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Semiformalishmaybe

Who to vote for if you're me, Nov2012 edition

Preparing for the upcoming elections, this is the list of those I expect I'll be voting for.

A reminder: I believe in strategic voting. I believe in it strongly enough that I think it is a very bad idea to vote any other way. In practice, this means that when only two candidates have a shot at getting elected, I will vote for the one of them whose election would be least-bad for my values. If a third-party has a shot at getting elected and I like that party (pretty much meaning it's the Green Party; I'm not interested in centrist or libertarian or conservative parties, and I have not seen a socialist go anywhere in politics in the US for a very long time), I will figure that into how I vote. In practice, I usually vote democrat with occasionally some independent or green votes.

Also, I remind you that I newly live for the first time in Brooklyn, New York City, New York. My zipcode is 11226 (if that matters). Your candidates may vary depending on how much of this you share with me.

Let's go down the roster:For United States President/Vice President:

  • I endorse and plan to vote for Barack Obama and Joe Biden, whom I voted for four years ago. So far, I believe that given the possibilities inherent in American politics and with the American people, he has done reasonably well; his leadership has been reasonably technocratic, our economy has seen some recovery from the difficulties that started a bit before his term, our international standing is much improved, we have seen progress on some social issues, we saw a spirited attempt at comprehensive healthcare reform that had a mediocre conclusion (still impressive given our politics), and he has responded well to various crises and opportunities. As someone with two sets of intuitions, those of a socialist and those of a mixed-market advocate, I have two separate sets of criticisms for his leadership, in both I wish he were more liberal and had made more comprehensive reforms, but I knew who he was when I voted for him and will have little regrets doing so again; little more is possible in US politics at this point; as socialists and liberals we have a long ways to go in getting our ideas and values out there.
  • I am throughly unimpressed by Romney and find Ryan loathsome. Romney was a partner at two yet-another-consulting-firms, the latter of which did leveraged buyouts (I don't often have specific positions on these things, but find this practice problematic). His later governor career was unremarkable. Ryan's an objectivist. Both show little concern for the public good.
For NY's Senator in the United States Senate:
  • Running are:
    • Kirsten Gillibrand - (running on Democratic, Working Families, and Independence tickets) - Incubent, Lawyer
    • Wendy Long - (running on Republican and Conservative tickets) - Lawyer
    • Chris Edes - Libertarian - Can't find information about profession
    • Colia Clark - Green - Can't find information about profession
    • John Mangeli - Independent
  • Quick thoughts:
    • Gillibrand seems sensible and liberal, and I expect to vote for her. Easy choice, given that only Gillibrand and Long have a shot and other people I might consider don't seem to be entirely there
    • Long signed the Norquist pledge and is part of the recent nationwide trend of Republicans to pull hard to the right. Her ideas about law are deficient and problematic, and she seems a bit nutty
    • Edes seems to have the usual libertarian confusions and ugly views
    • I can't find a lot about Clark, but she seems a little bit off
    • I can't find anything at all on John Mangeli
For NY 9th (formerly 11th) District's Representatives in the United States House of Representataives:
  • Running are:
    • Yvette Clarke - Democrat - City Council, nonprofit worker
    • Daniel Cavanagh - (running on Republican and Conservative tickets) - Can't find information about profession
    • Vivia Morgan - Green - Can't find information about profession
  • Quick thoughts:
    • I literally cannot find any information about anyone but Yvette, whose immigration views bother me but otherwise seems sensible. Given how safe a seat this is for the Dems, I might be willing to vote Green were the local Greens to have put some effort into describing their platform/candidate.
For NY 21st District in the New York State Senate:
  • Running are:
    • Kevin Parker (Democrat, Working Families tickets) - Community organiser, professor, government aide
    • Mindy Meyer - (Republican, Conservative tickets) - Law student
  • Quick thoughts:
For NY 42nd District in the New York State Assembly:
  • Rhoda Jacobs is the only person running, on the Democratic ticket. She has held the seat since 1979.

I am bothered by the impression that I get that so many people running for (or who make it into) political office appear to be either mentally ill or deeply unintelligent. I hope this is not a sign of my losing the ability to look at these things carefully, but the other alternative of our political system being that ill-functioning is also unpleasant.

Also, I am almost tempted to run for some of these offices as a socialist. Probably would be unwise for an introvert, but I might not actually be unelectable here.

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Comments

I completely agree with your strategic voting views (and, well, the rest of this). It particularly frustrates me here in Ohio when people think that voting third-party will do any good when that person has no chance of winning, and it's close between the R and D. Though I am willing to vote Libertarian on occasion when the alternative is a conservative Republican. In my rural county there was a race between a Republican and Libertarian; I looked them up, thinking the Libertarian might be worthwhile as a more socially liberal option, but it turned out he was a crazy idealogical don't-spend-my-money type, while the Republican seemed pragmatic and knowledgable. So I voted R for the first time in many many years.

But anyway, you forgot about one Socialist who has been successful: Bernie Sanders.

I think you're right about many of the people running. Our political system is broken. To run you need a certain type of narcissism, and winning has little to do with the relevant abilities. A run for office also puts huge stress on the life of the candidate and their family; I saw this up close when a friend of mine ran for Congress, and it ended up ruining his marriage.