Voting Elsewhere Also Encouraging
On Wednesday in this space, we focused our attention on the prudent and encouraging choices the voters made in municipal races for Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Aberdeen.
Meanwhile, though, a number of other hopeful results were also being registered in other localities and states. They, too, deserve attention — in most cases, as popular rejections of extreme and unfortunate previous decisions or positions by elected officials.
Among those developments was a key election result in Wake County, where Board of Education member Kevin Hill beat out a tea party opponent to win a crucial runoff. This result completed the reversal of 2009’s election of a Republican majority that had plunged the county’s school system into a needless period of turmoil and tension
With its heavy-handed and harshly ideological approach to student assignment policies, the previous board attracted negative attention nationwide. The new majority holds out hope of a more enlightened, moderate stance.
Suggestions of a Trend
Other results around North Carolina offered further suggestions of a retreat from earlier reactionary policies.
In Charlotte, hometown of former mayor and likely GOP gubernatorial nominee Pat McCrory, voters handed a decisive re-election victory to Democratic Mayor Anthony Foxx. And Democrats also won all four at-large races for City Council seats. Some saw that as at least a partial rejection of McCrory’s politics in his own hometown.
In Greensboro, longtime City Council member Robbie Perkins was elected Greensboro’s mayor Tuesday, defeating a fellow Republican, one-term incumbent Bill Knight. Perkins, considered a moderate alternative to the hard-right Knight, beat him by a resounding 57-43 percent.
And in Durham, Orange and three other counties, voters approved boosts in local sales tax rates to finance education and transit, ignoring opposition from conservative groups inflexibly insisting that all tax increases are automatically bad.
Surprise in Mississippi
Other election results in more distant locales also seemed to echo this pattern. Most notably, voters in normally ultraconservative Mississippi surprised prognosticators by decisively rejecting a stunningly radical constitutional amendment that would have defined a fertilized egg as a “person,” thereby abolishing many forms of birth control and strictly banning all abortions, including those resulting from rape or incest.
In Ohio, Republican Gov. John Kasich was obliged to eat a healthy portion of humble pie at a news conference after the state’s voters overwhelmingly junked his hard-right initiative to take away the collective bargaining rights of state workers. In Maine, meanwhile, voters demanded the return of same-day voter registration, whose previous abolition had been viewed as an effort to skew the results, however marginally, in GOP directions.
Some liberal commentators have attempted to tie in these results with the spontaneous nationwide spread of the Occupy Wall Street movement as evidence of a nascent shift in public rejection of conservative policies favoring the rich at the expense of everyday folks.
We’re not so sure. But there do seem to be traces of a possible trend that politicos on both ends of the political spectrum can hardly ignore.
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