Morning Reads

Good morning — If you think our politics are screwy, on this day in London in 1605, Guy Fawkes was captured and charged as a conspirator in the notorious Gunpowder Plot. He was one of the leaders of a Catholic plan to blow up the House of Lords, assassinating Protestant King James and countless others. To this day, thwarting of the alleged conspiracy is celebrated with bonfires and fireworks. Imagine if they’d had negative advertising back then — “Guy Fawkes: Bad for the Monarchy, Bad for Britain.”

Here at, we’re trying to avoid the instant analysis of the GOP’s victories you can read elsewhere and instead waiting a little for the results to sink in and for reporters and commentators to come up for air, take some time to reflect and offer some considered insight into what took place last night. FYI, President Obama has scheduled a press conference for 2:50 pm, ET. In the meantime, here’s some thoughtful coverage of the midterms that we’ve seen over the last 24 hours.

This just in –> The polls had barely opened when Greg Sargent of The Washington Post’s Morning Plum proclaimed one outcome already decided: “Whether Democrats somehow hold the Senate or whether Republicans capture it, we are only headed for more polarization, not less.”

“Battle for the Senate” –> Also at WaPo, Philip Rucker and Robert Costa have assembled this engrossing tick-tock of the weeks since early September as GOP leadership scrambled to rescue weak campaigns and Democrats distanced themselves from President Obama as far as they could. It’s a classic “How They Did It.”

Lame duck walking? –> Peter Baker at the NYT reports that President Obama doesn’t see the results as “a repudiation of his leadership” but believes “his own party kept him off the trail, meaning he never really got the chance to make his case.”

100 Women in Congress –> Holly Allen and Amanda Marcotte at Slate are among those noting this historic milestone — and they’ve got a great chart.

Roving around money –> At the Center for Public Integrity, Michael Beckel notes, “Of the 10 U.S. Senate races where either the Rove-linked nonprofit Crossroads GPS or its sister super PAC, American Crossroads, was active, their favored candidates prevailed in at least six — with the Alaska Senate race still too close to call at this writing and a runoff election coming next month in Louisiana.”

Cheers on The Street –> At International Business Times, David Sirota writes, “No recount will be needed to declare one unambiguous winner in Tuesday’s gubernatorial elections: the financial services industry. From Illinois to Massachusetts, voters effectively placed more than $100 billion worth of public pension investments under the control of executives-turned-politicians whose firms profit by managing state pension money.”

America deserves a raise –> Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of The Nation magazine and Washington Post columnist, anticipated one of last night’s outcomes — successful mandates to raise the minimum wage in several red states.

“What Should the Fox Say?” –> Fascinating and decidedly non-nerdy analysis by Thomas Gilbert and Andrew Loveridge at the Berkeley Journal of Sociology argues that the rise of data-centric political analysis like Nate Silver’s 538 is paying too much attention to the horse race and muzzling national debate on the issues: “This is not a recipe for perfect statistical prediction; it is a recipe for political instability and intransigence.”

“We have given up control of the ship” –> Historian and recent NY gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout pens a manifesto in The Guardian calling for public campaign financing and some good, old fashioned trust-busting. 

“You will be amazed at how much influence you can have.” –> Brendan Fischer at PR Watch reports these words of wisdom that tycoon Rex Sinquefield shared with some business school alumni pals. This year, the conservative former financial executive poured nearly $9.5 million — that we know of — into Missouri politics, where there are no limits on funding state campaigns.

On the other hand –>  “Outside money is the worst thing that’s ever happened to us.” The lament of an Arkansas voter bombarded with political TV spots. A Washington Post team, led by Matea Gold, Katie Zazima and Wesley Lowery, surveyed the nation and found universal disgust with this year’s attack ads.

And on the other, other hand –> Walt Whitman really liked Election Day. Of course, there was no television then. Or Super PACs.

A thousand points of light — and more. –> At Mother Jones, take a look at this dazzling US map created by the data editor of Twitter, tracking “I voted” tweets through the course of Election Day. But as MoJo‘s AJ Vicens notes, “It’s unclear how many of them were tweeted by cats.”

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