Summing up Tuesday’s election, David Espo of the Associated Press wrote, “Obama won the popular vote narrowly, the electoral vote comfortably, and the battleground states where the campaign was principally waged in a landslide.” It’s a good line and an accurate one — but the real landslide on Tuesday was broader and deeper than the presidential race. Up and down the ticket, from candidate races to ballot initiatives, a liberal landslide swept the country.
In Wisconsin, Tammy Baldwin became the first openly gay US senator, and the biggest story about the race is that her sexuality didn’t turn out to be a big story. Gay-marriage proponents won in all four states where the issue appeared on the ballot — Maine, Washington, and Maryland became the first states to approve legal gay unions; voters rejected a Minnesota initiative to outlaw them. The surge surprised many strategists working on the issue. Going into the night, only Maine was considered a strong bet.