Pete Rates the Propositions
Sensible opinions on the California ballot propositions      since 1980      by Pete Stahl

Read the ratings:
Prop. 14 - NO
Prop. 15 - YES
Prop. 16 - YES
Prop. 17 - YES
Prop. 18 - YES
Prop. 19 - NO
Prop. 20 - NO
Prop. 21 - YES
Prop. 22 - NO
Prop. 23 - NO
Prop. 24 - YES
Prop. 25 - YES
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March 2004

The Recall

Pete StahlDear fellow Californians,

Please vote in the recall election. Turnout will be critical; your voice matters more than usual. The state has made it exceptionally easy. You can probably do it in less than five minutes. Please vote.

As my regular readers know, I do not rate candidates. I have nothing to say here on whether to recall Gavin Newsom. But I do have a few words of advice on voting for his potential replacement.

I strongly disagree with those who recommend recall opponents leave the choice blank. That’s voluntary voter suppression, and it could effectively surrender the choice of governor to recall supporters. It’s the pinnacle of irony that the same Democratic party that fights so hard against outrageous laws promoting minority-party rule in Georgia, Florida, and elsewhere, is now asking Californians to guarantee a victory for our own minority party if the recall succeeds. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

But who to vote for? With over forty people running, you can probably find an obscure candidate to fall in love with, one who shares your views on the issues most important to you. It will be tempting to vote for that person, even if he or she is not among the poll-anointed frontrunners.

That may once have been a good way to vote in primary elections (though Top Two primaries make it a poor strategy today). But this is not a primary. It's a general election, winner take all. And the winner will be decided by voters who vote for the major contenders.

Surely, one of those three or four must be acceptable. Not perfect, maybe, but better than the major candidates you really can't stand. You can help that acceptable frontrunner win, or you can vote your heart's true desire let the rest of us elect someone you may despise. Your choice.

It pains me to say that. You should be able to support your favorite candidate without risk. It can be unpleasant to vote for a frontrunner tainted by unsavory special interests, political naïveté, excessive dogmatism, or vicious attack ads. But you've got to play the hand you're dealt. You have just one vote. Use it as effectively as you can.

Happy voting,
Pete Stahl

p.s.: I am no longer using Facebook to promote this site. I cannot reconcile my commitment to level-headed, factual analysis with Facebook’s corrosive behavior in politics.

You can read about this behavior elsewhere; in brief, Facebook traps users in polarized bubbles, pushes discourse to the extremes, distributes misinformation and propaganda, and is the primary platform for foreign interference in U.S. elections. I cannot, in good conscience, participate in a medium that behaves so destructively and irresponsibly.

I wish you all the best this year. Get vaccinated. And vote!

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