Unions poured millions of dollars into ballot campaigns to guarantee collective bargaining rights in the Michigan Constitution and allow state-paid home care assistants to organize into a union. Both were resoundingly defeated.
The 2012 election was very close in the popular vote, but it was a real blowout in the electoral college. And that has Republicans sifting through the results, for lessons for the future. NPR's Mara Liasson reports.
Several thousand prisoners in California may be eligible to apply for sentence reductions, after voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative Tuesday that alters the state's controversial three-strikes law.
But voters also rejected a proposition that would abolish the death penalty in the state. Proposition 34 would have replaced capital punishment with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
In an election that highlighted the political divide over abortion, female voters turned out to be a key to victory for President Obama.
Public outcry over Republican Todd Akin's comments on "legitimate rape" ultimately gave Democrat Claire McCaskill a U.S. Senate victory in Missouri. And in Indiana, Republican Senate hopeful Richard Mourdock lost his race at least in part because of his comments about pregnancy resulting from rape.
The Republicans' comments pushed the abortion issue to the forefront â€” and also united and motivated abortion rights activists.
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House Speaker John Boehner says he's ready to work with President Obama on a looming fiscal problem. Republicans kept control of the House on Tuesday, though they also lost seats. Now they have weeks to negotiate over the scheduled higher tax rates and spending cuts known as the fiscal cliff.
Although voting problems in Tuesday's election were fewer than some people had expected, there were extremely long lines at many polling sites; so many that President Obama noted them in his victory speech.
"I want to thank every American who participated in this election, whether you voted for the very first time, or waited in line for a very long time," he said, adding, "by the way we have to fix that."
You swore your allegiance. You voted. Perhaps you even volunteered your time. But your candidate just lost. What do you do now?
Some psychologists say you can look to the coping tactics of die-hard sports fans, who generally have to deal with defeat more than once every four years.
Play the blame game: You can blame the defeat on someone or something other than your candidate, says Tufts University associate professor of psychology Sam Sommers. In sports, you can blame factors like weather, an injury, or â€” most often â€” the referees.
Republican strategist Karl Rove's on-air refusal to accept his own network's election night call putting Ohio in President Obama's win column dominated the blogosphere Wednesday.
And, why not? Rove's Crossroads political money empire had showered Republican candidates with close to $300 million this election cycle, a funding gusher courtesy of the 2010 Supreme Court's Citizens United decision and other recent court decisions.
Poor Chris Stewart. The former Air Force pilot had just won a landslide victory in his first bid for Congress in Utah, but the crowd of Republicans listening to his acceptance speech at a Salt Lake City hotel kept pointing to the massive television screen behind him.
"Do you want me to stop?" Stewart asked. "You would rather listen to Gov. Romney than to me, wouldn't you?"
Some in the crowd shouted "Yes!" and the sound of Romney's concession speech filled the room.
Even during the heat of the campaign, a bipartisan group of eight senators was meeting to try to hash out a framework for deficit reduction to steer clear of that fiscal cliff. The so-called Gang of Eight - four Democrats and four Republicans - includes Senator Mark Warner, Democrat of Virginia, who joins me now. Welcome to the program.
SENATOR MARK WARNER: Thanks for having me, Melissa.