Two Cheers for the Midterm Elections

Not a bad night if you’re a lefty, surprisingly. Here’s why:

1. Despite Cuomo’s masterful machinations, the Working Families Party (WFP) easily cleared the gubernatorial line vote (for Cuomo) of 50,000. As of last posting, it stands at 94, 593. Not too shabby.

2. Despite WFP’s strong showing, the Green Party’s candidate, Howie Hawkins, didn’t fare too poorly either, currently pushing about 5% of the gubernatorial vote (146, 564).

3. Marijuana legalization initiatives passed in Oregon and Washington, D.C. Florida’s initiative was defeated, but that’s just because Florida is Florida. And even with Florida being Florida, 57% were in favor of legalization (the threshold was 60%).

4. Thus far, every minimum wage initiative has passed. This includes the ones in Arkansas, Illinois, and Nebraska. South Dakota’s results are still pending.

5. While Tennessee managed to finesse an initiative thumbing its nose at Roe v. Wade, more explicit attacks on reproductive rights were thwarted in North Dakota and Colorado.

6. Massachusetts followed California and New York City in passing paid sick leave legislation.

7. A city in North Texas by the name of Denton passed a ban on fracking. North Texas!

8. Washington state expanded background checks on gun sales.

9. Kentucky (just barely) avoided becoming a “right-to-work” (RTW) state. For more on the fraud that is RTW, read this.

10. A Democratic Party that continues to sacrifice the poor and working person on the tripartite altars of plutocratic entrenchment, the upward redistribution of wealth, and perpetual war — all the same thing really — got walloped across the board. Meanwhile, Republicans were forced to be the ones to point out the obvious about the severe inequities plaguing our neoliberal landscape. And the voters liked what they heard, according to William Saletan.

11. Ezra Klein and his ilk will spin this Democratic Party debacle as a defeat of an (nonexistent) overconfident liberalism and an excuse for having Democrats tilt even more to the right. This is to be expected from elite opinion-makers who get paid to publish elite (and milquetoast) opinions. But more thoughtful, historically-literate, and interesting voices — and not all on the left (witness Saletan) — will offer more challenging and astute observations, most of which will have something or other to do with the final two paragraphs of this.

12. Oh, and the splendidly post-ideological data-miner, Nate Silver, along with his splendidly post-ideological and data-mining website, FiveThirtyEight, proved splendidly wrong about everything. I consider that a win for the left.

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