occasional blog posts & opinion pieces by desrowVISUALS photographer Chris Goodwin

7 Days Later - Random Thoughts About The Election (11/14/16)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ----- there is no doubt that racism, misogyny & ultra-nationalism played a large role in this election, a toxic mixture that Trump tapped into very successfully, but I can’t help thinking that a strong, clear, consistent and credible message of economic populism that addressed everyday concerns of working people (low & stagnant wages, rising health care costs etc. as well as the lack of interest in any of this on the part of a corrupt political class mainly concerned with pleasing their campaign contributors, playing inside the beltway political games, and getting re-elected) could have countered a large part of that (Bernie Sanders?).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         ----- some good things did happen on election night though…minimum wage increases (however inadequate they were) won here in Colorado      (I worked on that petition drive for about 4 months) and in Washington, Maine, Arizona. A proposal in South Dakota to lower the minimum wage by $1/hr was defeated!...stricter gun control laws won in 3 of 4 states…and initiatives to legalize pot (recreational or medical use) won in a number of states including Nevada. I imagine the casino owners were “all in” on this one…stoned people gambling? ka-ching!! I wonder if they can sell pot in the casinos? Smoking lounges maybe? Might be a good time to buy casino stocks!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ----- Instant Runoff/Ranked Choice Voting won in Maine…offering an opportunity for new political parties & independents to compete in elections without the fear factor that comes from the “spoiler effect” and the “lesser of two evils” voting that results from it. Maine voters can now vote for the candidate the really want as their first choice and not worry about throwing the election to someone they really don’t want. (For more details on this go here: https://ballotpedia.org/Instant-runoff_voting) Can progressives in Maine, where they already have public financing of state elections) take advantage of this system and build a viable alternative to the Dems & Reps? This new law also applies to Maine’s elections for U.S. House & Senate! I think IRV is the progressive movement’s best hope for building a real alternative to the Democrats. More on this another time.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ----- Closer to home, here in Colorado, how many people who voted for initiative #107, to create a Presidential Primary for our state (a good idea) knew they were voting to make it a “winner take all” primary (a very bad idea)? Now, in a multi-candidate race, the top vote getter, whether they get 52%, 40%, 35% or even less, will get 100% of the delegates! I couldn’t help but notice that none of the TV ads for #107 mentioned “winner take all”, and didn’t see any coverage in either the Boulder Daily Camera or Denver Post (they both endorsed it) that mentioned it either. Can’t wait to see how many people don’t realize this until the next Presidential campaign in 4 years!

----- Here in Boulder (the “Some People’s Republic”?) did we have our own local version of the anti-establishment backlash?...not in the Presidential race, Trump got less than 22% in Boulder County…but here in the City of Boulder an initiative to put term limits on the City Council won big with almost 60%! Are Council Members past & present an out of touch, liberal elite? Less than 30% of Boulder voters turn out for City Council elections…that means that about 70% vote for nobody! Around 50% of Boulder residents are renters yet there hasn’t been a renter on the City Council for…20yrs?...30yrs?...ever?? We already had public financing of City Council elections, now we have term limits (which I’ve never liked and voted against)…how about electing the City Council from districts? It would at least bring some geographical diversity to the Council…would it also mean some actual renters on the Council too? With 70% voting for nobody something needs to change!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       ----- One final note…as if there is not enough to worry about with our new President-elect (he just announced his chief strategist will be someone the media is calling a “white nationalist”…is that “not so secret code” for white supremacist ? more appointments to come), consider this …are the Republicans in the Senate smart/bold/unblinking enough to do something the Democrats failed to do after they won control of the White House and both Houses of Congress in 2008…eliminate Senate filibusters?! How different might Obama’s first 2yrs been if the Republicans did not have the filibuster to derail just about everything he proposed? How many things like single-payer health care, social security expansion, labor law reform etc, etc, never moved forward because they would “never get 60 votes in the Senate”? The filibuster appears to be the Democrats only hope in stopping the worst of the Trump/right wing agenda. Will Republicans allow the Dems to do to Trump what they did to Obama?...or will they use their Senate majority to eliminate filibusters and give themselves unprecedented control in Washington? All it would take is a majority vote when the rules for the new Senate session are adopted… and it can’t be filibustered! Just another item to add to your list of Trump induced anxieties!


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