It’s election night. And what a depressing campaign it has been. I voted for the Green candidate for president (David Cobb), but if California had been close, I would have voted for Kerry: I don’t like him at all, but Bush’s team is evil.
No matter what happens, I’m going to feel guilty: I’ve been almost completely politically inactive since moving to California. Even if Kerry wins, political discourse continues to move to the right. Democrats keep on positioning themselves as slightly better than Republicans; I can’t stand that, but I also haven’t been doing anything to change that.
Which raises the question: what should I be doing? I’m completely out of touch with the local political scene, so figuring out what’s going on here is the obvious first step. Maybe there are local issues that I’ll get motivated out; it would be nice if the local work were to fit into larger strategic themes, though.
I’m not sure exactly what strategic themes I think will be most effective, though. One thing that intrigued me about the election this year was California’s Proposition 62, which was trying to recast our primary systems: all candidates from all parties would be on the primary ballot together, and the top two vote-getters would go on to the main election, even if they were both from the same party. It sounds like a good idea to me: I can’t say I like political parties to begin with, at least with the winner-take-all system we have in this country, and I’m sure that, in a lot of races in California, we’d end up with a more liberal Democrat running against a more conservative Democrat, which I’d much rather see than a Democrat against a Republican. Having said that, I don’t think the proposition has much of a chance – it’s not in the news much, and propositions like this don’t seem to win without making a bit of a splash in the process.
What happened to the full public financing movement? It looked like it was going strong 6 years ago, but I haven’t heard much from it recently. Sounded like a good idea. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to support other things than changing election machinery, but it does seem a good way to get bang for your buck.)
Of course, politics isn’t the only thing that I wish I were finding time for…
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