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2020 Elections

Voting Across the Great Divide: An Election Reader

A Capital & Main catalog of our recent election coverage of local and national stories, in this most fateful election year.




Tomorrow, Election Day brings a climax to the 2020 political season, if not necessarily its conclusion. For although presidential campaigns are traditionally decided on the Tuesday after November 1, the seismic battle between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden may well be headed for extra innings should any of the anticipated nightmare scenarios involving lengthy ballot counts or disputed results become reality.

There are, of course, other races and issues at stake and, while Capital & Main does not publish voting recommendations, we are offering a catalog of all our recent election coverage as an overview of how economic issues have shaped races reaching from the top of the ballot down to statewide initiatives and local offices.

Capital & Main’s most ambitious coverage has been found in our United States of Inequality series, a yearlong, on-the-ground reporting project that has examined issues of economic inequality in America’s battleground states. Its inventory is too extensive to list here, but among the most notable recent stories have been:

National Stories

Trump, the Sequel—Should We Be Afraid?
Trump’s second term would likely triple down on his first term’s trends: tax cuts for the rich and attacks on the Affordable Care Act.

Parting Shots: How Would a Beaten Trump Leave?
A defeated Trump might issue a tsunami of pardons for at-risk family members, campaign loyalists, White House officials — and himself.
Voter Intimidation Could Get Very Ugly
Increasingly belligerent armed militias have vowed to appear at polling stations. But election watchers are on the case.
Election Fears Begin to Spread
A roundup of major concerns about voting in this year’s presidential election.

Why Nurses Say “Trump Must Go”
Donald Trump’s inability to reckon with the truth of the coronavirus is apparent by the numbers: 8.2 million COVID cases, 221,000 deaths.
Trump Losing Ground as COVID Spreads in Swing State Michigan
Polls show Joe Biden ahead by as many as nine points in Michigan, a state Trump won in 2016 by just 10,704 votes.

California Ballot Initiatives

Proposition 15

Experts Weigh in on Proposition 15’s Possibilities
Capital & Main speaks to local leaders and policy authorities about the potential effects of Prop. 15’s passage.
Campaigning for Tax Reform: A Ground Game Without the Ground
How is Proposition 15 getting its message out during the pandemic?

Cash of the Titans: Prop. 15’s Big-Spending Opposition
Donors to a campaign claiming to represent small shopkeepers and homeowners include North America’s largest freight railroad network, two New York real estate giants and one of Earth’s richest men.
Silence of the Dems: Why Aren’t There More Prop. 15 Endorsements?
Many progressive electeds have ignored an initiative that would revise California’s constitution to assess commercial property at higher rates.
The $11 Billion Question: Will Californians Raise Commercial Property Taxes?
Proposition 15 leaps feet first onto California’s “third rail” of state politics—the property tax system created in 1978 by Proposition 13.
California’s Proposition 15 Has Nothing to Do With Clean Energy
So why is the opposition using the solar industry to defeat it?
Taxpayers’ Remorse: The Life and Times of Proposition 13
Property taxes plunged with Prop. 13’s passage in 1978. But so did the revenue supporting California’s schools and fire service.
A New Series Chronicles Proposition 13’s Day of Reckoning
Inside the epic ballot fight to reform California’s “taxpayer rebellion” initiative.


Proposition 21

Who Is Backing the Groups Attacking Proposition 21?
“Plain folks” in ads warn against rent control – but a corporate-funded campaign by the real estate industry raises pay-to-play questions.

Rent Control Advocates Ramp Up Electoral Efforts
The real estate industry is a powerhouse opponent of rent control in California politics. But tenant activists are upping their electoral game.
California Renters and Landlords to Face Off at the Ballot Box
A November initiative is the latest battle in a long war that has driven housing costs in the Golden State exorbitantly high.


Proposition 22

Proposition 22 Would Weaken Driver Protections, Hurt Workers of Color
Gig companies are threatening to eliminate thousands of jobs if their ballot measure doesn’t pass.
Racial Justice Activists Split Over Proposition 22
Major endorsements arrive as critics worry the measure will be disastrous for California labor.


Criminal Reform Initiatives

Carrots and Sticks: California Weighs Two Criminal Justice Propositions
The fates of Prop. 20 and Prop. 25 may signal the extent to which Californians support reform — or favor reversing it.

Environmental Issues

Three Small Races That Could Change the World
While only little more than half of voters say global warming matters in their decisions, 2020 is, without question, a contest over science.
Farmers Have Long Memories: Trump’s Climate Record Could Hurt Him in Iowa
In rural Iowa, farmers bearing the brunt of climate change may play an outsize role in electing the next president.

The Race For an Obscure Texas Office Could Have a Lasting Impact on Climate Change
The fight for a seat on the Railroad Commission of Texas may just be the most important environmental election in the country.
Fact-Checking the Climate Change Claims of the First Presidential Debate
Trump and Biden exchanged words over climate change on Tuesday night. How many of them were accurate?

Los Angeles Races

Los Angeles’ Divisive–and Defining–District Attorney’s Race
What happens in one DA’s race could set the course for the future of law enforcement in America.


Progressives Take on District Attorney in L.A. Election
Los Angeles is the latest city where criminal justice reformers are running against traditional law-and-order incumbents.
L.A.’s School Board Races Turn Expensive and Ugly
And why California could see more races like this.
Los Angeles Battle Royale: Holly Mitchell and Herb Wesson Seek Powerful Post
An activist state senator and a City Hall boss are fighting for a supervisor’s chair. It’s a clash of styles and beliefs.

Photo Credits. Trump and ballot box illustrations: Define Urban; Prop. 15: Wall Street sign photo: Alex Proimos; Prop. 21 illustration: Define Urban.

Copyright 2020 Capital & Main

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