Diatribes of Jay

This is a blog of essays on public policy. It shuns ideology and applies facts, logic and math to economic, social and political problems. It has a subject-matter index, a list of recent posts, and permalinks at the ends of posts. Comments are moderated and may take time to appear. Note: Profile updated 4/7/12

12 October 2018

How I Voted and Why

[For a description of how mind-raping propagandists get people to vote against their own interests, click here. For all the reasons why the FBI’s “investigation” of Christine Blasey Ford’s claim of sexual abuse was a sham, click here. Fox sixteen reasons to vote this time for Democrats only, click here. For a note on the likely electoral consequences of the GOP ramming Kavanaugh through to the Supreme Court, click here. For a note on why the issue has become personal for many, click here. For a short note on how important Professor Ford’s charges are, click here. For comment on President Obama’s decision to join the political fray, click here. For a possible path to Trump’s impeachment and removal, click here. For comment on Trump’s deal with Mexico, click here. For a brief homage to John McCain, followed by reasons to support Stacey Abrams, click here. For a brief note on vote suppression in Georgia as a reason to support Stacey Abrams, click here. For other good candidates and causes and how to contribute easily, click here. For recent posts in reverse chronological order, click here.]

This post is for new, young and infrequent voters. It shows how easy voting is and, under the unique circumstances of this election, how easy it is to do the right thing.

The whole process took me a half hour, including parking at a public lot and walking a few blocks to the County Clerk’s Office. There I voted early without waiting in line.

For whom did I vote? Easy. I voted for every Democrat and against every candidate listed as a Republican. I even voted to recall a judge who had recently been appointed by a Republican governor.

New Mexico, my home state, lists candidates for judgeships by their party affiliation, so that made my task easier. But if your own state doesn’t do that and you can’t spend the time to research the party affiliations of candidates for judges, you needn’t vote for those offices.

I also voted “for” two amendments to the New Mexico Constitution, one of which would set up a new commission to investigate and expose ethical violations by public officials. Then I voted “for” every bond issue or tax re-authorization proposed. There were five of them, to fund (respectively) rural public transportation, senior citizen facilities, public schools and school buses (in a rural and widely dispersed state), and higher education, including special and tribal schools.

Why did I vote for all Democrats? Because Donald Trump is not just a bad, unusual or incompetent president. His vile style of campaigning and governing could, if repeated, destroy our democracy and make future elections meaningless.

Trump’s entire pitch, and most of his political success, is based on the three B’s: bullshit, bullying and bigotry.

According to the Washington Post’s latest tally, he has told 4,713 lies and misleading tales in less than 20 months. He has bashed his (our) own allies and supported tyrants like Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un and would-be Saudi King Mohammed bin Salman (MBS). In “return,” Putin reportedly tried to destabilize our election and had a peaceful resident of London and his daughter murdered with the nerve-agent Novichok. MBS recently was accused of having a well-known Saudi journalist—a journalist!—killed and dismembered inside the Saudi Embassy in Turkey. As for bigotry, just ask any aware Hispanic, immigrant, African-American, Muslim, woman, or homosexual (especially one complaining about sexual assault or harassment) what Trump has said about and to them.

This is not business or politics as usual. Trump is not a normal politician. Nothing about him or his regime is normal, usual or American. If his “style” of leadership continues, or if others pick it up, we will lose our democracy, as surely as effect follows cause.

Yet no Republican will publicly call Trump out or challenge him where it counts, with their voices and their votes in Congress. Brett Kavanaugh, now on our highest court, is still accused of perpetrating or being involved in the most vile sexual assaults on as many as three women. While Congress brushed the charges against him under the rug, all Republicans but Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) voted to confirm him with only the most cursory and inadequate investigation.

These are all reasons why I voted against every Republican on my ballot. Not one of them (except Murkowski, who wasn’t on my ballot), voted for right against might, for due process over bullying, or for the rule of law. Every man and woman (but Murkowski) among the GOP tried to excuse the inexcusable for the sake of expediency and raw political power. None of them (but Murkowski) were anything like Shakespeare’s “honorable men.”

Trump and his political party have broken not just all the rules of American politics, but all the rules of civilized behavior. If they get away with doing so, and if others copy them, our own civilized democracy will soon be gone forever. Even if Trump is impeached after the midterms or loses the 2020 presidential election, a terrible precedent will have been be set: bullshit, bullying and bigotry will look like legitimate means of winning elections and taking power. Most of what our Founders left us will be lost.

These midterm elections, with early voting (in many states) in October and the big day on Tuesday, November 6, are the last clear chance we have to repudiate decisively what Trump and his party have done and how they have done it. The only way to show our political and ruling class that this vile behavior doesn’t pay is to crush Trump and every Republican at the polls.

Even 2020 could be too late. If we don’t crush them all now, many will read the wrong lesson from these elections. Then the rot in our society that today calls itself the Republican Party will continue to fester and grow. If you who are under fifty or who don’t usually vote want to see a real democracy in your own future, you cannot let that happen.

Endnote: As for my voting to approve all the desirable local bond issues, the reason is simple. They are all things that need doing—and so need money—for the people of my state.

Trump and his minions have run up a cumulative a $1.5 trillion debt doing things that don’t need doing: giving tax breaks to the rich and corporations that they don’t need, don’t deserve and mostly didn’t even ask for. The GOP’s scheme in all this is to so boost the deficit that no one will consider things like Social Security, Medicare for All, or necessary bond issues that the most of the people need or want. If anyone suggests such measures, the GOP will say, “We can’t do it. We already have too big a deficit.”

But here’s a dirty little secret. Two can play that game. If the people want money for things that make their lives better, and if they increase the deficit for that purpose, at some point the Congress is going to have to decide where to compensate. It can just as well compensate by cutting the gigantic earnings of the rich and corporations, by raising their taxes back up, and by giving the people what they want.

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