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What the Devil won't tell you

Reasons to vote, from left to right

So what if the election isn't sexy? The whole political spectrum has cause to cast a ballot

So maybe the 2017 Tucson city election isn't as sexy, say, as the idea of knocking the smirk off President Donald Trump's face next year. Maybe it's not as nifty as the notion of sending the Left into a 'roid rage should they fail to knock the smirk off Trump's face.

Be it practice, vengeance, kindred spirits or standing up for our flag in the one way that matters, we've all got skin in the game of democracy.

I know. City elections have gotten dull since the Republicans basically decided to pout the season out, feeling outgunned by a Democratic city.

This year isn't much different on the surface.

There's one ballot proposition that has a lot of people in a bunch, sure. Prop. 204 is either a vote for kids or a vote for transferring money from Tucsonans pockets to the pre-school industry, depending on how you see it. We got school bond and override elections in various districts, but trying to get Tucson voters to approve a bond has been like sending a new lost battalion off into the fires of a flame-spitting dragon. Good luck and we'll scrape your crispy carcass off the ground when the fight is over.

Running for City Council is Gary Watson, a Republican-turned independent, in Ward 3 against Democrat Paul Durham, a local attorney. Mariano Rodriguez, an architect, is mounting a Republican challenge to former Republican (turned Democrat) Steve Kozachik in midtown Ward 6.

And all you need to know about what's wrong with Republicans' local prospects in Tucson is this: If Watson pulls off an upset there will be two Republicans on the City Council and both were run out of the party. Kozachik bolted after disagreeing with the local party on the issue of guns. Watson supported the May sales tax. Each of these crimes were worthy of excommunication.

Republican Party Chairman David Eppinhimer gave this gobsmacking quote to the Tucson Weekly, regarding Watson: "He used to be a Republican," Eppihimer said, "but he was on the wrong side of our (Prop 101) sales-tax issue. And so we couldn't back him."

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A single break from orthodoxy and the local GOP will banish a prospective candidate. Is it hard for the R's to win in Tucson? Yes. It's even harder to win in a city with a huge Democratic advantage by only running candidates who set those far right vapors a-flame.

Rodriguez is right-wing enough that he had to cull his entire social media history from the Internet when he announced he was running. Proudly calling yourself "Deplorable Mariano" and posting Trump-backing memes is a poor way to gain support from Tucson voters.

Rodriguez and Watson have managed to raise about $30,000 and $26,000 respectively through Oct. 27. That's half good and a better haul than what we saw out of non-Democratic pockets in 2015. Durham, of course, has raised the full $61,488. Koz? I'll get to that.

A lot of people have already voted — last week more than 65,000 ballots had already been returned, of the 236,000 that were automatically sent to city voters. About half of Oro Valley's early voters had also already cast their ballots.

In the city, Democrats were turning just as many voters as Republicans and non-party voters combined (not surprising giving the Democrats' voter-registration edge): About 32,000 D ballots had been mailed back, with 18,000 GOP ballots and 13,000 from so-called independent voters.

On paper, maybe you like the match-ups and maybe you hate your choices but everyone still has a reason to vote. Let's look at it left to right:

The Indivisible, Occupy, Pussy Hat crowd.

It's a good dry run for 2018. Call it "practice," if city elections aren't your thing.

Russell Brand, a couple years back, came out and suggested the Left should not vote until they get candidates to their liking and there's been similar chatter among lefties when the presidency and U.S. Supreme Court are on the line. I don't imagine deciding who reps northwestern Tucson on the City Council will get them raring to cast a ballot.

On the other hand, absolutely every direct action protest, waving of sign, donning of provocative hats, banging on drums means absolutely nothing if activists can't be bothered to fill out a single form and send it in the mail once a flipping year.

The reason Democrats move to the center is because that's where the votes are when the Left holds its breath until it gets its dream candidate. When deals get done and the horsetrading happens, absolutely no one of the players says "Wait? What about the people who don't vote?"

Reliable Democrats

Vote for the same reason you always do, because it's what you do. Paul Durham has been a good party soldier. How good? He was the party treasurer and affixed his name to party financial reports. Anything went wrong and it was his ass.

He's worked the dialer and knocked on doors, so others didn't have to. Go get his back.

Both-parties-are-corrupt/the-system-is-rigged cynics: Hey! Look! One of your own is in the race and he even managed to land the endorsement of the morning daily, so you know he's not batshit crazy.

Watson is a fireman and a union guy who believes in building up our economy from within instead of focusing on snaring passing site selectors and wooing them to come to Tucson.

It's called retention and expansion (REX in economic development buzztalk) and it's a smart way to go.

The Turned-Off-By-The-Money elites

Have I got a candidate for you!

Incumbent Kozachik has raised exactly $100. That's it. He's rapidly becoming my favorite politician in Southern Arizona for stunts like this.

It's not that Koz can't raise money. All he has to do is snap his fingers and the truck backs up. He's just not gonna.

Then again, he doesn't have to because his availability for comment and ability to articulate a position makes him the most quoted local pol in the Tucson media. Koz owns the earned media racket in Tucson. High efficacy voters know who he is.

That affords him the ability to run for office and owe no one nothing — or get his ass handed to him in a fit of hubris.

Favoring Steve K is that Rodriguez hasn't run anything close to an effective campaign despite out-raising the incumbent 300 to 1. Spending money to tell people to register to vote days after the deadline has passed isn't a great investment.

Reliable Republicans

Vote because it's what you do and you know that because you've always done it. Also, there's Rodriguez. You know if your party is supporting him, he's not likely to ever taint his party purity with the contaminant of compromise.

Also, I'm not sure Republicans understand how much those two East Side wards freak the hell out of local Dems. They have nightmares about those thundering herds of Republicans casting ballots.

If that doesn't do it for you, then realize that the unspoken reason we have vote by mail is to up the Democratic turnout and beat back the barbarians East of Craycroft. It's a finger in your eye. Return the finger, upright.

Guns-Are-Great, Trump-is-Overlord Cultural Conservatives.

Honor our troops. Instead of bitching about NFL players protesting police violence by kneeling during the national anthem, go vote.

Hey, if you think the national anthem is a sacred devotional to our military and their sacrifice to protect democracy, then turn in your damn ballot.

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Seriously, you say we're all supposed to show unquestioned allegiance to your interpretation of the national anthem to respect our military's sacrifice. So to protect our freedoms, they charged Omaha Beach, climbed Mount Suribachi, braved the Chosin Reservoir, hunkered down through the siege at Khe Sanh and twice battled to take back Fallujah. The least a flag-waving culture warriors can do is vote when the ballots are sent to their home.

Is it purely symbolic if you don't think your candidates can win? Well, getting y'all's nationalism all over my patriotism is pretty damned symbolic. So I stand during the national anthem as not to melt the snowflakes.

Green and Libertarians: Ummmm ... gimme a sec.



OK. I got something: Someday, one of your candidates will sneak through and you can look back at this election and say "I was GRN/LIB before it got trendy. I even voted for Tom Tronsdal in the Ward 3 race back in '17."

See, everyone's got a reason to vote, even if it's just so you can say you did and give the other side the finger.

If you haven't yet voted, don't mail it in — it needs to be in the hot hands of elections officials by 7 p.m. Tuesday. Here's a list of where you can drop off your ballot, or get a replacement.

Blake Morlock is a journalist who has spent 17 years covering government in Arizona and also worked in Democratic political communications. Now he’s telling you things that the Devil won’t.

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