When I lived in Michigan, I was a hold-your-nose-and-pull-the-Democratic-lever kinda gal, but in the long time I’ve been in the East Bay it’s gotten harder and harder to do. No, I never thought anyone would know or care if I voted for Ralph Nader, and the one time I met him he was quite surly, so voting for him instead of Gore or Obama was never a temptation.
Some people hold the sacramental view of voting—you should vote for the candidate you believe in, regardless of consequences—but I’m a pragmatist. The firm grip that the usually-liberal machine has on the Democratic party in the East Bay makes participation in elections here just about pointless—and besides, the machine picks usually perform pretty well, all things considered.
Lately, however, some of the people I’ve voted for have been annoying me. Actually, on the national level, annoying isn’t even the word for President Obama’s seeming inability or unwillingness to deal with the continuing situation of the prisoners at Guantanamo. No one, regardless of what they may or may not have done, should be treated the way these guys are being treated, and they haven’t even been convicted of anything. Appalling. Candidate Obama promised change, but he hasn’t delivered.
Then, moving to California, we have Governor Jerry Brown’s, yes, more than annoying, though not surprising, attack on the California Environmental Quality Act. He’s opposed by both labor unions and environmentalists, two groups which don’t always agree, though both usually endorse Democrats. It’s not clear why the governor in his second incarnation wants to gut one of the earliest and probably the best state environmental laws in the country—he’s called CEQA a "vampire" that needs "a silver stake through it"—but you can be sure money has a lot to do with it. Traditionally, developer cash has been the biggest part of campaign contributions to both Democrats and Republicans.