Should Friends Vote for Friends?
Updated: Oct 27
A good friend of mine is a Bernie-bro. He is a die-hard socialist, medicare-for-all, housing-for-all, College-for-all Bernie-crat. He is a, (fill in the blank) for-all, as long as the government pays for it.
However, he is fun to talk to, has a great sense of humor, a great family and loves my homemade barbecue cheeseburgers, potato salad and my baked beans in the summertime. We love to sit in the back yard, crack open a beer, have a few laughs, eat a great meal and watch the kids play. We talk about our interests, the kids, religion and politics. This guy is my friend, but I sure as hell would never vote for him if he ran for political office. He knows this.
Political Parties People often get miffed at the party system in the United States. It is a pendulum of Republican vs Democratic depending on the year. People think that each party is feathers on the same bird - there is some truth to that. Then there are the other parties in-between, like the American Constitutional Party, Socialist Party USA, Green Party, and the Libertarian Party.
I have never understood the broad brush criticisms that moderates paint over the political party system.
This anti-intellectual argument puts them in some kind of false moral superiority. It ends discussion because both parties, all parties have made some ridiculous statements and terrible decisions in the past. However, these parties represent a philosophy on governing. It is our responsibility to pick the person that will best represent our values, principles and beliefs. The party system does this.
The "neither party" designation is becoming more popular among local races these days. It is generally left to the fence sitters and the good-ole-boys. A good-ole-boy system that cares not for your values or beliefs; but a system that perpetuates favors, the reelection enterprise and to get the coveted plaque with their name on it on some door or desk. I know politicians who are like this. In my eight (8) years as an elected Republican County Commissioner, I heard many times that people vote for the person over the party. The comment goes unchallenged, almost as a virtue. Is this person your friend? Well, did you ask your friend if he or she believes in the free market, their view on budgeting, gun rights, free speech, or the role of government? Maybe they like his tie? Her pants-suit? Or, did they sit through a campaign event and soak-up generalities spewed about partnership, collaboration, loving their community (more than the next person?) or their practical or moderate approach to problems. Practical to who?
There is no way for the average person to know what John Doe down the street believes because he is in a nonpartisan race. People are too busy. How can a family that is running children to soccer games, dance class, or the drag queen story time at their local library (kidding) to pay attention to the numerous political races up for grabs? The answer, they can't. In Grays Harbor there are (3) Port Commissioners, (12) Hospital Commissioners in (2) districts, (5) Fire Commissioners, (5) School Board Members, (3) PUD Commissioners, (3) County Commissioners, an Assessor, Auditor, Treasurer, Clerk, Coroner, Sheriff, Prosecutor, (2) District Court Judges, (3) Superior Court Judges, nine (9) city Mayors, multiple council members in each of the nine (9) cities including (12) in Aberdeen and (12) in Hoquiam. Not to mention Drainage District Commissioners, Cemetery Boards and Special Purpose Districts. It's sufficient to say, ignorance is a valid excuse in elections. People have busy lives. So what is the solution? Allow (not require) candidates to name their party preference in any race. It will not make a race more political, just more clear.
There is a sizable difference between a liberal and conservative School Board Member, see CRT and CSE. There are differences between liberal and conservative city council members with regard to spending and budgets. There is a difference between a liberal and conservative on energy with our Public Utility District. Just like there is a difference between a liberal and conservative Prosecutor or District Attorney recommending sentencing. Vote for people that you believe will best represent your values. Friends don't let friends, vote for friends.
Opinion by Wes Cormier, editor of Grays Harbor Weekly.