Other Votes Matter Too

DC Politics National Politics

New Orleans        The election news and the lessons buried underneath the votes will continue to emerge, likely with better focus in coming weeks and months, but there are some voter verdicts that speak to some doors closing and some opening.  Trigger warning:  it’s a mixed bag of good and bad news.

For the more fragile, still biting their nails about the top of the ticket, and, hey, believe me, Biden won, it’s all over but the shouting, some of which will be in the street and the rest on Twitter and in the courthouses, so you’re safe, I’ll start with the good news.

  • Louisiana voters overwhelming by 2 to 1, blocked a legislative act from implementation that would have allowed manufacturers to negotiate tax breaks with local jurisdictions.
  • Oregon voters in Multnomah County, which includes Portland, Ore., passed a measure, to be paid for by a high earners’ tax, will provide free preschool for all children ages 3 and 4, in any kind of educational facility. It will also significantly raise teachers’ wages so they are equivalent to those of kindergarten teachers. On Election Day, early education ballot initiatives also passed in St. Louis, San Antonio and Colorado, which approved universal pre-K for 4-year-olds.  This could be huge!
  • The New York Working Families Party beat back Governor Andrew Cuomo’s revenge play when he had convinced the legislature to put a 2% threshold to protect an automatic ballot line by polling 4.25% and 238,000 votes on the their line for Biden-Harris.
  • Mississippians voted on a new state flag.
  • Virginia voters will now decide on redistricting.

A lot of the rest is ugly.

  • What’s happening in California?Referenda for affirmative action, expanding rent control, protecting the employment rights of gig and ride-sharing workers, and a teacher-backed measure to raise taxes on commercial landlords all failed.
  • Those same Louisiana voters enshrined abortion in the constitution.
  • The Associated Press analysis found that in 376 counties with the highest number of new coronavirus cases, 93% voted for Trump, most in rural areas. What were they thinking?

Looking at a map of how counties voted for president tells us plenty about the national divide.  In cities, good odds you go blue.  In rural areas, red is for you.  On the other hand, voters in some states, including ones that are very Western and rural, seem to have a plan for how to get through the next four years.  Montana, South Dakota, New Jersey, and Arizona voted to legalize marijuana.  We kind of know what they were thinking.