Initiative 960 should never have won. But opponents gave it life by running a campaign that had no real message that anyone could understand. And they repeated the failed strategy of trying to ignore Eyman in the media thinking that their absence would somehow diminish voter support and enthusiasm for the measure.
This is how Eyman won in the past – because opponents thought that by seemingly ignoring Eyman they could diminish his appeal. The result was that in the free media there was very little evidence that there was opposition to his measure.
There were articles in the papers where in places like Bellingham, Eyman received press coverage and no opponent showed up to debate the issues. This leaves the public with the impression that there was no organized opposition.
Once again opponents let Eyman win by their trying to run a stealth campaign to defeat him. You beat Eyman by taking him head on, not ignoring him. The stealth campaign fizzled just as it has done before. They come close but lack the power or momentum or emotion to shut Eyman down.
Opponents also ran a closed campaign which was a mistake. About 6 weeks or so before the election I went to what was billed as a coalition meeting. It was not a coalition meeting at all but only a presentation by the consultant organized and consultant run campaign that did not get people and organizations to really buy into it as their campaign to defeat I-960 or feel that there was a role or place for them besides maybe contributing money.
People and organizations most intently fight campaigns that they are a part of and have some sense of involvement and ownership in. Coalition Boards can be messy sometimes but it’s a lot more effective to have people arguing over strategy of their campaigns than having them sitting on the sidelines watching consultants run paid media ads.
If there were any other coalition “meetings” I was not aware of them. Eyman lucked out once again. It’s like opponents thought that money alone without emotion and commitment to fight a real campaign battle would turn the day.
I contrast these wimpy anti-Eyman campaigns with the slugfests and emotion and commitment and coalition building efforts that people put into defeating the two right wing efforts to scuttle land use and growth management in our state via the so-called “takings” crowd.
Now its up to the Courts to deal with the constitutionality of I-960. The earlier court battle to keep I-960 off the ballot was ruled premature.
The key issue is whether the voters can by an initiative amend the Washington State Constitution by requiring a 2/3 vote for revenue increases when the state constitution says the Legislature shall act by a simple majority vote.
A final note – Unfortunately for the supporters of the simple majority for school levies, they wound up on the same ballot with I-960. My guess is that those that didn’t support the simple majority for schools bonds were the same people who supported Initiative 960.