Friday, July 20, 2018

The Political Bunker Reopens

And so it begins. Yard signs show up on Mercer Island. Facebook ads show up for people running in the next district over. Mush-mouthed endorsements show up in the Seattle Times.

The election is coming. In this case, the primary.  And it is important. Well, they all are, but this year's elections have primal import.

So this time out I'm going to be a little less glib, a little less fun-loving. Yeah, I will mention the nowhere candidates with funny names but really am not going to spend a lot of time on them. The past two years a positive, humane agenda in politics has been under siege. We're lucky up here in the heavily blue Pacif Northwest, but there is a lot of bad craziness going down across the country, and we need to dig in here.

So, there are a couple rules that I'm looking at before even looking at the candidates.

No Republicans. Now, I'm aware that there are good Republican men and women in office, but for the most part they are cowed by the more radical factions these days. The party is swarming with neo-nazis, white supremacists, self-declared pimps, opportunists and racists. And those who are a bit more centrist still are willing to vote for rewarding the wealthy and punishing the poor. Enough.

And of course, the fish stinks from the head, and on a national level the head is one of the worst I've seen. The Republican presidents in my lifetime have had the ability to make their GOP predecessors look not nearly as bad, and I hesitate to say we have bottomed out as each week punches through the floorboards and finds a new sub-basement. Ethically, morally, professionally, intellectually, this is the worst. So yeah, let that drag the party down as well, since few on that side seems interested in reigning the current White House occupant in. We're doing crap now that we're going to be pretending we didn't do for twenty years, and then apologizing for it once the criminals directly responsible are safely buried.

Even so, professionalism, ethics, and morality would usually be redemptive enough. I'd rather have a good Republican than a bad Democrat most days. Not this time.

Also, No Former Republicans. The current King County Prosecutor has already ditched the GOP for the Dems, but I don't want that to be a saving grace for him. He's been running for years on the "Republicans are the strong, grown-up, law and order group" bandwagon, while they've been a collection of thieves, panderers, yada yada. Now that it looks like he would lose just because he's a Repub, he's scraping off the party label. We have one candidate out there who considers the parties to be flags of convenience, to be jettisoned as soon a the opportunity presents. Libertarians? A lot of them are of recent vintage (one has declared he's "been Libertarian since 2016" - a whole year and a half!). Libertarian-ism is not the Blood of the Lamb. You don't change labels and are reborn.

Other warning signs? "Running government like a business". Big donations from the NRA. Support from the Chamber of Commerce (really, when they come over, count the spoons afterwards). Puff pieces in the Times that use the phrase "Dan Evans Republicans." Declarations that they have "Bi-Partisan Support", which tends to mean all the usual GOP suspects and a retired Democratic party conservative or two.

Hang on, you say, aren't there rotten apples on the Democrat side? There are, and we tend to dump 'em, not re-elect 'em. Mistakes will be made, but the Dems are not the party of doubling-down on the last stupid thing they did (they always look for new mistakes ... I keed, I keed). 

I am done with purity tests as well. If the non-Republican candidate is a centrist with corporate ties, I won't cross him off the list (but I will be digging). If the non-Repist is a wooly-eared progressive seeking cetean rights, I won't say no. But I will mock. Given a choice between good candidates, I tend to veer more to left, and your mileage may vary.

And you're going to vote, right? Vote in the primary to get the best candidates, and in the general in November. This has to change. We tend to get the government we deserve, and in the words of Menken, we get it good and hard.  So vote or give up.

And don't just listen to me. Others are wading in. The Seattle Times, notable for thinking hard on the subject, then choosing the more establishment candidate, can be found here. This time out, they are particularly angry at anyone who voted for less transparency from the state legislature. Unless they're not. The Stranger seems to have lost their pot-fueled sense of humor and are acting like grown-ups this time (This is how far we've come). Voting for Judges does not have a lot for the primary, but they are still present. Here's the Progressive Voter's Guide. Nothing from the Municipal League yet, which is usually a standard, but they should show up.

So, gird up your loins, open you voter's guides, and let's take a look.

More later.