Nov 17, 2008
Led by Barack Obama, the Democrats swept the elections. Winning eight and a half million more votes than John McCain, President-elect Obama trounced him in the electoral college, 365 to 162, with 11 votes yet to be decided. Only four states, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee, voted more heavily Republican this year than they did four years ago.
The Democrats increased their control of the new Senate, holding 57 seats to the Republicans’ 40, with three seats still too close to call. And they now control the House of Representatives, 255 to 175, with five other seats still to be decided.
Governors, state legislatures, county governments, and even some judicial bodies were swept by the Democratic wave.
Not only were the elections a repudiation of George W. Bush and Republican policies. Not only did the elections give the Democrats a mandate to junk those policies. With this big sweeping victory, the elections gave the Democrats the means to reverse direction.
George W. Bush, with much smaller margins of victory in 2000 and 2004, and with only a bare Republican control in Congress, moved rapidly to carry out his policies. The Democrats could move even faster with their much bigger 2008 victory – IF they wanted to do it.
And yet, already, Democrats tell us we have to be patient, that change won’t happen immediately.
It’s obvious that Obama and the Democrats can’t address all the problems immediately. But a party that represented working people’s interests would reverse directions immediately. It would let the big banks know it is going to tear up the 700 billion dollar deal benefitting only those who created this economic mess. It would make clear that it will do whatever is necessary to put an IMMEDIATE stop to the hemorrhage of jobs, a stop to the confiscation of people’s homes, to the stealing of retirees’ pensions.
Working people used their massive numbers to vote the Republicans out. Workers could use their numbers to hold the Democrats’ nose to the grindstone. Workers could push for changes they need, and they could organize a fight for their own changes.