Election Day 2016: Thoughts and Complaints

Election DayAs I write this, it is noon on election day here in California. I have no idea who will win in the presidential primary. It’s pretty close. But here’s the thing: I don’t care. Look: if things were reversed and it were Hillary Clinton saying that she was going to flip super delegates, I’d take that a lot more seriously. But Bernie Sanders (much like me) is an outsider. He’s been his own party for decades. He isn’t going to convince the Democratic Party elites to abandon Hillary Clinton.

And here’s another thing: I wouldn’t want them to. One of my big complaints about the Democratic Party is that it is not very loyal — at least not loyal in the way that the Republican Party is. The Democratic Party pretty much is the Hillary Clinton party. And we Sanders supporters need to do something about that over the next twenty years. Regardless, Bernie Sanders winning California would be cool, but it doesn’t change the election.

For the record, in addition to voting for Sanders, I voted for Loretta Sánchez for Senate, Nils Palsson for the House (mostly a vote against Mike Thompson), and Jim Wood for Assembly (he is the only one running). I also voted for local measure AA that (for a change) taxed property owners rather than consumers to clean up the Bay. And I voted against Prop 50, which would take benefits away from state legislators who are suspended because of legal matters. I’m sure that Prop 50 will win by an overwhelming margin because Americans (1) don’t believe people are innocent until proven guilty and (2) don’t believe in democracy. That was all that was on the ballot.

If the choice for me was between Hitler and Trump, as much as I hate Trump, I would have to go with him. If I said I couldn’t vote for Trump in that case, I would be duplicitous.

But while running my election day errands, I was listening to NPR. I was really struck by this story, California Republican Lawmaker Explains Why He’s Uncomfortable With Trump. The lawmaker in question is Assemblyman Rocky Chavez. He is a 28-year veteran of the Marines. And he thinks that Trump would be a catastrophe for the nation and the world. But he would never vote for Hilliary Clinton because she is “duplicitous.” And I thought that was really interesting. Here we have Trump who people like Chavez think might start a nuclear war. But that’s equally offset by the fact that Clinton might not always tell the truth.

If the choice for me was between Hitler and Trump, as much as I hate Trump, I would have to go with him. If I said I couldn’t vote for Trump in that case, I would be duplicitous. And you hear this all the time from Republicans: “Trump is totally unacceptable but I have some minor complaint about Clinton that makes her just as bad.” If they would just come out and admit the truth I wouldn’t mind: they won’t vote for Hillary Clinton because she’s a Democrat.

Later, I heard the tail end of a discussion about Silicon Valley. And I heard this line, “…and allows the smartest people to contribute the most.” That certainly sums up what Silicon Valley thinks of itself as: a pure meritocracy where the best rise to the top. Of course, the reality is different. Just look at Carly Fiorina. But more than that, look at the conspiracy that Steve Jobs and other high tech CEOs engaged in to not hire each other’s employees. Have to keep those wages down. Once you’re at the top, pull that ladder away! And now they claim to be for Bernie Sanders on election day?

And finally, Bob Kerrey Says He Won’t Step Down as Chair of New University in Vietnam. I don’t particularly care about the issue and I don’t think that Bob Kerrey is really any worse than any other man in his position. But he mentioned that although the US did some terrible things during the Vietnam War, the Viet Cong were a thousand times worse. And the statement doesn’t raise even the smallest amount of dissent. We are America and therefore when we kill civilians it is just a mistake. The other side, of course, is just evil and loves to kill civilians. This from the country that used almost 400,000 tons of napalm in Vietnam.

But election day is always nice. I like the process. I don’t expect the US empire to be perfect. But that won’t stop me from complaining that it isn’t.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

16 thoughts on “Election Day 2016: Thoughts and Complaints

  1. Well you know my view. I still am flying as high as a kite today but I am almost positive that Clinton is even more euphoric with her blowout win in California.

    But I am glad that it is going to be a real contest (maybe) now between Attorney General Harris and Representative Sanchez. You guys in my home state are so lucky!

    • I’m disappointed that Sanders did so poorly. He even lost in Sonoma and San Francisco (although not by as much). I’m not a little queasy that Sanders isn’t going to deal with all this well. He has a week and then he’s going to start making his supporters look bad — the vast majority being fine with (though not inspired by) Clinton.

      It will be interesting to see how the campaign between Harris and Sanchez goes. I’m afraid that Harris is just so much better known that there won’t be much to it. But we’ll see.

  2. (Ponders why ER isn’t out west again……)
    Look. I voted. It did feel good. Felt really fortunate that there were not a ton of props n such to muddle through and the lines were short.
    I voted for Gore and BO in his first run….and not since. Sorry guys. I know local politics is higher direct impact…I just cant drag myself there unless there is a specific individual or issue….

    Gore: The polls (supposedly) were wrong there too. I worked at the local election headquarters that day. There was only one day where overtime (and double, if needed) was permitted. Everything that physically could be accomplished, had to, given hardware and manpower. Day started early…think prior to the east coast polls opening.. and I read the press before leaving home…..and I looked up the Vegas odds on the election…..and they have moved BIG…like by a couple hundred points from the night before. Anyone who made a move based on that line change lost. Vegas is a bad place to get your political projections.

    When I arrived at the Sanders event in Cloverdale, a lot of hope drained from me. I knew the venue was small -I had called the city police department for their projections on the event- but I still expected to see at least 10,000 folks trying to get to see, meet, touch their savior. The crowd was around 6K of friendly like-minded souls.
    I think it had been a long time since most of them had voted too.

    That was what I expected to see in the numbers yesterday.

    • It is actually a sad story. I don’t know if I told Frank it or not but I don’t go into in public since it makes certain family members look terrible.

  3. I admire the National Liberation Front. They were patriots defending their country from a foreign invader. They weren’t saints but killed many fewer civilians than either the American or the South Korean militaries.

    That really ought to be decisive, conclusive. We leftists have much knowledge as to why it isn’t in contemporary America (and maybe not even in Canada). Let’s keep pressing the point.

    Sorry your boy didn’t win, but I think the primary vote was heavily affected by the fact that Sanders’ winning would not have changed the nomination. Even if S had more elected delegates the supers would go for the other candidate.

    • I didn’t much care. I did want to get my chance to vote for him, however. I’m not sure why he under-performed the polls. That’s more surprising than that he lost as badly as he did. California is more conservative than most people think. Remember: it was a swing state before the Republican Party went insane. But the last time I checked, Sanders even lost in San Francisco and Marin. That’s surprising to me.

  4. Ponder.
    If the choice were Hitler or Trump? Do you really want to open this nest? Both are ruthless and dangerous. What made Hitler dangerous was the political structure and his ability to activate militia enforcers.
    Though I am fearful of him, to this day, I do think he was bright, just distorted, angry and self-loathing. AH was a kinda real bootstraps guy. Even with the recent growth in power of the office of President, I think Hitler would be kept from unleashing evil acts. Maybe a couple non-functioning National Monuments would be erected.
    Trump is dangerous just through ignorance and self aggradisement. He sees himself as self-made. Through the lenses of history AH is a known entity. We know what he is capable of….we do not know this about Trump.
    Consider the nest stirred.

    • You are correct that Trump would be limited in the amount of danger that he could do because of the structure of our system. Even if Trump controlled all of the legislature, he couldn’t eliminate it, the way the Nazis did.

      But I still don’t think that Donald Trump is as dangerous as Hitler. He might be as dangerous as Mussolini. Of course, Mussolini actually was smart. Trump has the limitation that he’s actually kind of dull.

  5. The California Senate race between two Democrats is going to get crazy. If Sanchez wants to win she is going to have to move to right and get Republicans support.

    • I had meant to discuss that in the article. That’s how the system is supposed to select for “moderates.” But it doesn’t much work that way. And that’s especially the case here where the candidates need to get Republican support. All that will happen is that some conservative radio hosts will find one or two things about one of the candidates and decide that makes them a communist. There will not be any kind of policy discussion to win over Republican voters.

  6. So, here’s the pathetic coda to all this — officials report that there are about 3 million votes in CA that haven’t been counted yet. They hope to count 85 to 95 percent of them within 30 days as required by law.

      • Actually nobody seems to know for sure what the number of uncounted votes is, but several million for sure. It’s partly mail-ins, a glut of provisionals, plus some misc. L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan claims that the number of provisional ballots issued in L.A. (~240,000) is “high, but not disproportionately so, compared to other major elections and given the Primary-specific elements everyone was dealing with.” In other words, yes the number is unusually high due to a really fubarred primary.

        • I do mail-in voting, but I never mail it. I just like to be able to fill everything in at home. Then I walk to my polling place and drop it off. I like the process.

          But I did know about the problem being mostly mail-in ballots. I would have written something about it, but there is surprisingly little information about it. I don’t know what the hell is going on and no one else seems to either. I’m sure it will all get worked out. But it really bothers me.

      • Update on California vote count:


        “vote-by-mail ballots postmarked on or before Election Day and received by county elections officials no later than 3 days after Election Day must be processed. In processing vote-by-mail ballots, elections officials must confirm each voter’s registration status, verify each voter’s signature on the vote-by-mail envelope, and ensure each person did not vote elsewhere in the same election before the ballot can be counted.”

        There has been much discussion about problems caused by confusion between “Independent” (American Independent Party) and “No Party Preference” ballots; also about instructions issued to poll workers which kept many voters from getting proper ballots unless they knew enough to specifically ask for a “Democratic crossover ballot”. You have to know the secret passwords to vote in Cali.

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