The choice facing voters in tomorrow’s non-partisan election for Mayor of Miami-Dade County is between a pretty-far-right budget-cutting anti-labor Republican with technocratic leanings, a reputation for probity, and the SAVE Dade endorsement, versus a maybe slightly-farther-right budget-cutting anti-labor Republican with a taste for Tammany Hall (Cuban style) politics, a reputation for shady dealings, and the endorsement of both Jeb Bush and the Latin Builders Association.
I am not one who says that it would be so refreshing to have an honest man in the Mayor’s seat that we should be excited about Carlos Gimenez, even though I plan to vote for him and suggest that readers do also. I happen to think that his predecessor, whom the voters overwhelmingly recalled, mostly for bad reasons, likely was honest too. That’s only part of the game.
There are, however, two good reasons to vote for Gimenez, one negative and one positive, and they suffice. First, the surprisingly valid negative: Gimenez is s not Julio Robaina. Robaina, an open believer in old-fashioned ethnic politics and in the legal sorts of vote-buying, would be a lousy choice even if he didn’t seem ethically challenged and in some danger of indictment. Second, given Gimenez’s ideological baseline, he deserves credit for consistency and technocratic competence. Gimenez was, for example, one of the lone voices against the ill-conceived stadium giveaway. Other so-called conservatives piled on to what they must have thought was the populist gravy train.
With Gimenez, what you see is very likely what you will get. We ought to be able to imagine better. It is extremely easy, however, to imagine worse: just look at the other guy.
The election is tomorrow, Tuesday June 28, 2011. If you are registered, go vote. If you are not registered and are eligible to vote, this would be a really good week to go down to city hall — before you forget — and take care of that detail so you are ready for the next one.
The only major public pre-election poll suggests that Gimenez will win if turnout is high on election day: Robaina seems likely to dominate the absentee vote, but the voters who say they are likely to vote in person, whether early or on election day favor Gimenez; he ought therefore to win if neither weather (storms predicted) nor complacency keeps his vote at home — and if the polls somehow managed to model the substantial absentee ballot fraud vote that seems endemic to our local politics.