Across the nation on election day Tuesday, voters — who went to the polls in higher-than usual numbers — had little trouble pushing back the inroads made by Republicans in the 2010 elections, and furthering the idea that American is not a center-right country. Democrats handily won a great number of races and important ballot issues, sending a strong message to the Republican Party and to the Tea Party: get lost!
The question now is, to what degree did the Occupy Wall Street movement impact Tuesday’s elections? There’s no way to measure, but I’ll offer this: had Occupy Wall Street either not happened, or had it been unsuccessful, voter turnout would have been lower, and Republicans would have performed better. Americans are angry, but too many progressives and Democrats have been far too complacent. Just as the Tea Party energized the Republican base when it first appeared on the scene, so has the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Critical decisions were made in favor of unions and workers’ rights, women’s rights, and LGBT candidates, who were huge winners across the country. Anti-gay, so-called “pro-family” organizations, like NOM, the National Organization For Marriage, Bob Vander Plaats‘ Family Leader, the American Family Association, and the Family Research Council, were crushed.
Even in conservative, religious, right-wing Mississippi, the “personhood” bill was roundly defeated. It would have made contraception and miscarriages illegal, declaring that life begins at the moment of conception.
The single-most important person who fathered Arizona’s infamous immigration law, SB 1070, was recalled. “Considered the de facto governor of Arizona, the seemingly invincible and right-wing extremist Pearce became the first state senate president in American history to be thrown out of office in a recall election,” Alternet reported.
Annise Parker, Houston’s first lesbian mayor, was re-elected.
In a huge loss for NOM, the Bob Vander Plaats, the Family Research Council, and the American Family Association, the Democratic Iowa Senate candidate Liz Mathis, who was attacked by “homosexual marriage includes homosexual sex” robocalls, beat her Republican opponent, securing the Iowa Senate for Democratic control, effectively preserving same-sex marriage for the state.
America’s “first openly gay, African American, Republican mayor,” Bruce Harris, was elected mayor of Chatham Borough, New Jersey.
Charlotte, North Carolina elected their “first openly LGBT elected official,” LaWana Mayfield (image, top), an African-American.
The Virginia Senate has its first openly gay Senator, Adam Ebbin.
Cincinnati, Ohio elected its “first openly LGBT council member in the city’s history,” Chris Seelbach.
Indianapolis, Indiana elected “its first openly LGBT city council member,” Zach Adamson.
Pam Spalding writes, “The smell of bigot flopsweat is in the air as anti-gay Durham, NC mayoral candidate Pastor Sylvester Williams (18%) is trounced by incumbent ally Bill Bell (82%) with 90% of precincts in.”
Here’s a roundup of key races and decisions:
AP: Maine Voters Say Yes To Same Day Registration (Question One) (TPM)
Va. elects first openly gay state (Washington Blade)
Nation’s youngest gay mayor elected (Gay Politics)
Read Chris Geidner’s roundup at MetroWeekly.
“Democrat Jack Conway was re-elected as Kentucky’s attorney general, defeating a Republican prosecutor, Todd P’Pool, who tried to turn the race into a referendum on President Obama’s federal health care law.” (USA Today)