Voting Results On Ballot Measures Shows There’s Still Hope For This Country

So Republicans now control the House and the Senate, and they defeated Democratic gubernatorial candidates in Maryland, Maine, Massachussetts, and (sigh) Illinois, and so control the majority of gubernatorial offices in the U.S. Don’t freak out too much; let’s be honest, politicians’ inability to care about their constituencies knows no political party. Ever listened to that This American Life episode about campaign financing? It’s a good one. This year’s top ten most expensive races will cost $700 million combined.

But it’s not all gloom and doom! While America voted conservative in the elections for offices, voting on ballot measures shows favor for more progressive ideas, most notably on the issue of raising the minimum wage. In Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota voters favored raising the minimum wage over the next two years, and in Illinois an advisory measured was passed to raise the minimum wage in 2015. In all but Illinois, the measures would still have the minimum wage at less than $10 an hour — far below the $15 that activists have been fighting for and that San Francisco and Seattle have approved — but it’s a start for income equality that I’m happy to take.

Also, Alaskans appear to have approved a measure to legalize marijuana, as have Oregonians; unborn children will not be included in Colorado’s definition of personhood (excluding abortions from being characterized as wrongful deaths), and Illinois employers will be required to cover birth control on their health insurance plans. What that means — to me — is that while Republicans ran more effective campaigns, traditionally liberal, social justice-minded causes are gaining ground in the American popular imagination.

So hey, let’s take that and run with it! Raise a (cheap) glass for the gains made for the working class and women, and let’s give Republicans hell over abortion access.

[NY Times]

[Politico]

[This American Life]

[Yahoo]

[CNN]

[Forbes]

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