11/22/08

Dead Heat

The New York Times reports today that--18 days after the election--Democrats are closer than ever to gaining a filibuster-proof, 60 seat majority in the Senate.

You may recall the odds of that much-touted number ever becoming reality seeming slim at best a few days before the election. Nate Silver broke it down like this:


Now, Al Franken is a mere 120 votes behind Norm Coleman with both sides contesting 400 or so more ballots each. Meanwhile, in Georgia--Georgia!--incumbent Saxby Chambliss and Democrat Jim Martin will have a runoff election on December 2nd after both candidates failed to win a majority of the vote on November 4.

While the prospect of picking up the last two Senate seats needed for a super majority is certainly exciting (more election!), I must admit that I'm actually a little ambivalent about the idea of an unstoppable Democratic bloc. I don't think many people would accuse me of being centrist in my politics, but it seems better for the nation as a whole when policies and pieces of legislation must be worked out openly and cooperatively. With a filibuster-proof majority, the line about elephants lying down with donkeys in a new Eden of togetherness will be a much harder sell come 2010 and 2012. Voters may just blame Democrats for whatever befalls us between now and then--and the ways thing are going, much will befall us between now and then.

By clicking here, you can actually see the contested ballots that will determine the election in Minnesota and weigh in on whether you think these ballots are valid. Did a voter mean to vote for Lizard People or Al Franken? You decide. (Hat tip: Ross Douthat)

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