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An Election Day primer

by: Eric B.

Tue Nov 06, 2012 at 10:34:59 AM EST

I can see by the Facebook and Twitter Internets that many of you have already voted. Good on you. I myself will walk the four blocks to city hall here in about an hour, after I've finished the morning coffee (and, based on the stuff I've seen so far this morning, the fact that I'm waiting that long has me feeling mildly inadequate). For The Boy, it'll be his second trip to the polls today. Before dropping him off, his mother took him. We've already had a brief chat about The Great Experiment that is democracy, and by the end of the day he'll probably get behind the idea that what we need in this country is a tin hat strongman. He appears excited enough that when I told him that we'd go at 11, he said he'd be home from his friend's at 10:45. When you can pry an extra 15 minutes from the hands of a 10 year old, you know you've made a mark.

Here in Michigan, in his last roundup of battleground state polls, Nate Silver is giving the incumbent a 95 percent chance of winning. It's based on polls, of course, that reflect among other things the president's competent response to a major natural disaster last week. It's God's way of saying, "If you like an executive who can competently manage a bureaucracy ..." Most people have conceded the state to him, so naturally we're following other races here.

And, not really the Senate one. Peter Hoekstra is learning the hard, hard lesson that opening a campaign by race baiting Asians isn't the way to win statewide office. At least he won't have Right to Life to kick around this time. The buzz is that the margin of victory could be such that downticket candidates might ride Debbie's coat tails. Not sure I believe that, but whatever.

That leaves us state and local races, and especially the six ballot proposals. I don't normally endorse, but I did this year and did with the ballot proposals because I felt the way they were being covered in the mainstream press was wholly inadequate. Everyone beat up on Proposal 5, which is easy because it's such a stupid idea. Everyone beat up on Proposal 6, which is easy because it was also such a stupid idea. As to the rest, it didn't feel as if anyone at any of our major media outlets actually read the language of the proposal and instead relied on summaries provided to them by people who'd taken positions on them. That includes The Bridge, led by Very Serious Person Phil Power, who took up the adults position of voting in favor of 1 and no on the rest. Anyway, after reading them and figuring out what they meant and how badly what the proposals say relates to what we were told they say, my position on the six is yes on the first four, no on the other two.

By the way, my last word on Proposal 2, probably because I was most surprised by the position I wound up at. It doesn't just enshrine bargaining rights in the state constitution, it returns to local governments the job of negotiating contracts with their employees. The Legislature shouldn't be telling people what they can and can't negotiate.

We've got three Congressional races to watch, the 1st, the 3rd, and the 11th. The 1st is so interesting that it's supposed to be of national interest. More interest to me is whether west Michigan will vote Lil' Fella out of office, because frankly I find him irritating. Posting votes on Facebook isn't transparency, asshole. It's posting votes to Facebook. The 11th is interesting because the probable winner will be even more insane than the person whose seat it was four months ago. That's what we call real progress!

There's also the state House. Word on the street is that everyone considers Roy Schmidt a dead man walking, and the real question will be whether Jase Bolger will also lose his seat. Voters in that district might have been interested to know that there were things in his personal history that hinted that he might be an unscrupulous scumbag, but no media outlet was really interested in doing any actual journalism this cycle. I haven't seen anything that leads me to believe that Democrats have a real strong shot at winning the state House, so the individual races are of more interest than the meta-narrative.

There are also a handful of local races, like the recall of Troy mayor Janice Daniels. There's some stuff going on in Detroit, but I've been too focused inwardly at the harrowing city charter amendments on the local ballot (such as changing the nature of the annual organizational meeting/election of mayor from the first Monday of the new year to any day in January).


Eric B. :: An Election Day primer
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Voter #308 here in Kentwood's 3rd precinct
No line, but that was because the staff had a couple tables set up (with dividers, of course) so we could sit down and vote, if we wanted to. I sat down and voted, but only because there were two open spots at tables.

In addition to the statewide stuff, there isn't much that's very competitive on the local level, except for the county clerk and sheriff races (in part because of third-patty candidates splitting up the conservative vote). I live in the new 2nd congressional district, where Huizenga has nothing to worry about when it comes to a second term.

Oh, and I voted for myself. ;-)

Now on Great Lakes, Great Times, Great Scott: Cotter vs. Jesus and Reagan

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