osodecanela: (cam capture)
I will readily admit, I am a left of center, dyed in the wool liberal. (This is the beginning of a quasi-political essay, so if you have no interest in American politics, tab on forward.)

Yesterday marked a very sad day in the history of the American labor movement; Michigan became the 24th 'right-to-work' state in the union. Why is this important? 'Right-to-work' states have over all lower wages and lower benefits for most workers. After the rather decisive election the Republican-controlled legislature in Michigan realizing that they were going to be significantly less Republican after the first of the year, very rapidly pushed through this right-to-work legislation to get it to the Republican governor tout suite for his signature. "It's all about jobs, jobs, jobs," is the Republican mantra. The governor states he's trying to keep jobs from moving to Indiana.

As I watched the coverage on this last night, on Rachel Maddow, I found myself scratching my head. Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and even Ohio went rather solidly for Barack Obama at the polls last month. Why is there such a staunch Republican control in their state legislatures, and for that matter their executive branches? As a Californian, this makes very little sense to me. It turns out there has been significant gerrymandering in all of these states, not to mention elsewhere. Sadly, it got significantly worse after the 2010 census. As Democrats, we did not show up to the polls as we needed to in 2010. Democrats as you may recall, lost control of the house at that point. This was also however the year of the census, which has brought about subsequent redistricting in much of this country due to shifts in our population. Republicans have been extremely adroit in redistricting making it so there are lines drawn concentrating Democrats in just a handful of places, and splintering remaining populations so that Republicans are favored. This is led to some very surprising results for those of us who thought we were on a level playing field. When you look at the total number of registered Republican versus Democratic voters, to see state delegations that are so lopsidedly Republican, when the number of registered voters are not is disturbing to say the least. According to statistics that Rachel Maddow quoted last night, it takes roughly 2 1/2 registered Democrats to equal the voting power of one registered Republican.

California underwent redistricting last year, done by a nonpartisan commission, as opposed to many other states where the party in power in 2010, had the ability to redraw the districts. Further in our primary system it's now the top two vote getters that will face each other at the election, no matter their party. This led to districts where two people of the same party actually faced each other in November. It is also interesting to note that post redistricting, Democrats now hold a super-majority in both our state senate and house. Further, in all the years that I have lived in California I've never had it take more than 20 min. to be able to vote. I look at the reports from Florida and Ohio where voters spent hours upon hours in lines waiting to cast their ballots, and for the life of me, I do not understand why this is the case in this country in 2012.

This strikes me as being about control of power, nothing more. In a representative democracy, one that holds itself up to be a model for the remainder of our world to follow, how is this the current state of affairs within this country?
osodecanela: (Default)
It just hit me. Every last candidate I donated to and every last electoral campaign I donated time or money to save one, won at the polls this year.

No, I'm no well-heeled donor the likes of which Karl Rove & his ilk now explain themselves to. I did not contribute to any 501c4's this year. I'm a guy who sent $10 here, and $50 there, to help give candidates and causes a little boost directly. Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Baldwin, & Claire McCaskill all got a few bucks from me for their senate runs. Drs. Ami Bera & Raul Ruìz each running against conservatives House members from here in California (Lundgren & Bono Mack) each got some cash directly to their campaigns. I made donations to grass roots groups in Maine, Maryland & Washington who were working for marriage equality.

Only the petitions I circulated for California prop 34 against our death penalty bore no fruit.

All in all, I think it was money and time well spent.
osodecanela: (Default)
OK, so I'm a progressive Democrat. No real surprise there. Was a Green. Got tired of not being able to vote in primaries.

I've always thought that all politics was local, and I never donated money or time outside my community. Then Prop 8 happened and money and effort from outside California swayed the election here and, well y'all know the rest of that story to date.

Ever since I look outside my 'box' and when appropriate and I have the funds, I send money. This year it went to Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Baldwin, Claire McCaskill, Allan Grayson, Raul Ruiz and Ami Bera. Not a lot of money, but some. I wish I could have afforded more. Well the first 4 all won their races. The last two are hopefuls, waiting for the final tallies.

Raul Ruiz is an ER doc who ran against Mary Bono Mack. I didn't think he had a chance, but as of now he's ahead by something like 4500 votes. She's refused to concede until everything is counted from mail-in and provisional ballots, and who knows, may even request a recount. Why not? It's only the government's money. Allan West already has requested a recount. He's something like 2500 votes behind.
For those of you who don't know him, he's the far right, African-American tea partier freshman congressman, whom I will be delighted to see out of congress. Mary Bono is not much better.

Ami Bera is also ahead, by a mere 184 votes in a race to unseat uber conservative Dan Lundgren. Lundgren was a 2 term Atty. General, who then went on to 5 terms as a congressman. He's had support from the likes of the Newtster. Again Bera is also a progressive Democrat, an MD, former Sac'to County Chief Health Officer and a former dean from UC/Davis Med School. Bera just ran thru his funds trying to get elected, and is now facing what's likely to end up as a recount. He's begging for more political funding, so I just sent a little more cash.

Anybody else out there feel flush? Google Ami Bera for Congress.
osodecanela: (Default)
It's 8:30pm. MSNBC, CNN & even Fox have called the presidential election for Mr Obama. Elizabeth Warren in Mass., Sherrod Brown in Ohio, Tim Kaine in Va., Claire McCaskill in Mo., and Donnelly in Indiana have all taken Senate seats and Tammy Duckworth is going to the House. Alan Grayson returns to the House.

Not one iota of news on any of the ballot initiatives from Maine, Maryland or Minnesota, on either the airwaves or the net. Not Washington state either, but then the polls only closed there 30 minutes ago.


osodecanela: (Default)

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