As is known now, President Barack Obama was reelected and, barring anything unforeseen, will lead the country for another four years. A lot of pundits were saying it was going to be too close to call, though predictors such as Nate Silver (who may be a witch) using an aggregate of polls already had high confidence about how the election would turn out. Looking at his predicted electoral map for the presidential race, it looks just about identical to the real map; the only uncertainty is Florida, but even Silver’s map said it was on a knife’s edge of going either way. Also, there is little change from 2008; the only changes were in the states of Indiana and North Carolina, both of which went from Obama in 2008 to Romney.
There were changes in the Senate, and it seems all the crazy people running for it and said amazingly callous things about rape victims are not going to be in positions of power at the federal level, notably Tom Aiken. That’s a big win for women’s rights and just sensible dialogue.
Also a number of states legalized marijuana, namely Colorado and Washington. So truly Colorado is the mile-high state. But more important to rights was that several states voted to legalize gay marriage–Maryland and Maine. This is a first because popular votes on the subject had all been against, so the legalization process was almost totally through courts. This is a great sign that homosexuals are becoming more and more accepted as proper citizens. We also had the first lesbian elected to high office, Tammy Baldwin. Overall a good night for the gay community.
So overall, there are a number of wins for liberties, and there was the avoidance of electing some bad apples, including the potential problems of a Romney election as I worried of late in the game. There was also the good news on the science side. Not only with prediction models based on sound statistical methods as with Silver mentioned above (and way better than the gut feelings of people like Scarborough or Gingrich), but of some changes that will happen in the science people in Washington. Phil Plait has some good discussion there; not all perfect, but an improvement in many ways, and hopefully that means we can take better action on things like climate change.
Lastly, I’m glad we avoided a fiasco in the electoral college. If the popular vote wasn’t reflected in the college, that would have been devastating no matter who “won”. As of now, it seems Obama has a majority in the popular vote by about 2 percentage points, and any changes at this point will likely be minor. So, that crisis has been avoided. For now.
January will come soon enough, and in that new year we can get back to business as usual. Wait, am I really looking forward to that?