By Markos Moulitsas - 11/13/12 11:17 PM EST
Last Monday, pundit Dick Morris went on Fox and proclaimed, with all the unwarranted bravado of the entire conservative movement, “We’re going to win by a landslide. It will be the biggest surprise in recent American political history. It will rekindle a whole question as to why the media played this race as a nail-biter ... My own view is that Romney is going to carry 325 electoral votes.”
While hopelessly deluded — as seemingly all conservatives were just eight days ago — Morris was right about one thing: This race wasn’t a nail-biter. It was never tied. President Obama was always headed toward an easy reelection.
Obama joins Ronald Reagan as just the second president since FDR to win over 50 percent of the popular vote twice, and his 3.3 percent edge in the national popular vote is already larger than George W. Bush’s in 2004, when Bush famously proclaimed a mandate. In fact, if Obama surpasses 50.7 percent of the popular vote, which seems likely, he will have received a higher share of the popular vote than five of the last six presidents seeking reelection.
As the votes are counted, Romney’s tally might yet end up rounding down to 47 percent, which would be poetic justice indeed. Romney could even total fewer votes than John McCainJohn McCainOvernight Defense: Congress overrides Obama 9/11 veto | Pentagon breathes easy after funding deal | More troops heading to Iraq McCain comments won't derail Bergdahl case Senators already eyeing changes to 9/11 bill after veto override MORE did in 2008. It’s pathetic that the guy who was blown out in 2008 might still get more votes than the guy who supposedly had “Mittmentum” in 2012.
In the Senate, Democrats took an unfriendly map and turned it into a two-seat gain and a 55-45 Democratic majority — an incredible turnaround from early-season worries about maintaining control of the chamber. In fact, Senate Democrats held an amazing 22 of 23 seats, the most by any party since 1964. To give credit where it’s due, Democrats did get an assist from the Tea Party, which cost Republicans seats in Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware and Nevada in 2010 and wins in Missouri and Indiana this year. Without the movement, Republicans would have a 52-48 Senate majority.
In the House, Democrats look to end the cycle with 201 seats, or 11 seats more than they held before the elections. While that is well short of the 217 the party needed to retake the majority, it was only because of effective GOP gerrymandering: Democrats currently have a 1 million-vote advantage in all House races combined. In a sane world, that would translate to a Democratic majority.
Progressives are still celebrating the passage of marriage equality initiatives in four states. And while Republicans made gains in some Southern legislatures, the Democrats gained a net 200 state legislative seats and flipped eight chambers.
Conservatives convinced themselves of good tidings based on ideological certainty, while old-school political journalists prattled about the “tight” race based on gut feelings and willful ignorance of how to read polls. But those of us who can properly read the data, from polling to the early vote, had our assertions confirmed: Democrats won the election decisively.
Moulitsas is the publisher and founder of Daily Kos (dailykos.com)