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November 03, 2004

Washington's Silver Lining

Nationally, it was a tough night for progressives. I've never seen so many drawn faces on the bus.

But if you look at the statewide level, things went pretty well overall.

Democrats will expand their majority in the House, and take back control of the Senate. Assuming that Chris Gregiore hangs on to her lead, this is good news for getting a progressive agenda through Olympia.

All of our ballot measures and initiatives went basically the right way. (Although some might quibble with my hostility towards I-884.) The environmental movement's 68% victory on I-297 (Hanford Cleanup) is particularly worthy of celebration -- tihs is the first ballot initiative the environmental movement has passed in years. And of course Tim Eyman got (another) solid drubbing. Apparently he's not even a competent hack anymore, let alone a populist crusader.

What's your take?

Posted by Jon Stahl on November 3, 2004 at 11:21 AM in Candidate Races | Permalink

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Comments

What troubled me most about this election is that the "mainstream" appears to be moving farther and farther to the right. I concede, that it could be my my beliefs that shifted farther to the left but the fact remains that there is an enormous chasm between my beliefs and that of half the voting public. So much so, in fact, that I can't even relate to these people, or at least, that's how it feels.

Environmental issues were all but off the radar in this election in what is arguably, the most important election ever for these issues. I find that I simply can't relate to to people who claim to be rooted in their faith, who soundly dismissed such issues as gay marriage, and will likely restrict abortion rights with Bush's appointment of multiple Supreme Court Justices. Lastly, I'm still trying to figure out how morality could guide so many people's votes, and they cite Bush as the more upstanding candidate.

Forgive my rant, but I'm shocked and disheartened by my countrymen, whom I feel I do not know or understand.

I know there's a silver lining, and plenty of things to be hopeful about, not the least of which will be a Democratic Party that is forced to reorganize, reprioritize, and develop effective messages and a distribution system for those messages (as effectively as Republicans have). I just hope that doesn't mean that the "mainstream" keeps moving farther and farther to the right, that is surely not what I want.

Posted by: Dave Manelski | Nov 3, 2004 2:21:17 PM

I took away from the election that the electorate isn't voting on an issue by issue appraisal of the candidates -- polls showed time and time again that the majority of voters disagreed more than they agreed with Republican policy. However, I think Democrats have lost the battle in explaining the moral code which guides those policies, as well as how the principles of the Democratic party reflect the realities of their lives. I think the Democrats need to regain their ability to couch their policy positions as being motivated by issues that are important to the typical blue collar, rural american, and in doing so help the voters relate to the Democratic party as an embodiment of the values and characteristics that make us all Americans.

I think those of us who are secular will need to get used to hearing religion discussed regularly. I think we'll need to give candidates the freedom to not pass every single litmus test we want them to (roadless rule, abortion, patriot act, funding social programs, etc) as long as they inspire us and speak to the core of that which makes us progressives. Failure to do so will lead us, I fear, farther into the wilderness where the only candidates who have even a shred of progressive politics are also forced to be completely bland (see Locke, Gary & Gregoire, Christine) so as not to offend any of our many interest groups...

Posted by: Kevin | Nov 3, 2004 9:43:32 PM

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