By Jon Keller, WBZ-TV Political AnalystBy Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – Did last night really happen, or did that slice of pizza I had in the newsroom play havoc with my cognitive neuroscience?

It was a wild election night, but as the dust settles, a few things are clear:

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THE STATE’S VOTERS WANT CHANGE

Partisan Democrats can and will argue that Charlie Baker’s victory margin was wafer-thin, they swept the other statewide races, held the open seat in the 6th District, retained veto-proof majorities in the House and Senate.

But the governor’s office is the biggest prize of all.

And the message of the ballot questions – hands off casino jobs, hands out of our pockets for more gas taxes and bottle deposits, give us better benefits – was a vivid outcry of economic anxiety and impatience.

THEY WERE FED UP WITH BEACON HILL SCREW-UPS

I can’t show you exit polling to prove it, but it seems self-evident that the bureaucratic blunders that plagued the final years of the Patrick administration were a factor in the outcome.

Read: WBZ-TV-UMass Amherst Exit Poll

They gave Baker the traction he needed to press his case for restoring competence, a non-ideological selling point that appeared to work well for Republicans across the country.

STRICTLY-PARTISAN APPEALS ARE LOSING THEIR POTENCY

It’s hard to believe so much of the Democratic hierarchy around here doesn’t seem to quite get this.

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Independents have been the fastest-growing voter-registration category for many years now, and it’s hard to find many millenials who buy the stale old partisan rah-rah.

And it doesn’t help that the Democratic message here has become so blurry. Quick – what was the Coakley campaign’s core message?

But here’s one thing that isn’t clear after our long night’s journey into day – what happens next.

Baker inherits a buffet of serious problems – exploding energy and health-care costs, crumbling infrastructure, and an uncertain economic future among them.

While he is a well-known and generally well-regarded figure on Beacon Hill, the new Senate President, Stan Rosenberg, is considerably more liberal than his predecessor and will want to make his mark, while moderate House Speaker Bob DeLeo is a lame-duck.

Democratic hyper-partisans will want to torpedo Baker; that’s what hyper-partisans do.

And with the GOP firmly in control of Congress now, maximizing our crucial federal aid will be tougher than ever.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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Jon Keller