Guns, Pot, and Politics—5 Surprising Reasons the Midterm Ele
By now, you've heard that the Republicans took control of the Senate and kept control of the House of Representatives in the midterm elections on Tuesday. Campaigning against Obamacare and banking on the president's unpopularity paid off in tight Senate races in North Carolina, Colorado, Iowa, and Kansas, resulting in a 52–44 Republican advantage in that chamber. Republicans also gained 14 seats in the House of Reps, broadening their advantage 243–178.
But here are a few things you may have missed if you didn't dig past the headlines about the horse race and the cable-news talking heads who yapped all night about what everything means.Related Voting Machines Allegedly Switched Votes and Other Election Day Horror Stories
Pot for Play in the USA
Use of recreational marijuana was approved by voters in three races—Oregon, Alaska, and the District of Columbia—but what you may not know is one of those ballot box wins faces a challenge from Congress.
Voters in Washington, D.C., approved Initiative 71 by a margin of more than two to one. But to allow residents and visitors over the age of 21 to possess up to two ounces of pot and grow up to three marijuana plants at home, it will have to survive a 60-day congressional review period. During that time, Congress can vote to veto it, and then it would fall to President Obama to decide whether or not to halt the measure, The Washington Post reports.
Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., is vowing to oppose Initiative 71, and that could force the debate about recreational use of marijuana into the national spotlight, as the country is increasingly open to the idea of selling marijuana for regulated vice use, like cigarettes or alcohol.
Gun Control Won in Washington
In a rare win against the powerful weapons lobby, Washington state voted Tuesday to require universal background checks for all gun buyers, ending the loophole for those purchasing weapons at gun shows and in private sales.
Gun control backers raised more than $10 million—five times what gun rights groups raised this year, according to The Seattle Times—including funds from major donors Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg.
How did the gun control backers beat the National Rifle Association's notorious hold on politics? They appealed directly to the public, as politicians have proved to be cement-booted on this issue. Washingtonians sided with better controls, according to polls, even before the recent violence—a deadly shooting at a Washington high school, which claimed its fourth victim this week when 14-year-old Shaylee Chuckulnaskit succumbed to a bullet wound to the head.
But many national tragedies have come and gone without changing one iota of gun control law. Washington, gun control advocates hope, could signal a shifting tide in the national conversation about safe weapon use.
Crying Foul in Ferguson
Voters from the Missouri city that has become an epicenter for dialogue about American racial strife since the police shooting death of unarmed teen Michael Brown weren't able to unseat local politicians as promised.