Election Day is behind us now (someone please tell Rep. Allen West [R-Fla.]), and there’s plenty to be happy about. Nov. 6, 2012, brought a wave of victories for working families and the defeat of some seriously scary candidates backed by billionaires and their deep pockets.
This is a cross-post from the California Labor Federation’s blog, Labor’s Edge, by Communications Director Steve Smith.
As the election results came in late Tuesday night, it became abundantly clear that the handful of billionaires and CEOs who sought to silence our voice were in for a rude awakening. Their deceptive measure, Prop. 32, didn’t just fail, it tanked -- by a 12-point margin.
Here’s a look at a number of other key working-family races and ballot issues from yesterday’s elections.
In several U.S. Senate races where Republican, corporate and super PAC cash looked like it would make the difference, union members’ get-out-the-vote activism and votes helped push working-family candidates to victory. Democrats now have 55 senate seats. Elizabeth Warren defeated Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts. Tim Kaine beat George Allen in Virginia. Rep. Tammy Baldwin overcame Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin, Sen. Jon Tester defeated challenger Rep. Denny Rehberg in Montana and Sen. Sherrod Brown won over Josh Mandel in Ohio. Other Senate wins include Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.).
For the third time in the past 14 years, California voters rejected an attempt—fueled by millions of out-of-state dollars—to shut working people out of the political process when they soundly defeated Proposition 32. California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski said working families:
Rejected a blatant power play by corporate special interests to silence the voice of working people. Despite weeks of misleading advertisements backing Prop. 32 paid for by billionaires and out-of-state super PACs, the margin of defeat was decisive. Prop. 32 backers spent more than $50 million in an effort to fool voters.
Last night, working families across the country celebrated the re-election of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden—and breathed a sigh of relief that our country will move forward on the path of sanity and shared prosperity. Nothing about the last four years has been easy, from the Great Recession to Hurricane Sandy, from unrelenting partisan obstruction by Republicans to the greatest onslaught of negative ads ever unleashed against an American president.
In a huge voter outreach push in the final days of the election cycle, the AFL-CIO political program in Ohio completed more than 800,000 voter contacts. That far exceeds previous election years. The unprecedented level of voter communication capped the massive effort under way since Labor Day that reached more than 2 million Ohio voters with 80,000 volunteer shifts.
The AFL-CIO Voter Protection rapid response team has dispatched a team of lawyers to Summit County, Ohio, where there have been reports from across the country about problems with voting machines, lack of paper ballots, moved polling places and other issues.
In one precinct, some voters were in line from 6:30 a.m. until 11 a.m. before finally voting with provisional ballots.