19:20※Hold Your Nose and Vote on Tuesday, November 8, 2016: Elected Offices
As usual, I’ve done my research for the upcoming election and written up my notes to share with the rest of the class. I’ve given my conclusions, and invite you to come to your own. Even if we disagree on every issue, I’m happy if this saves you a headache.
President and Vice President of the United States
Thanks to our electoral system, there are only two viable choices for President, protest votes are ineffectual, and often regretted. How many Nader voters are happy with their choice in 2000, after George W. Bush got us into a $3tn war in a country that posed no threat to us? If you want more than two choices, I commend your attention to FairVote, who support electoral reform that would give us more possibilities. If you want to make a stand, demand of your representatives that they commit to reform that will make more parties viable, so we can have more than two choices. And if you’re tired of the concept of “swing states” altogether, check out the National Popular Vote compact.
No matter what you see in the polls, the election belongs to the people who show up to vote; in the UK, people got complacent and wound up with a vote for Brexit that is inflicting ongoing damage to their economy. Please be sure to vote.
On foreign policy, Clinton has served as Secretary of State and Trump openly advocates for committing war crimes and features in terrorist propaganda videos. Supporting the us-and-them narrative plays into the terrorists’ hands: they want Muslims to feel that they aren’t part of Western civilization. When Muslims are seen as friends, family, coworkers, shopkeepers, and war heroes in this country, that threatens the narrative that al-Qaeda and Daesh want to promote.
There’s also Russia to worry about. I have no worries about Clinton’s ability to handle brinksmanship with a nuclear-armed state, and however many disagreements I had with Bush, McCain, and Romney, I didn’t consider them at risk of getting us all killed. Trump prides himself on being unpredictable, which is the last thing you want when Mutual Assured Destruction is still a possibility. Given that “heighten the contradictions” has never worked in the past, I think Trump getting us all nuked is more likely than Trump making things bad enough that the proletariat finally unifies to usher in a socialist utopia. I am also rather unhappy with Trump playing useful idiot for the Kremlin. (Claims that Trump is an actual Russian agent are nonsense. He doesn’t have the self-discipline for it.)
This is not to say that I’m without concern for Clinton’s foreign policy. She vacations with a war criminal, which has got to affect her sense of what’s reasonable, and I’m concerned that she’ll go on bombing wedding parties like Bush and Obama, which is a very effective way to grow terrorists at home.
Member of the State Assembly, District 24
Two competent candidates who took the time to come out to the Sunnyvale Democratic Club on a balmy Saturday afternoon; this is a win-win set of choices for District 24. I have a mild preference for Veenker; I think her communication skills would be effective in building support for bills in the Assembly.
Eric Rosenthal. Voter’s Edge. Does not appear to be making an effort (no web site, didn’t respond to the Los Altos Town Crier or Voter’s Edge), so I will take that as an indication of his commitment to the job and won’t burden him with it.
Patrick Ahrens. Voter’s Edge. Has a good set of endorsements from current and former trustees, and should provide some youthful perspective.
Mike McCarthy. Voter’s Edge. He lacks experience and his web site contains outright lies (e.g.: he claims the City Council vote salary increases for themselves, but those are specified in the city charter, Article VI, Section 603 and can only be changed by a charter amendment; they reduced its automatic increase from a flat 5% to the Consumer Price Index back in 2011). He is either gullible, or thinks the voters are.
Pat Meyering. Voter’s Edge. This guy is so unpleasant to work with that we’ve had a city manager and city attorney quit rather than put up with his antics, and those jobs are not easy to fill. Please do not vote for him. If you are so partisan that you will not vote for a Republican, just leave your ballot blank for seat 5.
Michael Goldman. Democrat. Voter’s Edge. Rambles on at length when giving speeches, claiming that passing the badly-written Measure M and electing him are the only things that can possibly save Sunnyvale from turning into downtown Manhattan.
Ron Banks. Democrat. Voter’s Edge. No experience in public service, and he admits that he started out as a one-issue candidate (the issue being manufactured-home parks), but has been doing his homework and broadening his understanding of the issues facing the city. If you are so partisan that you will not vote for a Republican, I recommend voting for him.
I have to vote for Cordes, then, because without him, if Melton, Smith, and Martin-Milius win, there will be no countervailing voices to the developer-friendly majority on Council. None. It's unfortunate that the opposition candidates are, as usual, mostly either weak, flakes, or Pat Meyering, because there's an important argument here that needs to be made.