Progressive Victories on an Uncertain Election Night

We still don’t know who won the presidential race. Joe Biden has pulled ahead of Donald Trump in several key swing states, but Trump has erroneously declared premature victory and will be muddying up the waters for days to come. There could be recounts and major court battles ahead, which means the election is far from over.

Still, there’s at least a few positives leftists can take away from a garbled Election Night. From rethinking drug possession to rejecting ICE, voters came through in a number of places and echoed what so many on the left have been saying for so long—popular policies win. Doesn’t seem like a crazy concept, does it?

Here’s a quick list of some progressive victories from Tuesday night.

Legalize(d) It.

Four states—New Jersey, Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota—voted to legalize marijuana last night. As of the latest presidential counts, that’s two blue states and two deep red states. Voters in Mississippi, another deep red state, voted to allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to certain conditions. Legalizing weed is an extremely popular measure across party lines and one neither major party candidate planted their flag on. It’ll be interesting to see how (or if) party attitudes shift following this slate of victories.

Decriminalize(d) Magic Mushrooms.

Oregon became the first state to decriminalize psilocybin and other naturally occurring psychedelic substances like ayahuasca, iboga, and mescaline-containing cacti. Washington, D.C. followed suit, with an overwhelming victory on Initiative 81. These initiatives make these substances “among the lowest priorities for law enforcement” and will allow residents to more easily seek alternative medicines, although for-profit sales are still prohibited.

New Sheriffs (and DAs) in Town.

As Daniel Nichanian explains, progressives won district attorney elections in Orlando, Fla. and Austin, Texas. The latter, Monique Worrell, is a “former public defender who works as a worker’s/immigrant’s rights advocate.” Another big win came in Ohio’s Hamilton County, where Charmaine McGuffey won the sheriff’s race despite overwhelming opposition.

There are several other sheriffs who ran on anti-ICE platforms and performed well, but we’ll refer to Nichanian on those. If you don’t follow him on Twitter or read The Appeal regularly, correct that immediately.

California Rejects Carceral Expansion.

Golden State voters shot down Prop 20, which would have reclassified several misdemeanors (like shoplifting) as felonies and made it harder for certain prisoners to become eligible for parole hearings. Also passed in California—Prop 17, which restores prisoners’ voting rights upon completion of their prison term (aka re-enfranchisement). Other Cali props aren’t looking so great at the moment, but these are notable and general Ws over the carceral state.

DSA & Social Democracy Dominate

According to the Democratic Socialists of America, 26 of the 30 candidates they endorsed nationally won their elections yesterday. Plus, we’d be remiss if we didn’t include these incredible exit polls featured on Fox News’ Election Night coverage.

Turns out a bunch of progressive policies and initiatives are popular across party lines. Who knew?