The Merlin 2018 Voting Guide

For a country that celebrates its freedom and democracy by shooting bombs into the sky just because we like the color of the explosions we also make it somewhat difficult to participate in said democracy. Whether it be the confusing fact that we vote on a Tuesday (a relic from our days pre-civil war as an agrarian society), or that in many places the local Governments are actively trying (as an election strategy) to make voting harder, American elections are fraught with obstacles that have been highly effective as stymying the vote. Even those of us who seek out the tortuous ordeal of voting in-person on election day see the glaring holes in the system.

One of those holes is that political marketing and campaigning have taken traditional methods (stumping, speeches, position papers) and modernized them for the mobile consumer. Speeches are on Youtube. Policy quips on Twitter. Speech transcripts on Facebook. And along with that bit of tradition comes the darker side as well. Politics has been as much about mudslinging as it has been about positive messaging, and this too in the age of the social network clogs up our feeds with accusations, inferences, and implications that Candidate X may not be the right candidate for me after all.

How do we sort through all that? Enter the political party – Red versus blue. Us versus them. Liberals versus Conservatives. “I don’t know anything about her, but she’s a Democrat like me – she’s got my vote.”

But in the modern era of ever-shifting party principals, much of which is based on simply being in opposition to those who are trying to agree, how can you guarantee that someone holds your interest enough to earn, truly earn your vote?

This basic question – who should I vote for – isn’t a simple one. It’s not supposed to be. I understand that it’s difficult and, frankly, daunting to do the research required to understand what the candidates stand for and what their intentions are. Misinformation is rampant. Dismissal of real and valid information of “fake news” is now as ubiquitous as actual fake news.

I’ve written this after doing my best to research the ballot choices in California this year, while also adding a few other races from around the country in. I’ve done my best to look at both sides (if there is one), and offer you a choice in how I see it. I’ve also tried my best to explain why I’m voting the way I’m voting. In most cases, I’ve read through the text of the proposed laws and tried to fact check both the positive and negative comments made about it.

Full disclosure: I’m a registered Democrat, and considered “liberal.” To me, that means I’m more likely to see the importance in fairness and the advocating for taking care of our citizens and their money – in that order – rather than simply taking care of our citizen’s money. Keep that in mind and we’ll be fine.

The order I’m addressing these is in line with the California Voter’s Guide (“CVG”), which you can find online here.

After that, I’ll be tackling my local election in West Sacramento / Yolo County, and you can find that document online here.

Above all – vote. Please. It’s the only thing we really need from you. We can argue about taxation, and social democracies, and capitalism – but let’s not argue about the importance of voting.

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