The Democrat Party has had a run of very bad luck – at the state level – since Barack Obama was elected president in 2008. As was pointed out in The Hill today, the GOP controls “a record number of state legislative chambers across the country,” which includes majorities in 69 of the nation’s 99 legislative bodies.
The statistics are impressive – Republicans have control of both legislative chambers in 30 states, plus in Nebraska’s nominally non-partisan body. Democrats, on the other hand, have complete control in just 11 states, and Washington is one of eight states where control is split between the parties.
Add to the Republican state legislative successes a record number of governorships (31), and it’s no wonder that the special interests that control the Democrats’ policy agenda have to look at other ways to grow the size and reach of government to their benefit. And that’s why, again according to The Hill, “liberals are turning to ballot measures to raise the minimum wage, enact gun control, strengthen environmental protections and pursue other progressive goals that would be impossible to advance in GOP-controlled legislatures.”
We certainly have seen this trend in practice in recent years in Washington, as frustrated liberals turn to initiatives to go around the voters’ elected representatives, and also to create enthusiasm for voting that is lacking with candidates like Jay Inslee. As The Hill points out, this year “progressives frustrated by a Republican-controlled state Senate have secured ballot spots for a proposed carbon emission tax, a minimum wage increase and stricter gun controls.”
Add to that list a massive tax increase which liberals have also placed on the ballot this fall – the record-breaking $54 billion Sound Transit 3 measure – and Washington voters will get to send a message to the rest of the country on whether there is such a thing as liberal over-reach when it comes to initiatives.