Today is primary election day, so if you have not already voted, please, please do so today. But if you are an absentee voter who does not plan to mail in your ballot, or if you are a polling place voter with no intention of going to the polls, well then… fuck you. People who choose not to exercise their right to vote have absolutely no right to complain about the shitty government elected by those of us who do.
I have decided not to make any primary endorsements or predictions, mostly out of laziness. But I’ll make an exception for the one statewide election today for which the primary is the general — the race between state Supreme Court Justice Gerry Alexander and handpicked BIAW candidate John Groen.
I cannot urge you strongly enough to cast your ballot for Justice Alexander. But quite frankly, I fear it is hopeless. In fact, I fear for the independence of our entire judiciary.
Here’s what it comes down to: if you are perfectly comfortable having our courts sold to the highest bidder (ie wealthy corporate interests) then by all means vote for Groen, or don’t vote at all. Because whatever you think of his ideology (and it’s awful,) that’s what Groen’s victory will represent.
There is a reason why the BIAW and other right-wing groups have spent $2 million electing Groen — that’s the only way an extremist like him could ever get elected. If he was a well qualified centrist candidate, a couple hundred thousand dollars might have done the trick. But if you want a justice who is absolutely guaranteed to rule in your favor no matter what the issue or case, well, it costs a lot of money.
In fact it costs so much money that unless we reform campaign finance, or change the way we select judges, pretty soon our entire court system will be dominated by judges beholden to or ideologically aligned with wealthy corporate interests. What the BIAW cannot achieve via the legislature or the initiative process they will soon achieve through the courts… you know, like totally dismantling our state’s growth management laws.
And there is absolutely nothing we can do about it, because quite frankly we will never be able to come close to matching the right, dollar for dollar. There simply are no special interests who stand to make huge sums of money electing liberal or centrists judges, and so organizations like the BIAW will continue to outspend us four, five… ten to one. Whatever it takes, as long as they can be guaranteed a return on their investment, they can come up with the money. If it’s worth two million dollars it’s worth three, and if it’s worth three it’s worth four or five. That’s where we’re headed.
And once they’ve bought a comfortable majority on the state Supreme Court they’ll move on to the Appeals and Superior Courts. How can I be so sure? Because that’s what has happened in Texas and other states.
But if that’s okay with you, then don’t bother voting.