Infidel’s commentary covering the recent referendums in Ohio and elections in Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Kansas, and Rhode Island. All of which were ending in resulting in wins for people. And of course, most if not all reflecting Democratic party views on the various issues.
In the end, “democracy and individual freedom still remains vigorous in the US.”
Infidel 753, Freedom wins the elections, Infidel753 Blog
Yesterday’s elections showed that the abortion-rights issue remains a potent force in US politics — and that voters across the country support individual self-determination for this most personal of decisions.
The most-watched vote was Ohio’s Issue 1, the referendum to enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution. Turnout appears to have been quite high for an off-off-year election, and the measure won decisively, passing by 56% to 44%, pretty much in line with what the polls I’d seen had projected. The forced-birthers had tried a variety of dirty tricks to scuttle the proposal, from an effort in August to make amending the state constitution harder (also heavily rejected by voters) to trying to mislead the public about what Issue 1 would do. Obviously, they failed.
Ohioans also endorsed personal freedom by passing Issue 2 to legalize marijuana, now leading by 57% to 43%. Both of these results are all the more striking in a state which has been shifting from purple to red over the last few elections.
In Virginia, the second-most-watched state this election, Republicans hoped to flip the state Senate, winning full control of the legislature and enabling governor Youngkin to make good on his threat to enact a ban on abortion after fifteen weeks. Instead, Democrats held the Senate and flipped the state House, a clear win for individual freedom and a rebuke to Youngkin’s plan.
Kentucky’s Democratic governor Beshear was re-elected with 52% of the vote, despite Kentucky being one of the reddest states in the US. Beshear’s competence in office was a big factor, but his campaign also emphasized Republican hostility to abortion.
Democrats also won a state Supreme Court seat in Pennsylvania and an open US House seat in Rhode Island, the latter by almost two-to-one.
From last year’s stunning referendum in Kansas (another deep-red state) to yesterday’s results, abortion rights have proven to be the Republicans’ green kryptonite. And it’s a vulnerability entirely of their own making. For decades they’ve claimed to be the party of freedom from big government, but such posturing is reduced to an absurdity when they push for gross government intrusion into one of the most personal and intimate decisions a woman or girl can make. Sixteen months after the Dobbs disaster, the issue has lost none of its power to motivate voters. It will remain important, perhaps decisive, a year from now.
Speaking of which, it’s silly to fret about what the polls now are saying about the 2024 election. In general, polling averages have a good track record of predicting results (despite a few much-talked-up exceptions) — if they didn’t, the parties and the media wouldn’t spend millions on them. But the 2024 election is still a year away. Most people are not even thinking about it yet, and rightly so. It’s a long way off and there are more immediate and interesting matters to focus on; the holiday season has begun, we’ve just learned that our country is infested with Nazis, and Taylor Swift has a new concert film out. All kinds of things could happen in the next twelve months. We don’t even know who the candidates for president will be. No, we really don’t. Both Biden and Trump are far past normal retirement age, and the latter is grossly unhealthy and appears to be suffering from galloping dementia. Either or both could suffer a clearly-disqualifying medical event, or even die (far less likely in Biden’s case), before next November. In most cases, as an election looms, the side on which everybody keeps desperately reassuring themselves that the polls are wrong is the side that’s going to lose. But polls a year in advance really are pretty meaningless.
Technically it was not part of the elections, but another encouraging step yesterday was the House vote to censure Rashida Tlaib for her monstrous anti-Semitic rhetoric since the October 7 mass murder in Israel, especially her endorsement of the genocidal “from the river to the sea” slogan. Shamefully, only twenty-two House Democrats voted for censure. I’m aghast that, after a month of preaching loathsome bigotry, Tlaib and Omar have still not been expelled from the party. Democrats are normally much better than Republicans on repudiating those of their own who turn to evil. This exception is a disgrace.
However, it may be that parties are coming to matter less and less. As our politicians become more polarized — the chaos and paralysis in the House is made possible by members putting party over country and treating those of the opposing party as illegitimate pariahs, making it difficult to enact even measures with bipartisan majority support — voters are taking matters into their own hands. It’s striking that most of the big wins for abortion rights since Dobbs have come in referenda, where freedom wins even in red states. It’s not practical to decide most matters by referendum. Most of the public doesn’t have the knowledge needed to make such decisions. Maintaining that kind of knowledge would be a full-time job, and most people simply aren’t interested in most public issues to that level, nor should they be obligated to be. But a referendum enables voters to express themselves on a single major issue rather than having to choose one party’s entire agenda over the other’s, an important point at a time when both agendas increasingly include some outright lunatic positions. I need to be able to vote for abortion rights, union power, church-state separation, universal health coverage, and action on global warming without also having to vote for “reparations”, gun-grabbing, putting male sex criminals in women’s prisons, and teaching third-graders about “gender identity”.
In any case, yesterday’s results show that democracy and individual freedom remain vigorous in the US. When they overthrew Roe, the Republicans awakened a sleeping giant, and she is still filled with a terrible resolve.