The day is finally here, this ridiculous election season of the 2016 presidential cycle is finally coming to a climactic close.
For the sake of discussion, I’ll outline my decisions below, which cover my ballot decisions here in Santa Clara County, California at least as of this morning, barring any last minute change. These experiences are exclusively my own based on the information available to me. While I admit no expertise in any of these fields, democracy tasks every citizen with the responsibility to weigh in.
In the past, I’ve identified with the (unwritten) ideals of the Democratic party and the individualistic economic principles of the Republican party, so would still like to respect some centrist members of the past — but the direction during and since the Bush years has been one of a tragic coalition of much that is wrong with America.
The grievance-oriented economic politics, which actively promotes ignorance about possibilities of the energy sector rather than investing into communities to transition into the future. Worse, the quiet embrace of nativist anger and normalization of fear-oriented immigration rhetoric. You see these ideologies crossing borders in the dark alignment of the players in global right-wing nationalists that had historically separated Europe from the United States. But in the internet age, it’s all to easy to find a rabbit hole to dive into.)
In the public sphere, getting out of this mess will require getting toward civil dialog where critical thinking and discussion can take place and while the anti-establishments and revolutionist-wannabes have had their day this election season, let’s get real America, stable patient incrementalism has been what has led to great strides of progress. We’re mature enough for that, right?
With that in mind philosophically, he here we go–
Choices, as of Tuesday, November 8th, 2016 – 8:15 am
President and Vice President
CHOICE: The Great HRC (Hillary Clinton) – Tim Kaine
After the past year and half of campaign season, I think enough has been said not to need to expound upon this too much more. But let’s finally say that after all the mud-slinging, can we proudly sit with President Clinton?
I’d like to think so, and once the national healing process has begun, and a post-mortem finding departmental IT policies woefully inadequate (no shit?), things will get better. That’s called learning, not burning the house down. Hell yeah, I can live will that.
There is much outreach and healing that I would like to see however; this is not the time for elitist gloating. At least one side is showing that it is inclined to try to be the government for all Americans.
On a more serious note, democracy itself requires stable ongoing investment, and too many Americans already take it for granted and seem to want to torch the very institutions that protect our way of life. I’ve come to realize that there will always been a segment of resentment fueling our politics; but as the GOP seems to be learning this year; that’s playing with fire.
But let’s get real; a lot of important politics is happening at the state and local levels, and it’s clear that the principles of the GOP can resonate there. It’s time for a return to Centrist politics and practical progressivism.
One candidate. Not the other. And no, not even remotely interested in these third-party options.
United States Senator
CHOICE: Kamala D. Harris
Sadly, I have to admit that I have not done all the critical research that I’d like at this point to strongly advocate one or the other based on record.
It is an interesting election however ; apparently, in 2010 by citizen measure, California did away with party primaries and instead went with qualifying the top two candidates by popular support, which ultimately led to two Democrats on the ballot for US Senate (the Republicans being far behind). Fair enough to me — though I am concerned about a decline in constructive dialog if there are no competitive alternate parties, but folks like Sanchez seem to show that they will still have a presence.
After a cursory analysis of character points and watching the one debate, the decision was pretty clear to me. I strongly embrace progress, but I’m practical about it and understand that institutions have a purpose.
Also, this is for US Senate; I want someone that has an understanding of America’s place in the world on a security and environmental basis. Sanchez, at least, appears to best represent the limited interests while on the surface, appearing to anti-establishment populist messaging.
United States Representative (CA-House District 19)
CHOICE: Zoe Lofgren
I know even less about this particular race but I can see that Lofgren seems to have a solid record if one favors expanded civil rights and directed federal investments into forward-looking technology.
The “other guy” is apparently a tech consultant and has raised $5,500. I can’t find much more information about him, so I don’t take him to be a serious candidate. It’s a shame that for such an important seat that there isn’t yet a competitive alternative…
California State Senator (District 15)
CHOICE: Jim Beall
He represents the local establishment of Silicon Valley and doesn’t appear to be in a particularly competitive race with Nora Campos.
ON TERM LIMITS: My general perspective is that term limits restricts those who would want to go into politics as a career and instead increase the incentives for those funded by external means. The general trend is very dark here and term limits for legislature seems like one more way to guarantee that citizens don’t get to vote on great representatives. If you don’t like a guy, don’t vote for them; why take away their right to run, or our right to decide to have them?
State Assembly (CA-District 27)
CHOICE: Madison Nguyen
I know even less about this decision. Given this is a state legislature position, I’d like someone that understands urban crises like housing and community development. From what I hear, Nguyen can represent those well, but this is based on a totally cursory analysis on election day.
Community College District Governing Board Member – Trustee Area 7
CHOICE: Mayra Cruz
I don’t have a strong opinion here, but the choices are between a current board trustee and a law student. Beyond that, there isn’t much being said about the latter, and he’s been resistant to comment to press.
I love democracy in that anyone can run and the occasional dark horse candidate can win. In this environment, citizens have a responsibility to be able to understand which candidates make a serious effort to establish themselves with their voters and/or have a record of doing so already.
Moving on to the issues…
California Statewide Propositions
Like Washington state, California has a mechanism for citizens to put measures on the ballot. I love that citizens get to participate in this aspect of effectively what is legislation, but I’ve seen it succumb to populist bias and influenced by money, inside and outside. I find it critical that we as state residents take the best interests of the state and its people at heart.
There are 17 measures on the ballot this year — and reading through them has been like a season long assignment. I’ve made a best effort to decide based on my principles and available knowledge to me.
I’ve made my decsions as follows:
51N, 52N, 53N, 54N, 55Y, 56Y, 57Y, 58Y, 59N, 60N, 61N, 62N, 63Y, 64Y, 65N, 66Y, 67Y
So that’s it for now! A huge moment has passed for America, let’s move forward in one piece!