It’s selection day- vote like our country depends on it

Yesterday I got to meet an inspiring leader who’s trying to make our country better. Upbeat, positive, and his key message is that we’re American’s first- and this divide isn’t helping anyone. He’s also a personal hero of mine- ever since I watched the documentary “Street Fight” back when it first came out. (if you decide to rent and watch- get the SD version- it was shot old school BetaCamSP).

Senator Cory Booker was an uplifting, enthralling speaker- and he leads with a vision- instead of with fear. He’s everything an elected leader should be. And it reminds me, that one time he ran for President, and I could have voted for him, except, this is America, and we have less choices for President in an Ohio primary than Russian’s did in their election.

Booker talked about planes, trains and automobiles- and no, it wasn’t a Steve Martin speech. He talked about how he was sitting next to some folks on a plane in economy class- and they asked if he was a pro athlete. Booker, who played wide receiver at Stanford had to confess, no, he was just a lowly Senator- who mighta, coulda, woulda have been a pro athlete in an alternate reality. When they found out he was on the blue team, the walls went up. They told him they were Trump all the way- and then, he made a funny. He said to us, his mother always told him you don’t have to jump into every argument you’re invited to. (Advice I really needed – apparently my momma failed me). He decided to pivot, he said, “President Trump signed two pieces of legislation that I wrote” and bridged the divide. By the end of the plane trip- he’d won them over.

The train trip had him riding Amtrak from DC to Jersey- and trying to not be noticed. A conductor figured out who he was- and shared a quote with him on a slip of paper. It was poignant and powerful, but, I wasn’t taking notes and couldn’t run tape. Turned out the conductor had graduated high school without being able to read. He’d lost a job over it- and had taught himself to read later and gotten the job with Amtrak and could provide for his family. Hopefully, Cory, or his staff- or one of the others in attendance can flush this point out in comments.

The automobile story is too long to share, but it was a talk about race, racism, sprawl, discrimination, the law, a commitment to try to better society, even if only with a few hours a week of your time. How someone made a difference- and then it spread. It was a lead up to his powerful close- talking about the Margaret Mead quote- “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” He urged our small group, to all pitch in, to help make sure our country chooses democracy over demagoguery. He talked about the power of us- as in USA- which was kinda odd, because my campaign video is titled “The Power of U.S.” and I hope you watch it before you make your choice for Congress tomorrow.

The Power of U.S. – elect David Esrati to Congress in OH-10

The event was a fundraiser for Sherrod Brown. Booker was along to sweeten the deal- and while Brown can hold his own, Booker is an amazing story teller. He works a room- taking selfies with everyone like a pro. The room was full of people who either love me or hate me. I made sure to be extra nice to those who I’ve written about on these pages- often not highlighting their best sides. By stroke of fate, I was at a table with my least favorite Dem party chair- Mohamed Al-Hamdani and his lovely fiance, with whom I had a very nice conversation. Mayor Mims was also at the table as was Judy Dodge. In fact, the rooms poorest folks in attendance were the politicians- including Booker, Brown and me.

The sad thing is, a majority of the people in my district won’t vote tomorrow. And, only about half of those who do, will be selecting the choices for the rest of you on the November ballot. Although in the Desiree Tims/Derrick Foward race for State Rep in the 38th house district- the election tomorrow is the election. Same goes for two Republican judges races as we have back room deals making sure no judges ever have to run against anyone ever again. Please choose wisely between Jacqueline V. Gaines and Jennifer A. Petrella for Domestic Relations Court, and Chris B. Epley vs Robert Hanseman in the Judge of the Court of Appeals? 2nd District- because the undecideds and the Dems don’t get to weigh in.

And, that’s the problem. By the time the primary rolls into Ohio- we have no choices for President, even though most of the country doesn’t like the last two standing. How is this a democracy? Who are we kidding? Russians had “4 choices” for President, although voting for 3 of them came with a potential Siberian relocation. If we ever want to people to take elections seriously, we need to have a national primary, same day, ranked choice, all parties. Then once the fields are narrowed, an election in November. But for that to work, we need a true voter information system, a donor registration system (because you should always be able to follow the money) and a much more accurate way of keeping tabs on if the people we elect actually vote the way they promise (accountability through better reporting). It’s why I started my non-profit, the Modern Policy Institute, and one day, I’ll have enough time and money to make these things a reality.

For now, I just wish we had Elections Not Auctions.

Yesterday I did something I wasn’t proud of- I mass texted prospective dem voters asking them to watch my video, to research the candidates and to think before they vote. A ton of them immediately opted out. Quite a few told me they weren’t happy with the unsolicited text. Some said some pretty horrid things.

It’s not easy to run for office. Most would prefer to go to the dentist than subject themselves to the scrutiny, the attacks, giving up time and income with a dream of serving our country. I have to say, that listening to Cory Booker today, reminded me of why I aspire to represent you. And listening to Rose Lounsbury (running in the 36th Ohio House district) and Desiree Tims, gives me hope about a new generation of leaders stepping up. There are still people who believe that this is a calling worthy of the tradeoffs.

To close- I’ll share a few responses from the 12K people I intruded on today:

“You have my vote David and you’ve ALWAYS had my vote through the many years.You can count on my vote.”

“Yes. I will never vote for Mike Turner again. Good luck, but I think Mike has been in long enough his name will get him elected, plus all the maga people that are crazy. You will have my vote and probably my husband’s, as well”

“You’re an asshole David remove my number from your lists.”

“Stop. You’re an awful person and I wish you the worst.”

“I’m not voting. Our government is a joke. The most corrupt fraternity in the world.”

“I’m 9 years old”- the name attached to the number, was our local party chairman.

I’ll be out picking up my signs starting at 7:30 pm when polls close. I’ll get the rest on Wednesday. Please choose wisely.

Polls open at 6:30 AM.

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