The most positive aspect of the 2010 election is that Meg Whitman did not win and proposition 25 passed, which means that a simple majority of the state legislature can now pass a budget. In the past, we have had a good relationship with Jerry Brown, and he will most likely support higher education in a more robust way.
Another great win was Das Williams for state assembly out of Santa Barbara. Das has been a big supporter of the students and the faculty at UCSB. In fact, UC-AFT was an early promoter of his candidacy, and we hope to work with him closely in shaping his educational policies.
On the national front, things look pretty bad, and we should expect a period of profound infighting and a budgetary stalemate. It looks like the country is following California’s recent past because the minority party will be able to block all legislation and call for tax cuts and the de-funding of public programs. In terms of higher education, we should expect a move to cut student loans and grants. It is also likely that the House will try to reduce the funding of health and science research. President Obama will either compromise and adopt a conservative agenda, or he will promote a more progressive agenda and let the Republicans vote down popular programs. Let’s hope he picks the latter.