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That's Just, Like, Your Opinion, Man: the Joshua Wise Voter's Guide 2016 - Joshua's weblog
October 16th, 2016
01:28 pm


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That's Just, Like, Your Opinion, Man: the Joshua Wise Voter's Guide 2016

(in the vein of slothman's "hold your nose and vote"; he has also recently published elected offices November 2016, ballot measures November 2016)

I just spent about two hours doing research on candidates and politics in this year's election. So, without further ado, my notes, and my proposed votes.

  • For President:

    Hillary Clinton.

    So here's the thing about this presidential election. It's a referendum on a handful of things, in addition to just voting for who will be the next President of the United States. And, irritatingly, a bunch of these referenda are at odds with each other. For instance, one referendum is the referendum on Trumpism -- that is to say, whether we will reject the dangerous and disturbing ideology that oppression by the powerful (there are, to be honest, too many -isms here to list them all) should be perpetuated, and that political discourse should be reduced to all-out war. The metric for defeat here is not only that Trump loses by a large margin, but that also that the woman that he attacks wins by a large margin.

    But, at odds with that is the referendum on how the Democratic Party has behaved in this cycle -- taking sides, and generally running an abjectly terrible campaign. The Democratic Party has put forth one of the weakest nominees in recent memory while squashing support for a potentially stronger nominee, and until recently, have done a very poor job advertising the ideals of a Progressive nation, and instead have been campaigning on the potential downfall of the nation should Donald Trump be elected to President. And, beyond that, there is an argument that Clinton is not a sufficiently progressive candidate. The metric for defeating that behavior, then, is how narrow of a margin Clinton wins the presidency by.

    And, as with all Presidential cycles, it is a referendum on progressivism versus conservatism. I believe that progressivism must win, and the metric for victory there is simple: if Clinton defeats Trump, then progressivism has indeed won. Strangely enough, although this is the thing that I most often believe to be important, and indeed I believe it to be important!, in this instance, it feels as though it pales in comparison to some of the other more important issues that we face.

    There is the argument that if one is so disgusted by any of the options, then one might choose a "protest vote" -- that is to say, "voting one's conscience" and choosing a candidate that one would actually like to see become president, even if that candidate has no path to succeed. Some would vote for Gary Johnson, under the concept of such a protest. I advise against Gary Johnson, because as objectionable as Hillary Clinton may be, Gary Johnson has the simple problem that he is abjectly unqualified to be president, even notwithstanding political inclinations. Jill Stein may be a tolerable choice, but even if you believe that she is not anti-vaccine, she takes other surreal stances, like the belief that WiFi radiation is the same as ionizing (i.e., nuclear) radiation (it's not), and a stance against GMO food. But maybe she is less of a nutjob than Gary Johnson. I think that if I were to take a protest vote, I would vote for Larry Lessig as President, and Elizabeth Warren as Vice President... but if you made a protest vote for Harambe, I probably wouldn't fault you.

    But back to the reality in the non-protest world. I position myself on and rank the referenda, from most important to least, as follows: 1) defeating Trumpism; 2) promoting progressivism; and 3) rebuking the Democratic party. This means that I wish to optimize for Clinton's popular vote margin over Trump. Right now, Clinton's popular vote is at 49.5%, according to 538, and it would be nice for it to be at 50%. And as such, I endorse a vote in all states, even in safe states, for Hillary Clinton.

  • For Senate:

    Kamala Harris. Loretta Sanchez appears to be excessively cozy with hawkish groups, and aligns herself with Dianne Feinstein; Harris aligns herself with Elizabeth Warren. On the other hand, Sanchez appears to more strongly oppose the TPP -- but on the grounds that it doesn't provide sufficient "protections of American intellectual property"! Sanchez is more strongly in favor of immigration reform and protection for immigrants in America; this isn't a primary issue for Harris. It is also surprising that Harris has not explicitly endorsed Prop 62 (getting rid of the death penalty), though she has "long been opposed to the death penalty".

    I think neither would be a catastrophe, but I think that on most progressive issues, Kamala Harris is the right choice. Interview, positions.

  • House, district 18: Anna Eshoo. Vote for the Democrat. Richard Fox would like to "fix the stagnating economy by cutting spending". Eshoo's political career has generally been in line with the things that I like to see happen.

  • State senator, district 13: Jerry Hill. Vote for the Democrat. Rick Ciardella did not provide any information to Voter's Edge, and as such, I have no commentary on why not to vote for him.

  • State assembly, district 24:

    No strong opinion. There are good endorsements on both sides (the Mountain View Voice for Vicki Veenker, the Mercury News for Marc Berman). Marc Berman has comprehensively answered questions on Voter's Edge; he is making the right noises about affordable housing, at least. Their top three priorities have two identical; Veenker's third is economic and housing reform (with 'transportation' as a sub-bullet), and Berman's is infrastructure. Berman was a City Counselman; Veenker was a patent lawyer. There are noises about Veenker being in the pocket of the California Teachers Association, which is an organization that is said to have too much power. I haven't done any research, so I don't know if I align myself with them or not.

    Probably weakly for Marc Berman; could be convinced otherwise. Mercury News for Marc Berman, Mountain View Voice for Vicki Veenker.

  • Board of education: No opinion. I generally don't have a huge opinion on school districts, since I am not really at stake. Unless there's something critically wrong, I generally let people who have something at stake do the voting there. You can let me know if you see something critically wrong that needs voting to fix.

  • Foothill-De Anza Community College District: No opinion.

  • Mountain View Whisman School District: No opinion.

  • Mountain View City Council (vote four out of eight):

    In general, my priorities are: housing; multimodal infrastructure; everything else.

    One candidates seems to have comments on the Mountain View Voice against him, and besides, he joined late: Greg Coladonato has no information on Voter's Edge and apparently is, uh, only very recently not a Libertarian. (His statement seems to indicate that he still is very much a Libertarian.) So now we're down to seven.

    Ken Carpenter and Lucas Ramirez are both in favor of Measure V, apparently, and everyone else against. Thida Cornes, Coladonato, and Lisa Matischak are even against Measure W. So these three are out, leaving is down to five: Carpenter, Ramirez, John McAlister, Margaret Abe-Koga, and Chris Clark.

    Abe-Koga seems pretty marginal, even though she had been on the council before: her support for Measure W is "an inclination towards", she does not have a strong belief in adding new housing to the North Bayshore area, and she does not believe that the Castro and Central closure was the best option.

    Clark is an incumbent on the ballot; he works for Y Combinator. He was the main author of Measure W, which probably should be something that I should gripe about, too. He does, however, support North Bayshore housing development, and does approve of the decision to close Castro/Central.

    McAlister thinks that we shouldn't sacrifice Mountain View's character for its growth, and thinks that we can solve the housing crisis by making it easier to bus people in from South San Jose. He is, as well, an incumbent. He thinks that Google should be providing school buses, instead of the city. And, he prioritizes the concept of small businesses, rather than transportation, in coming down against the Castro/Central closure. So McAlister seems right out.

    And that, then, leaves us with our four: Lucas Ramirez, Margaret Abe-Koga, Ken Carpenter, and Chris Clark. Did I get it right?

  • Prop 51 (school bonds): Yes. But this seems more questionable than it should be. The Chron, both major parties, and Broke-Ass Stuart endorse it. The Libertarians are against it (ok, good news in favor). The Greens are against it (what???). Apparently this would mostly go to wealthier districts. So I think this gets a vaguely-disgruntled yes.

  • Prop 52 (medi-cal hospital fee program): Yes. Basically universally supported.

  • Prop 53 (revenue bonds): No. Republicans and Libertarians making it difficult to spend large amounts of money, even in an emergency.

  • Prop 54 (legislation and proceedings): Yes. Legislature meetings should be recorded. Surprised that the Democratic party is against this; Greens are in favor. If "gut and amend" is a real problem, then this is the solution, even if it has unpleasant consequences.

  • Prop 55 (tax the rich): Yes. We voted for this once in 2012 and this is just an extension. Although it is downright irritating that every source of income has to be earmarked somehow.

  • Prop 56 (cigarette tax): Yes (as much as it pains me). Cigarette taxes are regressive, but at least the money is going to health care. If SEIU is in favor of it, I guess I can be in favor of it too.

  • Prop 57 (parole reform): Yes. SFPD is against it, so it must be good.

  • Prop 58 (allowing multilingual education): Yes. Teach people the way they learn best.

  • Prop 59 (try hard to overturn Citizens United): Yes. Duh.

  • Prop 60 (porn morality police): No. Seems like a law in search of a problem to solve ... or the morality police coming to town trying to make it harder to make pornography.

  • Prop 61 (prescription drug costs from state): No-ish. It's not clear this would actually save money. On the other hand, 'no' has an enormous amount of support from big pharma, and from the Republicans and Libertarians. On the third hand, Broke-Ass Stuart endorses 'no'.

  • Prop 62 (repeal the death penalty): Yes. Duh. The death penalty is so disgusting that this should require no explanation.

  • Prop 63 (gun control of varying kinds): Yes. Large-cap mag ban is annoying and useless, but the background check system is probably the right thing, and a background check on buying ammo might not be the worst thing in the world (and neatly solves the 'gun show loophole', since you gotta buy ammo sooner or later).

  • Prop 64 (marijuana): Yes. Prohibition doesn't work.

  • Prop 65 (bag ban #1): No, weakly. Broke-Ass Stuart says vote for #67 instead, and indeed, #67 is what the legislature proposed previously.

  • Prop 66 (expedite the death penalty): No. This makes it easier for the State to kill people.

  • Prop 67 (bag ban #2): Yes. Plastic bags matter; paper bags are less bad (and are more reusable). This proposition bans single-use bags, whereas #65 doesn't, I think.

  • Santa Clara County measure A (bonds for housing and mental health): Yes. SPUR supports it.

  • Santa Clara County measure B (VTA sales tax): Yes. Infrastructure.

  • Mountain View measure V (rent control, strong): Yes. Though, I don't understand why there's the 1995 drop-dead time.

  • Mountain View measure W (rent control, weak): Yes, because V supercedes it if it passes.

(hello. I have 2 potato cannonses | buy PVC)

[User Picture]
Date:October 17th, 2016 12:41 am (UTC)
I’m so glad to see this is catching on!
[User Picture]
Date:October 17th, 2016 07:09 am (UTC)
I found your June edition very valuable, I think, when I was trying to figure out the District 24 State Assembly Member votes. Thanks for putting that one together -- and thanks for the idea!
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