How I came to vote Democratic
Wednesday, March 16, 2016 by Dave Winer

I have a confession to make. 

Through the 80s and 90s I voted Republican. 

I've been trying to figure out why I did that. 

In the 80s I was a software entrepreneur. It was very hard and demanding work. I was doing two full-time jobs, as the CEO of a company during the day, and a programmer at night. The company I wanted to create needed me to do that. I wanted to make exceptional software. So I pulled out all the stops and went for it. That's near as I can explain why the Republican story appealed to me.  It's why I was sympathetic to Microsoft until I saw what they tried to do to the Internet. I believed that good engineering practices can lead to good government practices. I've since changed my thinking on that. It's more subtle. Countries have different goals from startups. And necessarily so! I see some of the current generation of tech entrepreneurs struggling with this, as I was thirty years ago.

I switched to voting for the Dems for the election of 2004. I had seen enough with Bush II. The country was careening in a corrupt way. The Repubs, conservatives, always making a huge issue of deficits, were spending obscenely on two wars. Totally out of control. Without any debate. Being an outspoken critic of the President at that time got you a lot of hate. I was ambivalent about the war here on my blog, as we were starting the war. But I was just an individual blogger with an academic job where I was supposed to have public and personal opinions. I remember seeing MSNBC claim the President was a "Visionary" when the bombs were first falling on Baghdad. I thought "we are lost." It was in this time that they fired Phil Donahue because he was too critical of the President. It's important to remember how we reacted to 9/11. It made us all pretty crazy. 

So I did everything I could to support Kerry. And then Obama twice. And now Clinton. Anything but let the Repubs have control of the whole government. We must remember what kind of country and economy they left us with. All so they could funnel a few more dollars to their friends in the defense industry. That really seems to be what it was all about. 

To me, being a business person comes with very high ethical standards. The dollar chasers who have taken over the Repub Party are a different kind. They act as if as long as they get more dollars anything is justified. They probably were just as bad in the 80s and 90s when I was voting for them, perhaps I was too naive, or busy with my life, to understand. 

I know other Repub voters made a different choice. They vote for bomb throwers, people who think it would have been okay to let the auto industry fail. They should read up about the huge refugee crisis of the Dust Bowl, to get a small idea of the human wreckage that would have created. 

I was having lunch with a Dutch entrepreneur last week, talking about Trump of course, and he said he thought Trump would do or say something that would wake everyone up. That's about the most optimistic thing I've heard! :-)