Crucial Victories Unfolding In Favor of Working People on the West Coast
November 5, 2020
For the last five years, right-wing organizations have engaged in a $200 million campaign to tear down the so-called “blue wall” that is the West Coast. While Joe Biden looks more and more likely to win, national results remain unclear. What is clear: Biden would not be able to win the Presidency without the West Coast, which has become an even stronger blue wall for progressives and pro-worker candidates since these regressive organizations began their campaign.
The architects of the political attack on coastal blue states fund “dark money,” tax-exempt nonprofits to carry out this agenda. The so-called “Freedom” Foundation is one of these groups, pushing a partisan mission in violation of their 501(c)3 status. The “Freedom” Foundation has spent at least $20 million since 2015 in a failed campaign to destroy unions, hoping to turn the “blue states” of Oregon, Washington, and California into “red states.”
Instead, these states have grown their Democrat super majorities in the legislatures, elected pro-worker Democrats to the Governorship and passed the strongest slate of pro-worker legislation and ballot measures in the entire country including increases in the minimum wage, paid sick leave laws and fair scheduling laws. In Oregon, they even passed a corporate tax that would generate a billion dollars per year for public schools. Organized workers have played a key role in passing these ground-breaking, pro-labor policies.
The 2020 election (much like the 2018 and 2016 elections) is sending a clear message that organizations like the “Freedom” Foundation just aren’t effective.
Here’s a look at the crucial victories unfolding in favor of working people on the West Coast:
- Washington, California and Oregon voters went to Joe Biden in 2020 at much higher rates than Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. In Oregon, Biden is on track to increase the Democrat vote share — an already substantial difference — by 6 points. In California there’s an increase of 3 points and in Washington, 7 points.
- WA Governor Jay Inslee easily won re-election to a third term, backed by the state’s labor unions. Voters approve of his leadership on a science-based, decisive strategy against the COVID pandemic, his support of climate solutions and his unwavering commitment to working families in Washington.
- In Oregon, union ally Shemia Fagan handily defeated longtime Republican Sen. Kim Thatcher for Oregon’s powerful Secretary of State race, flipping the seat from Republican to Democrat. Fagan entered the primary late but won on an impressive grassroots victory, backed by Oregon’s largest unions. Her crushing defeat of Sen. Thatcher proves just how powerful Oregon unions actually are.
- In Washington legislative races, two allies of the anti-worker “Freedom” Foundation look poised for defeat. Incumbents Vicki Kraft (R-17), also a former employee of that extremist group, and Steve O’ban (R-28) are currently losing to labor-endorsed candidates T’wina Nobles and Tanisha Harris. Meanwhile, several labor-endorsed challengers appear poised to increase the Democratic majority in the Washington State House of Representatives.
- Voters rejected austerity measures and voted for union-backed measures to fund schools, libraries, construction projects, universal pre-k, drug prevention, medical facilities and so much more.
- Oregon and Washington are also leading the way on progressive social reform. Washington citizens have made history by overwhelmingly approving Referendum 90, which mandates comprehensive, medically accurate and age-appropriate sexual health education for public school students. Oregon has become the first state in the country to decriminalize drug possession with Measure 110, showing leniency for non-violent offenders while also legalizing psilocybin therapy.
It’s difficult to imagine a more colossal failure for the out-of-state billionaires and their anti-worker front groups who are waging a partisan war on our blue states. Each election it gets worse for them, and better for working families and pro-labor Democrats. Regardless of the national results we see this week, the West Coast remains a blue wall of hope and progress that guards our livelihoods.