Prop 19 fails

What a sad – and ultimately selfish and self-destructive – thing for Californians to vote down. Kevin Williamson says that along with the Harry Reid victory, this was the most depressing moment in the election:

You’d think a state that just reelected Jerry Brown would be ready to go in whole-hog on the pot-legalization thing, but, no.

Backers of the initiative said their polls showed it behind but within the margin of error right up until Election Day, but with support waning. Why? Maybe it’s a casualty of the Age of Austerity, though California certainly could have chosen more apt targets: Senator Boxer, for instance.

So California can go scraping around looking for money to interdict, try and lock up a bunch of harmless marijuana smokers, and continue for the indefinite future to needlessly impose politics on what should be a private matter.

Quite a midterm election all around. I certainly can’t recall any like it – even the 2006 Democratic takeover of Congress paled in comparison to the heat generated by this Republican sweep. And yet, amidst all of this, Prop 19 fails by double digits. I just don’t understand this country sometimes.

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36 thoughts on “Prop 19 fails

  1. Erik,

    Last night as we were watching TV and seeing the results on Prop 19, I commented to my partner Daniel that Iwas surprised to see it going to defeat. Daniel then said, “this was the state that voted to ban gay marriage.”

    I think most people tend to think of California as this liberal, libertarian playground, and in some ways it is- in the coastal cities. But as you move inland and away from the big cities, it tends to be more conservative culturally. I remember seeing a map of places in 2008 that voted for the ban on gay marriage and those that didn’t. The anti-prop 8 votes hugged the coasts and large cities, while there were large swaths of areas in the eastern parts of the state that voted against it. You also have to take into account that for as much as diversity is celebrated in California, persons of color tend to be more culturally conservative, so things like gay marriage and legalizing pot are not nearly popular as one might think to those groups.

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  2. @Dennis Sanders beat me to it. California isn’t quite as liberal as advertised. Its propensity to elect Democrats is the result of a) exquisitely well-machined politics, and b) the fundamental and perpetual incompetence of the California Republican Party and the drecky candidates it recruits. Conservatives can and do succeed here — on single issues, which of course lend themselves well to ballot initiatives like Props 8 and 19.

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  3. The numbers that surprised me were those that 6 out of 10 folks under 30 wanted to legalize it, and 7 out of 10 of those over 65 were against it.

    I’m torn between thinking that we just have to wait for this particular generation of elderly to, ahem, stop voting and thinking that those 6 out of 10 will, through time, become 3 out of 10.

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  4. In other words, California’s continuing to vote Democrat is a lot like Illinois’s tendency – mostly the result of slave-enclaves set up by Democrats so that they can keep a brown underclass of uneducated dolts who vote as the poverty pimps tell them to vote, and outright vote-rigging a la the Daley Family.

    Meanwhile, the “harmless marijuana smokers” are involved in an industry that is responsible for a ton of violence and corruption, and they wonder (in their drug-addled brains) why legalization is beyond their reach? They must be the only ones too stupid to figure it out.

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  5. 2 critical propositions did pass. Federal congressional districts join state districts in being drawn by the independent commission (yay! My house might finally be out of its gerrymandered hard conservative district). And the state finally joins the other 49 in adopting a budget by simple majority.

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  6. I’m not surprised in the least that Prop 19 lost. What is surprising and disappointing to me is that it lost by about 8 points when polls had it within the margin of error on a night where Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer won handily and in fact outperformed the polls by 5-7 points (going by the RCP averages), while Dems lost no more than 2 seats (which CNN still lists as undecided) in Congress in the state. So on a night where California appears to have been uniquely immune to the conservative wave, Prop 19 somehow nonetheless did worse than expected.

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  7. “…California can go scraping around looking for money to interdict, try and lock up a bunch of harmless marijuana smokers…”

    Although I’m disappointed in the results, too, I think I should point out that recently the state of California changed marijuana possession of less than an ounce to an infraction instead of a misdemeanor, effectively decriminalizing (but not legalizing) pot.

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  8. It might have been different if only Bud Selig had allowed California’s most beloved pothead to endorse Prop 19. (I can only conclude that anyone who wanted Sharron Angle to win is on something a lot stronger.)

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