Sunday, November 6, 2016

2016 Ballot, Colorado

Let's leave the Presidential race aside for a moment...


Michael Bennet (D), Incumbent, successful record of bipartisan leadership in Congress. Top issues include agriculture bills, access to health care, clean energy, immigration reform, and education. Supports a strong military, helps veterans get care. Former superintendent of Denver Public Schools. 100% NARAL and PP rating. Opposed conscience clauses for birth control coverage!

Darryl Glenn (R) -- By all accounts a bit of a hothead, extremely conservative. Called Democrats evil and said "working across the aisle" is just another way of saying capitulate to Democratic policies. Pro Life, but it doesn't appear on his website and has flip flopped on the issue, at first declaring he'd want his daughters to have access to all their options so they could make the decision themselves. Against any form of government monitoring of guns! Military veteran. It's possible once he got into office he would mellow, recognizing the need for cooperation with his colleagues. Likely to have little impact for his freshman term but could provide key votes on big issues depending on the rest of the Senate's make up.

* Not pleased with the Denver Post's coverage. "Glenn did not explain why he is blacklisting Colorado’s largest newspaper, but in an interview Thursday with KFKA talk radio, he appeared to link his decision to the Post’s coverage of his conflicting explanations of a 1983 charge for third-degree assault, which was later dropped." NO mention in this paragraph or the rest of the article that the third-degree assault was when he defended his MOTHER against domestic violence from his Dad!!!!! So misleading.

Lily Tang Williams (L) -- She is clearly passionate, but too biased by her communist upbringing to be in politics. She should advocate for issues as a lobbyist, not be in charge of anything. Pro choice, but supports restrictions based on viability of the fetus and empowering States to regulate the issue.

Arn Menconi (G) -- Intelligent, well spoken, lots of integrity. Endorsed by Boulder Weekly. Clearly very left-leaning. Anti-war, pro-individual freedoms. Firmly pro-choice. Issues not clearly defined, but supports allowing path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and typical liberal policies like increasing minimum wage and making college free. 

Third Party: Lumping the rest together. Very little info on any of them. Platform for Dan Chapin looks good, but no info on abortion and no experience working in government. Would like to be friends with some of these people but that's not how I base my vote.

Representative (finally an easy one!)

Mike Coffman (R): Retired Marine, Incumbent. Supports path to citizenship, instituted bill to allow military service for illegal immigants. Said he doesn't care for Trump and would stand up to him. Pro-life. Good track record of bi-partisan policies. Has moved farther left since his district became more diverse.

Morgan Carroll (D): Track record of bipartisan success while a Colorado Senator. Top issues are education reform to allow more people to afford college, gun control, campaign finance reform, fair wages, and civil rights for disabled, LGBT, minorities, etc. 

Norm Olsen (L): No experience

Robert Lee Worthey (G): Lots of great ideas, no record of working in politics or achieving any of them. Complete and total reform of everything is just not a viable option.

State Senator and Representative

Jack Tate (R) v Tom Sullivan (D) Tom Sullivan's son was killed at the theater shootings in Aurora a year ago. I sympathize with his pain, but that doesn't make him a viable political candidate. He doesn't have developed positions on most issues except gun control and subsidized housing. He is running as a Democrat, so I assume with his NARAL endorsement that he is pro-choice. Jack Tate is an incumbent with a great track record and endorsements from all sorts of varied organizations. He's a Catholic father of three who has won awards for his time in office. His positions are reasonable and put families, jobs, and the overall welfare of Coloradan's above partisan interests.

Susan Beckman (R) v Robert Bowen (D): Susan has been county commissioner, her husband is mayor of Littleton. Her interests are in maintaining local jurisdiction, fiscal responsibility, and strengthening infrastructure, especially transportation. Robert Bowen goes to my church and has wonderful ideas on helping the poor and vulnerable, then says this "the Supreme Court has ruled that women have a right to use contraception and obtain an abortion up until the point that the fetus becomes viable. Like other Catholics in public office, like Vice-president Biden and others, I will not support any bill that takes away those constitutional rights regardless of my personal religious views. That includes personhood bills, trap laws, or other back-door attempts to take away women’s rights under the constitution." In other words, any legislation that would limit abortion must be opposed, even a sensible law that would charge this woman with murder for cutting an unborn baby out of a stranger's womb. But that's just an attempt to take away women's reproductive rights. (Sigh)

CU Regent

Alice Madden (D) gets my vote because her opponent is partisan and closed-minded, which is not right for the governing body of a university.

State Board of Education Member

Debora Scheffel (R) vs Rebecca McClellan (D) Wow. Both intelligent, compassionate, committed women with a heart for making CO schools serve the kids and the community, both emphasizing listening to and working closely with districts and local supervisors, both incredibly well-spoken and thoughtful. Republicans tend to favor fewer mandates and more local control, but also don't give schools the funding they need, so which approach would be better? Going to stick with the incumbent, I think.

Justices and Judges: Retain ALL as recommended by an independent review board for Colorado.

Ballot Questions

T: Revoke criminal exception to slavery. FOR (Working while incarcerated and mandated community service is NOT slavery. WTF people?)

U: Exempt posessory interest from property tax FOR (Cut back unnecessary government activities; the amount is negligible.)

69: Create state-run healthcare system AGAINST (Increasing taxes for an undetermined state plan that doesn't have the power of a Federal system to negotiate with providers and insurance companies is not the answer to our health care problems.) Colorado Medical Practitioners oppose, as does just about everyone else.

70: Increase minimum wage AGAINST (Federal law already mandates an increase, this measure would increase more and faster than necessary with possible detriment to agriculture and restaurant industries. Would also require another amendment to adjust it, whereas I prefer the legislature to have authority over that.)

71: Make it harder to put initiatives on the ballot FOR (Why do we have elected representatives if we're going to throw every issue out to the people with the only requirement gaining signatures that you could get in an hour at a downtown Lite Rail stop? Prop 106 shouldn't even be on the ballot, since it has twice been rejected by the State Legislature, yet here we are about to pass it!)

72: Increase taxes on tobacco products AGAINST (Spending is locked into the constitution. This doesn't need to be a constitutional amendment. It's short-sighted and impacts low income addicts disproportionately. We should be taxing liquor instead.)

106: Legalize "Aid in Dying" Medication AGAINST (This bill has been twice defeated at the state level in the legislature because it lacks standards of protection and reporting. Proponents argue that other states with such legalization have had no incidences of fraud, but that's because it's impossible to track activity that can't be reported. It's not the answer, nor is it as easy and painless as proponents lead others to believe. There is a real danger that passing this amendment will encourage abuses like in California and Oregon where the right to receive medical treatment is denied to those who want to live.)

107 and 108: Amend the political primary system to allow unaffiliated voters participate FOR(I'm for these amendments but read them wrong and filled out the wrong circle so I'm technically voting against but encourage others to support them. GAH.)



Trump/Pence (R)

I have yet to hear a credible reason to vote for this ticket. I know many people, kind and intelligent, who support Trump for various reasons. I disagree with them wholeheartedly, with every breath in my body.

To those who say we as Catholics must vote pro-life, I say TRUMP IS NOT PRO-LIFE and anyone who believes he will place the rights of the unborn above any other issue has not been paying close attention to who he is and what he represents. I hear things like:

What an incredible reparation Mr. Trump is making now for any past faults by the very fact that he is running as the Republican nominee for president and is ready to nominate the right kind of judges and sign the right kinds of legislation, which will steer our nation away from so many morally corrupt public policies. A penitent sinner could hardly have a more substantial opportunity to make reparation.From LifeSitenews 

I remain unconvinced that he has had a change of heart and is actively attempting to make reparation. It does not seem likely to me that this man, who is uncompromising in his own self-righteousness and has never apologized or admitted fault for the statements he's made about women, minorities, immigrants, those of other religions, or those who disagree with him, is likely to be honestly and sincerely attempting to reform his position to align with his party. It is MUCH MORE LIKELY that he is lying, saying whatever he needs to say to retain conservative support, and pretending until he reaches his goal, at which point he will no longer have any reason to be pro-life and can allow the issue to fade from his consciousness.

To those who say we should vote the platform that aligns with our beliefs, or that Pence is a decent person and a great candidate, I say THERE CAN BE NO PLATFORM IF THE CANDIDATE REJECTS IT. He cannot be trusted to embrace any Republican principles once he gets into office because he cannot be trusted, period. The idea that the Republicans in office will be able to exert control over him once he is President with a system of filibusters or checks and balances, is preposterous. They have no control over him right now. He steamrolls his advisory committee, contradicts his running mate, and insults anyone (including the top brass of his party) who dares to question his integrity or his suitability for office.

To those who say he will do something about illegal immigration, I say IT IS NEITHER FEASIBLE NOR REASONABLE TO BUILD A WALL. The answer to illegal immigration and abuses of the welfare system by illegal immigrants will not be solved by closing our borders, they will be solved by comprehensive reform that includes a path to citizenship, migrant work visas, and other measures that address the very real needs of illegal immigrants while also protecting American economic interests and security.

To those who say he will name conservative judges to the Supreme Court, I say WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT HE IS GOING TO DO. Nor do I believe it is wise to give great power to someone unstable in the vague hope he will promote powerful people who agree with our values. If Trump doesn't agree with our values, why will he appoint others who do? Once he is in power, what motivation does he have to do anything other than support those issues he has spent a lifetime promoting (increasing his own wealth and destroying anyone who opposes him?)

To those who say he will create jobs and prosperity because he is an intelligent businessman who thinks outside the box, I say NOTHING CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED WITHOUT COOPERATION, and Trump has no ability or desire to cooperate.

To those who say he's better than Hillary, I say IN WHAT WAY? No matter what issue, belief, character flaw, or policy you find objectionable in Hillary, TRUMP IS WORSE.

There is no way I will vote for Trump. I implore you to also avoid voting for this reprehensible human being who has never demonstrated he is capable of anything but lying, bullying, cheating, abusing, posturing, and misogyny. Please. PLEASE. Do not put this man in charge of our country.

Clinton/Kaine (D)

I believe Hillary will be an effective president. She is smart. She is able to bring people together and accomplish things. She is the most experienced and qualified person ever to run for President in the history of our country. She knows everyone in the world, has seen the Presidency from the inside, and has dedicated her entire adulthood to public service. She truly cares about people, and about America.

I support almost every one of her policies. I think she is brilliant and her plans will help the middle class, create jobs, protect children, increase tolerance and prosperity, and advance the American Dream. I don't agree with her support of the Iran nuclear deal, but am willing to support her efforts to gain allies in the Middle East if it means that we will actually defeat ISIS on the ground and create opportunities for real democracy in that region. I don't particularly like the people who support her and I don't agree with many of the decisions she has made, but I acknowledge her brilliance and believe she is, at her core, a good person who has a passion for making the world a better place.

I fundamentally disagree with her on two key policies. I am particularly concerned with her increasingly virulent opposition to any measures that would restrict or regulate abortion, and her stance against conscience clauses and religious freedom in general. For a long time, I have felt the Democratic party is moving away from a respect for religious participation in the public square, and that it has been hijacked by extreme pro-abortion factions that don't allow for even the most reasonable restrictions on abortion.

It am heartsick that someone as intelligent and wonderful as Hillary is pro-choice. I know early in her career, she was much less stringent in her support for abortion on demand at any stage of development and for any reason. I know that is it her party and the growing extremism of our political process that has pushed her so far to the left.

My faith has urged me over and over to prayerfully consider life issues at the forefront of any political decision. Abortion is an intrinsic evil, it is never justified, never "necessary." So many good and caring people believe life is sacred, but do not want to interfere in difficult moral situations, or impose their views on another person when doing so would inflict suffering on them. I do not see pro-choice politicians as supporting an intrinsic evil because they themselves are evil. I do not believe that anyone who supports abortion must necessarily be wrong on every other issue. Nor do I believe that a simple statement that one supports overturning Roe v Wade is enough to offset anti-life policies in other areas of the law, particularly when the process to overturn Roe v Wade is so lengthy, difficult, and fraught with conflict at every stage that it is in all practicality impossible. I will not allow my vote to be hijacked by a movement whose fundamental principles I espouse but whose methods I believe are misguided and doomed to failure.

Until this point, I have never voted for either major party in a Presidential election. But I am doing so in this election because the need to keep Trump out of office supersedes all other issues. Preventing a Trump Presidency IS a life issue. The lives of immigrants, refugees, soldiers, women, the poor, and Muslims are truly at stake. If a conservative blogger who opposes Trump is receiving death threats from Trump supporters, and has to have police protection when he leaves his home, that is undeniably a life issue. This man's LIFE is being threatened by those who support Trump, and the Presidential Candidate has not spoken out against it. On the contrary, he has encouraged violence against those who oppose him at his rallies and in speeches. Electing Trump will create a culture where violence is not only tolerated, but sanctioned, and where incendiary language is used to inflame divisions and hatreds even between people who otherwise agree. Nor is it hypothetical to imagine he will use military means to achieve his ends when he has always used force to get what he wants.

Johnson/Weld (L)

In general, I don't support the Libertarian platform. There are a few issues here and there, but the major ones (protection of the unborn and providing government care for the poor) are not supported by Libertarians while issues that I find troubling (lack of strong military, legalization of all recreational drugs) are promoted. I strongly considered voting for Johnson, however, because I find both the Democratic platform and the Republican platform to have major flaws. I would like to see them both reformed, or perhaps a third or fourth party enter the race. I prefer a coalition government to form during an administration, centered around individual issues. I feel this form of government would allow for more flexibility and facilitate cooperation instead of our current system, which creates division and drives a wedge between two extreme positions. Republicans oppose whatever Democrats support, and our fractured system has slowed, and at times even stopped, political progress. While I understand that, in general, a two party system provides greater stability, it is apparent from our current situation that it doesn't always work out that way.

I do not believe in any sense of the word that voting for a third party candidate is "throwing away your vote." 

In response to this article which claims there is only three options: 1. Vote for the candidate you like best. 2. Vote against the candidate you dislike most. 3. Allow others to make the decision for you (not voting, or voting for a third party both fall into this category.)

First, there is a big difference between voting third party and not voting. As the article rightly points out, in an environment where many people decide not to vote for passive reasons, it is impossible to distinguish those who decide not to vote as a protest. However, choosing to vote third party cannot be seen as anything other than a rejection of the two major parties. Most of the electorate find themselves able to support one of the major party candidates. For those who cannot, voting third party is a way to voice those values we seek and are unable to find in the major party platforms. It also means that our values mean so much to us we are unable to abandon them. It is, at its core, a protest and an attempt to make our voices heard.

The author of the article makes it clear that we have a two party system, and voting for a third party is ridiculous because it changes nothing. Perhaps it doesn't change the two party system. I'm not sure anything could change it, given that it would require a constitutional amendment which would have to be proposed and supported by one of the two major parties! So how, other than a protest vote, can the populace express their desire for reform? Moreover, it doesn't have to change the two party system, per se, it just has to change the two parties.

All that being said, I've decided the stakes are too high to risk a Trump presidency. Since I would not have voted Trump in any situation, voting for Johnson takes a vote away from Hillary, and I'm not willing to do that in a swing state with so much on the line.

* I would like to note that it has taken me over seven hours to write this post. I have done nothing all day except research and think and pray, and this is after following closely the election coverage since the nominees were announced this Spring. If you have a comment, I welcome it, but I won't tolerate name-calling, insults, or disparagement against my intelligence, the sincerity of my faith, or my efforts to do what I believe is right following the dictates of an informed conscience.