If you have had or have kids now who go out ‘trick or treating’ on Halloween, you know what it’s like to go through the bags of goodies they bring home. You either do this after they fell asleep exhausted from their travels or while they’re at school. Either way, as a parent, you need to go through those bags (and grab all those pot-laced brownies and cookies that we warned about for yourself) just to ensure everything was “okay” – I know you know what I mean here. Usually I would try to grab most of Reese’s and the Mounds before anyone else in the household even knew they were there. But anyway, I digress ….
So, following in the spirit of Doug Porter’s efforts to find the silver linings in the dark clouds that enveloped the nation on Election Day, I perused the U-T this morning and went over the numbers. I wanted to find the goodies in the slack bag of ‘trick or treat’ candy we were handed on Tuesday.
I’m not going over the why’s and wherefores of the defeat of Congressional Democrats, except to point out trends, the good news in California, and list some anomalies of San Diego County voters and how we compared to the state over-all. (And I’ll do it in a bullet-point fashion to make it easier to read.)
- First of all, do you realize that NOT ONE Republican was elected to state-wide office here in California? Yes, the Attorney General race is still too close to call, as Democrat Kamala Harris battles for the office with Republican Steve Cooley, but if she does win, we can announce that there was no Tea Party or GOP sweep here on the West Coast. And if she loses, then Dems won 6 out of 7 – still, not bad.
- If Kamala Harris beats Cooley – who are both prosecutors – she would then be the first woman and first African-American to be elected Calif’s top law enforcement officer.
- More good news: Republican Meg Whitman – who spent over $142 Million of her own money – was thwarted by the people of California in her attempt to buy the governorship of the most prosperous state. Another millionaire bites the dust! How many times have we had to go through this?
- Despite all the money and ads and assumptions, Jerry Brown beat Whitman by 12 to 13 POINTS! Not bad for an off-year election. Not bad for a “has-been,” or a “moon-beam”.
- Embattled Senator Barbara Boxer, vilified in commercial after commercial, beat her opponent Tea Party-endorsed Carly Fiorina by 9 points. That, again, is a lot. Boxer is a liberal, and proud of it. We’ll probably never hear of Fiorina in Cali politics again. She’s history.
- Gavin Newsom, the Democratic mayor of San Francisco, running for Lt. Governor, beat his GOP opponent by 11 points.
- San Diego County voters, as we all know, are more conservative than state voters over-all. Despite demographic changes over the last couple of decades which have “liberalized” Southern California somewhat, this year appeared worse than other recent elections in terms of conservatives overwhelming Democratic voters in this here neck of the woods.
- For instance, our County voters voted for Fiorina over Boxer (51% to 43%), voted for Whitman over Brown (50 to 44), and gave the Lt. Governor race to Republican Abel Maldonado (47 to 42).
- For the propositions – it wasn’t all that horrific. Yes, Prop 19 was defeated. But look at the numbers: over 3 million (precisely 3,412,000) California voters believe marijuana should be legalized for personal use. And guess what? A slightly higher percentage of San Diego voters voted for it (47%) than state-wide (46%).
- The redrawing of Congressional districts were taken out of the hands of the parties – Prop 20 won and 27 defeated. San Diegans were more enthusiastic about it than Cali voters, with 66% voting for Prop 20, versus 61% state-wide.
- Prop 23, funded by Texas oil companies, went down big time state-wide: 61% to 39%. In San Diego County, it was 56% to 48%)
- Legislative budget gridlock was knocked with the passage of Prop 25. But, what’s with San Diego voters? They voted it down with 52% voting against it.
- It is true that on the County level, old-time Republicans were returned to the Board of Supervisors, as Horn and Roberts both fended off challengers, for the first time in a general election. Yet Horn only won by 8,000 votes in a district with 118,000 voters this time around. Independent Steve Gronke took over 55,000 votes.
- In Congressional races in the County, 49% of the voters in District 49 voted for someone other than Darrell Issa, the victor.
- And of course, in the 51st District Bob Filner won by a huge margin over tea partier Nick Popaditch – 20 percentage points (60% vs 40%. (Is this why Popaditch and his supporters were angry enough they had to resort to intimidation Election eve?)
- Democrat Susan Davis won again – also big time 62% vs 34% – in the 53rd District.
- State Assembly races were mixed; but Democrats Toni Atkins, Marty Block, and Ben Hueso all won with healthy margins; Juan Vargas won his State Senate seat.
- Teacher Kevin Beiser won a seat on the San Diego Unified School District over businessman Rosen 58% to 42%.
- Jim Miller, a candidate for Superior Court and whose hero is Antonio Scalia – of the US Supreme Court -, lost to Richard Monroy.
- Two candidates for the Grossmont College Board backed by progressives and labor both won – Edwin Hiel and Debbie Justeson.
- Once voters get past the ‘big-ticket items’ on the ballot, the smaller parties begin to reap some resentments that people have over the big two parties. The total percentages of the 3 and 4 smaller parties combined only make up 5 or 6% in the top-tiered races, but that total rises to 9 to 11% in those lower-tiered ones. For example, the combined totals of the American Independent, Libertarian, Green, and Peace and Freedom parties were 11% for Lt. Governor, and even 12% by time you reach the Insurance Commissioner race. Some do it as a protest, some for the heck of it, knowing that none of them this low will win.
- Who is CT Weber? He was the Peace and Freedom candidate for Lt. Gov. – He used to be a local and I used to know him – but I don’t know if he still is local – and he’s been running for these types of offices since the Eighties. Well, he received nearly 8,000 votes from our county, and over 85,000 state-wide. The Peace and Freedom candidate for Insurance Comish, Dina Padilla took in over 17,000 County votes, and 214,000 state-wide votes. Still only 3% however.
- Let’s put these minor parties in more perspective; combined, over four hundred thousand California votes blacked in the oval space for candidates other than for Brown and Whitman. That’s a lot of people – still only 5% of total voters, though.
- Some weirdness from the state-wide election: San Francisco voters passed Prop L which bans sitting and laying on city sidewalks – and it was pushed by Mayor Newsom. So much for ‘freedom of assembly’, eh?
Over-all the Tea Party was beaten back in California. The Tea baggers had endorsed Whitman, Fiorina, and Popaditch locally – they all lost. The conservatives think they “swept” the country, but we know better. Nationally-known tea baggers Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell went down also, and it’s yet unclear how badly a Sarah Palin endorsement hurts.
I’m sure there are some minor races where liberals and progressives won that I’m not aware of. If you know of any, please add the info in a comment.
American democracy is still an issue, however, but the 2010 Mid-Term Election is finally over. Whether outside -even foreign – and secret monies will continue to be allowed in electoral campaigns in the future must be dealt with. With this election we witnessed the auctioning off of American democracy, and whether this state of affairs ushered in by the current Supreme Court will be allowed to continue is part of the mix.
Well, we did find some goodies in the Halloween Election bag. As every election is a mixed bag, we need to not be demoralized about last Tuesday’s results. Life goes on, and as Jon Stewart says, Americans from all walks of life will continue to work together as we do everyday, cooperating with each other in a thousand little ways each time the sun rises and sets.