With the final battle in the mid-term elections finally over, it’s official: the Democrats have control of both the House and the Senate, as well as the majority of governorships. The elections were marked by several bitter political campaigns, featuring some of the most negative advertising campaigns ever witnessed.
The Democrats fought hard and won seats in states where they were once never even competitive. The final numbers reveal that the Democrats picked up six seats in the Senate, 29 in the House, and six governorships, snatching away spots from notorious Republicans like Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.
Control of the Senate hinged on the outcome of the tight race between Democratic candidate James Webb and Republican incumbent George Allen. After a laborious and prolonged tallying process, Webb emerged the victor, beating Allen by barely 1 percent of the vote. Allen conceded, saying that there was “little point” to a recount.
The message sent by American voters (of which young people made up 13 percent) was clearly heard by the Bush administration when Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld stepped down one day after the elections, despite the fact that just one week before President Bush claimed that Rumsfeld would remain at the Pentagon until the end of his term.
The majority of Republican losses in the elections centered around one issue: the growing opposition to the war in Iraq. In addition to tackling that issue, the Democrats launched a series of ambitious campaigns in the so-called “battleground states,” such as Pennsylvania, where Senate and House races were of particular importance.
To that effect, the Democratic Party descended on Philadelphia on Nov. 3 to rally support from its working-class urban followers in the final days before elections. As noon approached, the large crowd, composed mostly of union workers armed with anti-Santorum signs, “Vote Casey” pins and “Rendell for Governor” stickers began buzzing with excitement, despite the chilly midday conditions in Love Park.
The festivities kicked off right on schedule, as the Democratic candidates introduced one another and made brief speeches about the new Democratic Party and the new direction the country must take. They noted issues such as raising the national minimum wage, funding health insurance for all children, and finding a solution to the increasingly deadly war in Iraq.
Appearing onstage with Mayor John Street, Bob Casey, Governor Ed Rendell, a host of hopeful house candidates, and an assembly of union officials, was keynote speaker Sen. John Edwards, who rumor has it might be making a bid for the presidency in 2008.
While there was little new rhetoric, Edwards nevertheless captured the enthusiasm and spirit of the crowd. He emphasized how the U.S. needs to step up to the plate as one of the central leaders in the world and lead by example, with better social and foreign policies. He repeated, over and over, “America is better than this.”
He ended his speech by reminding everyone that when they vote on Tuesday, they aren’t just deciding who will lead the country for the next few years, but also who will shape the world that we live in. With that, the youthful and charismatic Edwards left the stage to the tune of cheers and thunderous applause as the mass of loyal supporters filling Love Park flashed signs and eagerly awaited the upcoming election day.
Edwards and the Democrats obviously got their message of change across to the voters of Philly and the nation. Now the American people will just have to wait and see if the changes and ideas he described, global and domestic, make their way into legislation. In the meantime, voters always have the 2008 presidential elections to look forward to.
You can contact Zack Engel at email@example.com.