SF Chronicle columnists Phil Matier and Andy Ross have performed quite a flip-flop on the 8 Washington vote. On November 17, the duo reported that “The ‘no condos for millionaires’ message from the recent 8 Washington vote was not lost on San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. While many are trying to chalk up the rejection to a low-turnout election, those close to the mayor are keenly aware that there is growing anxiety over rising rents brought on by the tech boom - and with it, the possibility of a backlash from renters, who constitute one of the city's biggest voting blocs.” But on November 2 it was Matier & Ross who were blaming a low turnout for 8 Washington’s defeat. They wrote, “A low voter turnout (read: older, white and cranky) has insiders predicting a win for the "No Wall on the Waterfront" forces in Tuesday's San Francisco election.”

I wrongly predicted a close election on 8 Washington, but my view that low turnout elections reward highly motivated voters who are often not conservative was confirmed. The highly motivated voters in nearby Telegraph Hill had a 50% turnout in (nearly double San Francisco’s 28% turnout ). Progressives in New York City, Boston and Seattle also won victories in low-turnout races.