Convinced that the people are the only safe depositories of their own liberty, and that they are not safe unless enlightened to a certain degree, I have looked on our present state of liberty as a short-lived possession unless the mass of the people could be informed to a certain degree. –Thomas Jefferson
Of course, Jefferson didn’t have to deal with click-bait and Infowars. Well, I’ll do my part regarding the enlightenment.
Who the hell am I, and do you want to take my election advice? I am a liberal, a humanist atheist, a skeptic, a fan of science, reason and compassion, and anti-teabagger. I try to help others and refrain from being a douche whenever possible. My charitable donations in the last year have been primarily to Doctors without Borders and Planned Parenthood.
I made my choices based on the official voter info guides from the state, candidate websites, the amazing VotersEdge by KPCC and the League of Women Voters, and my own strong google-fu. Note that I’m over on the westside, across the border in unincorporated L.A. County, so some of my local races might be different from yours.
President: Hillary Clinton
I am not voting against Bernie, I am voting for Hillary. When the only negatives about a candidate are coming from an opposition that’s cribbing them from right-wing fantasy sites like Breitbart and Infowars, I feel pretty confident in my decision.
We live in a horrifying time right now where money rules politics. Unlike Bernie whose myriad tiny donations have benefited only his own campaign, Hillary has been taking selfies with every wealthy Dem from here to Cape Cod in order to raise tens of millions for down-ticket candidates. This is hugely important to help counter the Kochs and the Sheldon Adelsons as they start to see Trump as a lost cause and pour obscene amounts of cash into local races. It is a terrible, terrible situation. Hopefully, Hillary will win, the Dems will get the Senate, she’ll get to add three liberal judges to the Supreme Court, they’ll overturn Citizens United, and we can start the process of removing money from politics.
U.S. Senator: Kamala Harris
She’s been a good A.G., and I think being a Senator will fit her even better. I think she’s a great person to take over Boxer’s seat. Note that due to the idiotic GOP prop that passed a few years ago, the Senate and House contests are open free-for-alls, where the top two vote getters will meet up again in November. There are 34 friggin’ candidates for Senator. One is a “Stay-at-home-dad/Attorney.”
U.S. Representative, 33rd District: Ted Lieu
Er, well, there’s just one GOP and one Dem listed, Lieu is the incumbent, and a quick Google search of “ted lieu child porn” turned up no relevant news articles, so…
Superior Court Judge, Office 11: Debra R. Archuleta
These decisions are difficult, because they require a little more looking around for information. But they’re extremely important and can have major repercussions if one ignores them. For example, even though Bernie won Wisconsin, his fans either ignored the rest of the ballot or voted randomly, and an ultra-conservative judge ended up getting elected to their Supreme Court.
In this case, the endorsements make it pretty easy. Ms. Archuleta is endorsed by not only the County Dems, but by a long list of police associations. So it sounds like everyone thinks she’ll make a great judge.
Superior Court Judge, Office 42: Cyndy Zuzga
She’s been an elected Commissioner since 2006, she’s endorsed by a bunch of judges and a couple of Dem Congressmen, and her very brief judicial blurbs seem sound (no mention of trial by combat.)
Superior Court Judge, Office 60: James A. Kaddo
He’s the incumbent judge, and has been for a while. No crazy answers. He has one opponent. The opponent’s official campaign photo shows him wearing sunglasses. Newb.
Superior Court Judge, Office 84: Susan Jung Townsend
Another endorsement by both the Dems and some police organizations, and a bunch of judges. By the way, in order to get the County Dems’ endorsement, a candidate has to go before their Judicial Endorsement Committee (yes, it’s a thing) and answer a bunch of questions (all about trial by combat.) So a candidate must reach out and seek this endorsement. It doesn’t just happen.
Superior Court Judge, Office 120: Ray Santana
He’s the incumbent. He specifically mentions wanting to solve conflicts peacefully (NO trial by combat.) His sole opponent misspelled “judicial.”
Superior Court Judge, Office 158: David A. Berger
This was the only one that required some serious thought, where there were two serious contenders (the other was Kim L. Nguyen in this case.) I like that Berger really wants to help people with drug issues stay out of jail, and that this is what he’s been doing in the D.A.’s office for the last few years. Nguyen is good and has racked up the endorsements, but her philosophy is light. Berger wins. Mmmm… Superior Court Judge Berger…
Superior Court Judge, Office 165: Kathryn Ann Solorzano
She’s the incumbent, everybody likes her, under her supervision, trial by combat has almost ceased in Office 165.
L.A. County Supervisor, 4th District: Janice Hahn
A local coming back from Washington. Endorsed by everyone. Her two opponents both sound like they would vote for Trump. I’m not going to do a deep dive into Hahn. I know she’s imperfect. But compared to the other two yahoos, I’m happy with her.
Proposition 50: Yes
This was put on the ballot by the State House and Senate, and is endorsed by the League of Women Voters as well. It basically says that if a member is suspended, they don’t get paid. Pretty reasonable. The rather odd argument against it is that this will somehow lead to the majority suspending all the minority members for no reason indefinitely. But… they could do that now. This just adds “…and they won’t get paid.” The GOP opponents are succumbing to Trumpish paranoia.
Side note: If I ever become filthy rich, I’m going to put a prop on the ballot to end all future props. We elect representatives for a reason.
Well, that’s all I’ve got on my ballot. You may have some other local measures or council races. Try Voter’s Edge for info. Remember, the more local you get, the more your vote matters, and the more often it really does come down to just a couple of votes sometimes.
And most importantly, especially for those of you just joining the big show for the first time, VOTE. DO IT. This is your one actual bit of power. This is worth sharing 1,000 Facebook memes.
Do you go out and protest? That’s great! Very American of you. But if you don’t back it up with a vote, the people in power will know they can safely ignore you.
The Occupy movement blew up social media, created huge marches, giant camp outs… but none of them voted, leading to the most conservative, obstructionist Congress in over a century. Because the teabaggers? They got on their scooters and voted.
More recently, Black Lives Matter took to the streets – many protests over so many injustices one loses count. Like Occupy, BLM is not a monolith, but a loose association of groups. Some of those BLM groups organized, and got out the vote, and ousted two D.A.’s who screwed up prosecutions of police shootings.
Who are the people in city councils, in state capitols, in Washington – who are they going to listen to? A group that camped out and ruined the city’s park, but didn’t vote, or a group that organized, got out the vote, and proved it has real political power?
Be part of the group with power.