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A WA state election report

by paul spencer Sat Nov 6th, 2010 at 03:42:45 PM EST

No doubt y'all know that I didn't win the State Rep election here in Washington's 15th Leg. District, if only because I would have reported that quickly. It wasn't very close, except in my own county - but even there I didn't get the majority of votes.  

The outcome was fully expected, due to the history of the last 20 years in rural WA. Going forward, though, folks are aware that I'm running again in 2012; and they're aware that I'm a stand-up progressive Democrat, who promotes similar policies to the ones that created a Democratic Party majority here from the '30s to the early '90s.

It was rather fun to tell rural folks who have been immersed in Republican/conservative propaganda for the last 20 years that the Democratic-Party-controlled government in Washington state is actually serving them quite well under adverse conditions. One observation that they could not miss: our Initiative I-937 from 2006 - opposed by Republicans and promoted by renewable-energy enthusiasts like myself - has saved a number of multi-generation dryland farmers who were simply going to give up, until they started getting the 'rental' payments from the wind turbines that have been deployed here.

I made solid contacts with the Yakama Nation during the campaign. There are several interfaces that I will husband, going forward. Mirta and I joined a start-up food co-op here in Stevenson recently, and the Yakama bought out a fruit juice manufacturing plant in the last year or so. I think that we can probably help to create a marketing/distribution network for them, starting with co-ops in the Portland metro area and the Columbia River Gorge.

I'm also involved in a Collaborative Group on one of the three districts of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. I've been invited to join a Collab. Group on the northeastern district, which is chaired by a Cowlitz tribe-member. This district borders forestland owned by the Yakama, and I think that I can get them to participate now, too.

My contacts with the hispanic population in the Lower Yakima River valley are rudimentary, but I have an excellent relationship with the Phillipino-American folks there. I also have a good connection with a Mexican-American administrator at Heritage University (a bit of an hyperbolic description of the college), and we're going to start a Young Democrats club there. There are over 3,000 students, and it's a commuter college with a majority of hispanic youth.

I'll add a quick set of observations about the regional scene, for what they're worth:

  1. WA, OR, and CA all maintained Democratic Party dominance in their State Legislatures (the OR House of Reps is likely to be a 30-30 tie, but otherwise ...).
  2. We maintained our Dem dominance in our Congressional delegation. Not sure about CA, but in WA, we only lost Brian Baird's old seat (open due to retirement) to a Republican, but Baird was one of the worst of the Blue Dogs.
  3. The Progressive Caucus of the House of Reps only lost 4 members out of 81; the Blue Dogs lost 25 (including 2, who tried for Senate seats) out of 43 (or thereabouts). Yes, it's true that the character of the district dictates some of these outcomes, but there remains the simple fact of the rather overwhelming difference. There are also the polls and exit polls which indicate substantial dissatisfaction with the half-measures and egregious errors that have been inflicted on us by the federal government since 2008. (I also have some anecdotal evidence for this from my friends and acquaintances.)
  4. Youth participation - that has to be our primary electoral mission now. Every group in which I'm a member is dominated by people in our age group, and everyone of them says that we need to involve the youth.  Boy, howdy, and amen - I'm going there.

The good news is that I have the time to continue to work on various, ongoing projects; plus Mirta and I have more time to explore Europe.  We'll see some of you in 2011, no doubt.

May seem strange to say but:

The only way this thing is going to be corrected is when people get out there and start correcting it.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Sun Nov 7th, 2010 at 11:07:32 AM EST
Some more info on what happened here in California:

* Democrats have won at least 9 out of 10 statewide elected offices, with the Attorney General race still up in the air (progressive Democrat and San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris trails conservative Republican and Los Angeles DA Steve Cooley by about 10,000 votes). All Democratic congressional seats appear to have been held, with Jerry McNerney and Jim Costa clinging to narrow leads in CA-11 and CA-20, respectively. Those two districts have been hammered by the foreclosure crisis.

How did the victory happen? It was a combination of two factors:

  1. California voters do not want Republicans leading them. They reject the GOP's economic agenda and its right-wing social agenda. Neither do they want wealthy CEOs to lead them, and since Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina combined the right-wing agenda with an unappealing "we are your overlords" persona, it should be no surprise they got hammered.

  2. The left-of-center coalition worked their ass off to produce these victories. We held the Netroots California event yesterday (put on by Netroots Nation in San Francisco) where we heard from pollsters, the head of the state labor federation, and other community activists about the truly vast voter engagement and mobilization effort that was undertaken - over a million voters were turned out to the polls by these efforts. In particular, attention was paid to Latino voters (who swung to Democrats by 20 points over their performance in the 2006 gubernatorial race) and Asian and Pacific Islander voters (who had a whopping 42 point swing over 2006).

It helped that Tea Party arguments against Obama got no traction among the 7 of 10 voters who live in the coastal counties. However, the mobilization was uneven - the Central Valley didn't get as much attention, and as a result the right-wing had more success since they mobilized their base and Dems did not spend as much effort or funding on it, especially in the San Joaquin Valley (Fresno, Bakersfield, etc).

In the state legislature, Democrats picked up a seat in the Assembly (near Sacramento, defeating the author of Prop 8) and stayed even in the Senate.

The ballot propositions didn't go as well. Prop 19 failed, unsurprisingly - the Yes on 19 campaign was hamstrung by a severe lack of funding. George Soros put in $1 million the last week of the election, which helped launch a belated get out the vote effort, but by then it had already been lost. Every tax measure failed, including one to close corporate tax loopholes.

The two victories on the ballot props were Prop 23, which failed (an initiative funded by Texas oil companies to suspend the state's cap-and-trade carbon emissions law and the mandate to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by 2020) and Prop 25, which succeeded (lowering the threshold to pass a budget from 2/3 to a simple majority).

Now we get to enjoy Governor Jerry Brown's third term. He's already pledged another round of austerity, but Dems hope he'll be open to putting some tax measures on a 2011 special election ballot.

Overall, California was one of the few bright spots nationwide in this election, owing to public dislike of the extreme right, of wealthy CEOs, and the unprecedented mobilization of the progressive base. But California's deep structural problems remain, and have been only marginally helped by the election outcomes. Disaster was avoided, but deliverance is nowhere in sight, especially with Republican control of the US House of Representatives.

And the world will live as one

by Montereyan (robert at calitics dot com) on Sun Nov 7th, 2010 at 09:20:32 PM EST
You're a hero. Keep up the good work, keep coasting for the 2012 elections, and I personally think it great you keep us in the loop of your efforts and interests here at ET.
by Nomad (Bjinse) on Mon Nov 8th, 2010 at 06:07:51 AM EST
I just have the time and resources - and attitude - to do this.

Also, I really do have faith in the good sense and good character of most people. I figure that the current situation is one that we let evolve, because we were busy building careers, raising children, and taking a little well-earned time for occasional recreation. It's past-time, but not too late, to get organized again.

The largest caucus in our WA State Party Central Committee is the Progressive Caucus. The latest election is both impetus to build our wing and caution to apply the Golden Rule to our colleagues. Some of our group are quite good at marketing in the new media, and that is the core of our current project.

Same could be done here at ET, I think. That is, the skills are here, and in fact some of the previous campaigns have attracted substantial attention. The missing ingredient IMO is a minimum list of principles.

paul spencer

by paul spencer (paulgspencer@gmail.com) on Mon Nov 8th, 2010 at 11:09:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The attitude is it.

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 11th, 2010 at 05:04:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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