For democrats, the big victories from yesterday's elections were that Terry McCauliffe and Bill DeBlasio defeated their Republican opponents in Virginia and New York. However, there were many other wins, and losses, for progressives around our nation. In Colorado, three different towns voted to extend a five-year ban on fracking in their communities, but in Washington State, Initiative 522 – a GMO labeling law – was voted down 54.8 to 45.2 percent. In New Jersey, voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment to increase that state's minimum wage to $8.25 an hour, and put in place automatic cost-of-living increases for future years.
Ballot proposals in three Michigan cities, Ferndale, Lansing, and Jackson, all passed in favor of marijuana legalization, which will permit the use or possession of up to one once of pot by anyone over the age of 21. And, a similar marijuana law passed in Portland, Maine, which allows for possession of up to 2.5 ounces. One of the disappointing results occurred in Colorado, where Amendment 66 – a measure to increase taxes to provide more funding to public schools – was voted down 66 to 34 percent.
All of these results demonstrate the importance of our democratic process, and why it's vital to protect our right to cast a ballot. Elections aren't just about candidates, and they can have a major effect on our local communities. Even on these smaller provisions, it's typical to see big money come out against measures that the majority of people support. We can fight back by getting money out of politics, and getting as many people as possible to show up and vote. We are our government, and we have to get involved to make it work for us.
The Thom Hartmann Program weekdays 3 PM to 6 PM on WWRL 1600.