Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Election Day Wrap-up

Self Government in America.

I write about politics and political messages that engage and persuade. This blog attempts to fill an unmet need for information on contested races.

Greg Walden is the incumbent and is presumed safe for re-election. As Chair of the House committee that oversees legislation on health care delivery, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, and energy, his views matter to every reader. Seven Democratic candidates are presenting themselves as alternatives. This blog looked closely at Greg Walden and the seven Democrats who hope to replace him. 

In the past 75 days (March, April, and May) this blog had 26 posts on Congressional candidates. The posts average about 1,000 words. Coverage of the congressional race was minimal to non-existent in local and statewide media.

I tried to fill that gap. I outlined the policies, biography, campaign themes, and hoped-for path to victory of all seven challengers: Eric Burnette, Michael Byrne, Jim Crary, Raz Mason, Jamie McLeod-Skinner, Jennifer Neahring, Tim White. Six of the seven will lose, but it wasn't a waste of time. Each got their shot. Greg Walden will serve the District better if he knows he has a viable, well-known challenger, and voters need some basis beyond the Voters Pamphlet and local media to learn about them.

Which Democrat will win the nomination?  I don't know. But my observation from here is that Jamie McLeod-Skinner had the most effective outreach to likely voters, and that Jennifer Neahring has the largest media presence and simplest brand. I expect one or the other will win.

State Senate:  
There are five candidates for this race. Jessica Gomez is the Republican picked by her party to be the nominee--to be confirmed by the popular vote today. There are four Democrats, each of whom have personal and political stature: Julian Bell, Athena Goldberg, Jeff Golden, and Kevin Stine. This blog has had 31 posts regarding  these candidates and their messages. This blog looked closely at their campaign messages, their speeches, their Facebook posts, their videos, and their overall presence and manner in front of others. I compared them and commented. 

Who will win? I don't know. But my observation is that Democrats Jeff Golden and Athena Goldberg have the most effective campaign for that nomination. I expect one or the other will win. Jessica Gomez is essentially running un-opposed. (I have expunged references to an opponent. I consider the emails and comments I had received from him to be extreme and bizarre.)

What about the remaining 18 posts of the 75? I wrote about Trump and the Mail Tribune. Trump is always in the news. I warn Democrats: "It's the economy, stupid." Trump is  claiming credit for turning around the economy. It turned around under Obama and Trump is continuing a trend, not starting one, but Democrats absolutely blew the messaging on this. Trump could be re-elected. This was political malpractice on the Democrats' part.

I wrote about the Mail Tribune and its erratic subscription prices. The longer a person is a subscriber, the higher the subscription price. Really. Nice young people at the Tribune subscription booths at the Pear Blossom parade and at Art in Bloom eagerly offer one year subscriptions for $110/year. Then, the paper will nudge the price upward in subsequent years if you stay a loyal subscriber. People end up paying vastly different prices--$110 to $440. This struck me as bad for their reputation as a trusted news source, since the Tribune was failing openly to tell people something their loyal readers might find important, that prices varied, a lot.

So I wrote about it. The Tribune went apoplectic. The kerfuffle brought lots of attention to their subscription prices and to this blog. In the meantime i pay $370/year. I now realize I could be paying way less--as could my readers--but didn't know to ask. Now you do.

Low cost subscriptions.
We actually need more and better local journalism, not less. I wish they had been doing profiles on these candidates. I wish they charged nearly everyone the same published rate, or at least had a transparent rate system. 

If some people, like me, who care about local journalism wanted to pay way more, maybe they could establish a 501-C-3 charitable Foundation to Benefit Local Journalism. The Foundation would take my donation and give it to the Tribune so they could hire reporters. I would happily help them out. But it seems weird to be paying three times as much for my subscription as my neighbor does for his.

What's next.
I expect to keep writing, now focusing on the single nominees on the ballots for State Senate and Congress and, of course, whatever Trump does. I will start doing observations and comments on the State Representative race for the Medford district, plus two county commissioner races here. 

There was almost no news coverage of the multiple Republican candidates for nomination for Governor, and that put voters at a disadvantage when trying to decide between the three candidates with viable campaigns: Knute Bueller, Sam Carpenter, or Greg Wooldridge. I will add the Governor's race to the campaigns I follow closely.

People I write about have told me they don't think I am fair to them. Of course not. (They think I advantage the other candidates.) Candidates want cheerleaders and fans. It is only natural.

But if I were a cheerleader I wouldn't notice the problems faced by the people I like, nor the strengths of counter-arguments of people I don't expect to vote for. I do my best to be fair and reasonable.


Anonymous said...

I have very much appreciated your extensive coverage of candidates Peter, and while I don't live in any of the covered districts I do donate to candidates I believe are true progressives ("liberals" works fine for those--I don't--who believe "progressive" is wedded to some foolish idea of "progress at any cost"). Your insights helped me choose whom to support.
Now on to the general, where I'll ramp up that support. Defeating Walden in CD2 has suddenly become a real possibility, and holding OR Senate 3 is a must if we're going to get to the 19 seat super-majority (Sen Johnson being a DINO).
So please continue your valuable work--I'll keep reading!

Rick Millward said...

As we count the vote today, I'm feeling hopeful and encouraged. I hope the turnout is better than "typical" and I am encouraged by the energy I have seen in the last year and a half in our county and district. This blog has been instrumental in clarifying the issues and giving us relevant info on the candidates. This is a good moment to express our appreciation for the author's excellent journalism (and yes, opinion) and I'll be the first to shout out a hearty well done!

It would be great to elect a Progressive to the ORD2 seat, and increase Democratic margins in the state legislature, but this alone won't solve a pernicious Regressive presence in the state. If nothing else, Progressive leaders need to focus on educating young Oregonians to give them the philosophical, historical and scientific foundation to be effective in what we can now see clearly will be a generational struggle against ignorance and prejudice.