I did not vote on Saturday as intended, life having determined it had other plans for me– which actually turned out to be good, as I had forgotten that there were ten Goddamn people running for the three at-large City Council seats and maybe I ought to look into that. Therefore, having spent part of my evening browsing campaign websites, and for those for whom my opinion might be relevant:
This will be a brief note and not a full post, as I am barely even awake and really need to get myself up and moving, and chances are those of you for whom this is relevant know how to find my in my Clark Kent identity anyway– but I’m planning on voting early today, as is my usual preference, and I’ve decided I am voting for Regina Williams-Preston for Mayor of South Bend today.
The simple fact is that most of the current Democratic mayoral candidates are running on very similar platforms; there seems to be broad agreement about where the city is at and where we should be focusing our energy and our funds in the current years. We have an abundance of good options here. I am voting for Regina because in the years I have known her (through my job) she has built a reputation as a tireless, dedicated and approachable educator and as a member of the City Council she has been the type of public servant who looks for and builds consensus where it can be found. Feel free to seek out some of the national news articles that have been written lately about how she and Pete Buttigieg worked through some of her concerns about the 1000 Homes in 1000 Days program that convinced her to run for City Council in the first place, if you like.
The official election is this Tuesday, and early voting is available downtown right up to Election Day. A mayoral primary in an off year is likely to only draw ten thousand or so votes, so this is literally a situation where every single vote genuinely counts. I encourage any South Bend folks who are reading this to head down to the County City building today or tomorrow and vote for Regina.
I say it every time I talk about local elections in South Bend: the actual election is the Democratic primary, particularly with respect to the mayoral race, because the local Republican party absolutely refuses to run anyone with the remotest shred of credibility. In the last several years their candidates include demonstrably crazy people and at least one person who was homeless while running for office. They’ve run exactly one credible candidate since I moved back here in 2007 and he spent his entire race running against the city. Turns out if you think a place is a terrible shithole where no one should live, the voters who live there don’t choose you to run the place! I know, it’s weird.
Seriously, this was an actual mailing by those fuckers. Forgive me, it’s the highest-DPI scan I can find and it’s not great:
… yeah, that’s even worse than I thought. It reads: RIP: Here lies South Bend, a once vibrant city now abandoned by business, overrun by violent crime, and driving people from their family homes because of high property taxes.
Now, put me in charge of this awful place that I obviously hate!
Yeah, good luck.
Anyway, I talked about Republican candidate Sean Haas’ shitty website the last time I talked about the mayoral race around here. I am compelled to let everyone know that I have seen my first Sean Haas yard sign, and this motherfucker, who supposedly is a teacher, has no fucking clue whatsoever how capital letters work:
There are ten total and six unique words on that goddamned sign and two of them need capital letters and don’t have them. I dunno, maybe some of you out there think I’m being superficial, but this is a level of don’t-give-a-fuck that I would find shameful from a middle school student. I have both a former student and a former co-worker in common with Haas, although I’ve never met the guy, and while they both say they won’t vote for him neither of them think he’s a terrible person. So, fine, I won’t cast aspersions upon his ancestry or anything like that. But if your damn lawn sign has two typos and only ten words you do not get to be Mayor. I need people who give a shit in that job, and this guy clearly doesn’t, and furthermore he doesn’t have anyone working for him who gives a shit either or this abomination would never have made it out of Photoshop.
Or, y’know, Paint.
It was probably Paint.
So, yeah: when whoever wins the Democratic nomination wins 70-30 in the fall, this is why: it’s not because South Bend is so monolithically Democratic that a Dem win is inevitable– South Bend is in Indiana, after all– it’s because none of the local Republicans give enough of a shit to actually put up a nominee who is worth the money spent on his campaign.
(EDIT: I think I’ve decided who I’m voting for, by the way, but I think I’ll save it for another post and not step on this one. Needless to say, it won’t be Haas.)
You are probably aware by now, one way or another, that my mayor is running for President. I’ve talked about it around here a bunch, I’ve donated money to his campaign a couple of times, and on my last candidate preference he was in second place. He has spent much of the time since then annoying me, but that’s another post.
Here’s the thing, though: South Bend needs a new mayor! And our mayoral elections are held the year before Presidential elections, so it’s this fall– and I believe early voting for the primary has already opened and the actual primary is May 7. There are, I think, nine Democrats running for mayor. The local Republicans have probably selected a local malcontent of one sort or another; they have not run a remotely credible candidate in something like twelve years, and that guy spent the entire election running against the city he supposedly wanted to run, and lo and behold we decided not to put him in charge of the thing he obviously hated.
(Which is another point in my long line of reasons to never vote for Republicans. Republicans believe that government is worthless and cannot do any good. Why, then, would I ever put one in charge of government? They will prove themselves right!)
Anyway, whoever wins the Democratic primary is going to be the new mayor. I don’t know who the Republican candidate is, but there’s only one and he’s gonna be some flavor of lunatic and about 20% of the population will vote for him and that’s gonna be it.
I have no idea who I’m going to vote for. Our local newspaper hasbeenrunningprofiles of the various candidates and is about halfway through them at the moment. I know two of the candidates personally (if you live around here, and you’ve ever seen a picture of Oliver Davis in a Santa suit, that’s my Santa suit) and have met a third a handful of times, which is really weird. Those three, plus the guy that Buttigieg has actually endorsed, are the four I’m looking at most closely right now, but I’m going to be paying attention to the Tribune profiles on the other four.
There has been no polling that I’m aware of. My gut tells me that James Mueller is probably the frontrunner just because of Buttigieg’s endorsement, but maybe not? I dunno. He sent out a pretty comprehensive mailer about his plans and ideas a week or so ago, and I liked what I saw, but I also feel like it’s time for South Bend to have a black mayor, and the other three candidates I’m looking at– Oliver Davis, Regina Williams-Preston, and Lyn Coleman– are all African-American.
So I’ve got some work to do. Road signs are starting to pop up all over town, so I need to start scouting out townhall meetings and seeing which candidates have credible websites and such. It’s a weird feeling, to really have no idea which of these four I ought to be pulling for. I mean, the presidential primaries don’t start for months and you go seven or eight candidates deep before I start getting into folks I don’t have opinions on. I need to hold the mayoral candidates to the same standard, I think.
UPDATE: I had a brief moment where I felt like maybe I was being unfair to Sean Haas, the Republican candidate. After all, when I wrote that paragraph up there I didn’t even know his name. So I looked him up, and this is literally the first thing that you see when you look at his website:
Two typos in your opening text is too many typos, and the rambling article that follows is an ungrammatical bloody mess. If you can’t find a proofreader for your website you don’t get to run my city. So. Bye, dude.
I’m … probably not going to actually do this every month until the election? And, well, actually, it doesn’t even make sense to say that, because there won’t be 1000 candidates for the nomination for very long. So this won’t be a regular feature for long enough to become annoying. But what the hell, it’s fun and helps me organize my thinking a little bit. So. Again, don’t take the specific rankings all that seriously.
Also, I’m removing the two minor candidates who I went a month and didn’t hear anything from. I’ll put them back in if they ever start making any noise.
Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren (TIE). This may very well be a function of the way I consume news nowadays, but it seems like for the last few weeks every time I turn around Warren’s campaign has been announcing some bit of policy that I like, and I feel like Harris has been mostly quiet. This is more a function of me learning more about Warren and liking everything I see than any drop in my admiration for Harris, but at this point I’d be perfectly happy with either of them. Put a gun to my head and I still probably vote for Harris but I feel like I want to recognize how much happier I am with Warren than I was a month ago. So: tie.
Pete Buttigieg. I know I’ve been talking about Buttigieg a lot more than any of the other candidates, but that’s because he’s still such a longshot. He’s raised enough money from enough people to qualify for the first debates, and his townhall on CNN went phenomenally well. Right now I still kind of hope he’s running for VP, though; I’d drag my nuts over a mile of broken glass to cast a vote for a Harris/Buttigieg or Warren/Buttigieg ticket– and in Warren’s case, this would go a long way toward calming my concerns about her age.
Jay Inslee. I’ve seen a few interviews with Gov. Inslee in the last month, and I really like what I’ve seen from him. He’s currently at the top of the “I don’t know much, but I like you” pile.
Kirsten Gillibrand. Whose name I spelled correctly on the first try, thank you very much.
Julián Castro. Another who really hasn’t changed positions much from last month.
Cory Booker, and at this point we’re edging into “Ehhh … I will if I have to but I’d really rather not” territory. Most of everything I’ve seen from Booker this month has caused me to roll my eyes and/or groan, and I was already not super hot about his candidacy in the first place.
(A fairly wide gap, not represented by any single candidate)
Beto O’Rourke. Beto talks a good game and can be inspiring at times, but I had a moment where I realized just how much he reminds me of John Edwards, and … no, thank you, let’s all move on. Another friend of mine compared him to the male professor who teaches classes on feminism and is secretly sleeping with several of his students. He’s kind of a douchebag and I don’t really know how much he believes anything that comes out of his mouth and a guy who couldn’t beat 10,000 slugs pretending to be human in a poorly-fitting suit does not get to then go “Oh, never mind, I’ll just be President instead.” Plus I feel like he’s stealing oxygen from Buttigieg, who would be a vastly better President.
John Hickenlooper. Who I initially forgot all about, but ends up low on the list because of his dumbassed “Why aren’t we asking women candidates about white male VPs” comment. We don’t need you, dude.
Tulsi Gabbard. Still hasn’t made enough of an impact to give me a reason to move her down, also has given me no reason to move her up.
Bernie Sanders. I’ve said my piece about him any number of times and it’s not really necessary to repeat it again. But he’s not last anymore! Because of …
Andrew Yang. He keeps popping up on my radar on Twitter, and every time it’s because he’s being dumb one way or another. That said, he makes most of the second- and third-tier candidates on this list look like frontrunners in terms of his chances of being elected, so I probably don’t even really need him on the list at all.
Howard Schultz. Also probably shouldn’t be here because he’s not a Democrat in any way I’m willing to recognize– not even in the half-assed way Sanders is– but still, fuuuuhuhuhuck this guy.