What the heck happened!? OK Midterm Edition

The midterm results are in and while the red wave failed to form nationwide, its deep red ocean origins are alive and well in Oklahoma. The wave formed in some of the most frustrating ways.

Oklahoma did what Oklahoma so often does, disappointed people who believe in having a functional government and system that cares for its population. Despite many local polls showing a tight race, Joy Hofmeister lost big against a fairly unpopular Kevin Stitt. All the other state-wide races fared even worse. Down ballot was equally depressing with JJ Dossett, one of the few Dems left in the Senate losing and a lone house pickup in Tulsa. Oklahoma County had a glimmer of hope but how bright remains to be seen.

We'll look from the top on down at what happened, who is to blame and how things went disastrously wrong for Democrats and the progressive left.

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Oklahoma Utility Cost Crisis

During Winter Storm Uri in February 2021, Oklahomans witnessed a massive explosion in natural gas prices over a few day period. Major utilities purchased more gas by cost in a few days than they do in a year. Instead of investigating price gouging, clawing back excessive profits or demanding utilities that were ill-prepared for winter weather pay part of the burden, the government of Oklahoma passed Securitization laws that force Oklahomans to pay additional utility fees for the next 25+ years to pay for these natural gas charges incurred in Feb 2021. This is a story of how a three-day storm turned into decades of debt for all Oklahomans.

Since the storm, our electricity and gas bills have risen dramatically. All together, Oklahomans were hit with the largest single tax increase in history. More than $4 billion dollars will be paid out over the next 25+ years. This was a market failure, not an infrastructure one. Gas kept flowing, electricity was produced (except for brief interruptions), we just paid way, way more for it and now have a generation worth of bond payments to show for it. Below, we lay out how the Stitt administration guided this process from the beginning and failed to protect Oklahomans. 

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Oklahoma Promise: A Simple Fix

*Editor's Note: After a long layoff, we are re-launching our blog. We will focus on the progressive ideas and issues Oklahoma could actually do something about. Whether it is current problems we could solve or wrongs we could right, progressive political solution are a possibility right here in Oklahoma!

 

There has been an immense amount of discussion over the future allocation of funds to public education all across the state from both sides of the aisle. This discourse came to a head with the torrid fight over the proposed transfer of vouchers to be used for public, or more preferably, private schools. Though the measure failed, the chances of this being the last attempt to undermine the right to a public education as guaranteed by the Oklahoma Constitution.

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City Council Reflections

City Council Reflections

The Oklahoma City Council elections are signalling that the worst variants of the Trump coalition are alive and well in Oklahoma City. Thoughtful, progressive candidates lost to do nothing incumbents or bizarre reactionaries rallying a few supporters on the edges of the city while the overwhelming majority stayed home. A personally popular moderate in Ward 3 was pushed to a runoff by a hyper-partisan hack running a right-wing campaign. But through it all, one thing was consistent. The people with money and power will do almost anything, align with almost anyone, no matter how grotesque, to keep the deck stacked for them.

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Yes, Progressives Should Support County Pay Raises

County Pay Raise FightTwo days before Christmas, the Oklahoma County Budget Board, made up of all the elected officials in the County, voted to give themselves a modest pay raise. The outrage and condemnation has been swift and from folks across the political spectrum. Part of the problem is the Budget Board members did a poor job explaining it or defending it. We're here to tell you why this was a reasonable request and why anyone left of an oil baron should be okay with it. For a longer dive, our Monday, Dec 28th stream on Twitch talked about it more in depth.

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2020 Election Reflection

The election results are nearly finalized and the damage across the country has been done. What was billed as a blue wave, after four years of the authoritarian, narcissistic incompetence of the Trump administration, never really hit. Democrats, after a lively but largely civil primary, were finally going to win the power to fix things. Demographics, an economic crisis and a worsening pandemic made the choice clear.

This was their moment.

Instead they narrowly captured the presidency with three states decided by less than 1% and three others by less than 3%, they failed to take the Senate in an outright majority, lost ground in the US House and suffered a catastrophic series of defeats at the state and local level in the election just before redistricting from the 2020 Census. Locally, the Oklahoma House saw an increase to its Republican supermajority by 5 votes to make it 82 to 19. The Senate is 39 to 9 Democrats, with a special in SD 22 for Stephanie Bice's old seat as she heads to congress after defeating Oklahoma's only federal Democrat Kendra Horn.

SQ 805 the major criminal justice reform measure faltered badly losing by nearly 20% and will only embolden the most punitive criminal legal system in the world to keep on punishing people despite the evidence showing it doesn't work. An effort to make modest reforms to a system hell-bent on destroying individuals and families for generations all for the cruel sport of punishment and profit was defeated by a fear-based campaign from law enforcement and their allies. It was an exceedingly rough night for progressives and the Democratic Party.

Meanwhile the Republican party that has fully embraced reactionary politics focusing almost exclusively on culture war issues, racial animus and xenophobia and who has direly mismanaged the pandemic, drastically overperformed expectations. As they lean further into paranoia, hatred and bigotry, many Democrats struggled to differentiate themselves meaningfully. 

In Oklahoma, the justification being done by the political class, liberal elites and the few people clinging to any kind of silver lining ranges from blaming the Trump surge in a blood red state (a small part of it) to wanting to quit the opposition all together and just become Republicans (deeply disturbing). We breakdown what really happened, what we are doing wrong and what to do about it.

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Oklahoma Ballot Breakdown 2020

As voter registration has officially closed (the deadline was Oct 9th), here is our breakdown for the November ballot. We'll focus on the state questions, judges and for OKC, the charter changes. If you are curious about the Oklahoma County races, check those our here. Unlike many groups, we offer recommendations that are explicitly biased toward people and solutions that will benefit the greater good. We also talked about these on the show a couple weeks back.

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Tulsa Mayor Election Guide For White Moderates

Trump Visit

On August 25th, Tulsa will have their most dramatic difference in choice for Mayor in a generation. On one side a person who expected to be Mayor since they were born into a politically influential family and afforded every advantage. On the other side is Greg Robinson, a civil rights leader from North Tulsa with wisdom and experience far beyond his years.

History can be made in Tulsa. In Martin Luther King's famous "Letter from a Birmingham Jail," King lays out his concern about the white moderate. The person more concerned with "order" than justice who continues to divert, delay and undermine the cause of justice with hesitation and indecision. These are the people that will march in protest or speak bravely when people are watching, but who use their position and privilege to maintain the status quo.

In this moment of national calamity, Tulsa, Oklahoma has a choice. We can rise and meet the moment with the bold embrace of progress and forge new paths where prosperity is shared by all and problems are addressed directly. Or we can maintain the current direction and allow those who have hoarded power for generations to keep us on a path of destruction. We take a look at the record and ask that Tulsans demand better for themselves and their neighbors. 

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Oklahoma Infection Rate Nears Highest in the World

US Hotspots

Nearly eight months after the pandemic began, Oklahoma's skyrocketing COVID cases have led to one of the highest infection rates in the US. Despite repeated claims about reopening going well, COVID being the new normal and hospital capacity being sufficient for demand, our infection rate says something very different. We are not just high for Oklahoma since this started, or even the US, because if Oklahoma were a country (one about the size of Norway actually), we'd have the highest per capita infection rate on the planet. Yet another top 10 that Gov. Kevin Stitt can hang his hat on.

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Mask Policy

There is a lot of discussion about municipal, state and even federal mask policy. Tulsa passed their mask ordinance yesterday. There are a myriad of concerns and complications to what a good policy should look like. After numerous conversations, a little research and better defining our objective, here are a series of recommendations for people to consider about masking up and the policy that should follow. 

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