Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election thoughts and recommendations

With the election upon us, I wanted to get my thoughts and recommendations in before the polls open nationwide. The presidential race may be sucking up most of the oxygen in the room, but down ballot races and measures are just as important. It’s still crucial to keep the unqualified demagogue that is Donald Trump out of the White House, and to not assume that if things got bad enough under him it would trigger the revolution we need. Sometimes the lesser evil really is the lesser evil, and third parties would do better to build more from the bottom up. But the chief executive can only do so much without the support of the legislature, so you shouldn’t forget to vote down ballot wherever you are.

As a progressive, I want to elect the most progressive Senate candidate, and that is Kamala Harris. As for State Assembly, I once interned for Sandré Swanson, however he and Nancy Skinner are both decent candidates, so I could recommend either one.

With so many measures to vote on, I believe these ones are worth going into in depth:

Opponents have called California’s Prop 56—a tobacco tax—a giveaway to insurance companies. But the tobacco industry is the one pushing that argument to defeat it, so the proposition deserves a yes vote.

One of the arguably more confusing ballot measures in California is Prop 61, designed to lower drug prices, but opponents charge it will raise them instead.  With so many organizations and ads on each side, and many progressive organizations taking no position, it can be hard for progressives to decide. Personally it seems like the possibility of higher prices is more of a blackmail threat from Big Pharma than an inherent consequence, so my recommendation is to vote yes.

There may also be confusion about Oakland’s Measure HH, the soda tax, which opponents have labeled a grocery tax. The beverage industry is the main funder of the opposition, so we shouldn’t let them fool us. I recommend a yes vote.

These links offer progressive recommendations for the various statewide measures: