When a political puck named Dick Tuck lost a California senate election in 1966, he said: “The people have spoken. The bastards.”
So now that the people have spoken up for Donnie Trump, were they saying they embrace his xenophobic, nativist, far-right policies? Not at all. Most Trump voters say they went for him because they think he’ll shake-up America’s elite establishment, not because he’s a conservative. In fact, majorities of people all over the country voted for very progressive policies and candidates this year, including these ballot initiatives:
•All four states that had minimum wage increases on the ballot passed them — Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington. Plus, a South Dakota proposal to lower its minimum wage was rejected by 71 percent of voters.
•Two states — California and Washington — had initiatives calling for repealing the Supreme Court’s Citizen United decision that has allowed corporate cash to flood into our elections. Washington also voted to provide public funding of their elections.
•A Minnesota initiative to take away the power of state lawmakers to set their own salaries, moving this authority to a bipartisan citizens’ council, won 77 percent of the vote.
In addition, many solidly-progressive “firsts” were elected on Tuesday, such as the first Indian-American woman in Congress (Pramila Jayapal of Washington), the first Latina U.S. senator (Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada), the first Indian-Black woman elected to U.S. Senate (Kamala Harris of California) and the first openly-LGBT governor (Kate Brown of Oregon). Trump is in the White House, but the takeaway from voters in this election is a mandate for progressive economic populism and more diversity among public officials.
This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.