Dems shouldn't vote straight-ticket

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A “Vote” sign at the Lamar County Services Building, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 in Paris, Texas.
A “Vote” sign at the Lamar County Services Building, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014 in Paris, Texas.

By and large, I consider myself a fairly reliable Democratic voter. Until fairly recently, I was an explicitly partisan one, belonging to on-campus organizations such as the University Democrats. The reasons for my political views are rather complex and nuanced, but at its core, I agree with the sentiment espoused in the Democratic platform more than the Republican one.

But I will proudly repudiate two statewide Democratic candidates when I vote in my native Houston today, and support Republican and Green candidates, respectively, for the posts. In doing so, I take a stand against the asinine procedure of "straight-party voting."

As I previously noted in a column for the Texan, the Democratic candidate for agriculture commissioner, Jim Hogan, is a non-candidate who is openly hostile to the political process. His Republican opponent, former state Rep. Sid Miller, R-Stephensville, talks up abortion and amnesty on the campaign trail, as opposed to agriculture. The only sensible solution for any Texan, liberal or conservative, is to vote for the Green candidate, Kenneth Kendrick. Unlike many of his compatriots, Kendrick is not a socialist intent upon revolution. Rather, he is a pragmatic policy-wonk with a detailed plan to conserve water, improve crops and run the office transparently.

Likewise, the race for Place 3 of the Court of Criminal Appeals (the state's highest criminal court) is a remarkably easy choice. The Democratic candidate, John Granberg, does not have much experience practicing criminal law, and is otherwise rather unqualified for the seat. The Republican, on the other hand, Bert Richardson, is a middle-of-the-road jurist loved by those on both sides of the aisle. He is perhaps best known for presiding over Governor Rick Perry's ongoing corruption case, but he also has a long history as an apolitical and honest arbiter of the law. In an election cycle where many Republicans have gone off the deep end on extremism, even in judicial elections, Richardson is a thoughtful professional who checks politics at the courthouse door.

Those two elections are easy choices for Democrats and Republicans alike, unlike most of the statewide contests. But for Yellow Dog Democrats, the choices are only possible if they eschew the silly notion of straight-ticket voting, where a voter ignores the countless individual, unique names and personalities on a ballot, instead opting for a letter of the alphabet. For the sake of our state, please use a little more brainpower.

Horwitz is an associate editor.