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Democrats Likely To Bring Policy Changes. What Will It Mean For You?

by Countable | 11.8.17

What’s the story?

With two gubernatorial wins in Tuesday’s elections, the flipping of the state senate in Washington, and a statewide referendum in Maine, some major policy changes may be afoot in which could reverberate across the country.

Why does it matter?

The GOP controls both houses of Congress and the White House at the moment, but some states are staking their claim to policies that pushback against the GOP agenda. With Tuesday’s elections we are likely to see significant policy changes around healthcare, the environment and marijuana legalization in select states, which could complicate things for the GOP.

Healthcare

In Maine voters approved a statewide referendum to expand Medicare under the Affordable Care Act. Republican Governor Paul LePage has vetoed legislation to initiate the expansion five times, according to the Portland Press Herald. He is still refusing to enact it unless or until the state legislature fully funds it:

"…my administration will not implement Medicaid expansion until it has been fully funded by the Legislature at the levels DHHS has calculated, and I will not support increasing taxes on Maine families, raiding the rainy day fund or reducing services to our elderly or disabled.”

It is unclear, however, if he and the Maine GOP can, by law, block the measure.

For those in other GOP controlled states who have blocked the Medicaid expansion, the referendum and resulting fight for enactment in Maine may provide a roadmap for expanding healthcare against GOP opposition.

Environment

The Washington Post outlined a variety of ways that Democratic wins on Tuesday could advance the "green agenda". First among them is the move towards sustainable energy being called for by New Jersey gubernatorial winner Phil Murphy. Murphy wants to aggressively move the state towards 100 percent renewable energy, despite the current prevalence of natural gas usage:

"Murphy has pledged to bring the Garden State to 100 percent clean energy by 2050 and set what his campaign calls "the most ambitious offshore wind target in the country" by promising to bring 3,500 megawatts of offshore wind power online by 2030. That's a sea change for a state with a significant oil and gas refining sector. (ExxonMobil was once Standard Oil of New Jersey.) Even into 2016, natural gas met more than half the state's electricity demand, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.”

In Washington State, where Democrats now control the state Senate, Governor Jay Inslee has a clear path to enacting a strong carbon pricing strategy in concert with California, Oregon and Canada. The New York Times outlined his upcoming strategy on Monday:

"Mr. Inslee said the special election in Eastside Seattle could open the way for broad action, including taxing carbon but also joint initiatives on energy efficiency, research and clean water.

"We intend to make a full-scale effort in the next session of the Legislature if we win," he said. “It will be a bell in the night, showing hope for the country, rejecting the Trump agenda of denying climate science.” A coastal alliance, Mr. Inslee added, especially when cities such as Seattle and Portland, Ore., and throughout California are booming economically, would help make the case to a national audience that addressing climate change through energy policy is good for business and job creation.”

Marijuana Legalization

Vox details that soon-to-be New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy made legalizing marijuana recreationally for anyone over 21 part of his platform. Medical marijuana is already legal in the state. Murphy claims it is a justice issue:

"The criminalization of marijuana has only served to clog our courts and cloud people’s futures, so we will legalize marijuana. And while there are financial benefits, this is overwhelmingly about doing what is right and just."

The legislature seems poised to follow Murphy’s lead, which would make New Jersey the ninth state to fully legalize marijuana. If they do it will be the first time legalization has happened through a legislature rather than a citizen referendum.

What do you think?

Are you expecting policy changes as a result of Tuesday’s election results? What are you hoping for, or what do you fear?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: Rachana D Pradhan via Twitter)

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(27)
  • 82-69-83-73-83-84
    11/08/2017
    ···

    11/08/2017 Dear liberal sisters and brothers, Last night's elections' very favorable results allow us to take a full breath and feel a moment of relief. However, please resist the urge to "high-five" excessively. At the same time, please take this moment of success and use it to feel safe enough to listen to conservatives. Don't bring up the election results. Don't throw the results in their face. Conservatives have valid reasons for being frustrated with the way things were, before the 2016 election. While we use this momentum to double our efforts to increase the liberal presence in elected positions, please also build bridges with our conservative voting sisters and brothers. The GOP, which is a completely separate entity from the conservative voting public, has proposed and pursued some extremely awful policies. We can't blame every conservative voter for every action of the GOP lawmakers. Democratic lawmakers have done some pretty awful things as well, and we "liberals" should not be saddled with every bad law the DEMs have made. We need to clean up the democratic party. We need to use this moment, of feeling a little more safe, to reach out to our conservative friends, colleagues and coworkers, and listen to them. If we don't listen to our "conservative" fellow voters, then who will, the extremists on the far right. Conservatives and Liberals are intelligent, thoughtful people, who, when given the facts, combined with a feeling of being heard by respectful people of a different opinion, will find compromise. We won't agree on everything, nor should we hope to. We will address the big issues in new ways, IF, we, the voters, stay engaged. What's an example of a new way? The health care debate does not have to be a binary choice of extremely high cost vs extremely poor care. The system can be made far more EFFICIENT, so we, the voting public, end up with both lower cost and extremely high quality care. Taxes do not have to be a binary choice of a long term growing debt ceiling vs ever increasing taxes for the bulk of the voting public. Worker efficiency has steadily grown for generations, but worker wages have not grown at nearly the same pace. The wealthy and powerful have been continually fleecing the public, from the day we broke away from GB (to avoid being fleeced by GB) to today; Great Britain not George Bush. Our GDP is more than sufficient for everyone (EVERYONE) to have a comfortable and healthy life, pursuing happiness. Our GDP is not sufficient for everyone to have a comfortable and healthy life, while also allowing a few others to become disgustingly wealthy. Corporations and individuals of phenomenal wealth have been and continue to steal from everyone, and they pit us against one another, playing on our fears and anxieties, to keep us from seeing that they are robbing the hen house, each and every day. We, the voters, can force Congress to pass a law nullifying the ill effects of the devastating Supreme Court decision in the "Citizens United" case. We can take the power back from the lobbyists, the corporations and the supper rich. We, the voters, can force US corporations to pay Federal and state taxes on ALL of their profits earned, FROM US. As we change the laws preventing corporations from dodging taxes, NOT BEFORE, then we can simultaneously lower the corporate tax rate. Do you believe that Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Verizon, GE, BofA and many, many others have been making most or all of their profits in Ireland. No, of course not. They have purchased tax loopholes from our lawmakers, making the rich richer and the lawmakers rich; how is this a capitalist system? How is this a democracy, when the votes not supporting corporate rape of the public are nullified? We the voting public need to find our common ground and stand against this plutocracy. Corporations are the profit crack junkies and our lawmakers are the crack dealers. Keep your head down, your eyes up, your ears and your heart open to hearing and caring about your conservative sisters and brothers, and, keep up the pressure to make America better than it has ever been, Make America what we dream it to be, an example of fairness, democracy, open arms and open doors, love, generosity, innovation, prosperity for each person, with extra compassion and support for those who have the least and those who need the most. A country where our entire black population feels and is safe, secure, respected, appreciated and rewarded equally, and given additional support to make up for being held back in the past, to put it very nicely. A country where all women feel and are safe, secure, respected, appreciated, and rewarded equally, in an environment where we do not expect women to "act" like men to succeed, but rather we honor the fact that women bring a different, valuable and NECESSARY perspective to society, business and legislation. This is not to say that any one woman thinks a certain way, but rather, on whole, women and men are the two demographics which can be identified as generally representing a different perspective. We need both perspectives in business, legislation, everywhere, but we have been hampered by an overabundance of male perspective/control and a severe lack of female perspective/control in our leadership, private and public.

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  • Denise
    11/08/2017
    ···

    Yesterday's Democratic election wins are great news. Included in the wins are 2 transgender women and a Sikh! But we progressives still have our work cut out for us in 2018 to stop this Rogue Republican Regime from continuing to demolish our democracy and our country. This is a much needed glimmer of hope though.

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  • I.Got.an.Idea...
    11/08/2017
    ···

    I hope the recent Liberal wins reflect a progressive change in our society, in which people will place Citizens first , wildlife, environment and recognize that Corporate greed has not benefited The People and in many cases has harmed The People, their rights, their liberties, their livelihood and harmed the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we consume and our family relationships via corporate oppression and other oppressive means.

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  • Ticktock
    11/08/2017
    ···

    I hope that it represents not only a wave but a tidal wave of elections of people of both parties that will represent all Americas not just the fringe, the super rich or corporations.

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  • KansasTamale
    11/08/2017
    ···

    Thank God!!! But the republicans still have control of the federal government and are systematically destroying our democracy. We have to keep an eye on all the destructive Republican bills, such as this horrible tax bill which is actually a tax hike in the middle & lower classes but the dictatorship of Republicans have made it look like a cut this year, but in 6 years those classes will be hurting.

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  • Jack
    11/08/2017
    ···

    These aren’t just a rejection of Trump, it is a rejection of these ridiculous policies of the Republican Party. When you align with this idiot of a president that wants abolish the healthcare that is so popular with a huge majority of the people, you inevitably will share his fate. What happened to the GOP not wanting to increase the budget? You want to pass a tax bill that will increase the debt by over a trillion dollars? Most of the people you represent reject this and your donors are not the only ones that keep you in office. You are about to share the same fate as the President that you so vehemently cover up for. Corruption is running rampant in our government and you choose to ignore it.

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  • Michael777
    11/09/2017
    ···

    Finally! The American people are waking up to see that Republicans are truly evil and heartless! And the Democrats who won in the Virginia State House elections were not any ordinary mainstream politicians, but a diverse bunch of ordinary Americans: A marine veteran, an African-American woman veteran, a transgender American, a Hispanic mother, a former news journalist, and so on! It was not just the Democrats who won last night, but the real American people!

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  • Dave
    11/09/2017
    ···

    The democrats win is by the people seeing the problems of fake ads / news and opinions. Wakening up to the lies, propaganda and rhetoric. That are put out as news by third party (Russia and corporations) into the media’s I. E. Twitter, face book, other social media, radio, and TV. Citizens United help do this! They never attack the problem or prove the data wrong, but the attack the person or group.

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  • Christine
    11/08/2017
    ···

    It has to be better than what this ineffective president and congress spew.

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  • Countryfirst
    11/09/2017
    ···

    Grassroot campaigns matter..they work!! All of us need to take strength from the wins in VA and carry it through all the state's. We MUST TSKE OUR COUNTRY BACK FROM THE IDIOT IN CHIEF AND COWARDS WHO FOLLOW HIS EVIL POLICIES..SAVE AMERICA!

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  • RadicalModerate
    11/09/2017
    ···

    I expect to continue to live subjugated by cannabis prohibition. Every day I’m discriminated against because it’s “ok” treat cannabis users like sub-humans. Democrats are as guilty as republicans when it comes to corruption. N.Y.S. medical marijuana program is evidence that the governor cares more about corporations than sick people.

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  • James
    11/08/2017
    ···

    That Party is falling apart fast! With everything that Donna Brazil's revealed this week and also the Uranium Russian/ Clinton deal where there should be federal racketeering charges! And also The Email scandal! That all makes Watergate look like a side show at a popsicle stand. Now the Attorney General needs to act and quickly! This whole thing with all you left wing loonies accusing Trump of collusion? Well we now know who colluded and the mainstream liberal left wing media does not have the guts to report on it! A whole lot of Demonazis will be charged and going to prison especially for Treason and Lying to Congress! Also RICO charges. Your all loud mouth blowhards that have no back bone!

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  • Joanne
    11/09/2017
    ···

    Tuesday’s election results made me happy, happier than I have been in a year. I am praying for policy changes, environment, healthcare, gun control. I will be happy with any change. One of the biggest changes I am hoping for is more Democrats in 2018.

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  • Bluewitsend
    11/09/2017
    ···

    I support renewable energy, fixing Obamacare so it works properly, lower drug prices and reasonable gun control along with stronger enforcement of gun laws already on the books.

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  • Eileen
    11/09/2017
    ···

    With females taking the votes by a landslide in various places yesterday, perhaps we can start this: since gun owners are afraid the government will take their guns away, let’s DO IT! Then we can offer them “thoughts and prayers”for their grief! Sort of like how they ( 25% of the country) does for every mass shooting victim! And I saw this quote on Facebook! There are MANY more of US than THEM!

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  • Sheryl
    11/09/2017
    ···

    I hope the Dems have learned their lesson and support the working person in this country. Going too far left, identity politics and unpopular elite candidates will put them out of power again. This time they need to LISTEN and not try to tell us what to think, how to live or who to vote for. I will never fully trust the Dems again. 2016 was a huge betrayal of their base and it won’t quickly be forgotten.

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  • Joey
    11/10/2017
    ···

    The dems should be fired they are dumb

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  • Ernest
    11/10/2017
    ···

    Virginia- a Dem state voted for a Dem. NJ- a Dem /Hillary state voted for a Dem. Washington- a state full of stoners voted for a Dem. I don’t see a “wave sweeping the nation”. Just the Ministry of Propaganda aka the Main Stream media putting the Democrat-Socialist spin into peoples heads.....

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  • Sandra
    11/11/2017
    ···

    Looking forward to MY interests being considered. Progressive policies, foundational outcomes. Furthering healthcare for all, meaningful retirement protections, living wages, taking care of earth, air, water. People over profits. Workers over paper pushing wonks. Giving dignity and power to We the People!

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  • Walter
    11/09/2017
    ···

    I’m guessing Democratic policies will likely include strangling regulations for small business, wealth redistribution to aid illegal immigrants, a terrorists rights agenda in the guise of privacy, government rationed medicine that will be equally inadequate for all, and of course taxes, taxes, and more taxes.

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