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I Early Voted In Harris County—Some Democrats I Enjoyed Voting For And Two That Failed To Impress

Yestrerday I early voted at the Harris County Administration building (above) located at 1001 Preston Avenue in Downtown Houston, Texas. 

The electronic voting gizmo, which I feel is programmed to flip all my votes to the Republican Party, allowed me to vote in Vietnamese—

(Sunset in a Vietnamese fishing village called Mui Ne

   

…And in Spanish as well.

( Below is Valparaiso, Chile.)

If English is the official language of the United States, how come I can vote in Vietnamese and Spanish in a right wing place like Texas? We’ve even been at war with Vietnam and Spain in the past.

I’m glad we have the ability to make peace with former enemies. We are all brothers and sisters.

I’m very glad I got the chance to vote for a black man named Barack H. Obama for President of the United States. That is what I call progress.

( Below–Blacks voting in 1867. Here is a history of Reconstruction)

I voted for each Democrat on the ballot. Though I did not use the straight party ticket button. I enjoy voting and I went down and selected the name of each candidate.   

I’ve written before, and still assert, that the straight ticket voter is possibly the most rational voter of all. Party identification serves as a kind of shorthand for voters to be able to navigate the large number of issues we confront in our complex society.

However, we do retain the right not to support all the candidates of our favored political party. Inevitably, some will be hard to take.

I paused over the names of Michael Skelly for the 7th U.S. House district from Texas and David Mincberg for the office of Harris County Judge Executive.

Mr. Skelly has campaigned in large part on the false issues of earmark reform and a balanced budget. These are irresponsible postions at a time when swift and decisive action from government is needed to bring our economy back to health.

Here is what Nobel Prize winning New York Times columnist recently said about government’s role in our economic recovery—

….there’s a lot the federal government can do for the economy. It can provide extended benefits to the unemployed, which will both help distressed families cope…It can provide emergency aid to state and local governments, so that they aren’t forced into steep spending cuts that both degrade public services and destroy jobs. It can buy up mortgages (but not at face value, as John McCain has proposed) and restructure the terms to help families stay in their homes. And this is also a good time to engage in some serious infrastructure spending, which the country badly needs in any case. The usual argument against public works as economic stimulus is that they take too long: by the time you get around to repairing that bridge and upgrading that rail line, the slump is over and the stimulus isn’t needed. Well, that argument has no force now, since the chances that this slump will be over anytime soon are virtually nil. Will the next administration do what’s needed to deal with the economic slump? Not if Mr. McCain pulls off an upset. What we need right now is more government spending — but when Mr. McCain was asked in one of the debates how he would deal with the economic crisis, he answered: “Well, the first thing we have to do is get spending under control.”

If Mr. Skelly’s opponent has been bringing earmarks to this district, that is one way we would be better served by keeping the incumbent. Regretfully, the incumbent is quite far to the right.   

David Mincberg has been running a tone deaf negative campaign against the Republican incumbent. After so many years of Republican rule in Harris County, there are so many unmet needs and things to to be done. Why don’t we hear about some of that? Instead, what we are getting are attacks against incumbent that are simply not going to resonate with the public after his very visible role during Hurricane Ike.

Also, Mr. Mincberg has a campaign sign—one so big that it needs to be propped up from behind with rods—located on the right of way on a 610 feeder road near the Galleria. I’d like to take that sign and nail it to the side of Mr. Mincberg’s house. (I won’t though. And don’t you either.) 

I did in the end vote for Mr. Skelly and Mr. Mincberg. Though I’m not sure that was the right course. There is little doubt these men would be better than the incumbents. But from my view, as a liberal who has lived in a city all his life and had my vote taken for granted by Democrats who deliver little, both Mr.Skelly and Mr. Mincberg send up warning flags.

It’s not about ideological differences. There are only two main political parties for 300 million people and a big tent is required. It’s about the issues you choose to focus on and how you campaign. There is plenty of room for political creativity and correct behavior in even the most Republican of constituencies. 

In contrast to Mr. Skelly and Mr. Mincberg, there were votes I was glad to cast—

Rick Noriega for the United States SenateMr. Noriega will be quite a contrast to the far right incumbent. He has served his country in war and is now ready to serve in Washington.  Also, his wife has been known to visit this blog.

Ellen Cohen for the Texas House District 134—It is good that Ms. Cohen appears to have an easy race after banishing the lousy Martha Wong in 2006.

Loren Jackson for Harris County District ClerkMr. Jackson is very honest, never puts a campaign sign in the public space, and once gave me a campaign tee-shirt. Below is a picture of Mr. Jackson. If you see him be certain to shake his hand and to tell him you share his commitment to freedom.  

Loren Jackson

Adrian Garcia for Harris County Sheriff—Mr. Garcia is going to bring some real justice to our county. Everybody is going to be treated the same and that treatment will be just and decent.   

It was fun to vote. I encourage all who share my views to go out and vote. As for those who do not share my views—I can’t offer as much encouragement. You might want to think about staying at home. I’m sure there is some dusting or laundry you could catch up on. 

( Below—The young women below wanted citizens to vote “no” on the showing of movies on Sunday in the town of La Grange, Illinois. This was in 1929. I don’t know how the vote turned out.)  

original negative 

October 27, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, History, Houston, Politics, Texas | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

The Straight Ticket Voter May Be The Most Rational Voter Of All

I think the straight ticket voter may be the most reasonable and rational voter of all.

Given the clear differences between the two parties, why would anyone vote for some Democrats and some Republicans on Election Day? 

The straight ticket voter is sending a clear message of party preference.

With a straight ticket ballot, you pull one lever or push one button and by so doing vote for every candidate of the party you have selected.

17 states allow for straight ticket voting. Here is a list of those states. Straight ticket voting is allowed in Texas.

Some disagree with my view on this issue. Here is a link to a letter to the editor of the Providence Journal by a former Green Party candidate for the Rhode Island State Senate named Jeff Toste. Mr. Toste says that in his 2006 campaign he placed first among those who did not vote straight ticket. However, because of straight ticket votes for the Democratic nominee, Mr. Toste lost the race.

I imagine that if I had lived in Mr. Toste’s Senate district in 2006 I might have voted for him. However, Mr. Toste’s letter seems to imply that people who voted straight ticket did not fully realize what they were doing. I think they knew exactly what they were doing. They wanted either Democrats or Republicans to win every office on the ballot. That makes perfect sense.

( Mr. Toste does make a good point in his letter in favor of easier ballot access for third parties.) 

I think a feeling is held by some that the straight ticket voter is blindly casting a ballot without much thought. My view is that the voter switching back and forth between the major parties is hopelessly inconsistent. The difference between Republicans and Democrats is so significant on so many issues, that voting for candidates representing both major parties on the same day is the less thoughtful course.

October 9, 2008 Posted by | Campaign 2008, Politics | , , , , , | 7 Comments