A brutal night for Maine liberals

November 4, 2015Commentary

Maine progressives couldn't defeat Lewiston Mayor and Paul LePage ally Robert Macdonald. Photo by Amber Waterman, Special to the BDN

Election night 2015 was a horrendously bad night for the liberal alliance in Maine.

Oh, they’ll claim otherwise, of course. Political partisans always manage to find a silver lining in every disaster. But, consider the following:

Portland has, for years, been an experimental proving ground for progressive politics. Given the partisan lean of the city and its inhabitants, Maine’s largest municipality has long been where the left goes to try out ideas and push the most outlandish policy proposals because they can accomplish them there. That success then becomes the “foot in the door” proof-of-concept for larger statewide campaigns. Rinse, wash, repeat.

Not so this year.

A proposed increase in the minimum wage to an absolutely insane $15 in Portland, driven by the most rabid of progressive activists was obliterated at the polls. Despite predictions by some on the left that it would win, and comfortably, the minimum wage ordinance lost by more than 15 points. In Portland.

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