Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Political Desk: Summer of Sixteen

Now is the summer of my discontent, for I fear I face this year's (real) primary and fall election with a inherent grumpiness that rarely extends into the political sphere on this page (hah!). Yet the ballots for the 2 August Primary (the one where your vote actually means something) have gone out, and I am just not feeling it.

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Part of this is because the presidential primaries here in Washington State were such a bust. The Democrats chose their candidate in caucuses which ignored the primary, while the Republicans chose their candidate in a primary which their caucus-chosen delegates hated. Also there is the regular low-level irritants of watching politicians in office, which, though not as horrible in Washington State as elsewhere, is often grating enough to make determining rulership with trial by combat an increasingly sound option

But yet I persist. Blame my dogged determination that is my goo-goo nature (That's Chicago shorthand for "good government"). Blame the cynicism that affirms that  Democracy was the worst form of government, second only to all the others (Churchill said it, but claimed he was requoting). Blame it on force of habit. But be warned, this year, you are dealing with a grumpy cat (well, grumpier than normal).

So, then. We have a primary in early August, though that doesn't bother me because here in Washington State it is a mail vote thing. I mean, yeah, expecting people to take off one of the few nice days in Seattle in order to vote in a traditional go-to-the-polls sense will reduce the results. But asking them to take the time one evening to fill out the ballot? Please. I'm not a fan of the earlier vote (because the political parties have more time to irritate us), but it is not a big thing.

And the primary is top-two, which is to say the top two vote-getters go onto the election. And I do miss seeing Mike the Mover and Goodspaceguy and anyone from the Libertarians get on the fall ballot, but I'm willing to go with the flow on this. The online Voter's Pamphlet is here, and I will admit, that for a lot of these guys, that's all I really know about them. [UPDATE: The link I provided only sends you to the King County list, which then just sends you to the various candidates' websites. It's pretty useless. And you wonder why I'm grumpy. Try this one instead, which is more old school, but actually functions.]

But with all that in mind, let me start out by pointing people in the direction of OTHER groups that are making endorsements. These guys have their own bag of stuff, but they are worth paying attention to:

The Seattle Times has decided that the one thing they are going to concentrate on this year is education funding. The legislature has been screwing around with this for a couple years now, such that State Supreme Court has found them in contempt (because, paying for K-12 is, like, in our constitution). Every candidate gets graded on their education policy, and their willingness to work towards a solution. I bag on the Times regularly, but am impressed with their focus this year.

The Stranger Election Board loads up on cocaine and energy drinks and pulls an all-nighter, seeking snarky humor as well as progressive positions. They're always readable, that's the good news, but their concerns seem to end a block south of Safeco Field, and they've really needed to get out to the 'burbs more.

Voting for Judges concentrates on one thing, and does one thing well - that's the elected judges of Washington State. They do a good job.

The Municipal League of King County rates the candidates on their experience and responses to the a survey. They don't do judges, and that makes them a nice complement.

Others will weight in over time - Crosscut and Publicola often show up for the dance, and I'll add them if they have something to say.

So, after a paticularly churlish public service message, we'll get to it. More later,