The mainsteam media looked at Tuesday's results and see big trouble for Democrats.
In Virginia, Clintonista and former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe outspent his opponent, state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, by three-to-two and only won by 2.5 percentage points. In New Jersey, Republican Gov. Chris Christie won a commanding victory in a blue state.
In this narrative, the president looms large. Obamacare suffered a troubled rollout. His approval rating has hit a new low. Unstated: He's black.
Progressives shouldn't whistle past the graveyard, but I'm not sure how much this is true.
For example, Virginia held the capital of the old Confederacy and is not a swing state anyone should count on. Some experts like to see the Old Dominion and North Carolina as at least potentially purple states. I'm not so sure.
McAuliffe was a deeply flawed candidate. But he won, thanks in part to Cuccinelli being a full-out tea partier and ties to a GOP incumbent dogged by scandal. He was especially radical on women's privacy and reproductive rights.
Here the meme shifts, that Cuccinelli was done in by women. In reality, although a majority of women voted for McAuliffe, a majority of white women voted for Cuccinelli. That nugget, rather than McAuliffe's slim victory, should trouble progressives.
Otherwise, looking at the map of counties on election night showed the same urban-rural split as the rest of America. The complexion of the electorate has been changed by rapid growth in the northern regions adjacent to the District of Columbia.
But is it enough? In North Carolina, a Democrat won the mayor's race in Charlotte. But the state itself, once a model of moderation, has turned deep red.
Virginia was 71 percent white in 2012. North Carolina was 72 percent white. And these are generally not the blue whites (70 percent) one encounters in Seattle. The Cold Civil War battle lines harden. I'm not sure Tuesday told us anything more about the New Confederacy.
I am no expert on New Jersey politics, but it's important to note that Democrats held the Legislature. Christie is a guy one wants to like — a particular magnet for Democrats wishing for that magical moderate Republican. Unfortunately, his overall policies and the party of extremists he would bring in tow to the White House should he win in 2016 should disabuse anyone of such fantasies.
And that assumes he could get through the tea party gauntlet of the primaries. And that voters would still like the man the more they got to know him.
I am also skeptical of the "GOP establishment" taking on the tea party tale. For one thing, the tea party was never a grassroots insurgency. It was created by what is now the party establishment, from FreedomWorks et al to Fox "News" and Rush Limbaugh. Tea party extremism is the Republican establishment.
Otherwise, Tuesday saw the election of an unapologetic progressive as mayor of New York. It saw (if the vote count holds) the approval of a mandatory $15-per-hour minimum wage in the Seattle suburb of SeaTac among several other "liberal" victories. It was hardly a disaster for Democrats.
To be sure, Democrats can't count on Republicans to keep walking into the propeller of their own extremism. And the troubles (and misinformation about) the Affordable Care Act require deftness and courage, not running for the tall grass. President Obama did a good job in his Chuck Todd interview Thursday night.
Moving to Arizona, probably the most tragic result was the number of school bonds or overrides that were defeated. This was even true in Scottsdale, and now cuts are coming to programs such as fine arts. Regular readers here know that Coronado High School once had one of the top such departments in the country. But even the dedication of teachers can't overcome repeated slashing of budgets.
The dumb state wants to stay dumb. And programs such as fine arts are gay, anyway, right? The humanities teach analytical and critical thinking, so young people might doubt that the age of the earth is 6,000 years old. Science — that's even more dangerous.
Of course, rich schools have a variety of ways to stay that way. Private schools and the charter school racket are supported by taxpayers. The district overall is more Hispanic than when I went to high school. And here we are back at the issue of race. The geezers and kranks in north Scottsdale want nothing to do with anything south of Bell. What a sick city.
The "slide to moronistan," as Rogue Front Page Editor Dick Silc calls it, was also on display in Colorado, where new taxes to help schools were defeated. One person told me some progressives opposed the measure because it would help the charter school racket. Is that true, Chris in Denver?
Over in Phoenix, Laura Pastor won in Distict 4. I think that's better than Justin Johnson. We shall see if there is a there there.
Please use the comments section as an open thread. The Friday Saloon concept wasn't really drawing enough variety. But don't feel constrained to stay on topic.