Opinionated @ CFE

Why I Am Seriously Considering a "None of the Above" Vote for US Senate


This race for US Senate has, quite frankly, disgusted me. It has been fully of grandstanding, backroom dealing, vicious personal attacks, rampant trolling, and general idiocy. I can usually manage to find someone worth my vote as the best choice (even if not necessarily a good one), but this particular race has me thinking that “none of the above” may be the best option out there.

First off, there’s Mike Lee. I was immediately distrustful of him from the get-go when he started his “fireside” lectures about the Constitution. Who is this guy? Why is he appearing out of nowhere just as the Senate race is getting some legs? And, more importantly, why does he seem to be acting and talking like someone who has his sights on higher office? Time did not assuage these concerns. I always left with the feeling as if he was saying what people wanted to hear in order to get elected. In addition, the undercurrent of “Mormon values” was always present in his verbiage, right back to those first “firesides”. Given how many fraudsters and hucksters co-opt religious language to perpetrate financial crimes against the members of their faith, I saw even less reason to trust how genuine Lee was being with the voters. The final straws were in his shameless grandstanding, particularly when it came to repealing the recent health care legislation and the 17th Amendment. Given the unlikeliness of accomplishing the former in less than 4 years and the latter even at all, he’s either willfully ignorant of political reality or intentionally blowing smoke. In either case, he’s not fit for Senate.

Sam Granato isn’t exactly doing a lot better in my book. I’ve already taken him to task on several occasions for running a campaign of nothing but smoke and mirrors. Aside from a few scant “mom and apple pie” policy statements, Granato has no positions, no goals, no plans to achieve those non-existent goals, and nothing but endless name-dropping in every single speech that he makes. How on earth that he managed to get 78% at the convention, the same convention where Matheson darn near got tossed on his head, is absolutely incomprehensible. Even now that his opposition is clear, he still isn’t saying a whole lot about what he believes. To be quite honest, waiting to say anything until he knows who his Republican opponent is says a lot about what kind of snake in the grass Granato really is. Instead of running in terms of what he believes, what he will do, and how he will do it, this strategy hints that he will only tear down his opponent in the lead-up to the general election. If you can only define yourself in terms of your opposition, you aren’t fit for Senate.

And not to let Scott Bradley feel too left out, I don’t think he’s a particularly good choice either. His campaign website is full of lofty goals (many of which I support), but no plan to actually enact or achieve any of them. It’s one thing to say “I’m going to drive from New York to Los Angeles” and another thing entirely to have planned the route to do so. In addition to this, his “issues” page is a series of sprawling essays on the finer points of Constitutional law. Scott, that’s not an issues page. An issues page tells me how you would vote on issues such as foreign relations, trade policy, transportation (because, as I’ve pointed out earlier, “post roads” is kind of part of Congress’ job), and so forth. It would also include some of those items I just mentioned are missing. Anyone who has put so little thought into running for office probably isn’t going to do much thinking if/when they arrive in DC. If you can’t articulate what you want to do and how you will do it, you aren’t fit for Senate.

To be honest, I don’t think it’s too terribly hard to fall into my few requirements for federal candidates. Sadly, all of these jokers are falling well outside of it. Unless one of them makes some drastic changes over the following 4-ish months, NOTA will be my choice.

13 Responses to Why I Am Seriously Considering a "None of the Above" Vote for US Senate

  1. I agree wholeheartedly. I may just have to hold my nose on this one. I keep hoping that Lee is suddenly going to grow up, but I fear my hopes are in vain…

  2. After closely watching and participating in the senate race I can understand how anyone would feel disappointed in the process. My perception of Sam is exactly as you describe and I know so little of Scott that I have no opinion of him as a candidate but I am getting the impression that your opinion of Mike is based more on an emotional reaction than a rational one. I say that because of your assertion that all the candidates “fall well outside” your requirements for earning your vote.

    Of your five reqirements I think it is blindingly obvious that Mike understands that the Constitution matters and that he has an understanding of the things you said a candidadte should understand. I think it is also clear that Mike understands the need to send power back to the states. As far as understanding that there are some things the federal government should do, I think Mike understands that but I recognize that he has not said as much about that so I can accept that you might not yet trust him on that point. On knowing the difference between the department of defense and the department of war, I fully agree with you and I can’t say whether Mike is all the way to the same position that you and I apparently hold but you should take into consideration that Mike has already taken a lot of flak for simply suggestig that our presence in Afghanistan should not be open-ended and unlimited. Finally, I also agree with you about the difference between pro-business and pro-market (I nearly wrote my own post about it) and the need to be skeptical of corporate power just as we are about government power. I see no evidence that Mike would be pro-business rather than pro-market. Again I accept that you might have no reason yet to trust him on that point but having a score of two points of agreement, one of at least partial agreement and two of not enough information to be sure hardly seems well outside you requirements. I would have rated that as more like “possible but he’s not quite there yet.”

  3. I just got your blog post in my daily Google Alert for NOTA news.

    I’m not sure if you’re interested but I recently started a Yahoo Group for folks who want to discuss NOTA issues. There’s not much activity yet but I did post your blog link to the group.

    Here’s my blog page about NOTA with some other resources listed…


    I didn’t think Utah had a NOTA choice on your ballot. I thought the only State that had NOTA or rather NOTC (None Of These Candidates) was Nevada.

    Lenny Vasbinder

  4. I so called it on the Granato negative campaigning: http://twitter.com/SamGranato/statuses/16957241667

    David: By your use of my scale, Lee gets a 50%. That’s not really so great, to be honest. When you add in the grandstanding and constant use of LDS codewords, I find myself deeply suspicious of what he does get right. I’m open to a Lee supporter attempting to change my mind, but it will take knocking it right out of the park.

    Lenny: Even without a Nevada-like NOTA option (which I used several times while I lived there), I can still refuse to cast a ballot in the race or attempt to write it in.

  5. I wasn’t at the Dem convention, but if those 78 percent have ever eaten lunch at Granato’s then the vote makes perfect sense to me 😉

    All Sam has to do to win is run the video of Mike Lee’s endorsement of a taxpayer bailout for BP on a continuous loop. Will he? Probably not.

  6. Refusing to cast a ballot does no good at all… unless States would change their voting rules to say that if a quorum of voters did not show up at the polls, then there could be no vote.

    This is how corporate stockholder meetings are handled… there MUST be a quorum… usually at least 50% of the voters voting or the vote does not count.

    As it stands in I believe ALL States, if only 1% of the voters showed up and voted, whoever got the majority of the votes wins or goes into a run-off with the other top vote getter, if nobody got 50%+1 of the votes that were cast. This is BAD when only 1% of the voters could decide who is getting elected to represent the other 99%.

    Yes, the other 99% should have showed up but if there was a quorum requirement, if voters boycotted the polls, the election would not take place. That would send a clear message to the pol’s!!!

    NOTA is also needed for many other reasons. I’m not sure if you remember, but down here in Louisiana, we had a gubernatorial race (=Governor’s race for those folks in New Orleans who have no clue what gubernatorial means.. lol) a while back, between Edwin Edwards (a known crook who is now serving time in Federal Prison) and David Duke (a former KKK grand wizard) and GOD knows we needed a NOTA ballot in that case… but we had to show up and hold our nose and vote for Edwards, who further ran Louisiana into the ground while enriching himself and his cronies… many of whom are also in jail today.

    Without either a NOTA ballot choice or a Quorum requirement, then those of us who can vote, need to show up and vote… even if it’s for the lesser of two evils… which is often the case nowadays.

    Lenny Vasbinder

  7. rmwarnick: I’ve never eaten at Granato’s before, but I hear it’s pretty awesome.

    I’m really disappointed that Stout didn’t get the nod. I felt like he was a strong candidate, one that I could have considered voting for in the general. And Granato is already trying to negative campaign against Lee, yet still won’t tell us what he’s for. That’s frustrating as all get out.

    Lenny: I agree that a NOTA option is a Good Thing(TM), but I don’t feel entirely powerless without one.

    • Jesse: You have obviously never been forced to choose between an Edwin Edwards and a David Duke for Governor… or the last two New Orleans mayoral winners, Ray “Chocolate City” Nagin and Mitch “Never Had Anything But An Elected Job In My Life Cuz My Daddy Was A Crooked Politician Also” Landrieu…. and many other notable and nefarious characters down here in Louisiana. Of course, places like New Jersey and Illinois also suffer from such choices in the past.

      A Quorum requirement of at least 25% of voters and/or a NOTA ballot choice would go a LONG WAY in getting voters more involved.

      “It’s not a surprise to me that pathetic is part of apathetic.” – (My own quote… lol)

      Lenny Vasbinder

  8. If Mikes 50% score were 2 for, 1 sort of, and 2 against then I would agree that he was well outside your requirements. I saw it as 2 for, 1 sort of, and 2 need more information which would suggest that you need to keep looking to know where he fell as a candidate. Of course you skepticism of his very language would discourage continued inquiry since you would not trust whatever answers you received. I had not considered that in my calculus and I’m not foolish enough to suggest that you have no right to be skeptical.

  9. I checked the “Notify me of followup comments…” box below but hadn’t been getting any of the emails so I just checked my spam folder in Gmail and there were four emails in the spam folder.

    You may want to add a notice on the bottom of your blog or somewhere, to let folks know to check their spam folders for the “Notify” emails.

    I check my spam folder at least weekly or more often if I’m expecting an email BUT most folks do not do this like they should and probably miss LOTS of email from people… maybe even that email from Publisher’s Clearing House letting them know they won TEN MILLION DOLLARS!!! 😉

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