Good grief, cry many progressives – how has America turned so right-wing that a flabby, narcissistic, wannabe-dictator like Trump was even in the running?
But wait – aside from a minority of racist, xenophobic, misogynistic voters, plus a bunch of uber-wealthy corporate profiteers making a killing from his rich-man’s agenda – most of Trump’s rank-and-file voters are not right-wingers at all. To see evidence of this, look at the multitude of overtly progressive ballot issues that won majority support on Tuesday, even in so-called “Trump Country.”
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53 percent of Arizona voters said yes to a tax surcharge on incomes above $250,000 a year, specifically to raise teacher pay and recruit more teachers.
A whopping 78 percent of Oregon voters approved a populist proposition to put strict controls on the corrupting power of big-money corporate donations in elections.
61 percent of Floridians voted to raise the state’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, a working class advance vehemently opposed by corporate giants and right-wing groups.
57 percent voted yes on a Colorado provision requiring corporations to let employees earn paid time-off for medical and family needs.
Between 53 and 69 percent of voters in six states – including in such supposedly conservative bastions as Arizona, Mississippi, and South Dakota – approved initiatives liberalizing and even legalizing marijuana and other drug use.
Plus, there were some big symbolic victories, such as Mississippi replacing a Confederate symbol on its state flag with a magnolia blossom, and the people of Nebraska overwhelmingly voted to amend their constitution to excise an antiquated provision authorizing slavery as a punishment for certain crimes!
The hope that resides in these progressive policy positions is the prospect that a truly great American majority might yet be forged – not around some mega-politician – but around our people’s basic values of fairness and justice for all.