Notice a theme among the measures on the statewide ballot? Four of the five address conservatives' pet causes: abortion restrictions, immigration enforcement, and bans on raising taxes.
That's a reversal from the past few election cycles, which mostly featured proposals from progressives. And it suggests that beneath this fall's much-anticipated "blue wave" is a red riptide.
But try to keep things in perspective. In 1994, Oregon voters were asked to decide on no fewer than 18 statewide measures on one November ballot—including conservative campaigns to prohibit gay rights, mandate minimum sentences, and outlaw porn. For decades, ballot-measure kings like Kevin Mannix and Bill Sizemore made a living from gathering signatures to get such measures in front of Oregonians.
If conservative measures are experiencing a slight revival in popularity—like '90s sitcoms!—one reason may be that Republicans feel they have to use the initiative process because they have no shot at getting their ideas through the overwhelmingly Democratic-controlled Legislature. The further Salem tilts left, says Republican state Rep. Julie Parrish (West Linn), the more likely conservatives are to appeal directly to voters.
"I'm sure if you're a Democrat in Texas, it's equally as frustrating," Parrish says. "The power pendulum should not ever be stuck in one position. Fifty percent of the state can't be wrong all the time."
Why Is an Anti-Abortion Measure on the Ballot in America's Most Pro-Choice State?
Why is Phil Knight backing both Colin Kaepernick and Knute Buehler?
If Knute Buehler is trying to position himself as a moderate Republican, why is he supporting a ballot measure that would help deport undocumented immigrants?
In a historic contest for a position on the Portland City Council between two black women, why are so many African-American politicians lining up behind the candidate who trails by 25 points?
Supporters of Measure 104 say it's about fiscal discipline, but what's the real issue?
Measure 103 will ban grocery taxes. What else will it do?
Why does housing in the ''Burbs depend on Portland voters?
Who is not on the ballot but has the most at stake this November?
Don't utilities already do the things the Portland Clean Energy Measure proposes to do?