Wednesday, June 06, 2012

A long hard election night

Wisconsin returns come in … this is an ugly result. I'm particularly struck by an item in the NY Times exit poll: 37 percent of people living in households that include union members voted for Scott Walker, the scourge of workers' wages, health benefits and pensions. What's wrong with these people and what's wrong with this country?
As I was waiting for the returns, the cat sitter dropped by to get her instructions for when I'm away next week. She's 17, the friend of a young friend, and she had never met me before. She brought her Auntie. Or maybe Auntie brought her.

The cat sitter was cute, charming, efficient. The cat hid, but they'll do fine with each other when he comes out from under the bed. He's a little spooky.

Auntie wanted to see the whole house; she looked at the family pictures. They'd been told that we'd climbed Kilimanjaro -- I pointed to a picture of us at 18,000 feet. The pet sitter talked about how next year, as a high school senior, she'll be able to take less classes. With more free time, she'll be able to go back to ice skating. I showed her a picture of another young friend who is on her way to becoming an Olympic caliber biathlete.

Auntie wanted to talk about how the Mission was a good place to live … always interesting things happening on the streets, all kinds of different shops. She feels safe here. We know how to live here; not to go out in the middle of the night.

Auntie is from the Philippines. But the family has an Italian name. There was a grandfather who was a sailor, perhaps. They think maybe someday they'll be able to go to Italy and find people with their name. Auntie has seen a lot of life; she walks with a cane. She'd like to see more.

You have to know how to live rich and how to live poor, Auntie says. Sometimes you live well. But you can get by on corn and beans, if you have to, you know.
Much later, as I write this, I'm following the returns about the tobacco tax measure on the California Secretary of State's website. The cigarette companies don't want their cancer sticks taxed for research; they poured $47 million into TV ads to defeat it. The "yes" vote is up by 20,000 with over 2.5 million votes counted -- a little over a quarter of the precincts have come in. If the proposition pulls through, it is going to be a cliffhanger. It's not looking good for lungs as I go to bed.
Auntie was wearing an "I voted" sticker.


Theo said...

This is purely anecdotal, but one woman interviewed on NPR after voting in Wisconsin said that on principle she believed recall votes should be used only in cases of "gross misconduct" and that Scott Walker didn't meet that bar.

I think it is a bad idea to have the recall vote mixed up with a partisan election. Have a recall vote first, then if the person is booted out, have an election with brand new candidates.

janinsanfran said...

Hi Theo -- a lot of commentators are focusing on the exit poll finding that Wisconsin voters just didn't think a recall was justifiable. And I am sure they didn't.

But I am reminded of the California recall in 2003 and I wonder ... That argument had no traction here. Moreover, unlike Scott Walker, Gray Davis had not pulled any surprises on the electorate that put him in office the year before -- he'd governed as the same unattractive, "gray" politician he'd always been.

Yet the freak show quality of the California recall and the ascension of the Terminator was hugely popular. Finally an election that was not boring; there was large turnout and substantial popular enthusiasm. I guess that just points up that having the same boring candidate as the last round didn't help Dems in Wisconsin. Perhaps a recall only feels legit if it is good theater?

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