Who I’m Voting For, 2020 Edition

In case you were wondering, this is how I’m voting in the upcoming election. I’ve left out state and national races, partly because they’re largely not competitive but mostly because I’m writing in Bernie Sanders for President and I’m not about to suggest that others do the same. So here’s where I stand:

Mayor: Sarah Iannarone

Republicans simply don’t have a path to victory in blue cities like Portland, so they’ve had to run as Democrats in order for city governments (literally all of them) to be co-opted by business interests and police unions. This is a national trend, but Ted Wheeler is a personification of this model of shitty Democratic Mayor: a spoiled rich kid who who actively promotes right-wing policy and then acts like a helpless bystander when the inevitable results of those policies involve widespread community outrage, only to jump in to take the credit when the work of others actually advances progressive policy goals. You may have noticed that there are no Ted Wheeler signs in anyone’s yards, or that he lacks any grassroots support, or that he doesn’t seem interested in running a real campaign. That’s because he doesn’t care about you, he doesn’t want your support, and his campaign relies exclusively on rich donors and a sense of inevitability and elite consensus (see: endorsements) in order to win. Wheeler has spent the entire election cycle openly flouting the strict campaign finance rules overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2018, because he actually doesn’t believe that campaigns should be decided or financed by actual voters. His campaign relies on the model that all big D Democratic campaigns do: They accept large donations and spend that money on high-priced consultants who participate in the revolving door that exists between consulting firms, lobbying groups, and the campaigns themselves. It’s literally just people handing money to each other, with very little politicking actually taking place, as exemplified by the fact that his last campaign manager took a “new” job with the Portland Business Alliance, which promptly spearheaded a well-funded negative ad campaign against his main opponent, Sarah Iannarone.

In addition to Wheeler, there’s a write-in campaign for this office as well, run by a spirited group of supposed left-wing activists who are supporting Teressa Raiford, who ran for Mayor and did not make it to the run-off. I’m not opposed to write-ins as a rule, but I am adamantly opposed to this campaign. The most recent poll had Raiford at 6%, which guarantees that it won’t win and gives it a solid chance of swinging the eleection to Wheeler. But it’s not just that! As much respect as Teressa Raiford has as a Portland activist, her policy platform during her run for Mayor was significantly less Progressive and very much less detailed than Sarah Iannarone’s, particularly when it comes to police reform. Despite her supporters constant claims, she did not come remotely close for calling for police abolition, and actually called for MORE transit and traffic police on the beat. Even then, I can see writing her in as a protest vote IF the two candidates who ARE on the ballot were not significantly different from each other. But the two candidates are VERY different – and one of them is Ted fuckin’ Wheeler. And he’s gotta go. There is a very real chance that this campaign could suck enough progressive energy from Sarah Iannarone’s campaign to hand him the keys to the city for another four years. And we can’t let that happen.

Sarah Iannarone is not perfect, but she knows where her bread is buttered – and it’s not by the Police Union, it’s not by the Portland Business Association, and it’s not by the higher ups in the absurdly corrupt Democratic party – she doesn’t appear to have any national ambitions. Her bread has been buttered by the record number of small donations she’s received, and from all appearances she recognizes that. I’m as skeptical of her willingness to follow through on her promises as I am of any Democratic politician, but I am convinced that she deserves a chance at this and is a significant step up from Ted Wheeler. She knows who her constituents are and will listen to them.

A Ted Wheeler victory is not only an existential threat to Portland, but the state at large. His conservative bona fides essentially guarantee that he will have the red carpet rolled out to him if he wants to succeed Kate Brown as Governor or Ron Wyden as Senator, because the institutional party wants nothing more than to promote bland corporate candidates into the national spotlight (see Buttigieg, Pete). We need Ted Wheeler to lose this election and go away from politics forever. The only way to ensure that happens is by voting for Sarah Iannarone.

City Council, Position 4: Chloe Eudaly

The fool’s errand of focusing on identity over policy could not be more apparent than in this race. Chloe has been on the right side of most every major vote during her four years in office and is was by far the most progressive member of City Council before Joann Hardesty took office. She’s been a steadfast promoter of tenants’ rights, in addition to a noble (if failed) attempt to break the back of city-funded (and inherently racist) neighborhood associations. She’s been on the right side of police accountability, and has even moved further left in that regard in response to the recent protests. She’s a good City Councilor and deserves four more years.

Chloe’s opponent, Mingus Mapps, is a black man who is endorsed and boosted by both the Portland Police Union and the Portland Business Association, two groups who are both actively evil and hate Chloe Eudaly with every fiber of their beings. He claims that he won’t be beholden to them and that he believes in some nebulous and undefinable form of police “reform.” If you believe him, you’re a mark. If you vote for him, do it because you like the police and like big business. Because he’s their candidate. Not yours.

Judge Chloe by the enemies she keeps. Vote for her.

Metro Counselor, District 5: Chris Smith

I didn’t pay much attention to this race in the primary, but as the general election has rolled on, it’s become clear that this is a race between the Democratic Establishment, represented by Mary Nolan; and the activist wing of the party, represented by Chris Smith. You know which way I swing in that battle.

My sister has written a much better thread on WHY he’s the better candidate right here. Go read it!

Judge of the Court of Appeals, Position 9 – Adrian Brown:

I’m not going to pretend to have done a bunch of research on this one. But Adrian has some key endorsements – particularly from Joann Hardesty, who I trust implicitly on issues of criminal justice reform.

Ballot Measures: Vote YES on all of them, with the following level of enthusiasm:

Vote HELL YES:

Measure 107 – Campaign Finance Reform: One of my favorite questions to ask people is: If you could “fix” one major issue in American politics with the stroke of a hand, what would it be? For me, the answer has always been campaign finance reform. This ballot measure opens the door to that solution in Oregon – and while the Ted Wheelers of the world will always try to get around stuff like this, the results of this measure can only be good.

Measure 109 – Legalizes Psilocybin: Oregon could be the first in the nation to do this. Hell yes.

County Measure 26-211 – More Money for Libraries: Along with everything else that isn’t the police, libraries and public spaces of all kind have been de-funded over the past several decades. This goes a long way towards righting that wrong.

County Measure 26-214 – Tuition Free Preschool: It’s hard for me to even imagine a reality where this is available to us. I would love to sent Jonah to a publicly-funded preschool when his time comes!

Metro Measure 26-218 – Massive funding package for public transit: If you haven’t already, you’re going to hear a lot about how this bill is “poorly written” or has complex funding mechanisms with somehow unknowable results. The people who make these complaints are not doing so because they care how bills that increase taxes are written. They are doing so because they don’t want anyone’s taxes to be raised at all. They’re sowing confusing and mistrust because it is their #1 strategy for tanking bills like this, which fund public projects by putting a hand in the pocket of the people who have the most to give. It’s the definition of concern-trolling, and I highly recommend that you do not fall for it.

If you care about climate change, you have to believe in public transit. If you believe in public transit, you have to vote for this measure. It’s opposed by Nike, Intel, and pretty much every big business in the Portland Metro area, which can only mean that it’s a good thing. Vote hell yes.

PPS Measure 26-215 – Money to modernize and repair schools: It sure sucks that this is how we have to fund our schools, but it’s so important to vote yes on this stuff when you have the opportunity to do so!

Vote Yes, but with a shrug:

Measure 108 – Increase in cigarette taxes: It sucks that this is the only way the state can raise any money, and it sucks that this tax falls on poor people and that the only way we can dis-incentivize unhealthy behavior like smoking – which is largely driven by the stress of living under capitalism – is to impose more financial stress on people. I hate shit like this, but can’t bring myself to vote against it. If you do vote against it, I wouldn’t blame you.

Measure 110 – Funds statewide addiction/recovery services: Clearly we need more resources for drug treatment, but I’m skeptical of our ability to create a system that does so in a non-punitive way. That being said, this is still better than more jails, and more importantly it de-criminalizes possession of small amounts of a slew of drugs. So it’s important to vote yes on this one!

Measure 26-213: More money for parks and rec. Here’s the thing with this: It’s actually VASTLY more money than is needed by the department, and the scuttlebutt is that Wheeler will use this money to backfill the police budget and undo the cuts that came around in the last budgeting cycle. But even if that happens… it’s more money for parks, and I can’t vote against it.

Measure 26-217: Police accountability board. Frankly, this is another police reform measure that will inevitably prove ill-suited to the task. The police will ignore it, they will not be held accountable, and we’ll find ourselves having the same discussion, over and over again, as they continue to run rough-shod over freedom of speech and regularly kill unarmed black and brown people. It won’t do the job. But that’s not a good enough reason to not vote for it. (And people accuse me of being a purist!)

I think that’s everything, but feel free to let me know if I’ve left something out.

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