Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Electoral Post Mortem

The results are in. The Monkey King and Jason have both done post-election reports. Here's mine (for those living out of state who have had to listen to my observations) and a few notes.

I mentioned the initiatives earlier in the journal, and the results were in general pretty good. I-900, which supported performance audits, passed, as did I-901, the more stringent smoking ban. I supported the first, did not support the second. I've spent the past four days in Duesseldorf, Germany, which has a good population of smokers, but really have little to complain about. The evil twin medical initiatives, I-360 and I-363, both went down to defeat, though the anti-lawyer one lost by less than the anti-insurance company one. Despite the defeats, I think the amount of heat and invective poured into the campaigns should be a sign for our legislature to address the issues raised.

Excuse me?


You just said you were in Dusseldorf?

I've seen it spelled Dusseldorf and Duesseldorf, but yes, I've been here for the past four days or so. I am currently writing at 6 AM local time (jet lag is a pain) at the window of my hotel on Kurfurstenstrasse, since that gives me the best reception for the hotel's wireless hub. Moving on, I-912 . . .

No, no, no. WHY are you in Dusseldorf?

I'm talking to a software company. When things finally gel (and the contract is in the last throes of rebellion now), I'll pass things along. May I continue?

Oh . . . OK

I-912, the anti-gas tax initiative went down to a glorious and explosive defeat. For all of the call-in show bloviation and stories of taxpayer rebellion, the bulk of the populace got the message that people wanted safer roads and were willing to kick in for them. The final outcome of the initiative did two things - it showed a unity among a hugely diverse group of interests from enviros to corporations, from fiscal conservatives to social liberals. It also showed that a lot of drumbeating from the radio waves on behalf of this initiative was an echo chamber, something that usually pops up on liberal blogs, where everyone quotes each other and creates the illusion of a popular will. And in this case, I-912 was more smoke than fire.

Similarly, Ron Sims reduced his GOP opponent to a fine, red electoral paste (13 points up on him, the last figures I had). Just three weeks back, there was a poll showing the two men in a tight race, but since then a lot of attention on the blogs and other media went into really looking at the challenger, and finding some problems.

This actually reflects a pet peeve on the national level for me - you see polls saying that the president would lose badly to "A democrat" if the election were held today,which ignores a)that election is not being held today, b) the president never has to worry about this situation ever again, and c) "A democrat" would not be running, but rather an individual. I think the earlier polls reflects a concern about Sims' activist policies (and he is all over the joint), but when "A republican" solidified into "Dave Irons", then people took a good, hard look and decided that Ron wasn't that bad at all.

OK, back to local. Most of the rest of the field was pretty expected. Susan Rahr took King County Sherrif handily. Greg Nichols, unapposed by an official GOP candidate, won Mayor, the independent running against him doing almost as well as Dave Irons did against Ron Sims. All the "incumbents" for King County Council were elected, including Reagan Dunn for the 9th and Julia Patterson for the 8th. The makeup of the KC Council is 5 Dems, 4 Republicans, with one of the Dems a wild-card (Ferguson of the 1st). The big-business candidates tended to edge out the blue-green labor/environmentalist candidates at the Port of Seattle (of which I probably should have said more at the time, but the Port Authority is this large, sprawling semi-elected operation that required a lot more time to investigate it - the Mgt. regrets not wading in deeper). A city initiative for a shorter Monorail line was voted down, leaving that project in limbo, and perhaps finally dead.

In general, this election has been a vote of confidence for the local incumbents. The voters turned out big for a politically gutsy move by the Governor and state Dems and GOP to help repair the roads. The more radical initiatives went down, though people want a bit more oversight. People are generally happy with where we are, but still have ideas as to where we are going.

It was a good day for Democracy.

More later,