Election season, the most wonderful time of the year
© by Barbara Anderson
The Salem News
Thursday, September 4, 2014
For Americans who live in
temperate zones, there are five seasons: spring, summer, fall,
winter and CAMPAIGN season. While both spring pansies and summer
roses are still blooming in my garden, the autumn mums have just
arrived, and itís time to vote!
I love voting. My age-group wasnít allowed until we were 21, so the
first presidential ballot I cast was in the 1964 election, for Barry
Goldwater. I honor the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which
enfranchised women. Young people should be grateful for the 26th
Amendment, which was passed during the Vietnam War because Americans
decided that ďif youíre old enough to fight and die, youíre old
enough to voteĒ. Iíd argue that 18- to 20-year-olds shouldnít have
been drafted to fight in Vietnam, but thatís another discussion,
except to explain one reason I voted for Goldwater, who wanted to
end the draft.
Thank you, Founding Fathers, who created a democratic republic, and
veterans who fought to defend that republic. Thank you, candidates
who participate, and poll workers who check my name and address ...
I am one American very grateful for the right to vote.
Now to honor that right with a plan to choose well. Unless one has a
lot of time, every election, to spend thinking about each individual
candidate and issue without a template, itís good to have acquired
by voting age a basic worldview that one can match against those who
Some voters take a shortcut by joining their parentsí party, so they
need only compare the candidates within that party. This is fine if
they have the same worldview as their parents. Or, they choose their
own party as they register to vote. Itís important to check
occasionally to see if that party has left them for another
Even if one is happy in a particular party, a final check requires a
determination, made somehow, as to whether the candidate whose
positions are closest to yours is telling the truth, and then the
political determination as to whether your primary election
candidate has a chance to win the general election.
I donít understand why some Americans donít vote, but if they arenít
interested in their own government, itís better they stay home and
let other people create our world. Whatís incomprehensible is people
staying home because they disagree with a candidate on some issues,
thereby helping elect someone with whom they disagree more on all
I also canít relate to people who have no idea what they believe or
think but vote anyhow.
Itís not always easy, though, even when youíre trying. Iím not sure
where Iíll be in the primary next week. As an independent, I can
choose either a Democratic or a Republican ballot, and Iím torn
between voting for the person I want to win, or against the person I
really, really want to lose.
presidential ballot the columnist cast was in the 1964
election, for Barry Goldwater.
I still have the worldview
Iíd discovered in myself for my first election, and Iíd vote for
Barry Goldwater again today. So, that usually puts me on the
Republican side, from whence Goldwater ran, with basic principles
(whether fully realized or not) of fiscal responsibility, limited
taxes and debt, personal freedom with personal responsibility, and
no military draft.
During elections for governor, I sometimes take the Democrat ballot
ó NOT to choose the candidate that a Republican could most easily
beat, a disrespectful use of democracy ó but to choose a Democrat I
could live with if necessary. Sometimes, I get to vote for a
Democrat I really like (eg. Gov. Ed King in 1982).
Iíll vote for a Democrat I can tolerate against a Democrat I loathe,
which is the case whenever anyone who was involved in persecuting
the innocent Amirault family during the Fells Acre Day Care case of
1984-2004, is running for higher office. So, I voted against Scott
Harshbarger, Tom Reilly, and now want to vote against Martha Coakley
for governor. All three Democrats are much too liberal for me, but
compared to Don Berwick, who wants to have a total government
takeover of our health care, Steve Grossman appears rational; I look
forward to debates between him and Charlie Baker, whom itís
generally assumed will be the Republican choice.
Maybe that assumption is risky: If independents like me take
Democratic ballots, Goldwater-type Republicans forget to vote, and
social conservatives turn out for Mark Fisher, then Fisher could win
the primary. However, I think many social conservatives will be
voting for Baker knowing he has a far better chance of winning the
I like both Mark and Charlie, but winning is the whole point, right?
I should vote in the Republican primary.
However, thereís no Republican primary contest in the 6th
Congressional District election, so itís hard to resist choosing
among Democrats John Tierney, Marisa DeFranco and Seth Moulton. I
liked the way DeFranco stood up to Gov. Deval Patrick and her own
party in opposition to the plan to keep ďunaccompanied minorsĒ from
Central America in the commonwealth. Her job as an immigration
attorney taught her that Patrickís plan ďwill hurt thousands of more
children whose parents are going to be encouraged by human
traffickers to send them.Ē On other issues, too, she seems somewhat
independent of the Democrat machine.
Seth Moulton is to be thanked for his service as a Marine, but it
seems odd to me when Marines are liberals: He seems to follow the
Democratic Party line, with little independent thought. Clearly,
more a leadership personality than Tierney, he can be expected to
lead in the wrong direction, for bigger government.
I am an American citizen, with a job to do: pay enough attention to
vote intelligently, to make both America and Massachusetts work
better than they do today.
The comments made
and opinions expressed in her columns are those of Barbara Anderson
and do not necessarily reflect those of Citizens for Limited Taxation.
Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her
column appears weekly in the Salem News and other Eagle-Tribune newspapers.
More of Barbara's
Citizens for Limited Taxation
▪ PO Box 1147
▪ Marblehead, MA 01945