Florida voters approve a $15/hour minimum wage to be phased in over the next six years. Florida voters, of course, also gave our President a four-point margin; it's like there's a lesson in there, somewhere, for Democratic politicians. A lesson they constantly resist, of course -- recall how Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas had nothing to say about the ultimately successful minimum wage initiative on his state's ballot in 2014, and how voters turned him out of office by 20 points, a result which may yet help give the world a President Tom Cotton.
Voters in Oregon substantially reduce criminal penalties for possession of most illegal narcotics -- though not their manufacture or distribution, and that's pretty much exactly how you split that knot. Oregon would also divert much of its tax revenue from cannabis production and sale to addiction treatment; I'm excited to watch this work. Voters in New Jersey, Montana, South Dakota, and Arizona also substantially reduced criminal penalties for possession of pot, and while you can imagine some police in Arizona, for example, fabricating a pretext for arrest or further investigation by miscounting their pot plants (Arizona now allows six per adult per household), you can also imagine a lot of police taking a deep breath that they don't have to go after pot-smokers so much anymore, and maybe go after some real criminals.
In a related note, University of Kentucky researchers adapt the Ryan White Care Act (which helps HIV sufferers get mental health help) to use for some rural patients suffering from drug addiction. Folks in rural areas don't often have easy access to addiction treatment programs, but researchers hope they can improve their options, and working on prevention of future health care issues by treating addiction is a way to be "fiscally-responsible" about reducing health care costs. And you know, this is the kind of problem that Medicare-for-All could help with!
The voters didn't do solid work everywhere on Election Day, of course -- California voters approved a ballot initiative that would exempt corporations like Uber and Lyft from a California law that forces corporations to treat their "independent contractors" more like employees. The forces of evil won here, apparently, partly by making some benefit concessions and partly by convincing people it was all about the employees' "flexibility," though we should all know by now that when we see "flexibility" in a job notice, it sure as hell ain't about our flexibility, as we discover when we need to care for our sick parents or sick children. Is it good news that Silicon Valley lit over $200 million on fire to fool voters into passing this initiative? Maybe, but it's also bad news that those clowns had $200 million to light on fire in the first place. (As an aside, the Uber investor who called AB5's author a "grifter" has exposed himself to charges of libel that I hope Assemblywoman Gonzalez pursues.)
The incomparable Jim Naureckas at FAIR informs us that our notorious punditoids have, as usual, "Miss(ed) the Signal in the Noise" when looking at exit polling data. Our "liberal" media is so quick to bang a gong about a two-point shift in Latinx support for Mr. Biden (or a two-point shift in senior support for our President), but not so much about the nine-point jump in under-30 support for Mr. Biden, and they also yammer on so much about our President's advantage among non-college-educated whites that they fail to see that this "advantage" comes entirely from non-college-educated whites making over $100,000. I guess they're afraid of being called "socialists" or something.
Finally, because we do need reminders like this, Zeynep Tufekci at The Atlantic reminds us that our current President isn't particularly good at being an authoritarian -- and that the next authoritarian who runs for President could be a whole lot better at it. Worse, Republicans entrenched their power in our Senate and in state legislatures, so the machine will be there for the next Republican authoritarian, one who doesn't tweet or have a chain of hotels or brag about assaulting women while the tape's running. One possibility Ms. Tufekci doesn't write about: that our current President will run again in 2024 -- after spending four years controlling some media outlet farther right than Fox News -- and Republicans won't be able to stop him. Of course I'm not sure that's a comfort.