Monday, November 7, 2016

2016 Election endorsements

Election Day is around the corner. Here are a few of my recommendations, endorsements, and thoughts:

Endorsement for President.


For me there is no alternative. If you are a Trump voter you clearly don't want to listen to reason or care about people who don't look like you, so you really don't care about my endorsement.

However, to Hillary supporters my point here is, get out the vote. Tell your friends to tell their friends to vote. We need a big turnout. We need to make this an embarrassing loss for a Republican party which has been nurturing racism, sexism, islamaphobia, and homophobia for decades. That sub-current of hate has given birth to a giant orange growth that needs to be excised.

And BTW, I am not a lesser-of-two-evils supporter. Hillary is supremely qualified.

I know there are still folks out there who are choosing to vote for Jill, or Gary, or even Evan. They believe that a Trump presidency might finally give rise to a more progressive Democratic Party. I would argue the opposite. In the past conservative victories has just made the party move MORE to the center (or right-center). If we win in a landslide, and polls show overwhelming support from the Bernie wing of the party, the Bernie wing gains power.

More important, an embarrassing loss for Trump (and down ballot) forces a redefinition of the Republican party. And it could be a major redefinition of the party. I think of history here...

When one party realigns, it does not only change that party. It fundamentally changes the other party. Andrew Jackson and the Whigs. William Jennings Bryan and the Democrats. LBJ and the Southern Strategy. If the Republican party looks like a permanent 39% party, it will change, morph, or die. The new Republican Party (or whatever rises out of it) will be fundamentally different. And so will the Democratic Party. Predicting exactly what that realignment will be is a fool's errand. But given the insurgency in both parties, my guess is that the new focus will be more about the two wings of populism: The progressive democrats and the tea party. The best chance for a progressive Democratic Party is the annihilation of the current Republican Party.

How is that for an odd endorsement?


Vote YES for Transit

Southeast Michigan is the only major metropolitan area without a regional transit plan. Let's change that on Tuesday. This could make a more profound difference in more lives than perhaps any single political race. This will bring a commuter train (finally) between Ann Arbor and Detroit. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) routes which will connect Detroit to the other counties. The RTA will coordinate fares and schedules over a variety of existing systems. This is big stuff.

If you don't know what BRT is, wikipedia does a good job explaining:

State of Michigan Supreme Court

If you follow me on Facebook you may have seen my series "Me and My Constitution". It's an ongoing series of pics with me and my pocket constitution in various locales and situations. That pocket constitution is an ACLU pocket constitution which I've had forever. All this is to say, I love the ACLU. Michael Steinberg has shared his picks for this. He has made it clear that these are his personal picks, not those of the ACLU. However, Michael's personal values align with his professional values, so I'm listening to the guy.

In short, Vote for Szymanski and Thomas (mnemonic, remember Star Trek). If you want to read his full endorsement, it is here:

The Rest of the Judges

On my ballot, all of the rest of the judges are uncontested. This is a shame. Especially since one of them is the Dishonorable Archie Brown. Archie broke up LGBT families. I cannot vote for this man. I suggest you do not either. I am writing in Patti Smith. It won't count. Patti is not registered as a write-in. But it is my protest. I suggest you do the same. (I know I've been written in for this position at least once, already).

City Council and Mayor

I am in the Fifth Ward. I am strongly endorsing the incumbent Chuck Warpehoski. Chuck has fought for better transit. Chuck believes in affordable housing. Chuck believes in community. Chuck is an environmentalist. His "priorities" page spells out beautifully why I support this man:

Ward 5 is the only contested election for City Council or Mayor. So not that it matters, but my strong endorsements in other races are:

Christopher Taylor

Ward 2
Kirk Westphal

Ward 3
Julie Grand.

Ward 4
Graydon Krapohl

If I lived in Ward 1 I'd do a protest write-in vote.

So why are there so few contested elections? Segue to..........

Ann Arbor Ballot Proposal: Increasing Term Length for Mayor & City Council

I'm voting "yes".

I have wrestled a bit with this one. In fact, this is now the third rewrite of this section of the blog. To see the full ballot proposal:

Kirk Westphal is interested in electoral reform in Ann Arbor Council and Mayoral elections. His first proposal would have made some significant changes. City Council rejected his original proposal by a vote of 7-4. This proposal is the leftovers. I believe the current proposal would be good in combination with other changes, most notably non-partisan elections. In this case, non-partisan simply means the top two vote-getters in the primary move on to the general election. If that happened we could have a robust political discussion.

The arguments for this change are that more people would be involved in the electoral process by eliminating the off-year elections. I am sympathetic to that argument. But it is not real reform. My main concern if this passes is that we will be left with nothing else. Any argument for further reform may be left behind with the argument that "we already did electoral reform". It will not be the end of the world if this does not pass, but my endorsement is that I will be reluctantly voting "yes" on this proposal. It's not real reform, but at least a step in the right direction.

Michigan Daily provided an excellent endorsement (and may have been the article which finally tipped me to my "yes" vote):

Library Board

Who cares about this? Well...there are actually eight candidates for four positions, making it one of the more contested parts of the ballot. There are two "slates" running. I'm not endorsing either slate. Rather I am endorsing two individuals, who are on different slates: Jaime Magiera and Linh Song. I respect both of these folks, and think they will bring great perspective to the board. I will probably just vote those two and leave the rest blank.

Ann Arbor Public Schools

Once again, I'm going with the best advice I can get. In this case, it is Trevor Staples. Trevor was the force behind one of Ann Arbor's most successful community projects, the Skatepark. He is also a teacher, and seems to be in pretty much exact alignment with my politics. And his endorsement is, "I'm half-assedly voting for Hunter, Harmony, Jeff. I won't consider voting for one of the incumbents after how they've treated teachers over the past few years."

Good enough for me

A few quickies (or this won't get out before the election)

Any House Race
Vote Dem. We have a chance to take back the State House. That would be enormous. In my case, this is voting for the amazing Yousef Rahbi

State Board of Education
John Austin
Ish Ahmed

Congress - 12th District
Debbie Dingell

Congress - 7th District
If you are lucky enough to live in the 7th District you MUST vote for Gretchen Driskell. A combination of an excellent democratic candidate and a true troglodyte republican incumbent.