Questions on Framing and Perspective
Slate is portraying yesterday’s United States election results as being bad for liberals. Among their reasons:
1. Kentucky elected a Tea Party/Freedom Caucus Republican who promised to repeal Kentucky’s health exchange and put people on Federal exchanges. Governor-elect Bevin also promised to roll-back the Medicare expansion done by outgoing and term-limited governor Steve Beshear.
2. Ohio rejected a ballot measure which would have legalized medical and recreational marijuana; and
3. Houston rejected an ordinance that protected LGBT people. The Houston vote is depressing especially because the campaign seem to have succeeded because of a stupid scare tactic.
However, there are other ways to see yesterday’s election results.
4. The Democratic Party added three seats in the New Jersey state legislature including seats that have been Republican controlled since the early 1990s.
5. The Democratic Party now is the majority on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. This could give a hand in redistricting because the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania appoints the fifth chair of the redistricting committee which already comprises of two Democratic and two Republican voters. This potentially makes it easier for the Democratic Party to get Congressional seats in Pennsylvania.
6. Jefferson County, Colorado recalled their controversial Tea Party school board.
7. Ohioans were not so much concerned with legalization but dislike the cartelization of Ohio’s proposed referendum because it gave a monopoly to ten growers. Even Marijuana advocates were appalled by this factor.
8. There is a question of saying and doing. It is easy to take about repealing health care. It is much harder to take away healthcare from 500,000 people and prevent new enrollees. This is make it or break territory for the GOP.
So, was yesterday a rout for liberals and the Democratic Party? On paper, it seems like yes but there are other examples of the GOP suffering bad defeats. What might be happening is that red states are getting more conservative and blue states are becoming more liberal. Maybe people want drug reform but not in ways that encourage crony capitalism and cartelization. Kentucky seems like a huge victory for the GOP because they have not had many Republican governors, but it could also be a trap on the limits of Tea Party promises.
I am not saying that yesterday was rosy for the Democratic Party and liberals, but the results are more murky and complicated than Slate is making them out to be. There were also some bright spots for liberals that can pay dividends down the road. There can also be signs that both parties are becoming more regional in ways that are dangerous for the nation as a whole. Houston is probably the most troubling result for liberals, but I am not concerned with the loss of legalized marijuana in Ohio considering how horrible the measure was. I’d probably vote against the cartel as well even though I favor legalized marijuana. Kentucky is a wait and see situation. I am pretty happy with the results in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Jefferson County, Colorado. I think that Slate said liberals got routed because the media needs to phrase things as a horse race with clear winners and losers instead of as something that is more complicated.