How I Voted This Year (Oregon election 2012), including in downballot races featuring candidates you’ve never heard of, and why

How I voted!


Because the Presidential vote in Oregon is entirely symbolic (Oregon is not a swing state), I was rather torn between giving my meaningless but fun vote to Jill Stein of the Green Party, whose policies I strongly agree with; Rocky Anderson of the Progressive Party (ditto); or Barack Obama.

In the end, I voted for Obama. Since it’s an empty symbolic vote anyway, I get to decide what it symbolizes, and I’ve decided my vote for Obama symbolizes support for good legislation like the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), the stimulus package, and also his administration’s support for lgbt rights and for doing what environmental good the President can do without Congress. It doesn’t symbolize support for Obama’s more horrible policies.

Romney, of course, was not even in the running in the Presidential Election in Amp’s Mind.


Representative in Congress, 3rd District
Earl Blumenauer, Democrat, is a shoe-in to win, and I’m not pleased with his eagerness to cut Social Security benefits. So I voted for Woodrow Broadnax, of the Pacific Green and Progressive Parties, a long time anti-gang activist whose priorities include helping at-risk kids avoid becoming criminals, and making Juneteenth a recognized national holiday.

Secretary of State
Green Party candidate Seth Woolley argues that Democrat Kate Brown has acted in a number of ways to prevent smaller parties from having reasonable ballot access (see the “about the incumbent” section of his overly fancy, poorly designed website). I find Woolley’s arguments persuasive, and I also like the way he’s been holding the Democratic Party’s feet to the fire when it comes to Charlie Hales, who claimed to be a Washington state resident on his tax forms but claimed that he was still an Oregonian for election laws. I also like Woolley’s support of Instant Runoff Voting.

Republican Knute Buehler seems not-too-awful as Republicans go, but who can tell how he’d act once in office? He has no experience in elected office at all, and seems to be running more as a party activist than as someone who knows a thing about government.

So I’m voting for Seth Woolley.

State Treasurer
I’m voting for the incumbent, Eagle Scout1 and Democrat Ted Wheeler. Cameron Whitten of the Progressive Party seems like a good guy (who does things like go on a hunger strike to call attention to poverty issues), but he’s a college student; State Treasurer is not, it seems to me, a good position for someone’s first government job, let along someone’s first post-college job.

Republican Tom Cox, while long out of college, has zero government experience and seems to offer nothing other than a promise to attack the pensions of retired government employees.

Attorney General
Normally I’d at least consider Chris Brown, the Progressive Party candidate for Attorney General. But he or she didn’t even get it together enough to get a statement printed in the voter’s pamphlet this year; if Chris Brown can’t be bothered to take that simplest of steps to tell me why s/he should get my vote, then forget about it.

The Libertarian Candidate, James Leuenberger, also didn’t bother to get into the voter’s pamphlet. So the choice is between Republican James Buchal, an antigovernment activist with no government experience, and Democrat Ellen Rosenblum, the current Attorney General, who has been endorsed by Basic Rights Oregon, NARAL, and the Violence Against Women PAC, among others. I voted for Rosenblum.

State Senator, 23rd District.
The choices are Independent Tracy Olsen, who has suspended his campaign, or Jackie Dingfelder, who is running as the Republican, the Democrat, and the Working Families candidate. Dingfelder has a record of practical environmentalism (such as expending what kind of bottles get recycled) that I like, so I’m happy to vote for Dingfelder. (So don’t say I’d never vote for a Republican candidate! :-p )

Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor and Industries
Bruce Starr claims to support workers rights, but not a single workers organization is listed among his endorsements; instead, he’s endorsed by bosses’ groups like The Oregon Business Association and the Beaverton Chamber of Commerce. Starr wants to lower the prevailing wage in Oregon, and to weaken Oregon’s unions with so-called right-to-work laws. In short, if elected Starr will work tirelessly against workers rights and be a reliable tool for whatever rich Republicans want.

Avarkian is endorsed by a bunch of unions and by women’s groups, and takes both workers rights and civil rights seriously. I’m voting for Brad Avakian.

Judge of the Supreme Court, Position 3
In his Willamette Week interview, Richard Baldwin said that the superpower he most wants is “to be able to instantly understand a person’s experiences and background.” Good answer, and one that indicates that Baldwin has thought about this before – a secret nerd, perhaps? From OregonLive:

[Baldwin’s] first job was at Multnomah County Legal Aid, where he represented low-income clients fighting for custody of their children, suffering from domestic violence or struggling to keep housing in landlord-tenant disputes.

As a judge, he started Multnomah County’s mental health court, which is now 3 years old and aims to connect chronic, low-level offenders with services to treat mental illness.

Judge Baldwin has 11 years of experience as a full-time Judge, whereas Nina Cook has spent most of her career defending corporations against employee lawsuits. Cook is overwhelmingly the choice of District Attorneys – so if elected, expect her to be hard on workers, soft on corporations, and hostile to defendant’s rights.

I’m voting for Judge Baldwin, and you should too.

Judge of the Court of Appeals, Position 6
As Jack Bog says, this one is a coin flip. Volpert has more experience, but the single thing he’s most famous for is arguing for the rights of schools to search kids for drugs (a view that some have claimed he no longer holds). Both Volpert and Egan are spoken of glowingly by lawyers who know them (see the comments here). Since it’s a coin-flip, I’m going to hold Volpert’s anti-civil-rights past against him. I’m voting for James Egan.


Mayor of Portland
Jefferson Smith is famous for having twice been arrested for punching people. If he intends to keep this up, it would certainly make Portland City Council meetings more lively. Smith’s opponent Charlie Hales is a greedhead who has lived in another state for tax purposes and denied it until he was caught.

On the other hand, Hales has fought to force unions to accept more women and people of color as members, supports public transportation, and wants to see Portland become more densse – all good things.

So I am unenthusiastically voting for Charlie Hales.

Commissioner, Position 1
The race between Mary Nolan and Amanda Fritz is another coin-flipper; either one could do a good job. But Mary Nolan says that she would have voted against trying to fire a police sniper who killed an unarmed citizen. Fritz disagrees, calling it a matter of justice. I’m voting for Amanda Fritz.

Director at large, East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District
One of my housemates knows Kelly Caldwell and says that she’s smart and has good views. That’s good enough for me.


Measure 77: Amends Constitution to let the governor divert money temporarily to respond to a disaster. I voted yes.

Measure 78: Fixes spelling and grammatical errors in Oregon’s Constitution. Also, revises language that assumes the Secretary of State is male. I voted yes.

Measure 79: Prohibits real estate transfer taxes and fees. I voted no.

Measure 80: Legalizes pot. I voted yes. This is an entirely rational measure that would do a lot of good, and Oregon voters are going to send it down in flames.

Measure 81: Prohibits the use of gillnets in Oregon, and allows use of seline nets. The gillnets catch and kill animals who aren’t intended to be caught. I voted yes. [Edited to correct spelling.]

Measure 82: Amends Constitution to allow the establishment of privately-owned casinos.

This measure would take money away from Oregon’s tribes, and would leave Portland taxpayers partly on the hook for the work that would have to be done to allow all those cars to drive in and out of the proposed area. It would also take away money from the Oregon Lottery, mitigating the good it would do in terms of new revenue for the government. On the other hand, it would create some jobs. On the other hand, the more prevalent gambling is, the more gambling addicts and their families are hurt. I hesitatingly voted no.

Measure 83: See measure 82. Again, I voted no.

Measure 84: Eliminates inheritance taxes on large estates, and pays for it by taking money away from education. If I could vote no a hundred times, I would.

Measure 85. Amends the Oregon Constitution, so that the corporate tax “kicker” refund would instead be used to fund public schools. I voted yes.


Measure 26-143 raises our taxes a little to support public libraries. I voted yes.

Measure 26-145 is a technical measure improving the way that police and fire workers have their final year’s salary calculated for retirement purposes. I voted yes.

Measure 26-146 taxes everyone in Portland who is above the federal poverty line $35 a year, and applies that money hiring art and music teachers to public schools, and to nonprofit arts programs serving schools and “underserved communities.” I don’t like the regressive tax structure, but on the whole I like this measure. I voted yes.

Portland School District #1JT
Measure 26-144

$482 million in bonds to make repairs and upgrades to school buildings, which will be paid for by raising property taxes a bit. I voted yes.

  1. The President of the Boy Scout group Wheeler is associated with favors ending the exclusion of gay Scouts. []
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32 Responses to How I Voted This Year (Oregon election 2012), including in downballot races featuring candidates you’ve never heard of, and why

  1. 1
    Jake Squid says:

    I was waiting for this post so I could put my voting line in. You’ve done a fantastic job of research and explanations and I’m now changing my vote to Baldwin for Supreme Court position 3.

    Where I differ from you:
    President: My utterly meaningless vote goes to Stein. If my vote is meaningless, it may as well go to my most preferred candidate. It’s not like an extra vote or million votes is going to get Obama any more political capital in a 2nd term.

    Mayor of Portland: I know Charlie Hales from my days of Neighborhood Association boardhood. He’s a clown, for lack of a better word, who I vowed I’d never vote for for anything. This was while he was on the City Council. He created such a sense of loathing for him that, 15 years later, I cringe at the thought of him holding power or being in the same room as me. As much as I lack anything approaching enthusiasm for Smith, at least he’s not Hales.

    Measure 77: I don’t understand the need for this, so I’m voting no. Maybe I’m missing something, though. I’m open to convincement.

  2. 2
    Jake Squid says:

    A few additional notes:

    Secretary of State: Up until this election, I’ve always voted for Kate Brown. She did good work representing me and was always very accessible. However… Woolley’s argument is persuasive to those of us who believe CFR is vital to allowing a more equally representative government.

    State Treasurer: Isn’t Tom Cox the former head of the Oregon Libertarian party? The one who in 2002(?) ran for governor with a voters pamphlet statement detailing how he’d destroy Oregon’s economy and government? I’ve always admired him for his straightforwardness in that campaign, though his positions are despicable.

    Commissioner of BOLI: Bruce Starr has been wholly owned by business and real estate interests for at least 12 years. I would’ve voted for the despised Charlie Hales over Starr for this, or any other, elected position. This should give a hint as to how bad I think Starr is.

    Commissioner, Position 1: I like both candidates. I see little reason to vote Nolan in over Fritz, though, since Fritz has done a fine job. Perhaps if Nolan had run for the other open position I’d vote for her. I voted for Fritz in May and see no reason to change my vote.

    Measure 79: This has no place in the constitution. None at all and I resent the attempt by real estate & builders to put this in there. No such fee/tax exists nor is one being contemplated by the state.

    Measure 82: Fuck the casino builders. The Native Tribes have us covered there and I see no reason to dick them over even more than we already have by allowing out of state investors to horn in on their industry.

    Measure 84: I get the feeling this will pass and I’ll have that much less respect for our state’s voters. Oh, well.

  3. 3
    Elusis says:

    I spent my meaningless California vote for POTUS on Roseanne Barr and the Peace & Freedom party.

  4. 4
    Kevin Moore says:

    You know, with enough meaningless votes, we could form a Bloc.

    Anyway, I cast my symbolic vote in favor of policies I actually support, represented by Jill Stein, and not the ones I try to wish away, you subjective idealist stooge of the capitalist running dogs.

    Otherwise, I think our votes are mostly identical, with the exception of Kate Brown and Earl Bloomers.


  5. 5
    Ben Lehman says:

    I voted in WA, so different ballot. But Barry forgot to mention that in the Soil and Water seat that has no one running you should write in our housemate (and Alas moderator) Charles Seaton, because he vaguely knows about this sort of thing and also it would be funny if he won.

  6. 6
    Copyleft says:

    I’m down here in Georgia, where my vote is irrelevant for the same reason but in the opposite direction. My vote for president goes to Jill Stein.

  7. 7
    RonF says:

    Measure 81: Amp, do you do any fishing? It’s “gillnet”, not “gilnet”. And I support your position there, BTW.

  8. 8
    RonF says:

    That casino building measure and your concern about who the investors would be brings to mind a situation here in Illinois wherein a group of wealthy people tried to convince the Illinois General Assembly and the Governor to pass a bill adding an additional casino permit (thus enabling an additional casino to be built). Apparently said group was somehow going to be a shoo-in (there’s another one for you, Amp) to get the license. When the bill failed to pass (I think it actually passed the GA but the Governor wouldn’t sign it) there were loud complaints (led by the widow of the beloved Bears running back Walter Payton) that they were going to lose money because of this and how was that fair? Apparently politically important people aren’t supposed to lose money when they invest with the aim of making a profit off of public assets.

    Although the woman had a point – it’s pretty unusual for that to happen in Illinois. Generally if you get hooked in with the politically important here, being able to make private profit off of publicly-owned assets is a sure thing.

  9. 9
    Ampersand says:

    I fished a little when I was little, but nothing since then. But it’s nice that you and I agree on something! ;-p

  10. 10
    Ralphie Buffalo says:

    Instead of casting meaningless votes, please vote for the Oregon Progressive Party candidate, when available. The party needs to have at least one of its statewide candidates (President, Secretary of State, Attorney General, or Treasurer) achieve 1% of the vote in the election in order for the Oregon Progressive Party to maintain its status as a party and have ballot access in the future.

  11. 11
    Jake Squid says:

    Why is a vote for the Oregon Progressive Party candidate not a meaningless vote?

  12. 12
    Robert says:

    I think he said; if the party maintains a level of demonstrated support they get to stay a “real” party and get future ballot access with fewer hoops to jump. One might disagree with such an outcome (though I wouldn’t – third parties hooray!) but it does have a point, even if it’s an ultimately futile one. Everything is ULTIMATELY futile, so no need to get all hardcore on that.

  13. 13
    Jake Squid says:

    Well then, why not vote for one of the many other 3rd parties? At least one of which has been mentioned several times in this thread? They need their ballot access, too.

  14. 14
    Robert says:

    Choosing strawberry PopTarts doesn’t invalidate the other flavors; voting for strawberry – even if it means that blueberry disappears from the shelves – isn’t pointless, just as voting for blueberry isn’t pointless. If my flavor gets enough votes, it stays on the shelves; the implicit conflict between flavors doesn’t negate the purposefulness of one particular choice.

  15. 15
    Robert says:

    PS Blueberry poptarts really are gross. I don’t know why, I love blueberry in just about every other manifestation, even high-sugar quasi-blueberries in things like pancake batter. But the poptarts…blech.

  16. 16
    Jake Squid says:

    Pop Tarts are a brilliant example. I mean, sure, you’re wrong about Blueberry Pop Tarts. They are merely the second best flavor. On to why it’s a brilliant analogy. Raspberry Pop Tarts are far and away the best flavor of Pop Tart ever. Oh, how I loved those. And oh, how disappointed I’d be when I accidentally grabbed a box of loathsome Cherry Pop Tarts instead. Then one day Raspberry Pop Tarts disappeared from the shelves. I hoped the store was merely out of them but, no, there was no longer a marked space on the shelves for them. For several years I had to satisfy myself with the adequate but pedestrian Blueberry flavor. Suddenly, with no fanfare, Raspberry Pop Tarts appeared on the shelves once again. I realized what I had to do. Every shopping trip now includes the purchase of at least one box of Raspberry Pop Tarts no matter how many are in the cupboards at home. Raspberry Pop Tarts need my support to maintain ballot shelf access.

    PS: Please ignore the fact that I ignored your PS about blueberry Pop Tarts. It’ll make my comment much more entertaining.

  17. 17
    Robert says:

    Although a stalwart supporter of strawberry Pop Tarts as the One Best Flavor, I can see the appeal of your raspberry pretenders and support your desire to have this inferior, but still good, product on the shelves, particularly if it does so at the expense of either the detestable cherry or nauseating blueberry or pointless cinnamon-chocolate varieties. Therefore, I support shelf access rules that encourage the selection of a few, highly popular brands of Pop Tarts by giving them preferential treatment. In practical terms, this means that I propose that we each, on occasion, throw in a box of the other’s favorite flavor along with our first choice, to continue sending the manufacturer a signal of broad-based demand for both flavors. I acknowledge that strawberry is an unshakable titan of flavor supremacy while raspberry is a far more vulnerable contender, and I therefore agree to purchase at least three times as many raspberry boxes as you buy strawberry boxes. Just send me a monthly count and I’ll add the appropriate products to my next shopping adventure.

    I’m going to let your easygoing apostasy on the subject of blueberry go, in the interests of our shared hatred of cherry. Cherry, the flavor which by all logic and reason ought to be fantastic, and is not.

  18. 18
    Jake Squid says:

    Cherry, the flavor which by all logic and reason ought to be fantastic, and is not.

    Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. That is what makes Cherry, the flavor, even more awful than it is on its own in a Pop Tart.

    (Also, this exchange has brightened my day considerably.)

  19. 19
    Robert says:

    I bought cherry PopTarts about six months ago. Hadn’t had them since I was a kid. Figured, “I bet cherry is a good flavor.”

    Now I think it’s morally acceptable to murder kittens. Because there is no God and no justice and no right or wrong. Because none of those things could be in a world with cherry PopTarts.

  20. 20
    Robert says:

    And it’s brightened my day too. We have totally demolished Amp’s thread, and by God we did it with successive on-topic posts that just subtly moved farther and farther away from the original intent. So suck it, Amp, we own your blog now. Send us money. And PopTarts.

  21. 21
    Ruchama says:

    I’m really not happy with any of my senate choices this year. I’ve got a Tea Party Republican who has made some rather alarming comments about rape; a pro-life anti-gay-marriage Democrat who seems the least objectionable of the bunch; and a Libertarian who, as far as I can tell, has no political experience whatsoever, has made very few statements on any issues beyond vague “we ought to make things better and give the government back to the people” sorts of things, and his only campaign webpage is on Facebook.

  22. 22
    RonF says:

    I’m not particularly happy with most of my choices here in Illinois, either.

    Neither of my senators are up for re-election – they’re Durbin (gak!) and Kirk (who had a stroke but is recovering and getting his job done).

    During reapportionment the General Assembly had to get rid of one House district and in the remapping process ensured that every district is a one-party district. There’s maybe one meaningful race, and it’s not my district. I’m actually somewhat inured to my Rep: it’s Lipinski, who is a Democrat but voted against the ACA and providing federal $ for abortions, etc.

    There are no meaningfully contested races for the State legislators and officials up for election (we do most of our State officials on the by-year election). The State districts were reapportioned in the same spirit as the Federal ones. My State rep is Mike Madigan. He’s been Speaker of the House for 24 of the last 26 years, and comparing him to a whore is an insult to sex workers everywhere.

    Madigan is the head of the Combine – the political/financial/corporate structure that runs Illinois. He’s nominally a Democrat, but party designators are not all that important here. All that matters is that your’re a member of the Combine and you’ll get support from the other members. Democrat politicians giving $ to Republican ones is not unheard of in Illinois. Mike Madigan runs the Illinois House and the State in general with an iron fist – he’s way more powerful than the Governor, and he does it by selling the taxpayers out to the public unions and the businesses that get State contracts in return for $ that he then doles out as campaign funds to the various members of the House and Senate. If one election could make a difference in Illinois it would be for Madigan to lose. But that’s not going to happen. His “Republican’ opponent has done no campaigning and is suspected of actually being a Democrat who was given enough $ to win the Republican primary so as to ensure that Madigan would have not meaningful opposition. And in any case, the district is shaped to include both a section of suburbs (that will vote against him) and a more populous section of the City of Chicago (that will vote for him, as he has the magic “D” after his name).

    It’s still worth voting, as there’s members of the school boards up for election. Given that they spend most of my $6000 of property tax money every year and the elections are actually contested, it’s worth showing up for. Oh, and there’s an amendment for the Constitution that would require a 3/4 majority in both houses of the General Assembly to approve any increase in public employee benefits. Seeing as how the current public employee pension fund is underfunded by some $84 billion, that’s probably a good idea.

  23. 23
    Jake Squid says:

    Democrat politicians giving $ to Republican ones is not unheard of in Illinois.

    If you wish to be treated with respect yourself, please use the correct term – Democratic when referring to your opposition. To use the term you do is blatant insult on your part. Or would you prefer that we all just talk about Democrat politicians and Rape-pubic politicians? I’ll totally do that if we all want to act like 3rd graders.

    * Yeah, it’s a dumb insult but clearly an insult, nonetheless.

  24. 24
    Myca says:

    If you wish to be treated with respect yourself, please use the correct term – Democratic when referring to your opposition.


  25. 25
    Ampersand says:

    I’ve seen the “call us Democratic, not Democrat” thing before. And I certainly agree that people should call Democrats what Democrats want to be called, just as with any other group.

    But at a fundamental level, I don’t get it. No Democrat is insulted by the word “Democrat” used as a noun, which makes it a very different case than a word like “Rape-publican,” which is clearly never anything but an insult.

    It’s only when it’s used as an adjective, such as “the Democrat Party,” that it’s insulting. But I don’t understand why it’s insulting. And it seems to me a fairly easy mistake to make (after all, “Republican” is both a noun and an adjective).

    Don’t get me wrong – clearly Democrats prefer that the adjective form be “Democratic,” and I think it’s only polite that other folks defer to that preference. But I’m having trouble seeing this as a big deal.

  26. 26
    Jake Squid says:

    It’s a big deal because it was instituted specifically as a form of disrespect. Its purpose was noted at the time by both sides so there’s really no question of intent. It’s also effective because it’s both jarring to hear a term that’s been used without question for one’s entire life and because, in the flow of speech, that change is an abrupt and noticeable difference. It succeeds beautifully at it’s intent. I couldn’t come up with something to replace “Republican” that is that simple and effective so I just went with a recent meme.

    I’m not even a Democratic partisan and it bugs the shit out of me. It’s intentionally insulting and there doesn’t need to be any more to it than that. I don’t refer to RonF and his cohort as “wingnuts” because that term is used only as an insult and adds nothing to any conversation we might have. In fact, it distracts.

    Shorter version: We all know it’s meant as an insult, therefore it’s an insult regardless of grammar.

  27. 27
    RonF says:

    WTF people?

    “To use the term you do is blatant insult on your part. Or would you prefer that we all just talk about Democrat politicians and Rape-pubic politicians?”

    Are you serious?

    It’s called a spelling error, people, or a typo, take your pick. The kind of thing that spell-check doesn’t catch because they’re both valid words. And unlike “Rape-public” I don’t even see the insult. Of all the stuff to get excited about ….

    “He’s been Speaker of the House for 24 of the last 26 years, and comparing him to a whore is an insult to sex workers everywhere.”

    When I want to insult someone I make it clear.

  28. 28
    Jake Squid says:

    Is this the first time you’ve ever made that typo, Ron? If so, I retract my call out.

  29. 29
    RonF says:

    Not that I can remember. It was not deliberate.

  30. 30
    Robert says:

    The trouble is, fellows (and fellowettes), that it is one of those insults that is trivially simple to make as an honest error. You say that oh, it’s an obvious insult – though Amp notes with some asperity that nobody ever says HOW it’s insulting. There are definitely people who deliberately say ‘the Democrat party’, partially to insult Democrats but mostly to get right up the nose of Jake and Myca and their ilk with no effort. Drop two letters from a post, go to bed; legions of Democrat activists like them (I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself) will spend the night fulminating and breathing fire at one another.

    But 90%+ of the usages I’ve seen are simple extensions of what is an undeniable typographic truth: it’s the same darn word. Amp is a Democrat. His party is full of Democrats. It is the Democrat party. I’m a Republican; some of my friends are Republicans; we are the Republican party. We don’t get all hissy and demand that people say that it’s the RepublicanIC party, because, frankly, we would look like idiots. You guys kind of do too. No offense.

  31. 31
    Kenneth W. Regan says:

    In an election where the popular vote is important and likely to be razor-close, no vote is “wasted” anywhere. GOP voters understand this. If thou honestly likest a third party, go thou for it, but not because of presumed numbers in thy state.

  32. 32
    Robert says:

    In national (i.e. presidential) elections, the popular vote nationwide is never important.

    The popular vote is like believing in ghosts. If you do believe in ghosts, then the topic is very fascinating and important and every orb that flies and every door that creaks is another manifestation of the Very Important Things Happening In Spiritland.

    But there are no ghosts, at least not of the kind conveniently-featured on television programs that strangely seem to have no budget for color footage, and so all the perceived importance of camera artifacts, wind, and bean-heavy cuisine aftermath is simply arbitrary pattern-finding done by our brains, which are so good at finding patterns that they will find patterns in places where there is no DATA, let alone no patterns.

    Similarly, you feel the popular vote total to be important and – to the extent that the electorate shares this delusion and will become upset and disillusioned with the legitimacy of elections if the irrelevant numbers don’t coordinate properly with the actually important numbers – it is. But it’s important the same way that all the people who believe in John Edwards are important; because they’re taking part in the same mass social delusion. Since mass social delusions can get us all killed no matter how stupid they are, they are important.

    But still stupid. If through some mathematical miracle Barack Obama gets eight popular votes and 271 electoral college votes while Mitt Romney gets 200 million popular votes and 269 electoral college votes, Obama wins. By a decisive margin. And Mitt Romney’s 200 million arithmetically improbable fans have exactly as much epistemological weight as lens flare in conditions of bad lighting: zero.