Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Elections and Cakes Have Consequences

 
Brad Avakian
Brad Avakian, the Democrat who lost his race to be Oregon’s Secretary of State.

The dust is settling on election season, mostly. The Democrats have been doing their best to kick it up as much as they can in the presidential election, but that’s proving to have dubious results at best. Of course in the states, the Democrats have lost a lot of ground. In many ways, they are being pushed back to their coastal strongholds to lick their collectivist wounds. But even those are not safe. Though Oregon is mostly a one-party state, and almost all major offices are held by Democrats, Republican Dennis Richardson managed to take the Secretary of State’s office in a race against Brad Avakian.

That last name might be familiar to you if you’ve followed social politics at all. Brad Avakian is the administrator who was knee-deep in the Cake Wars here in Oregon. He was the one who ruled against Aaron and Melissa Klein who owned Sweet Cakes by Melissa – the same Kleins who refused to make a wedding cake for a same sex couple.

Note that this was not a trial by any sense of the word. In Oregon, these complaints are decided by the bureaucratic administration in which there’s no right to face your accuser, innocence is not assumed, and there’s not even a guarantee that the judge has a modicum of even-handedness in the matter. Avakian at the time of the ruling had long been an advocate of same sex marriage, had expressed a desire to change Oregonians’ minds about the topic, and during the investigation was in frequent contact with a SSM-advocacy group in Oregon.

Before the case was even picked up by Oregon, the Kleins had been run out of their brick-and-mortar shop and harassed. Over a year after losing their business, Avakian ruled against them and placed a fine just short of $150,000 on them. Already in dire financial straits, the Kleins looked to fundraising to help them. When they didn’t cough up the money by the deadline, Oregon placed a lien on their home. Now the lesbian couple in question expressed emotional trouble because of the refusal, but still had their wedding – note, with cake – and went on with their lives.

But most of us know all this. It was suggested that Avakian was planning to ride this case into the Secretary of State’s office. It seems that assessment was mostly correct, but he failed to take office. The question now is, what does this loss say? I suggest two things:

One, the loss of the office is huge. Democrats have owned Oregon’s executive administration for some time. The Secretary of State effects several things in the election process that the Democrats have abused for some time. Oregon has a measure system where Oregonians can offer legislation and constitutional amendments for a vote. The Democrats have spent the last several elections using weird wording and placement to create confusion with the various measures. Frequently, if the SecState’s office doesn’t like a particular measure, they’ll word it so if you support something you should vote “No” and if you are against it you vote, “Yes.” That’s the tip of the iceberg. Oregon has enjoyed having the most partisan Secretary of State for years. That’s been taken away from the Democrats.

Two, social progressivism is not quite the juggernaut they think it is. It’s been suggested that though they are currently winning victories, there’s a silent majority that dislikes the totalitarian streak that seems to run through the social progressive mindset. Though SSM was sold on the “live and let live model” – I frequently saw posts saying, “Don’t like gay marriage? Don’t have one!” – there’s no intention whatsoever for the SSM advocates to let opponents be. They don’t just demand tolerance or acceptance, they require approval.

The growing problem is that people don’t like this totalitarian attitude. Even my conservative friends who supported SSM (they are basically decent human beings who can’t see refusing a couple on moral stances the latter might not ascribe to) are unhappy with the way small business owners have been bulldozed for refusing to offer service for a single event.

It may be that the social progressives have once again assumed too much. They’ve assumed that now they’ve won, everyone will soon be on their side. That the attitudes that have drifted in their favor will continue to drift upwards and all they need do is eliminate the last few stragglers out there. It’s quite possible they’ve done themselves far more harm than good.

At least in Oregon, they’ve paid something of a price for the next four years.

There are 23 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Doug Watt Moderator

    Huge win because the Secretary of State in Oregon becomes Governor if the current Governor has to step down. The interesting thing is that Oregon law did not recognize SSM when the bakery refused to bake the cake. So the bakers were fined for not providing a wedding cake for a couple who would have been refused a marriage license by the state.

    • #1
    • December 16, 2016, at 12:32 PM PST
    • Like
  2. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. DouglasJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Doug Watt:Huge win because the Secretary of State in Oregon becomes Governor if the current Governor has to step down. The interesting thing is that Oregon law did not recognize SSM when the bakery refused to bake the cake. So the bakers were fined for not providing a wedding cake for a couple who would have been refused a marriage license by the state.

    Wouldn’t normally think about that, but then Kitzhaber had to step down due to conflict of interest charges — which incidentally were brought up and dismissed during the election then suddenly became oh-so-important after he was sworn in.

    • #2
    • December 16, 2016, at 12:45 PM PST
    • Like
  3. Leigh Member

    Thanks for writing this. I’d seen that race, thought it was important and wanted to call attention to it, but I haven’t had time to write it up and you added much more context than I could have.

    C. U. Douglas: Two, social progressivism is not quite the juggernaut they think they are. It’s been suggested that though they currently are winning victories, there’s a silent majority that dislikes the totalitarian streak that seems to run through the social progressives’ mindset.

    I’ve seen polls showing majorities opposing Indiana’s RFRA law, or saying that bakers shouldn’t be allowed to refuse to make cakes, and so on. But what these polls really show, I think, is just that people, on first thought, don’t want anyone turned away. They’re not really considering the case of a business owner who will say “no” for reasons of conscience. When people actually see someone like that — especially when, like the Kleins, they come across as decent people and not at all as jerks — they don’t actually want those peoples’ lives destroyed.

    If you phrase it as “should x group of people ever be denied services” people will probably say no. If you phrase it as “should these few people who, for reasons of conscience, won’t provide x service, be forced out of their business,” people will say “no” to that.

    Messaging matters.

    • #3
    • December 16, 2016, at 6:21 PM PST
    • Like
  4. Saint Augustine Member

    Good work, Mr. Douglas.

    • #4
    • December 16, 2016, at 7:17 PM PST
    • Like
  5. Judge Mental Member

    Leigh:Thanks for writing this. I’d seen that race, thought it was important and wanted to call attention to it, but I haven’t had time to write it up and you added much more context than I could have.

    C. U. Douglas: Two, social progressivism is not quite the juggernaut they think they are. It’s been suggested that though they currently are winning victories, there’s a silent majority that dislikes the totalitarian streak that seems to run through the social progressives’ mindset.

    I’ve seen polls showing majorities opposing Indiana’s RFRA law, or saying that bakers shouldn’t be allowed to refuse to make cakes, and so on. But what these polls really show, I think, is just that people, on first thought, don’t want anyone turned away. They’re not really considering the case of a business owner who will say “no” for reasons of conscience. When people actually see someone like that — especially when, like the Kleins, they come across as decent people and not at all as jerks — they don’t actually want those peoples’ lives destroyed.

    If you phrase it as “should x group of people ever be denied services” people will probably say no. If you phrase it as “should these few people who, for reasons of conscience, won’t provide x service, be forced out of their business,” people will say “no” to that.

    Messaging matters.

    • #5
    • December 16, 2016, at 9:51 PM PST
    • Like
  6. Percival Thatcher
    PercivalJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Thank you for expounding on this. I heard that Avakian had vowed to continue the SJW from a loftier post, and that he had lost to an Oregon Republican, of all things, but very little else.

    • #6
    • December 17, 2016, at 7:45 AM PST
    • Like
  7. Leigh Member

    Judge Mental:

    Leigh:

    If you phrase it as “should x group of people ever be denied services” people will probably say no. If you phrase it as “should these few people who, for reasons of conscience, won’t provide x service, be forced out of their business,” people will say “no” to that.

    Messaging matters.

    Yep. But underneath all that, people do have actual opinions — or at least they have a tendency to form them when these questions are no longer theoretical. And sometimes the politicians actually believed their own leading questions, and then find themselves shocked when the people who seemed to agree with them aren’t so thrilled with the actual reality.

    I think we saw something like that with Obamacare, too.

    • #7
    • December 17, 2016, at 9:28 AM PST
    • Like
  8. Ansonia Member
    AnsoniaJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Does anyone know how we can chip in to help the couple further persecuted by this…..by Avakian ?

    • #8
    • December 17, 2016, at 3:17 PM PST
    • Like
  9. Profile Photo Member

    Ansonia: how we can chip in to help the couple further persecuted by this…..by Avakian ?

    My understanding is that a “GoFundMe” fund was canceled by the administrators of that site. After It had collected a significant amount of money.

    • #9
    • December 17, 2016, at 4:35 PM PST
    • Like
  10. PHCheese Member

    The win was a piece of cake.

    • #10
    • December 17, 2016, at 4:47 PM PST
    • Like
  11. Solar Eclipse Inactive

    Mike-K:

    Ansonia: how we can chip in to help the couple further persecuted by this…..by Avakian ?

    My understanding is that a “GoFundMe” fund was canceled by the administrators of that site. After It had collected a significant amount of money.

    I donated a few dollars myself. I forget what the site was, but basically the same sort of things as “GoFundMe,” and I believe they met their goal of $150,000 pretty quickly, with change to spare – which is itself an indication of popular opinion. Apparently they raised it too late to save their business, but at least they should have been able to pay of their fine and have some money to start up something else.

    • #11
    • December 17, 2016, at 4:59 PM PST
    • Like
  12. Lash LaRoche Inactive

    Lock him up!

    • #12
    • December 17, 2016, at 8:29 PM PST
    • Like
  13. TKC1101 Inactive

    Best vote against I ever had the pleasure of doing. May he rot in life and for all time thereafter.

    • #13
    • December 17, 2016, at 10:12 PM PST
    • Like
  14. Ansonia Member
    AnsoniaJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Re: comment 13

    Glad to know I’m not the only one who had that reaction.

    • #14
    • December 17, 2016, at 11:14 PM PST
    • Like
  15. Melissa O'Sullivan Member

    Great article–thank you C.U. DOUGLAS!

    • #15
    • December 18, 2016, at 5:20 AM PST
    • Like
  16. Rocket Surgeon Inactive

    C. U. Douglas: Before the case was even picked up by Oregon, the Kleins had been run out of their brick-and-mortar shop and harassed. Over a year after losing their business, Avakian ruled against them and placed a fine just short of $150,000 on them. Already in dire financial straits, the Kleins looked to fundraising to help them. When they didn’t cough up the money by the deadline, Oregon placed a lien on their home.

    This is appalling. What’s with the laws in the state of Oregon that permit such penalties to be levied summarily by a state official? Oregon has always been a weird place politically; is it their constitution? Could this kind of thing occur in other states?

    • #16
    • December 18, 2016, at 1:21 PM PST
    • Like
  17. Underground Conservative Coolidge
    Underground ConservativeJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    You said “here in Oregon.” Did you move back?

    • #17
    • December 18, 2016, at 6:44 PM PST
    • Like
  18. MJBubba Inactive

    Rocket Surgeon:

    C. U. Douglas: Before the case was even picked up by Oregon, the Kleins had been run out of their brick-and-mortar shop and harassed. Over a year after losing their business, Avakian ruled against them and placed a fine just short of $150,000 on them. Already in dire financial straits, the Kleins looked to fundraising to help them. When they didn’t cough up the money by the deadline, Oregon placed a lien on their home.

    This is appalling. What’s with the laws in the state of Oregon that permit such penalties to be levied summarily by a state official? Oregon has always been a weird place politically; is it their constitution? Could this kind of thing occur in other states?

    So far, it can only happen in some of the blue states.

    Which was a good reason to vote for Trump in hopes of a better Supreme Court.

    I am feeling very relieved; America had a narrow escape.

    And Avakian’s ruling on the Kleins and their bankrupt bakery was even worse. He included a gag order that made it illegal for them to talk about the case. We discussed that here at Ricochet.

    http://ricochet.com/can-someone-explain-how-gag-orders-are-constitutional/

    • #18
    • December 18, 2016, at 7:43 PM PST
    • Like
  19. Cato Rand Coolidge

    It is a common, and dangerous, human tendency to project the future in a straight line. People are tempted — in all areas of life — to believe that once events are started in a direction, they will keep going that direction, forever. “Recency bias” is one term for this tendency from behavioral economics. But while this tendency manifests itself in economic matters, it does not do so exclusively there. It is fundamentally human and occurs in all areas of life.

    And the truth is usually exactly the opposite. Overreach tends to self correct, or produce a backlash. Things tend to revert to the mean if you give them time. The future is usually not quite like the immediate past, and the Event B that looks like it should follow from Event A in the slippery slope argument usually doesn’t come to pass.

    So it is not surprising that the overreach by SSM advocates is producing a backlash. But neither is it surprising that the advent of SSM hasn’t immediately led to people marrying their waffle irons as so many SSM opponents predicted.

    • #19
    • December 20, 2016, at 6:55 AM PST
    • Like
  20. Profile Photo Member

    Cato Rand:So it is not surprising that the overreach by SSM advocates is producing a backlash. But neither is it surprising that the advent of SSM hasn’t immediately led to people marrying their waffle irons as so many SSM opponents predicted.

    The final impact of societal changes may not fully play out until a generation has passed, so I’d reserve conclusions on that for a couple of decades.

    • #20
    • December 20, 2016, at 7:06 AM PST
    • Like
  21. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. DouglasJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Cato Rand:It is a common, and dangerous, human tendency to project the future in a straight line. People are tempted — in all areas of life — to believe that once events are started in a direction, they will keep going that direction, forever. “Recency bias” is one term for this tendency from behavioral economics. But while this tendency manifests itself in economic matters, it does not do so exclusively there. It is fundamentally human and occurs in all areas of life.

    And the truth is usually exactly the opposite. Overreach tends to self correct, or produce a backlash. Things tend to revert to the mean if you give them time. The future is usually not quite like the immediate past, and the Event B that looks like it should follow from Event A in the slippery slope argument usually doesn’t come to pass.

    So it is not surprising that the overreach by SSM advocates is producing a backlash. But neither is it surprising that the advent of SSM hasn’t immediately led to people marrying their waffle irons as so many SSM opponents predicted.

    I recall you expressed concern about overreach prior to SSM being ruled on in the Supreme Court. The vote here is much more a strike against that overreach than against SSM. SSM-opponents like myself would do well to remember that.

    We should be looking for ways to bring our disparate groups together. Even if I think SSM is a bad idea, that does not necessarily mean I should prevent people from partaking or supporting a bad idea. Conversely, if someone believes SSM is a good idea, it does not require participation by all.

    We SSM-opponents have been our own worst enemies. Like Arjay, I suspect we’ve yet to see the full extent of the long-term consequences, but our shouts of “No!” for the last couple of decades only served to get us where we are now.

    • #21
    • December 20, 2016, at 7:47 AM PST
    • Like
  22. TempTime Member

    C. U. Douglas: Democrats have spent the last several elections using weird wording and placement to create confusion with the various measures. Frequently, if the SecState’s office doesn’t like a particular measure, they’ll word it so if you support something you should vote “No” and if you are against it you vote, “Yes.”

    They have also started doing this in Miami Dade County (frequently) and also at the State (Florida) level. Last election, it was necessary to point out to several conservative persons that the “tortured” language of a ballot item was a clue that it was not what it appeared to be. So I encouraged people to look behind the curtain and find out who was supporting the measures and who was funding them.

    One measure in particularly had language similar to “Should the state’s utility services companies be allowed to continue to protect the citizens of Florida from unnecessarily forced cost increases due to negative impact of the unregulated practices of out-of-state operators … etc., etc.” When you looked behind the curtain you found the largest electric service provider had poured millions into getting the Item on the ballot and then passed. Supporters included the unions (teachers, service employees, fire department, etc.).

    All the measure essentially did was prevent free market forces from working by preventing out of state providers of solar panels/systems from selling to people living in Florida and effectively grant the electric services company a monopoly of sorts.

    • #22
    • December 20, 2016, at 9:26 AM PST
    • Like
  23. Saint Augustine Member

    TempTime:

    C. U. Douglas: Democrats have spent the last several elections using weird wording and placement to create confusion with the various measures. Frequently, if the SecState’s office doesn’t like a particular measure, they’ll word it so if you support something you should vote “No” and if you are against it you vote, “Yes.”

    They have also started doing this in Miami Dade County (frequently) and also at the State (Florida) level. Last election, it was necessary to point out to several conservative persons that the “tortured” language of a ballot item was a clue that it was not what it appeared to be. So I encouraged people to look behind the curtain and find out who was supporting the measures and who was funding them.

    . . .

    Even in Texas, taxation measures to make up for short-term bond debt are called “bond initiatives,” and look like they have nothing to do with taxation until you read your ballot carefully.

    • #23
    • December 20, 2016, at 6:56 PM PST
    • Like

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.