Who are you voting for?

It was recommended that I look at The Stranger’s political endorsements for the 2018 election in Washington state — they’re great. If I still lived in Washington, I’d have a crystal-clear idea of who I’d vote for in November. There isn’t a single man mentioned until the 9th race they cover! That’s becoming my rule of thumb now, when in doubt, vote for the woman.

It’s not always a good rule, because there are horrible women, too. For example, here in Minnesota we have a non-partisan election for the Minnesota Supreme Court, with Margaret Chutich vs. Michelle MacDonald. Oh no! Both women! How will I decide? Well, it turns out MacDonald is running because Chutich is married to a woman.

In a recent interview, MacDonald singled out Chutich’s sexuality as helping her decide who to challenge in this year’s election. Three other members of the court are on the ballot this year but are unopposed. “It factored in, but it wasn’t the only reason,” MacDonald said. “ … When that came to me, that piece, I’m just like, ‘Yep, that’s the one.’ ”

MacDonald said she views Chutich’s marital status as her right but cast it as a “liberal view” counter to MacDonald’s conservative philosophy.

“Spiritually, the reason why you connect with somebody is to procreate, basically,” MacDonald said. “And I’m pro-life. You can certainly publish that. I’m not afraid to be pro-life.”

Modified rule of thumb: when in doubt, vote for the lesbian.

Also, her opponent is named “Michelle”. Minnesota Michelle’s tend to be a bit…problematic.

The elections in Minnesota don’t have the clarity of the one’s in Washington, Chutich not withstanding. I’ve got to go in with a clothespin over my nose because too many of our choices stink. Locally, or state rep is Collin Peterson, a blue dog Democrat who opposes abortion rights, because we’re in a rural conservative district and he’s the kind of guy the Trumpistanis out here will support. I can’t stand him. Most years I look at his standing before the election, and if it looks like he’s going to win it in a walk I just abstain from voting for him. Of course, if that’s the kind of Democrat we get out here, you can imagine what kind of slobbering, barely-evolved horror he gets to oppose him from the Republican side, and what kind of odors the ballot is exuding.

You can look at OurRevolution’s 2018 endorsements. They don’t even mention my congressional district. They’re just quietly looking the other way and recognizing that we’re hopeless.

I’m also unhappy with the gubernatorial race. Our Dem candidate is Tim Walz, another conservative Democrat who was taking lots of money from the NRA and is condescendingly position by the state DFL as the kind of guy who will do well “outstate” — the term Twin Cities politicians use for all us yokels living out in the sticks. It’s our local version of “flyover country”. There’s always someone lower than you to sneer at.

I’ll probably vote for him, because his opponent is an even bigger asshole.

And then there’s the tragic case of Keith Ellison, who is running for state attorney general. He has had multiple accusations of abusing his girlfriends, which have been investigated and found baseless…but still, it’s undeniable that the women he’s been in relationships with end up not liking him very much. This is another case where I’d be leery of voting for him, except that his opponent, Doug Wardlow, is stunningly regressive, openly transphobic and homophobic, and a proud member of the Alliance Defending Freedom. Just ask the SPLC about the ADF.

Founded by some 30 leaders of the Christian Right, the Alliance Defending Freedom is a legal advocacy and training group that has supported the recriminalization of homosexuality in the U.S. and criminalization abroad; has defended state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people abroad; has linked homosexuality to pedophilia and claims that a “homosexual agenda” will destroy Christianity and society. ADF also works to develop “religious liberty” legislation and case law that will allow the denial of goods and services to LGBT people on the basis of religion. Since the election of President Donald Trump, the ADF has become one of the most influential groups informing the administration’s attack on LGBT rights working with an ally in Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Yeah, no.

Anyway, I hope everyone is planning to turn out and VOTE. Even if your ballot reeks a bit and you have to wash your hands afterwards. If you don’t vote now, you’re going to have to wear a biohazard suit to enter the voting booth in 2020.


  1. Akira MacKenzie says

    Wanting to avoid the rush on the 6th, I stopped off at City Hall yesterday and cast an early vote. I voted straight Democrat down the line until I reached the two local races that only had one (Republican) choice where I wrote in my name.

  2. mathman85 says

    If you don’t vote now, you’re going to have to wear a biohazard suit to enter the voting booth in 2020.

    Assuming that there will even be elections then.

    Vote. Vote like your lives depend on it… ’cause this time, they definitely do.

  3. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Cast my ballot Monday, the first day early voting was anyplace other than the county courthouse. Very short line. New procedure, where I was give a card with my ballot information which a a touchscreen computer swallowed, and then displayed the choices. After voting and confirming my votes, the computer spit out the card with the record of my votes, which then went to a separate optical reader for tallying and saving the ballot in case of recount. D’s down the line, except when the R was running unopposed (usually judges for some reason).

  4. says

    If it was true that your lives and liberty are at risk due to the outcome of the elections than the US is already to far gone for the democratic process to work anyway. I’ve voted in the past. Not this time. I a m not giving political identification to a Trump lead state.

    Again it seems like liberals don’t believe what they say…I show myself out.

  5. Akira MacKenzie says

    Mike Smith @ 4

    If it was true that your lives and liberty are at risk due to the outcome of the elections than the US is already to far gone for the democratic process to work anyway.

    As bad as things are, they are not THAT bad just yet. We’ll know that the democratic process is too far gone when we don’t have the ability to vote anymore.

    I a m (sic) not giving political identification to a Trump lead state.

    You do realize that ballot is secret, yes? Unless you’ve got evidence to prove otherwise, your fear seems unfounded.

    Again it seems like liberals don’t believe what they say…

    And what, pray tell, do you think we’re saying?

  6. Sean Boyd says

    Here in WA state, we went to mail-in voting statewide about a decade ago, IIRC. So I’ve already voted and turned in my ballot. You would think that this would help improve turnout numbers. It really doesn’t, though. Still, it seems to work okay, even if getting definitive results takes a few days.

    My district, at both federal and state levels, generally swings blue by a fairly comfortable margin. All of my legislators are garden-variety Democrats, but it could be so much worse, I suppose. I don’t generally vote for judges…too many of those races are people running unopposed, so the vote really makes no difference. And in those instances where there is an actual contest, I rarely see a real choice between “This former prosecutor” and “That former prosecutor.”

    Mike Smith @4,
    It’s sure a good thing that you didn’t comment in a public forum, then, or leave any kind of signature that the Trump state could use to learn your identity if it so chose. You dodged a HUGE bullet there.

  7. robro says

    Emma Goldman allusions, a slap at “liberal” (whatever that is) perfidity…all is hopeless. I think I’ll have a Ding Dong with taco sauce and drink a fifth of cask strength. Then vote. Again. Same spirit. It’s the only game in town. Life’s choices are too complicated.

    My go-to source for voting info is the SF Bay Guardian endorsements. The former publisher, Tim Redmond, regained control of the name, runs it as an 501(c)(4) to preserve old newspapers, and continues to produce the election analysis and endorsements as an online source. It’s pretty good, particularly for state and local initiatives. I don’t always agree or follow the endorsements, but it’s a reasonable starting place.

    For example, SFBG has no endorsement for governor, although the presumed “liberal”, Gavin Newsom, would be the natural. He took a major political risk as SF mayor, and he supports single payer, but he’s a rich/connected politician who will not push issues against “corporate” interests.

    SFBG endorses Feinstein’s opponent, Kevin De Leon, also a democrat. As the endorsement says, “Our issue with the incumbent senator has nothing to do with her age; she is clearly still competent and qualified. We just don’t like her politics.” Amen to that. I haven’t voted for many times. I have had to vote for her at times because her opponent was a bigger pig at the trough.

  8. says

    Sometimes, often even, there are no good choices, just a bad one and an absolutly fucking terrible one. The first past the post system with essentially only two parties to chose from often does that. This probably isn’t the place to start a debate on the need for electoral reform, but we need one. In the meantime I suppose we must put the clothes peg on and keep voting for the bad over the truly terrible.

  9. MHiggo says

    Mailed in my ballot on Saturday. It is somewhat odd, voting in a state where the legislature is (at least nominally) non-partisan but auditors, assessors, and engineers run partisan campaigns. I’m sure it all made sense back in 1934, though.

  10. throwawaygradstudent says

    @4 Mike.

    That’s ridiculous, ballots are anonymous. All that is recorded is that you voted.

  11. whheydt says

    Vote for the woman, vote for the lesbian are both good. Much more basic is, if there are no good choices, vote for the lesser of two evils. Another one I tend to apply is, vote against the incumbent, as I think elective office should NOT be a career.

    In California, it used to be that we’d get not-very-good Democrats running against absolutely-terrible Republicans. With the system in place now (the so-called “jungle primary”), one may actually find two good candidates on the ballot. That happened in 2016 when it came down to Kamala Harris vs. Loretta Sanchez in the US Senate race.

    As for Feinstein vs. De Leon… Feinstein is, I think, an example of a moderate to liberal office holder who hasn’t changed over time, so she is now moderately conservative. I think for that, among other reasons, she is past her “sell by” date. I also think she only survived this long because the Republicans used to run absolutely horrible candidates against her.

    Other than things like that, I’m just voting anti-Trump, not that it’s going to make much difference in this blue part of a blue state. (Some of the ballot propositions are more interesting than many of the candidates.)

  12. starfleetdude says

    Our Dem candidate is Tim Walz, another conservative Democrat who was taking lots of money from the NRA and is condescendingly position by the state DFL as the kind of guy who will do well “outstate” — the term Twin Cities politicians use for all us yokels living out in the sticks. It’s our local version of “flyover country”. There’s always someone lower than you to sneer at.

    At the state convention the DFL party officially endorsed Erin Murphy, a state representative in St. Paul, for governor. Walz chose not to abide by the party endorsement and ran in the Democratic primary which he won, thanks in large part to votes from “outstate” Democrats. You don’t have to like the results of the primary, but let’s not portray it as some kind of cynical positioning by the DFL when Walz won the primary fair and square, just as Governor Mark Dayton did back in 2010 when Dayton didn’t get the DFL party’s endorsement.

  13. antigone10 says

    What are we supposed to call people who live outside of the Twin Cities if not “out-state”. If there is a name they would prefer more (or you think is more fitting) please let me know. My relations all live in the northern corner of the state and they say they live “outstate” when people around here ask where they live.

  14. says

    The voting for a woman unless strikes me as kind bogus. Thatcher was after all a woman, as was Indra Gandhi as for that matter was Hilary Clinton. None of them better or nearly as good as the men they ran against. Of course when referring to Clinton I’m saying vs Sanders, not Trump.

  15. anat says

    Sean Boyd @6: Re: Judges: The important thing is to weed out pure scammers and clowns that occasionally challenge people who know what they are doing.

    This year in Washington state several traditionally red congressional districts are competitive, so anyone who lives there, please make damn sure to vote.
    Also some promising initiatives.

    Re: Voting by mail – according to the League of Women Voters the reason voting by mail did little to increase participation was that most people who preferred voting by mail were already doing so previously. Though this year we don’t even need to pay for stamps, so there might be a very small upward tick.

  16. says

    It’s not always a good rule, because there are horrible women, too.

    What? No. It’s a fine rule. The cases you cite to the contrary are cases where there wouldn’t be any doubt, so a “When in doubt, X…” rule would never apply.

    I have to admit that here in Canada the “when in doubt, vote Indian” rule works delightfully well – and yes, I phrased it exactly like that because membership of the BC Bands or the First Nations is just as likely to effectively break the tie in a manner that generates net social good as subcontinental ancestry. Indigenous and Indian MLAs and MPs do a lot of good here.

    Just voting based on race or gender (or the race/gender intersection) is obviously problematic and I wouldn’t do it. But if choosing between candidates in a race you investigate the persons, the policies, and the parties involved and can’t find a reason to prefer one over the other, then fuck yeah having a tie breaker like that can be just fine. In a country still recovering from colonialism, providing diverse role models for our kids is a net good even if nothing else distinguished one candidate from the other

    …but of course, when a new, unexpected issue crops up on which neither candidate campaigned, those tied candidates are more likely to agree with my thinking on that issue I was unable to anticipate and research when they’re women of color. That, too, is a net good.

  17. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    I’m not personally a fan of early voting, by which I mean I enjoy the ritual of going down to the polls on election day and casting my vote then, but I work from home so it’s easy for me; I have no objections to others doing it. (Although here it’s only sort of possible; technically we only have absentee voting, so you have to have some sort of excuse, but I don’t think they’re very strict about the excuse.)

    Anyway, I’ll vote straight Dem (Senator, USRep, County Board, School Board). Oddly enough, in this very blue corner of a purple state, the only Dem who’s likely to lose is the candidate for County Board, who is running against an ex-Republican Independent incumbent who for boring local reasons is very popular.

  18. Onamission5 says

    The R’s candidate for local county sheriff is a zero-experience, tire store owning MAGAt who told local news that a “hardline approach” to instill “respect for law enforcement” will solve our county’s problems and uses phrases like “failed social experiment” to refer to the Obama era recommendations for more effective community policing. The I’s candidate is a recently arrested stalker who can’t form three complete sentences and put out posters saying his campaign was “Paid for by Christ.” The D’s candidate is a 25 year vet in the city police, outspoken about the need for de-escalation training in policing and refusal to comply with ICE– oh, and he’s a black guy. I’d have voted for him anyway given his stated policy preferences and those of his opponents but the fact that it’s 2018 and we’ve never had a black sheriff clinched it. As if it needed clinching.

  19. Onamission5 says

    I desperately wish I was making any of the above up re: the R and I candidates. Alas, ludicrous as I realize it sounds, it’s all true. This is the country now where we USians live. At least I have hope the D candidate will actually win; unlike with the elections for our area’s two US reps, in county elections one cannot simply gerrymander the region’s oft deciding-vote city in half in order to cancel out our voices.

    I do not want another term of Mark Fucking Meadows, tell you what. Nor does the part of the city two miles to my east want another term of Patrick Fucking McHenry, but we don’t get much of a say in that any more.

  20. tomh says

    @ #15
    Regarding vote by mail, the Washington Post had an article earlier this year on the subject.
    Letting people vote at home increases voter turnout. Here’s proof.

    The challenge in trying to evaluate the impact of vote at home on turnout is that there’s never a control group. Turnout rates in the states where everyone can vote at home — Oregon, Washington and Colorado — have increased since the system was adopted, and they’re now among the highest in the country. But because elections are complicated, and each state’s demographics are unique, it’s hard to prove that vote at home is the cause.

    So they commissioned a study using the Colorado 2014 election, which was implementing vote at home for the first time, created a model based on publicly available voter information, and found that voters that their model rated unlikely to cast ballots turned out in far greater numbers than predicted. That was one conclusion, it is an interesting study.

    I admit to being prejudiced since here in Oregon we’ve had vote by mail for 20 years and I swear by it.

  21. says

    The races I have the hardest time choosing who to vote for are the local ones. I live in a small town, and I don’t have much knowledge of the school board members or city councilors. None of them have websites. We don’t really have a local newspaper – just one of those “shopper” papers that anybody can place an ad in. Even then, those candidates who put ads in the shopper just say “I’m running for school board. Please vote for me.” With no further information on which to base a voting decision. How do I choose which 3 of the 8 candidates to vote for? Even PZ’s suggestion of voting for the women doesn’t narrow it down much when over half the candidates are women. I’ll do all the research I can, but in the end, I might just pick randomly from the women’s names.

  22. richardgadsden says

    I used to live somewhere where you voted by picking your first choice and second choice and so on, so you numbered the candidates.

    And I used to complain that none of the candidates were good enough for me. And my father gave me a really good bit of advice: “son, you vote with ordinal numbers, not cardinal ones”. He’s right – you don’t vote for a good candidate; you vote for the best one. Doesn’t matter how good or bad they are in the abstract; just whether they’re better or worse than the other choices on the ballot.

    It’s not about a standard of acceptability – just a comparison between the people on the paper.

    If you don’t like any of them, then you need to get someone better on the ballot next time – that’s what primaries are for in the US – but that doesn’t remove your responsibility to vote for the bad candidate to beat the worse one. Refusing to vote doesn’t delegitimise anyone, it doesn’t take away your consent from the system. It just means that you’re happy with everyone else’s choice. And … have you seen every one else? They don’t make good choices.

  23. says

    Going out to earlyvote today. Fortunately I do have a good local paper and could look up information on a lot of the local elections–but, not all of them. In many of the races there wasn’t enough information or it was so close that there’s not a lot of difference. There is, in fact, one local race where the Republican looked better than the Democrat… but it’s county clerk, and they do voter and election stuff, and I don’t know that I actually trust Republicans for that.
    In the case of school board, all the candidates looked pretty similar–except for the one I couldn’t actually find any information on. If I recall, last year one of the candidates was like, anti-evolution or something or other, I forget what exactly but it was bad and terrible.
    Our senator rep, Joe Donnelly… isn’t great, but he’s good enough. The House race in my district, though, the Democratic challenger Liz Watson seems great and I really hope she wins!!

  24. whheydt says

    In cases, like local races with little or no data on the candidates, I start by going through what data there is (usually candidate statements in the voters handbook) and eliminating as many unsuitable candidates as I can. Then I pick as best I can from what remains. Things I may use to eliminate candidates are things like spending all their time talking about how religious they are or positions they hold in their churches. That alone frequently eliminates up to half the possibles.

  25. Ichthyic says

    “There’s always someone lower than you to sneer at.”

    “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”


  26. chris says

    TomH: “I admit to being prejudiced since here in Oregon we’ve had vote by mail for 20 years and I swear by it.”

    I love it too, and I am just north of the border from you. Especially since I have been out of town a few times during an election. Now our ballots some with postage, so that should help.

    Isilzha Mir: “The races I have the hardest time choosing who to vote for are the local ones.”

    Aargh! I feel for you. At least our county and state send us voter’s pamphlets with information on local, state and federal candidates. I go through each one, writing notes on some of the candidates that stand out. You can imagine what I write about “Good Space Guy” (that is not a joke), and others with similar dispensations.

    My younger son who is a full grown married man with a job actually comes to our house to check up on my notes just for the laughs, and mostly to agree (he endorsed Sanders for president, thank sweety… didn’t help… though neither did your sibling’s vote in Wisconsin!).

    I must confess I have found the voter’s pamphlet to be both informative and entertaining every since I was in college and got the 1976 version that is still somewhere in this house because of the OWL party: https://www.camaspostrecord.com/news/2016/nov/03/remembering-the-owl-party/

  27. suttkus says

    Wanna trade “Democrats”? We’ve got Kim Daniels, a “Democrat” who not only opposes abortion, but who sponsored a “religious expression in schools” bill, sponsored a “Display ‘In God We Trust’ in schools” bill (ostensibly because it will reduce gun violence!) and is upset that the US government isn’t doing more to protect citizens from witchcraft. I’m not entirely sure what led her to think she was a Democrat, but I’m pretty sure I understand why she’s running without Republican opposition. Why bother?

  28. methuseus says

    Here in Florida we have Bill Nelson running for Senate against Rick Scott. Need to vote for Bill to keep Rick out of any further political office, but he’s not all that progressive. He’s I believe the third least progressive D in the Senate.
    I’m also voting for Attorney General where the R is a woman, but has pretty bad views. Luckily the D is a black man, so it feels less bad to vote against a woman.
    I’m also voting to remove anti-abortion judges (in FL they’re appointed, but can be removed by voters at election time) from here in FL.
    It’s sort of funny in looking at the candidates. I actually looked closely at all the candidates rather than just voting straight D. Some of the Rs looked decent until That One Thing where (as a former Catholic) you want to pull out the crosses and holy water. It’s not like it’s something questionable about them; it’s a “holy shit people actually voted for this person?” moment.

  29. KG says


    I don’t doubt home voting increases turnout. It also allows the family bully/patriarch to coerce everyone else to vote the way he (almost always, “he”) wants. And potentially allows people to sell their votes (who do you think is most likely to be buying?). We need to strengthen the secrecy of the ballot, not weaken it.

  30. Joey Maloney says

    @21 Isilzha Mir:

    I used to live in a small town like that. You know what you can do to figure out which candidates to vote for? Call ’em up. Ask ’em questions about what’s important to you. Ask ’em what’s important to them.

    Lots of times in a small town candidates are local business owners which means you can even drop in on them and talk to them in person. If not, if they’re employees or retired, there’s no reason you can’t call them of an evening and spend 10 minutes or so listening to why they want to be elected.

    Believe me, in local races most candidates are so delighted that someone even knows who they are, they’re happy to talk. If they’re not or they’re rude, well, that tells you something too.

  31. methuseus says

    @KG #30:
    Regarding protecting the secrecy of the ballot, how do I remember which candidates to vote for? Not all races are D or R or straightforward. I also had to research ballot measures to understand what they would really do. I’m not allowed to bring anything into the voting booth with my ballot, so how do I make sure I remember the proper things to vote for?

  32. consciousness razor says

    I’m not allowed to bring anything into the voting booth with my ballot, so how do I make sure I remember the proper things to vote for?

    Not even a piece of paper? Perhaps not cell phones or similar gadgets, but that’s not “anything.” I guess it may be a different story in some states, although it shouldn’t be. Some people need help, and it’s not like it would pose some kind of security issue.

    Anyway, I’ve never had a problem bringing a scrap of paper with a list of names, in case my memory fails. (I’ve never needed it so far, but I tend to over-prepare for a lot of things…. It’s probably more useful in primary elections, since there are non-obvious choices to make then.)

    It’s awfully nice that the county clerk sends me a sample ballot. (Doesn’t happen everywhere — elect a decent one who does their job! Some family look at what their shitty local paper decides to print, which is terrible.) That way, I can research all of the candidates well ahead of time. And that info goes on the potentially-handy paper that nobody ever cares about.

  33. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says


    Just keep in mind that you’re not voting for her, you’re voting against Speaker McCarthy and Chairman Nunes and the like.

    And yes, I know she’s running unopposed, but it’s still important to get as many votes as possible. And then primary her out of office in two years.

  34. magistramarla says

    We’ve both voted here in South Texas. The lines have been extremely long, but we got to exercise head-of-the-line privilege because of my disability, so it was very easy for us.
    It was also very easy to vote straight D, since we both feel that any Democrat on his/her worst day is better than any Republican on his/her best day in this state. I only had to research the last vote – for head of the aquifer council. The incumbent mentioned that he had started as a D activist environmental lawyer and had transitioned from working on the outside to working on the inside to do the most that he could to protect our water resources for all. His challenger was careful not to mention a party, but was a former banker who said that he had financed many in the agricultural sector and came to realize how important water resources were to that sector.
    We both agreed that the man who wanted to work for all was a better bet that the one who seemed to be focused on working for one group of voters.
    When it came to the Rs who were running unopposed, I just left those blank. I couldn’t bring myself to marking a vote for anyone with an R behind their name.

  35. microraptor says

    Oregon’s had vote by mail since longer than I’ve been old enough to vote, I’ve never voted any other way.

    This year, we had a wingnut Republican running against our incumbent Democrat governor (he’s been claiming to be a moderate for the past couple of months, but during the primary he ran on a “look how much I’m like Rump” campaign and he’s got a poor voting record), an absolutely… is “batshit insane” ableist? Because that describes Art Robinson, the Republican running against our incumbent Democrat Congressman Peter DeFazio for the fourth time.

    Voting on the ballots is also pretty serious: the state ballot measures are all about making tax loopholes for businesses, allowing state funding to go to private low-income housing, cut off state funding for abortions, and eliminate Oregon’s Sanctuary Laws. No on everything.

  36. charley says

    I had a chance to chat with one of the candidates endorsed by The Stranger when she came to my door a few weeks ago. I found their analysis consistent with my impressions, so I tend to trust them for the others.