Virginia and the rest of the old South always voted for Democrats for president when the Democratic party stood for racism, and for Republicans when the Republican party stood for racism, until tonight.
Of course, nothing is that black and white. Barack Obama's father was black and his mother white, so we call him black. When 51 percent of a state votes for a party, we apply that label to the state.
Obama has an even more militarist and corporatist platform than Bill Clinton, and yet the past eight years have made Obama seem like, and be, a dramatic change for the better. We should celebrate, and the world will join us in celebrating, the defeat of the party of Bush and Cheney. And yet we cannot celebrate having allowed them to remain in office for eight full years. We need to push now to impeach them and to prosecute them for their crimes. Restoring the rule of law to the White House in that way will have a bigger impact on the behavior of future presidents than any election. While unity and bipartisanship sound pleasant, they should not become justifications for lawlessness.
The Democrats, come January, will hold the White House and sizable majorities in the House and Senate, including a filibuster-proof 60 seats or very close to it in the Senate. (And Republican senators from states with Democratic governors could be given cabinet positions, and the District of Columbia could be given one or more senators.) The Republican party may be on the way out of existence. The question is what we can make of the Democrats, what we can persuade them to do. If they are truly democrats with a small d, they will have a lot to accomplish and almost no excuses not to do so.
They can begin with the positive steps advocated by Obama during his campaign: http://afterdowningstreet.org/node/37327 We can build on those advances by insisting on more decisive measures to shift our resources from war to peace and green energy. We can start now by lobbying the president elect to hire and appoint as his staff and administration individuals who represent change we can believe in.