These are our recommendations for statewide offices (including Board of Equalization). Unfortunately, no true progressive is running for any office. Our choices in most of these races are between a corrupt self-dealing politician and a more corrupt self-dealing politician. We indicate “lesser evil” choices by the use of italics. Note that because all of these races had a top-two primary, it’s not possible to do a write-in vote. So it’s either vote for one of the two candidates in each race or not vote at all. Please feel free to comment below with your views and choices.
US Senator: Kevin De Leon
We consider De Leon to be an establishment pay-to-play politician, with lots of skeletons in his closet, from potential me-too allegations, to involvement in shady and even corrupt political dealings. As a Senator, he took lots of telecom money which he paid back by killing a bill that would prohibit telecoms from sharing customers’ data. Moreover, he is completely ignorant of foreign policy.
However, he is running against Dianne Feinstein, one of the most warmongering, self-dealing, anti-human rights Senators. Feinstein has supported every war we’ve ever been engaged in. She supports droning and opposes single payer healthcare. Moreover, she has total contempt for voters and has barely held any town halls or agreed to debate her opponent. She does not deserve to be in the Senate.
Governor: Gavin Newsom
There is much to dislike about Gavin Newsom. He has no moral compass, he is dishonest, he is opportunistic, he makes promises (like supporting single payer) that he has no intentions to fulfill, he is an elitist which little concern for the common man, he is willing to sell out immigrants and children for political points. The list goes on and on. Still, he is better than his Trump-endorsed Republican opponent John Cox. Please hold your nose and vote for Gavin.
Lieutenant Governor: Undecided
In this election we have a choice between a rich white woman with no qualifications and a history of supporting corrupt politicians or a corrupt politician. We spoke with Eleni Kounalakis at length and she is a nice woman, with a measure of noblesse oblige that would have her support social justice issues, but only as long as these don’t interfere with the real financial interests of the oligarchy. She was born with a silver spoon in her mouth, she bought herself an ambassadorship and if she’s elected now, it’ll be on the basis of her wealth and connections (made by her wealth).
Her opponent, Ed Hernandez, is a Latino optometrist-turned-politician who has risen by playing the old pay-to-play game (what you do when you can’t resort to a family fortune to fund your campaigns). He earned the support of the California Nurses Association by supporting SB 562, the single payer bill, and letting it passed through committee – but it’s not clear he’d have done this if he wasn’t running for Lt Governor and wanted the nurses on his side.
In all, we’re not sure which one is the worse choice.
Secretary of State: Alex Padilla
There are no good candidates in this race. Incumbent Alex Padilla made a mockery of the office, one which requires integrity and a perception of neutrality, by openly campaigning for Hillary Clinton during the primary. Then, when thousands of voters throughout the state complained about voter irregularities, from having their party registration changed to having their names disappear altogether from the voter rolls, Padilla did nothing to investigate and fix whatever the problem was. He definitely needs to go.
Unfortunately, his opponent, Republican Mark Meuser, is an alt-right conspiracy theorist who should not be elected to dog catcher. As unlikely as it may seem that he could win, we can’t risk it and we must vote for Padilla.
Controller: Betty Yee
While Betty Yee has been abandoning her progressive roots, she is a far better choice than her Republican opponent, who is running in anti-tax platform.
Treasurer: Fiona Ma
Ma is far more of a establishment politician than we’d like, but she she is a solid choice against a Republican opponent. This editorial from the LA Times discusses their relative strengths.
Attorney General: Xavier Becerra
Xavier Becerra is not as progressive as we’d like but his opponent, Republican Steven Bailey, is both corrupt and a proud supporter of mass incarceration.
Insurance Commissioner: Ricardo Lara
Ricardo Lara is a problematic candidate. While he was one of the authors of the single payer bill introduced in the State Senate last year, he did little to make sure that the bill was actually passed. His seemingly corrupt past activities and his reliance on corporate donations also worry us. Moreover, he does not seem to have any relevant experience that would prepare him for this job.
However, his opponent is Steve Poizner, a former Republican now running as No Party Preference, who was Insurance Commissioner from 2008-2012. Poizner quit the job to run for governor in a far-right platform that denounced immigration (which he now, conveniently, claims he regrets). He is now running on a platform of opposing single-payer healthcare.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tony Thurmond
Marshal Tuck is a charter school executive, seemingly aiming to privatize our educational system even more. Tony Thurmond seems more interested in political climbing that he is in on the well being of students. Alas, we can’t risk having Tuck be elected.
Board of Equalization District 1: Tom Hallinan
Tom Hallinan correctly states that the Board of Equalization is no longer necessary and he’ll work to shut it down.
Board of Equalization District 2: None
San Francisco supervisor Malia Cohen is a moderate Democrat who has taken developer and AirBnb money and voted against measures that would maintain and increase affordable housing in SF. Her opponent, Mark Burns, is your run-of-the-mill right winger. Malia is the lesser of two evils, though as she’s a shoe-in to win, this is a race one can just skip voting on.
Board of Equalization District 3: Tony Vasquez
Vazquez is a progressive and supported Bernie Sanders but has been involved in shady self-dealing deals. His opponent, G. Rick Marshall, is an anti-tax Republican. While this is a safe Democratic district, Vazquez neglected to include a ballot statement which will depress the vote for him. We thus recommend that you vote for him.
Board of Equalization District 2: None
Here we have a situation where it’s not easy to discern who is the better of two evils. The Democratic candidate, 80-year old Mike Schaefer, is a perennial candidate that was once disbarred for dishonesty, deceit and fraud.
His opponent is another typical no-tax, defend Prop 13 protections of commercial property type.