Progressive Ballot Measures Lose Big Around The Country This Election Cycle

( Progressives got a lot of attention in the past year leading up to the presidential election. Many people thought the movement would gain a lot of support among voters across the country.

But, at the polls on Tuesday, many progressive referenda were shut down convincingly.

In the very liberal California, two progressive ballot measures were defeated – one that would have abolished cash bail, and another that would have ended California’s ban on affirmative action for admissions to higher education institutions.

Proposition 16 asked voters whether they’d support the repeal of California’s constitutional ban on using affirmative action in its state government. This includes admissions to public colleges and universities.

Prominent people within the Democratic Party endorsed Proposition 16. That included Kamala Harris, the party’s vice presidential nominee who is also a senator from California.

However, voters in the state disagreed with that endorsement, shooting down the ballot measure by a 56-44 margin.

More criminal justice reform was shot down by California voters as well. The proposal that was before voters would have eliminated the use of cash bail. In its place, judges would have had the ability to assess risk of people being charged with crimes. Those convicted of misdemeanor offenses would have been released by standard practice.

That proposal passed through the state’s legislature already, but California voters again said no.

Voters in California weren’t the only ones to shoot down progressive ballot measures, either.

In Illinois, voters overwhelmingly shot down a proposal for a “fair tax” in the state. A provision in the state’s constitution calls for a graduated income tax. Many in the statehouse, including Governor J.B. Pritzker, sought to overturn that. But voters disagreed completely.

In Massachusetts, voters disagreed with progressives who were pushing for a “ranked-choice voting” system. Voters in Florida approved a minimum wage of $15 per hour, but shot down a top-two runoff system.

Two states voted on abortion-related measures. In Colorado, voters rejected a proposal that would have banned abortions after 22 weeks of pregnancy. In Louisiana, meanwhile, voters approved a proposal that now will add language to the state constitutions that says people don’t have a legal right to have an abortion.

Both of those votes could prove especially pertinent if the Supreme Court were to eventually overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

The only area where progressives won victories at the polls in regards to referendums this week was with drug decriminalization. Voters in four states – New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana and Arizona – legalized the use of recreational marijuana. There are now 15 states that have legalized the practice – all since 2012.

Mississippi voters approved the use of medical marijuana. Washington, D.C., voters approved decriminalizing some psychedelic plants.

But Oregon went the furthest in drug decriminalization. Voters in that state approved a measure that makes it the first state in America to decriminalize the possession of a small amount of all “hard drugs.” This includes heroin and methamphetamine.