November 11, 2020
While the biggest choice in the 2020 election was of course the presidential ticket, there were plenty of other notable propositions on the ballot.
American Consequences contributor Jason Mattera dives into these today…
Magic Mushrooms and Other Notable Ballot Measures of 2020
The 2020 election brought quite a few surprises… Many of which had nothing to do with Biden or Trump.
Let’s start in California… The Golden State went for Joe Biden by some 30 points, yet residents there defeated an attempt to rescind a two-decades-old ban on racial preferences that is written into the state constitution.
For context, in 1996 California voters adopted Proposition 209, which made it illegal to “discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.”
But because California’s political class worships at the altar of identity politics, Prop. 16 was launched, which, if passed, would’ve allowed state entities to take race into account (aka, to discriminate) in matters of hiring and college admissions.
The good (and surprising) news is that Prop. 16 was smoked, even though its opponents were seriously outspent. Only 44% of voters supported the proposition, while 56% of voters told California’s racial agitators to go pound sand.
That wasn’t the only shockingly good news out of California… Recall that California’s legislature arbitrarily decided to change how Uber and Lyft do business. The law – Assembly Bill 5 – was subsequently signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom last year, which stated that drivers for these app-based companies must be reclassified as employees, not as independent contractors.
The result, as intended, would have obliterated the rideshare model, leaving passengers with fewer and more expensive options. It would have also denied drivers flexible, money-making opportunities. For all the do-gooder rhetoric in support of these changes, the reality was that this move was a naked attempt to aid the Democrat-friendly unions by subjecting gig economy workers to California’s anti-business labor practices.
Voters saw right through the tactic, however, and Prop. 22, which designated ride-hailing drivers as independent contractors, won easily. The final tally was 58% to 42%.
Moving up the I-5 corridor to Oregon… where voters had a chance to rein in Portland’s out-of-control homeless problem by taking an honest look at the drug epidemic behind so much of it. Yet what did voters decide? To decriminalize hard drugs, of course!
Voters in the Beaver State passed Measure 110 by an 17-point margin, which legalizes personal possession of cocaine, heroin, oxycodone, and meth. They also passed Measure 109, making Oregon the first state in the nation to legalize hallucinogenic drugs as a means to foster “personal development” and combat depression.
It’s unclear how “magic mushrooms” will help stabilize a person’s mental health or how normalizing meth on the streets will ameliorate the state’s public health and safety crises, but hey, federalism baby! Let Oregon experiment with this anti-social behavior so the rest of the country doesn’t have to.
In Illinois, voters found a tax hike that even they oppose… Gov. J.B. Pritzker pushed hard for a progressive income tax on the so-called “rich.” Currently, Illinois has a 4.95% flat income tax rate, and the Democrat Party proposed a graduated income tax that escalated it to 7.99% for incomes above $750,000.
But 55% of the voters in a deep blue state rejected this referendum, a big blow to Chicago’s notorious public employee unions that were banking on additional revenue streams to line their coffers with other people’s money. It’s still too soon, though, for Illinois residents to be clinking the Champagne glasses together… The Prairie State maintains the inglorious ranking of being the highest-taxed state in the union.
While Illinois voters rejected a tax hike, Arizona voters welcomed one… Prop. 208 jacked up the top marginal tax rate to 8% from its current status of 4.5%. This new rate will hit individual incomes over $250,000 and, as the Tax Foundation points out, it will not be adjusted for inflation. Arizona, we see your future… and it looks a lot like California.
Meanwhile, Colorado voters are about to learn the hard way that there is no such thing as a free lunch… or in this case, “free” family leave. Prop. 118 was overwhelmingly passed, which earmarks up to 16 weeks of paid medical and family leave at $1,100 per week… courtesy of taxpayers. Both employees and employers will be socked with a combined $1.3 billion tax hike to pay for this new government entitlement…
But get this… to qualify for paid leave on the taxpayers’ dime, a person must earn a minimum of only $2,500. You do the math… Eligibility for a multiweek program that shells out more than $1,000 every seven days to stay home and not work is reached when an employee brings home just $2,500 in income. Seems totally financially sound.
Marijuana was also on the ballot… Voters in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota all legalized the recreational use of cannabis. They now join 11 other states that have done the same.
In other words, a lot more people have the ability to stuff their faces with pot brownies while they watch the TV in horror as boxes of election ballots continue to be “found” for Joe Biden.
Jason Mattera is a New York Times best-selling author and Emmy-nominated journalist. Follow him on Twitter @JasonMattera.
Monday’s American Consequences Daily from Jason Rantz about the shoddy polling in last week’s election stirred up some readers who e-mailed us their thoughts…
Not sure why Jason Rantz is contributing to the political theatre gaslighting of the Dims by saying of Sleepy that “in reality he edged Trump” in Michigan, and that he “beat Trump” in Wisconsin. I have no idea how this farce will end up, but neither does anyone else, despite the confidence of the criminal left. One thing is for sure: polling and most of the media are now officially dead in the water. If some people did not go vote because of what they heard on the “news,” they will not make that mistake ever again.
But the gaslighting will continue, as the AP and NY Slimes now childishly think they decide when to call elections, and the rest of the sycophantic scribes jump in to perpetuate the fraud – repeating it often enough. Elections matter. And for those who get paid to write about them, words matter. Many readers will just sail by those two sentences of Jason’s and subconsciously let them sink in and massage their “reality.” There is a great cost for this subterfuge, and a vast number of citizens are no longer willing to pay it. – Gary S.
I agree with Jason, polls have some influence, often misleading, on voter sentiment. However, I doubt if many polling organizations, except perhaps a few in-house departments for large media, are deliberating misleading to advance an agenda (I include both MSNBC and Fox). If it seemed the “mainstream media” used polls in a manner hostile to the President, it must be noted that he has attacked and denigrated the media at every turn, from his candidacy until these final moments, even turning on Fox when they disagreed with him.
When even Fox’s own polling says Biden is leading, they are bowing to the facts as they know them, similar to the internal disagreement when Fox News was predicting a Biden win as ballot counting went on even as their pundits were touting a Trump comeback. The Trump campaign claimed their internal polling showed him winning; I doubt they were “missing” as many possible Trump voters as other pollsters. If Trump supporters were reluctant to declare their support for the President, it may have been because they knew – or had been told by polls – that their positions were unpopular with a majority of their fellow Americans. Small-town shunning is a very personal form of polling, and a longstanding American tradition, for good or bad.
The simple truth is that all polling is suspect (just ask Mark Twain) and too many people – newscasters, politicians and the public – place too much faith in them. Too many products are produced or abandoned by polls, too many people are led by them (social media “trending” is one culprit) and too many politicians poll before they speak… sometimes before they think.
Elections are won by getting as many people as possible to vote, which is why Trump surpassed all expectations, but also why Biden won. Elections are won by convincing voters their vote is vital, and not by assuming their vote is not needed.
Someday in the future, voting will be done electronically – as soon as everyone believes blockchain technology cannot be hacked – and voter turnout will be greater, but even then people will not all be participating (honestly) in polls. Too bad they will still be counting on them to shape opinions. – Damon C.
If republican voters and donors continue to be influenced by these polls, they’re absolute morons and deserve to lose by unprecedented landslides. – David C.
Awesome reporting and commentary! – Pete C.
The polls performed exactly as designed and were used for their designated purpose. The polls had to say Biden was a big winner, not just for voter suppression and a Democrat PsyOp, but also to provide top cover for the planned theft of the election. If the polls said Blue wave it gave a plausible data point when the election was stolen via the mail-in ballots and election rigging. When Biden won they would again say look at the polls… Biden was way ahead, of course he won. Since Trump did better it also gave the Rinos (like Romney POS) some face-saving since down ticket did OK.
There is no truth or integrity – reality is created by those who control the media and the message/narrative. So please stop giving the excuse about shy Trump voters etc. The polls are a political PsyOp and should be completely ignored and condemned. – Tony C.
My feeling this year is that both sides had a strong motivation to get out the vote and that is what happened. Showing how truly the country is divided at present. But on a personal level to me voting is a right and a privilege that I do not take lightly. I would never let a poll , whichever way it was going, stop me from voting. Hopefully this year showed everyone how important each vote is. I hope that the importance of voting- as a right and a privilege- is still taught in schools. Not all countries have what we as Americans are all so blessed to have! – D.
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Managing Editor, American Consequences
With P.J. O’Rourke
November 11, 2020