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Only a couple of local races unresolved.  Cox was confirmed a winner today, and all the races of national significance now resolved.  We will discuss what the results mean for 2019.  7:00 p.m. as always.


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And it looks like TJ Cox will probably pull it out for the Democrats’ 40th flip this election!

Also, the Democratic general vote was 8 percent higher than the Republicans, which in normal pre-gerrymandering times would have led to a much larger Democratic win.

Trump tweets more whining about Mueller.    Nothing about the pending war.


We seem to have turned a corner.

It turns out the incumbent Senator attended a segregated school to get away from black people – in 1970!

And yes, she was a Dixiecrat.

I remember when her opponent Mike Espy was elected to Congress during the 1980s – first black representative since Reconstruction.  He wasn’t all that liberal – boasting to be the only black House rep to be a member of the NRA.  He ended up in the Clinton Administration where he got into some ethical trouble, although he was cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.  Apparently he’s made a comeback.

I think about a third of the registered voters are black.  If they come out in force and there are just enough white voters tired of White Nationalism, maybe he can pull it off.  Probably wishful thinking.

And Arkley’s asshole bid failed.

I don’t entirely agree with all of Cody Johns’s letter to the Times Standard.  I do believe that the new ward voting system in Eureka favors grassroots candidates.  Billboards and radio ads are all but pointless wastes of money.  We voted for the system because we wanted candidates to win based upon actual human contact and in depth discussion rather than waves of media buys which favor candidates with more money than organization.  That’s what we got.

I wasn’t sure, but I had a pretty good feeling that Leslie Castellano would win in Ward 1.  I saw Mantova signs all over Eureka, but they were curiously lacking in Ward 1.

But Cody is right in that the progressive results were good across the city.  Although conservatives might have benefited from the resistance many voters have to electing a slate (whereas if you’re voting for only one candidate you simply choose the best candidate of your lot and if you’re progressive you don’t have he luxury of a charity vote for a conservative).

There is a reason district/ward elections were a major part of the Progressive Era reforms.  It’s the same reason conservatives all over the country have opposed them in most cases for the past century.  Bishop Fulton Sheen claimed they were inspired by communists (not entirely false) because it threatened Church influence over Chicago.   Even the Republicans of San Francisco were hesitant to embrace them when it gave them their only chance (however minimal) of representation of the Board of Supervisors.   The reform favors a certain brand of activism which is more prevalent on the left.

Still, I think the results would have been the same this Blue Wave season regardless of the voting system.

This isn’t to gloat.  God knows I’ve been on the losing side of elections – way more often than not in elections which have really mattered.   But as someone who has voted in every election since I turned 18, I know that nothing is permanent in politics.  In the decade before this one we experienced a bit of a local “blue wave.”  It was undone by what former Arcata City Council member once referred to as “an unholy alliance between developers and dope growers.”  And now the pendulum has swung back a bit.   We’ve won a sweep in Eureka.  It appears that we’ve passed the Sanctuary Ordinance – with total conservative and even some progressive opposition (I don’t think it would have been possible a decade ago and I wonder if it would have passed but for the zero-tolerance polices at the border which inflicted horror on immigrant families).  Arcata voted to bring symbolic/iconic change reflecting the city’s modern values to the Plaza.   In June, upstart hippie Steven Madrone defeated an entrenched local conservative who had the endorsement of the mainstream of the Democratic Party.  And serious challenges will soon be introduced against the BOS incumbents up for reelection in 2020.

But I and other progressives have learned that political fortunes can change on a dime.  Yes, many hippies, Latinos, retiring baby-boomers from urban areas, and other progressive constituencies are moving in.  But I don’t think they are in the numbers to guarantee a progressive win every time.  And despite opinions like those expressed in Mike Jones’s lament on KINS radio, I’m hopeful that he and other conservatives are more philosophical as they reflect on this election.  Here are my thoughts as to where they went wrong, because I actually think the results could have been much closer despite the structural advantage progressives held this time around.

First, Eureka is not like the rural midwest.  The angry “plain talking” screams of dystopia requiring defeat of a perceived political enemy worked well for a certain Presidential candidate in 2016 because the electoral-college structure provides affirmative action to rural white conservatives, because the Democrats had long abandoned class/union politics, and because a demagogue can rail against political “enemies” in the abstract but that’s undermined when voters actually have the opportunity to meet the candidates being attacked.  To express so much anger over H and I Streets giving up a lane for bicycles really cost them credibility.  Even many of those who have questions about the plans are rolling their eyes at the screaming about it.  Yes, we have crime.  Yes, homeless are leaving needles laying around.  Yes, we are post-industrial and have to find some footing.  But it’s just not that bad a place to live.  In fact, I love the city.  It reminds me a bit of the Pacifica of my youth.  But we don’t have factories an industrial plants to default to for employment anymore.  We have to figure it out.  And blaming four years of a progressive Eureka council on the effects of a collapsing economic empire is just not going to sell here.  In short, conservatives need to chill out, stop pining for the industrial past which isn’t returning, and think about what they would like to see rooted in what we have and not the magical unicorns of the east-west railroad.

Secondly, Eureka has ward elections now.  We voted for them so that a grassroots campaign could have a prayer against a financial war chest.  It means that in order to win you have to walk the neighborhoods and knock on doors.  Talk to people.   Sorry, but a big freeway billboard south of town is a complete waste of money – all you’re going to advertise is your bad judgment.  And actually, even some of the progressives bought into the radio ads, and maybe that was necessary.  But I really think the races were won on candidate-to-person contact.  It’s not just about the voters getting to know you.  You also learn from them, and maybe even reconsider some of your own positions.  Leslie, for instance, knew that many of her ward constituents are concerned about safety.  So she addressed safety in a demonstration of her own in the presence of the opposition safety crowd at the courthouse on the weekend before the election.  She heard and set aside my own advice that she should focus on GOTV that late in the campaign.  She heard my advice, but she was the one who had been knocking on doors and had the sense of her electorate.  She exercised leadership she might not have exercised but for the wisdom acquired through hands-on politics.  She is in touch.

Lastly, unlike the Trump constituency, Eureka voters apparently do not reject science.  Needle exchanges save lives.  The science has been in for decades.  And you know, many of us have kids.  I don’t want needles in the woods, where kids go or even where they don’t.  I intend to join some of the clean-up efforts and I hope other progressives will join as well, so we can have a full sensory understanding of the magnitude of the problem and then come back to the table to discussion potential solutions other than total shutdown or a model which defies the science in terms of effectiveness in saving lives.  Maybe we can have a discussion sans hysteria, death threats, and demonizing.

I’m not going to be one-sided in this.  Yes, Anthony Mantova said some stupid things on social media, and voters may have found them to be disqualifying.  It was fair to bring them up.  But a mailer about it?  And was the accompanying hyperbole necessary?  The posts should speak for themselves without the need to tell the reader how they should feel about it.  But that’s my problem with propaganda in general.  It doesn’t invite critical thinking of the cerebral cortex.  It appeals to the lizard brain of the medulla oblongata.  If we’re going to survive as a species, we need to appeal to the latter.  As George Orwell once said after working for Radio Free Europe in the effort against Nazism, he said, “All propaganda is lies, even when it’s the truth.”

And, you know, we’re progressives.  We’ll probably find a way to screw up what we have – if not in the next election cycle, the one after that.  Or after that.  But maybe we can come up with some thoughts as to how to draw some economic activity to the area which is consistent with our values and the natural beauty, or pump up what we already have.  That will involving talking at a normal decibel level.

Or we can just stick to our own tribes and hope something comes of it.

Heidi 2Heidi 1

Almost 53 percent yes!

Still more votes to count.

I’ll take a look at some other races and update later.

Addendum:  By my count there are still about 15,000 votes to be counted.  But with a 2000 vote lead, I don’t think Measure K is in trouble barring an extreme statistical anomaly.

Leslie Castello is at 49 percent – would be great if she crosses the 50 percent mark.

The votes are trickling in, but looking at the the 2.5 million votes left, most of them are in liberal areas of the state.  Orange County just dropped a bunch of votes into the mix and the Superintendent of Public Instruction race inched a little closer.  But most of the remaining votes come from the urban liberal areas – the biggest bomb waiting to drop being the nearly 700,000 in Los Angeles.  There are pockets of conservative stacks remaining (Ventura, San Bernadino, Riverside).  But offsetting them are Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, etc.  I don’t see how any conservative candidate or cause gains any ground by the end.

Orange County isn’t quite the conservative bastion it used to be.  Several Democrats have taken out Republican House incumbents – the latest win going to Katie Porter who did it with a very liberal platform!  Democrats are kicking ass in the California House races – the only two of the seven or eight contested races the Republicans are holding so far being the Trump sycophant Devin Nunes  and the rabidly racist Duncan Hunter.  One or two others remain uncalled.

Still no update in Humboldt County, though one is expected today.

Outside of California the Democrats just flipped their 37th House rep in Maine, where the Republican filed and lost a last minute challenge to the state’s ranked choice instant runoff.  He was ahead in the first vote, but failed to collect 50 percent and so it went to the instant run-off where the Democrat prevailed.  Of course it’s really unfair to file such a lawsuit after the votes have been cast since many votes might have been different in the absence of the ranked choice option.

Addendum:  Big Los Angeles drop of votes this afternoon, and the Superintendent’s race seems out of reach.

Meanwhile, a week and a half later, Alpine County still hasn’t counted any of those 34 votes!



November 2018