12/06/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Not quite a realignment

Last night was great, but let's be clear: it was not a realigning, overwhelming Democratic victory. Gains in the House and Senate were considerably smaller than expected - 17 and 5 seats respectively, as of this writing (with a couple yet to be determined). Second, if Obama's election was a victory against racism, the election did not herald a similar turn against homophobia: California, Arizona, and Florida all passed referendum measures banning same-sex marriage, and Arkansas passed a measure prohibiting same-sex couples from adopting children. Apparently the children are better off being left in foster care, another brutal example of willingness to make children suffer in order to avoid the danger of expressing approval of a same-sex couple's household. (Interestingly, though, two proposed bans on abortion were defeated.) Meanwhile, Coleman holds a narrow lead in Minnesota and - almost incredibly - it appears that Stevens was re-elected in Alaska. In other words, while the election may have been a repudiation of the laissez-faire, free market, trickle-down element of conservatism, it said nothing of the kind about other, in some cases even uglier elements in the American Right, and did not represent anything like a wholesale repudiation of the "Republican Brand."