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Go Vote!

Let’s not sit this one out, people.  Let yourselves be heard.

And Remember,

Friends don’t let Friends vote Republican.

Give your Tea Party or just plain disgusted friend an earful before they step into that voting booth.  If they don’t like Democrats, there are always other party candidates.  If you are living in NJ, here is a list of all of the candidates running in your districts: Rutgers University’s 2010New Jersey Candidates and Referendum.  As you can see, there are plenty of alternatives to Republicans and Democrats including the American Renaissance Movement, American Labor Party,  Independents and Greens.

Whatever you do, don’t leave it up to someone else to determine the government you will have to live with for the next two years.  No matter how much you hate the way politicians have used us, go down to the precinct, get your ticket, go into the voting booth and make the best decision you can.  Sometimes, you have to stare at that row of buttons before you know what to do.  Just do it.  It’s that important.

Join us here at The Confluence for our Election Night 2010 Live-Blog starting at 8pm Eastern

Tell us in the comments what your voting strategy is. Here’s a recap of our voting strategies:

T-minus 72 Hours (or something like that) by Wonk the Vote

DT’s Voting Strategy by Dandy Tiger

My Voting Strategy- Hard Liquor by Myiq2xu

My Voting Strategy: How many times do we have to have this conversation? by littleisis

My voting strategy: Are you better off now than you were 40 years ago? by RD

Now, get out there and push their buttons!

Stop the Romans or we all get crucified.

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DT’s Voting Strategy

Background

I won’t forget 2000, 2004, or 2008. Our democracy was tarnished, torn, and battered on those election years. Perhaps we never had the democracy I always thought we had, but I know we don’t have it now. And that cynical, cruel, destructive action from the political machine has nearly destroyed this country.

Of course what made 2008 much worse for us was it was our party. They tore at the very fabric of society and left a large scar we still see today. It wasn’t enough that they cheated in many of the caucuses, hardly democracy anyway. No, they could even stop at that to steal the election. They went the extra mile, rubbing salt in the wounds, by stealing a whole states worth of primary votes, and then when that wasn’t enough for the heartless greedy soulless appetites, they didn’t even have a roll call and count the votes. Clearly for fear that the real winner might somehow still win. On that day we learned they were the same corrupt corporatist machine as the Republicans. No damn difference. They make different noises, and they throw in a few bones, but on the big issues, they’re the same.

Many in the Democratic party where abused, called old, called women (to them an insult by itself), called Republicans anyway, and called racist. They told anyone in the Democratic party, that if they didn’t like what they did at the convention, they could leave. They weren’t wanted, or needed. The New Democratic party had a new coalition now. They were made up of, funny enough, Republicans, mostly moderate, independents, and young people of no particular political persuasion or philosophy because to them it was all about personality and a messiah. They were made up of a solid group of African Americans some of whom were uncomfortable with how things happened, but understandably wanted an African American president more than anything. And on top of this new coalition were the party elites. You know the ones. The ones that never really liked that working class people were in their party. Never were really comfortable with, you know, little people. And funny enough, mostly white upperclass “progressives” that aren’t comfortable with people of color either, but this new choice gave them what they thought was a get out of bigot jail free card. But make no mistake, the party elite don’t particularly like the members of the new coalition any more than they liked the old group.

So from this, we got a New Democratic president and a supermajority in both houses of congress. Almost unprecedented power not seen in quite a while. With that power and by the winning margins, they had a large mandate to be and do anything different that Bush. They could have easily wiped out injustice in our laws towards women and LBGT and minorities. They could have reformed health care, bringing in at a minimum a public option. They could have made great strides economically with FDR style work stimulus programs. They could have performed a miracle not seen since FDR himself. But what did we get? We got none of that. We got the most cynical health care bill that does the opposite of what it should. It forces people to buy private insurance with massive loopholes allowing no caps and still the ability of the insurance company to effectively kick you out of your plan when you get sick. It puts more power and money in the hands of insurance companies. It is in a word, criminal. And we’ve seen us move backwards in women’s rights. And for DADT, we see the courts pushing forward and this very president pushing us backwards. And that’s nothing compared to the continuation of spying on Americans, wars, and now hit lists of American citizens.

Lessons Learned

The bottom line, the last four years of this same group running congress and the last two years of our president, has been as bad as the other party. Make no mistake, it makes me very sad to say that. My former party has unabashedly become puppets to the corporatists, and they don’t even hide it any more. They make it clear with their actions and sadly even often with their words, that they don’t care about Americans or American. Same as the other party. These two parties are both bad for America. And the saddest thing I’ve noticed, I think this new found power of this New Democratic party makes them even more susceptible to doing the bidding of the oligarchy because they so desperately want to hold on to the power normally granted to the other party.

And so, I resigned from my party of more years than I care to remember. That party does not represent me. Sadly for me there isn’t a major party that represents me. So I am independent. I’m proud to be a liberal independent.

Strategy Basics

Now that I’ve set the stage for you, met me say a bit about my voting strategy. Firstly, party affiliation is irrelevant to me. Those are clearly nothing more than tribes or gangs or country clubs. They mean nothing. As we have sadly learned. As far as I can tell, you can’t tell an individuals values from the party or lack of party to which they belong. You can make some guesses that a Democrat might be more to the left on many issues than a Republican. But you could easily be wrong. So I discount that.

So what’s left. Like with picking a presidential candidate during the primaries, you look at their experience, their record, you watch and listen, and you analyze. You look at who their supporters are, who they associate with, and who their backers are. Some of those are hard to find. But you dig anyway. Sometimes you meet them or see them at rallies. You try not to be taken in by celebrity or charisma or outward looks and charm. That’s not what you’re hiring them for. You do your homework. No one is going to be the same as you on all issues. And sadly I think the longer a politician is in office, the less likely they’ll have integrity and any semblance of what’s best for their constituents. It very quickly becomes about holding power and doing what the powerful want. So how long someone has been in office is a major factor, no matter how much you may think you like them.

Candidate Choices

First there are zillions of candidates and other choices on ballots. So there can be a lot of work. I do look at some organizations material showing their choices and why. We’ve all learned to be wary of such organizations because they have their own agendas. They’re not in it for you, they’re in it for themselves. So verify.

If you’re lucky, you have some choices. If there are more than two party candidates, you may even have some very good choices. Green or other liberal parties often have good choices. Sometimes independents are great. And on occasion the New Democratic party candidate might be great. Sestak comes to mind.

And as mentioned above, how long they’ve been in office is a major factor for me. Perhaps there could be a formula for this that takes away points for every year they’re in office. And then maybe points for matching issues, and independence of funding, etc., etc. We’ll leave that for another post.

Alas, what happens when there isn’t a good choice. What do you do? You can either vote for the lesser of two evils, write in Elvis, or something else.

Other Factors – The Protest Vote

Finally, there is indeed another dimension to this. The something else mentioned above. If you don’t have a great candidate, which sadly is often, there is the protest vote. This can be either to punish or mess up the tribe you’re more likely to be aligned with politically, say Democrats, or it can be to just generally fuck with the two main parties and keep them changing and scrambling. That is, throw wrenches in the works to slow them down.

Why would you consider doing this? After all, the other party is at least 2% more evil. Wouldn’t that help them? Yes, yes it would. And yes, they are a bit more evil. I’m a liberal, and to me, that’s still true despite what we’ve seen happen to the Democratic party. But that’s not the point. Let me put that another way, THAT’S NOT THE POINT! Here’s the point. And we’ve made this point a million times at this blog and still people don’t quite get it. If you will vote for the Democrat over the Republican every time, no matter what, because they are indeed ever so slightly better than the other guy, then why on earth would that party ever, ever, ever listen to you and your wishes and needs? I mean EVER. If they have your vote no matter what, you don’t have any value to them. That’s worth a simpler rephrasing to make sure it sinks in. YOU HAVE NO VALUE IF THEY CAN COUNT ON YOUR VOTE!!!

I think I made that clear. So if you don’t like what your slightly less evil party is doing or your slightly less evil candidate is doing or is about, don’t vote for them. Don’t vote for the lesser evil of the candidates. just don’t vote for them. Don’t do it. Don’t reward that party for putting up crap candidates.

So what choices do you have with your protest. You can actually vote for the other major party. That one is a tough one. Well, not so tough if that candidate is actually relatively moderate. And even on occasion actually more liberal than the one in your party (or closest equivalent). But usually that’s a really tough thing to do. You have to be brave and hold your nose. Now that I think about it, it’s just like how my old party has made me vote for them for years. Come to think of it, they’ve trained me quite well to do that. Not so hard perhaps.

But if that’s too much, another choice is to not vote for either candidate, none of the above if available, or to write in a nonsense candidate. Or, even though mentioned above as a reasonable option, some may consider voting for third party candidates to be in this protest camp. I like that last approach because it’s a twofer. You’re actually voting for someone pretty good, and your protest and and affecting the Democratic party.

My Vote

So what am I going to do. I won’t bore you with all the smaller local candidates like dog catcher or referendums like should we ban coffee houses from using pink whipped cream. OK, I made that one up. But I do have a congressional race to vote for that’s of interest. FYI: Here’s the League of Women Voters sheet on my district ballot (warning, link is to PDF). I get a lovely choice of candidates for congress. (Yes, that’s a snark.) First is the Democrat Tom Perriello who, as you can see from the sheet, is a founder of a number of faith-based organizations. Yes, not just one, but a number. And as you might have guessed, he’s anti-abortion. Worse still, he was an eagle scout. {{Shudder}} So basically a Republican-lite. Then we have Robert Hurt, the real Republican. He really sucks. And third, we have an independent candidate Jeffrey Clark, who is, you guessed it, another Republican. Though at least he was in the Army and did some real work. And I have to admit, I like the part on immigration where he wants to send business men to jail for hiring illegal immigrants. Kind of going against the grain of corporate interests there.

So who am I going to vote for? Well, first the polls seem to be fluctuating between Hurt winning by 5 points to Hurt winning by 10 points. Basically Hurt’s just been running against Obama/Pelosi. And of course as you’d expect from the New Democratic party, Perriello’s been lying about the health care bill (hey, at least he’s trying to defend it I guess), and slinging mud. I can’t vote for Perriello I’ve decided. He’s part of the new coalition that is moving the Democratic party further to the right. But I don’t think I can vote for Hurt. Since it probably doesn’t matter, I’m currently leaning towards Clark just for the protest (of the third party variety). That is, it’s not a good third party candidate where I get a twofer and feel doubly good, but it’s just a protest vote, plan and simple.

November 2nd, The Big Picture

Since others have mentioned their general thoughts on the rest of the elections, I thought I’d do the same. I can’t pretend otherwise, I want this New Democratic party to be dismantled. The new coalition is already falling apart given the poll numbers. The new voters just voting for a personality or messiah are either disillusioned or bored. That’s the thing about new voters, you get what you pay for. And as you’d expect, the Republican’s that joined are back to being Republicans. And it turns out the independents they pulled in are also either disillusioned or bored. None of them seem to be in the coalition any more. And sadly for the Democratic party, they threw out a big part of their base in 2008. So I want them to fall apart. Not because I want Republicans to run the country and destroy it. And sadly that’s possible. But because I don’t want this New Democratic party to destroy the country first. And make no mistake, Obama and Pelosi and Reid will continue down the path of being worse than Bush on a number of fronts and go further by cutting social security and medicare, and education is next after that. I want them out.

So I will not feel bad for them when they lose the House, which I think they will. And I won’t feel bad as they lose some in the senate. I will be very happy to see Reid go. And yes, that means a really scary person would get that seat. I certainly am not for her nor would I vote for her, but I wouldn’t vote for Reid either because he’s only less evil. He has been an utter disaster. He needs to go. And as for Pelosi, what can I say in print after her part in the 2008 primaries. Well, let’s just say I’ll be very happy to see her lose her position and will be happy to see her retire. I’m sure she’ll have fun working for some health insurance lobbyist like may of the other Democrats that leave office.

For predictions, I’m thinking the Republicans will win around 50 seats in the house and about 5 seats in the Senate. Funny enough, that’s been my prediction since the beginning of the mid term season and it hasn’t changed much. We’ll see very soon.

There you have it. My ramblings went a bit long, but that’s my current approach to voting. What’s yours?

My Voting Strategy – Hard Liquor


Life was so much easier when I was a yellow-dog Democrat. I could just check off all the names with a “D” next to them and head on down to the ballot propositions.

But I’m not a yellow-dog anymore. To quote one of our commenters here at TC, “I rode that damn donkey for over twenty years and then the fucker turned around and bit me in the ass.”

I live in Big Smoggy where politics is a Franz Kafka novel adapted for the screen by Stanley Kubrick. We have four major cities and at least five regional identities (SoCal, SF Bay Area, Central Valley, Mojave, and NorCal.) Not to mention a bunch of laws that guarantee gridlock in Sacramento.

The governor’s job is too important to be used for a billionaire’s ego trip. I’m gonna have to hold my nose and vote for Jerry Brown, warts and all. Please don’t flame me. Believe me, I’m not happy about it either.

I can feel good about my next pick – Gavin Newsom for Lt. Governor. The same goes for Kamala Harris for the Attorney General job.

Is it just me or does “Carly Fiorina” look like “California” spelled by a dyslexic? Anyway, I’m not voting for her. I’m not voting for Barbara Boxer either. I may go Green or maybe I’ll write in my good friend Krusty. Still trying to decide which one.

As I’ve said before I have a Blue Dog DINOcrat as my Representative. I’m not voting for him or the real Republican who is running against him. I’m writing in Ronald McDonald again. If Ronald wins he owes me free french fries for life.

I’m going with Democrats Anna Caballero and Cathleen Galgiani for the state senate and state assembly. I’m voting HELL YES on Proposition 19, the marijuana legalization initiative.

That’s it for my votes. There’s some other stuff on the ballot but I’m not gonna go into it since most of you will be even less interested in it than I am right now.

As far as across the rest of the 56 states, it’s pretty much accepted that the Democrats are gonna lose on Tuesday, the only question is how bad. The House is gone, which means no more “Speaker Pelosi.”

I can’t say I’m sad to see her go. Nancy Pelosi is proof that women can be just as corrupt as men. She lost my support when she declared that “impeachment is off the table.”

I hope the Democrats hold on to the Senate. Not that it’s gonna make a big difference in the laws that get passed during the next two years, but I don’t want Obama and the Democrats to be able to say it was all the Republicans fault.

I’ll be rooting for Sharron Angle because Dirty Harry Reid has got to go. She’s the lesser of two evils. I want to see Christine O’Donnell pull out a victory just to watch all the misogynist fauxgressive heads explode.

I hope Sestak wins in Pennsylvania. He’s a good Joe, and he beat that party-hopping piece of shit Arlen Specter. I want to see Frank Caprio win in Rhode Island and anybody but Charlie Crist win in Florida. Fuck that double-dealing DINOcrat in the White House.

I want to see Joe Miller beat Lisa Murkowski out of principle. She lost fair and square in the primary and is just trying to hang on to power. It was wrong when Joe Lieberman did it too. But either way, the winner will be voting against us on everything that really counts.

I don’t buy this “ZOMG, we’re all gonna die if the Tea Party wins!” meme that’s going around. The nation survived George Bush, and it will survive this too.

I dare Obama and the DINOcrats to touch Social Security. It’s still the third rail of American politics. Maybe if they do that will finally trigger the voter uprising we need to clean out that cesspool on the Potomac.

Liberals are getting coal in their stockings this Christmas. In sports they would say we’re in a rebuilding phase. We need to regroup and start getting prepared for future elections. Barring a miracle 2012 is already lost for us. We need to focus on 2014 and 2016, when people will have again grown tired of the Republicans.

2008 should have been a sea change in American politics. Movement conservatism was on the ropes, politically discredited. We had our best chance since 1932 to move the country in a different direction. Instead we got more of same.

That is why I will not ever forget what happened two years ago. That’s why I won’t stop talking about it either.


Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.



My Voting Strategy: How many times do we have to have this conversation?

Yesterday my room mate and I met our new neighbor across the hall. She is an extremely kind woman whose cat had just died, and we baked her cookies to extend our condolences. She invited us in for hot chocolate and gave us some of her cats old toys, and we had a very pleasant visit. She was a solid white lady, probably in her seventies and recently widowed. We had a smoke together and she told me about her family back in Chicago. My grandma just died recently and hanging around with her lifted my spirits a great deal.

She also had a book by Bill O’Reilly on her coffee table. Fox news was blaring in plain site on her TV, there was a magnet on her refrigerator that said “God Loves You,” and she had a book about the rapture in her shelf. Yup, white older female, Christian and well within the Tea Party Demographic. I tried for a few seconds to give a shit, and found that I couldn’t.

See, I get people like Beverly-that is her name. I grew up around her. Salt of the Earth folk. Well in my case, salt of the earth stoners, alcoholics and nutcases but I am still proud god dammit. My father’s family came from a small train station town called Urichsville, Ohio. My grandpa beat pipes with hammers and went fishin’ out on Lake Tappan and my dad learned how to play the guitar on a rock overhang next to the lake. He had three brothers and to this day my uncles are still guitar strummin’ hillbilly white trash and don’t you forget it.  They even have a band to prove it. It’s  called “Bad Idea,” because when they formed it my dad said, “This is a bad idea.” They sing a variety of songs but this is their favorite tune to jam to:

 

My dad left Urichsville to be an accountant and went to Kent State. He wasn’t handsome or charming but at least he was good with numbers. He traded all that for a yuppy house in the suburbs, plastic surgery and a second wife with a boob job and his conservatism is based on economic rather than social policy, but it comes from a humble place.

My mom has had a hard life and she relies on her faith and friends for support, most of which I have known my whole life. They are good if not misguided people and I do not begrudge them their political and religious differences from me, because in their eyes I am accepted as well.

These people work hard and they are bombarded daily with media that is patriarchal, monotheistic and right wing. The MSM has probably been selling the “this country is center-right” lie since the age of movement conservatism and they do this while selling the issues from a left vs. right perspective that is framed from the “center right.”

To be frank, most people in this country are neither liberal nor conservative, and the number of registered independents proves my point. Every time I get into a discussion of politics with someone, they tell me, “I just want to support whatever works.” That is what we all want, regardless of ideology. Politics should be about making people’s lives better, but most of the time it is turned into a game and it’s purpose is to fill the pockets of the elites. The silliest of Americans understand that.

The Tea Party has it’s origins in populism and since then it has been astroturfed by crazy right wingers. They are running candidates that make me want to hide under my bed and cry. But Americans just want solutions to problems, and the Teabaggers may be telling some of them what they want to hear. They could care less about the kooky religahoon xion flag waving social conservatism even if it’s weird even for them. Loony conservatives in the Republican Party have been saying for years that they want to control women’s uterus’, teach creationism in public schools and put queers on death row but it has never happened (mostly). We have checks and balances in our political system that prevents extremism from being legislated.

Christine O’Donnell makes me whimper, but I want a witchhunt on her platform, not her panini. If I child shows up at my doorstep dressed as Sharon Angle on Halloween I am going to run away screaming but calling a woman a b*tch is unacceptable unless it is meant as a term of endearment. And Sarah Palin makes my left eye twitch sometimes when she says some of the things she says, but putting her on the cover of mother jones as a scantily clad she-monster is taking it a step or two too far. Come on, guys.

That being said, I will never vote for a Tea Party member or a Republican. I am a liberal and I vote for candidates who have earned my vote. The founding fathers did not write the constitution and form the first Democratic Republic in history so I could waste my vote and my free speech on Charlie Crist or Marco Rubio. Are you kidding me with this? And I did not file my tax returns last year so I could vote for Kendrick Meeks, who put a government patent on my uterus when he voted for “HCR” and Stupakistan. Hell no.

Alex Sink seems vote worthy and there are some amendments I have my eye on, but for now I say “none of the above.” America is at a crossroads. We have to decide, in times like this, whether we stick by our principles and only vote for candidates who have earned our vote or we reward those who do not have our best interests at heart and have demonstrated it repeatedly with our tax dollars and our trust.

I’ve made my decision. I might just be plain white trash but liberal is my game. What’s yours?

Monday: My Voting Strategy- Honor

Wikipedia defines honor like this:

the evaluation of a person’s trustworthiness and social status based on that individual’s espousals and actions. Honour is deemed exactly what determines a person’s character: whether or not the person reflects honesty, respect, integrity, or fairness. Accordingly, individuals are assigned worth and stature based on the harmony of their actions, code of honour, and that of the society at large. Honour can be analysed as a relativistic concept, i.e., conflicts between individuals and even cultures arising as a consequence of material circumstance and ambition, rather than fundamental differences in principle. Alternatively, it can be viewed as nativist — that honour is as real to the human condition as love, and likewise derives from the formative personal bonds that establish one’s personal dignity and character.

If anyone had told me a year ago that I would be casting my vote based on character instead of issues, I would have thought they were crazy.  But then again, a year ago, I was still a respected member of the DailyKos community.  I got booted off that site right about the time that the first accusations of racism were hurled at the Clintons by the Obama campaign.

Character.  How very Republican.  This campaign season has left many of us scratching our heads and has challenged our self image and party identification.  In our confusion and consternation at the way the primary season has played out, we have struggled to explain to ourselves why it is we can not vote for Barack Obama.  Are we secret racists?  Is this a character flaw that we did not previously understand in ourselves?  Are we really Reagan conservatives and Republicans?  Are we stupid and reactionary?  Are we voting with our vaginas?

I have searched my conscience for an answer to these questions and found the accusations hurled at me to be untrue.  I have always been a Democrat who voted based on my principles and I am not ashamed to post those principles at the top of this webpage.  They’ve been there since the beginning of the primary season.  I haven’t changed.  I am no racist, Reagan Republican.  But I am deeply offended and hurt by the betrayal by my own party.  I have concluded that a candidate who attempts to crush the self esteem of his constituents is the one with the character flaw.

Barack Obama is a man who promises to uphold the privacy of individuals and their right to be left alone but then votes for a FISA bill that strips individuals of that right and exposes them to the intrusive eyes and ears of their government and corporations.  He says he wants to “spread the wealth” but then lobbies for the passage of a bailout bill that is little more than Robin Hood in reverse.  He claims to run a positive, post racial, transcendent campaign but then cynically uses the issue of racism as a weapon to silence his critics.  He suppresses the votes of 2.3 million voters in Florida and Michigan and accepts delegates he did not earn, including 4 that were his opponent’s.  He does not hold the media accountable for the misogynistic frenzy it has engaged in on his behalf.  He allows Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin to be defined by their vaginas and not their accomplishments or their minds.

Barack Obama has not demonstrated the type of character that our best presidents have possessed.  All presidents are human and subject to the impulses that come with human nature.  When the damage caused by a lapse in character is limited to a few individuals or “out of character” for the president himself or when the person appears to have learned from this lapse, the indiscretion can be forgiven.  But when the indiscretions are persistent, vindictive, opportunistic and systemic, they can not be overlooked but must be deeply ingrained features of the individual who practices them or allows them to practiced on his behalf.

Barack Obama has shown throughout this campaign season that he lacks honesty, respect, integrity and fairness.  He is a man without honor.  And a man without honor can not be trusted to uphold the principles he claims to espouse.  He can not be trusted to fulfill his promises, even if the conditions are favorable to him.  He can not be trusted to stick to the positions on the issues that he ran on.  His followers’ faith in him is seriously misplaced.  He is a dishonorable political opportunist.

Tomorrow, I go to the polls and for the first time in my life I will not vote for the Democrat at the top of the ticket.  I remain undecided as to whether I will vote for John McCain, a man who reminds me of my father, an honorable man.  He has earned honor the hard way and I admire him for this.  He is not a perfect human being.  He has a short temper and has been indiscreet in matters of the heart.  But he appears to be able to learn.  I disagree with him and Sarah Palin on many of the issues but I can not say that either of them lack honor or character.  I will make my decision in the voting booth as to whether this is enough.

I will gladly vote for Linda Stender for my congresswoman and for all women, regardless of party that I can find on the ticket.  Getting to the 30% Solution of women in public office will help to rub off the harsh edges of the human condition for all Americans.  And I will work for party and electoral reform starting November 5 to ensure that a person of honor represents my party in 2012.

Once the primaries were over and Hillary Clinton suspended her campaign, the issue was no longer about her.  It was about the dignity and self-determination of 18 million of her voters and reclaiming what was taken away from them.  Until we are heard and our intentions accorded the respect and authority that they deserve, the issues must take a secondary place.  We are fully enfranchised citizens or we are not.  And if we are not, nothing else matters.