Here are my endorsements and recommendations for Election Day 2016.
President and Vice President
If you’re still undecided, then I doubt there’s anything I could say that would change your mind. Suffice it to say that I wholeheartedly endorse Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine, and I believe that any other vote would be irrational, immoral, and quite literally threaten the survival of the United States. And I assure you that is not something I’ve said about any previous presidential election.
Representative in Congress
Vote for the Democrat.
The Republicans have brazenly endangered this country, its government, and its institutions. Their racism, sexism, fear-mongering, obstructionism, and alternative-reality politics have brought our country, and the world, to the brink of disaster.
Our system of government cannot function effectively without two healthy, reality-based parties equally engaged in the work of governing. To be sure, there will always be extreme disagreements between the two parties, but where we are now has gone so much farther that “extreme disagreement” is completely invisible beyond the horizon. And no, despite what the Republicans would like you to believe, that is not equally the fault of the two parties. The Democrats have not attempted to shut down the government multiple times. The Democrats have not refused to give judicial nominees hearings. The Democrats have not threatened to jail Republican presidential candidates. The Democrats have not nominated a racist, sexist, power-hungry demagogue as their candidate for president. I could go on and on until my fingers are worn down to bloody stubs, but the plain fact of the matter is that right now, one party is trying to govern and move the country forward, and the other is trying to obstruct and move the country backward.
What needs to happen is that we need to find our way back to a world where liberals and conservatives disagree but still live, and govern, at least within shouting distance of the same reality. The only way that is going to happen is if the Republican party is destroyed in this election, so that a new, more sane conservative party can rise from its ashes.
So please, vote for the Democrat.
Senator Will Brownsberger is running unopposed; nevertheless, he deserves your vote. He is a good, honorable man who has devoted his life to public service and done a damn fine job of it.
Question 1: Slot machines at Suffolk Downs
I have always opposed the legalization of gambling in Massachusetts. Casinos and slot parlors are a blight on the communities in which they are located. They entice people to gamble away money they do not have, making poor people even poorer and a few obscenely rich people even richer.
As such, I cannot possibly support expanding gambling in Massachusetts even further.
I recommend voting NO on question 1.
Question 2: Charter school expansion
Charter schools have their place within our public education system, but this proposed law goes to far. Our traditional public schools are underfunded, and contrary to what the well-heeled special interests (including the Koch Brothers!) backing question 2 have been saying, not only will passing question 2 not increase funding for public education, it will dramatically decrease funding for traditional public schools in districts that need it most.
Senator Will Brownsberger has written extensively about why he is voting no on Question 2. I agree with all that he has written on this topic, and he says it far better than I could and from a position of far greater knowledge and authority, so if you’re unconvinced, I heartily recommend that you read what he has to say. His most recent article can be found here, and it links to his earlier writings.
I recommend voting NO on question 2.
Question 3: Humane treatment of pigs, calves, and hens
This proposed law also goes too far.
I would not object to legislating more humane treatment of livestock on farms in Massachusetts.
However, the burden this law places on retail businesses in Massachusetts, by prohibiting them from selling products produced out-of-state under conditions that would be illegal in Massachusetts, is simply too onerous.
It is unreasonable to expect retail businesses to trace every product they sell back to its source to obtain guarantees that it was produced under conditions that are consistent with the proposed law. That’s not how retail works. That’s not how our food chain works. Even if it were possible to do such a thing, it would be entirely unreliable and therefore useless.
While such a requirement would not lead to more humane treatment of livestock outside Massachusetts, it would increase the cost of pork, veal, and eggs across the board for Massachusetts consumers. Pork and eggs are staple foods among even the poorest of Massachusetts residents. Given the choice between “slightly improve the living conditions of livestock” and “don’t make staple foods more expensive for the people who can least afford it,” I choose the latter without hesitation.
I recommend voting NO on question 3.
Question 4: Legalize recreational marijuana use
Recreational marijuana use has been legal in Colorado for two years. The sky has not fallen. There has not been an epidemic of deaths from marijuana overdoses (in fact, it’s nearly impossible to overdose on marijuana; it is much easier to die from alcohol poisoning). Drug addition has not increased measurably. There hasn’t been an increase in kids dropping out of school.
In fact, the only significant outcome from legalization in Colorado has been a huge increase in tax revenue which the state has been able to put to good use, and a huge decrease (to $0) in the cost of arresting, trying, and jailing recreational marijuana users.
This, more than anything else, proves that there is no legitimate government interest in recreational marijuana use being illegal. And when there is no legitimate government interest in something being illegal, then it should be legal. Period, full stop.
But that’s not all. As with all other illegal recreational drugs, enforcement of marijuana laws has fallen disproportionately on the black community. Blacks do not smoke marijuana more than whites — in fact, the data suggests the opposite — but in Massachusetts across the country, blacks are arrested, tried, convicted, and sent to jail for marijuana far more than whites. Simply put, the “war on drugs” has been, since its inception, a war on black people in this country. Since the government has proven incapable of solving these racial disparities, we must take the law into our own hands, so to speak, and put an end to them the only way we can — by legalizing marijuana use.
I recommend voting YES on question 4.
Question 5 (in Boston): Community Preservation Act
The Community Preservation Act (CPA) is a smart growth tool that helps communities preserve open space and historic sites, create affordable housing, and develop outdoor recreational facilities. CPA also helps strengthen the state and local economies by expanding housing opportunities and construction jobs for the Commonwealth’s workforce, and by supporting the tourism industry through preservation of the Commonwealth’s historic and natural resources. [ref]
The City of Boston needs this.
I recommend voting YES on question 5.