Yeah sure, I’m depressed over yesterday’s election, but when I sat down to write a thorough race-by-race analysis and looked for a clear message in last night’s results, two things immediately jumped out at me: A) a thorough race-by-race analysis would take me days to write; and B) there is no clear message in last night’s results. So I think I’ll discard with A), opting instead for a series of individual posts analyzing individual races and issues. As for B), I suppose that’s the silver lining to the dark clouds filling my head today, for while yesterday’s election certainly sucked — and sucked hard — I see nothing to suggest any long term good news for the folks on the other side.
In purely partisan terms, yesterday’s election says very little. Republicans won the only truly contested partisan race in King County, but they did so on a bullshit theme of non-partisanship, so while they certainly keep the tactical advantage of holding the PAO, it’s kinda hard to argue that this is in anyway an embrace of Republican values. (As for my friend Jim Nobles… how does it feel to draw a substantially smaller percentage of the vote than Richard Pope?) Meanwhile, across the county line to the north, Democrats romped in high profile Snohomish County council races, while Democrat John Lovick appears to be squeaking by in the nominally non-partisan sheriff’s contest.
Across the region Republicans continue to hold their own in so-called “non-partisan” races, though that’s always difficult to analyze when candidates refuse to cop to their party allegiance and our local media plays a complicit role in perpetrating the charade. Still, progressive candidates appear to be making gains in both Whatcom County and Tacoma, while Gael Tarleton’s win means control of the Seattle Port Commission now hinges on the outcome of the nail-biter between incumbent reformer Alec Fisken and pro-business lackey Bill Bryant. We’ll see.
Looking to the ballot measures for trends is equally fruitless. Prop 1 infamously split the progressive community, so there’s no clear message from voters there, other than the usual “we want more, but we don’t want to pay for it” crap, while I-960’s public policy disaster is emblematic of the same muddled thinking. R-67 was simply a battle between good and evil, and the failure of Simple Majority… well… um… I’m just stumped.
Of course, all this took place within a national context, and there Democrats have reason to be optimistic. Dems lost the governor’s mansion in the southern state of Louisiana, but picked up one in a bloodbath in the border state of Kentucky. Dems also picked up Senate majorities in Virginia and Mississippi, while expanding legislative majorities in Maine, New Jersey and New York. As for Ohio, that continues to be a disaster in the making for Republicans, where Dems now hold the mayor’s office in the once red state’s ten largest cities. Ouch.
So what does this all say about our local prospects for 2008? Not all that much. But if you’re a “no news is good news” kinda person, then I suppose that might take a bit of the sting out yesterday’s very disappointing election.
Of course, I didn’t even mention turnout. Turnout sucked. Yet another reason not to read too much into these results. Apparently, Republicans turned out a bit better than Dems, but I’m told the real fall off was with independents… who tend to vote with the Dems on many issues.