06 November 2014

Pot-Election Thoughts

OK, my guys, won in Illinois, with one stunning exception, and lost nationally. Sort of a mix to say the least.

Over-all, my guys, got clobbered. The Republicans got out their vote, and used voter suppression laws to keep Democrats from voting. It appears to me the laws were sort of a waste, Democrats weren't going to vote anyway. At the end of the day, their strategies trumping the complete lack of strategy on the other side, were enough.

It is interesting to speculate about what is coming. Here in Illinois, I predict gridlock. Democrats easily retained control of the Assembly. Governor-elect Rauner will be in his first political office. Mike Madigan who controls the House in the Assembly eats neophytes for lunch. About half of the constitutional offices will be held by Democrats, including Secretary of State Jesse White, and State's Attorney General, Lisa Madigan. Rauner will faithfully propose the tax and budget policies he ran on. The Assembly will ignore him as will much of the government.

My view of Rauner is that he makes what I call the, "Ross Perot Error." That is, he thinks he can dictate policy the way he does in board meetings. Constitutional government does not work that way. We will have 4 stagnant, conflict filled years. I hope that is what Illinois voters wanted.

The 2016 presidential campaign started Tuesday evening. National gridlock is coming. Mr.Obama can probably veto most if not all of the Republican agenda: they can refuse to pass his. Already, the cleavages in the Republican majority are visible. Senators range from Senator Paul a frank libertarian, to Senato Cruz a Tea Part nut. Senator-elect Ernst is poised to make Cruz appear almost normal. No one should envy Senator McConnell.

The irony of this election is that where voters could vote on policy the progressive /liberals won. So in a number of States, pot is a bit more legal, minimum wages are going up, and voting as a right is a bit more protected. Even in Florida, where the vote to legalize pot failed, it carried a majority. Amending that State's constitution requires a super majority of 60%, and the amendment got only 57%. Republicans should remember that electing Democrats only requires 50% + 1.

In two years, Democrats need to be ready to actually contest the election. They need a new chair, and a new vision of how to elect Congresspeople and Senators. Relying on the Tea Party to provide candidates so stupid that they motivate the center vote is no longer if it ever was, a reasonable tactic. The Republican ultra-right remains as crazy as ever, but with Koch money, it is learning to pick more rational appearing candidates.

In the meantime, little if anything will be done, Senators Cruz and Ernst will provide both outrage and comedy as walk-on replacements for Congresswoman Bachmann. Watching her and Sarah Palin jostle each other reaching for the Bachmann microphone may provide some amusing theatre. In response to some mail: yes of course there are also Democratic clowns! I hope gentle reader that you wanted a 2 year presidential campaign with clowns. Because that is what you just voted to have.

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