Since early voting has started in D.C. (go here for more information), here are the Mad Biologist’s endorsements. As always, I don’t really expect my endorsements to influence anyone other than me. I’ve also stayed away from the eleventy gajillion ANC elections as I really haven’t followed any of them, so these are mostly at-large positions and Board of Education seats. Without further delay:
Mayor: Democrat Muriel Bowser. This is about as reluctant an endorsement as it gets. But none of the other candidate’s positions impress me enough to be worthy of even a protest vote. But make no mistake about it, Bowser is a status quo mayor–and a 1990s status quo at that:
But GM thinks it’s something deeper than that. In GM’s opinion, Bowser is just a mediocre mayor who has served just as he suspected she would: like a glorified ANC commissioner. She has few major accomplishments to point to and she has done little to stem the disturbing increase in homicides under her watch. Moreover she has let her stubbornness cloud her approach to too many issues. For instance, when Georgetowners pleaded with her to reconsider the plan to move all Hyde-Addison students across town for two years, it was crystal clear that the more Georgetowner’s pleaded, the more she dug in her heels. The fight over paid leave is similar.
So Bowser, but grudgingly.
At-Large Member of the Council: Independent Elissa Silverman. She’s good on the issues, and isn’t beholden to the business community. She has successfully fought for a higher minimum wage, more affordable housing, and opposed public financing of (yet another) a stadium. Importantly, she was the driver behind D.C.’s paid leave law. As important as these policy achievements are, Silverman is one of the few Council Members who attempts oversight of the Mayor’s office (which is one reason why Bowser opposes her). D.C. has passed some great laws, but the enforcement of those laws is spotty at best–D.C. needs Council Members who will engage in meaningful oversight, even if that means pissing off her Royal Highness. But you get two votes, so cast the other one for Anita Bonds. Yes, like most of D.C’s leadership, she’s stuck in a time warp and doesn’t realize that D.C., in 2018, faces very different challenges than the 1990s, but Bonds beats any of the alternatives.
Attorney General: Democrat Karl Racine. It has never been clear what exactly the role of the state Attorney General is. That said, Racine has pushed for a lot of oversight, and strengthened the consumer protection office.
United States Senator: Democrat Michael D. Brown. D.C. has a shadow senator, who has no voting or committee privileges. It’s arguably an utterly thankless job, with one key goal: advocating for statehood (because D.C. has extreme taxation without representation). He’s pretty good at that, so he gets the nod.
Ward 6 Council Member: Democrat Charles Allen. Allen has been very good on public financing of elections, and he usually adopts progressive positions. But this is also a vote against Republican Bekesha. Bekesha is a former member of the conspiracist organization Judical Watch, which among other things, hyped the Clinton email story. Don’t reward bad behavior–vote for Allen.
Board of Education: Emily Gasoi (Ward 1), Ruth Wattenberg (Ward 3). These are the candidates focusing on more equitable resources, and understand that students who are years behind need special resources and curricula. They also want to deemphasize high-stakes testing and don’t like the one to five star ratings the school system wants to impose.