Jerry Cornfield | Holiday season thank-yous

With the holiday season upon us, we take a few moments to consider those with reason to be thankful for what transpired this past election season.

Gov. Jay Inslee should send thank-you cards to the Koch brothers, executives of Washington’s oil industry and leaders of the Association of Washington Business for their takedown of Initiative 732.

That ballot measure aimed to do what Inslee wants to do — fight climate change and reform the state’s regressive tax system. Still, he opposed it as it didn’t do those things the way he liked. But the governor didn’t expend any political capital fighting it because Big Oil, a slew of small businesses and a couple of unions spent wads of their money waging the successful battle for its defeat.

Sound Transit should provide Seattle voters with free rides on Link light rail for their role in making the $54 billion expansion dream known as ST3 a reality. The ballot measure was winning by 3,500 votes in Snohomish County and losing by nearly 32,000 votes in Pierce County. In King County, it was ahead by 130,000 votes and passing in Seattle with 70 percent, which makes pretty clear that they were the difference-makers.

Tim Eyman should toast directors of Sound Transit for giving him relevance at a time when he had no initiatives to push and the attorney general was breathing down his neck for alleged electoral wrongdoing in the past. The board tapped Eyman to help write anti-ST3 arguments in voter pamphlets. As those in the organized opposition to the measure cursed the decision, Eyman capitalized as best he could on the attention it provided him.

Republican state senators should be thankful Democratic Sen. Tim Sheldon of Potlatch is still a member of their caucus. With this renegade moderate on board, the Grand Old Party will retain a one-vote majority — 25-24 — when the 2017 session begins.

Democratic state lawmakers should be darn glad they’ve got a few billionaires on their side. Six-figure contributions from Michael Bloomberg, Paul Allen, Steven Ballmer and Nicholas Hanauer enabled another initiative reshaping the state’s gun laws to reach the ballot and pass. And Hanauer teamed with Big Labor to qualify, then win voter approval of a measure hiking the statewide minimum wage. Both ideas had stalled in the Legislature.

President-elect Donald Trump owes a debt of gratitude to designers of the Electoral College for devising the means for him to be elected the nation’s leader without actually winning the most votes. Trump should probably invite some folks from WikiLeaks and Judicial Watch to attend his inauguration, for without their dedication, we wouldn’t have known how hard Hillary Clinton and her friends wanted to win.

And finally, actor Alec Baldwin should be thanking Trump because his election is a gift that should give Baldwin steady work for four years. Baldwin is virtually assured of appearances playing Trump on Saturday Night Live since the president-elect is certain to make news worthy of comic interpretation every week.

Who can’t be thankful for a laugh once in a while this holiday season?

Political reporter Jerry Cornfield’s blog, The Petri Dish, is at www.heraldnet.com. Contact him at 360-352-8623; jcornfield@heraldnet.com and on Twitter at @dospueblos.

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