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 are running.

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 worldview, though.

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 issues.

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.



The first 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 general election.

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.

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