“The Lady Said ‘No’”
Voters reject abortion and book bans, zealot rule, and Trump
Bryan Zepp Jamieson
November 9th, 2023
Off-off-year elections usually don’t make the front page, other than in the local areas and handful of states where they occur. Normally there’s little reason to care if some state you never plan to live in wants to amend their constitution, or a congressional district is voting to replace a deceased member of the House. In normal times, school board elections are of little interest, even in the school districts in which they occur. It’s not uncommon for a winner to be elected with less than 5% of the eligible vote, even when the local high school football team is losing. Normally a typical voter wouldn’t be able to name a single member of his own State Supreme Court, or even if the members were elected or appointed. Said voter might remember something or other about someone running for judge unopposed. Fratzweiner, something like that. Boy judge or girl judge? Can’t remember if a vote was cast or not.
But these are fraught times, with America facing an ongoing coup from the far right. And as has happened before in history, the haters of democracy and freedom are trying to use those very foundations of society in order to rid themselves of democracy and freedom. So voters were confronted with religious zealots who want to ban abortion, books, and even science. They had to choose between little Trump clones and never-Trumpers. There were even candidates who openly stated that the voters should have no role on the candidates or issues upon which they were running for votes.
Despite hundreds of millions of dollars from right wing propaganda pits (aka the National Associations of Zealots and Ideologues) and thousands of air-time hours spend by the Lord Haw-Haws and Tokyo Roses from the far right, and the threats, open and implied, from Trump and the MAGAts, the voters slapped down the far right resoundingly.
In Ohio, voters amended the state constitution to ensure the right to safe and legal abortions by a whopping half-million votes, 56.6% to 43.4%. Only a long-overdue measure to legalize cannabis for personal use was more popular (it got 57% of the vote). In Kentucky, the Democratic governor Andy Bashear, who was elected by a 5,000 vote margin in 2019, walloped his opponent, Daniel Cameron, by 67,000 votes. Cameron pretended to be a “moderate” on abortion, offering a horrible ‘split the baby’ compromise of banning abortion after 15 weeks. Worse, he tried to be a McConnell corporate fascist AND a Trump neo-Nazi at the same time, which only exacerbated the rift between Republicans who want to destroy the United States and Republicans who merely want to own it.
Even infamous Shasta County followed the trend. I was a bit surprised they had results, given they were insisting on hand-counting votes at last word (the state had ordered them to use the machines, which may be the totals reported unofficially). But then, only 6,000 votes were cast. In any event, Casey Bowden, a moderate who said he’s focused on giving teachers confidence to do their jobs, handily beat Camille King a “parental rights” advocate by a 58-42 margin.
In Kentucky, Democrats not only maintained control of the Senate, but took back the House.
Two states bucking the tide were Mississippi, where being related to Elvis Presley wasn’t enough (Republican Tate Reeves beat the Tupelo Honey 51-47) and Maine, which resoundingly rejected creation of a public-owned electric utility.
But mostly it was rejection of authoritarians and Republicans in general across the board. Moms for Liberty, the anti-trans book-banning hate group had been an ascendant force in 2022, and now found themselves on the losing end in over 60% of the school board races they participated in. Quite a few of the losers were running as incumbents.
Republican reaction was about what you might expect. Trump blamed McConnell in particular and RINOs in general, even though Trump-backed and Trump-supporting candidates performed even more dismally than the “mainstream” Republican candidates. MAGAts claimed the GOP was too moderate and needed to bear down on electing Trump, eliminating separation of church and state, banning abortion AND birth control, and imprisoning criminals, including refugees, Palestinians, and members of the FBI or IRS. One GOP candidate in NY who lost by a 70-20 margin howled that all Jews should leave New York City immediately because the Nazis had won. Mental health may have been an issue there.
The New York Times trying to game the elections with an amazingly fortuitous Siena polls just days before the election that claimed Trump was leading Biden in six key states, all of which Biden had won in 2020. Siena is a privately owned college (by the Franciscans) and I was unable to find their methodology beyond a claim that 600 where interviewed in each state, and a bland assurance that it was evenly spread to reflect the population at large, neither of which inspire much confidence in the accuracy of the poll.
But boy, I bet it sold newspapers and got lots of visits to the NYT website! Long time readers will recall that the Times flat out lied about the results of a in-depth survey of the vote count in Florida in 2000, and of course cheer-led and lied about the run-up to war with Iraq a couple of years later. An “independent” poll showing spectacular if problematic results gives them hits and plausible deniability, all at once. Win-win!
But it seems the voters weren’t interested in such efforts to pump up Trump and the GOP, and resoundingly rejected both.