By Connor Gorman
There’s a possibility within electoral politics that doesn’t occur often, if at all, at the moment, but which I’ve considered for awhile, and that’s the notion of an anti-endorsement.
There’s two scenarios where this seems like a potentially preferable option to endorsements. The first of these is a race in which an individual or group likes multiple candidates, where they could anti-endorse any candidates(s) who they don’t like as much as the others (though it’s true that this would essentially be the same as endorsing the multiple candidates who they do like).
The other scenario here is a race in which an individual or group doesn’t particularly support any of the candidates, but does have substantially more problems and disagreements with one of them, where they could then decide to anti-endorse that candidate rather than endorsing any of that candidate’s opponents. This would amount to somewhat of a “lesser-evil” argument, but would acknowledge that it’s a “lesser-evil” situation rather than pretending (through an endorsement) that they actively support a candidate who they simply consider the “lesser-evil” (this type of anti-endorsement could have been especially helpful during the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections).
Now, there’s certainly some downsides to the idea of anti-endorsements, but it seems like something worth considering, at least under certain circumstances. So in the spirit of piloting it, let me publicly apply it to the upcoming Davis City Council elections.
In District 1, I would apply the first scenario described above because I believe there are two good candidates, Bapu Vaitla and Kelsey Fortune, who would make good Davis City Council members. Unsurprisingly, there’s still things that I disagree with them on, but I think they’d both bring an important perspective to the Council and govern in a way that generally, within the confines of our current systems, benefits Davis and its current and future residents.
This, together with other issues, such as some of Dan’s recent political actions, is why I’m anti-endorsing Dan and encourage those in District 1 to vote for either Kelsey or Bapu. This race is also yet another example of why Davis City Council elections, and all elections, should be ranked-choice, or at least include a runoff system like the one used for Yolo County Supervisor elections.
In District 4, I would apply the second scenario described above because, while I’m not a huge fan of Gloria Partida’s political views and actions (she’s far more right-wing, pro-policing, pro- capitalist, etc. than I’d like), her experiences have clearly given her a better understanding of the needs and challenges that many low-income and marginalized Davisites regularly deal with compared to her out of touch opponent.
Therefore, I’m anti-endorsing Adam and encourage those in District 4 to vote for Gloria. Also, as a general matter that’s independent of the specifics around any particular cases, it’s important to remember that laws, along with what’s criminalized vs. what isn’t, are often (not always, but often) designed by and for the ruling class at the expense of the people, especially marginalized and oppressed communities. Furthermore, violating unjust laws is perfectly ethical (and some might argue a duty).
Connor Gorman is a Davis resident and recent UC Davis graduate in physics.