While Republicans are understandably disappointed in the likely outcome of the presidential election, up and down the ballot it appears that voters still largely endorsed economic liberty.
By apparently allowing Republicans to retain control of the U.S. Senate, and even awarding Republicans an unexpected additional number of House seats, voters ensured that no radical legislation will be able to move, such as large tax increases, “packing” the Supreme Court, adding states, etc.
But the voters’ endorsement of economic liberty was even more pronounced in the states.
Alaska voters rejected a tax increase on the oil industry, though perhaps that was not much of a surprise, since Alaska is predictably a red state.
But even in blue states, voters chose economic liberty to a remarkable degree.
In Illinois, voters rejected a proposed progressive income tax which would replace the existing flat income tax.
In Colorado, not only did voters choose to strengthen the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, but they also voted for a small reduction in the state’s income tax, having earlier refused to endorse a measure that would have also allowed a progressive income tax.
And most notably in deep-blue California, voters who reflexively elect radical progressive Democrats to office took significant steps to reject their policies.
The California legislature passed AB5 in 2019, a radical measure that forced hundreds of thousands of freelance and “gig” workers to become employees, which was a direct attack on companies like Uber, Lyft and GrubHub.
Driven by union funding, California legislators, with a supermajority of Democrats in both houses of the legislature, stubbornly refused to make major changes to AB5, even in the face of clear and obvious harm to freelance writers and artists and many self-employed workers.
But Californians were able to get Proposition 22 on the ballot, which severely gutted AB5, and nearly 60 percent of California voters saved gig and freelance workers by passing it.
Californians also rejected an attempt to partially undo the famous Proposition 13, passed in 1978, which limits property tax increases to 2 percent annually. Even though the attempt was limited to commercial properties, California voters value their property tax limitation and don’t want to see it tampered with, and so a majority rejected this tax increase.
Why California voters keep electing radical tax-and-spend Democrats while rejecting their policies is another question. But for now, perhaps California isn’t hopeless after all.
The big picture is that, for the most part, voters across America voted to protect their economic liberty, to reject tax increases, and to reject limits on worker flexibility and freedom. It may not have been a good night for some candidates, but it was a great night for economic liberty.