We elect candidates to office, not a party
Today I received a dose of reality from, of all persons, Gilberto Hinojosa, the chair of the Texas Democratic Party. The issue involved straight ticket voting, something I have been opposed to for quite a while. Today, when he provided voters with information regarding voting he also encouraged people to vote straight ticket Democrat. It was a part of his Facebook status. Having engaged in MANY a Facebook discussion, I figured I’d state my opposition to straight ticket voting. My comment was deleted. While I respect a person’s decision to delete a comment, when it’s the chair of the state party I would have expected a little more opportunity for dialogue and discourse. After all, shouldn’t we allow debate on matters rather than stifle them?
What seems to be lost in the debate is the fact that the comment was deleted. But it also demonstrated that some people, namely those in the party, still feel the only way to win elections is to blindly vote straight ticket. I find flaw in that and will fight it every chance I get. Through straight ticket voting, voters abdicate their responsibility to vote for candidates and opt to vote for a party. They might as well just hand over their right to vote to the party and back away.
Straight party voting is how voters in 2010 swept out good Democratic judges by a host of Republicans voting straight ticket. In many cases, even Republicans remarked about the poor judgment voters made by taking such an action. It’s also how a candidate was almost elected who’s primary criteria for running was because he thought the office paid a salary.
Having straight ticket voting removes the requirement for voters to research and vote for candidates. In fact, it puts a level of trust on a process that is inherently flawed today, allowing primary elections to pick the candidates, all the way through to the general election. Let’s face it, not all candidates are good candidates and sometimes a candidate from the opposition party is better.
This is especially true if you consider that judicial positions in Texas are elected through a partisan process. When considering judicial elections, where would party politics even enter into consideration? But it does, and it puts judicial candidates in an awkward position all the time, trying to justify their election in partisan gatherings when the judicial code of ethics really prevents any discussion on issues that might come before their court. Those are the things most parties are keen on.
So, to be clear and straightforward. I am opposed to straight ticket voting and will continue to be. If you can’t research the ballot ahead of time, don’t vote for the candidate. If you really want to hand your thinking over to the party, you might ought to reconsider voting in general. Because it means you really don’t want to take the time to walk through the ballot and understand who is running for office.
Oh, and regarding the comment censorship, we’re not done with that. If you can’t allow dialogue or discussion in social media on matters such as this, especially if conducted in a reasonable and rational form, them maybe you need to rethink what social media and democratic principles are all about.