Vote for me!

From yesterday’s posting “Three responsibilities”:

I voted today in Palo Alto — in the primary election whose official date is 6/7; official results are to be reported by 7/15, and then the top two candidates in each contest will stand opposed in the general election whose official date is 11/8.

… As it happens, my grandchild Opal is about to vote for the first time, and they have been astounded by the candidates’ statements in our [Santa Clara County] voter information guide

Now, about the statements (and the way candidates have had themselves listed on the ballot), focusing on the language used in the statements and the way the candidates present themselves there as gendered.

I’ll do this page by page, picking out highlights and adding my own comments as I go.

— p. 11, Douglas Howard Pierce (Democratic), candidate for Senate full term: begins by greeting the readers — Hello, California 2022 Voter! — and continues in the 1sg with a big list of specific policy concerns, in what I think of as a Salesman presentation (framed as if this were an exchange between intimates, full of factual sales points) — a candidate presentation used by men but very rarely by women (mirroring the fact that the aggressive salesperson role is largely reserved for men in the wider culture)

— p. 12, John Thompson Parker (Peace and Freedom), candidate for Senate full term: brief statement of high-level policy concerns (Higher Purpose), no reference to the candidate; this is a distanced statement, authoritative in tone (Just the Facts) — another candidate presentation used by men, very rarely by women.

— p.  12, Alex Padilla (Democratic), candidate for Senate full term:  begins:

With California facing multiple emergencies from wildfires, Covid and the dual homeless and housing crisis, I went to the U.S.Senate to fight for California.

Continues in 1st-person with shirtsleeves-rolled up for action, policy-wonk stuff: Hire Me for the Job. In my experience, used equally by women and men.

— p. 13, Chuck Smith (Republican): candidate for Senate full term. In its entirety:

America must be governed according to the Constitution; For the People and By the People. I am a Marine Veteran, Retired Law Enforcement Professional and Patriot. I am also a Christian and I believe God wants to use me to help Him make America Righteous Again.

Wow. Higher Purpose, plus Life Experience, in this case the high-masculinity experience of the military (double points for the Marines) and law enforcement. (Women use Life Experience presentations, but usually not these experiences.) Plus Called by God (used much more often by men than by women).

— p. 13, Akinyemi Agbede (Democratic): candidate for Senate full term. In its entirety:

Rescue America!!! America must be Revived from collapsing. Therefore, electing Dr. Akinyemi Agbede, for the United States Senate is the answer.

Sui generis. A deeply felt call to action, but framed not in the 1sg, instead as if it came from some concerned party rather than Agbede himself, so that Agbede is referred in the 3sg, by his full name.

— p. 14, then two statements from candidates for Senate full term, with maximum-sized statements, of two very different sorts. In an image:

— Cordie Wiliams’s statement is a Hire Me For the Job with a bunch of extra stuff.

He begins by introducing himself, using the 1sg formula I’m FullName. In the information guide, Mike Schaefer (Democratic candidate for the District 4 Board of Equalization) also uses the formula; as does Michela Alioto-Pier (Democratic candidate for the District 2 Board of Equalization), in the uncontracted form I am FullName. And two candidates use the related formula My name is FullName: Matthew Harper (Republican candidate for the District 4 Board of Equalization) and Sally Lieber (Democratic candidate for the District 2 Board of Equalization).

These formulas function here as social glue rather than information, since they come right under the candidate’s name in the guide.

Williams then loads up on Life Experience points, four of them, all functioning to present him as strongly masculine (and dependable), leading with husband. I can’t imagine a female candidate identifying herself with I’m a wife, ...

Then comes father (both a proven stud and dependable), an identifier that is so important to Daniel R. Mercuri (Republican candidate for governor), that he actually puts it on the ballot as part of his occupation: Father/Business Owner.

Then the military, the Marines again. and then the occupation, doctor, one conventionally filled by men.

— Grundmann’s statement is unclassifiable looniness (in 1sg). (No qualified party preference means that he gave an affiliation that the elections board doesn’t recognize) As I said in yesterday’s posting,

an anti-vaxxer, climate-change denier, stolen-election, anti-abortion, and transgender-hostile raver. Hard to beat.

— p. 20, Robert C. Newman, II (Republican candidate for governor), with a big list of Higher Purposes:

I am Pro-God, pro-life, traditional marriage, U.S. and State Constitutions, Pro-second Amendment, military, legal immigration, agriculture, small business, truckers; School Choice, a patriot honoring veterans. [verbatim quote]

— p. 20, Jenny Rae Le Roux (Republican candidate for governor), begins:

Jenny Rae Le Roux is a business owner, mom, and entrepreneur who will revive the California Dream. … Under Jenny Rae’s leadership, California will again be known …

Framed in 3sg, with references to her by her first name (a naming practice that conveys either solidarity / intimacy or subordinate status). The only female candidate to identify herself as a mom (or mother). Otherwise, Hire Me For the Job.

— p. 23, Mariana B. Dawson (No Party Preference candidate for governor), the statement in its magnificent entirety:

F all politicians.

— p. 24, Daniel R. Mercuri (Republican candidate for governor), the statement in its entirety:

We are sovereigns, not serfs, with God-given constitutionally protected rights. I’m in this race to stop the erosion of our freedoms and put oath violators behind bars! With Jesus as my foundation, I’ll bring accountability back into our government, God back into our country, and stop treating the state like a business which enslaves Californians to meet a profit margin.

I have to confess that I’m not sure about the nature of the serfdom / slavery he inveighs against.

— p. 25, William Cavett “Skee” Saacke (Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor), another statement in its entirety (three masculine Life Experience points):

Husband, Father, Trial Attorney for 25 years [plus link]

— p. 31, Steve Glazer (Democratic candidate for controller), notable for 3sg usage:

Senator Steve Glazer is the Legislature’s toughest fiscal watchdog. … he demonstrated … Senator Glazer took on … He fought …

— p. 39, Veronika Fimbres (Green candidate for insurance commissioner), again the statement in its stunning entirety:

Nurse. Black Trans Woman. Single payer universal healthcare.

(plus a really fine photo)

— p. 44, Braden Murphy (Democratic candidate for the District 1 Board of Equalization), who leads with two masculine Life Experiences:

I’m a proud middle-class husband and father of four. While property taxes …

Quadruple stud attacks the property tax system.

That will do for this posting, though there’s plenty more there.


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