Wednesday, November 07, 2012

An Electoral Sigh of Relief

The election yesterday had a lot of people on edge yesterday in San Francisco, with fears that we were returning to another variation on the Dubya administration. The country and the world did not need that again.

Last evening at about 8 I entered Jillian's, a large bar-restaurant complex at 4th and Mission, just as Ohio was being projected for Obama. The looks on the mostly middle-aged female faces sitting down was not one of jubilation or joy, but rather of total relief.

There was a Yes on California Prop 34 party in a large back room for the group which was attempting to abolish the expensive, wrongheaded death penalty. Though most of the electoral news was great, they lost.

The interesting writer/photographer/activist Jan Adams (above left, with her longtime partner Rebecca Gordon) was the state field manager for the campaign over the last year, and she was quivering with a mixture of adrenaline and total exhaustion. "My friend Michael Nava who works at the California Supreme Court said you never really had a campaign," I told Jan, and she instantly agreed. "We won over the political class completely, but never really put on a campaign for the electorate." Since Jan is one of the wisest characters I've met, it seems likely this was not her particular fault.

At the bar, the smart and funny young Slanted Door chef Alex above was waiting for Romney's delayed concession speech and Obama's one of acceptance. It was taking forever so we went outside for a smoke and then returned to congratulate everyone in the bar on a rare, happy electoral night. The relief in the air was palpable.


janinsanfran said...

I guess I should amplify my off-the-cuff comment about "Yes on Prop. 34" not running a campaign. I should have said, we didn't run a campaign that Michael Nava would have been able to see -- because ALL our intensive voter outreach went into Los Angeles. If he'd engaged with the campaign, he'd have been invited to join the 100s of people who made phone calls to voters from the first week of September on out of the Bay Area and other northern California locations -- all ostensibly from a "213" (Los Angeles) number. Other hundreds called from the LA area itself.

Why? Because usually winning in LA is the stumbling block to progressive reforms -- check out Prop. 8, for example.

And lo and behold, the LA campaign worked. Prop. 34 won in LA County with 54 percent Yes. But we did probably suffer from our lack of visibility in the north and, above all, from lack of funds to advertise broadly enough in the rest of the state. California is BIG.

Michael Strickland said...

Dear Jan: Thanks for the amplification, and sorry for the surprisingly narrow loss.