So, our Voter's Pamphlet arrived a few days ago, a sure sign the election really is coming at last. Here's hoping it spells the end of Crazy Season, which has been going on for a year and more by this time.
The initiatives I haven't been paying any attention to up to this point, so I have some catching up to do there. Most of them seems to have the 'argument against' mantra of 'we can't afford that; we need all that money for education' -- a good argument but at first glance of dubious relevance. We'll see.
On the other hand, the statewide offices and Senate/Congress ones are all down to just two contestants each, thanks to the primary having weeded out the plethora of minor candidates (the judicial candidates are always tricky but hopefully Grubbstreet will do his usual good job there).
The most important election, the presidential one, by contrast has seven contenders: the only place the minor parties make an appearance. There are the two major parties (Democrat & Republican), two minor parties (Libertarian and Green), and three fringe parties (The Constitution Party, the Socialist Workers' Party, and the Socialism & Liberation Party -- the latter two of whom shd really have combined efforts, so similar are their write-ups).
To tackle the small parties first: the Constitution Party is all about 'sovereignty', as they wd define it. They want an end to foreign wars (something I cd get behind). And foreign aid (which is where we part company). And for us to pull out of the U.N. And abolish the Federal Reserve. And go back on the gold standard. And not only put a stop to abortion but to get Congress to pass laws to prevent the Supreme Court from ever being able to rule on that issue again. Which only goes to show that for all that they call themselves the 'Constitution' party, they don't seem to have much of a grasp of what our Constitution actually is.
As for the two Socialist parties, they really shd have co-ordinated better and made some kind of common cause instead of splitting their micro-share of the electorate. Both want to bring an end to Capitalism, they both want the same three political prisoners freed (none of whom I'd ever heard of). One has a more quirky approach, embracing the cause of Lavoy Finicum (the guy who was shot dead during the Bundy-led Oregon standoff a few months back when he pulled a gun on federal agents) and wants recognition for the good work Cuban 'volunteers' did in Angola back in 1974 or '75 (I forget which; back in the Jerry Ford era anyway). The other includes concern for environmentalism as well as a wide array of specific points, such as shutting down all our overseas bases, cutting Israel loose, and a call for Puerto Rican independence (something the Puerto Ricans don't actually want).
Of the two minor parties, I have sympathies with the Greens and would consider voting for them if I thought they stood the ghost of a chance, which they don't. I don't have any sympathy for the Libertarians, though I must admit their write-up of Gary Johnson makes it sound as if the man could walk on water. good job whoever wrote that up. Though his boast about being incapable of working with his state legislature (he brags that he cast more vetoes than all the other governors of his state put together) is unsettling. And a few minutes' look at Wikipedia shows that he's a booster of school vouchers (which I view as a way to loot public schools for private ones, making an end run around integration laws in the process) and, what's even worse, private prisons (quite aside from the fact that essential public services shd not be lobbed off to the lowest bidder, private prisons have a nasty record all their own).
That just leaves the two major party candidates, Trump and Clinton. Fivethirtyeight.com shows Mrs. Clinton with a massive lead, barring some 'October surprise'. We'll soon know which one becomes president.
The Political Desk - In Which We Summarize.
2 days ago