Everybody I voted for on Tuesday won. And there was more good news from another, nearby local election I was also watching closely: “Democrats flip school board majority in 3 Pennsylvania districts.”
Democrats will be taking control of school boards in three suburban Philadelphia districts that have made headlines in recent months for passing policies championed by Republican board members.
In the Central Bucks School District, Democrats were previously the school board minority, losing out 6-3.
Now, they’re the majority by that same margin as Democrats flipped a board that created controversy with its conservative policies.
To understand why this is a Big Deal, see Isabela Dias’ day-before-Election Day piece for Mother Jones, “Inside the Knock-Down, Drag-Out Fight Over the Soul of a Pennsylvania School District.”
Central Bucks was one of the Pennsylvania districts suffering under a “Moms for Liberty” style MAGA right-wing takeover, with a combination of weird culture-war obsessions — anti-trans panic, DeSantis-style curriculum destruction, etc. — and naked grifting (a 40% pay raise for the superintendent). Students, teachers, parents, and the majority of Normal People in the district were horrified and voted accordingly.
See also the other Pa. school district that had been the focus of the MAGA Karens’ wrath: “Five newcomers sweep Central York School Board election.”
Here’s Dias’ day-after-Election Day folo: “Pennsylvania Voters Rejected the Culture Wars in School Board Races.” And MoJo’s Kiera Butler pans out for the wider, national perspective: “‘Parents’ Rights’—Especially Moms for Liberty—Lost Big in Elections Last Night.”
Angry MAGA weirdos, it turns out, are great at generating controversy and grabbing attention. But to anyone who is not also an angry MAGA weirdo, they just seem weird. And kind of scary.
These are not the kind of people that most others would want anywhere near their kids, let alone in charge of their schools.
One more related link from MoJos’ election coverage illustrating this same point: “Anti-Trans Platforms Lose Elections.”
The point here, alas, is not that the majority of voters are “pro-trans,” but that elevating anti-trans policies strikes them as weirdly beside-the-point and unnecessarily cruel.
I think back to being a high school student in the 1980s. There were no out trans kids in high school in the ’80s. Not even in John Hughes movies.
But they were there and, because they were usually not adept at the socially reinforced conformity that governed ’80s adolescence, they were often perceived and treated as “weird.” Life could be lonely and hard for a “weird” kid in high school in the ’80s (something those John Hughes movies understood).
Yet if there was one thing that could sometimes be even less popular than being assigned the status of a weird kid, it was being the bully who went out of his way to torment the weird kids.
That guy was understood to be a cruel, ugly jerk. His obsessive preoccupation with those weird kids that everyone else somewhat-less-cruelly simply ignored seemed even weirder than whatever it was that made those weird kids weird. His cruel obsession with picking on those kids struck most everyone else as deeply strange.
What was his deal? What was wrong with that guy?
So maybe most kids weren’t lining up to be friends with the “weird” kids who didn’t fit in, but they sure didn’t want to be anything like friends with that jerk bullying them either. And even now, when we’re all well into middle age, nobody wants to vote for him.