So, today is election day in Washington state. Again. This time it's not presidential or local issues on the ballet but national offices like Senator and Representative, and statewide offices like governor and state legislature positions.
Half the voting was easy, since a number of incumbents who I think have done a pretty good job were up for re-election (e.g. Adam Smith or Tina Orwall) -- or, in one case (David Upthegrove), moving to try for a different job, shifting from state legislature to Commissioner of Public Lands.
Aside from these, I mainly judge by the write-up provided by the candidates themselves for the voter's pamphlet, since I like to judge people by their own words (and the company they keep, which often comes through, though not always to their advantage, in the endorsements). Where I'm in doubt between two or more decent-sounding candidates for the same spot, I like to check out my friend Jeff's detailed write-ups over on www.grubbstreet.blogspot.com (cf. in specific http://grubbstreet.blogspot.com/2016/07/political-desk-jeff-recommends-primary.html). Jeff not only puts more time into it than I do, but I trust his judgement -- although I do make different choices in some cases.
The thing that really stands out in this year's election is that Crazy Season continues, as it has all year. Thus we have eleven people running for governor and seventeen for the Senate, many of them from fringe parties like the Socialist Workers (who want to defend Castro's revolution and champion the cause of LaVoy Finicum --no, really) or Independents like self-confessed tree-hugger Steve Rubenstein (though I'm with him on the protect-the-trees front) or partyless candidates like the gun-shop owner who doesn't like light rail (not much of a qualification for running for Lt. Gov., one wd think). A surprising number are from weird one-off parties that one strongly suspects came into existence when the candidate downloaded the run-for-office form from the internet and had to fill out a blank 'party affiliation' space. Among these I wd include the Human Rights Party, the Conservative Party, the Standupamerica Party (which apparently doesn't believe in capitalization), the Lincoln Caucus Party (who apparently aren't aware there's another party-of-Lincoln out there), and the System Reboot Party, all running candidates for Senator, as well as the Holistic Party and the Fifth Republic Party* on the Gubernatorial side.
As for the actual candidates, I automatically dismiss perennial office-seekers like ''Uncle Mike" and "Goodspaceguy" (another capitalization-challenged candidate) who I don't think actually care about the job or getting elected but just want the ego-boo of seeing their names in the pamphlet every other year. Of the rest, several come across as credible candidates for the job, and it's from among them that the run-offs will occur, presumably in November. Or at least so let us hope. Have to say, though, that I'm dismayed by the number of people who boast about being unqualified for the job they're seeking. To my way of thinking, if you've never held public office, and you're not Jimmy Stewart, you ought not be running for high public office.
Among this overly colorful array of candidates, the bottom of the barrel takes up an uncomfortable amount of the barrel. You know it's a bad sign when the guy who thinks fluoride poisons drinking water (wd-be governor James Robert Deal), who seems to be using his run to gin up support for a class-action lawsuit, doesn't even make it into the top (bottom) two. For the absolute bottom, I keep going back and forth between David W. Blomstrom, who wants to be governor so he can warn people about the "jewarchy", his own term for what used to be called 'the international jewish conspiracy' (apparently anti-semitism is trying to rebrand itself these days). Or would-be Superintendent of Public Instruction Ron Higgins, who seems to want to be in charge of Washington's school system so he can dismantle it from within (he's all for charter schools, homeschooling, and enforcing traditional gender roles); more perniciously, he's against vaccinating kids.** It's hard to choose between a stone-cold racist on the one hand with someone on the other whose policies, if carried out, would probably actually kill people, and children at that . . .
Have to say that by comparison, tree-huggers look pretty good.
Like I said, crazy season.
current reading: Lupoff's book on Burroughs
current viewing: SHIRO BAKO (an anime about making anime); just finished Jackson's TWO TOWERS.
*this apparently refers not to de Gaulle's Fifth Republic, France's government since WW II, but to post-2001 America.
**although Col. Higgins does have my favorite line from the whole voter's pamphlet in his write-up: that schools shd aim to produce "people who know how to learn, since schooling ends but learning never should"