I’m not making so-called “endorsements” except for this one.
First, “endorsements” would be rather presumptuous. I’ve only just gotten this vlog + blog project off the ground and I don’t have enough of a presence to “endorse” anybody. Second, while I pretty much know who I am voting for, I want to interview and hear from all sides and don’t want to create a disincentive for a candidate in opposition to one I am voting for to come on my show. Besides, everyone is fair game for criticism, critique, and mockery.
That being said, I am publicly stating that I am voting for Marc Elrich for County Executive. Those of you who know me personally probably know that, so for a great deal of you, this isn’t news.
Why am I such a hardcore Elrich supporter? For the longer version, watch this (and ignore my goofy expression in the thumbnail):
The shorter version? Aside from agreeing with most of his policy positions, I admire his thought processes. Contrary to what some may believe, Marc is not an ideologue. Some of my favorite points he made in my interview are when he says, “Capitalism is an 18th century idea. Marxism is a 19th century idea. We’re having a debate in the 21st century over two ideologies that are over 100 years old as if we have learned nothing?” In a similar vein, he describes how he synthesizes ideas rather than fitting one policy solution within the constraints of an ideology: “I proudly pirate ideas from people across the spectrum because if I see something that makes sense I want to know what it is and see if there’s an application for it – so I think I’d make an interesting County Executive.” To which I agreed.
In addition to all this, Marc is simply likable. He’s approachable, he has a great sense of humor, and a VERY intriguing background (ask him about his visits to Central America as a Takoma Park city council member.)
Which brings me to Millennials for Marc.
I am hosting an event at Flanagans Harp and Fiddle in Bethesda on Sunday the 18th (yes, an Irish pub the day AFTER St. Patrick’s Day) for young voters to come meet their next County Executive.
The primary purpose of this event is to get young voters out to pay attention and vote in local primaries (and to register Democratic. In a previous blog, I refer to the quandary facing independent and unaffiliated voters). The second point is to introduce them to Mr. Elrich.
Sure, he’s my mother’s age, but he is someone you meet and then don’t conceive of an age gap.
What I have in mind for this event is not a conventional fundraiser or meet-and-greet with schmoozing, a generic campaign speech, and then more schmoozing. I’m hoping for young voters to have the opportunity to really get to know Marc and the way he thinks and listen to his stories. There will be live music featuring the band Evan and Ross and Stuart:
Plus, free food (for all), free drinks (for those who donate), and a chance to meet your next County Exec (anyone in the bar).
Not that I advocate voting for a candidate just because he’s the one you’d like to grab a beer with – although, he is the obvious choice for that, too. This all being said, personality and approachability is an extension of why I am voting for Elrich and enthusiastically volunteering for him. When you actually sit down and have a conversation with Marc, (first of all, four hours will go by in a flash), you get a sense of how he really thinks things through – which is why he’ll sometimes counter-intuitively vote against bills or not support proposals or initiatives that “sound nice” (looking at you, Coalition for Smarter Growth).
Despite decades in local offices, Marc does not give off the politician vibe in the slightest, which is a major reason why he’d be a refreshing and vibrant change to the character of MoCo, a place often considered the place where the Democratic Party Establishment sleeps at night (C’mon, y’all voted 65% for Hillary in the primary).
I could enumerate the specific policy positions he holds, but I’ll let Marc do that himself. One overarching reason (albeit another abstract one) for my ardent support is that he epitomizes what I’d liketo think of as the “rational left.” His views, like mine, are generally placed left of center on the spectrum, not because of some tribal allegiance, but because we compare and contrast ideas that are tried and work, and let the ideological chips fall where they may.
As I’ve stated earlier, he critiques capitalism, but does not suggest reverting to a state-controlled planned economy. He’s also not what some on the right would refer to pejoratively as a “social justice warrior” who calls for “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings” and uses identity politics in ways that mirror the very prejudices one claims to oppose. He’s not afraid to overturn assumed conventions of thought, like the value of wage labor. “It’s not whether or not flipping burgers is worth $15 an hour,” Marc says. “It’s about what $15 means to that employee and his or her family.”
The Montgomery County Council at-Large race has over 30 candidates filed. I know, more or less, who I am voting for, but I can say there are a lot of GREAT options other than my four first choices. For County Executive, IMO, the is only one. For MoCo and the Millennials that live here, Marc is a must.
At the most fundamental level, people who think like Marc will help save the Left from itself.
I don’t pretend to be neutral here. If I get accused of being a paid propagandist of the Elrich campaign… I’ve actually contributed $100 of MY money to THEM..but to be fair, I’ve eaten way more than $100 of free food at various events of his.
I’m just a volunteer; this is all my idea (and Louis from PMD).
It’s time to get younger people excited about local politics and less cynical when considering their elected officials.
And so, now that I’ve embarrassed the shit out of him with this high praise, come over to Bethesda for our Millennials for Marc event.
It’s going to be tremendous, you will enjoy it bigly, believe me.
Nah, don’t believe me, see for yourself. But seriously, it will be epic.