Looking through the election ‘trick or treat’ bag for goodies …

by on November 4, 2010 · 14 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Economy, Election, Environment, Health, History, Labor, Organizing, San Diego


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.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephan November 4, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Silver lining? We got creamed. What worries me worse than the house and senate losses is the tidal wave at the state level and governorships. They redistrict and that is not good news for 2012 and beyond. I am a bit left of center (live in CA and voted for Whitman–I lived through Brown and our state needs some fresh blood) but now I feel like I have no home at all. I wish Obama was Clinton (whom I voted for twice), but I fear he is not. He is way too far left for me and I guess for millions of others, too. So I don’t see a silver lining.


RB November 4, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Stephan, I am with you. I feel the same
But I heard today during Gibb’s press conference that Obama is willing to consider extension of the current tax policies for all. Hopefully this is the first move to follow the Clinton strategy. I think if congress just stopped with the new regulations and continued the current tax policies that this economy is ready to take off.


Frank Gormlie November 4, 2010 at 7:10 pm

For being such a ‘middle-of-the-roader’ Stephan, you sound too demoralized. During polarized periods of our recent electoral history, there are plenty of examples, where the opposition party made big gains in Congress in off-year elections: Reagan 1982, Clinton 1994, Bush 2006. What just happened is not out of the ordinary in terms of electoral posturing.

Sure fresh blood is needed, but not the corporate kind that Whitman offered. Brown at least will know how to be a governor.

I’m glad that Obama is not Clinton, and not to shock you any, but the left in this country does not feel that Obama is “way too far left” but that he in fact he is not left enough. He’s not populist enough, he’s not anti-corporate enough, and it appears he cannot stand up to the military-industrial-research-pentagon complex.

How about the millions who voted him in? Many have been disappointed that Obama has not delivered on enough of his promises, so no it’s not that he is too far left.


nunya November 4, 2010 at 5:40 pm

“San Diego County voters, as we all know, are more conservative than state voters over-all.”

That’s putting it mildly, lol.

I may not have been following elections long enough, so help me out here. Is it normal to lose over 200,000 registered voters in this county in 2 years? And what is a normal percentage of voters that actually vote in a midterm?


Frank Gormlie November 4, 2010 at 6:53 pm

I don’t have this elections figures, but Mid-Term election turn-out is ALWAYS much lower than a Presidential year election. For a mid-term 40% of eligible voters is considered high. So, a steamed-up segment of the people who vote – say, the tea partiers – can mobilize themselves and force results that are out of proportion from the actual popular will.


RB November 5, 2010 at 7:53 am

If we actually had results that were proportional to the actual popular will, our representatives would be independents, moderates and ready to compromise. As the number of independent grow, especially among the young, may be some day we will see a real popular vote and a rejection of both of current extremes.


Rene Ghadoo November 4, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Long time reader and first timer from Alpine, home of the free and the hunter’s.
I don’t agree with the ALWAYS analysis because even though this was a mid-term national election, California also held a gubernatorial election, where millions of our cash was squandered to get out the vote. After all, Meg spent the profits she got from all of us. As Brown and Boxer, et al, received millions from who knows where, as the current electoral business is cemented into who can purchase power at whatever price. Yes, it’s what the “people” want, right?
I wonder how many of those 200K who “were lost” in this election are the youth and “progressives” who were mobilized by Obamamania in ’08.
Many national and state sources are saying the young vote stayed home, in particular looking to the failure of Prop. 19 in the state and the overwhelming numbers of the national boomer vote who turned to the GOP, both generations turning their backs on the Dems due to Obama’s failures. Mainly because of his ineptitude and or willingness to make true on his promise to change. The only change dished out was the one you get when you fill up your gas tank, pennies and nickels, if you’re lucky or still getting unemployment checks.
Adding to this “disillusioned” electorate are the massive charges from the imperial powers who look at our “Nobel” as a weakling when dealing with the rogues states and the real forces of change and resistance raging and blowing all over the globe against the empire. The imperial powers would not stand still and showed what we knew all along, in the immortal words of Coach Dennis Green: “if you want to crown them well crown their ass… they are who we thought they were… and we let them off the hook…
I remember back when the revolutionary left in the USA showed and built solidarity with those rebels, as in Viet Nam, El Salvador or Nicaragua, they wouldn’t bother with the foolishness of this current electorate circus, and would truly challenge and organize to democratize this society at the same time holding and waving the solidarity flag. Let’s remember Guevara’s statement about his admiration for those struggling inside the belly of the imperial beast.
Where have all those flowers gone now that Obamamania wilts?
I wonder what Guevara and those folks of the late 60s and early 70s on the streets of OB, Venice, Watts, Berkeley, Buffalo, Peoria, etc. would say about the purveyors of the “left” today. Maybe these “progressives” today wouldn’t pass the eye much less the nose test, notwithstanding tea-partyland.


Frank Gormlie November 5, 2010 at 9:41 am

Renee, you sound a little distant from today’s struggles.


doug porter November 5, 2010 at 10:12 am

prop 19 got more yes votes than meg whitman did.


Frank Gormlie November 5, 2010 at 10:28 am

Yea! Doug’s right. Prop 19 received 3,412,387 votes compared to Whitman’s 3,088,070 votes – according to yesterdays (11/4/10) U-T. Not true however for San Diego County where Meg got 329,506 vs Prop 19’s 302,363.


Jon November 5, 2010 at 11:13 am
dave rice November 4, 2010 at 11:21 pm

A few thoughts…

I thought 19 was a bit premature, and while disappointed, I’m not surprised. What is promising is that we’ve had almost a 10 point shift in favor of legalization since 2006.

Our vote for redistricting doesn’t surprise me, either. Could have a little something to do with the long-disenfranchised progressives from US House 52, where I grew up and spent the first half-dozen years of my adult life, and also home to a guy that’s basically only in office because his dad was vain enough to give him the same name.

The third-party vote, especially in second-tier races, is encouraging. I voted for Kerry in ’04, but that’s the only vote I’ve ever cast for a member of one of the ruling parties and likely the last one I will cast. If the nobodies get 10-11% now, the hope is that next time they pull a collective 13-14% and if that total keeps growing maybe in another decade the ruling parties will have to take notice. I really think we need at least a third (preferably a fourth or fifth) viewpoint in government, because it would force compromise if no group had a clear majority. Instead of A and B butting heads, they might be a little more civil knowing that C is working with A to defeat B today, but tomorrow A might very well have to make nice with B to hold sway over C.

If anyone thinks we’ve got an issue with aggressive homeless here, trek on up to Frisco sometime. I don’t think passing a law making it illegal to rest on a city street is going to solve a problem of lots of folks with nowhere to go, however.

I’m active on two websites – this one and another that’s skewed about as far to the right as the Rag is to the left. I feel you have to understand the other side’s point of view in order to bolster your belief in your own opinions, and on occasion you find a right-winger that’s well-informed and passionate, but just draws different conclusions from the same set of facts. That, and I’ve long been an action sports junkie (I ride quads and dirt bikes because surfers seem to be mostly pricks that would probably beat me up if I tried to learn)…anyway, my point is that you wouldn’t believe how miserable most of them are even after their sweeping national victories.


nunya November 5, 2010 at 11:44 am

Thanks guys, I appreciate it.

Supposedly the final numbers will be up by 5 pm today.

I was wrong, we lost 40,00 registered voters in 2 yrs, and 85% voter turnout in ’08 is an anomaly even in a general presidential.

I think the kids who turned out to vote for prop 19 may well have pushed Brown into the governorship, lol


Editordude November 5, 2010 at 1:57 pm

This is real – don’t let the title misdirect you – or fool you – or – just check it out …



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