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Stateside With Rosalea: The Running Girls

I guess I should take my own advice every now and then. If I'd looked at the SmartVoter website instead of referring to the Chronicle's 'Voter's Guide' last Sunday I would have realised that actually Gray Davis has three challengers from within his party to his nomination as the Democratic candidate for Governor. While Davis and three contenders for the Republican mantle each got half a page in the supplement, there was not so much as a sidebar about.... Um, do invisible people even HAVE names? The only reference to them at all is under a round-up column entitled 'Primary focus', where the paper declares: "Incumbent Gov. Gray Davis, a Democrat, faces no major challenges from his party. There are three Republican challengers seeking the right to face him in November..." Actually, there are seven Republican challengers, but - pot that I am - far be it from me to suggest that facts should get in the way of a kettle having an angle and a spruce layout.

If I was a registered voter I would be more in the know because no doubt those unnamed candidates are sending out targeted information to voters registered to their party. Not to mention the fact their names and their stances would be on the ballot paper I would have received in the mail. And what a ballot paper. For registered Democrats, for example, there are 8 choices to be made in 13 state and county races; members of a local party committee must be chosen from 28 who've put their hat in the ring; of candidates for 26 seats for Superior Court Judges in the County of San Francisco, 2 nominations are contested; plus 6 state propositions and 7 local propositions are seeking voter support to be implemented.

It's no wonder people just vote for whatever/whomever their party tells them to vote for. Or follow the lead of the media. But, as one Republican candidate for the right to run for Governor says on her website: "Only a select few are being promoted for the poitical gain of the rich. No one else matters, especially when you cannot be run by the wealthy political forum." Edie Bukewihge is an Africa-American single mum. Both she and her Democratic counterpart, Mosemarie Boyd, are supported by American Women Presidents (TM), an organization started by Boyd to promote the election of women presidents and vice presidents of the United States.

This organization supported Elizabeth Dole's brief bid to be George W. Bush's running mate early in 2000. It's interesting to wonder how different a world we would be living in today if Dole had become the vice president instead of Dick Cheney. Or if Gore had chosen Dianne Feinstein over Joe Lieberman. Frankly, I put AWP right up there with those daft middle-class American women who went to New Zealand in the 1970s afire with the tenets of women's liberation and demanding the right for women to work outside the home. Hullo... most women in NZ at the time already did work outside the home, simply because the economy couldn't have functioned if they didn't.

AWP is supporting candidates for gubernatorial primaries in 20 states - sometimes more than one candidate in the same party - because it believes that state governorships are the political pipeline to the presidency: "Join us in supporting the Dem. and Rep. women for governor in 2002." Well, Greens and other smaller parties everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief that they're not going to be tarnished by connection with this daft lot, I suppose. I didn't notice any press releases on their website praising Ralph Nader for having Winona LaDuke for a running mate in the 2000 presidential election.

Lea Barker
Sunday, 24 February 2002

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