With most races decided, lets turn to the real winners and losers on November 7. Nationally, the biggest winner was DNC chair Howard Dean, whose 2004 presidential race created a new and winning model for progressive success. In San Francisco, progressives were also big winners, despite being greatly outspent by their opposition. Victories by Daly, Kim, Maufas, and Props F, H, and I show that while the city gets wealthier, it remains progressive.

The big losers include the Bush Administration, the religious right, environmental predators, the troika of the San Francisco POA, Plumbers Union, and Golden Gate Restaurant Association, and the San Francisco Chronicle. As much as progressives should be celebrating Nov. 7, the cause of racial justice was a big loser, as Michigan voted to end affirmative action and Harold Ford and other black candidates were defeated.

National Winners

1. National Democratic Party Chair Howard Dean:

Dean opposed the Iraq War in 2002, and was vilified by pundits. Dean talked about the power of the Internet to boost grassroots politics---and became a target of mainstream ridicule until his Internet campaign raised millions. When Howard Dean insisted that the Democrats must again become a national party, and fight Republicans in all 50 states, he was seen as sabotaging the Democrats’ chance of retaking Congress.

Today, Howard Dean is the person most responsible for creating a new model for winning Democratic campaigns.

2. Environmental Groups

They took out Richard Pombo, after the Republican defeated his opponent in 2004 by 22 points. For the first time since the 1994 elections, pro-environment forces have a strong House majority and likely a working Senate majority. Look for them to put Republicans on the defensive in 2007, and for the constant criticism of environmental groups’ political savvy to decline.

3. Women

Nancy Pelosi becomes the highest-ranking women in American political history, women win Senate seats in Missouri and Minnesota, and a ban on abortions was defeated in South Dakota. Women’s issues benefit from Democratic control of Congress.

4. Organized Labor

Pelosi will be the most pro-union House Speaker since Tip O’Neil in the early 1980’s. Labor allies will be heading key committees, freeing up resources spent fighting defensive battles in recent years

5. The Blogosphere.

Many forget that Jim Webb and John Tester were not the establishment Democratic candidates in the Virginia and Montana Senate primaries. The only reason 99% of us ever heard of John Tester was because his candidacy was continually promoted on sites like Daily Kos and Mydd.com. These sites not only raised money for insurgent candidates, they helped build a grassroots base that ultimately brought victory.

In addition, Chris Bowers of Mydd.com was the leading proponent of running Democrats in every House race, which resulted in Republicans having to divert resources to presumably safe seats in Kansas and Nebraska in the campaign’s last days.

These sites, and campaign-specific ones like raisingkaine.com for Webb’s race, brought a sense of excitement to campaigns that would be little known without the Internet. After Nov.7, bloggers will no longer be accused of never having backed a winner.

6. The Anti-War Movement

Everybody kept asking where the anti-war movement had gone. It was channeled into taking back Congress, as the movement understood that election defeats are the only pressure that Bush, Cheney and their fellow war-mongers understand.

National Losers

1. The Bush Administration

You know why.

2. The Religious Right

Between Foley and Haggard, this was a terrible campaign season for the religious right. Their heroes, Rick Santorum and George Allen, both went down, and exit polls found 33% of Christian evangelicals voting for the Democrat.

Its amazing what a war will do to get voters to focus on the reality world.

3. Environmental Predators

They came within a few votes of winning Alaska drilling, and now have lost it for good. Corporate interests have had a field day undermining federal environmental laws, and while they still control the EPA and Interior Department, they no longer have the likes of Richard Pombo to head Congressional committees. Now they will be on the defensive for a change.

4. Military Contractors

Their days of avoiding public hearings on their taxpayer rip offs are over.

5. FOX News and the Right-Wing Media machine

On the eve of the election, Bill O’Reilly was telling viewers that Kerry’s bad joke had galvanized the GOP base and would shift the momentum of the campaign. These folks always live in the world of unreality, but GOP victories in 2002 and 2004 allowed them to act like it was progressives who were delusional. No more.

And rising rates from progressive Keith Olberman on MSNBC shows that FOX news, like the once-influential Rush Limbaugh, speak only to the right-wing choir.

6. Racial Justice

Michigan’s passage of an affirmative action ban struck another blow against racial fairness in America. Michigan voters previously rejected a similar measure, but economic hard times have clearly increased white resentment over racial preferences for blacks.

The Michigan outcome occurred while Democrats won easy victories in the Governor and Senate races. This was not a right-wing electorate----which just shows how far to the right the debate over affirmative action has moved.

The University of Michigan currently has 8% African-Americans, and is America’s most diverse high-caliber university. Now the school willl become like UCLA and CAL since Prop 209: an African-American free zone.

Harold Ford Jr. ran strongly, but failed to become the South’s first black Senator in over 100 years. A reader pointed out to me that many conservatives won’t even vote for Black Republicans, which helps explain landslide defeats by African-American Governor candidate Lynn Swann in Pennsylvania and Ken Blackwell in the Ohio Governor’s race.

Deval Patrick did become Massachusetts' first Black Governor, so not all the news on the racial justice front was bad.

African-Americans do better economically under Democrats, but when it comes to affirmative action and other racial issues, discriminatory attitudes are bipartisan.

Local Winners

1. San Francisco Progressives

Nobody predicted the outcome of the School Board race, with the Board now having a clear progressive majority. The San Francisco Chronicle and others predicted the defeat of Chris Daly, and he got nearly the same percentage of the vote as in 2002.

The degree of progressive unity around Daly exceeded even that shown during the Gonzalez for Mayor campaign. And as with that campaign, Daly—who supposedly cannot work with people of different views--- assembled a diverse group of supporters.

How often do you see the San Francisco Tenants Union and Jack Davis going all out for the same candidate? The revamped, post-Joe O’Donoghue Residential Builders Association refused to use the District 6 race to curry favor with Mayor Newsom and instead donated critical funds to the Daly campaign.

Let’s hope this unity continues.

2. Young Workers United

Sara Flocks and Sonya Mehta of Young Workers United initiated the idea of paid sick leave, overcame objections from nervous nellies on the political left, and because of their creativity and persistence, San Francisco has become the first city in America to guarantee paid sick leave for workers. Prop F will hopefully start a trend throughout America. When it does, remember who deserves the credit.

3. Ted Gullicksen

It gets boring giving credit to Tenants Union leader Ted Gullicksen every election, but when he keeps leading winning tenant campaigns, we have no choice. Prop H does not make the ballot without Ted’s leadership, there is no campaign without Ted’s leadership, and victory is not obtained without his leadership. Gullicksen may be the most indispensable activist in San Francisco.

4. Supervisor Aaron Peskin

Peskin worked behind the scenes to organize independent support for Chris Daly, and fought of an attempt by Mayor Newsom to use Rob Black’s potential vote to elect Sophie Maxwell instead of Peskin as Board President. Peskin’s continuation as President is now secure.

5. SEIU 790, UHW, and UNITEHERE Local 2

With special interests pouring money into independent campaigns against Daly, the incumbent needed his own independent campaigns to fight back. SEIU Local 790 ran an aggressive field campaign in District 6 SRO’s, and increased voter turnout significantly. SEIU staffer Robert Haaland coordinated the effort and also recruited progressives from throughout the city to help with the union’s independent field campaign UNITEHERE Local 2 ran a phone bank and a precinct operation targeted at labor members Sal Roselli’s UHW funded at least four mailers setting the record straight about Rob Black, and UHW volunteers helped with voter outreach.

Daly has always stood by labor, and labor reciprocated big-time.

Local Losers

1-3 (tie) The Golden Gate Restaurant Assoc, BOMA, SF Police Officers Association, SF SOS, and Barnes, Mosher and Whitehurst

These groups do not share San Francisco values. The GGRA and SF SOS opposed minimum wage hikes and sick pay for workers, despite nearly 70% of voters approving such proposals. All but the POA engaged in vicious personal attacks against Sandoval, McGoldrick and now Chris Daly, and voters rebelled.

These folks couldn’t even get Doug Chan, their chosen candidate in District 4, to finish in the top three.

Since District 6 has 1/3 the voters of most other districts, the $130,000 spent by the GGRA equates to spending nearly $400,000 in other districts.

Rarely has campaign money been spent more foolishly.

As for the POA, which claims to care about Tenderloin crime but then opposes foot patrols, it should be ashamed of itself for blaming Daly for not addressing a crime problem that Mayor Newsom said last week is none of the Supervisor’s business.

4. The Plumbers Union

Why does a union join with corporate interests attacking city unions and social programs for workers? Chris Daly tried his best to create a win-win for the Plumbers at its Civic Center Hotel, and all he got from the Plumbers was an all-out campaign for Rob Black

5. The San Francisco Chronicle

Talk about a paper out of touch with San Francisco values. The Chronicle’s endorsements and biased news coverage would put it out of touch in Indiana.

Since 1978, the Chronicle has opposed every single pro-tenant ballot measure. And since 1992, tenants have won all but one initiative, showing how seriously readers take the Chronicle’s views into account.

The Chronicle opposed the easily winning Props F, H and I, saw District 6 voters ignore their ongoing attacks on Daly, backed the losing Doug Chan, and did not endorse School Board front-runner Jane Kim (they virtually ignored her campaign). The Chronicle showed its true colors by waging a nonstop disinformation campaign on behalf of Arnold Schwarzenegger from the moment polls closed in the November 2005 special election through November 7, 2006.
The Daly and Chan races may show that San Franciscans have stopped paying attention to the Chronicle, a fact borne out by the paper’s steadily declining circulation.

Send feedback to rshaw@beyondchron.org