Those Darned Ballot Initiatives II


A final word on 60, 61, and 101.  They violated two basic rules of drawing political lines – 1) create contrasts, and 2) make sure that more people are on your side of that contrast.  These were written in such a way that even true fiscal conservatives didn’t believe they could support them.  Which meant that not only didn’t they get passed, they passed up an opportunity to let the Republican candidates define differences between themselves and their opponents.

In the Wall Street Journal:

The ballot measures mirror tea-party goals. So Natalie Menten, who runs the proponents’ campaign, expected lots of help from the movement.

She didn’t get it.

A large majority of Colorado’s elected officials, both Republicans and Democrats, have urged voters to reject the measures as too extreme. The opposition raised millions from businesses and unions for ads warning that the measures would kill jobs and strip funding from schools, roads and prisons.

In the face of such forceful opposition, many tea-party activists stepped aside to focus on other priorities, such as state legislative races.

“It does disappoint me,” Ms. Menten said. “It tells me they want to go out to the capitol and hold up a sign” but not take real action.

No.  They took real action.  They got involved in campaigns they believed they could win.

Now, look at what happened in Arizona.  Two years ago, they rejected (barely) a ballot initiative that would have made sure that people could always purchase their own health care.  This year, they passed an Amendment 63 look-alike.

Here’s an idea.  Two years ago, we barely killed a right-to-work initiative, and an initiative to get rid of affirmative action in public hiring and contracting.  This year, we came within a few points of neutralizing Obamacare here.

Why not take a page from the lefty handbook, and try these again?  Better yet, why not think about how the initiatives will help get people elected by clarifying differences, coordinating ballot initiatives with electoral politics, rather than falling in love with whatever new idea we come up with in the interim?