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Phil Harriman, a former town councilor and state senator from Yarmouth, is the founding partner of Lebel & Harriman, a financial services firm. Ethan Strimling, a former mayor and state senator from Portland, is the president of Swing Hard. Turn Left, which promotes progressive policy at the local, state and national levels.
Phil: Tuesday was officially my 48th election day!
Ethan: Congrats! Have you ever missed one?
Phil: Not that I recall. Whether presidential or water district, I consider it both a duty and a privilege.
Ethan: Was your first vote pre-26th Amendment in 1971?
Phil: Ouch. Not quite that old, my friend. I just missed the 1972 vote for president, as I was only 17.
Ethan: So, what do you make of the results from Tuesday night?
Phil: Well, let’s get a little crow out of the way. Based on our predictions last week, you won on the corridor (I said it would lose, you said it would win). You won on the transportation bond (You said 70 percent support, I said 60 percent). And it also looks like you won on the Portland council races (progressives winning at least two of three).
Ethan: We actually may win all three (one is tied and likely going to a recount!). Mayor Kate Snyder is certainly smarting after at least two of her endorsed candidates went down. The proggressive march in Portland continues.
Phil: I did win the Rockland vote to raise the pay of their councilors, but neither of us won on the Portland shelter question (we both said it would come in first, albeit by a plurality/majority). And we both got the food amendment correct. So it was 4 for Strim, 2 for Phil, and 1 for neither. Congrats my friend.
Ethan: So what’s your take on the big race of the night, the corridor going down by almost 60/40?
Phil: One word: “Lawsuits.”
Ethan: Yeah, Central Maine Power’s statement on election night saying, “this fight will continue” was neither magnanimous nor subtle.
Phil: I do think there is a legitimate question on the constitutionality of the referendum.
Ethan: Maybe. But there is no disagreement anymore on whether Maine people want it. It is time to heed that call and get focused on real ways to address climate change.
Phil: Gov. Janet Mills used serious political capital supporting CMP in this effort, only to get slapped down in all of her strongholds.
Ethan: Such a mistake on her part. Only one county, Aroostook, voted with her and her base in southern Maine voted against her even more strongly. She has to decide if she is going to continue backing CMP, or whether she will start to side with the rest of us.
Phil: For me it’s about Maine’s reputation. This vote changing the rules after the game is over reminds me of the car test regulations in the 1990s when Maine used a technicality to back out of a contract. We must have consistent rule of law and regulations.
Ethan: Like CMP, Maine was smart to get out of that deal. What do you make of the national results?
Phil: Virginia — a state President Joe Biden won by 10 points — voted for a Republican as governor, the New Jersey governor’s race was razor thin and Minneapolis overwhelmingly voted to keep their police department. Democrats and progressives are way out of touch with “we the people.”
Ethan: Not so in Portland, but this kind of backlash is inevitable. Democrats’ failure to pass the Build Back Better plan clearly hurt us.
Phil: When independents and agnostic voters vote, you need to tune into their motivation and govern accordingly. They sent a shock wave to Democrats, pushing aside their condescending, authoritative style in favor of candidates who respect the rights of parents, are frugal with tax dollars, and actually uphold the Constitution.
Ethan: Whoa, “condescending, authoritative style!” Those are strong words from a guy whose party merely won a couple races.
Phil: Just wait until the midterms.
Ethan: Your 49th election and my 38th. Can’t wait!