Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Last Call For That Stopped Clock Being Right And All

Today's contestant:  Joan Walsh.

No, no link.  Not for Joan Walsh, and double not for Joan Walsh at Salon.

There are two big lessons from Virginia. Abortion matters. Twenty percent of voters said it was their top issue, and they broke overwhelmingly for McAuliffe. And African-American voters continue to be the most reliable pillar of the Democratic base.  Black voter turnout was identical to 2012, chastening people who suggest the Democrats won’t do as well without Obama’s name on the ballot. Where McAuliffe lost white voters 56-36 to Cuccinelli, he won nine of 10 black voters.

So yes, guess who once again turned out for the Democrat in the race and provided the margin of victory, despite overwhelming attempts to stop the black vote, and where only 37% of all Virginia voters turned out?  Keep in mind 80% of Virginia voters turned out in 2012, but black turnout was virtually the same.  The rest of Virginia stayed home.  Think about that when you hear reasons why Cuccinelli lost.  He lost because black voters showed up in the same numbers they did in 2012, in an off, off-year election.

The Virginia results also show why Republicans are working overtime to suppress black voters. Anyone who cares about 2014 and 2016 (are you listening, Hillary Clinton?) should be making voting rights and turnout efforts their No. 1 issue, starting today.  Virginia shows that it’s going to be tough, though not impossible, for Democrats to make 2014 the kind of “wave” election that could let them take back the House of Representatives, as they did in 2006. But it also shows that the so-called Obama coalition can survive without anyone by that name on the ballot.

Timepiece, otherwise frozen and useless, happens to have correct chronometic reading in this particular instance.  I note the occurrence for posterity and move on.  Jamelle Bouie at the Daily Beast spells it out:

Where the change from 2009 was most significant was among black voters. Then, African Americans were 16 percent were of the electorate, a significant drop from the 2008 election. This year, blacks were 20 percent of all voters, which means their turnout was exactly where it was in 2012. Put another way, for the second year in a row, African Americans turned out at a rate above their percentage of the population, and supported the Democrat by a 9-to–1 margin.
This is huge. For McAuliffe, what it meant is that—for almost every black voter who went to the polls—he could count on a vote, giving him crucial support in a tight race. To wit, more than 37 percent of his vote total came from African Americans. It’s not hard to see what the race would have looked like with 2009 numbers; a four percent drop in black turnout would have slashed roughly 80,000 votes from McAuliffe’s total, turning Ken Cuccinelli’s narrow loss into a slim victory.

Fin.  Exeunt, stage left.

The County Unfair

As far as the vanity proposition to "push for secession" in 11 Colorado counties on the ballot yesterday, six of them said yes, we want to start taking steps to secede.  The Denver Post:

Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway said the 51st state movement is halted — at least in his county — but there were positive benefits from the secession campaign.

"Weld County voters said this is an option we shouldn't pursue and we won't pursue it," Conway said Tuesday night. "But we will continue to look at the problems of the urban and rural divide in this state."

Weld County voters Tuesday soundly rejected the 51st State Initiative 58 percent to 42 percent.

But in six of the 11 counties where the secession question appeared on the ballot, the measure passed by strong margins. 

"Positive benefits" like being a laughingstock.  OK.

The ballot question, intended as a straw poll, asked residents whether their county commissioners should takes steps to secede from the Centennial State.

Fort Lupton Mayor Tommy Holton said Tuesday night that secession probably would not succeed. But he said the publicity would shed light on rural Colorado's grievances.

"We not only want to be at the table," he said, "but we want a voice at the table as well."

Proponents say they have become alienated from the more urbanized Front Range and are unhappy with laws passed during this year's legislative session, including stricter gun laws and new renewable-energy standards.

Well then, you do the adult thing and campaign to get those laws changed, not throw a temper tantrum and say "we don't have a voice" when the vote doesn't go your way.  I mean, it's not like there's rampant voter suppression of white rural voters, right?  Did anyone in Greeley Colorado have to wait 8 hours in line to vote?  No?

Suck it up, cowards.  You lost.  That happens in a representative democracy.  Voters in Colorado rejected a $950 million school reform bill that would have raised the state income tax on the wealthiest citizens.  The cry of "it'll destroy family farms and ranches" won big, despite $10 million spent by folks like Bill Gates and Mike Bloomberg to pass the measure.

So should the people who wanted the school measure passed now secede from the state?  That what you do when you lose a vote, right?


Election Day: The Morning After

As the smoke clears from last night's election results, no really huge upsets in the state races in New Jersey and Virginia, nor in the big mayoral races.

Chris Christie easily won re-election in New Jersey, where exit polls showed him winning 20% of black voters and 45% of Latinos, unheard of in most elections.  In Virginia, Terry McAuliffe fought back AG Ken Cuccinelli's last minute push to win by about 3 points.  And in New York City, Bill de Blasio rolled to a huge victory in the mayoral race there.

But locally, things aren't looking good at all.  John Cranley looks to have won by a big margin in the Cincinnati mayor's race, beating Roxanne Qualls by double digits.  Cranley, in his victory speech, vowed to end the streetcar project as his first act as Mayor.  With the city council also being realigned and Laure Quinlivan and Pam Thomas out and streetcar opponents Amy Murray, Kevin Flynn and former Mayor David Mann in (along with Qualls' departure), Cranley should now easily have the votes there to scrap the project entirely.

In other words, the streetcar project is almost certainly dead after being approved by voters twice.  The question is how soon the burial will be, and how much damage the city's reputation will take when outside investors decide that putting money into any project in Cincinnati is impossible when the council and mayor can just kill any infrastructure improvement plan voters approve.

What'll happen is the council will vote on a plan to shelve any futher work on the project until yet another study can be done on the project, and then the project will never be restarted.  Council members PG Sittenfeld and now David Mann have suggested the study route, even though there have been several studies on the project both before and after the project was approved by voters.

We'll see if they pull the plug or not.  Considering that was Cranley's top promise and he won by 16 points?  Count on him doing everything possible to try.

Really the only good news is that Issue 4, the Tea Party backed ballot initiative to basically scrap all city pensions and replace them with 401k plans (eagerly backed by Ohio investment banks) lost by more than 50 points.

The measure also would have crippled the city financially the same way that Republicans crippled the Postal Service:  by requiring the city to pay off pension liabilities for workers decades from now in just 10 years. That would all but eliminate the city's budget for social welfare, public safety, and infrastructure improvements or requiring huge tax increases, or most likely both, just to balance the budget.  And of course, the Cincinnati charter would require voters to approve the tax increases, which would fail, ultimately leaving all the budget balancing to mean massive and draconian cuts in city schools, police, firefighting, safety, and social programs.

Needless to say, the measure died screaming.

We'll see if the streetcar survives the next year.  I'm betting like the Cincinnati subway, it will lie unfinished for eternity.


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