Don's election picks 2020

For years, I’ve warned that electing Republicans would jeopardize the Supreme Court. It’s come to pass. We’ve seen this radical, extremist court of right-wing judicial activists toss 200 years of precedent to remove the militia requirement from the Second Amendment; give corporations civil rights that only people should have; remove civil rights for real people; allow billionaires to dominate election spending; and permit corporations to deny women coverage of birth control. Next up: the Affordable Care Act that prohibits insurance companies from discriminating against folks with pre-existing conditions. (Still waiting for that Republican plan, by the way.)


The Republican you elect today for dog catcher could become the Republican who consents to the nomination of judges who rule every time for corporations and executive abuse of power.


On the opposite end of the spectrum are Marxists like Seattle’s City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant, the leftwing equivalent of Trump. “Socialist Alternative” candidates aren’t democratic socialists. They’re humorless, grim, uncompromising people who put others at risk of violence.

State of Washington

Statewide offices

• Governor: Jay Inslee. Duh. The Republican is unqualified, under-educated, and doesn’t understand the law. As police chief in a town of 1,100 people, he botched a child sexual-abuse case that the county sheriff had to clean up. He shows his knowledge of science and public health by opposing mask mandates.


• Lt. Governor: Denny Heck. Sane, down-to-earth, experienced, and a good guy. 


• Secretary of State: Gael Tarleton. Tarleton is experienced and competent. Her incumbent opponent has failed to be vocal against Trump’s insinuations against mail ballots.


• Auditor: Pat McCarthy. There’s no reason to turn her out of office.


• Treasurer: Mike Pellicciotti. He’s been a state rep and assistant attorney general, and supports financial transparency. His incumbent opponent refuses to say if he supports Trump, and he opposed legalizing grass.


• Commissioner of Public Lands: Hilary Franz. There’s no reason to turn her out of office.


• Insurance Commissioner: Mike Kreidler. He’s essentially unopposed because he’s done a great job over the years. The Republicans put up a candidate who admits he’s running for college credit, and who modestly says, “I am an autistic savant who has extensive knowledge and the many of the abilities of the President Reagan and President Jefferson Presidencies…” I can’t make up this stuff.


• Superintendent of Public Instruction: Chris Reykdal. His opponent is nuts and a liar, even by Trump standards. Sadly, the state is leaving one of her lies unchanged in the voter’s guide. (See Referendum 90 below.)


Vote Democratic. In the races that have two Democratic candidates (thanks to the inane top-two primary system):


• Senate 5: Mark Mullet. He brings a conservative voice to the caucus, but, as Lyndon Johnson said, I’d rather having him pissing out of the tent than pissing into it. His opponent would be a puppet of SEIU, the not-always progressive nurses union.


• House 6, pos. 2: Larry Stanley, Alliance Party. He has progressive ideas, including support of a fund to helping struggling newspapers.


• House 11, pos. 1: Toss-up. Both are progressive lawyers, one black, one white. Read their statements in the voters’ guide and go with your gut.


• House 27, pos. 1: Laurie Jinkins. She’s the incumbent and House Speaker, perhaps not as dynamic as her predecessor was, but solid. 


• House 32, pos. 1: Cindy Ryu. No reason to turn her out of office, and she’s endorsed by the Planned Parenthood PAC.


• House 36, pos. 2: Liz Berry. Both candidates are fine, but I like Berry’s National Women’s Political Caucus and NARAL experience better. Endorsed by both Pramila Jayapal and Dow Constantine. 


• House 37, pos. 1: Sharon Tomiko Santos. Incumbent. No reason to turn her out of office. Unlike her opponent, she doesn’t use random capitalization.


• House 37, pos. 2: Chukundi Salisbury. A good environmentalist and community guy who, unfortunately, will lose to his more politically astute and PC opponent who’s more aligned to Kshama Trump than Frank Chopp (see House 43 below).


• House 43, pos. 2: Frank Chopp. Frank will win big because of his experience, his smarts, his progressiveness, and his community ties. His opponent, running on the “People’s Party,” has  beautifully designed campaign signs, and is endorsed by Chukundi Salisbury’s opponent. (see House 37 above). The irony of all this is that the single biggest force for progressive change in the state over the past two decades has been…Frank Chopp.

Supreme Court

Why are we electing judges anyway? Judges should be screened and appointed by the governor with the advise and consent of the Senate.


Pos. 3: Raquel Montoya-Lewis. She’s simply a class above her opponent.


Pos. 6: G. Helen Whitener. Incumbent. Widely endorsed. Her opponent is a small-town lawyer, but he’s no Lincoln.

Superior Court

King, Pos. 13: Hillary Madsen. Impressive endorsements, plus, she wears a nose stud. 


King, Pos. 30. Carolyn Ladd. While her opponent, the long-term incumbent, has done a decent job (he’s also active in environmental circles, where I first met him), it’s time for new blood, and Ladd has good endorsements, including Norm Rice and the National Women’s Political Caucus.


Kitsap, Pos. 1: Tina Robinson. Incumbent, endorsed by everyone.


Pierce, Pos. 4: Brady Horenstein. New blood. Good ideas about openness and inclusion.


Snohomish, Pos. 8: Cassandra Lopez Shaw. OK. Some of my prejudices. Shaw got her JD from Loyola; her opponent got his from the New England School of Law, a fine school, but not Loyola’s caliber. Shaw has a son and daughter in the military; her opponent teaches Sunday school. She speaks Spanish as a second language. Her opponent has many more endorsements. 


Tell me again why we elect judges. 

Referendum 90

YES. This is comprehensive sex education that allows parents to opt their kids out, and, no, despite Republican lies, doesn’t teach positions in the 4th grade. 

Advisory votes

32, tax on grocery bags. This is the tiny tax that encourages people to bring their own bags: MAINTAIN


33, tax on heavy equipment. It’s reasonable and passed unanimously in the Senate before the special interests got to Republicans in the House. MAINTAIN


34, B&O tax. The B&O tax is the best we can do given public refusal to approve progressive taxes. MAINTAIN


35, Boeing tax increase. Given the “race to the bottom” that Republicans encourage, the tax on Boeing could be zero, and there’s no guarantee the company wouldn’t move everything to whichever state opposes unions, and gives Boeing free land and other subsidies. MAINTAIN.

Senate Joint Resolution 8212

APPROVE. Allows state funds for long-term care to be invested the same way that state pension funds are invested.

King County

Proposition 1

APPROVE. A bond issue to modernize Harborview to better serve its clients. I’ve attended a couple of presentations about this, and I think they’ve made their case well.

Charter amendments

1. Inquests. YES. Clarifies when mandatory inquests are required.


2. Affordable housing. YES. Allows the county to sell surplus property below its market value for affordable housing.


3. Language change. YES. Housekeeping measure to refer to residents and the public, rather than the buzzword “citizen.”


4. Subpoenas. YES. Allows civilian law-enforcement oversight to use subpoenas.


5. Sheriff. YES. YES. YES. YES. YES. Hallelujah. Makes the county sheriff an appointed position with real accountability. Who’s opposing the measure? I’ll give you two guesses: the last two elected sheriffs and a Republican councilmember. If you oppose this measure, then why not elect the heads of every single county department? Electing department heads and sheriffs is stupid and results in the best sheriffs that money can buy.


6. Public safety. YES. This helps implement #5 by clarifying responsibilities and accountabilities. Again, the only opposition is Republicans. 


7. Anti-discrimination. YES. Expands the prohibition against discrimination to include veterans and family caregivers. Not even Republicans oppose this.


Proposition 1. YES. This is a local transportation levy, and levies are a stupid way of funding operating budgets. I despise levies. 


Moreover, I despise the Seattle Department of Transportation. SDOT is filled with extremists who would be happy to let all our roads go to hell if they could build bike lanes on every street, eliminate every parking space, and expand the underused streetcar to clog even more streets with transit that few people find practical to use. (I can walk from First Hill to Pioneer Square faster than the streetcar.)


Still, we have a little thing called the West Seattle Bridge that’s collapsing and needs to be repaired and eventually, replaced. (Let’s not mention that its problems were exacerbated when SDOT added a third lane that increased the load.) And Covid has played havoc on transit revenue.


This raises the tax by 50%, but I’ll hold my nose and vote yes.


Congress and the Senate

Vote for Democrats in both houses. Should Trump be re-elected, the House and Senate would be the nation’s firewall.


I know Joe Biden. Joe Biden was my senator when I lived in Delaware. Back then, he courageously opposed the Vietnam war. He’d end the influence of corporate interests by public financing of campaigns (which, he admits, would probably require a constitutional amendment that ain’t gonna happen). He helped lead the nation into accepting gay marriage. He’s wicked smart. And he showed his smarts in picking Kamala Harris as his running mate. Of course, the Kshama Trumps of the world don’t like the fact that she was a prosecutor, sworn to uphold the law.


As for Trump, this is what Republicans have to say about him. Titles shown are the highest office they held.

Why Republicans (with integrity) despise Trump

General John Kelly, former Trump chief of staff. The depths of his dishonesty is just astounding to me. The dishonesty, the transactional nature of every relationship, though it's more pathetic than anything else. He is the most flawed person I have ever met in my life. CNN, Oct. 16, 2020.

Caroline Giuliani. If being the daughter of a polarizing mayor who became the president’s personal bulldog has taught me anything, it is that corruption starts with “yes-men” and women, the cronies who create an echo chamber of lies and subservience to maintain their proximity to power. We’ve seen this ad nauseam with Trump and his cadre of high-level sycophants (the ones who weren’t convicted, anyway).

Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska. The way he kisses dictators' butts. … The United States now regularly sells out our allies under his leadership. The way he treats women and spends like a drunken sailor. … He mocks evangelicals behind closed doors. His family has treated the presidency like a business opportunity. CNN, Oct. 15, 2020.

Peggy Noonan, Chief speechwriter, Ronald Reagan; Wall Street Journal columnist. He hasn’t been equal to the crises. He never makes anything better. And everyone kind of knows it.—WSJ, June 25, 2019

He’s surrounded now in his White House and the agencies by…a second-string, ragtag, unled army.—WSJ, Nov. 2, 2019

Maryanne Trump Barry, sister; federal appeals court judge. He has no principles. None. None. … His goddamned tweet and lying, oh my God. … The change of stories. The lack of preparation. The lying. … He doesn't read. … It's the phoniness of it all. It's the phoniness and this cruelty. Donald is cruel. … He got into the University of Pennsylvania because he had somebody take the exams [for him]. … Donald is out for Donald. Period.—Washington Post, Aug. 22, 2020

Wall Street Journal, lead editorial. As commander-in-chief, Mr. Trump has been mostly tactical and rarely strategic. He shifts positions from week to week, even day to day, for the sake of a summit or short-term appearances. Allies are informed about his reversals after the fact and left to wonder if they can still rely on the United States. … Mr. Trump’s judgment can be so reckless.—Oct. 12, 2019

Trump often forgets that he's not a TV pundit and that his impulsive comments can do real damage to financial markets, confidence in the law, and his own standing.—Aug. 21, 2020

Mark Galli, Editor, Christianity Today. This president has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration. … His Twitter feed alone—with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders—is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused. …

To the many evangelicals who continue to support Mr. Trump… Remember who you are and whom you serve. Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior. Consider what an unbelieving world will say if you continue to brush off Mr. Trump’s immoral words and behavior in the cause of political expediency.— Christianity Today, Dec. 19, 2019

Lindsay Graham, Senator, South Carolina. He's a race-baiting, xenophobic religious bigot. He doesn't represent my party. He doesn't represent the values that the men and women who wear the uniform are fighting for.— CNN, Dec. 8, 2015

John Bolton, National Security Adviser; Ambassador to UN. His thinking was like an archipelago of dots (like individual real estate deals), leaving the rest of us to discern, or create, policy.—NYT, June 17, 2020

Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House. He didn't know anything about government. … I wanted to scold him all the time.—Tim Alberta, American Carnage

General Jim Mattis, Secretary of Defense. What am I going to say that will inform you any more about President Trump? … I quit on him. I think that says enough.—WSJ, Dec. 13, 2019

Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people; does not even pretend to try. Instead he tries to divide us.— CNN, June 3, 2020

Peter Wehner, anti-abortion advocate; official under the Bushes and Reagan. Seeing him for what he is—a terribly damaged soul, a broken man, a person with a disordered mind—should not lessen our revulsion at how Trump mistreats others, at his cruelty and dehumanizing actions.— The Atlantic, Sept. 9, 2019

Mary Trump, niece, psychologist. A sociopathic disregard of human life… His ego is a fragile thing that must be bolstered every moment because he knows deep down that he is nothing of what he claims to be.—Too Much and Never Enough

Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State. He is so full of shit.—NYT, June 17, 2020

George F. Will, conservative columnist. He [Trump] has an advantage on me because he can say everything he knows about any subject in 140 characters and I can't.—Fox News Sunday, June 26, 2016


Conservatives said we’re for free trade. Trump said, by the way, you’re not anymore, and they said, okay, we’re not for free trade anymore, or they pretend to be. … It's [Republican Party] become a cult. It’s become a cult because of an absence of ideas.”—MSNBC, June 5, 2019

Ben Sasse, Senator, Nebraska.[Trump's] pen-and-phone theory of executive lawmaking is unconstitutional slop. … [Trump used] the Word of God as a political prop. … No president…has unilateral power to rewrite immigration law or to cut taxes or to raise taxes.—Washington Post, Aug. 11, 2020; USA Today, Aug. 10, 2020

George H.W. Bush, President. He's a blowhard. … I am afraid of what Donald Trump would do to this country.— The Last Republicans by Mark K. Updegrove, and CNN, Sept. 21, 2016

Joe Scarborough, three-term US Rep., Florida; TV host. A demagogue who sits by while intelligence suggests Russia’s leader put bounties on the heads of young American troops. Trump instead plays Putin’s apologist by declaring the United States equally guilty. … He defended Putin’s killing of journalists and political rivals. … Trump’s team welcomed Russia’s interference in American democracy and then tried to cover it up.—Washington Post, July 30, 2020

Rob McKenna, Washington attorney general; Republican nominee for governor. He’s an opportunist and a demagogue, and I cannot support him in good conscience.—Seattle Times, May 4, 2016.

George W. Bush, President. This guy doesn't know what it means to be president.— The Last Republicans by Mark K. Updegrove

Kim Darroch, British ambassador to US under Conservative PMs Cameron, May, Johnson. For a man who has risen to the highest office on the planet, President Trump radiates insecurity. … We don't really believe this administration is going to become substantially more normal; less dysfunctional; less unpredictable; less faction riven; less diplomatically clumsy and inept. … The stories about White House knife fights are, we judge, mostly true: multiple sources and confirmed by our own White House contacts. This is a uniquely dysfunctional environment.—The Mail, July 6, 2019

General John Kelly, Trump chief of staff. He's an idiot. It's pointless to try to convince him of anything. He's gone off the rails. We're in Crazytown.—Bob Woodward, Fear: Trump in the White House.

Mitt Romney, Senator, Utah; Republican presidential nominee. His bankruptcies have crushed small businesses and the men and women who work for them. He inherited his business, he didn’t create it. … A business genius he is not. … Donald Trump tells us that he is very, very smart. I’m afraid that when it comes to foreign policy he is very, very not smart. … Dishonesty is Donald Trump’s hallmark. … Think of Donald Trump’s personal qualities. The bullying, the greed, the showing off, the misogyny, the absurd third grade theatrics.—NYT, March 3, 2016

Steve Schmidt, Republican campaign consultant to George W. Bush, John McCain, Lamar Alexander, Sarah Palin, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Donald Trump has been the worst president this country has ever had. And I don't say that hyperbolically. … He has brought this country in three short years to a place of weakness that is simply unimaginable. … When you listen to the President, these are the musings of an imbecile. An idiot. And I don't use those words to name call. I use them because they are the precise words of the English language to describe his behavior. His comportment. His actions. We've never seen a level of incompetence, a level of ineptitude so staggering on a daily basis by anybody in the history of the country whose ever been charged with substantial responsibilities.—CNN, June 23, 2020

Bob Corker, Senator, Tennessee. It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center.—NYT, Oct. 8, 2017

John Kasich, Republican presidential candidate; Ohio governor. I’m a lifelong Republican, but that attachment holds second place to my responsibility to my country. … I had always been hopeful, even after the convention and after the election, that perhaps we would see a change in the president, but we just never have. I happen to think it’s the soul of our country that is being damaged.—Democratic National Convention, Aug. 17, 2020

Miles Taylor, Chief of staff, Homeland Security. After serving for more than two years in the Department of Homeland Security’s leadership during the Trump administration, I can attest that the country is less secure as a direct result of the president’s actions.

Like many Americans, I had hoped that Donald Trump, once in office, would soberly accept the burdens of the presidency — foremost among them the duty to keep America safe. But he did not rise to the challenge. Instead, the president has governed by whim, political calculation and self-interest.—Washington Post, Aug. 17, 2020

Meg Whitman, Republican candidate for California governor; CEO, Hewlett Packard. I’m a longtime Republican and a longtime CEO. And let me tell you, Donald Trump has no clue how to run a business, let alone an economy.—Democratic National Convention, Aug. 17, 2020

Gary Scott Smith, historian, “conservative, Christian” Grove City College. Trump’s demeanor, character, and policies seem to be little connected with the religious values he praised.The Catholic World Report, Feb. 7, 2017

Dave Trott, Michigan Congressman. Psychologically, morally, intellectually, and emotionally unfit for office.—CNN, Dec. 24, 2019

Michael Bloomberg, New York mayor and billionaire. Trump says we should vote for him because he’s a great businessman. Really? He drove his companies into bankruptcy, six times, always leaving behind customers and contractors who were cheated and swindled and stopped doing business with him. … Donald Trump’s economic plan was to give a huge tax cut to guys like me, who didn’t need it, and then lie about it to everyone else.—Democratic National Convention, Aug. 17, 2000

Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State. A fucking moron.—NBC News, Oct. 4, 2017

Walter Olson, libertarian author, Cato Institute fellow. I’ve written many times to defend his administration’s policies against unfair attacks from the left, and I’ve applauded his judicial appointments. But I won’t vote for him… No modern president has shown so little care for or grasp of how government works. … None have found it as hard to put the nation’s well-being above his own, on matters as basic as setting aside the interests of his family business. … Trump has bluffed his way through life claiming to know more than the experts. He needs to be the groom at every wedding and the infant at every christening. Stories abound of how zany ideas are quietly tamped down, or ignored entirely, by appointees around the agencies. But that’s not a stable situation. … This man’s tweets are the ground glass in the national milkshake.—Wall Street Journal, Sept. 10, 2020

Gary Cohn, Chief Economic Adviser. Dumb as shit.—Michael Wolff, Fire and Fury

Steve Bannon, Trump Chief Strategist; CEO 2016 Trump campaign; accused felon, 2020. Like an 11-year-old child.—Vanity Fair, Dec. 21, 2017


Max Boot, conservative writer; campaign adviser to Marco Rubio. What makes Trump’s lies particularly pernicious is how they seep through the entire infrastructure of government like a corrosive acid, eating away at governmental capacity to respond to the real threats we face. When this president denies reality, so do all of his mini-Trumps. … Now the lies are unraveling, but Trump supporters have become so habituated to his doublethink that it may be too late for them to acknowledge reality.—Washington Post, Sept. 10, 2020.

Rick Wilson, Republican operative; Guiliani adviser. Everything Trump touches dies. … Trump lacked the moral and personal character to be the leader of the free world.—Everything Trump touches dies, 2018 book

Dan Coats, Trump's National Intelligence Director; Senator, Indiana. To him, a lie is not a lie. It’s just what he thinks. He doesn’t know the difference between the truth and a lie.—Washington Post, Sept. 9, 2020.

Carly Fiorina, 2016 Republican presidential candidate. Trump has failed every test of leadership. He will not lead, he cannot lead, he does not lead.—Wall Street Journal, Aug. 20, 2020

George Conway, husband, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway; lawyer. You're mentally unwell. You engage in bizarre, irrational, self-defeating behavior, which prompts criticism of you, which triggers more bizarre, irrational, self-defeating behavior. You would have been fired from any other job by now.—Tweet, June 9, 2019

General H.R. McMaster, National Security Adviser. A “dope” with the intelligence of a “kindergartner.”—BuzzFeed News, July 2017

Anthony Scaramucci, Trump Communications Director. He's sounding more and more nonsensical. … For the last 3 years, I have fully supported this President. … Eventually he turns on everyone and soon it will be you and then the entire country.—CNN, Aug. 12, 2019

Joe Walsh, Congressman, Illinois. He’s nuts, he’s erratic, he’s cruel, he stokes bigotry. … This guy is unfit to be President.—ABC, This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Aug. 25, 2019

David Jolly, Congressman, Florida. He’s a fraud. He’s a huckster.— Hardball, MSNBC, Sept. 12, 2019

Bill Kristol, Chief of Staff, VP Dan Quayle. Loathsome…a con man…a charlatan and a demagogue…soiling the robe of conservatism.— Politico, July–August 2016

Carl Cameron, chief political correspondent, Fox News. This is a cry-baby president.—CNN, Aug. 28, 2019

Liz Cheney, Congresswoman, Wyoming; chair, House Republican Conference. Impossible to understand why Trump is leaving America's allies to be slaughtered and enabling the return of ISIS.—CNN, Oct. 10, 2019

Jeff Flake, Senator, Arizona. A man who has, now more than ever, proved to be so manifestly undeserving of the highest office that we have.—Washington Post, Sept. 30, 2019

Jennifer Horn, Chair, New Hampshire Republican Party. Trump delivers a daily dose of dangerous and ill-informed nonsense. He’s left the nation weaker, sicker, and teetering on the verge of a new Great Depression. In a time of deep suffering and loss, Donald Trump continues with his failed leadership and his inability to put the country before himself.—Manchester Union-Leader, April 29, 2020

Kurt Bardella, Spokesman, Breitbart News; Republican political operative. President Trump … would rather elect a sexual predator who preys on teenagers at the local mall than a crime-fighting prosecutor who happens to be a Democrat.—USA Today, Dec. 8, 2017

J.W. Verret, Trump transition team official; counsel to House committee; faculty, Antonin Scalia Law School. Criticisms of President Trump’s lack of character and unfitness for office were spot-on.— The Atlantic, April 23, 2019

Thomas P. Bossert, Homeland Security Adviser; deputy advisor to George W. Bush. [On the conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interferred in US elections]: am deeply frustrated with what he and the legal team is doing and repeating that debunked theory to the president. It sticks in his mind when he hears it over and over again, and for clarity here, George, let me just again repeat that it has no validity.—ABC, This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Sept. 29, 2019

Ana Navarro, Republican strategist; adviser to Jeb Bush, John McCain. When your last name is Trump, you are very used to breaking laws.—HuffPost, July 20, 2020

David Carney, adviser to Bush Sr., Rick Perry, Greg Abbott. [On interactions with Trump on Covid]: The President got bored with it.—NYT, July 19, 2020

Susan Molinari, Congresswoman, New York; keynote speaker, 1996 Republican National Convention. I’ve known Donald Trump for most of my political career. So disappointing, and lately so disturbing.—Democratic National Convention, Aug. 17, 2020

Stuart Stevens, Republican operative for George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, Bob Dole, and dozens of GOP governors, senators and congressmen. Donald Trump is a terrorist, and the Republican Party decided to negotiate with him. How has that worked out? He’s destroyed conservatism. He’s the most anti-conservative president of my lifetime.—Politico, Aug. 19, 2020

Admiral William H. McRaven, directed raid against Osama Bin Laden. President Trump has shown he doesn’t have the qualities necessary to be a good commander in chief.—NYT, Aug. 19, 2020