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Becoming a Democratic voter

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This month, I did something I once thought I would never do.

Screenshot of the online voter-registration form on the California Secretary of State's website, with my party preference filled in as Democratic.

My whole adult life, I have been what’s known as a “no party preference” or NPP voter. (Sometimes called “independent”, but this is ambiguous as there is a party called the American Independent Party, and they are very much not centrist or big-tent.)

Largely this has been because I don’t like political parties. And I still don’t. In theory, they’re money and resource pools for candidates to draw on; in practice, we often see them working against insurgent candidates who are proposing change. I’d much rather have campaign finance restricted to some equal share of a publicly-funded pool, with strict laws and even stricter enforcement. (Yes, I know there are risks there, too. There are no perfect solutions.)

I also have always held a somewhat idealistic openness toward third parties, largely as a result of all of the shitty things that politicians of both major parties and the parties themselves have done—some credible competition might help keep them honest.

But now?

John Wick, from the first movie, with his lines changed to “People keep asking me if I have a party preference. And I haven't really had an answer. But now yeah… I'm thinkin' I've got a party preference!”.

On top of the significant difference between the two major parties these days, there is also some realpolitik involved.

For one, I’ve accepted the fact that as long as we have a first-past-the-post voting system, our elections will always tend toward two polar parties, with all the other parties and all the candidates and voters arrayed around them like iron filings around a bar magnet. Ranked-choice voting is a prerequisite (but not the only step by any means) to dismantling the two-party binary. And until we get there, power resides with the two major parties and power must be won and wielded to make change.

But more immediately, the current election in California, which started this month and ends March 3rd, is not only a primary—it’s also used by various Democratic Central Committees (county party organizations, basically) to elect their board members.

As a NPP voter, the Democratic Party in California would let me vote in their Presidential primary—this is called requesting a crossover ballot, and it’s done through the same form through which you request a vote-by-mail ballot. You then get a ballot for NPP voters that includes the Democratic Presidential primary.

But a NPP voter cannot vote in their county’s DCCC election. That’s for registered Democrats only.

So that’s what pushed me over the edge. In San Francisco, we have two roughly-defined slates of candidates running, one formed of current and former elected officials looking to transition from holding power in state or City government to holding power in the county Party, and the other a slate of activists who want the Party to drive progressive change.

One of those Democratic Parties sounds a lot better to me—and I want to cast my vote accordingly.

As I mentioned, the election has already begun—I had already received my crossover ballot when I made the decision. I emailed the SF Department of Elections and got confirmation that once I re-register (and check the box to receive mail-in ballots, same as I did last time), a new ballot would automatically be sent to me. So I did the thing, got my new ballot, and will discard my crossover ballot.

(If you want to do this, the deadline to register and get a Democratic mail-in ballot was February 18 here in California, but you can do Conditional Voter Registration at any polling place/voting center in your county. If you’re in another state, check with your Secretary of State or county Department of Elections.)

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SteveRB511
211 days ago
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Trump’s quest for revenge could mean the end of whistleblowing - The Washington Post

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SteveRB511
225 days ago
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I don't think that this is an end to whistleblowing. This is something that should not be easy to do or without potential cost, otherwise we get into too many frivolous accusations. Having said that, one has to admire the courage it took for these people to stand against a highly corrupt presidency.
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Americans think “made-up news” is a bigger problem than climate change

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U.S. adults are more likely to say that “made-up news/info” is a big problem than they are to identify climate change, racism, terrorism, or sexism as such, according to a study out from the Pew Research Center Wednesday: Fifty percent of those surveyed said made-up news (the artist formerly known as “fake news”) is a “very big problem” in the United States. By comparison, 46 percent called climate change a “very big problem”; 40 percent said the same about racism; 34 percent said the same about terrorism.

“Made-up news/info” can’t touch some other issues, though — like drug addiction and affordable health care. It ranks only a hair behind income inequality.

The report is the bleakest I’ve seen when it comes to the partisan divide in the United States around fake news. Republicans are much more likely than Democrats to identify made-up news as a “very big problem.” (They are, after all, told it’s a huge problem repeatedly by the president.) They are also more likely to say that they see it “often,” and they are three times as likely as Democrats to blame journalists for creating it. Republicans are also more likely to say that they have “reduced the amount of news they get overall” out of their concerns over fake news.

Here, for instance, are Americans overall:

And here are Republicans:

Seventy-nine percent of Americans think “steps should be taken to restrict made-up news and information intended to mislead” — a statistic that is frightening for journalists considering that Republicans are more likely to think fake news is a big problem and to blame journalists for it, and when you consider that some of the harshest “fake news” bans have come from countries with authoritarian governments where the bans can be seen as clamping down on journalism and free speech. Pew didn’t ask, in this survey, precisely what measures Americans think should be taken to reduce fake news — but 53 percent of survey respondents said the greatest responsibility comes from “the news media,” compared to only 9 percent who said the same about tech companies.

In addition to the political divide, Pew identified other demographic differences in Americans’ concerns about fake news. 18- to 29-year-olds are less concerned about fake news than those ages 50 and older, are less likely to say they encounter it often, and are less likely to blame journalists for it. In fact, “the only group that the youngest adults put somewhat greater blame on is the public (30% vs. 23% of the oldest age group).” 18- to 29-year-olds are also more likely than older age groups “to have taken certain steps to combat [fake news] or to limit their exposure to it.”

The full report is here.

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SteveRB511
473 days ago
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One issue with the perception and lack of critical thinking in regards to real and imagined fake news is that it affects the results of how people view all of the other problems listed
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2 public comments
betajames
473 days ago
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WTF
Michigan
cjmcnamara
473 days ago
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very normal and cool

The Manchurian Idiot

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After Helsinki, Trump isn’t as useful to Putin as one might think.
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SteveRB511
794 days ago
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Pretty much sums it up...
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White House Eliminates Cybersecurity Position

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The White House has eliminated the cybersecurity coordinator position.

This seems like a spectacularly bad idea.

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SteveRB511
857 days ago
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With collusion investigations, Russian hacking, emails, etc., why would the white House want cybersecurity people keeping an eye on things? ;)
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https://t.co/RCBGJXlm6c

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Posted by bloomcounty on Tue Nov 15 13:57:59 2016.


108 likes, 73 retweets


27 likes, 25 retweets
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SteveRB511
1405 days ago
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It's going to take a lot of scrubbing...
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