Tuesday was a bad night for us. But it was also a bad night for Sarah Palin and Jim DeMint, whose strategy of running increasingly controversial and socially far-right candidates — with the exception of, say, Rand Paul — failed to pay dividends in key races.
Nevertheless, it’s alarming that some of those candidates did well at all. People like Sharron Angle should never come so close to having an influence on anything at all. But the same can be said for Jim DeMint’s bizarre opponent, Alvin Greene. Despite being indicted for a sex crime, Greene won 360,000 votes to DeMint’s 780,000. With third parties, Democrats in South Carolina scored 500,000 votes: not enough to make a meaningful difference, of course, but enough to demonstrate that a sizable portion of South Carolinians will vote for anyone but DeMint. With another candidate, and in another year, things could be very different indeed. And that is an encouraging thought.