Back to top Jump to featured resources

Featured from The Public Good

Ballot_box_01.svg
Featured Article filed under The Public Good | Written by David Morris | 1 Comment | Updated on Nov 5, 2014

Democrat Candidates Lost. Democrat Issues Won

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/democrat-candidates-lost-democrat-issues-won/

On Tuesday Democrats lost big when they ran a candidate but won big when they ran an issue.

In 42 states about 150 initiatives were on the ballot. The vast majority did not address issues dividing the two parties (e.g. raising the mandatory retirement age for judges, salary increases for state legislators, bond issues supporting a range of projects). But scores of initiatives did involve hot button issues. And on these American voters proved astonishingly liberal.

Voters approved every initiative to legalize or significantly reduce the penalties for marijuana possession (Alaska, California, Oregon, Washington, Washington, D.C.) It is true that a Florida measure to legalize medical marijuana lost but 57 percent voted in favor (60 percent was required.)

Voters approved every initiative to raise the minimum wage (Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, South Dakota). Voters in San Francisco and Oakland approved initiatives to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2018. The good citizens of Oakland and Massachusetts overwhelmingly approved more generous paid sick leave.

Both Colorado and North Dakota voters rejected measures that would have given the fertilized egg personhood under their criminal codes.

Washington state voters approved background checks for all gun sales and transfers, including private transactions.

By a wide margin Missourians rejected a constitutional amendment to require teachers to be evaluated based on test results and fired or demoted virtually at will.

By a 59-41 margin North Dakotans voted to keep their unique statute outlawing absentee owned pharmacies despite Walmart outspending independent pharmacist supporters at least ten to one.

The vote in Colorado offers a good example of the disparity between how Americans vote on candidates and how we vote on issues. A few years ago the Colorado legislature stripped cities and counties of the right to build their own telecommunications networks but it allowed them to reclaim that authority if they put it to a vote of their citizens. On Tuesday 8 cities and counties did just that. Residents in every community voted by a very wide margin to permit government owned networks even while they were voting by an equally wide margin for Republican candidates who vigorously oppose government ownership of anything.

Republicans did gain a number of important victories. Most of these dealt with taxes. For example, Georgia voters by a wide margin supported a constitutional amendment prohibiting the state legislature from raising the maximum state income tax rate. Massachusetts’ voters narrowly voted to overturn a law indexing the state gasoline tax to the consumer price increase.

What did Tuesday tell us? When given the choice between a Republican and a Democrat candidate the majority of voters chose the Republican. When given a choice between a Republican and a Democrat position on an issue they chose the Democrat. I’ll leave it up to others to debate the reasons behind this apparent contradiction. My own opinion is that ballot initiatives more accurately take the ideological pulse of the people because debates over issues must focus on issues, not personality, temperament or looks. Those on both sides of the issue can exaggerate, distort and just plain lie but they must do so in reference to the question on the ballot. No ballot initiative ever lost because one of its main backers attended a strip club 16 years earlier.

 

 

 

Scottish and Catalonian flags
Featured Article filed under The Public Good | Written by David Morris | No Comments | Updated on Oct 10, 2014

Scotland and Catalonia: Fraternal but not Twins

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/scotland-catalonia-fraternal-twins/

Scotland and Catalonia are brothers in arms. Independence movement leaders communicate regularly.  On September 18, when Scotland voted on uncoupling from the United Kingdom Catalans were there.  When Catalonia votes on independence, a vote originally scheduled for November 9th but delayed pending a court decision, Scots will certainly be in attendance. Scotland and Catalonia have… Continue reading

somerset_logo
Featured Article filed under The Public Good | Written by David Morris | No Comments | Updated on Sep 10, 2014

Debating the Role of Government in Somerset Kentucky

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/debating-role-government-republican-somerset-kentucky/

When two politicians debate the role of government, it is almost always Democrat vs. Republican.  Which is why it was so refreshing and instructive to read of the debate taking place among Republicans in a small city in southeastern Kentucky. On July 19, after years of complaints about local gasoline prices being higher than those… Continue reading

Scottish-flag_2109121b
Featured Article filed under The Public Good | Written by David Morris | No Comments | Updated on Sep 12, 2014

Scotland, Sovereignty and Corporations

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/scotland-sovereignty-corporations/

Since 1945 the number of nations has soared from about 60 to more than 180.  The first wave of new sovereign states came with the decolonization movement of the 1960s and 1970s; the second in the early 1990s with the break-up of the Soviet Union. Scotland’s independence movement is part of a third wave. Dozens of… Continue reading

fibreOpticBoradban_2266001a
Featured Article filed under The Public Good | Written by David Morris | No Comments | Updated on Sep 2, 2014

This November We Can Regain Local Authority Over the Internet

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://ilsr.org/states-rights-local-democracy-future-broadband/

In July the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) stirred up a hornets’ nest by announcing it might overturn state prohibitions on municipally owned broadband networks. Republicans protested that Washington should keep its grubby hands off state authority. Giant cable and phone companies contended that local governments are incapable of managing telecommunications networks and the resulting failure… Continue reading