There is a lot going on in the 2022 midterm elections. News and advertisements about candidates and initiatives at all levels saturate the airwaves and social media. Most of that is…selective…about its messaging. Before I go into specifics with my recommendations, I want to recommend two principles that should guide your vote:
- Republicans = Nazis/fascists/authoritarians
- Initiatives = No
Republicans = Nazis/Fascists/Authoritarians
There once was a time when “both sides” were reasonably honorable and reasonably decent and reasonably sane. No more. It’s easy to trace the descent of Republicans into Nazism, fascism, and authoritarianism to the dumpster fire that was the 45th presidency, but in reality the seeds were sown by Nixon and fertilized by Reagan.
When Republicans get power at any level these days, their sole agenda is to keep power, and at all cost. When they lose power at any level these days, their sole agenda is to obstruct any other agenda, and at all cost. Neither is governing.
Make no mistake, I will brook no whataboutism; there are plenty of non-Republican candidates who are problematic. But Republicans will destroy democracy as we know it if they are elected. They lie. They cheat. They have no shame about any of it. They are proud of it. They must be stopped.
Initiatives = No
The idea behind initiatives was a good one: Let’s give power to the people to decide directly the laws of their jurisdiction. As with many ideas, they have been corrupted and bowdlerized by unintended consequences.
But initiatives, called propositions here in California, are now bought-and-paid-for-lawmaking. It starts with paid signature gatherers, encouraging people to sign the petitions to put propositions on the ballot not because they believe in the cause, but because they get paid for every legitimate signature they acquire.
And then money pours in to advertising campaigns. In many cases, the corporations spending the money see it as an investment in that if the proposition passes and becomes law, they will benefit financially far more than they spend on the campaign.
And so your default decision should be no, and exceptions should be very, vary rare.
California has a whole bunch of statewide races, and I will list the recommendations here. Of course, voting for any (R) means voting for fascism, so you will see only (D) here.
- Governor: Gavin Newsom (D). Yes, he has done some abysmally stupid things, such as that birthday dinner at French Laundry in the middle of a lockdown. He’ll never live that down, and he shouldn’t. But his focus has been on the data- and expert-driven health and welfare of Californians through a debilitating pandemic, and while his conservative route has caused some level of pain, the state is better now because of his leadership. He’s also taking care in his budgeting to not use up the state’s rainy day fund as a possible recession looms, which is financially responsible.
- Lieutenant Governor: Eleni Kounalakis (D). No one really knows what the Lieutenant Governor does, but it is imperitive to keep all (R)s out of government at all levels.
- Secretary of State: Shirley N. Weber (D).
- Controller: Malia M. Cohen (D). We want someone responsible with money handling the state’s finances, and that is no one who is (R).
- Treasurer: Fiona Ma (D). See Controller.
- Attorney General: Rob Bonta (D). He has done a good job in his limited time on the job.
- Insurance Commissioner: Ricardo Lara (D). Here is where you have to hold your nose and vote. Lara has some serious ethical issues. The (R) in this race barely beat out a qualified candidate, but he is still (R), so we have to stick with Lara until the next election because any (R) will undermine the office.
Remember, your default choice should be No.