Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Off-Year Election: Some Telltale Trends

With the mess that resulted from the Texas statewide constitutional amendment election returns no trends emerged, I think, except for maybe a tendency for Texans to go all Tea Party on any bond issue.

But the trends that we learned about nationally, maybe there is a ray of hope here for the Democratic cause.

In Mississippi, voters surprisingly repealed SB 4, a constitutional amendment that would have made a fertilized egg a person in the eyes of the law. This would have made any and all abortions illegal. This would have made it illegal to have an in vitro fertilization procedure because the procedure fertilizes more than one egg, yet only one fertilized egg is emplaced in the woman’s uterus. Mississippi is a very red state, but apparently this emotional and religious issue fell on infertile ground as Mississipians saw the error in logic and reason that this amendment would have presented to its citizens.

In Ohio, voters rejected the law passed by the Ohio legislature that stripped public employees of collective bargaining rights that had been theirs for decades. Anti-union sentiment among the newly elected Tea Party members of the legislature clearly did not mesh with the pro-middle class electorate. I am guessing that Wisconsinites are seeing this vote as further evidence that there is a core of American voters who still think workers have a right to safe work places, a 40-hour work week, paid vacation, health insurance, and a living wage. Things that most middle class voters value.

In Arizona, voters rejected State Senator Russell Pearce in a recall election, a recall election in reaction to Pearce’s authorship of the much-hated SB 1070, the most virulent anti-immigrant law passed in the nation. A law so viral that the feds put a stop to most of its provisions. SB 1070 has literally cost the State of Arizona millions of dollars (including mine) in cancelled conventions and concerts.

And finally, in Maine, voters approved a provision to allow same-day voter registration – registration on Election Day - despite the fact that the Republican Party of Maine made no bones about the fact that the measure was “Pro Gay” because gay rights groups supported it. This was an anti-voter suppression measure, very progressive, that promoted voter participation in the election process. Something Republicans and Tea Partiers simply hate.

So color me happy today, 364 days until Election Day 2012. Momentum has been building. Voters have seen what it is they have wrought and are not happy. And maybe other voters who were so lethargic in 2010 that they could not move themselves out of their La-Z-Boys and get to the polls last year have been roused to the fact that elections matter and voting a progressive agenda is the best thing you can do to improve your life.

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