Last night we had yet another demonstration of how unlimited political spending is not compatible with democracy. A huge number of people actually believed, despite all evidence, that Walker had balanced the budget and was creating jobs.
What should we be taking away from recent elections?
1) We absolutely must, at all costs, retain control of the presidency and the Senate. I don't think I'm exaggerating when I say that either we overturn Citizens United or we give up on the concept of one person, one vote; to that end, we need to make sure that the next few SCotUS justices to retire are replaced with people who will actually rule according to the law rather than according to what the republican party wants.
2) We need to stop playing nice. We're already at a disadvantage due to the total lack of ethics on the other side. Obviously that doesn't mean we should sink to their level - election fraud should remain a republican-only pastime - but we need to use any ethical means at our disposal. The day after the republicans announced their intention to filibuster the stimulus should have been the day we abolished the filibuster for anything other than lifetime appointments; if we'd done that, there's a fair chance we'd now have a fully recovered economy and a Democratic supermajority in Congress.
3) We need to be contesting every election; there should be no race, be it for the school board or the state legislature, where a republican is running unopposed. Even if it doesn't look like we can win, you never know when the bad guys will have a macaca moment, and we also keep people in the habit of turning out for when opportunity arises. Don't dismiss the importance of those local races, either; imagine how much better the week would be going if, when today's voters were in school, they actually learned about the importance of unions.
The phrase "most important race of the year/decade/ever" gets thrown around way too much, but I think we really are at a tipping point: either we find a way to return to reality-based elections or we accept the effective end of our experiment in democracy.