Guess it's a good night for the TEA Party, who staked a lot on beating the Senate's longest-serving Republican... and beat him. There was a lot of talk about how the Presidential primary showed that the TEA Party movement was short-lived, but the TEA Party is only two years old. You can't stage a winning Presidential campaign in two years; you have to start almost as soon as the previous one is over, as then-Senator Obama did rather than fulfilling the office to which he had so recently been elected.
Meanwhile North Carolina joins the rest of the South in constitutionally banning gay marriage. I had to look this up -- Georgia passed its amendment in 2004, before the issue commanded my attention in any serious way. A quick review of what I wrote here in 2003/4 was that, while the issue didn't really interest me, it was properly decided at the state level by constitutional amendments being a clear example of a power reserved to the states or to the people by the 10th Amendment. Thus, amendments like tonight's in North Carolina seem like a reasonable way for the people to clarify just how much power they are prepared for the state to wield: the power to regulate an existing institution, or the power to redefine it?
I have no idea how I voted on the 2004 amendment in Georgia; I don't remember it at all. It was only later that, studying Aquinas, I came to understand just what was wrong with the structure of matrimony as it exists in America today. My position against "gay marriage" is a consequence of that more basic argument of the nature of marriage, which we talked about at length here.
In any event, what I find surprising about the NC vote is the lopsided nature of the victory, and the huge turnout. The foes of the amendment appear to have outspent the supporters two-to-one; the supporters carried the day anyway, 61-39 percent at current count. That's a big victory for an amendment running into a two-to-one spending headwind.
So: a big TEA Party victory, and a strong social conservative turnout in the face of a spending spree. Those are good omens as we look to November.