have toppled so many barriers, passed so many reforms, completed so many long quests, begun so many experiments, that even those of us who’ve been paying attention have become inured to how much has happened.
There are some good ones floating around for both campaigns, but this one from CBS is a great, succinct rundown of what went wrong for Romney.
I guess I'm naive (or cynical?) but I realy believed the Republicans' confidence in the final days was bluster, that strategically they just didn't want to depress turnout by making it seem like Romney *couldn't* win—and hating on Nate Silver was just misdirection for the hayseeds.
Like I remember reading about Dole's 96-hour last-minute barnstorming tour, which was hopeless but a selfless gesture for down-ticket candidates. Not that Romney was that bad off, but *so much was made* of how he was a comptent, data-driven manager, I couldn't believe... well, I couldn't believe he didn't believe Nate Silver, king of the data nerds.
One of the three big miscalculations listed in the CBS story is re: independents, and contains a nice piece of schadenfreude:
State polls showed Romney winning big among independents. Historically, any candidate polling that well among independents wins. But as it turned out, many of those independents were former Republicans who now self-identify as independents. The state polls weren't oversampling Democrats and undersampling Republicans - there just weren't as many Republicans this time because they were calling themselves independents.
And maybe now we'll see the return of true conseravtives:
[T]his president has never been a radical; he has always been a moderate; he has been immensely skilled at foreign policy, ended one war and won another, killed Osama bin Laden and saved the American auto industry, deflected a Second Great Depression and initated universal access to healthcare. He has presided over a civil rights revolution and the beginning of the end of prohibition of marijuana. He has created the new and durable coalition that was once Karl Rove's dream.
Americans saw this. They were not fooled. And they made the right call, as they usually do. What was defeated tonight was not just Romney, a hollow cynic, but a whole mountain of mendacity and delusion. That sound you hear is the cognitive dissonance ringing in the ears of ideologues and cynics. Any true conservative longs for that sound, the sound of reality arriving to pierce through fantasy and fanaticism.