For months the national media, cable news, the New York Times, and all the rest—the Beltway Punditocracy—have all predicated a “Red Wave” Republican blowout national result for this week’s November mid-term election—which never happened!
That was plainly what they were rooting for, because it was a “better story,” and much easier to cover, like sports playoffs, than the ongoing attempt by America’s fascist right and one-percent oligarchs to take over our nation by voter suppression, gerrymandering, massive campaign spending, a partisan Supreme Court, and even outright nullification of the voters’ decisions.
And once all would-be elite journalists coalesce on a “lede” storyline among themselves for big stories like elections—so it will be! Alternative thinking is frozen out of the mainstream press and media.
Here in San Francisco, the same group-think journalism is on full display this week as the local pundits of the city’s neoliberal press—the Chronicle, of course, and sites like the Standard, KQED, and others—digest Tuesday’s City election results. All have declared victory on behalf of the city’s moderate/neo-lib establishment and its mayor, except for a few lesser setbacks.
Well, not exactly.
The recently mayoral-appointed incumbents, all still in their traditional first-year clear-sailing honeymoon period, three on the School Board, a supervisor and the district attorney, all cruised to easy re-election as normal.
The moderates will only have “flipped” one progressive seat if Joel Engardio hangs on to his narrow over Gordon Mar in District 4. That was clearly the result of the mayor’s successful gerrymandering of district boundaries early this year.
All the five other incumbents owe their offices to the populist-right fear/resentment driven recall elections of the last year that the mayor successfully took advantage of. But despite the one-off realities of these backstories, all the neo-lib journos have chimed in with the same storyline.
But the story is very different if one looks instead at the outcomes of the most significant ballot measures last Tuesday.
- The mayor/neolibs’ leading measure, the Prop D housing development “streamlining” Charter amendment placed on the ballot with millions of dollars in Yimby contributions, is losing narrowly.
- Proposition C, which takes away the mayor’s direct control of the city’s homeless policies and programs, and which she strenuously opposed, won easily.
- Proposition M, Sup. Dean Preston’s Empty Homes Vacancy Tax, which the real estate industry and mayor fought vehemently, also won a solid victory.
- And the potentially most consequential of all, Proposition H, which will move the next mayoral election to same day as the 2024 national presidential election, which the mayor opposed as her “top priority,” was a landslide winner with 70 percent of the vote.
- Notably Proposition L, the Muni sales tax extension won, also securing 70 percent of the vote, the vital two-thirds majority required, thanks to an across-the-board united front campaign including progressives and moderates, every major San Francisco civic organization, along with the mayor and every candidate and office-holder. But this time, the mayor was not the campaign’s leading figurehead, compared to the failed first attempt, when she was, to pass the same measure in last June’s election.
Looking at the results of these key ballot propositions, it’s clear that in fact the mayor’s or moderates’ civic leadership—along with their millions of dollars in fat-cat campaign funds, were not a deciding factor last Tuesday at all. Instead, all five final outcomes were strongly supported or driven by San Francisco progressives, and cumulatively they add up to a powerful progressive policy-based election statement by the city’s voters.
But you will not read this alternative storyline anywhere in the Neo-lib city press. Because that’s not the one they want to write.
A final word about the huge impact of Proposition H. All of a sudden, the next mayoral election is wide open as of Nov. 9. There are a dozen city/state office holders and wannabe tech oligarchs dreaming tonight of how they might put together the big money, and run for mayor in just two years.
Or will London Breed even choose to finish her newly extended term at all? All bets are now off—let the game begin!