The big news is the Republican landslide — otherwise known as a "tsunami," "hurricane," or "earthquake" — but buried beneath the blaring headlines were some more peripheral, and bizarre, stories about election day:
1. Facebook fans equal votes
Candidates with more Facebook fans than their opponents fared markedly better on election day, according to a study of 98 races by the social networking giant. In 69 cases, or roughly 75 percent, the winning candidate had a bigger Facebook following than his or her rival. One notable exception, says Dakshana Bascaramurty at Canada's Globe and Mail, is Christine O'Donnell, who had "three times the number of Facebook fans" as her Democrat opponent Chris Coons, but still lost by 17 points.
2. New Hampshire's robocall meltdown
In New Hampshire, frantic efforts to make a last-minute push for votes ended in disaster; the attempt to swamp voters with automated campaign calls crashed both parties' phone systems. "The first winners in the 2010 election may go down as voters who don’t like being interrupted at home," says Tovia Smith at NPR. Sadly for N.H. residents, the reprieve was only temporary; phone bank volunteers quickly switched to cellphones.
3. Don't forget to vote on... Wednesday
More robocall hijinks in California, where a Spanish-language automated call reportedly urged voters to get to the polls on Wednesday, instead of Tuesday. Some have speculated, says Jim Sanders at The Sacramento Bee, that the message was a "dirty trick aimed keeping Los Angeles Latino voters from the polls." That theory hasn't been substantiated.
4. Who did Schwarzenegger vote for?
Lame duck California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who hadn't endorsed either of his would-be successors, ducked reporters eager to know how he'd cast his ballot, promising to "tell you all about it later on." As a card-carrying Republican, the "governator" might have been expected to support party candidate Meg Whitman — who eventually lost the race. "Whomever he voted for is probably thankful that the deeply unpopular governor didn't announce his support while polls are still open," says Gene Maddaus at L.A. Weekly.
5. UFO agency nixed, but sharia law ban approved
From the ballot initiative department: While the future of Obama's political agenda hangs in the balance, one thing's for certain: There will never be sharia law in Oklahoma. In what's been called a "pre-emptive strike," the state overwhelmingly voted to prevent U.S. courts from ever ruling according to the Islamic law "based on ... the Koran and the teaching of Mohammed." Meanwhile, another ballot measure failed to win support — one calling for a UFO agency in Denver, Colo. Aliens will be breathing a sigh of relief, says Matthew Weaver in The Guardian. They're now "safe to fly over Denver."
6. Three votes from out of this world
In an extreme example of out-of-state ballots, three American astronauts on the International Space Station voted in their local county elections via email from 220 miles above the surface of the Earth. This isn't as revolutionary as it sounds, says Tariq Malik at Fox News. "American astronauts have been able to vote from space since 1997 due to a Texas law passed to grant them the ability."
7. ABC News vs. Andrew Breitbart
Lost in all the coverage of election night was ABC News' feud with notorious conservative pundit Andrew Breitbart — the man behind the Shirley Sherrod affair. The Big Journalism founder boasted that he would be "bringing analysis live from Arizona" as part of ABC's election night coverage. When the network took issue, saying it had asked him to participate in a single online debate, Breitbart claimed he was being censored by the "institutional left." Result: ABC dropped him entirely. This spat "shows how insane it is for any serious news organization to play footsie with this guy," says Greg Sargent at The Washington Post. He's trying to turn himself into a "First Amendment martyr." Au contraire, says Kathryn Jean Lopez at the National Review. ABC "missed an opportunity to expand their audience." This "significant voice... deserves better."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The one thing the New Atheists get right about religion
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The uncomfortable truth in The Giving Tree
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Why 2014 may be as good as it gets for the Republican Party
- The U.S. government is actually trouncing Ebola. When will it get credit?
- Syrian women know how to defeat ISIS
- The simple trick to making better decisions in every aspect of life
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
Subscribe to the Week