Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Elections junkie round-up

I guess I'm hopeless. Even in this dead year for a Californian, I had to follow election results last night. It wasn't much fun.

It had been obvious for some time that the Democrat Creigh Deeds was going to go down to Republican Bob McDonnell in Virginia. And he did, big time. A friend who had worked for Deeds in the past says he is not an inspiring campaigner. By far the most interesting observation I've read on that campaign was by James Collins in the New York Times.

It appears then, that to be elected to statewide office in Virginia as a Democrat, it helps to not be particularly Virginian, but rather an expatriate educated professional.

It's a snarky piece of writing, strictly anecdotal -- but Collins may be on to something about that state-in-flux.

Republican Chris Christie has knocked off Democrat Jon Corzine in New Jersey. Guess that proves the guy from Goldman Sachs found something he couldn't buy. I have zero idea how New Jersey politics works -- they seem to elect 'em and then reject 'em with unusual frequency. I have no idea what Corzine was like as governor.

Meanwhile the circus freak show in the New York's 23rd Congressional Districts seems likely to spit out a Democratic winner, the first such in a 100 years. Guess having the likes of Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin muddling in their backyard was too much for those upstaters. Coming from a long line of upstate Republicans, I can just imagine the revulsion ...

But mostly, I just ache for the folks who worked on the Maine marriage equality campaign. Once again, the polling suggested we'd make it. Yet as I write this, supporters are saying "too close to call." This may very well be another narrow loss for gay marriage.

From afar, No on 1 looked like a well run campaign. I hope folks can avoid falling into recriminations. Gay marriage is coming, but both we and the naysayers have to live through the painful hiccups along the way.

The culprit in Maine seems to have been the Roman Catholic Church. No surprise there. Nationally the Conference of Catholic Bishops is out to kill any health care reform that allows private insurers to offer the choice of policies that include abortion services in the new market exchanges. Get it -- their beef is about what private insurers would be allowed to sell when competing with a public plan that doesn't cover abortion? The RC Church is willing to kill health care reform for everyone because some people have different moral ideas than they do. Not edifying.

Meanwhile all around the edges of the more visible elections, LGBT people are making good progress. Anti-gay forces put Kalamazoo Michigan's gay civil rights ordinance up for referendum -- it survived handily. A gay man was elected mayor of Chapel Hill, North Carolina -- a very "New South" sort of place, but progress nonetheless. And a lesbian Democrat became the leading candidate in a run-off for Mayor of Houston. That's the fourth largest city in the country! In Washington State, voters appear to be approving an expanded domestic partnership law that gives couples all the rights and responsibilities the state offers, except the label "marriage."

Here in San Francisco (the home of the multi-lingual polling place sign above) we had an election so boring almost nobody came -- 12.5 percent according to the Department of Elections. I was among this sliver of the population, but even this elections junkie can't remember what any of it was about.


Sarah Lawton said...

Hi Jan--I could have written this post, word for word (except for your personal experience of upstate NY voters, but for my part, the fact that New England voters reversed the gay civil marriage law was a gut punch; that's my grandmother's home state).

I was also one of the 1 in 8 SF voters who made it to the polls yesterday (what did we vote on again? the number of aides allowed the supervisors?). I think the Mission District had even worse turnout, maybe 1 in 10? And we also watched the returns and hit refresh on the Bangor Daily News site. I knew it was over when Portland and York County as a whole were all in but the margins were still widening. South state had to carry a big lift and they didn't quite do it even with high off-year participation.

The arc is bending in the right direction though. Faster than we thought it would even ten years ago.

Caminante said...

I keep asking: how can the Roman Catholic Church maintain its tax-free status for all of the political meddled it does?

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