A Non-Partisan’s Case For Straight-Ticket Voting

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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29 Responses

  1. Avatar Glyph
    Ignored
    says:

    Will, you stated much more eloquently the thinking I had in the last election, when I voted straight-ticket D for the first time in my life and largely did so again this time (there were a few scattered instances of Independent in there for low-level local positions). Before I had always done my best to pick what I saw as the right person/party for each job, and divided power was in and of itself a good to be counted.

    But a lesson must be taught. If your party is so fractured and weak and compromised and unprincipled and incompetent and corrupt that you not only allowed this to happen, but aided and abetted it once it did, burn it down, all of it, and start over. Republicans need to see that this one thing was egregious enough that their “brand” is fully tainted, top to bottom, and can no longer be sold at any level, for any reason, until they clean up their act. The loss needs to be total: unsalvageable, unspinnable, unrecoverable, unambiguous.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    I very much appreciate voting against things. I like going into a voting booth and chosing “no” all the way down.

    Back when we had a handful of new interns last time and various co-workers were telling them how to vote, my advice was something to the effect of this: “If you’ve done your research, you already know how you’re going to vote. Continue to vote that way. If you haven’t done your research, follow this rule of thumb: Vote every incumbent out. Vote against every judge. If they’re bad, you don’t want to be one of the votes keeping them in and if they’re good, you’ll have more than enough votes buoying them up against your no. And vote no for every single ballot issue that comes up.”

    As such, I am 100% with the argument that we need to refudiate Republicans for a good long while.

    One of the things I remember from 1992 (my first election!) was voting for Clinton (because of women’s issues! Ha!) and after Bill Clinton won with 43% of the popular vote, being told “Well, Bill Clinton has a mandate!”

    What? I boggled. I voted for the guy but I didn’t see Clinton as having a *MANDATE*. I saw Bush getting rebuked, and Reaganism getting rebuked, and the whole “willingness to work with Congress to pass an important law even if it meant a new tax” getting rebuked. It wasn’t a damn mandate for Clinton. AND I VOTED FOR HIM.

    I hope the Republicans get rebuked good and hard. But I won’t see the Democrats winning as a mandate. And I’m in no hurry to participate in giving them the illusion of having one.Report

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    You are more open to changed than Thomas Freidman: https://twitter.com/jonathanchait/status/1323461268339085313?s=20Report

  4. Avatar gabriel conroy
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m roughly where you’re at Will, at least when it comes to voting. (In my blog writing, I realize I have been kind of a Trump apologist.) I voted pretty much straight Democratic, except for the judges (I abstained from those votes) and except for the local water reclamation district (I voted for the greens even though they had no chance of winning). I even voted for the Democratic incumbent district attorney, even though my instincts would have been to vote for the Libertarian.*

    My incumbent Democratic senator and incumbent Democratic congressperson got my vote, too. Even though there’s no way they’re going to lose, or ever lose, in pre-Trump times I voted for their opponent just as a way to say to them, “don’t take your position too much for granted.” But now, I voted for them, largely for reasons consistent with your blog post.

    I even voted in the Democratic primary. I hate voting in primaries, especially in Democratic primaries because doing so makes me, in a sense, a Democrat. In Big City, being a Democrat means, to me, being a follower of a pretty intolerant, corrupt, complacent, self-righteous, even social conservative (and often, very pro-law-and-order) group.** But I voted more to demonstrate that for this cycle at least, I’m with the Democrats and against the Republicans. (I happened to vote for Biden when Bernie was his only real opposition but when it was pretty clear Biden would carry the nomination.)

    As you can tell, my vote is cast. So I’m just going to wait and see.

    *There’s a controversy in Big City about whether the DA is soft on crime and adopted policies that helped the riots happen. The DA also declined to prosecute a famous case involving an alleged crime hoax put on by a celebrity. I have no informed view on the rights and wrongs of the matter or even if the DA is competent.

    **To be clear, in much of the rest of Sangamon, except perhaps the counties and suburbs that ring Big City, the same can be said of the Republicans.Report

    • Avatar InMD in reply to gabriel conroy
      Ignored
      says:

      I felt the same way about voting for my Congressional rep. Dude is a product of a system that precludes any sort of choice or accountability. Held my nose and did it anyway.Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to InMD
        Ignored
        says:

        I had to write in Vermin Supreme for my Congressional vote as the Democrats didn’t bother to contest the election, and the incumbent republican has the cute colloquial nickname of “No Show” aside form being a Teapublican Trumper. I hate it when a party leaves open seats on the table – and it was a missed opportunity for both the Greens and the Libertarians to gain a local toe hold.Report

    • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to gabriel conroy
      Ignored
      says:

      I voted just about the same as you, except for State’s Attorney. Libertarian there. O’Brien is a tool of the FOP. Durbin and Garcia were hold my nose votes.Report

  5. Avatar James K
    Ignored
    says:

    You make a good case. The Republican party needs to pay a hefty price for nominating Trump, and then for standing by while he wreaked havoc. Ideally the Republicans will suffer a defeat so severe that 100 years from now the Republicans will refuse to nominate another populist.

    For that matter, a big win for Biden would help reinforce the idea that the path to victory is to ignore the pro-Sanders crowd and continue nominating normie centrists, which is also something I’d prefer.Report

  6. Avatar DavidTC
    Ignored
    says:

    Talking up masks as soon as the evidence pointed in that direction would likely have saved lives. A simple decision by his administration not to verbally ratfish any and every attempt to take this seriously would have lead his people to take it seriously, which would have saved lives.

    The thing that really gets me is, as I’ve mentioned before: We didn’t have any political pre-conceptions about ‘how to act in a pandemic’. There were a few things we could reason out from existing concepts, like I can see Republican resistance to shutting things down or providing help to people during a shutdown. I can follow that logic, politically.

    What isn’t a political question, because it has never been one and doesn’t follow from any political philosophy I can see, is wearing a mask and keeping distance. Democrats can justify that under some sort of social welfare thing, Republicans can call it ‘personal responsibility’ or something.

    There was no reason to make that a political question. Trump did. For no reason except people told him otherwise and he doesn’t like to wear masks. And that probably killed a hundred thousand people.

    Note I’m not even saying Trump had to wear a mask. Or that the White House had to operate under better protocols, instead of the ones that, at this point, have infected a lot of them. The White House’s internal protocol is barely going to make a difference.

    But they needed to put forward the message. And the Republicans, and Trump, are pretty good at putting out messages. They could have had all their people wearing MAGA masks! They…didn’t. And more importantly, Republican governors wouldn’t have vacillated, wouldn’t have had to weigh ‘How will the anti-mask Trumpists feel about this?’

    (And, as you mentioned BLM, from a purely political position, promoting safety would have given the administration a hell of a lot of justification to crack down more on that. But the Trump administration is made of incompetence.)

    The original video looked like the Trump pickup trying to run the Biden auto off the road. Then some subsequent suggest that the Biden car had changed lanes without appropriate caution.

    Even if they did…society does not operate via Mad Max rules, and surrounding buses with a fleet of trucks and driving dangerously close and harassing them does not somehow come undone because a car which, who were literally being threatened by a group of trucks that had surrounded them and were driving way too close and honking at them, did some bad driving to try to stay safe and not get separated from others.

    It’s amazing how we get people trying to come up with lies to explain how what the truck did was legal (Hint: That truck is, at minimum, following that bus _extremely_ close, and it _deliberately_ shoved a car across lanes, which is astonishingly dangerous and illegal, _even if_ that car hit them first. If a car hits you, you either move away from them or slow down or both.) and yet arguing how people have the right to shoot people if they feel threatened. Hey, maybe the driver of that white car FELT THREATENED and attacked the truck…which is fine, right? ‘felt threatened’ is the magical phrase, right? It makes everything legal?

    The difference, of course, is that they actually were being surrounded and threatened by dangerous drivers who would not leave them alone, as opposed to ‘guy with dark skin walking down sidewalk who doesn’t show appropriate genuflection to a white guy with a gun’ justifications we normally hear.Report

    • Avatar Philip H in reply to DavidTC
      Ignored
      says:

      Kind of like how its UNIQUELY BAD to block traffic on a bridge to protest in support of racial justice, but its apparently fine to do so to cheer the President.Report

    • Avatar George Turner in reply to DavidTC
      Ignored
      says:

      For the first months of the pandemic the medical experts were telling us that masks don’t work, and that the virus isn’t airborne anyway. So instead the nation ran out of hand sanitizer.

      Lots of republicans kept pointing to Asian countries where everyone was wearing masks, and we got mocked for it.Report

      • Avatar DavidTC in reply to George Turner
        Ignored
        says:

        Wow, your universe sounds interesting.

        In _this_ universe, the Republican-appointed Surgeon General, and Anthony Fauci, the public face of the Trump administration’s response team, tried to stop a run on medical masks in Feburary by misinforming people about their effecency, instead of just explaining the situation.

        It’s unclear how much it was understood _at that time_ that masks would help, but in retrospect it was clear that was a misstep, that, again, the Republican administration made, although perhaps it is an understandable misstep. I’m not going to demand the medical establishment have psychic powers.

        At the start of April, the medical recommendation of the administration had changed course, and recommended masks. In a normal universe, we all have said ‘Oh, crap, let’s wear masks’, and done that.

        Our Republican president however, (In this universe it’s Donald Trump. Yes, _that_ Donald Trump.) continuned to downplay masks, saying things like, at the start of April: The C.D.C. is advising the use of nonmedical cloth face covering as an additional voluntary public health measure. So it’s voluntary. You don’t have to do it. They suggested for a period of time, but this is voluntary. I don’t think I’m going to be doing it. and make sure he wasn’t seen wearing one, for quite some time.

        Again, the actual behavior of the White House internally is not important issue. I don’t care if Trump or the staff wears a mask in their normal course of business, anymore than I care if Obama sneaks off to smoke. I don’t care about personal failings. But they need to present an image to the public, one that says ‘We are all wearing masks, because that is a normal and responsible thing to do right right now.’.

        And Trump has presented an image, but instead that image is…masks probably don’t work and people shouldn’t have to wear them. And he’s _finally_ transitioned to adding “But sometimes people make you wear them and you just go along with that instead of yelling at store clerks. Like, see, I’m grudgingly putting my mask on! So, wear a mask, if people say you have to.”

        Which…I guess is _one_ step in the correct direction, but it’s happening after running headlong in the wrong direction for months.

        Presidents are supposed to set an _example_. Him failing to do so here isn’t the least bit surprising after the slightest glance at his history, but this specific failure, this random goddamn-ass politicizing of something that ISN’T A POLITICAL THING, has probably killed a hundred thousand people.

        Oh, who were the Republicans in _your_ universe who ‘kept pointing to Asian countries where everyone was wearing masks’, and were getting mocked for that? Like, who’s the president over there? We’re having an election right now, do you have them at the same time?Report

  7. Avatar North
    Ignored
    says:

    A perfect analysis Will. Trump is merely the most climactic symptom of where the Republican Party has been careening along, at the very least, since Bush W. When Obama came into office Cocaine Mitch looked very seriously at the prospect of entering the political wilderness as is tradition but then he realized that Obama’s Hope’n’Change Rainbow schtick along with the new flourishing right wing media ecosystem offered an alternative: furtive total opposition. I know that strains of Republican derangement date back at least to the 90’s before my own political awareness gelled but I think this was the real break. The choice of the leadership to oppose everything they could oppose; obstruct everything they could obstruct and simultaneously deny that they were doing any such thing and depend on the instinct for balance in the general media coupled with the total credulousness of the right-wing media apparatus was the formal break for the party. The gap between what they said and what they did; what they told their voters and what they believed went from notable to yawning. And their fantasies kept coming up empty- the calamities they forecast didn’t manifest; The stagflation they invoked failed to arrive; the healthcare spiral didn’t spin; and so to get the same results they had to keep pumping the ludicrousness up to higher and higher levels. Couple this with the route the right suffered in the culture war and all the institutional control rods were gone. The voting Republican masses didn’t believe their leadership cared about what they wanted- they just hated Democrats more. Trump arrived, on the scene, a master of bullshit surveying a political arena caked in it and found his calling, giving the Republican voters what their old leaders had been feeding them- just higher proof and more entertaining. The Republicans fell for it hook line and sinker. Hillary (and Comey but the buck stops with her) to her eternal shame, fished up defeating this and thus we got Trump.

    The solution is the same as it has been since George W led his party into a ditch: the political wilderness. That is where parties go to change- it’s where they destroy what doesn’t work and add what does. I don’t know what form a successful right wing will take- maybe Trump populism shorn of the corruption and with actual intent to accomplish; maybe it’s some revived Christian essentialism; hell maybe it’s even Paul Ryan style Republitarian bullshit with somewhat less conning the rubes (the plutocrats would fund that one at least). It’s not for me to say. The country needs at least two functional political parties and this shambolic brainless zombie right wing party just isn’t cutting it. The Republicans need to lose, and lose repeatedly, until they get their shit together or until another party does it first and takes their place.Report

  8. Avatar North
    Ignored
    says:

    A perfect analysis Will. Trump is merely the most climactic symptom of where the Republican Party has been careening along, at the very least, since Bush W. When Obama came into office Cocaine Mitch looked very seriously at the prospect of entering the political wilderness as is tradition but then he realized that Obama’s Hope’n’Change Rainbow schtick along with the new flourishing right wing media ecosystem offered an alternative: furtive total opposition. I know that strains of Republican derangement date back at least to the 90’s before my own political awareness gelled but I think this was the real break. The choice of the leadership to oppose everything they could oppose; obstruct everything they could obstruct and simultaneously deny that they were doing any such thing and depend on the instinct for balance in the general media coupled with the total credulousness of the right-wing media apparatus was the formal break for the party. The gap between what they said and what they did; what they told their voters and what they believed went from notable to yawning. And their fantasies kept coming up empty- the calamities they forecast didn’t manifest; The stagflation they invoked failed to arrive; the healthcare spiral didn’t spin; and so to get the same results they had to keep pumping the ludicrousness up to higher and higher levels. Couple this with the route the right suffered in the culture war and all the institutional control rods were gone. The voting Republican masses didn’t believe their leadership cared about what they wanted- they just hated Democrats more. Trump arrived, on the scene, a master of bull surveying a political arena caked in it and found his calling, giving the Republican voters what their old leaders had been feeding them- just higher proof and more entertaining. The Republicans fell for it hook line and sinker. Hillary (and Comey but the buck stops with her) to her eternal shame, fished up defeating this and thus we got Trump.

    The solution is the same as it has been since George W led his party into a ditch: the political wilderness. That is where parties go to change- it’s where they destroy what doesn’t work and add what does. I don’t know what form a successful right wing will take- maybe Trump populism shorn of the corruption and with actual intent to accomplish; maybe it’s some revived Christian essentialism; hell maybe it’s even Paul Ryan style Republitarian lies with somewhat less conning the rubes (the plutocrats would fund that one at least). It’s not for me to say. The country needs at least two functional political parties and this shambolic brainless zombie right wing party just isn’t cutting it. The Republicans need to lose, and lose repeatedly, until they get their shit together or until another party does it first and takes their place.Report

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