While voters were sending Democratic candidates packing in key races across the country, they were also approving numerous ballot measures closely tied to liberal causes.
In Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota, for instance, Democratic Senate candidates were soundly defeated while minimum-wage hikes – a major Democratic talking point this year – passed. Alaska also backed a measure, but its Senate race is still in doubt.
Washington voters approved mandatory background checks on firearm sales at gun shows and re-elected a Republican controlled state Senate. Colorado and North Dakota rejected a measure that would grant foetuses legal “personhood”, which likely would have curtailed some abortion rights and contraceptive methods.
Massachusetts passed a paid sick leave programme while also electing a Republican governor. Californians approved sentence reductions for non-violent criminals as the state’s Democratic legislative majorities were trimmed. And Alaska, Oregon and Washington, DC backed legalisation of marijuana possession.
(A majority of Florida voters also supported legalising marijuana for medical uses, but it failed to garner the 60% approval necessary for passage.)
A California county and a town in Texas banned the shale oil removal process called fracking.
The results can’t all be claimed as wins for a liberal-leaning agenda – another California county rejected a fracking ban, Tennessee passed an anti-abortion constitutional amendment and Georgia capped income taxes. Enough went the Democrats’ way, however, for some on the left to celebrate – and agonise over the perceived irony of the results.