Tuesday was a big win for liberal issues and conservative politicians. If you need to read that sentence again, feel free to; it can take a while to sink in.
The GOP maintained its control of the House, gained the majority in the Senate, and will soon be picking out drapes to hang in numerous governor mansions around the country, but the GOP lost big on a wide range of subjects.
1. Workers’ Rights
Increasing the minimum wage
was on the ballot in South Dakota, Nebraska, Illinois, Arkansas, and Alaska. The increases ranged from $0.25/hr to $1.75/hr with further increases to go into effect over the following years. Every single measure in each of the states passed..
Minimum wage wasn’t the only workers’ rights issue that was up for a vote, the issue of paid sick leave
was not only on the ballot but also passed. Employees in Massachusetts will now be able to focus on their health without worrying about losing their houses or falling behind on bills. The state was joined by Trenton, NJ; and Montclair, NJ. And Oakland, Ca expanded on the benefits that the state of California already requires.
Colorado and North Dakota had anti-abortion measures
on the ballot that would grant every human being at “any stage of development” the right to life. Voters in both states shot them down. The North Dakota measure
was worded so vaguely that even many anti-abortion groups were against it.
Tennessee, on the other hand, was able to pass their anti-abortion legislation, which was far less extreme, but is expect to shut down many clinics across the state over the next couple of years.
Legalizing the use of marijuana has been a hotly debated topic for decades and 3 states plus Washington D.C. were looking to join Colorado and Washington on the subject. Oregon and D.C.
both overwhelming voted for legalization. Alaskans were split on the subject but the referendum was still able to pass; 52% to 48%
. Florida was the only state where the votes fell short, but only because a 60% majority was needed and Floridians fell 2% short of that mark.
Voters were split on the fracking issue, but there were a couple big wins for liberals. Only 1 out of the 4 anti-fracking measures passed in Ohio, 2 out of the 3 counties in California
that were voting on it were able to ban the practice. But the big surprise was is in Texas, in a state known for its very laxed oil and gas regulations, the city of Denton
voted to keep ban fracking with a solid 59% majority.
Looking at the data, it’s really difficult to know what to make of this election cycle. Conservatives won big in the House, Senate and Gubernatorial elections, but voters overwhelming voted liberally on political topics. Colorado, Florida, Alaska, North Dakota, Maine, Arkansas, New Jersey, and Texas all voted red when it came to politicians but blue when it came political issues. To sum it up, Ben Casselman said it best last night via Twitter: "So voters want a higher minimum wage, legal pot, abortion access and GOP representation. Ok then."