The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


The Rundown

What Franken's Win Does and Doesn't Mean

By Ben Pershing
The 2008 election began 545 days ago with the Iowa caucus, and it ended yesterday in Norm Coleman's backyard in St. Paul, where he finally conceded victory to Al Franken in their Senate contest. The Republic had been functioning just fine without a junior senator from Minnesota, so what does Franken's win really mean?

First, it definitely does not mean that Democrats have a filibuster-proof ticket to passing whatever they want. Though technically Democrats have now reached the magic number of 60 senators, it's worth remembering that for practical purposes, the majority may have just 58. Edward Kennedy is still receiving cancer treatments in Massachusetts, and Robert Byrd is now home from the hospital but with no timeframe for returning to the Senate. When the major procedural votes happen on health care and other issues, will either of those aging legends be able to get to the Senate floor? The question may sound indelicate, but as David Espo writes, "Neither man has been in the Capitol for weeks, and it is not known when, or even whether, they will return."

Second, even if Democrats do have 60 votes, there's no guarantee of unanimity, as the ongoing intraparty disputes over health care illustrate. Just as Franken gives Democrats another vote, Bernie Sanders tells Ezra Klein he's establishing the "Coalition of the Unwilling," meaning that he is unwilling to go along with Max Baucus' strategy of trying craft a compromise that will attract Republican votes. Beyond health care, unions are also touting Franken's win as another step toward passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, or "card check" bill. But that measure isn't at the finish line yet either, with multiple Democrats still opposed or at least hedging on it. Climate change is also a long ways from consensus in the chamber.

Continue reading at Political Browser »

Posted at 8:28 AM ET on Jul 1, 2009  | Category:  The Rundown
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Norm Coleman actually lost this election three times. First he lost it because of the independent candidacy of Dean Barkley. I think he got fifteen percent of the vote or so. A majority of those would have gone to Coleman.

Then he lost during the adjustments to the initial count. It reduced his lead from 750 votes to 219 votes. That made overtuning Coleman's lead more managable for the Democrats.

If the tables were turned the Democrats would have challenged the adjustments and even if they were legitimate they would have muddied the water enough to put them in doubt.

Democrats are just better at playing the recount game than Republicans are. I can think of four times when Republican leads in the initial count were turned into Democratic victories during the recount process. Prior to this Minnesota race the most recent example was the 2006 Washington state gubernatorial race.

I am hard pressed to recall a situation in a major election where a Democratic lead was turned into a Republican victory after the recount process. Can anyone provide an example? Like I said, the Democrats are better at playing the recount game and it is a game.

Finally Coleman lost during the actual recount but by then he was playing on the Democrat's turf.

Minnesota is supposed to have a reputation for clean elections. But I wonder if it is deserved because this recount seemed to have been as screwed up as recounts in other states.

There is no use in crying over lost elections particularly since there will be many wins to celebrate in 2010 if the President and his party don't
turn things around.

Posted by: danielhancock | July 2, 2009 12:39 AM

Al Franken will help make up for Leiberman and his traitorous ways. Joe apparently SHOULD have been kicked out of the democratic party. He campaigned against Obama and was forgiven. He now leads the fight against the democratic party's plan for public health care. He should be kicked out of the caucus immediately.
Close to 75 percent of Lieberman's constituents in the democratic party favor a public alternative.

Posted by: seemstome | July 1, 2009 9:44 PM

"In the coming months we will understand fully if the Democrats have grasped the level of power they have."

Don't bet on it.

"I'm not a member of an organized political party. I'm a Democrat."
- Will Rogers

Posted by: JohnQuimby | July 1, 2009 9:35 PM

It should have been easy to give an answer on this, but alas that is/may not be the case.

The Dems have always made reference to what 60 votes would me, but given what I have seen thus far, supporters/voters could be in for a string of disappointments. One can only hope that will not be case.

As a former president often said, if you have political capital-- use it.

In the coming months we will understand fully if the Democrats have grasped the level of power they have.

Posted by: Victoria5 | July 1, 2009 5:49 PM

TO: Team_America

Thank you for confirming what we already know.

We'll be in touch.


Posted by: scrivener50 | July 1, 2009 10:46 AM

It's Nero. Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus. Not Nerow. And Nero is famous for inaction in crisis. Agree or disagree, the one thing you can't accuse the new majority of is inaction.

Posted by: dkgeroe | July 1, 2009 10:27 AM

Another blow to democracy?? All votes counted, loser gets to take it to court, court sides with # of votes, 5-0? You sound like a sore loser to me. Seems to me the people talk about others peoples morality are usually the morally bankrupt ones. We've seen a lot of that lately.

Posted by: sondysue819 | July 1, 2009 10:00 AM

Obviously we need to up the amplitude on the beam!

Posted by: Team_America | July 1, 2009 9:59 AM

What it means is that now the demlicanics will be paying back the republicratics for the filibusters the repubs carried out during the reign of king bush 2. And while these filthy politicians pay each other back, America is burning. Remember Nerow?

Posted by: yard80197 | July 1, 2009 9:58 AM

Slimy, murdering, torturing, cheating, lying, whining, evil Republicans!

Posted by: DaveMiner | July 1, 2009 9:43 AM

Another blow to democracy. A horrid, morally bankrupt citizen now has voting power.

Posted by: RevolutionNow | July 1, 2009 9:32 AM


Beware of "black ops" like THIS:

TO: All U.S. multi-agency intel section/unit chiefs, operatives
FROM: Target
RE: Multi-agency coordinated action program, a/k/a "The Program"





See linked article, lame psy ops responses to "target" internet postings, below:


Posted by: scrivener50 | July 1, 2009 9:22 AM

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