Ben Boyce


Election results — a Progressive perspective

Posted on November 12, 2018 by Ben Boyce

The MSM seemed to downgrade the magnitude of the Democratic win on the night of the election.  “There was no ‘blue wave’” was the agreed upon corporate news menu item when the Democratic house wins were in the 25-27 seat margin.  As counting has continued, the lead is growing to the point where we have surpassed the ratio of the 2010 Tea Party midterm shellacking.  We are winning.

The progressive narrative is far more persuasive: ‘We have turned the tide and gained innumerable instruments and the Constitutional power to compel testimony and fund budgets.  We now have a foothold on power.’  That’s a more realistic assessment.

Consequently, we can make use the House committees to make the Democratic policy case, in detail, in multiple iterations with many public hearings.  How many times did the Republican House repeal Obamacare?  Conservative estimates were 59 times, all promptly vetoed by Obama.  We need to make Trump veto Medicare for All at least a dozen times.  Lather, rinse, and repeat on free college, student debt forbearance, union rights, ending the wars, rejoining the Paris Climate Accords.  We will finally see tax returns.  Cheer up, things could be worse!

P.S. Vote by mail early. Bank your vote.  Folks, think of the poor ladies and lads at the County Registrar of Voters office who have to do all this tabulation, late into the night. Don’t add to their workload and delay the count.  Get those ballots in early.

The MSM frame just cannot deal with the structural issues that depress voter turnout. Voter suppression and extreme gerrymandering are the main tools of the modern Republican Party. To reveal that fact would be to break the unspoken ‘both-sides’ memo that is the default mode of MSM journalists. Examining the unprecedented racialized voter suppression, harking back to the Jim Crow laws in the late 19th century, would have been a great discussion, with someone like Michelle Alexander or Bill Fletcher Jr. as an interview. We could have been educated by Mann and Ornstein, resident think tank scholars, on the origins of the asymmetrical polarization of the American electorate and the high tech national census-based gerrymandering by the 2010 Republican House leadership.

Unfortunately, we were not that lucky.  The biggest media draw of the night was the amazing Steve Kornacki, who is the official announcer of the MSM politics-as-horse race crowd.  He has his magic Big Board and the frantic pacing of a sportscaster at an NHL game.  They all love it. It’s quite a spectacle.

On the local level, I got to play pretty hard in this election season by working a part-time temp job for a few months as the Member-to-Member Outreach Coordinator for the North Bay Labor Council.  I agreed with all the NBLC endorsements, so I had no problem selling our candidates to other union members.  We won most of our races, but we had to take a few L’s as well.  Union people don’t get sad when they lose.  They get mad and say: ‘It’s not over until we win!’  We can all learn from that grit.

The Labor Council backed the new AOC of Sonoma County politics, young social worker Victoria Fleming, who won the brand new 4th District Santa Rosa City Council seat.  This year is the first time ever in the 150 year history of the city of Santa Rosa that there has been a district election rather than an ‘at-large’ election.  This means that you don’t need to raise $50-$100,000 to run for council.  You can run a credible campaign for $10,000 with crowd-sourcing.  This has completely changed the equation in the city.

We backed John Kelly for SRJC Board of Trustees.  You can hear me eloquently make the case for Kelly on the 11-2-18 1:20-1:27 PM segment on the KSVY program This Week in Politics (now available on iTunes, thanks to board wizard Takeshi).  The voters rendered my well-reasoned case for John Kelly SRJC Board moot.  However, we prevailed elsewhere and elected Theresa Barrett Mayor of Petaluma.  We are proud of her as a model public official who really takes her job seriously and always considers the common good in her decisions.

My one personal regret in this election was not being more of assistance to my comrade Dan Monte, who ran a valiant progressive campaign against a well-funded incumbent state Assemblyman in the 2nd District.  I am, however, happy that the North Bay voted to return our two long-time local Congressmen, Jared Huffman, and Mike Thompson.  They are both doing a great job.

Locally, my Sonoma City council predictions were accurate.  I picked only two candidates in my previous election special, Logan Harvey and Madolyn Agrimonti, and they both won.  Subsequently, I refreshed my acquaintance with my former union associate, then hard-charging legislative aide Sean Hamlin.  I was delighted to find out that he is newly married to recently re-elected City Councilwoman, Rachel Hundley.  Sean satisfactorily explained the core elements of her political agenda.  Perhaps he speaks my language.  Now the trifecta is complete.


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