Election brings out the best and worst

An event featuring as many moving parts as a local, state and national election is bound to produce elements of the good, bad and ugly.

First, the good:

1) The election of Casey Kulla as county commissioner, Zack Geary and Sal Peralta as city councilors, and, by all appearances, Jennifer Chapman as circuit judge, promises to usher in a wave of new energy and thinking. They ran positive, forward-looking, high-octane campaigns, which paid off for them.

While we didn’t endorse Chapman, we said: “We are impressed with Chapman’s intelligence, energy, drive and interpersonal skills. We have no doubt she would perform creditably on the court.”

2) Passage of Measure 102, aimed at boosting the inventory of affordable housing, and not just the defeat, but resounding defeat, of Measures 103, 104, 105 and 106. That represents a stinging rout for firebrands from the far right of the fiscal and social policy spectrum, whose frustration with a Democrat-dominated Legislature led them to plan an end run. 

Measure 105, the attempted sanctuary repeal, was buried in our conservative-oriented county.

3) While Oregon turnout didn’t rise to record levels, it remained encouraging for a mid-term. Across the country, turnout ranged from strong to exceptional, particularly among a youth element known for sitting on the sidelines.

All too often, Republican conservatives have been resorting to voter suppression to reduce youth and minority voters. This represents the most effective possible rebuke for such despicable tactics.

4) Democrats appeared headed for a 229-206 edge in the House, their first since the Tea Party revolt. That change promises to restore at least a modicum of balance at a time when the GOP controls both the executive and judicial branches, along with the other half of the legislative branch. We would feel the same if the party labels were reversed, as absolute power leads inevitably to ugly abuses.

5) The Democrats’ House takeover was fueled by women. As a result, the chamber now includes 98 women, 84 of them Democrats. And the Democratic complement includes two Muslims and two Native American barrier-breakers.

The bad:

1) The Democratic Party’s achievement of 60 percent supermajorities in both Oregon legislative chambers raises a red flag, particularly when coupled with the re-election of a Democratic governor of similar leanings. The only remaining impediment to misguided hubris is stubbornly independent Betsy Johnson in the Senate.

2) Passage of patently unconstitutional gun initiatives in eight rural Oregon counties is disappointing. Common sense prevailed only in Jackson and Lincoln.

3) The defeat of Julie Parrish and departure of Knute Buehler leaves the Oregon Legislature even more bereft of sensible moderates in its dwindling GOP ranks. Increasingly, the Oregon GOP is being reduced to obstructionist far-right firebrands like Mike Nearman of House District 23, who ran roughshod over one of the best legislative candidates the Democrats could hope to field in that district.

We’ll let Nearman’s re-election stand for the ugly, resisting the urge to pile on national examples.


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