Mike Sheehan, the world's only public radio sketch artist, covered election night in Orange County.
I spent election night watching the results at the victory party held by the The Republican Party of Orange County at the Westin South Coast Plaza Hotel. It was a foregone conclusion that they were going to win seats.
These things always remind me of a high school dance: quickly decorated banquet hall, people dancing and, in this case, even an '80s cover band (they weren't bad). People broke into their respective groups, caught up and have a few cocktails. There was a big screen running Fox News and there were cheers every time a win came in.
But I was stuck at how low-key it was. Not the snark fest you usually get on the winning side. Not even a lot of the usual political networking chatter. It felt like what it was: "We got it done so let's hang out and have fun." And there wasn't much anticipation, since it rolled out the way the polls said it would, for the most part.
The speakers kept it short and upbeat, especially Assembly Candidate Matthew Harper, who looked like he was really enjoying the moment. I had a table in the middle of it all, so I had a chance to talk to a lot of people, but none of it was political, which was nice. I rarely get to sit at these things.
I'm always struck at how Groundhog Day these things are. Everyone talks about "change" but it rarely happens, at least not in big leaps and bounds. In the end it just ping-pongs between the two big parties. Having a band playing an endless stream of songs from a past decade puts a point on it. Same thing, over and over.