What Happened in California Yesterday

Totally depressing.

Meg Whitman doesn't vote for 28 years straight, spends $71 million dollars, and wins the Republican gubernatorial primary. In the U.S. Senate Republican primary, Carly Fiorina trails Tom Campbell, who I strongly supported, and so in the final weeks writes herself another $2 million check, floods the State with TV ads, and lands Sarah Palin's endorsement who robo-calls voters. Almost immediately, she takes a 14 point lead to the finish line.

In the Democratic Senate race, Barbara Boxer easily beat Mickey Kaus. No surprise there, but the fact that Kaus garnered nearly 100,000 votes on the platform "I'm a Democrat who will not be a whore to unions and will not let them bankrupt our State as they have been doing" is itself a depressing indictment of the Democratic mainstream.

There are other reasons to find a tall building and jump. The grotesque amount of personal wealth involved. The fact that Sarah Palin, a Great American Embarrassment, has sway with so many voters and remains such a fixture on the GOP stage. The fiscal recklessness of San Francisco voters who easily approved yet more bond packages for school facilities despite zero evidence from the last 20 years that the city government is at all capable of managing money.

There's more. There's Fiorina mocking global warming by calling it "the weather"; there's the New Yorker profile of Tom Campbell that spent several paragraphs on whether Campbell way back when voted against taking aid money from the neediest in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America and re-appropriating it as economic aid to Israel as was proposed, and whether that means AIPAC hates him forever; there's Steve Poizner's lockstep convictions that the way to solve California's fiscal problems is to lower taxes, lower taxes, lower taxes, because we all know that lowering taxes increases revenue!!!

There's politics for you.

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"So Ben, seriously, why do you vote? You know your vote doesn't change the outcome of the election, right? Voting is irrational," asks the economics undergraduate. Why yes, I respond, my single vote won't decide the election, but studies show that when I vote it increases the likelihood my friends and family vote, and they will likely vote the way I do because people imitate the other people they know. It's magnified in my case because of The Blog and The Twitter. When I say, "I'm voting for John Doe," many thousands of other people may vote for John Doe as a result. And dozens or hundreds or thousands of additional votes — the chances that that decides an election go way up.

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