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Voting Philosophy

My voting philosophy is pretty simple. Here are my general rules:

  1. Vote against the incumbent, if there is one.
  2. Don’t vote for a candidate of either of the two major entrenched parties.

These are not rigid by any means. I’ll make an exception if I believe in a particular candidate or if some other calculus suggests itself.

Of course, following these rules often means voting for someone I don’t know too much about, or voting for someone who has values that are antithetical to my own. But I’m OK with that. These candidates usually don’t have a prayer of winning anyway.

For the record, I don’t consider voting for a no-chance candidate to be “throwing my vote away.” It’s a protest vote. This is not a frivolous choice. Given the current state of affairs, I think protest is the only rational approach. When the top contenders do not inspire, there’s no other way to express one’s displeasure. I wish we had a “None of the Above” option in many cases.

If I follow those rules tomorrow, I might vote like this:

  • Governor: Anthony “Tony G” Gentile is an independent who wants to raise the minimum wage. Or I might vote for the Libertarian candidate, T. Lee Horne III, who has this campaign video:

    The rap is by Lil Nuke. How cool is that?

    My electrician really likes Democrat Foster Campbell, who would appear to be an honest-to-gosh dyed-in-the-wool North Louisiana populist. I am tempted to vote for him.

    However, it’s generally expected that Republican Bobby Jindal will win this race. I think the reason for his huge lead is that he ran four years ago, and lost to Blanco. She muffed it so badly during Katrina that voters wish they had a chance to do it over and elect Jindal instead. That’s my theory, anyway. Hell, I’d consider voting for him myself if he weren’t such a right-wing nutjob. I just can’t support anybody who wants to teach creationism in the public schools.

  • Lieutenant Governor: Thomas D. Kates
  • Secretary of State: Scott Lewis
  • Attorney General: A toss up between Royal Alexander (Republican) and “Buddy” Caldwell (Democrat). The only other candidate is the absolutely unacceptable incumbent, Charles Foti.
  • Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry: I guess I’ll vote for Mike Strain, one of three Republicans challenging the Democratic incumbent Bob Odom, who is accused of money laundering and falsifying records.
  • Commissioner of Insurance: Egad. Democrat Jim Crowley, I guess.
  • BESE, District 2: Tough one. Both Givens and Marcelle are Democrats. One is accused of corruption, the other favors privatization of the schools.
  • State Senator, 4th District: Clayton Joffrion.
  • State Representative, 93rd District: Rhodesia J. Douglas.
  • Judge, Criminal District Court, Section A: I’m torn between Laurie White, a Democrat about whom I hear good things, and Gary Wainwright, who will be the only Green on my ballot but has been derided by some as an “asshole.”
  • Judge, Municipal Court: Desireť Charbonnet.
  • Councilmember at Large: Another tough one. I’d like to vote for Malcolm Suber. He seems to be the only serious people’s candidate. But since this is a primary, the following calculus comes into play. It’s very likely we’ll see a runoff between Clarkson and Willard-Lewis. I don’t like either of them. Who else has a shot at the runoff? Maybe Boulet, maybe Vassel. I was very impressed by his performance at the forum I attended. Plus I note that Vassel just left a comment on this very blog, and that strokes my ego. I may just vote for him. I don’t think Suber has a prayer to get into the runoff, more’s the pity.

Don’t forget there’s four constitutional amendments on tomorrow’s ballot. Here’s how I think I’ll vote on them:

  • Constitutional Amendment 1: Supplemental pay protection. FOR
  • Constitutional Amendment 2: Supplemental pay expansion. AGAINST
  • Constitutional Amendment 3: Funding of state retirement systems. FOR
  • Constitutional Amendment 4: Tax exemption for consigned jewelry. AGAINST

As a footnote, we’ll be back at our old polling place (Warren Easton High School) for the first time since the flood. It’s another sign of recovery and a nice convenience for us since it’s only one block from our house. You can check your polling location online.

Published inPolitix


  1. Scott Scott

    “1 – Vote against the incumbent, if there is one.”

    Throw the bums out; we need some new bums !

    Any vote other than Jindal will help to make him go to a runoff. So any vote is not a wasted vote.

    I’m really tempted to vote for Foster Campbell too. The idea that we can do away with income taxes and replace them with an oil tax is very sweet. One could hope that reducing/eliminating the state corporate income tax would attract some new employers to the state too.

    A small oil tax could generate enough money to fix the shore which oil exploration has devastated. I’m not a corporation hater, but do believe that they that do harm have to fix it.

  2. Max Max

    I’m curious why so many in the N.O. blogging community have expressed their support for Malcolm Suber.

    His populist platform, while inspiring, doesn’t pass the economic or feasibility sniff test. $16/hr minimum wage would drive out employers and disincentivize those earning less to learn new skills and increase their earning power. He proposed opening a lot of new clinics, hospitals, and capping rents (and then offering real estate tax exemptions), but his only funding source is federal government handouts, which will run out eventually.

    At some point, New Orleans will have to become a self-sustaining city. The City can’t rely on federal taxes and charity in perpetuity.

    It is time to open the New Orleans economy, not close it with a high minimum wage and unions (which would make N.O., already one of the least-business friendly cities in the country, the absolute worse, and 100% non-competitive with neighboring cities and states).

    Ask yourselves this: What is better for New Orleans, Massey’s opening a new store and HQ on North Carrollton and employing 20-30 individuals, or subsidizing housing for those 20-30 individuals and watching Massey’s move their operation to Mobile, or stay in Metarie?

    Suber has a long record of community activism and deserves many of the accolades that he has earned, but his platform of subsidies and handouts comes at the absolutely wrong time for this city and he would be a disaster in City Council.

    Here are my other thoughts on the election:

  3. e e

    I’m having the same trouble with you about Suber.
    I think enough people are hearing about him at this point that I’m going to go ahead and cast my vote for him even if he has no chance of making the runoff. If he can just hop over SOME of the more established names in the race, a point will be made.

    For Insurance Commissioner I urge you to write-in for me. E from WeCouldBe Famous.

  4. Anthony Anthony

    Wow… we might have two candidates in common. I’m going to make my decision about senate district 4 in the booth tomorrow.

    I don’t see how Malcolm Suber is the serious peoples candidate. I know a lot of serious people and not one of them would consider voting for him. Or anyone who thinks he seriously has a shot. Unless of course, you mean the serious “peoples” candidate. And by reading his platform I am assuming this is some sort of code for mostly poor and usually black “peoples” As if someone who isn’t poor and isn’t black isn’t entitled to be people. What’s a white guy who worked his way up at his job, by acquiring skills and becoming known for his abilities, to over $16 dollars an hour supposed to do if he can’t be ‘people”. Or how can a black person in the same position supposed to be people either. It is a campaign focused upon the needs and desires of a particular class and a particular race of “people’. Not the entirety of the “Peoples” of New Orleans.

    We, as a city, made it a very good place to be dirt poor or filthy rich. And we’ve neglected all those folks in between that have a job, pay their taxes, contribute to society and otherwise make an economy run. It’s time we started to pay a little more attention to the “people” in the middle. The SUNO graduate who has to leave town to get a career level job. Hell, any college graduate who has to leave town to get a career level job. High school students who see nothing in their future in terms of employment that will let them earn enough money raise a family. We’ve given poverty all the room it needed for the last 30 years and we got crime and hopelessnes in return, we need to give prosperity a chance.

    And anyone who wants to simply reopen the housing projects without redeveloping them is simply on the wrong track. Folks have tried all their lives to get out of those projects which concentrated poverty to the point it squashed out all investment in the area, blighted the neighborhoods that surrounded them, and set up turf wars in the neighborhoods between them, and folks like Malcolm Suber want to throw them back in? It’s not acceptable.

  5. I’m curious about your near support of Suber. You may have seen me comment on this elsewhere, but i was totally turned off by Suber’s appearance in that crime march video that Dambala had. The preacher that spoke about wanting to seemore concern for black victims seemed sincere, but standing next to him, Suber gave the impression of only wanting to be disruptive. I know that none of us can read minds, but we can try to read faces and body languages.

    Suber was also part of the loud crowd that gave Carter the opening to water down the IG bill — Carter just happened to water it down with provisions that Nagin wanted. Not that I think Carter, Nagin and Suber were in cahoots. I think Carter and Nagin were, but Suber had his thing and they had theirs’.

  6. Garvey Garvey

    Jindal would be the best thing for LA. Forget the non-issues about him being “right-wing,” whatever that means. If he can deliver on the economic promises he’s made, then it would be good for everyone. Tax reforms could pump up the economy and get LA booming again.

    OK, commence the vitus dancing.

  7. “She muffed it so badly during Katrina that voters wish they had a chance to do it over and elect Jindal instead. Thatís my theory, anyway.”

    And a fine theory at that. A supervising clinician once told me “guilt is the most useless of feelings.” To think that we’re going to determine our future based on collective guilt and regret… sigh…

  8. David David

    I think Foster Campbell’s election could have some profound effects, for Louisiana and beyond. The oil and gas tax would raise gas prices throughout the nation. Essesntially, it would be a state-wide tax that the entire country pays. So for every dollar that locals paid, the state would get 100 from elsewhere. You can’t beat that. Plus, increasing the cost of gasoline should lower the consumption of it, which would be a step in the right direction regarding global warming. Few states are in a position to assess a tax like this one.

  9. David David

    Another thing–

    Scott is right that any vote that’s not for Jindal increases the likelihood of a runoff. That’s true, and that’s great. But there’s a very real chance the runoff could between Jindal and someone less attractive, like Georges and Boasso. So I wouldn’t miss the chance to vote for a viable candidate with a position that would mark a dramatic, positive change for the state.

  10. If Jindal “governs” as governor like he’s “represented” as a representative (over 150 missed votes since August), we’re doomed.

  11. J.B. J.B.

    Also bear in mind Jindal no-showing the candidate forums. In a place already suffering from absurd neglect at every level, inaction speaks louder than words.

    Jindal and Nagin: Laissez-Unfaire

  12. I didn’t vote yesterday until about 7 p.m. because for the first time in years I seriously considered not voting. In my not-so-humble-and-plenty-grumpy estimation, virtually every race was being contested by nutjobs.

    I had also been seriously considering voting with a bag over my head (a la ‘aint’s). I had intended to call the ACLU to find out if a voter could do such a thing but I had other, more pressing matters. So when I checked-in at my voting station last night I asked if I could have voted with a bag over my head. The fine woman who took my voter card and pronounced “r” with two syllables said she would have asked me to take off the bag to verify my identity, but that I could vote with the bag on my head. My mother-in-law suggested walking into the polling station backwards as an alternative to the bag over the head. Maybe next time if the slate of candidates is as bad as this one was I’ll do both.

  13. james sebastian james sebastian

    I am for Royal Alexander for Attorney General. He represents the future. Buddy Caldwell represents the corrupt past. We must get away from it if we are to survive as a state. This is an easy choice.

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