The Dayton Daily News reached out to me to fill out their candidate survey. They then chose not to publish my response and to ONLY publish the response of the Democratic candidate, Nan Whaley. While this is a completely reasonable though entirely undemocratic thing to do, it did take time for me to formulate my responses, time I have little of. Not to waste a perfectly good survey, I am republishing my responses in full as submitted to the good people of the Dayton Daily News who simply made some mistakes. Enjoy!
Current employment: None, quit in May to pursue finding a career that contributed to society in some way. If you’re offering, I’m looking for something in project management or problem solving. Skills include public finance, econometric analysis, JAVA, C++, HTML, PHP, SQL, R, database management, research, and running esoteric political campaigns that walk the fine line between policy wonk and performance artist (or outright trolling if you go by the last campaign I managed, rough stuff).
Community organizations, boards, previous elected offices or club memberships: That would have me? Not likely. Though I did found a religion that one time.
Q1: Why are you seeking elected office?
Mainly because, despite my best efforts to recruit a centrist, independent, I couldn’t convince anyone else to do it. It’s also apparent I suffer from some sort of savior/cassandra complex, a deeply misguided belief that I can do something to make the world better and that subsequently I am obligated to do something. I see a partisanship bordering perilously close to sectarianism; I see a loss in confidence in democracy, in the economy of free exchange, and in Americanism; and I see immiseration, neglect, injustice, and failure to provide for the prosperity and opportunity of all. I think I can do something about that and so it would be wrong for me not to try.
But I’m also seeking elected office because it’s fun and enjoyable to do so and more people should. While not one for public speaking, it’s nice to talk to people. Politics is a miserable business, it’s degrading and full of mealy-mouthed, opportunistic, hypocrites. Caring about and participating in politics is a luxury not many can afford and we tend to condescend to those who wisely and necessarily avoid it as failing to live up to their civic duty. Instead of berating people, I want to make politics generally a more enjoyable business. An election should be fun, a discussion about who we are as a people and who we want to be as a society. Not doom and gloom and an apocalyptic battle for the fate of humanity. It’s okay to lose.
Q2: Why should voters elect you?
Voters should elect the Dark Horse to be governor of Ohio because I am a nice, normal person with innovative, technocratic policy positions that give full consideration to our deeply held ideals of liberty, justice, democracy, pluralism, and opportunity. They should not elect me because I lack the decades of executive and political experience my opponents possess. Lacking a political party network I would have no allies in the legislature or in the city governments to work with. It will be a challenge to enact my agenda, to pass the important technocratic reforms for a more effective state government. It is for voters to determine if policy and temperament outweigh partisanship and experience. I am, perhaps, the worst candidate for governor of Ohio except, of course, for all others currently running.
I am not a Republican. I am not a Democrat. My politics are most easily understood as “centrist” but that isn’t terribly accurate. My interest in politics is about advancing the Complexity school of economic thought and being able to apply a complexity framework to policy making. I’m a wonk, I’m all about analyzing Ohio’s economy and coming up with policy proposals, ways of making it function better, problem solving. I’m the candidate who would work hardest just trying to make everything work well. But I also hate politics so I have to make my campaign weird, esoteric, and delightfully ridiculous to put up with this nonsense. Voters needn’t elect me, they should just enjoy the ride. Vote Neigh!
Q3: If elected, what will be your top three priorities?
First, the restoration of a culture of democracy. People are losing faith and losing interest in democracy. It’s being driven by the insistence of our politicians that every election is an all or nothing proposition, that if the opposing party wins then America is over. There is an effort to undermine democracy, to unsettle the foundations necessary for our republican government. In a democracy, it has to be okay to lose, we have to still respect each other, understand each other, live with each other.
Second, the resurrection of Ohio’s economy into an innovation-industrial complex. There is not a great understanding of what’s happened in Ohio over the last 50 years, economically. Much of Ohio is the Rust Belt but we didn’t stop manufacturing things, our output has steadily increased through the decades. But as the Red Queen says in Alice in Wonderland “It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”
Third, restructuring and reinvigorating the executive bureaucracy of Ohio. Culture is important to any organization. And what do they say? A fish rots from the head down. Ohio’s governments, from our cities, villages, and counties to the state government, have a culture of corruption. We need to create a culture of transparency, of purpose, of dedication to public service. At all levels, it’s got to be about doing our best for the people of Ohio.
Q4: What specific plans do you have to address those top priorities?
It probably would not be wrong to say that the word count of policies, plans, and ideas detailed on my website trumps that of every other gubernatorial candidate combined. Putting complicated plans for complex challenges into a few words is difficult but that’s the task at hand, isn’t it? Talk to people, explain things, be direct.
Democracy: this is less about policy and more about example, exactly what this campaign is doing right now. We are running an independent campaign that is offering a distinct set of policies and beliefs. We’re offering choice, pluralism, that’s what democracy is about. Building bridges, respecting each other, understanding that good, reasonable people disagree. And we know we’re going to lose and we embrace it. It’s about the experience, the ideas, communicating. Also enacting Approval Voting or Ranked Choice.
Economy: The main big policy plan is creating an investment vehicle called the Ohio Investment Bank. It would be a new and heavily funded institution in Ohio that would make venture capital investments in new and innovative businesses in Ohio that bring new technologies to market. There will be extensive integration with our public university system and other services. It’s a little complicated but it’s ambitious and crazy enough to work!
Bureaucracy: as governor I’d actually have the most authority here. The plan is to do a thorough evaluation of the state government and then develop and implement a strategy for restructuring toward a nimble, 21st century bureaucracy. Also just work hard personally, for Ohio!
Q5: Anything else you would like voters to know?
Anything I’d like voters to know? Civics, history, and economics for a start. The name of their state representative maybe.
But what I most want voters to know is that it’s going to be okay. It’s okay to be afraid sometimes, especially when things are changing and the future seems uncertain, but we can’t let fear control us. We have to overcome it. Liberty, individuality, democracy, these are all things that demand much and more from us. They don’t come naturally, they aren’t easy, but they’re worth it.
There’s lots of talk about attacks on our democracy, invasions of our liberty, assaults on our institutions and it is happening. People might tell you that the future of America hinges on the outcome of this election or the next election, that one party or the other must be kept out of power or they’ll wield it to destroy the country. But that’s not the reality. Democracy doesn’t depend on the good behavior of our politicians (thankfully). Democracy will never die at the ballot box. It dies when we the people abandon it. We established with our founding that so long as we stand for liberty and democracy no power on Earth can prevent it. It will only ever die with us.
On election day someone will win and others will lose and that’s okay. Because the beauty of all this is that we get to try again. Remember what we stand for. Look out for each other, even when we disagree.