Well, not really objections per se, but cautions. I’m not a political analyst and I don’t spend a lot of time engrossed with the details of political races, so take this with a grain of salt.
Overall, I think this was a protest vote, and protest votes are not sustainable. In a way, I see the election as a mini-Leiberman primary. It's a shot across the republican’s bow over a few big issues. The war, the economy, political scandals.
The Ds were able to go on the offensive, as underdogs taking on an unpopular president/majority party embroiled in a few scandals and a bad war. It’s enough to get them elected, but not enough to keep them in power as the majority. Well, at least not now, since the exit polls indicate the country is still polarized on social issues like gay marriage and abortion. If perceptions of the war change, and/or there’s no radical difference between the policies of the Ds and the Rs, social wedge issues like these will keep elections in play.
The problem is, as far as I can see it, is that the Ds are just weak willed. You've got a few firebrands, yes. But the rank and file just sadly shook their heads over this and that during the course of the war. John Kerry is not a guy that suggests he has an ounce of moral outrage in his body. And, frankly, up to this point, the Ds could have presented themselves as centrist as they wanted to, so long as they were against the mismanagement of the war in Iraq and for the war on terror in principle.
Personally, I'm worried that whomever the Rs put forward for president, they'll just use the same strong rhetoric associated with that party. Family, safety, security, fiscal restraint, local control. These are ideas (regardless of actual policy, regardless of actual effects) that resonate with the voters. They allow for the “water-cooler effect” – people can repeat this simple planks as a justification for their voting patterns and as a means to persuade others. And it’s this kind of behind the scenes debate and discussion that’s crucially important in shaping the opinions people take with them to the ballot box. The Rs already have that in place. They just need new faces, untouched by corruption, stubbornness, and the war, to deliver it.
The Ds are still not articulating that kind of simple national message that they need to get people behind them. They need to get a repeatable message out that will tie their (very good) specific positions together. The politicians don't convince Americans, Americans convince Americans. And the D’s need to give people arguments they can make for them, arguments that justify keeping them in power.
As a coda, I don’t want to appear bloody minded, but I feel a sense of relief re: the future of the Supreme Court. Stevens is getting up there - 86yrs old I think.