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While Democrats Did Terribly, Progressive Policies Did Very Well at the Ballot Box

legalize marijuanaLast night was very bad for Democrats on the ballot. Not only did they lose control of the Senate, but House Republicans now have their largest majority in decades. It was not though a bad election for progressive policies. Most of the progressive ballot initiatives on the ballot won.

Ballot measures about increasing the minimum wage scored huge wins in Illinois, Alaska, Arkansas and Nebraska. In the same Arkansas election that incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor (D) lost by 17 points, the minimum wage increase ballot measure was approved by a two-to-one margin.

In California Proposition 47, a major sentencing reform measure, won with 58.5 percent support. The measure is a clear signal the state has turned against the aggressive drug war and “tough on crime” mentality.

Marijuana legalization had its best election ever scoring three big wins in D.C., Oregon, and Alaska. An impressive feat given that young people tend to turn out in lower rates during midterm elections. While medical marijuana did fail in Florida, that is only because it won 57 percent support from voters and under Florida law amendments need 60 percent to be adopted.

Paid sick leave will now be required for many workers in Massachusetts thanks to a win for Question 4.

Same day voter registration will continue in Montana after a Republican backed effort to end it was defeated. Unfortunately though, a very confusingly worded amendment in Connecticut to help expand voting access narrowly failed.

The extreme anti-abortion personhood measures were easily defeated in Colorado and the red state of North Dakota. A measure allowing the legislature in Tennessee to change laws regarding abortion did narrowly pass, but that didn’t contain any restrictions on abortion, only opened the door to the future possibility.

It would seem this election was less about conservative issues and more about general disappointment with Democratic leadership and their management abilities.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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