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April 21, 2014 / 21 Nisan, 5774
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Democrats Take Virginia, NY City, Christie Keeps Jersey, Weed Tax Wins

In a sense, it's not so much that the country is moving to the left, it's that the Republicans have moved away from the country.
In New York City, public advocate Bill de Blasio has won by a large margin over Republican Joe Lhota, to become the city's first Democratic mayor in more than 20 years.

In New York City, public advocate Bill de Blasio has won by a large margin over Republican Joe Lhota, to become the city's first Democratic mayor in more than 20 years.
Photo Credit: NY 1 screen shot

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In Virginia’s gubernatorial race, with close to 100% of the precincts reporting late on Tuesday, Democrat Terry McAuliffe has edged out Tea Party conservative Ken Cuccinelli 47 to 46 percent.

In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie has won with a wide lead over his Democratic opponent, State Senator Barbara Buono. In his victory speech, Christie declared himself “the luckiest guy in the world.” He could cement the luck thing by becoming the only Republican able to win the Presidency in 2016–more on that in a minute.

In New York City, public advocate Bill de Blasio has won by a large margin over Republican Joe Lhota, a former chairman of the city’s transportation authority, to become the city’s first Democratic mayor in more than 20 years.

It’s always risky to extrapolate national political trends from local elections, but, at least in the Virginia race, there appears to be some correlation between the Republican House’s failure over the government shutdown and raising the debt ceiling and the success of the former DNC chairman in winning the state.

In a sense, it’s not so much that the country is moving to the left, it’s that the Republicans have moved away from the country. Except for Gov. Chris Christie, God bless him.

But then there was the Colorado Proposition AA, which won last night by about two thirds: a measure to tax the state’s recently legalized marijuana at a combined 25 percent – 15 percent at the wholesale level and 10 percent at the retail level. In my opinion, there is where left met right, new age met business, and everybody won.

Even after that heavy taxation, legal weed is still easily 90 percent cheaper than pusher weed, which is marked up as a result of the heavy risks involved in turf wars and police action.

Even before mass commercial production has kicked in, the price of an ounce in Colorado has dropped from $400 to $100. A 25 percent tax on a $100 ounce of weed still keeps the product price at a little over a quarter of the illegal option. And when the legal yield hits the state’s quaint little stores, the price before taxes could come down to $30 an ounce – making the tax negligible. Good bye, pusher weed, hello government weed.

According to Colorado State, “passage of Proposition AA is estimated to increase state tax revenue by $67 million annually, which includes $27.5 million in excise tax revenue and $39.5 million in state sales tax revenue. Local governments where retail marijuana stores are operating will receive a proportionate share of $6.0 million based on the percentage of sales in each jurisdiction.”

Put that in your pipe and smoke it. No, really, put it and smoke it, because, for the first time since this argument has first been made by 60s thinkers on the right and on the left, weed is no longer about morality, or health, it’s about money in state coffers, where it belongs, like tobacco.

In NY City, I’m deeply worried about the Bill de Blassio victory. I lived on the Lower East Side of Manhattan during the David Dinkins Administration, in which de Blassio got his start. I remember the unsafe streets and the ineffectual police of those years. I remember the Crown Heights riots. Obviously, these are not the early 1990s, and crime in the city has gone down to 1960s levels—but a liberal mayor who was elected on a mission to limit police effectiveness can do a lot to change that.

I believe the NY Republicans did not have a candidate on a par with Rudy Giuliani or Michael Bloomberg, who provided popular responses to New Yorkers’ aches. Let’s face it, New York voted for Giuliani because they were sick of Dinkins, and they voted for Bloomberg because they were sick of Giuliani. It certainly was not because New Yorkers are pro republican – we don’t have Republicans in New York, we ate the last of them during the Lindsey Administration. And, in that vein, New York voted for de Blassio because we’ve had enough of Bloomberg’s paternal style, and, most important, the Republican fellow just didn’t make a lasting impression.

As to the hoopla regarding the special treatment the Orthodox community received from both candidates – I advise the reader to go back to the records. David Dinkins, whose police chief Lee Brown during the Crown Heights riots, when Jews were being beaten up and even killed on the streets, was accused of telling his officers to let the Blacks “vent” for a couple of days, before moving in to stop what amounted to a pogrom. Go back a little further and you’ll find that the Satmar voters in Williamsburg, voting as a block, gave Dinkins the edge in 1989, in exchange for his promise not to build a power plant near their neighborhood.

Getting the Jewish vote did not shape the Dinkins Administration’s approach to a Jewish community under attack – and I suspect it won’t do much for the de Blassio Administration either. The Orthodox will not get the one big prize they’d been desiring all along, and rightfully so: yeshiva vouchers.

Finally, in Virginia, the voters have turned their backs on the Republicans. The election of a Democrat to the state house (and to the lieutenant governor’s post) completes the set, since both U.S. senators from Virginia are Democrats, too. The Associated Press and the television networks reported that a third of Virginia voters said they were personally impacted by the shutdown and went for McAuliffe by about 20 points. It could mean that the Republican party’s inability to win the White House may have been declared terminal. Why? Because as soon as the Republican candidate for governor Ken Cuccinelli took office as Attorney General in Virginia four years ago, he started in on abortions, inventing new, demeaning ways of punishing women wishing to abort unwanted pregnancies.

It’s time Republicans understood that the majority of women, Republicans and democrats, want legal abortions, and they will punish politicians who try to take them away.

As always, the one surefire remedy for all your worries, in whatever state you reside, is to contact your local Nefesh B’Nesfesh office and start the process of moving to the land of eternal spring, where we guarantee 300 sunny days a year or your money back. Peace.

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About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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One Response to “Democrats Take Virginia, NY City, Christie Keeps Jersey, Weed Tax Wins”

  1. Dan Silagi says:

    I totally agreed with your column; it shows that when you're not writing about who's a good Jew and who isn't, you can make a lot of sense. Especially when you're talking about one of my favorite subjects: Weed. However, that last paragraph is more than a little sketchy, especially since the Knesset, in the process of making it possible to get married in any Israeli city or town of your choice, not using an orthodox rabbi at alll (i.e. two Jews getting married in a civil ceremony) could get you a couple years in prison. Netanyoyo can take that law and shove it where the sun never shines, and I'd be more than happy to say that right to his face.

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