Thoughts on Why R Failed and P Didn’t

So R failed, so far, by 1,352 votes, 3,491 to 2,139 or 61% to 37%. 2 votes against for every 1 vote for it. It wasn’t close, in fact it was a landslide.

Also, another favorite, of the left P flew buy with flying colors. If we assume the County’s percentages followed for Eureka, the votes went something like this 3,306 votes for it and 2,257 votes against it or 57% to 39%. Again, not even close 18 percentage point difference.

What explains the paradox that these two landslides that many would think should have the same base went exactly the opposite direction?

My answer. Reagan, Rush and a hollow opposition to middle-class eviscerating policies that the right has sold to a willing public for the past 40 years.

Here is how it’s done.

1) Power. The Job Creators have control the purse strings, not the liberal elite. See Coop’s P banner (and not one for R) and Eureka Natural Food’s Rick Littlefield’s letter to the editor (see below). It’s the old saying on KGOE that the liberal media is only as liberal as their corporate owners. And that goes from local owners too. There are local owners and businesses that need union representation to begin to even the playing field again.

a) Sub story. Unions were strongly and rarely united in favor of this measure.  However, when push comes to shove, unions are weak politically. Don’t buy this right wing union thug narrative, because those days are long gone. Any anti-union talk is just that, since 1980, they have not been a part of our national dialog.

It’s time, btw, that changed.

2) Self interest. We have been trained since the inflation scare of the late 70’s to work against high prices. In the end, we will vote for expediency and efficiency. In a scene our society itself has become a business model. We demand with our spending shopping malls, international free trade, and wages that require public assistance simply to get by, not to mention invest for a future. We’ve bought into the right-wing utopian vision that all it will take is a little more boot strap pulling. Maybe that’s true for a percentage of people but what is that percentage? Also, what do we do about those who have legitimately pulled their bootstraps as tight as they go?

3) Trust. This may be one of the most important if least discussed aspect of politics. You’ll see reference all over the blogs (search for the word “credibility”), especially from the right as if they instinctively understand it’s importance to their narrative. If the left has reality, and we do (with exceptions like P), the right depends on people trusting them – at least relative to the trust they put in the left. That’s why the KINS Rush/Sean/Medved/Bennett is critical to their path forward. That narrative is simply about de-legitimizing the left. This is also what John Fullerton and others do when they concern-troll on credibility, what they are really doing is telling the reader – hey, don’t listen to this guy, not because of his/her arguments, but because of who he/she is, and for starters he/she isn’t me.

a) if you want to experience this in real time, please take the time to listen to this clip by Rush Limbaugh where Rush begins the heavy lifting of using people’s trust in him against their own self interest in net neutrality.

I think the above have to be considered when trying to figure how to measures which should have strong support on the left had extraordinarily divergent results. The left’s coalition in Humboldt depends a great deal on what my mind characterizes as the Sohum or 60’s counter culture or Weed Inc. left which has one foot in the Ayn Rand libertarian narrative of the right. You’ll find a great deal of disagreements between this left and more institutional liberals like myself.

We also have to understand and appreciate the great political divide between labor and capital which may sell left, but in the end, cannot be, not where it really counts.

What I hope is that those of us on the left will begin to work with each other rather than those on the right. I understand how cheaper prices, less regulation, fewer unions, lower taxes all sound great, at least for the time being, but we have to realized\ that in order to smoke weed, save Pacific Fishers, salmon, and heirloom varieties, AND to be able to come out in the black when pinching pennies, we need a middle class.

… and there are no short cuts.

Resources (and it turns out, tons of)  Bonus Commentary:

Partial transcript and commentary on the king utopian narrative creator of our time – Rush Limbaugh.

“it can be really complicated …”  (Turn off your critical thinking, you are not smart enough to figure this out – I will for you)

.. if you listen to the wrong people about it…” (Duh, the left are the wrong people, they hate America, did you know that?  They probably hate you too.)

“’s something that is totally mis-titled…

…there is nothing neutral about net neutrality, what the regime want’s to do…”  (yes, I said regime, duh, I don’t know how many times I use that word during my 3 hour show, or since I invented it’s use in reference to President Obama a few years back, but narratives need to be sold by repetition and by having a clear antagonist.  Let’s be clear, this is a story, it’s a soap opera for angry white men who want someone to blame.)

“…here’s the thing, I’m telling you...”   (Remember, trust and credibility are critical to this.  Stay with me folks, I won’t let you down.)

“… you don’t even need to know what it’s about, all you really need to know..” (see critical thinking above.  Seriously, please just listen to me, and ignore even those conservatives who “know better“.  This is definitively NOT about setting up another business model where those with money can make a killing by offing sky boxes in part by making life miserable for the rest of you.)

…all you really need to know is who is behind it and that alone should disqualify your support…”  (See above.  I said regime!  QED.  Obamacare, socialist, communist, community organizer, *whispers* also did you notice he doesn’t look like us?)

…the same people who had given us Obamacare, and the way they did it, lied through their teeth, ran a con game…”  (See, I pay attention to local news generated by the right and then use it to buttress this narrative.  Gruber anyone, liberal elite lying to you and calling you stupid?  And you want to listen to those egg heads?  Fools… anyway as I was saying…)

And it goes on starting with an anecdotal story from Rush’s life giving him credibility with the common man (not woman). This is Rush’s and the right’s faux populism, and it works.

24 hours a day 7 days a week on FOX, and radio.  This is how in the 2nd midterm after a successful Democratic President, Republicans managed to do even better than polls suggested they would.

It’s been happening since 1980 at least and the result is while the left can pass largely meaningless Measures like P, it cannot, yet, begin to significantly take on the economic  powers that be.   Economic powers that have so clearly sold us a a bill of goods.  Hopefully, sooner than later we will all catch on to Rush’s and KINS’ brand of conservationism which is in business of selling the lie that a rising tide raises all boats.  It doesn’t.

Resources Part 2:  Rick Littlefield’s T-S editorial from 11/1/14.

Rick Littlefield from ENF on R



8 thoughts on “Thoughts on Why R Failed and P Didn’t

  1. Anonymously says:

    Picking a nit: “. . . favorite, of the left . . .”

    My personal preference as a confirmed “Neutral” (DTS) is no description at all. Try the Political Compass (, then tell us whether you’re ‘left’ or ‘right’.

    1. So, anonymously, are you neutral, ie right in the mid-center, of the political compass website’s quadrant of left/right and authoritarian/liberal scales? Just curious. My results came out precisely matching my professed leanings (left/liberal – i found i was in some good company btw).

      1. Anonymously says:

        The compass puts me in the deep left/libertarian (close to -7’s on both), and yes to the ‘good company’. As far as the above column, I’d probably change ‘left’ to ‘common sense’ or ‘rational’; ‘right’ the opposite.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Maybe R failed in part because quite a few people agreed with the criticisms that it was too much, too fast with no phase in, might cause some businesses to lay people off or move outside the city limits, and the restriction to only applying to employers with more than 25 workers and only in Eureka would benefit a relatively small number of minimum wage workers, while the remaining minimum wage workers might end up paying higher prices for some goods and services.

    To be clear I don’t necessarily buy that those concerns were a good enough reason to reject it, and my preferred option would be have been to pass it and then correct most of those concerns by passing a county-wide, univerrsal initiative, what I’m saying is that it may be that even with the big-picture factors you named it might have been able to pass except that a fair number of people decided that it was just bad policy, with too many potential unintended consequences. Certainly some percentage of voters would have voted against it no matter what, but I do wonder whether enough would have voted for it if it had been, for example, a little bit more modest and/or phased-in over a couple of years.

  3. Anonymous says:

    As a canvasser for “R” I can assure you that the response was overwhelmingly positive once residents heard the facts.

    Unfortunately, 6 HSU students with only two hours once a week to canvass, {while virtually all the local unions, democrats and liberals sit-it-out (again)} it is impossible to reach Eureka’s 10 thousand chronic, uninformed/misinformed non-voters.

  4. Anonymous says:

    …the response was overwhelmingly positive once residents heard the facts that we chose to share with them, and none of the facts we’d rather they didn’t consider.

    Fixed it for you.

  5. Anonymous says:

    …the response was overwhelmingly positive once residents heard the facts we wanted them to hear, and none of the facts we’d rather they not consider.

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