So looking at the county breakdown of Proposition 1, I note that the northern counties came out against. In the north interior, it’s hard to know whether the primary factor was water diversion or bonded indebtedness anathema to conservative voters. Clearly, the support in the southern part of the valley is about water diversion – Fresno and those areas definitely want more water at any tax price. The L.A. urban basin supported it, but then so did the Bay Area so it’s clear that the mixed messages from environmentalists ensured that there would not be a green backlash outside of our area.
As expected Governor Brown crushed his hapless (and moody) opposition, with the usual county breakdown – Brown takes the coast, the yuppies who like to ski, and the Latino-rich Imperial County. The opposition takes most of the rest of the interior, Orange, San Diego, and Del Norte County.
But check out the Superintendent of Public Instruction map. Some odd counties are blue.
Gavin Newsom and John Chiang seem to be the strongest of the rest of the Democrats running last night, and Chiang (along with Torlakson ) did what Governor Brown didn’t – they took Del Norte. Chiang also took San Diego. Newsom is seen as the Brown heir-apparent, but I’m wondering of Chiang will have something to say about that.
Is there a blue revolution brewing in Del Norte County?
Last night challenger Erik Apperson soundly defeated incumbent Sheriff Dean Wilson, known for his Tea Party activism. Last night on KMUD it was reported that the incumbent’s right wing activism may have worked to his detriment, as well as negative campaigning. It may be that Sheriff Wilson’s staunch opposition to the removal of Klamath dams hurt him with Yurok and fishing voters. Also his association with the Jefferson State effort, which went down in flames in Del Norte last June.
Not to say that Del Norte is a blue county as of yet – as noted above Governor Brown failed to take the majority, and half of the voters opted for our own local Republican Dale Mensing (see the link above for all results) took just under half the votes against Jared Huffman (who maybe needs to spend more time in Del Norte) – much better than he did in any other county. But the sound rejection of the right wing Jefferson agenda, and yesterday’s election results, suggest that maybe the county is becoming more purplish than red.
In Eureka the two contested City Council races presented a mysterious dichotomy. Progressive Natalie Arroyo womanhandled incumbent Chet Albin in a drubbing reminiscent of Chris Kerrigan’s defeat of Rex Bohn some years back – proving that with the right message and organization a progressive can do very well in Eureka. Kim Bergel on the other hand seems headed for a squeaker of a loss – down only by 104 votes at the moment and it may get closer before all the ballots are counted (but probably not enough unless there are more than 500 remaining ballots to be counted and she can secure a 60-40 margin in those votes).
If anything, Natalie is more “hippie” and leftish than Kim. So what accounts for the difference in results? Was it the hit tactic exploiting Kim’s bankruptcy which had resulted from her husband’s life-threatening injury several years ago? Or was the difference in Natalie’s opponent’s expression of charm at Art’s Alive at the beginning of the campaign? Were there differences in the method? Campaign organization?
What is clear is that Eureka, most likely, has passed up on a solid opportunity of energetic and passionate leadership which could have turned some of the dreariness around.
So, assuming that the late absentees and provisionals do not turn the election around for Kim, we have two progressives on the Council. Will the remaining members take these election results to heart – very blue results in a national election buried in red? Will Melinda Ciarabellini, who endorsed Kim, become a swing vote? Mike Newman certainly isn’t entering his second term with a clear mandate – a little more GOTV, or the slightest difference could have taken him out of office. Eureka looks and feels like a run down dreary place of late, with crime and empty storefronts, and a suicide inspiring landscape at both 101 entrances – it just doesn’t look like we are a city with pride and hope for the future. Kim would have brought some enthusiasm into the leadership that might have made Eureka more of a town people think about moving their kids too, instead of heading towards a retirement community filled with grumpy old men yelling at kids to get off their lawns. Let’s have a city that doesn’t try to pass tax extension measures by putting up signs at a fire station stating in essence, “This station will be closed if you don’t cough up another chunk of what little money you make.”
Measure R failed, but four red states passed increases to minimum wages – by very large margins! Yes, these are states which so many voters are dissatisfied with President Obama (though few of them can articulate why – there were some pretty funny interviews on the radio yesterday). Unfortunately, those same voters chose to fight the culture war in their Senate choices, but let us also remember that these working class whites were once the foundation of American progressivism when it came to organizing unions. They may have conservative social agendas which they vote when they feel threatened, but fundamentally they do not share the neoliberal ideologies of conservative movement leaders. Four red states called for government intervention in the economy to redistribute wealth.
There’s a lesson in there somewhere.
There’s also a lesson in comparative results with Democrats running from Obama (and liberals) and those who take the bull by the horns and stay true to their values.
Will the Massachusetts Democrats please retire Martha Coakley? Aren’t you starting to feel like Charlie Brown trying to kick Lucy’s football? How many elections does she have to blow for them before they send her to pasture?
And the perennial question – what happened to the youth vote? And please don’t bring out the old adage, “we didn’t give them anything to vote for.” That’s crap. What we have a problem with is civics lessons in high school. Basic fact of life – conservatives vote because it is their duty to vote – liberals have to be coaxed and convinced that it will “make a difference.” And when you don’t have a rock star running for President, that’s a problem.
And liberals, next time listen to Nate Silver even if you don’t like what he’s telling you.
Meanwhile, National Review is telling the Republicans, “Governing is a trap!”