CNN.com – Elections 2006 is a summary of the ballot measures that tell another part of the story of the 2006 mid-term election. A variety of kinds of Democrats won seats in the Senate and House, not just the conservative Democrats. The Republican spin that this is “still a conservative country” is a polarizing view of what’s really happened. The center has said enough of the extremes that characterize the “socially conservative” agenda.
In every ballot measure where minimum wage was on the ballot, voters supported increasing the minimum wage. In Arizona, one of the most conservative states, raising the minimum wage passed by 66 percent. In Missouri, the minimum wage increase passed by a whopping 76 percent.
Every ballot measure calling for greater limits on abortion failed. Every ballot measure on stem cell research passed.
In Washington state, voters rejected eliminating the estate tax by almost two-thirds and voted to require energy companies to provide a target level of renewable capacity by a slim marging.
The only “traditional” issues that gained strong support was opposition to gay marriage or domestic partnership, which lost by a wide margin in every state where it was on the ballot. This is only the most recently flogged on the far-right issues and, like the others, will give way to more centrist positions.
Now, we’ll have to see if one-party rule is really over or whether the White House and a split Senate will attempt to filibuster all House action. The center, however, has told Republicans it is time to come back to the table.
If there are no shenanigans in Virginia, it should be a Democratic Senate, as well, though without a clear majority on many issues. WIth these kinds of narrowly divided Congresses, the art of bipartisanship can accomplish great things.