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US Election Results, German Prejudices and Direct Democracy

According to CNN projections at 4:30 a.m. EST (10:30 in Germany): 
- Democrats and Republicans have secured 49 seats in the Senate. Two Senate races are still undecided. (CNN considers Joe Lieberman a Democrat, because he has said that he will align himself with the Democrats. He ran as an Independent after having lost the Democratic primaries.)
- In the House of Representatives, Democrats secured 227 seats and Republicans 191 seats, while 17 races are still undecided. The Democrats are in charge for the first time since 1994.
- 28 states will be run by Democratic governors and 20 states by Republicans, while two races are still undecided.

Karsten Voigt, the German government's coordinator for German-American relations, told Spiegel (German) about his hopes that German prejudices against America will decrease now, because he thinks that the election results show more diversity rather than one political direction: "Jetzt wird in Deutschland sichtbar werden, dass es in den USA nicht nur eine politische Richtung gibt, sondern sehr vielfältige Stimmungen und Orientierungen. Ich erhoffe mir dadurch einen Abbau von deutschen Vorurteilen gegenüber Amerika, die sich in den Jahren der Bush-Regierung verfestigt haben."

Germany could learn some direct democracy from the United States. German voters do not often get a chance to vote on specific policy issues, unlike in the United States where 205 measures were on yesterday's ballots in 37 states, according to CNN:
South Dakotans rejected a toughest-in-the-nation law that would have banned virtually all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest -- defeating one of the most high-profile state measures facing voters Tuesday. The outcome was a blow to conservatives, although they prevailed in five other states where voters approved constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage. Among them was Wisconsin, where gay-rights activists had nursed hopes of engineering the first defeat of such a ban. Five states approved increases in their minimum wage, while Arizona passed four measures targeting illegal immigrants, including one making English the state's official language. Voters weren't keen about another, more quirky Arizona measure: They defeated a proposal that would have awarded $1 million to a randomly selected voter in each general election.
Nationwide, a total of 205 measures were on the ballots in 37 states, but none had riveted political activists across the country like the South Dakota abortion measure. Passed overwhelmingly by the legislature earlier this year, it would have allowed abortion only to save a pregnant woman's life. (...) In Ohio, anti-smoking activists won a showdown with R.J. Reynolds Tobacco. Voters approved a tough ban on smoking in public places and rejected a Reynolds-backed measure that would have exempted bars, bowling alleys and racetracks.
Related post in Atlantic Review: Will the midterm elections change US foreign policy?
Another question: Why has voter turnout in the US been much lower than in Germany and Britain in recent decades?

UPDATE: Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, the founder of Dailykos, declares "Today is the end of the electronic voting machine" because "Republicans are complaining about voting irregularities as loudly as we are today." (via B.L.O.G.) Princeton University shows you how to hack a voting machine in a video at Pursuit of Serenity.

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What About Clients? on : German Views on U.S. Mid-Term Elections

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From the Atlantic Review, a news digest edited by three German Fulbright alumni now in Berlin, Hamburg and Shanghai, here is "German Reactions to the Midterm Elections". The day before, AR wrote "US Election Results, German Prejudices and Direct Democracy"....

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joe on :

One must look at the results of mid term elections as good news for the US. Hopefully it will be good news for europe too.

David on :

It is very good news for America. Yesterday we voted for change: the result is clear repudiation of the Bush/Cheney administration.

joe on :

David, That is a bit over the top ever for a liberal like yourself.

Don S on :

Not really, joe. I think David has been rather restrained in his joy - for a liberal. Except for the part (in another thread) where he expressed the opinion that comparing Bush to an apre was an insult - to the ape.

Don S on :

[url=http://exurbanleague.com/2006/11/08/doh.aspx]I, for one, welcome our new Democratic overlords![/url] [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kent_Brockman]'Newsman Kent Brockman (aka Brock Kentman[/url] Kent's most famous line was: [i] "And I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords. I'd like to remind them as a trusted TV personality, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground sugar caves."[/i]

Marian Wirth on :

Whoa, what a campaign! Actually, the first election campaign that caught my attention (including German campaigns). I heard one German pundit stating that this is a Pyrrhic victory for the Dems concerning the pres elections in 08, since the Dems will now be held accountible for Iraq as well. And the way some Dem Ladies like Pelosi and Clinton were celebrating their victory made me feel uneasy. "The Democrats intend to lead the most honest, most open and most ethical congress in history". My goodness. I'm convinced that the GOP spin doctors, although in tears, are smiling about those sound bites. We'll hear them again - in GOP ads in a couple of years. As for the influence of this election outcome on German public opinion, I won't hold my breath on "less prejudice". Bush is still there. And that's all we need to keep our opinion about the U.S.

Don S on :

"I heard one German pundit stating that this is a Pyrrhic victory for the Dems concerning the pres elections in 08, since the Dems will now be held accountible for Iraq as well." I wouldn't go nearly that far. It's a victory. Not perhaps an overwhelming victory but enough to give Speaker Pelosi a working majority of similar magnitude to that enjoyed by the GOP last term. Hopefully they can do more positive things with it than the GOP managed last term. Whether the victory is a boon or a catastrophe (a Pyrric victory) depends completely upon what the new Congress does with with the opportunities afforded them.

Don S on :

"As for the influence of this election outcome on German public opinion, I won't hold my breath on "less prejudice". Bush is still there. And that's all we need to keep our opinion about the U.S." I fear you're too much the optimist, Marian. My observation has been that those opinions predated Bush - and probably will survive his departure. Perhaps I am wrong. One can always hope....

Chris on :

I need to learn more about the man pegged to take over for Rumsfeld, but he was Bush 41'st DCI; one would tend to think that Dubya is going to dart to the middle of the road, lest his presidency unravel by March.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

The [url=http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB116301171607317476-Rxm2nXZneEjYNXXyQFLfjvhZ9Qg_20061208.html]Wall Street Journal[/url] has a compilation of Gates' published comments on terrorism, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, China, the military and intelligence. A subscription is not required. HT: [url=http://americanfuture.net/?p=2395]American Future[/url]

Don S on :

I think the House Republicans ought to allow Speaker Nancy a few months honeymoon before starting up too badly on the opposition thing. Figure out how much honeymoon Newt Gingrich got in 1995 then add a couple for generosity sake. Speaker Nan will have a few problems of her own to sort out in the meantime: There are the politics of the new Democratic members of the House: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15615377/site/newsweek/ Seems they're not necessarily on quite the same page as Maxine Waters - or even Nancy Pelosi herself! Give 'em a little time and some of these mustangs may start wanderin' from the paddock a bit. New Chairman of the House Intelligence Comittee Alcee Hatings for one (page down to the Impeachment heading): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcee_Hastings

joe on :

Don, You are a bit naive, most of the so called moderate demos owe everything to Mom Nan. She in may cases picked them to run, put money toward their election efforts. So they will fall right in line.

Don S on :

Pelosi didn't actually do the recruiting, Joe. Fellow from Illinois did. I read somewhere that she gave $300,000 to the House Democratic campaign comittee - it works out to maybe $7,000 per freshman when you consider how much of that went into losing campaigns.... No, I think they owe the most to the people who elected them, particularly those on the margin. The fed-up Libertarians and Republicans who put them over the top. The smartones are aware of that. The dumb ones? That are caller [i]one-termers[/i].

joe on :

Don, But you are correct about being nice to Mom Nan. Remember she is thrid in line behind the POTUS and the VPOTUS. Would be a riot if she beat Hil Gal to the big prize.

Don S on :

[url=http://www.slate.com/id/2153271/]Illiberal Democrats[/url]

Don S on :

[url=http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/world/AP-ELN-Election-World-View.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&oref=slogin&adxnnlx=1163033589-XpkFRK6nB66N0H5yY2GwdQ]World Sees Democrats' Win as Rejection of Bush[/url] The ENTIRE World says that according toi the World's most authoritative money-losing Newspaper, the NY Times. Amazing what they can do with opinion-polling these days, isn't it? "Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen told broadcaster TV2 he hoped that the president and the new Congress would find ''common ground on questions about Iraq and Afghanistan.'' ''The world needs a vigorous U.S.A.,'' Fogh Rasmussen said." Sorry, Fogh. Better to try Chirac for 'vigor'. Maybe next war.....

David on :

Victory complete. US Senate to the Democrats! This has been a day to remember.

Possum on :

Trouble? No, truth at last. For, now, to show they believed at least a fraction of what they have accused President Bush and his administration of, the Democrats MUST move to impeach. Not "should". Not "may." "MUST." And so the fun begins ;-) You ought to see the far left scratching their heads over why the Democrats don't want to impeach. When do you think they'll get a clue?

joe on :

Don, David speaks much like the terrorist and the euro. Victory defeat. Will be interesting to see how much that energy he has for the real fighting. Then again I keep forgetting this is not a war it is a police action.

David on :

Don, I've been active in Democratic Party campaigns for many years and Lord knows I've tasted defeat many times; victory tastes much better, and by anyone's standard this is an incredible victory. You imply that Dems (and the majority of voters) lack resolve on terrorism. Here's a suggestion: rather than mocking me, why not write to Jim Webb (D-VA)with your concerns? I'm sure the (wounded Vietnam-war vet and former Navy sec'y) Senator-elect will be much chastened by your words.

Don S on :

"You imply that Dems (and the majority of voters) lack resolve on terrorism." Um ... David? Where (and when) did I write that? I might agree with some of that - but say it?

joe on :

It is nice to know Webb is going to protect us.

Stefan on :

Why are voting machines used anyway?

Don S on :

The reason for the voting machines was to enable Dick Cheney to determine the outcome of the elections. Rumor has it that Cheney forgot the password. Thus the results we see....

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