Here are four cases in yesterday's election where people power won out over corporate interests. And one that went the other way.
With the Supreme Court decision on Citizens United, many fear that their votes won't count against the overwhelming power of big corporations and the super-wealthy.
Voters in the Washington city of SeaTac raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Money did have a decisive influence on many of Tuesday's races. Among others, an infusion of a record-setting $22 million from such corporate giants as Monsanto, Nestle, Dupont, Pepsi, and Coca Cola overwhelmed the largely grassroots campaign in favor of labeling GMO foods in Washington state.
In some other races, though, old-fashioned people power showed that democracy isn't dead yet.
1. New York's New Mayor and the Working Families Party
Bill de Blasio's election as mayor of New York brings to power a candidate who put tackling income inequality at the center of his campaign. His track record shows he’s serious about working for a progressive agenda aimed at lifting up the poor.
The story of his election is also the story of the rise of the Working Families Party, which has combined sustained grassroots organizing with "fusion voting." (Fusion voting allows people to vote for a favored candidate via their affiliation with a third party, without causing the so-called "spoiler" effect. For example, a candidate can run as both a Democrat and as endorsed by the Working Family Party. Voters can indicate their political aspirations by voting for that candidate under the WFP designation.) This approach has allowed the voice and clout of a large progressive community in New York to become major players in the political process.
Politico put it this way in a column anticipating the election results:
Tuesday, voters in America’s most prominent city are poised to elect Bill de Blasio mayor and turn over every major lever of municipal government to a new breed of politics that’s been on the rise but never close to this level of power: a mix of young progressives, reconstituted '60s- and '70s-era lefties, newly active minority voters and deep-pocketed unions.
Politico goes on to call out the people behind the Working Families Party and Occupy Wall Street as the new power in New York.