🗯️ Political Observations: Lessons To Learn

userpic=divided-nationOver the last week, a number of political thoughts have been swirling around my head. I think it is time to get them out:

  • While on a drive recently, I was binge-listening to the latest season of the Start Up Podcast on Church Planting. They had a very interesting episode on theology of evangelical churches. One standard position is “complementarianism”, which is the view that women is complementary to man, and that they should never have a leadership position. For the evangelicals, this may have been an unspoken reason why Hillary was unacceptable, and why there is so much hatred of her assuming leadership. But that’s the past. What is the lesson here?  Namely, a man of any color is more acceptable to them than a woman would be. If our goal is to retake the White House — which is a must in 2020 if not before — we need to keep this in mind when choosing candidates. We must take care to not needlessly shoot ourselves in the foot.
  • In fact, it would be astute of us to understand exactly why Evangelicals support Trump, despite all his faults. Here’s a good explanation. Here’s a real telling quote: “They want the return of Protestant privilege in American culture. The loss of Protestant privilege, and the reality of religious plurality, is driving them crazy.” For all their protestations about Sharia law, they want a Christian nation where Christians have the privilege, and those who are not are second class citizens. I’m not sure there is a way to turn these folks around, unless they can believe there is a different anointed candidate that will press their goals. What is the lesson here? We must work on the non-evangelical Christians — those who believe in what Christ actually said and did, as opposed to evangelical beliefs, and demonstrate how Trump is not building a better world.
  • Trump is also using fear to bring his supporters to the polls, implying that Liberals will use violence to overturn all he has done for the evangelical community. We know that is not the reality, but fear is a powerful motivator. What is the lesson here? We must work to counter that, and use all means necessary to turn out the vote: get people registered, help them get to the polls, and get all those who have been sitting on their hands not voting to get out and vote and make a difference.
  • We need to learn how Trump voters see themselves, and see the Liberals. Here, the name Dinesh D’Souza is critical. D’Souza’s latest movie, Death of a Nation, compares Donald Trump to Abraham Lincoln, and his Democratic opponents to Nazis. Yes, you’ve read that right. I have friends on FB that believe it — and this is what feeds into the fear of AntiFa. They don’t recognize the party ideological swap that occurred in the mid-1960s as a result of the Southern Strategy. What is the lesson here? We must continue to demonstrably counter — with patience — their view of Liberals. We need to demonstrate there isn’t a unified thought, and just as with Conservatives, there is a broad spectrum of views.
  • We’ve all commented on how many Trump supporters seem to have drunk the Kool-Aide, and think whatever he does will benefit them. I know many such supporters who are on limited means who have partaken that beverage. Yet he is making life more expensive. His tariffs on imported vehicles and parts will make even US made vehicles more expensive, and the new trade deal with Mexico will make them even more expensive. Will this awaken them? Probably not. What is the lesson here? We must keep hammering home how Trump’s policies are making things more expensive, and how wages are not increasing enough to compensate, making the economic condition of lower and middle classes worse (while the rich are getting richer).
  • One thing I’ve noted from many Trump supporters is an attitude of … not quite hate, but of “get off my lawn”. They seemingly are angry at everything: liberals, taxes, other people, society. Trump speaks to them because he reflects anger — his whole “schtick” is to intentionally do things that piss off the people he does not like, and to revel in their reactions. What is the lesson here? As Liberals, what must our response be to this? First, we must not react with anger in return, for that is the reaction that they want. We must learn to deflect that anger, and infuriate them even more by being nice and reasonable in response. Remember: Don’t feed the trolls. Set the example, and attract the moderates who are tired of the anger.
  • We’ve seen lately how Trump is angry at Google for returning more negative results about him. Setting aside the question of why the President is bothering to search himself online (narcissist, me thinks), what he doesn’t understand is that it is just an algorithm, one that returns what is out there on the web, and giving priority to links on sites that have proven themselves over time to be trustworthy. Algorithms can only return what is out there, and there is much less on the web that is positive about Trump, and the sites that are positive about Trump get much less links. What is the lesson here? If you have a blog, link to reputable articles only. If you are on Facebook, share reputable articles. Help the algorithms find the truth, simply by posting the truth.
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Voting: The Who, The How, The Where, But Just Do It

Today is Primary Election Day in California: So first and foremost: Find your polling place, and make a commitment to vote today, before the polls close. If you need to see my detailed analysis of my sample ballot, here’s the link to the summary and recap.

That said, the model of voting is changing in California. At least here in Los Angeles, we’ve been voting at neighborhood precincts with pollworkers that have been there for years, and know the folks in the community. The tools we use for voting — Inkavote here in Los Angeles — have been in use for at least a decade. But come 2020, all is changing. The LA Times had a nice article on the changes today; evidently, they are being piloted in Sacramento County, as well as a few others.

Here’s how the LA Times describes it: Local precincts where you can only vote for one day are being replaced by a smaller number of voting centers that permit voting over a longer period. There is also a greater dependence on absentee (mail-in) ballots. The Times writes:

The law sets specific guidelines for the number of centers based on voter population. As election day approaches, additional locations are added to keep up with expected voter demand. A similar system is used statewide in Colorado but is untested in many other parts of the nation. The locations offer more than just in-person voting. Citizens also can check their registration status there or have a new ballot printed if they misplaced the one mailed to them. In some counties, they can visit a center to register to vote on election day.

Why are they doing this? The primary reason is cost: Voting equipment across California is rapidly aging and public dollars to replace it are scarce. Fewer centers mean less new equipment. In Sacramento County for this election, 550 neighborhood polling places have been replaced by 78 vote centers. Additionally, the staffing requirements for pollworkers are less (meaning less cost): About 600 people have been hired to run the vote centers, down from almost 2,500 poll workers in a traditional election.

Of course, publicly, the reason isn’t cost but participation. According to the Times, most voters already have migrated to voting by mail. Fifty-nine percent of ballots were cast somewhere other than a polling place in the 2016 primary. Two decades earlier, it was only 23%. This is also why you have propositions like 71 on the ballot: results are no longer known for sure on election day, as all those absentee ballots require counting, and can come in late.

Five counties — Sacramento, Napa, Nevada, Madera and San Mateo — piloted the new system for this election. Voters were sent multiple postcards alerting them to the change before receiving a ballot in the mail, which came with a map of the vote centers and numerous ballot drop-boxes sprinkled in locations such as libraries and community centers. Los Angeles County can join them in 2020. LA County currently has a project that is attempting to place the voting centers, and they want county residents to participate. They note that many factors must be considered in identifying locations, including geographic and demographic constraints that could present barriers to voting in particular locations or near sensitive populations. To ensure these considerations are accounted for, the following parameters have been established:

  • Same day registration at all vote centers.
  • 10 days before the election (minimum 8 hours/day) at least one vote center is provided for every 30,000 registered voters.
  • On election day and the three days prior (7 am – 8 pm), at least one vote center is provided for every 7,500 registered voters.
  • Every city with at least 1,000 registered voters would have at least one vote center.

So what are my thoughts on this process? I’m not sure that I like it. Being able to vote as soon as you receive your sample ballot, although they say that allows voters to be more informed, actually makes them less informed by compressing the time available to perform research, and to discuss the candidates. Having fewing voting centers makes it harder to vote in person, and makes it more likely that lines will be longer to use voting machinery, and the pollworkers will have a greater workload. It will also make it harder to find pollworkers due to increased time constraints. Increased mail in ballots makes it harder to know the final count as of election day, due to mail stragglers. Lastly, there is importance (I believe) in knowing your neighbors, and the local polling places provide that. I’ll have to see how it all works out.

 

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June 2018 California Primary Analysis (VII): Recap and Summary

Whew! My analysis of the Sample Ballot is done. Over six posts on this subject, I have gone through the sample ballot for the “Statewide Direct Primary Election” on June 5. This post provides a summary of my conclusions. For some positions, there are a number of good candidates and I couldn’t strongly settle on a particular one. In that case, the choice order will be indicated by numeric notations ①, ②, ③, ④, and so on. Click on the header for each section of the ballot to go to the detailed analysis post that supports these selections.

June 2018 California Primary Analysis (I): Introduction and Gubernatorial

June 2018 California Primary Analysis (II): Other Statewide State Offices

June 2018 California Primary Analysis (III): District-Based State Offices

June 2018 California Primary Analysis (IV): US Senate and House

June 2018 California Primary Analysis (V): Judicial and County

June 2018 California Primary Analysis (VI): State Measures

Note: 📜 indicates Legislative Constitutional Amendments.

  • Prop 68: Parks, Natural Resources, and Water Bonds: [✓] Yes
  • Prop 69: 📜 Requires Vehicle License Fee and Diesel Sales Tax go to Transportation[✓] Yes
  • Prop 70: 📜 2/3rds Vote to use Cap-and-Trade Funds[✗] No
  • Prop 71: 📜 Sets Effective Date for Ballot Measures[✓] Yes
  • Prop 72: 📜 Exempts Rainwater Capture Systems from Triggering Property Tax Reassessment[✓] Yes
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June 2018 California Primary Analysis (VI): State Measures

I just got recently sample ballot for the “Statewide Direct Primary Election” on June 5, and boy, is it going to be a confusing election for people. We have two contests with enough candidates to take two pages (27 candidates for Governor, 32 for Senator, and two contests for our assembly district: one for the “short term” because the previous assemblycritter left early thanks to #metoo, and one for the “full term”, with the same candidates).There are going to be a lot of posts as I work through this. Here’s the sequence as I see it (note: links to articles not yet posted will not work or may be incomplete):

This post will cover the 5 propositions: Prop 68, Prop 69, Prop 70, Prop 71, and Prop 72. Note: All of these were placed on the ballot by the legislature. Initiatives will return with the Fall TV season for the November election. That’s how we do it now in California. Also note: There’s an error in the Printed and Online voter guide: for any references to www.voterguide.sos.ca.gov, omit the leading “www.” (sigh). Lastly, 📜 indicates Legislative Constitutional Amendments.

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June 2018 California Primary Analysis (V): Judicial and County

I recently got my sample ballot for the “Statewide Direct Primary Election” on June 5, and boy, is it going to be a confusing election for people. We have two contests with enough candidates to take two pages (27 candidates for Governor, 32 for Senator, and two contests for our assembly district: one for the “short term” because the previous assemblycritter left early thanks to #metoo, and one for the “full term”, with the same candidates). There are going to be a lot of posts as I work through this. Here’s the sequence as I see it (note: links to articles not yet posted will not work or may be incomplete):

This post will cover the Judges of the Superior Court (Offices 4, 16, 20, 60, 63, 67, 71, 113, 118, 126, and 146), LA County Assessor, LA County Sheriff, and LA County Supervisor (3rd District).

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June 2018 California Primary Analysis (IV): US Senate and House

I recently got my sample ballot for the “Statewide Direct Primary Election” on June 5, and boy, is it going to be a confusing election for people. We have two contests with enough candidates to take two pages (27 candidates for Governor, 32 for Senator, and two contests for our assembly district: one for the “short term” because the previous assemblycritter left early thanks to #metoo, and one for the “full term”, with the same candidates). There are going to be a lot of posts as I work through this. Here’s the sequence as I see it (note: links to articles not yet posted will not work or may be incomplete):

This post will cover the US House of Representatives (30th District) and the US Senate.

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June 2018 California Primary Analysis (III): State District-Based Offices

I recently got my sample ballot for the “Statewide Direct Primary Election” on June 5, and boy, is it going to be a confusing election for people. We have two contests with enough candidates to take two pages (27 candidates for Governor, 32 for Senator, and two contests for our assembly district: one for the “short term” because the previous assemblycritter left early thanks to #metoo, and one for the “full term”, with the same candidates). Then there are all the other state, county, and district contests, plus the propositions. There are going to be a lot of posts as I work through this. Here’s the sequence as I see it (note: links to articles not yet posted will not work or may be incomplete):

This post will cover the State Board of Equalization (3rd District), and the two elections for Assembly District 45: the Full Term and the Short Term.

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June 2018 California Primary Analysis (II): Other Statewide State Offices

I recently got my sample ballot for the “Statewide Direct Primary Election” on June 5, and boy, is it going to be a confusing election for people. We have two contests with enough candidates to take two pages (27 candidates for Governor, 32 for Senator, and two contests for our assembly district: one for the “short term” because the previous assemblycritter left early thanks to #metoo, and one for the “full term”, with the same candidates). Then there are all the other state, county, and district contests, plus the propositions. There are going to be a lot of posts as I work through this. Here’s the sequence as I see it (note: links to articles not yet posted will not work or may be incomplete):

This post will cover the other statewide California officers: Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Controller, Treasurer, Attorney General, Insurance Commissioner, and Superintendent of Public Instruction. The district-based state offices — Board of Equalization and Assembly — will be covered in Part III.

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