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Virginia Democratic governor-elect Terry McAuliffe (R) greets supporters at his election night victory rally in Tyson's Corner, Virginia November 5, 2013. McAuliffe defeated Republican candidate Ken Cuccinelli in today's governor's election in Virginia.   REUTERS/Gary Cameron
"Terry McAuliffe won, so Democrats lost" -- crazy media spin
The bullshit is flying thick today after last night's elections in Virginia, as Republicans and their media enablers try to claim a loss is a win. Below is a look at some of those nonsense claims.

McAuliffe didn't win a landslide, so Obamacare is in trouble

“+1 @morningmoneyben: Dems can go ahead and think McAuliffe win is Obamacare vindication but that's pure delusion.”
Some poll said that Terry McAuliffe would win by 16 points, therefore a 2-point victory shows that Obamacare almost killed him. Except that the polling was McAuliffe +7, which isn't a blowout by any stretch. In effect, we went from an expected solid McAuliffe win to a narrow one. Yet ... because McAuliffe won, but by less than expected, Obamacare will doom Democrats.

In what world does that make sense?

It had been 36 years since the party holding the White House won a Virginia governor's race. Yet despite running a flawed candidate in an off-off-year election when already bad Democratic base voter performance is even worse than usual, Democrats won. So no, this isn't a sign that Obamacare is trouble, it's a sign that demographics are destiny, and things like Obamacare and gun control and cap and trade can no longer doom Democrats in swingy tough districts and states.

Exit polls showed Obamacare unpopular

It's true! Virginia exit polls show that voters disapproved of Obamacare by a 53-46 margin. However, McAuliffe won 11 percent of the "disapprove" crowd. Why? Because as we've seen with other polling, about 1 in 10 liberals oppose the law as a complicated mess that rewards the incumbent insurance companies. Heck, the rocky implementation vindicates those of us who argued for a simpler "Medicare for All" or public option. But whatever the merits of liberal disapproval of the new law, that doesn't mean that crowd wants to kill it, or will reward Republicans for their holy crusade against it.

If you want to believe McAuliffe's pollster, Cuccinelli's extreme opposition to the law ended up hurting him.

The GOP establishment abandoned Cuccinelli!

Recriminations are flying fast and furious in the right over last night's loss, with conservatives declaring themselves the victims of a brutal abandonment by their establishment. Democrat Barbara Buono can make that argument in New Jersey. Conservatives in Virginia cannot. The RGA spent over $8 million in the race, including $3 million in direct contributions, while the RNC threw in another $3 million. Now Cooch was a shitty fundraiser -- raising just $12 million to McAuliffe's $28 million. So yes, Cuccinelli was outspent, but not because the establishment abandoned him, but because he couldn't do something Republicans never have a problem doing: raising money in a state with no contribution limits.

That said, the fact that McAuliffe won so narrowly despite the big fundraising advantage provides further evidence of my developing theory that money no longer buys votes like it used to. McAuliffe "blanketed the waves" with ads, but who is left that doesn't skip past them or simply tune them out? You need a base level of presence so people know you exist, but the point of diminishing returns is now much lower. Campaigns are pissing away too much money on TV.

Cuccinelli won independents, hence Dems are in trouble!

According to the exit polls, McAuliffe lost independents 47-38. And ... so what? As I've long maintained, there are more of us than there are of them, and this proves it. McAuliffe ran an explicitly base mobilization strategy and won, because there are more us than them. Obama lost independents too. So what? What matters is winning, not whether teabaggers pretending to be "independent" swing one way or the other.

If you want something that means more, well, McAuliffe won "moderates" 56-34. The Democratic Party is still the party of the non-crazies.

Republicans won a supermajority in the House of Delegates

Yes, they did. That's what gerrymandering allows, giving their majority about as much significance as the GOP's majority in the U.S. House.

But this was one of the evening's heartbreaks, with Democratic challengers hitting at least 48 percent in seven districts. We got a net one-seat pickup in the House, but came within inches of a 16-seat swing. Dems ended up within single digits of the incumbent in 12 seats. Them's the breaks, but it shows that we aren't far from slicing off the bulk of the GOP's edge in that chamber. What do you say we give it a real shot in 2015?

Originally posted to kos on Wed Nov 06, 2013 at 09:08 AM PST.

Also republished by Virginia Kos and Daily Kos.

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