Election day is finally here – the end of what has been one of the most tumultuous and unpredictable election seasons that I can recall. My election day column issues a cautionary note to Republican voters – actually, more than that – a warning. While there are not nearly as many so-called “slate cards” dropping in year’s general election as we saw in the primary, there are still a good number – and this year we have seen a rise in Mercenary Slates that are pretending to have some sort of Republican pedigree, when the reality is apparently far from the truth. I use the term “Mercenary Slates” to describe slate cards that have defining ideology or commitment to actual Republican positions on the issues. The vendors of these faux-GOP slates are mercenaries, looking to make money while advancing causes that are counter to that of the Republican Party, and voters should not be fooled. Especially while these folks hide behind the false rhetoric of saying, “But we featured the GOP ticket…” That is a false argument since voters looking to support statewide GOP candidates need no help, party designations are listed right on the ballot! I wonder how many local Republican candidates featured on these slates are pleased to be on a mailing advocating these anti-conservative positions…
I will highlight three egregious examples of this year’s so-called “Republican” mercenary slates…
The first example, is a slate called Continuing the Republican Revolution. This slate boldly proclaims on its front, beneath faux GOP elephants (for which the Republican National Committee has issued a cease and desist order, “President Ronald Reagan will be forever remember on his upcoming 100th Birthday. His ideals if limited government, lower taxes and personal freedoms are as important today as they were during his lifetime. God Bless him and God Bless America.”
Of course, when you open the slate card, it recommends that you celebrate Ronald Reagan by voting to raise your own taxes. This slate takes the opposite position from the GOP on virtually every ballot measure… The party is Yes on 20 and No on 27 – seeking a fair reapportionment process. This slate says vote the opposite. The GOP is yes on 23 to suspend the Global Warming Solutions Act, this slate says vote no. The GOP says oppose hiking the car taxes to fund parks, this slate: yes. But wait, there’s more… The party is no on 24 ($1.3 billion in new taxes), this slate is yes. The party opposes reducing the vote to pass a budget in Prop. 25, and the party opposes it. And the GOP supports Prop. 26 to make it harder to raise taxes by calling them fees – this slate recommends you vote no… Some Republican revolution! To add to it, this slate urges a vote for Larry Aceves for Superintendent of Public Instruction. It fails to mention to Republicans that Aceves is a lifelong Democrat who re-registered DTS this year! I will add as a footnote that this slate used to be called the “Continuing the Reagan Revolution” slate until Reagan sent them a lawyer-letter.
Then we have the “Republican Woman’s Voice” slate card. This mercenary slate, received by my wife, urges her to raise her own taxes as well. With a big photo of Meg Whitman on the cover, this slate actually has a big box listing the statewide list of Republican candidates proclaiming, “Our Statewide Republican Team!” Somehow, once again, non-Republican (Green Party endorsed SPI candidate) Larry Aceves has been added to our GOP ticket – shameful. And on ballot recommendations? Like the Republican Revolution, this slate takes the opposite position from the California Republican Party on Propositions 20, 21, 23, 24, 26, and 27 – supporting the party’s positions on only 19 and 25.
Finally there is the California Veterans Voting Guide, which gets a mention not because it presents itself as a “Republican” slate – but actually lies to its recipients. In a box advocating a “No on 20, Yes on 27” position, which is counter to the official Republican position, this slate says (and this is a direct quote): “Attention [Insert City] Republicans: The California Republican Party says No on 20 & Yes on 27” – shameful!
Not all is bad out there in the world of slates… There are a number of credible conservative slate cards out there that are affiliated with bona fide organizations – all of which feature not only the GOP ticket but all of the pro-taxpayer positions on the ballot measures. Some of these include, this election, the Save Prop. 13 slate, the Small Business Action Committee newsletter, and Lew Uhler’s National Tax Limitation Committee Newsletter. These are offset by plenty of other slates to Republicans, which while they do not pretend to have a GOP patina, urge Republican voters to check the box for higher taxes and more government.
The bottom line – Republican voters should take the time to research the measures on the ballot, and not depend on slate cards for advice, since it is becoming more and more difficult to discern which ones are mercenary slates. And if you are interested in the official positions of the Republican Party on ballot measure, go to the California Republican Party website and/or the website of your local county party.