October 1, 2022

Hi Folks – Political polarization seems to be the name of the game everywhere; outside the Party, across Parties, within the Dem Party, within even our own AD55. It’s really a messy scene out there, with wedge politics ruling the landscape.

At the same time as we’re riven, it seems the Republicans are more-so from overreach of their own doing. The full-frontal assault on abortion isn’t going well for the GOP as well it shouldn’t since it is fundamentally unconscienable.  As the Democratic Party struggles to retain our majority federally, within this State yoked by its “jungle primary”, top-two vote-getter advancement, extremes seem also to be selected for across most races. This feeling is ironic as the initiative was sold in 2010 as promoting less polarization, yet it can also be seen as having forced more of it.

The polarization played out last month at LACDP’s general meeting when our local AD55 delegation’s endorsement recommendations were vacated. Ordinarily the Democratic Central County Committee (aka LACDP) receives recommendations from its constituent AD-delegations of approximately 7-10 folks local to that jurisdiction. In that way the full county committee can endorse with a modicum of integrity, else, for example, my recommendation from WLA regarding Democrats in, say, Palmdale, would be absent any local frame of reference and pretty unreliable.

So countywide endorsements from the LACDP really come largely by ratification of smaller constituent AD-delegation’s recommendations. In the case of our own AD55 there was some undercurrent of mistrust and incomplete information that forced the subgroup’s recommendation to the full body which essentially recapitulated the decision-process of the subset. It was all quite dramatic and overheated, all the more remarkable considering that LACDP meetings remain remote, subject to forced muting with no right of inquiry and tightly apportioned statements.

LACDP’s final endorsements can be found on its webpage here; use the tabs to cycle through six election “levels” (eg, county-wide, LAUSD, etc). And the state Party, CADEM’s, statewide-candidate endorsements are here. LACDP’s over 80 chartered Democratic Clubs are hyperlinked individually here to private websites that often display a page of their particular endorsements.

Ballots will be sent out within the next couple weeks; overseas ballots have been mailed already. If you would like to display your personal ballot specific to all the intersectional jurisdictions you inhabit, there are several good sources online. Each of these enables you to make a selection and printout your choices:

    • The LA County registrar will load an interactive ballot (in 13 language selections) tied to your address or name. The software is not currently loading sample ballots and may be unavailable until the ballots have officially “dropped”. You can complete this ballot online and code it so as to print out at a voting center for your approval and casting there in person should you wish.
    • The League of Women Voters supports a nonpartisan information space called “Voters Edge,” here. The sample ballot displays information that candidates supply about themselves. Measures are presented with contrasting pro and con positions furnished by partisan committees, as well as links to state-provided information and analysis.
    • The Blue Voter Guide supports a partisan (“Blue”=Democrat) ballot listing all candidates and measures, annotated with “blue” endorsements from nearly 100 partisan organizations. The guide can be programmed to notate and print a favored group’s choices, overwritten with your personal hand-picked selections.

I have not yet investigated all 39 candidate races or 13 ballot measures for my particular section of AD55. Your final count of election decisions may vary. The number is positively daunting even for the extremely engaged. But I will publish a follow-on “Letter to My Daughters,” with reasonings, as soon as possible.

In the meantime, this “Follow The Money” article explains what I believe to be a problem of incumbency inherent to the system. To me this is “why we can’t have nice things”, like, say, universal health insurance. The political system is self-sealing in its information flow and without good information we cannot adequately perform our responsibilities as voting citizens. It’s quite discouraging that when faced with the exhortation to “elect better Democrats,” we may be lacking, or even deprived of, adequate tools to do so.

Finally, as part of CDP’s Voter Protection Team, I will be involved with the training of volunteers for its Voter Resources Hotline. Please consider lending your skills to the team as a phone operator, poll monitor or volunteer elections professional if possible. There is a particular need for Mandarin and Spanish speakers, while everyone is encouraged to join with whatever level skills you are willing to share.

Yours, nervously:  Please let’s get everyone out to vote like this democracy depends on it!