Alaska Democrat Mary Peltola flips House seat in special election, defeating Sarah Palin

Mary Peltola, winner of today's special election in Alaska, is the first native and the first woman to hold the seat—and the first Democrat to win a House race in the state for decades. She beat Republican Sarah Palin, who was attempting a political comeback in a district held by the GOP's Don Young from 1973 until his death this year.

While political analysts will search for clues in this special election as to how both main parties may fare in the US midterm elections this November, it is not clear to what degree Ms Palin's big personality was a factor in the outcome.

What the reporter here is trying to say is that Republican voters are sick of Palin anyway, so Peltota's win, though surprising, shouldn't be interpreted as a bellwether for other races. Moreover, the two are apparently old friends and the race lacked the nasty, centrifugal vibe of American politics elsewhere, a context that likely helped the Democrat more than the Republican. Also, Alaska is just different.

All that said, I think this also reflects a reluctance among journalists to accept the possibility that the outright grossness of the GOP has seriously harmed them electorally, and that this outcome reflects that fact. It's certainly not the story we had in mind for this fall, in any case.