A lot of people so far today have asked me who I voted for. I have a two-part answer to that:
Part 1: None of your business. Screw you.
Part 2: I will, however, tell you who I didn’t vote for.
You see, before I even start researching candidates or reading campaign literature I eliminate quite a few right off the top. I have a list of rules that, due to personal beliefs and pet peeves, I use to filter the ballot down.
Do they make voting difficult? Yes, definitely. They rule out the majority of candidates and require some Googling. But is it worth it? Absolutely. Right off the top it makes sure that my core beliefs about how our government should run are taken into account and it forces me to know a little more about the candidates other than what they say in TV commercials.
So, without further delay, Danny’s Rules of Voting:
Rule 1: I will not vote in uncontested races.
Look, I know it’s not the candidate’s fault that nobody ran against them. I know that all it takes is one vote for them to win so it’s a purely symbolic protest. But I’m not participating in a sham contest that does nothing to improve the quality of our representation or make a politician justify their paycheck. So, sorry Susan Bonilla, it’s nothing personal but you’re going to win without me.
(The exception is Presidential incumbents in the primary. Nobody ever runs against them so I use my vote or lack thereof to approve or protest their performance.)
Rule 2: The candidate must live in the district they represent.
I know the Constitution doesn’t say a Representative has to live in their district to represent it, merely in the same state. But just because something is legal doesn’t make it right so I’ll have no part in it. Same goes for local races, so if former Concord City Councilwoman Helen Allen lives in Sacramento but lists her sister’s Concord address on the form so she can still run, not only will I not vote for her but will actively campaign against her. And remain bitter about it years later apparently.
Rule 3: I have a personal two-term limit for all offices.
Nobody should stay in one office for more than two terms. State legislature, Congress, City Council, whatever. If it’s good enough for George Washington it’s good enough for me.
Yes, I understand that longer-tenured members of Congress get to be committee chairpeople and have nicer offices and more influence, but I don’t care. I’m extremely uncomfortable with the idea of a ruling class that spends their entire adult lives passing laws rather than living in the society they’re passing the laws for. Eventually it becomes all about trading favors, supporting the party and getting reelected, all at the expense of actually representing the actual people in your state or district. It goes against the very concept of a representative republic.
Since nobody will pass term limits for themselves I don’t vote for anyone who passed the two-term limit. So Senator Feinstein and Congressman Miller, don’t take this the wrong way, but get a job.
Rule 4: The candidate’s campaign site must mention at least three things specific to the state or district you’re trying to represent.
This one is a relatively recent addition. With our current era of blind partisanship and herd mentality a depressingly staggering number of campaign sites only state positions on national issues and never once mention the actual area they want to represent.
Seriously, candidates, what part of “representative republic” don’t you understand? We’re not electing a dictator, we’re electing a proxy. I don’t want to pick another Democratic or Republican vote, I want to pick someone who will go to Washington and fight for my community’s interests and wellbeing. So if you can’t be bothered to have your staff research the district you’re running in and pick three local issues to take a position on, you need to retake high school civics rather than hold any office.
Rule 5: If a candidate’s campaign literature vows to do something that’s not part of the office’s Constitutional power even once they’re disqualified.
There are too many instances of this to count among California’s Senate candidates so I’ll pick on the Republican Presidential field:
The President cannot unilaterally overturn a law passed by Congress once it’s been signed. It’s not possible. In fact the Constitution has checks and balances specifically to prevent it. So when a Presidential candidate vows to overturn health care reform on Day 1, that’s a DQ.
The way I see it there are two possible reasons for a candidate to say something like that and both make them equally ill-suited to represent me. Either they genuinely don’t know that they’re not allowed to retroactively veto a law, in which case they need to read the Constitution sometime, or they think the voters are so stupid that they think the President can retroactively veto a law, in which case they’re definitely not going to listen to us once they’re in office. So I’m not going to help them take office.