I spent election week traveling – you know, to places with real democracy and competitive elections, like Kansas – and have spent the last couple weeks trying to catch up with work and family. In the process, I failed to file my usual “Winners and Losers” posts for Fox & Hounds Daily on the elections.
So here is the winners post, to be followed by losers.
1. Non-voters. They are not just winning California elections. They are doinating them. More than four in five Californians didn’t bother to show up and vote. Given the state of the state’s democracy, it’s hard to blame them.
2. Padilla and Peterson. Alex Padilla, the new Secretary of State, and his Republican challenger, ran campaigns the way they are supposed to be: serious, specific, respectful to voters. They even debated multiple times – something other candidates in other races didn’t do. Indeed, the other statewide contests – and I use the word “contest” advisedly – were so awful that the content-heavy Secretary of State’s race may have been one of the few reasons to hold an election.
3. Obamacare. Prop 45 represented a potential threat to Covered California, but it was crushed by insurance industry money.
4. Political consultants. The top two is a disaster, but it continues to win brainless media support. This is good for consultants, the only real beneficiaries from having two rounds. You need consultants to distinguish you from all the candidates in the first round – and to beat your opponent’s brain in during the second round. And low turnout is a boon for initiative-oriented consultants – who won’t have to gather as many signatures to qualify measures for the November 2016 ballot. That means more campaigns, more business, more paydays for consultants.
5. John Chiang. The controller-turned-treasurer significantly outperformed down-ballot Democrats who are considered bigger names – Gavin Newsom and Kamala Harris – putting him in the conversation for higher offices. You’re sexy too, John.