Who Should I Vote For?

I have found myself being asked this question frequently from friends, family and people throughout my social media.  It’s a tough question. It’s a personal question. In all reality, it’s a question that only the person asking knows. Every vote that is cast should be based on the values of the voter.  Values can be vastly different for every person. The Trump presidency highlights that fact for us everyday. So, who do you vote for? Follow these 5 steps to figure it out.     

Step 1:  Determine your values

This seems like a very simple task.  It’s easy to think of things like ‘be a good person’ or ‘do the right thing’.  Take some time to think about it just a little deeper. What makes a person good?   How do you decide the right thing? All of us have guiding principles swimming around inside of us that help govern our decision making.  It’s not always easy to pin down what they are specifically. Here are mine:

  • Integrity – be honest and trustworthy
  • Inclusiveness – people’s differences don’t disqualify them from being loved, experiencing friendship, receiving respect and living a dignified life
  • Empathy/Compassion – understand everyone isn’t dealt the same hand, see from others perspectives
  • Team-oriented – other people’s successes matter as much as your own
  • Justice – everyone deserves fair and thoughtful treatment, be willing to stand for what is right

Write them down.  Not only will this help guide your voting choices, it may help you make decisions more confidently in general.

Step 2:  Prioritize which issues are most important to you 

There isn’t going to be a magic candidate that agrees with you on every single issue. (Lucky you if there is!)  Take some time to figure out what issues have the greatest impact on your life and put them in order of importance.  Remember to think about what is important to you.  It’s very easy to let yourself become swayed by what you think other people’s important issues are.  This list is about you and your family. Here’s mine:

  1. Access to healthcare 
  2. Robust public education system that addresses all areas of learning – academic, emotional, physical, social and cognitive development – regardless of the ability, social class, income, zip code of every student

Mine looks like a short list, but I believe these two issues touch every aspect of society.  Investing heavily in these two areas would alleviate much of the human suffering that Americans experience.  It could have a huge positive impact on the trajectory of people’s lives. I also believe deeply that when everyone does better, everyone does better.  It’s such a redundant phrase , but it makes perfect sense!


As some of you may have noticed, I did not include ‘capable of beating Donald Trump’ on my list.  Obviously, beating Donald Trump is very important. The truth of the matter is we don’t know who can beat Donald Trump.  We don’t even know if we are going to have an election that is free of interference. I have found for myself that if I dwell too much on these subjects I find myself considering my values less and less.  It isn’t a citizen’s job to be a political pundit, a pollster or a fortune teller. Worrying about fundraising, media coverage, organization on the ground, how to debate Trump and how to navigate the political winds are jobs for the candidates and their staff.  We, the people, are supposed to cling to our values, use our best judgment and cast our vote. The more we give in to the notion that the most important thing is to beat Trump, the more we are succumbing to fear. If everyone votes on the values they stand for, I believe we will beat Trump.


 

Step 3:  Take your issues of importance and apply your values

Ok, access to healthcare is my number one issue, but how do I decide what I think the ideal healthcare system would be?  This is where the application of your personal values come into play. This process is something I call ‘running it through the value filter.’  (I know, I know, my autism is showing!)

  • Integrity – not necessarily applicable in this case
  • Inclusiveness – Should people’s differences disqualify them from receiving the healthcare they need? It shouldn’t.  Does a dignified life include receiving the healthcare that you need? Yes.
  • Empathy/Compassion – Should a child born with [insert illness here] be denied the care they need to be successful because of the circumstances of their parents? No.  Is there any situation in which a person’s life circumstances should disqualify them from receiving the healthcare they need? No. I believe that you can never know someone else’s situation fully.  Every person has the inalienable right to life and denying access to healthcare for any reason infringes on that right.
  • Team-oriented – Does society function better if we have a population that is as healthy as possible? Yes.
  • Justice – Can a healthcare system function in a fair and thoughtful manner if income, job status, quality of insurance and profits are taken into consideration when delivering services? Absolutely not.

After my own personal analysis, I can determine that a healthcare system that fits into the parameters of my values would be nonprofit industry that grants access to all people regardless of income, job status, personal history or any other factor.  

Step 4:  Compare your vision to that of every candidate

Remember, it’s not your job as a citizen to work out how to implement policy, deal with the federal budget or manhandle members of Congress.  It’s your job to understand what you believe the best path forward for your family is. That’s it. It’s the candidate’s job to take the vision and make it a reality. 

Take your vision and compare it to those of the candidates. Go to each of their websites and look at their positions. Most of them have really user friendly, easy to read policy sections.  When you are clear about what you’re looking for it doesn’t take long to make a decision about who is best for you.  

Step 5:  Cast your vote

This is by far the most important step!  Voting blue in a red state can feel intimidating.  Living in a household that is split politically can make it especially stressful.  Remember, your vote is personal. You don’t have to tell anybody about your choice if you don’t want to.  You can do this!  

 This election is going to have incredible consequences.  All of us are going to have different ideas about the best path forward or the best strategy to defeat Donald Trump.  We are all going to support our candidates passionately throughout this primary season. My hope is that we can all remember what we all have in common.  Donald Trump is the antithesis of the values that we share. My hope is that whoever emerges as the nominee that we will continue to make our voices heard, continue to work together and rally strongly behind the person that is tasked with defeating him.   

Absolute Loyalty is Destroying America

Congressman acting as though they are employees or loyal servants to the president is not the way America should be.  It just isn’t. Doing whatever it takes to stay in power is not what the framers had in mind. What they are supposed to do, among many other things, is a) represent the people b) protect the United States from enemies foreign and domestic and c) serve as a check on the executive branch.  They are failing spectacularly at executing these duties!

Some prime examples of Congressman that epitomize absolute loyalty are:

I could go on and on.  I’m tired of watching them ignore testimony/evidence that the president is actively trying to impact our 2020 election and just looking for any tiny hole they can exploit.  I’m tired of watching them continue to push ‘false narratives’ when they know full well that they aren’t true.  I’m sickened by how mean and vindictive they are, not only the witnesses that came in to testify, but to the Chairman and everyone else that doesn’t agree with them.  Claiming there’s no evidence and then defending the White House for withholding evidence is nonsensical. The constant whataboutism is driving me mad! Arguing that we should let the election decide is crazy because Trump is actively trying impact the results of that election.  Of course, there’s no end to this is sight.    

This is clearly all about power.

Impeachment is about presidential behavior/action, but the behavior/actions of our Congressman are just as consequential in this moment.  Willful ignorance has become par for the course and it’s not because they don’t know better. It’s because they are fearful that if they break from the president they will lose their seat in Congress.  It’s as simple as that. They don’t care about the people, America’s values or protecting our elections. They care about staying in power.  

Just think about how quickly defenses of Trump have evolved:
  • It was a perfect call
  • No quid pro quo
  • Not a corrupt quid pro quo
  • This happens all the time
  • Trump didn’t know
  • Whistleblower complaint is hearsay, inaccurate, politically biased, deep state, etc
  • Process is bad
  • Democrats are out to get Trump
  • Ukraine didn’t know about the held up aid
  • Ukraine didn’t comply with requests
  • The media made it all up
  • Ukraine has the server

This was over the course of just a few weeks!  These are not principled people. Changing their view/argument changes as quickly as the political winds.  Retaining power and relevance is the main objective. This is not what public service is supposed to look like.  Not at all. 

Just a reminder, you work for the people.   

Some might argue that these people are representing their constituents.  Many polls show that in the swing states there isn’t a lot of support for impeachment.  Now, politicians use polls very selectively. We all know that because polling for gun control is just about the only issue that most people agree on.  We also know that is ignored on a constant basis. However, impeachment polls are watched incessantly and always cited by people defending the president.  I would argue that Reps/Senators should take most polls with a grain of salt.  

Most people do not have time to: 

  • Study every issue 
  • Take time to think about the implications for society 
  • Talk to/question experts in the field
  • Receive classified information
  • Field calls from fellow constituents
  • Fully immerse themselves in public service
  • Hold regular town halls
  • Employ staff devoted to reading all relevant studies, becoming experts in public policy 

I believe the people’s job is to elect principled people they believe with do all of the things listed above, come to thoughtful, reasonable conclusions and make decisions with their constituents in mind.  It is not the job of the people to do all the things listed above. By casting our vote, we are ‘hiring’ and paying a representative to devote themselves to these things. Electing a person is giving the people’s consent to use their best judgment when it comes to policy making.  So, I find it really frustrating when elected officials base their decisions solely on polling. Also, have you ever been polled? Yeah, me neither.

Now is the time to protect us from enemies foreign and domestic.

Matters of national security and foreign policy should crush all political calculations in a perfect world.  It should be, as Fiona Hill would say, ‘nonpartizan’ (I just loved how she pronounced that!). Both Marie Yovanovitch and Fiona spoke extensively about the importance of putting US national security above our partisan whims.  There are enemies that are at work that the US needs protection from. Here are a few that they, and all the witnesses, testified about: 

Russia:
  • Actively trying to impact 2020 election 
  • Propagating the conspiracy theory that Ukraine was actually behind the 2016 hack on the DNC undermining American trust in our law enforcement/intelligence community/government institutions 
  • Occupying 7% of Ukrainian sovereign territory violating international law 
  • Currently engaged in a hot war with Ukraine
Rudy Giuliani:
  • Working with corrupt Ukrainians to dig up dirt on American citizens
  • Smearing a sitting ambassador to the point of removal
  • Putting financial interests ahead of US interests
  • Conducting shadow foreign policy undermining the official State Department policy
  • Working closely with now indicted Americans to help further his interests
Donald Trump:
  • Directed Americans to work with Rudy
  • Asked President Zelensky to investigate Crowdstrike and the Bidens
  • Ordered security assistance to be withheld from Ukraine
  • Canceled Pence’s trip to inauguration
  • Withheld White House meeting
  • Stayed in contact with Sondland to get updates on pressure campaign
  • Removed ambassador fighting corruption
  • Blocked all testimony/documents from State Department/Executive Branch 
Other key Americans:
  • Mike Pence
  • Gordon Sondland
  • Mike Pompeo
  • Mick Mulvaney
  • Rick Perry
  • Kurt Volker
  • Donald Trump Jr.

These are just the foreign and domestic enemies that we know about.  Instead of looking at the facts of the case, Republicans are muddying the waters, blaming the Democrats, blaming the Obama administration, the whistleblower and anyone else they can think of.  They are supposed to be protecting our country. They are supposed to be upholding the rule of law. Instead, power and prestige are the only things that they care about. Protecting the president is the only thing they are willing to do. 

Republicans in Congress, you have the power you lust after. Use it.  

Honestly, I find it super embarrassing that these Republican Congressmen are letting the president bully them into submission.  They have just as much power as he does. The constitution says so! There have been numerous reports about Republicans admitting what an obstacle this president is and how much they dislike him so I don’t understand why they don’t take this opportunity to rid themselves of him.  Why don’t they get together with their buddies at Fox News and begin a campaign to remove this guy?  Surely one of them would love to take his place. 

Here’s my advice for you Republicans which, to me, seems so obvious if you want to continue your disgusting corruption:
  • Demand all witnesses testify 
  • demand the documents 
  • demand Trump put forth evidence that exonerates him
  • Start calling out Trump’s lies  
  • Use the damning evidence to create a path for one of you to take the presidency in 2020  
  • Use the evidence to change public sentiment through the Fox News machine
  • Hold up one of your own as being the hero for America
  • Portray your party as the one that protected US
  • Staff ‘smart’ criminals instead of amateurs to help you shake down foreign governments
  • Highlight all your cronies that helped oust a corrupt president
  • Win the election 
  • Appoint said cronies to all cabinet positions
  • Act respectable in front of cameras
  • Stop mean tweeting
  • Continue your corruption with the blessing of the American people 

For people who care about power so much I’m shocked that they don’t use the power that they possess to deploy a plan like this.  Their cowardice is shocking, even in this Trump Era we find ourselves living through. Use your power you fight so hard to keep.  Check this president. The assumption that the only path to survival is defending Trump might be a false one.

It’s up to us.  

Elections matter.  If the Democrats didn’t take the House in 2018, the American public would have no idea the level of corruption of this administration.  It’s obvious that many of our elected officials have abandoned their duties. We must not do the same. The rest of us must focus on doing our duty as citizens. 

Electing candidates that represent our values, use thoughtful reasoning to make decisions and care about society as a whole is absolutely critical in our endeavor to protect America.  We must win this election, but we are not going to do it by tearing each other down. The Republicans want us to do that. Let’s work hard over the next year to inspire nonvoters to register, rally behind our Democratic candidate and to show our neighbors what Democratic values are all about. 

Does Your Vote Really Matter?

 

Utah voters passed 3 progressive policies last November.

  • Prop 2 – legalizing the use of medical marijuana
  • Prop 3 – Expanding Medicaid health insurance
  • Prop 4 – an anti-gerrymandering measure

Utah voters also elected Republicans that are openly against legal marijuana, Medicaid and are pro-gerrymandering. Now, Utah voters are outraged that the newly elected Congressman are dismantling the Props that the people approved coming to the conclusion that your vote doesn’t matter. Is that actually true?

I’m a Democrat. Here’s Why

The new year has caused me to be very self reflective. What are my strengths and weaknesses as a parent, wife and friend. All the normal resolutions bump around in my head. Cook more, eat healthy, read to the kids more, keep the house cleaner, etc. It is a familiar routine. There has been one major difference with this new year though. Last year I launched the blog. I have spent half of the year in a new, and often uncomfortable, place. Putting my political views ‘out there’ definitely threw a wrench in things! I struggled to cope with hateful comments and unsolicited sexually explicit pictures. I felt weighed down by the workload, pressure from my self imposed deadlines and constantly behind on the other duties of my life. I went through months of self doubt after opposing arguments made their way through my social media accounts on a near daily basis. Because of this, I spent many hours examining my own positions. Why do I feel the way I do? This was the question on my mind as I was reading through the Declaration of Independence recently. There’s a section in it that we all are quite familiar with:


“…all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”


After months of introspection, this line jumped off the page for me. This single line, and my firm belief in it, can explain the roots of my progressive views. First of all, the definition of unalienable must be understood. Unalienable, nowadays inalienable, means unable to be taken away or given away by a possessor. So, unalienable rights cannot be taken/given away. The rights that are specifically listed are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In my mind, the industries that impact these three rights, that cannot to be taken/given away, should not be for- profit.

Life: It’s time for universal healthcare

The right to life is directly impacted by the healthcare system. Every living and breathing human should be able to get the healthcare they need regardless of age, condition, financial position, housing status or any other factor if life is truly an unalienable right. Insurance companies, personal finances and employment status dictates an Americans right to life as it stands currently.

Liberty: No for-profit prisons

Prisons or immigrant detention facilities shouldn’t be financial goldmines for anyone. This only incentivizes longer sentences and more detainees directly impacting the unalienable right to liberty. The prison system and society don’t integrate former inmates back into regular life efficiently causing people to continually end up back in prison. If we treated liberty as the unalienable right that it is we would focus more on rethinking how we treat our incarcerated community to help ensure liberty is restored and sustained.

Pursuit of Happiness: Public education from PreK – Secondary Education

The pursuit of happiness is all about retaining the ability to change your circumstances. Education is vital in this pursuit and should be available to all from preschool through secondary education. As it stands now, banks and universities decide who gets to try, therefore deciding who gets the unalienable right to pursue happiness. There should be a public education option at every level of education to ensure that every American has equal opportunity to change their station.

These things, driven by empathy, are what forms my basic ideology. This is why I find myself on the left side of the political spectrum. Some call these ideas radical. I call them bold and ambitious. Having a healthy, educated population is an investment that is worth all the time and money that would have to be spent to make it a reality. 2019 will be full of surprises I’m sure. Hopefully some bold, ambitious policies will be one of them.

What is Democracy?

 

What is democracy? How does a modern democracy function? Learn about the United States democratic government with this short educational video. I explain the different theories of democracy using real life examples you can see everyday!

 


3 Types of Democracy

  • Direct democracy – Utah ballot initiatives
  • Pluralism – NRA, NAACP and many other groups
  • Elite theory – dark money and ultra wealthy using many lever to impact the United States government

 

Election 2018 is coming up soon so brush up on your basic knowledge with this political science crash course!

I started Blue Mom Red State, my political blog, in response to the election on Donald Trump. The values that I hold dear are deteriorating right before my eyes and I want to do something about it. It’s important that all citizens reeducate themselves about all things government. By staying informed and voting in every single election going forward we can work together to save democracy!

I’m Losing Sleep Over the CA Primary! Here are 3 Reasons Why

3 things to know about the CA Primary:

  1. The current Congress isn’t checking the president. Democratic majority would change that.

As it stands right now, republicans hold both chambers of Congress. Republican leadership decides when it is appropriate to ‘check’ the president. They could protect Bob Mueller, block trade tariffs, investigate allegations of sexual abuse by the president, condemn racist/inappropriate tweets from the executive branch, conduct investigations into Russian interference, correct the record on the numerous lies from the executive branch and protect the DOJ from the numerous attacks from the president. But they don’t. This Congress has decided that moral leadership doesn’t matter. Many of the members of both parties are owned by special interest groups preventing them from speaking out on big issues. I believe if democrats could regain the majority in Congress the check and balance system would once again be in place.

2. Democrats need to flip a total of 23 seats nationwide. 7 of them are in
California.

These 23 seats are in the House of Representatives. The House is made up of members from each state based on the states population. That’s why California has so many races compared to other western states. These 7 races could pave the way to more functional government. I would hope a democratic House would also do more to stop the destruction of our institutions by President Trump.

3. There’s a real chance dems get locked out of the general election.

Most primary elections are done within each party. For example, 4 republicans and 4 democrats are running for House District 20. A primary election is held within each party to select one person to move on to the general election. The general election is one republican vs democrat. California is different. The primary in California doesn’t separate the primaries by party. The top two finishers go to the general election regardless of party. It’s why you hear ‘jungle primary.’ There are so many democrats running in these races that they may split the vote and two republicans could win the top two slots shutting down any chance of flipping the seat.

Midterms Give Us Another Chance to Decide Who We Want to Be

Midterm elections give us chance

to reevaluate what we stand for!

These elections are for our representatives in the legislative branch and judicial branches. Now is the time to communicate to the government how you think it’s going. We’ve had almost two years of Trump and he is the kind of guy that forces me to think about things in a different light. Racism, the importance of institutions, how important is consensus on issues, how do we treat our most vulnerable, cyberbullying, what does America truly stand for? There are countless topics to list! He has also inadvertently shed light on many of our spineless representatives.

I’m disappointed at how many Congressman look the other way in such a polarizing time. Midterms give us a chance to have our say! I believe we need to elect officials that have core values or principles that reflect the values we live by. The values we teach our children. Guiding principles are what keep people from being a fly in the wind. It’s the difference between making reactionary decisions to making intentional ones. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what kind of moral compass I want my boys to walk away with. I want a community that reflects similar values.

Must-Have Guiding Principles:

  • Integrity: be honest and trustworthy
  • Tolerance: understand we all walk on different paths and must respect others points of view
  • Compassion/Empathy: take a walk in someone else’s shoes
  • Team oriented: other people’s successes matter
  • Justice: fair and equal treatment for all

As I learn more about the candidates running for office I’m finding that it’s more about party lines than about guiding principles. The bottom line is we need more engagement, more informed voters and more empathetic leadership. It’s time to get to work and do our part. I’m a voter for 2018 because I won’t stand for the toxic environment politics has become. Great societies require consensus. The hard part for me about being blue in a red state is it’s hard to have important conversations about hot topics when I feel alone. It’s time to speak up and have all voices heard. Voting in the midterm election is a great way to do just that.