USA, Unicorn, red white and blue, patriotic

Our Election 2016 Guide to the Races You Should be Watching!

Let us be clear: we and so many other websites were DEAD WRONG about Donald Trump’s chances for winning the presidency. We’ll examine why in an upcoming article, but for now… even though everybody has their eye on the presidential race, we spent part of last night looking at city and state races on other important social issues as well as on the LGBTQ candidates running across the nation. Here’s what happened…

1) CALIFORNIA REJECTED MANDATORY CONDOMS IN PORN

California’s Proposition 60, the ballot measure (supported by the anti-PrEP AIDS Healthcare Foundation) which would have required condoms in all California-produced porn, lost 54% to 46%. That’s good because it was a terrible law.

2) ARKANSAS, FLORIDA, MONTANA, AND NORTH DAKOKA ALL APPROVED MEDICAL CANNABIS 

Who’s got the number for Dr. Feelgood? Interestingly, more states continue to expand access to cannabis even as the federal government still classifies the drug (alongside heroin) as a “Schedule I” drug with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

3) CALIFORNIA, MASSACHUSETTS, AND NEVADA APPROVED RECREATIONAL CANNABIS

Arizona, however, rejected it and in Maine, the vote is currently too close to call with 89% of precincts reporting and approval only winning by about 5,000 votes.

4) MASSACHUSETTS REJECTED EXPANSION OF CHARTER SCHOOLS

Whether you have kids or not, the Massachusetts question over whether to limit charter school growth largely pitted Democrats against one another in a “public-schools-versus-privitization” fight. The law was set to lift the cap on the number of charter schools allowed in the state. Supporting charter schools: Obama, Michael Bloomberg, and the Walton family (of Walmart fame). Supporting public schools: the state teachers union, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders. The public school supporters won out.

5) ARIZONA, COLORADO, AND MAINE RAISED THEIR MINIMUM WAGE

Arizona, Colorado, and Maine all raised their minimum wage to $12;  Washington raised it to $13.50; and South Dakota kept its minimum wage at $8.50 rather than cutting it by a dollar.

6) THE DEATH PENALTY GETS NEW LIFE IN CALIFORNIA, NEBRASKA, AND OKLAHOMA

California and Nebraska kept their death penalties rather than converting all death penalty convictions to life in prison and California even passed a proposition to speed them up by putting time limits on the legal appeals process. Oklahoma also put the death penalty in the state constitition. 

7) COLORADO REJECTS SINGLE-PAYER HEALTH CARE

Colorado voters soundly rejected Amendment 69, a law that would have scrapped private health insurance and replaced it with a state-run single-payer heath care plan called ColoradoCare. Many doubted that the taxes meant to finance it would actually cover its costs

8) WASHINGTON REJECTS ITS STATEWIDE CARBON TAX

Washington rejected its ambitious initiative to curb the state’s carbon emissions. Unsurprisingly, many manufacturing businesses opposed the measure.

9) LOS ANGELES LOCAL TRANSIT EXPANSION

With 64 precincts reporting Los Angeles seems ready to approve Measure M, effectively raising taxes to fund a serious expansion of local transit. Seattle also seems ready to approve an expansion of its local transit via Sound Transit Proposition Number 1.

10) LGBTQ CANDIDATES

Although this year had a record number of 191 openly LGBTQ candidates running in local, city, state, and national elections, most of the candidates weren’t heavily favored to win. Thus, here’s a few that seemed to have the best chances of winning, plus the governor’s race from North Carolina.

WINNERS

North Carolina – Governor: Roy Cooper (he’s not gay, but he opposed Pat McCrory, the governor who signed HB2, America’s most transphobic law)

Arizona – State House Seat: Daniel Hernandez (the gay man who saved Gabby Giffords)

California – State Senate Seat: Toni Atkins

Oregon – Governor: Kate Brown

Pennsylvania – State Representative Seat: Brian Sims

Washington – State Supreme Court, Justice Position #1: Mary Yu

LOSERS

Connecticut – U.S. House Seat: Clay Cope (he was a Republican Trump supporter)

Kentucky – U.S. Senate Seat: Jim Gray (he lost to Rand Paul — 57 percent to 43 percent)

Oklahoma – U.S. House Seat: Al McAffrey

Minnesota – U.S. House Seat: Angie Craig (she lost 45 to 47 percent)

Washington – Secretary of State: Tina Podlodowski

UNCLEAR

California – San Francisco Board Of Supervisors: Kimberly Alvarenga (she would be first lesbian in 16 years to serve, also the only queer supervisor in the running, even though since 1977/Harvey Milk, there has always been at least one queer supervisor)

Texas – Harris County Commissioners: Jenifer Rene Pool (she was the first trans person to win a primary in Texas, taking 78% of primary vote)