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[P]
Why bother voting?

By Commienst in Culture
Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 09:50:05 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

You have no "real" choice. As it now stands politicans give speeches about what they will do if elected. We proceed to elect them and they break their promises without any qualms when it suits them to. Our choices for elected officials do not truly represent our populous.


I just became 18 and am eligible to vote in the US for the first time, but at the present have decided not to vote in this coming presidental election or any other for that matter. You have no "real" choice. As it now stands politicans give speeches about what they will do if elected. We proceed to elect them and they break their promises without any qualms when it suits them to.

One of the more popular definition's of democracy is government for the people by the people. The two current candidates I feel do not represent the common people at all. George Bush's family is one of the richest families in Texas; Al Gore's family is among the most affluent in his home state of Tenesse. A distrubing trend is that all of the presidents the United States has had since the 1900s have all been very wealthy. People like the Gores and Bushes do not experience the same problems most Americans are faced with. I doubt that they are truly feeling a pinch on their wallets thanks to inflated gasoline and heating oil prices.

America's implementation of democracy to me is a sham. In 1996 only 49 percent of eligible Americans excercised the right to vote. One of the quickest ways to invoke some change short of all out revolution in my opinion would be to get as many people not to vote as possible, so that we are forced to look into why no one feels that voting in our system matters. You often hear the argument if you are not voting your voice is not being heard, but it is being heard even by not voting. The problem is most people equate people who do not vote to being indifferent to politics. In a democracy when as large an amount of people do not vote as we see in America, that country is doing something wrong, the people most likely feel that voting will not make a difference.

What are we doing wrong? If you ever took the time to listen to governor Jesse Ventura (laugh if you want the man has very valid and insightful opinions and comes off as down to earth) he talks about how we now have politicians who are politicans for a living as opposed to in earlier American history when people would leave their jobs to serve as politicans when their country needed them, and then retire from politics and resume their former careers. When your a career politican you are more likely to lie to get elected than a non career politican because you do not need a political office to feed your family. Bush and Gore our two main party candidates are second generation politicans (they do not have to lie to feed their families they just lie to us for the heck of it). You can *gasp* not vote for a republican or democrat but they all have such a disadvantage because they do not have a brand name like republican or democrat to ride behind like Gore and Bush.

My question to you is what are we doing wrong here in America that we get one of the lowest voter turnouts of all the world's democacies? I would really like to hear what is done differently in countries with high voter turnouts. And why should we even bother to vote?

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Why bother voting? | 162 comments (155 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
Totalitarian Governments (3.00 / 1) (#1)
by cropped_7 on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 08:06:06 AM EST

The ideas expressed @ The Sovereign Society show that Governments, the people you vote for, seem to just take more and more. Getting what they want whenever and wherever, by just deciding on laws that make things go their way.

Re: Totalitarian Governments (none / 0) (#28)
by gnuchris on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 10:19:06 AM EST

The System obviously needs more parties... I think the country needs 10 competing parties all with the same funding and TV time.... This is WHY YOU SHOULD VOTE.... vote for Nader or another 3rd party candidate... even if you dont' support Nader, vote for him to show you support 3rd parties.... we need people to vote for other parties in order to have other parties gain recognition.
"He had alot to say, He had alot of nothing to say" -TOOL-
[ Parent ]
Re: Totalitarian Governments (none / 0) (#100)
by cropped_7 on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 05:09:02 PM EST

I do agree that one should vote (although I'm not American and couldn't care less about Gore / Bush) and as you say the lack of parties somehow reflect the small number of roll players in the corporate world.

But somehow we need to be moving/evolving towards a totally new system. Some new thinking is needed here. The individual should have more control over what he can do and what he can choose.

[ Parent ]
Re: Totalitarian Governments (none / 0) (#154)
by Commienst on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 02:00:54 AM EST

More parties is not the answer there will still be multitudes of citizens voting down party lines and also our elected representatvies will continue to vote down party lines. It would be for the best if political parties were phased out. Then maybe our politicans would start thinking for themsleves and stop letting their political parties do all the driving for them.

[ Parent ]
Failing to vote is NOT the answer (4.10 / 10) (#2)
by Inoshiro on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 08:09:41 AM EST

If you don't vote, do you think people will care? No. That's the same as not speaking out against injustice -- because you are keeping silent by not telling people your choice in the matter.

"Ok," you ask, "how can I have my say and not have to pick between the white/racist/evil that is George DubYah, and the just-as-bad Android/evil/money/tobacoo that is Al Gore."

Vote "3rd party" as it's called. I know that there's a group headed by Ralph Nader, aka "the consumer is the core of capitalism, let's treat them right" guy. Libertarians, I think :-)

If enough vote for them, they will have power in congress and the senate to at least exert will via alliances. As it stands, the democrats and the rebpulicans are just old-money having a pissing contest (IMO).

Bill Clinton seems to be a good man -- he was pushing for nuclear test banning and global disarmament, when the fucking house of representitives went and overturned his decision. But I'd rather not see my US friends gamble on Al Gore being similar. Vote not democrat/republican :-)



--
[ イノシロ ]
Re: Failing to vote is NOT the answer (3.00 / 3) (#14)
by Commienst on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 08:46:41 AM EST

What I want is change. A government that does not sit on their laurels with an if it is not broken lets not try to make it better attitude. After all its only our day to day lives we are talking about here.

Change is so hard to come by in American politics. The people in power know that with sweeping changes they have to redefine themselves with the changes or relinquish their power. They have became afraid of and resistant to just about any kind of change.

"If you don't vote, do you think people will care? No. That's the same as not speaking out against injustice -- because you are keeping silent by not telling people your choice in the matter."

The second I posted the story under my assumed pseudonym of Commienst I made my voice heard. Let me elaborate my beliefs. The more I learn about America the more I hate it. Democracy in America really is a joke, it is more like a tool being used to give the public a false sense that they take part in their government, to keep us contented. We are far away from getting rid of the pissing dinosaurs (Republicans and Democrats). I will not deny every single person has an influence in government, but that influence is being greatly oversold (I for one am not buying it damn it).

[ Parent ]

Re: Failing to vote is NOT the answer (none / 0) (#146)
by CodeWright on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 09:29:17 PM EST

democracy == mob-o-cracy

This country was founded as a Republic, not a Democracy.

In a democracy, if Gandalf and Inoshiro and I vote to eat you, we do!

In a republic, no matter how much we want to use the wonders of demagoguery/mobocracy, we can't vote away YOUR rights.

It was during the Woodrow Wilson / Franklin D. Roosevelt era that people stopped referring to "The Republic" and started referring to this heinous beast, "Democracy".

Anyway, to finally make my point, I think what you want is a Republic, not a democracy.



--
A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

[ Parent ]
Re: Failing to vote is NOT the answer (4.00 / 4) (#23)
by kinesakof on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 10:01:55 AM EST

Ralph Nader is a member of the Green Party, The Libertarian candidate for president is Harry Browne.

[ Parent ]
Bill Clinton seems to be a lot of things (3.00 / 1) (#36)
by marlowe on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 10:29:41 AM EST

He can seem to be whatever he thinks you want him to be, so long as you don't look too close.

He is truly a consummate modern politician. But then there are plenty of politicians to choose from these days. What we've been missing, for an awful long time now, is anything like a leader.

I suggest we all read The Corruption of American Politics, by Elizabeth Drew.

-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
[ Parent ]
Re: Failing to vote is NOT the answer (3.66 / 3) (#96)
by Killio on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 04:50:57 PM EST

Ralph Nader is not even close to being a libertarian; he's a socialist (though maybe not as much as gore...) I wish *less* people would vote. The informed, interested people will probably vote anyways, and the great unwashed will not. By encouraging people to vote, all you do is increase the percentage of uninformed, or just plain stupid, voters. There should be a competancy test required in order to vote. Hard hard questions like "what is the bill of rights" and "what does the constitution". Maybe that way we'll have less buses full of non-english speaking immigrants being payed 15 dollars to cast a vote.

---
Moo!

[ Parent ]
Re: Failing to vote is NOT the answer (none / 0) (#97)
by Killio on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 04:53:41 PM EST

hmm... now where did that sig/email come from? never let people have your password :P

---
Moo!

[ Parent ]
Re: Failing to vote is NOT the answer (none / 0) (#129)
by Chris Andreasen on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 12:56:53 AM EST

I don't know... "what does the constitution?" seems like a pretty puzzling question to me. :-)
--------
Is public worship then, a sin,
That for devotions paid to Bacchus
The lictors dare to run us in,
and resolutely thump and whack us?

[ Parent ]
Re: Failing to vote is NOT the answer (4.50 / 2) (#109)
by Anonymous Hero on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 06:47:59 PM EST

Ralph Nader has as much in common with the Libertarian Party as I have with a country music star(which is to say, none.) As for Bill Clinton, he might seem like a "good man" to you because of his stand on one issue(which, by the way, was nothing but pandering to the supposed desires of Americans as measured by pollsters,) but he has this nasty problem with being a dishonest criminal; a "good man" does not lose his law license and risk prosecution for perjury upon getting out of office.

However, insofar as you don't try to get into details, I agree with you: not voting will not solve anything. Instead, the original poster should certainly investigate third parties. I myself cannot recommend one, even if I knew what the poster's political leanings were, simply because even among all the third parties, my vote becomes a least of all evils matter rather than an "I actually like this one" pick.

What's interesting to me is that so many foriegners seem to care more about US politics than US people do. This says to me that we involve ourselves in your lives way too much. Personally, I think the whole world would be better off if the US adopted a position of staying home, leaving people alone, and beating the living hell out of anyone who feels a need to try to interfere with us by means of any kind of force(including terrorists.) I've nothing against foriegners, but I'm sick of being called an imperialist pig so that some two-bit nation can squander its resources on petty wars instead of working to feed its people, and I'm equally sick of the periodic terrorist attacks that result from that sentiment.

[ Parent ]
how to decide who to vote for: (3.00 / 2) (#7)
by madams on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 08:23:14 AM EST

The most important thing in choosing who to vote for is to figure out what they are capable of in office, instead of basing your vote on what they promise on the campaign trail. It is unfortunate that politicians running for office say all kinds of stupid things, but give em a break: they are human and their jobs are not easy.

--
Mark Adams
"But pay no attention to anonymous charges, for they are a bad precedent and are not worthy of our age." - Trajan's reply to Pliny the Younger, 112 A.D.

That's not very helpful. (3.00 / 2) (#37)
by marlowe on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 10:32:02 AM EST

All of the candidates look all too capable of either screwing us or screwing up once in office.

I don't see a trustworthy one in the bunch.


-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
[ Parent ]
ARGH! (3.20 / 5) (#9)
by kovacsp on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 08:31:49 AM EST

I'm sorry, but declaring that you're not voting is such an idiotic move. There are many many quality candidates running in this years presidential election. Don't like the "Big 2"? Well, then vote for a 3rd party. I'm voting for Ralph Nader myself.

Somebody much wiser said to me the other day: Students and young people (18-25) make up the second largest voting block in the country, and yet politicians continue to ignore us. Why? BECAUSE WE DON'T VOTE! And you know what's not going to change that?

For gods sake, please do vote in the upcoming election. Vote for the candidate you think is least likely to win. Hell, vote for yourself if you want to, but get yourself in that voting booth. If we want real political change in this country then we're going to have to participate in the political process.

Re: ARGH! (5.00 / 1) (#15)
by Commienst on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 08:58:36 AM EST

Democracy in America really is a joke, it is more like a tool being used to give the public a false sense that they take part in their government, to keep us contented. We are far away from getting rid of the pissing dinosaurs (Republicans and Democrats). I will not deny every single person has an influence in government, but that influence is being greatly oversold (I for one am not buying it, damn it).

I got a quick Nader question. What religion if any does he belong too?

[ Parent ]

Question from the UK (none / 0) (#112)
by pwhysall on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 07:28:31 PM EST

"I got a quick Nader question. What religion if any does he belong too?"

Why does this matter? I sort of know what Nader stands for but I thought the USA had a constitutional separation of church and state, so why would this make any difference?
--
Peter
K5 Editors
I'm going to wager that the story keeps getting dumped because it is a steaming pile of badly formatted fool-meme.
CheeseBurgerBrown
[ Parent ]

Hypocrisy In the US of A (none / 0) (#127)
by Commienst on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 12:33:18 AM EST

"Why does this matter? I sort of know what Nader stands for but I thought the USA had a constitutional separation of church and state, so why would this make any difference?"

Ok something you must know about America. In the Cold War era we were preaching off our pedestal about allowing Vietnam and other countries the right to self govern by helping them fight communism. Most of the people of Vietnam were gladly willing to fight to the death for the very right of their own self government, we claimed we were helping them attain by resisting communism. Whenever some ideal gets in the way of status quo we are quick to ignore it.

Seperation of church and state is a great example, religion especially christianity is our religious status quo and any ideal that threatens it we will and have ignored and will continue to ignore unless the problem is addressed. Kanasas has passed legislation that will not require teachers to present the idea of evolution in school any longer. Many have the misconception that they prohibited the teaching of evolution they just no longer made it a requirement in school. This may not sound that bad but, it is just as bad, even worse in my opinion because of its dastardly subtleness. That is not the way learning should be! Teachers should be forced (by gunpoint if needed; joke) to present the facts and all available information and then let us decide based on the facts given to us. In practice this never really works out because it has become too natural for humans to try to propagate their beliefs on those around them. In The Senate is reviewing a law that if passed will require our schools to observe a moment of silence in addition to the national athem before school. Silence time in this case is just a politically correct way of saying prayer. I am sure many muslim children will get in trouble by their homeroom teacher for getting up and kneeling in prayer toward Mecca even after they explain the practice to their teacher. In my school they hung up the ten commandments (yes they are allowed unfortunately) in the main entrance of the school and I excercised civil disobedience by tearing it down.

I am sure there are many more examples of hypocrisy in America when it comes to seperation of church and state.

What religion he belongs to matters to me. The only politican to attain a high office such as governor that I am aware of while being openly atheist is Governor Jesse Ventura. You can tell a politican has some shread of honesty if he openly admits being atheist or any other extremely unpopular belief, even when they know that admitting so will hurt their prospect of being elected.

[ Parent ]

Britain (2.20 / 5) (#12)
by excession on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 08:36:41 AM EST

Now, this comment is actually coming from my total inability to understand how the hell the US political system works.
    Are there just two parties eligible to be entered?
    Can any number of parties/independents enter, but no-one can be bothered/chances of succeeding too slim/something else?
Here in the UK, we have a multitude of parties -Raving Loony, Green, Natural Law(don't even ask ;) ), - Eurocentric ones, UK centric ones, etc, who all pick up the occasional seat in parliament, but basically it's just two parties - the Conservatives and Labour - who pick up most of the votes, although the Liberal Democrats have been picking up votes recently. But the UK electorate is, from my point of view - 21, just missed the last general election, and have never voted - becoming more apathetic towards voting and politics in general

Re: Britain (2.00 / 2) (#42)
by el_guapo on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 10:48:51 AM EST

"Are there just two parties eligible to be entered?" There are 2 MAJOR parties - The Republicans, generally right wing, conservative, legislate morality types; and Democrats, generally left wing, liberal, "I can create a government program to cure any ill" types. There ARE oterh parties, notably the Green party (Ralph Nader), the Reform party (Pat Buchannen (spelled wrong, sorry)). Basically, the 2 biggies are really the only ones with a chance. The Reform party fielded Ross Perot a while back, and racked up like 15% of the vote, but that was really the last time a non-biggie made a real showing. "Can any number of parties/independents enter, but no-one can be bothered/chances of succeeding too slim/something else?" This is spot on, I can go form my own party if I like, but ain't no way it'll have a chance. It's a status quo thing, but I think more and more folks are getting fed up....
mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
[ Parent ]
Re: Britain (3.66 / 3) (#49)
by analog on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 11:02:29 AM EST

Actually, there are several parties in American politics. The problem isn't that only two parties are allowed, it's that the two leading parties have set up a system that completely marginalizes the others.

Two things need to be kept in mind about American politics - one, that the incumbent in an election (this would apply to congress more than the presidency) wins over 95% of the time. The other is that the candidate that spends the most money wins about 98% of the time.

I'm not sure what the root causes of the above statistics are; I'm sure it has to do with the fact that most people are too tied up in trying to make a living to do any deep research into political candidates. In any case, it makes it extremely difficult for third party candidates to get into the mix. As well, we have a neat thing called matching funds; raise a whole bunch of money, and the government gives you that much more. It's supposed to help the candidates with a real chance to win an election get their message out; what it actually does is make sure that whatever candidate is supported by the rich is most likely to win.

Unfortunately, you have to get a certain percentage of the vote (I believe it stands at 5% for presidential elections) in order to be eligible for matching funds. Tough to get 5% of the vote when you can't afford to let people know you're there. A lot of people had high hopes riding on the Reform party; for a while there it really looked like they had a chance at becoming a viable third party. Unfortunately, they've had a bit of a misfire this time around, and their chances of receiving 5% or more of the votes are slim. No matching funds next election, and another one bites the dust...

[ Parent ]

Re: Britain (2.50 / 2) (#54)
by milph on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 11:18:57 AM EST

There are many available parties in the US. Like Britain, we have single representation from each geographic area. But instead of voting for parties, in the US we tend to vote for people.

We've split creating legislation (congress) from enforcing it (executive, the President). So the President isn't of necessity the same party as the majority in congress.

Anyone can put up legislation to be voted on, not just the PM/Cabinet.

Congressmen don't always vote as a party, each instead votes for whatever he or she thinks will represent his district best.

Some votes require more than a majority. We have people in various offices that aren't Democrats/Republicans, and they are effective where they are, but because of our electoral college, it's unlikely that someone not from one of the big two parties would ever become President, without some sort of reform. I hope this outlines some of the differences between our systems.

[ Parent ]

Canadian Perspective and Similar feelings. (4.30 / 10) (#13)
by Scriven on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 08:45:41 AM EST

As I've stated before, I'm Canadian, so we don't have the "2 party" system that seems to cause so much consternation. That being said, our multi-party system doesn't seem to be a whole lot better, all it does is multiply the number of morons trying to run the country.

I had taken the same stand as you, but I've discussed it with my parents, and my grandmother, and they've said some of the same things that the other people have in the discussion, that Not voting isn't the answer. I know a woman here in Toronto who purposely spoils her ballot, to show her disappointment with the current political offerings. Perhaps in counting the percentage of spoiled ballots, they'd determine how unhappy we are. I don't know.

Being Canadian, we get as flooded as you Americans do with your political commercials (since we do get all the major US stations up here, and some of the not-so-major networks too (like WB, UPN, and even PAX) if you have an antenna), and because we are just about the 51st state anyway, I do try and pay attention to it. It WILL affect me (hell, if the US can get a Norweigan (sp?) kid arrested, imagine what they could do to a Canadian kid!), and that prospect frightens the CRAP out of me.

<RANT> One thing that I do feel strongly about is campaign contributions, either in the US or elsewhere. Corporate Campaign Contributions should be banned outright, with severe penalties (perhaps even criminal) if you get caught. corporations cannot vote, and so should not drive the direction of politicians. People should be able to donate (up to a maximum amount), and the candidate should be able to use their own money. If there is a candidate who is poor, they should be subsidised up to the amount used by the richest candidate, with the whole process being strictly and publicly audited. That way, the man from the "wrong side of the tracks" still has a chance to compete with the big boys on an even footing.
I'm not sure what the laws are on campaign financing in Canada, embarrasingly enough, and I'm also not sure about the lobbying laws up here, so I'm not sure if it's as corrupt up here as it is in the US. </RANT>

On a complete side-note, would someone who understands this stuff please explain the whole reason behind lobbying to me? As I understand it, it's corporations buying legislation. That should be illegal, plain and simple, but as I said, I don't understand. E-mail me privately if you feel it's off topic, I'm just curious about it, as I don't understand.

I don't have any answers, however. The only thing that I can come up with is that I, and other people like me, like US, should run for office. We'd be like Ralph Nader, "not a snowball's chance in hell" as was previously stated, but if we sway one person this time, maybe we'd get 5 next time. I'm still struggling with this myself.
Is it enough to vote for the "least bad"candidate? It seems that they're all the same, either liars or openly trying to push the clock back 50 years, neither of which is the Right Thing(tm). I guess the only thing you can do is vote what you feel, not what you're told to feel. If you don't like Dubya, and you don't like Gore, then perhaps Nader, or Brown. If they're all repugnant to you, perhaps the final choice is to purposely spoil your ballot, to show your complete disgust with the current political offerings.

It's been said that the people least suited to a political office are the people who want that office, and as cliché as this is, it really does seem true. Man that's depressing.

I wish I could help more. Perhaps if I get elected I could!
8-)
Vote Adam Scriven in 2004!
*rofl*


--
This is my .sig. It isn't very big. (an oldie, but a goodie)
Re: Canadian Perspective and Similar feelings. (4.00 / 4) (#16)
by Commienst on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 09:12:29 AM EST

"<RANT> One thing that I do feel strongly about is campaign contributions, either in the US or elsewhere. Corporate Campaign Contributions should be banned outright, with severe penalties (perhaps even criminal) if you get caught. corporations cannot vote, and so should not drive the direction of politicians. People should be able to donate (up to a maximum amount), and the candidate should be able to use their own money. If there is a candidate who is poor, they should be subsidised up to the amount used by the richest candidate, with the whole process being strictly and publicly audited. That way, the man from the "wrong side of the tracks" still has a chance to compete with the big boys on an even footing. I'm not sure what the laws are on campaign financing in Canada, embarrasingly enough, and I'm also not sure about the lobbying laws up here, so I'm not sure if it's as corrupt up here as it is in the US. </RANT> "

It is a much bigger problem than that. If you ever watch CNN (does Canada even get that) you will see far too many companies trying to speak before congress or the house to try to pass legislation. The fact that the US government would spend so much time entertaining corporations is sickening.

Lobbying - A group of persons engaged in trying to influence legislators or other public officials in favor of a specific cause: the banking lobby; the labor lobby.

"It WILL affect me (hell, if the US can get a Norweigan (sp?) kid arrested, imagine what they could do to a Canadian kid!), and that prospect frightens the CRAP out of me."

Well you are right to be scared of the US. We have no scruples. Our CIA is spying on Canada as we speak in the name of our national security despite the fact the US and Canada have been close for a long time and Canada has never really posed our country a threat. When I visited Greece my cousin there vehemently hates the US because they inadverdently got half a million Greek Cypriots killed for a real stupid reason. The CIA still will not fess up to that one 30 years later.

[ Parent ]

Re: Canadian Perspective and Similar feelings. (3.50 / 2) (#22)
by Scriven on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 09:57:04 AM EST

... If you ever watch CNN (does Canada even get that)...

Of course. Rogers Cable, channel 33. I never watch it, but it's there for the viewing.

Lobbying - A group of persons engaged in trying to influence legislators or other public officials in favor of a specific cause: the banking lobby; the labor lobby.

Thanks!
Now, it seems to me that cause != company, so how in $diety's name do these companies get away with this? It's one thing to lobby for the Environment, or for underpriviledge kids, or for minorities. It's quite another to lobby for a companies "right" to rape and pilliage the average citizen! The "banking lobby" is just a fancy, politically correct way to say "The banks are buying off the policitians", and I thought that kind of thing was illegal?

Is the political system (US or otherwise) so corrupt?
Is there anyway to fix this mess, since it is a global mess?
Or should we all just do something like The Principality of Sealand?

This may sound nuts, but what about pooling resources to found a haven somewhere? I'm not suggesting it would be a utopia, but hell, it couldn't be any worse!
8-)


--
This is my .sig. It isn't very big. (an oldie, but a goodie)
[ Parent ]
Modified Marxist Philosophy (1.50 / 2) (#31)
by Commienst on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 10:21:54 AM EST

Communism in my opinion is a better system but it was and still is being implemented wrong. First off everyone should not be totally equal; they should be almost equal. There should be no money, instead you have allotment checks you get from your government job. Different kinds of allotment checks should be: food, clothing, entertainment, capitalist materialistic allotment(for tvs, computers and such that you do not need to live but helps the time go by.) The allotment checks could only be used by the person made out on the check name. You could argue then that goods could be used as money but that would not be a bad thing necessarily. I doubt many women would be hookers so that they could get a 30 inch tv.

The USSR failed largely because the people did not work hard because no matter how hard they worked they got the same back in return and an oppressive government did not help matters much either. To solve that the harder you work the more materialistic allotments you get everyone gets some to start out with. It would be a good idea to have more than one class: middle class and higher middle class. Everyone is equal has been tried and no matter what you did you got the same in return for your work so you had little incentive this should give people in a Communist country something to strive for.

Think of it a world without those evil red white and blue capitalist bastards. We could have tires and eyeglasses that last forever and shoes that do not wear down after a few months all made by nonslave labour.

[ Parent ]

Re: Canadian Perspective and Similar feelings. (3.50 / 2) (#41)
by sugarman on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 10:42:25 AM EST

It's one thing to lobby for the Environment, or for underpriviledge kids, or for minorities.

That's the sticky point, you see. In order to maintain the illusion of equal rifghts, the governament cannot use a different set of rules for one special interest over another. So they have one set of rules, applicable to everyone. The fact that companies or wealthy organizations tend to have a) more money with which to influence the system, and b) tend to use that influence for their own ends (well, DUH!) is a completely separate arguement.
--sugarman--
[ Parent ]

Re: Canadian Perspective and Similar feelings. (4.00 / 1) (#70)
by Matrix on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 12:22:53 PM EST

Actually, from what I've heard, the problem isn't lobbying. The problem is corporations getting around laws against bribery by donating a massive amount to a politician's campaign funds, then using that as a lever against them.

"Remember who it was who helped get you elected. You make us mad, you won't get in next time!" kind of thing.

I believe that it revolves around the (insanely illogical) argument that freedoms of speech are protected for people, corporations are people, and money is speech. The corporations are supposedly making their voices known by financing the candidates "they like."

That's my understanding, anyway... Can anyone provide more details?


Matrix
"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]

Lobbying (3.50 / 4) (#25)
by error 404 on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 10:16:05 AM EST

Lobbying, technicaly, is just going to where the politicians are and telling them what you want. You can do it yourself. Very, very Constitutional and patriotic and stuff.

But in practice, there are people who do it for a living, and are good at it, and are well financed and use the money to gain access.

..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]
Not voting vs blank vote (3.00 / 4) (#17)
by coldn00 on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 09:18:18 AM EST

You often hear the argument if you are not voting your voice is not being heard, but it is being heard even by not voting.

I don't agree with you on this one. If you don't vote, they don't know if you're the smart kid who doesn't vote because the candidates aren't worth it, or if you're the lazy guy staying home watching TV.

I'm not sure how the US voting systems work, but I'm pretty sure that you can give a blank vote, e.g. not on any of the candidates. This is a much better way to express your feelings. By showing your interest, but not voting on any of the candidates...

My mind was recently changed on this. (4.12 / 16) (#18)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 09:25:42 AM EST

I'm a US citizen. For the past eight years I have not voted in any election. This past week I read a book that completely changed the way I look at the priviledge of voting.

The book (Hitler's Pope: The Secret Life of Pius XII) detailed how Hitler managed to neutralize Catholic political dissent by negotiating a treaty with the Vatican. The treaty offered the Bishop of Rome recognition of the Vatican as an independant country by the German government and a promise to not persecute Catholic German citizens. In exchange, Hitler received a promise that Catholics would not be involved in type of political movement. As a result of this treaty, one of the largest voices of dissent to the Nazi regime was quashed. Prior to the treaty, the Catholic Center Party was one of the largest opposition groups to the Nazi's. For Demographic info, about 1/3 of Germans at the time were Catholic.

All it would have taken to stop Hitler from achieving dictatorship was a sizable portion of Catholic voters to vote against him in the earlier elections. But as it was, mostly due to the treaty with the Pope, most Catholics didn't vote.

Now, in most countries the choices aren't as bad as Hitler. For example in the US we have a choice between two men who have more in common politically than they do significant differences. Al Gore and George Bush are both in the pocket of large corporations, but neither of them has a final solution in mind.

So what will I do? I will vote my conscience and cast my ballot for Ralph Nader. Far from throwing my vote away, voting for a third party candidate will allow my voice to be heard. And it will prevent my absence of voting be a vote for the status quo. Whether we like it or not, as I now understand, the decision to not vote is a decision to vote for the status quo. Just as German Catholics, through not voting, allowed Hitler to rise to power, not voting assures the election of Gore or BGush. If you don't like either, don't use that as an excuse to not vote. Vote for someone that will work for real change.

Bear in mind, the only wasted ballot is an uncast ballot.

Refuse your ballot (3.16 / 6) (#19)
by unayok on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 09:34:33 AM EST

I don't know if you can do this in the US, but I've done this in Canada on more than one occasion. If you don't vote, your say doesn't count at all. What you can do is go to the polling station and refuse (decline) your ballot. Then your comment on the choice of candidates is noted.

Yes, it seems like a little thing, but if you honestly can't vote for any of the other candidates (remember that there are more than just two in the US presidential vote), you can do it that way. If you don't vote at all, you certainly have no chance of changing things.



What I would really like to see... (5.00 / 2) (#33)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 10:25:15 AM EST

What would rock my world is if every ballot question had an option for none of the above. Even better would be legislation to go with the option along the lines of if none of the above wins, nobody gets elected.

Anyone with me on this?

[ Parent ]

Re: What I would really like to see... (2.00 / 1) (#44)
by sugarman on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 10:56:16 AM EST

Yeah, I like the idea, but there needs to be more worked out to resolve what happens if NOTA ends up being the majority (and would it be a clear majority or a "50 +1" majority).

Should it be a do-over?

Should applicants on the first ballot be allowed back in on a do-over?

How soon should the re-election take place?

How many times can this repeat? (A large group could conspire to permanently keep the office unfilled)

etc, etc, etc. <p Neat idea, but the devils in the details...
--sugarman--
[ Parent ]

the details.... (3.00 / 1) (#50)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 11:06:36 AM EST

I just had an inspired brainstorm.

If none of the above is elected, the position is filled by randomly selecting a registered voter at large. Repeat as necessary until a random individual who meets the statutory requirements (age, citizenship status, etc.) is found.

[ Parent ]

none of the above (3.00 / 1) (#52)
by crizh on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 11:11:03 AM EST

Seriously, something needs to be done.

I shouldn't really comment cos I live in Scotland so it really isn't my problem but things are very little different here.

Nobody really lives in a democracy except possibly the Swiss and all this 'but we live in a democracy, give thanks to God' shit is really starting to piss me off.

However all this whinging and moaning is doing us no good whatsoever.

Revolution is the only answer.

All the greatest 'democracy's' of the world were born in the fire of revolution.

Now we have (hopefully) advanced a bit beyond violent conflict by now but you are viewing this little 'incite to revolution' on the latest form of revolution.

If we don't like the present system we should get organised, get prepared and get rid of it.

This is the beauty of democracy, if you don't like it vote for someone that will change it.

Now I've got a little first hand experience of this living in Scotland and I can say that single policy political parties suck. The SNP (Scottish National Party) has fought for decades for Scottish Independance but now that we have achieved devolution their crediblity has suffered badly.

What is really needed is a party that says

'The system is broken, it needs to be updated, vote us into power and we will immediately ammend the constitution in set ways that have been fully published and debated in advance. And then we will immediately step down and allow you to elect people qualified to run the country.'

This way we get the reforms that we all agree are needed and don't put voters off with the fear that they will have to endure years of a government that is incompetant to govern. (apologies to Alex Salmond but face it your just not William Wallace and every time your asked a question about policy you just make a fool of yourself)

Mind you its not like we ain't used to governments that are incompetant to govern.

This is just a quick post but I am serious, face it TALK IS CHEAP.

DO SOMETHING.

With election turnouts droping below 50% all over the democratic world we have a real shot at succeeding at achieving a landslide protest vote that allow us to take the power back.

'Government for the people by the people' remember?

If we remain neutral to issues of policy and partisanship then voters would be less uncomfortable about voting for us.

I mean can you really imagine Ross Perot as president, I sure can't visualise Alex Salmond as First Minister without laughing (or breaking out in a cold sweat)

If we can all agree that this is what needs to be done and keep the arguing and debate to what needs to be changed and how then there is hope.
Danger Newbie (please do not flame, rather educate)
[ Parent ]
visualize Perot as president (none / 0) (#75)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 02:14:24 PM EST

Why bother voting? | 74 comments (67 topical, 7 editorial, 0 pending) | Post A I mean can you really imagine Ross Perot as president, I sure can't visualise Alex Salmond as First Minister without laughing (or breaking out in a cold sweat)

For the record, I voted for Ross Perot the first time he ran not because I thought he would make a good president. For the most part my reasoning went (1) he certainly can't make a worse president than the other options and (2) it would be a whole heck of a lot of fun to see the US Congress try to deal with an independant president. I have a feeling that many things would change in very short order if the US Congress had to deal with someone not beholden to the same special interests as they are.

[ Parent ]

Re: visualize Perot as president (none / 0) (#88)
by crizh on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 03:30:35 PM EST

but that's kinda my point.

You don't think he'd make a good president and so no doubt do many, many others.

Although you were prepared to vote for him anyway, not nearly enough people feel the same way for him to stand a chance of winning.

Large numbers of people agree with him that some sort of change is required but they generally don't believe he is capable of governing the country.

(I may have my history very wrong here, so feel free to correct me)

What we need is someone like Cromwell. He was a reformer, he fought to reform the English constitution but he did not want to govern. He only did so because the government of the time repeatedly sabotaged those reforms for their own selfish ends.

The two issues need to be kept seperate, constitutional reform and governance.

The protest (non)voters don't want a different government they want a different system of government.

Many of us are a bit ignorant, naive or just plain thick but we all recognise that the system is broken.

If your in a taxi and it breaks down you don't replace the driver you get another taxi that works.

A reform party only needs one policy

'We will make the reforms you wany and then step down and let the people best able to do so govern the country.
Danger Newbie (please do not flame, rather educate)
[ Parent ]
Re: visualize Perot as president (none / 0) (#95)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 04:21:45 PM EST

Although you were prepared to vote for him anyway, not nearly enough people feel the same way for him to stand a chance of winning.

Large numbers of people agree with him that some sort of change is required but they generally don't believe he is capable of governing the country. </blockquote.

You've got part of this messed up. Per the 1992 exit polls, it wasn't that people didnt' think Ross Perot could govern the country, but rather that people didn't think that Ross Perot could win the election. The majority of people who wanted to vote for Perot thought he could do a good job running the countries. Perot's no-nonsense infomercials and straight talk endeared him to millions who thought he could lead his country to success just like he lead EDS to billions of dollars of profits. It wasn't until four years had passed and Perot ran againt that the public had a much more in depth understanding of who Ross Perot was that people started to feel a collective sigh of relief that he had not won the election.

This is a symptom of the sheep mentality US citizens tend to have. US citizens, in general, believe a vote cast for a candidate that does not win is a wasted vote. Another symptom of this mentality is that in polls done several days after elections, a higher percentage of people who voted claim to have voted for the winning candidate than actually did. We, the people of the United States, can't stand to not be 'winners.'

This mentality is one of the central issues in why democracy in the US doesn't work as well as it could.

[ Parent ]

Re: What I would really like to see... (none / 0) (#93)
by b!X on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 03:54:51 PM EST

What would rock my world is if every ballot question had an option for none of the above. Even better would be legislation to go with the option along the lines of if none of the above wins, nobody gets elected.

You're speaking here of NOTA and Binding NOTA. See <a href="http://www.nota.org/">this site.



[ Parent ]
Re: What I would really like to see... (none / 0) (#153)
by unayok on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 01:53:38 PM EST

The NOTA option is partially what refusing your ballot is. Of course, it's not binding in the sense you mention later. An interesting idea.

[ Parent ]
Re: Refuse your ballot (none / 0) (#45)
by deekayen on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 10:56:40 AM EST

I don't think anyone is going to make a note that will count for anything. Polling booths (at least where I live) are run by old, retired volunteers that want to do something to fill up the boring time of their lives. I guess your position could be noted, but only in the head of the volunteer that's trying to hand you the ballot.

[ Parent ]
My perspective -- a mild rant (3.75 / 12) (#20)
by joeyo on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 09:48:47 AM EST

A number of my friends have urged me to vote for Gore because, 'we can't let Bush win.' This sort of talk angers me and not because I am a Republican. Rather, it is because the Lesser Of Two Evils theology has become so prevalent in the American political system. Here is what I mean:

The two party system has become so entrenched in our minds that we don't really see that there are other options. I blame the parties themselves for this. They have much to gain in a system where, even if they can't get you to vote for them, you will likely vote against their opponent. Do you think that such a mutually beneficial arrangement would work in a multi-party system?

Now, I'm guessing that 90% of you have bought into this system so completely that your immediate response will be, "Yeah, it really sucks that we only have two parties, but I'm not going to waste my vote on someone who isn't going to win."

So you only vote for someone who is going to win?!? The success or failure of an ellection has nothing to do with your personal favorite candidate winning or loosing. If you only vote for sure things then you have as effectively given up your right to vote as someone who abstains.

--
"Give me enough variables to work with, and I can probably do away with the notion of human free will." -- demi

Re: My perspective -- a mild rant (3.00 / 1) (#32)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 10:22:28 AM EST

Now, I'm guessing that 90% of you have bought into this system so completely that your immediate response will be, "Yeah, it really sucks that we only have two parties, but I'm not going to waste my vote on someone who isn't going to win."

I fumed for days after the last time I voted (1992) and one of the exit polls said that if everyone who wanted to vote for Ross Perot and didn't because they didn't think he could win would have voted for him, he would of won the 1992 election.

And so I ask, just who was it that threw their vote away? Was it the people who voted for Perot anyway or the people who wanted to and instead voted for someone they didn't really want to be president?

[ Parent ]

Re: My perspective -- a mild rant (none / 0) (#34)
by hoopy on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 10:27:18 AM EST

Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that if you do not vote for one of the two major parties, your vote is wasted.

It works like this:

Parties A and B decide on who they want to run. Those people get ALL the financial advertising power of the party. No one else has even the same order of magnitude of funds as the two major parties. And, sadly, in election year, it's all about the money.

The people who say "I'm voting for X because I don't want Y to win" are really just trying to stay afloat in a system which inherently screws them over. Don't fault those people for the system - what we need is campaign finance reform, so that candidates can't just throw millions of dollars at advertising to get mindshare of the ignorant masses and to buy out special interest groups.

"Lesser of the two evils" is how it works right now. No 3rd party candidate has a serious chance, even if you and I and everyone else like us who talk the talk voted for them. Ross Perot was the last one to have a chance, and it was because he threw enough money at the system.

Change the system, but you won't be able to do it by voting for a 3rd party candidate. The system prohibits that.

[ Parent ]

Re: My perspective -- a mild rant (none / 0) (#85)
by davidduncanscott on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 03:17:06 PM EST

And, sadly, in election year, it's all about the money

Why is that everybody else is such a sucker for advertising?

I have never met anybody who has said, "Well, of course he's a dangerous idiot, but I voted for <name of dangerous idiot> because his ads were so good..."

No, we're too smart for that stuff, but the other people, they fall for anything.

Well, maybe not. Maybe ads for candidates don't work any better than ads for New Coke, or the Edsel, or even <grin> the Corvair</grin>. Maybe, just maybe, Ralph Nader hasn't convinced enough people, has failed to make a compelling case for them this time. It might help if third party supporters in general gave the voters a little credit for integrity and intelligence, rather than implying that we're all for sale.

As for not voting, I think the rule should be that if you don't vote, you can't bitch. Vote for Donald Trump or write in Donald Duck if you like (here in MD we even have keyboards in the voting machines for that), but make it clear that you cared enough to show up. The only thing worse than our turnout is that it gets even lower if it rains.

The Powers are NOT reading the low turnout as protest, they're reading it that they can dismiss the 51%.

[ Parent ]

Re: My perspective -- a mild rant (4.00 / 1) (#92)
by b!X on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 03:47:07 PM EST

Change the system, but you won't be able to do it by voting for a 3rd party candidate. The system prohibits that.

Oh yes. Poor little American voter is a victim of forces greater than himself.

Please. While there unquestionably needs to be serious political reform in this country, voting for someone other than the two-headed beast is not a useless act.

For one thing: There is always the miraculous potential of a single 3rd-party candidate winning because voters opted to not be scared away from doing it.

For another: If you don't actually vote for someone, then the press, pundits, and politicians get to proclaim the whys for that inaction. They will steal your voice and opinion. Not voting is not a protest, it's a surrender. Voting for someone other than who you're supposed to vote for is a statement that they can't steal from you.



[ Parent ]
voting in australia... (3.33 / 6) (#21)
by acb on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 09:56:34 AM EST

Voting in australia is mandatory at all levels, except at the local council level.

This being said, the most you have to do is turn up the a polling booth and get your name crossed off the list, you don't have to submit a vote after your name is crossed off.

Some people say that "forced voting" is not "right", I personally can see nothing wrong with it being this way, but apparently Australia isn't as liberated as some of the other nations that exist today *cough*
--- acb #kuro5hin
Re: voting in australia... (none / 0) (#35)
by edderly on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 10:27:54 AM EST

I agree with mandatory voting. As less of the general public vote what worries me is that coalitions of minority groups are banding together and can have overly large influence over who gets elected - just because they can be bothered to vote. The downside is that (though this seems to happen anyway) is that politics becomes even more populist. So politicians spend their time just being popular rather than coming up with intelligent policies

[ Parent ]
Re: voting in australia... (none / 0) (#64)
by Rand Race on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 11:53:45 AM EST

I don't agree with mandatory voting, but I do think election day should be a holiday. This would make it far easier for working people to vote. I imagine though, much like 'motor-voter' initiatives, that the right would kill it in a second.

That said, do go to the booth at least, but don't vote for anyone. This will show that you care but find no candidate that represents you. Personally, I'm voting green. Living in Gore's home state, I need not vote against Bush which is a good thing since I promised Jello Biafra years ago that I would never vote for Tippers husband

.
"Question with boldness even the existence of God; because if there be one, He must approve the homage of Reason rather than that of blindfolded Fear." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

two party system (US) (2.60 / 5) (#24)
by madams on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 10:04:39 AM EST

(discounting the Green, Natural Law, Libertarian, and Reform Parties for a minute here):

What our country really has is a two coalition system, not a two party system. The Democratic and Republican "parties" offer a very diverse set of interests within the organization. There are Southern Democrats, New Democrats, and Hollywood Democrats. The Republicans have the Religious Right, the Compassionate Conservatives, and everything in between.

Heck, even take a look at the reform party: Ross Perot, Pat Buchanan, Jesse Ventura, Donald Trump. What do these men have in common, other than not being able to find a place in the traditional "parties".

I'll agree that even the political continuum offered by the Democrats and Republicans is still not inclusive enough for everyone. I strongly support having third parties, even if they have no realistic chance of winning.

--
Mark Adams
"But pay no attention to anonymous charges, for they are a bad precedent and are not worthy of our age." - Trajan's reply to Pliny the Younger, 112 A.D.

Ventura is party less (none / 0) (#123)
by Commienst on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 11:11:51 PM EST

Jesse Ventura has resigned from the Reform party completely last I heard. He now is a totally independent politician without any affiliation to any political party. That is the way things should be no country should allow political parties at all. You should vote on each issue on its merit and not down a party line. No country I know of has had the fortitude to employ such a change.

[ Parent ]
Why the US can't be defined as a democracy (1.85 / 7) (#26)
by bagu on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 10:17:09 AM EST

The US is not a democracy for a number of reasons:
  • barely half of the people vote
  • there are only two parties to vote for (doesn't look lika much of a choice to me)
  • it all ends with one person who personaly have power (I didn't say all power). The president should be a representative only, some sort of assembly should make all decisions.
I could make the list longer, but that's not my point. Fundamental changes is needed in your country for the people to trust it's own leadership.

The rest of the word doesn't care about your elections. Still we get all the propaganda.

Every single time I talk to an american about politics they have all sorts of opinions, then I ask what they voted in the last election to change what they didn't like, I keep hearing "I didn't vote.. what can one person change?"

Stop being so totally caught up in yourself and change your country! Preferably by getting a lot of people to vote in good people lower in the chain.. They will get to the top eventually..

On a side note: A politican in africa once said something like this: "For all the american election propaganda we are recieving, one could only ask why we are not allowed to vote there.."

Re: Why the US can't be defined as a democracy (2.66 / 3) (#39)
by baberg on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 10:37:09 AM EST

there are only two parties to vote for (doesn't look lika much of a choice to me)

While it's true that there are two major parties, there are by far many more candidates than that. Ralph Nader for the Green Party (who gets my vote this year), Harry Browne for the Libertarians, and about 10 more. There are 13 people (women included) running for President in the 2000 United States election.

I fail to see how having two parties means we are not a democracy. I see how it causes people to unintelligently cast their votes (he/she is a Republican/Democrat, and so am I, so I'll vote for them) but you also have some people who will vote for whoever their coin tells them to.

As for the fact that the President has power, well, that's just the last step until we get a (inevitable, in my opinion) migration to a monarcy. Sometime in the near future (i.e., before I die somewhere around 2050) we're going to have a President who dissolves Congress and begins to rule the USA, disregarding the Constitution. I have no proof, no logic, but just a general feeling (and watching the trend in people's opinions towards politics). If this new dictator has the power of the military, then the people be damned.

[ Parent ]

Re: Why the US can't be defined as a democracy (4.25 / 4) (#43)
by edderly on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 10:50:04 AM EST

I disagree
  • barely half of the people vote
    Only half the people who can vote do vote. Democracy doesn't dictate you have to vote (unfortunately)
  • there are only two parties to vote for
    Anyone can stand for election (caveats apply). There just happen to be two "main" parties.
  • it all ends with one person who personaly have power (I didn't say all power). The president should be a representative only, some sort of assembly should make all decisions.
    That's is not true as the senate and congress approve (or not) most constitutional/policy decisions. The only case where this might be true is for decisions which need to be made quickly or secretly. In any case the president is still bound by the laws of the country. Whether there is a president or a prime minister - there is always a head of the executive in modern democracies.
I think you can criticise the US electorate for not using their votes effectively, and I think you can criticise the polititians for what they offer. But fundamentally you get the representatives you deserve - and if the electorate ignores political issues and the rest of society this is what you get.

[ Parent ]
Re: Why the US can't be defined as a democracy (2.00 / 1) (#46)
by bagu on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 10:58:30 AM EST

As you might have understood, I am talking about the experienced level of democracy.. Iraq is a democacy according to their constitution..

[ Parent ]
DON'T FORGET ballot initiatives, Congress, and... (3.20 / 5) (#27)
by marlowe on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 10:17:51 AM EST

local elections. There's lots of reasons to go to the polls.

And if you don't like either of those two frauds, vote for Nader. He has no chance of winning, but that's not the point. It's a protest vote.

If you don't vote, you can't complain. And I want to complain. So I'm voting.


-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
A good site for info on other things to vote for. (3.33 / 6) (#29)
by marlowe on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 10:20:25 AM EST

Ballot initiatives, local elections, Congress, etc, right here: http://www.dnet.org Enter your zip code, and it gives you everything you get to vote on.
-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
(3.33 / 9) (#30)
by hkeith on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 10:21:17 AM EST

My tactic: vote for Gore in the Presidential race, vote 3rd party or blank in all others.

Others have decried the lesser-of-two-evils tactic, but this is a case where I do think there is a crucial difference, that being the impending selection of 3 Supreme Court justices. If Bush gets in, I believe he will appoint ultra-conservatives and will (among other things) try to get them to overturn Roe vs. Wade (a related issue only survived by 1 vote recently, so 2 or 3 will *definitely* make a difference). Gore, OTOH, will likely appoint the same old middle-of-the-roaders, and while there will still be a threat, I don't think it will be as bad. If the supreme court were not an issue here, I would vote 3rd party (specifically Libertarian) as I did in '96.

3rd parties are IMO more likely to make headway if they start getting in at local and state levels. As they gain acceptance and recognition there, maybe one will have a chance at the national level.

Oh yeah, and what the others have said: DON'T not vote! You can walk in, register your vote, and leave without pulling any levers, which is a much more powerful statement than not going at all.

-hk

NO, NO, ANYONE BUT GORE!!! (none / 0) (#151)
by Wolfrider on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 04:43:01 AM EST

--I am absolutely sick to DEATH of Klinton's entire administration. The fact that the man was RE-elected only intensifies my belief that the Apocalypse can't be all that far away anymore... ;-)

--Electing Gore is not all that far from RE-RE-electing Klinton! (spelling intentional)

--Electing Bush (as the lesser of two evils, just because he happens to belong to the Other Major Party) is nowhere NEAR as good as sending a message to the Establishment that We the Voters are SICK AND TIRED OF THEIR BULLSHIZNIT.

--I say, throw out the whole mess and start over. My vote's going to NADER.

--BTW, //this site\\ is what has prompted me, at 28, to register to vote for the first time in my life. Good job guys!!

***

--You might want to check out Algernon's Dilemma - the current storyline deals with the P.Election:
http://www.algernonsdilemma.com/index.html

***
Run Linux and FreeBSD. Linus is not God. (But I think God likes him.)
[ Parent ]
Why bother? Because it's even worse if you dont (3.25 / 4) (#38)
by collar on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 10:33:24 AM EST

<borderline rant>

The less people that vote, the less well democracy works. The government in general is going to feel that they can get away with more and more, and react less to voter's opinion the less people vote, because the less people vote the more the "core party vote" (you know, those people who have been voting one party for 30 years and arent going to stop now) matters.

Dont feel like voting for one of the major 2 parties? Vote for someone else, even if you dont 100% support the views of one of the other candidates, it will show that more and more people are moving away from the 2 major parties, and that the the 2 major parties should take more account of differing views, hell if enough people start voting away from the 2 major parties the US might end up with a 3 party system. In Australia, while having a 2 party system, a 3rd party (the democrats) presently hold balance of power in the senate (one of the two houses of Australian parliament).
</borderline rant>

<soap box>
They say that the people get the government they deserve, and how right they are. If you feel like your one vote doesnt make a difference, then go out there and actually make a difference. Get involved in local level politics, start mailing your local member of government with your views on issues that are very import to you (they do listen), become a member of a political lobby group, just DO SOMETHING. Nothing gets changed by people sitting around the tele whinging about the government. You can make much more than just one vote of difference, you just have to put a lot more effort into it.
</soap box>
.sig?
Re: Voting Paradox (3.00 / 2) (#47)
by madams on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 11:01:07 AM EST

What seems to be going on here is "vote shifting". Z gets all of the people who originally voted for Y (in your second example).

Your run-off elections example might be an argument against primaries. But primaries != elections! Primaries are (theoretically) the means by which a party chooses its candidate.

But I'll try to give a real world example for your run-off elections argument. Let's say Bush, Nader, and Gore are running for president in a run-off style of elections.

Out of 9 people, Bush gets 4 votes, Gore 3, and Nader 2. Nader is eliminated. In the next voting round, everyone who voted for Nader votes for Gore. Gore wins 5-4. Democracy is served, even though Bush was the most popular out of the three candidates.

--
Mark Adams
"But pay no attention to anonymous charges, for they are a bad precedent and are not worthy of our age." - Trajan's reply to Pliny the Younger, 112 A.D.
[ Parent ]

Re: Voting Paradox (4.00 / 1) (#83)
by madams on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 03:16:33 PM EST

It was Knuth who said, "Beware of bugs in the above code; I have only proved it correct, not tried it."

Even if it is mathematically impossible to meet all criteria of fairness doesn't me, some criteria are not as likely as others to actually show up.

A Right > Left > Center preference called for by the Unrestricted Domain criterion is not that likely. I don't konw of anyone who's preference would be Buchanan > Gore > Bush. This is simply not a realistic combination.

Counter-example: Someone might easily choose, in order of preference, Gore > Bush > Nader. Even though this order makes no sense ideologically, it makes perfect sense if you think Nader is incapable of being president (which is probobly true). So even though you disagree with Bush, you know that he is actually capable of being the POTUS.

So your argument still holds. I guess it's one of those things like Godel's Incompleteness Theorum that you have to accept on mathematical principles.

--
Mark Adams
"But pay no attention to anonymous charges, for they are a bad precedent and are not worthy of our age." - Trajan's reply to Pliny the Younger, 112 A.D.
[ Parent ]

Re: Voting Paradox (2.00 / 1) (#53)
by edderly on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 11:12:03 AM EST

Doesn't this make the assumption that a voter will vote in both the elections? Whilst often a voter might not vote again if their first preference is eliminated.

If this is an argument for liberalism it never quite worked out for the Liberal party [aka liberal democrats] in the UK. Existing in a three party system the last time they got elected was in the early 1900's.

[ Parent ]

blah blah blah (2.75 / 4) (#48)
by ketan on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 11:01:09 AM EST

Yet another annoying tract about how everything sucks intended to stimulate pointless discussion about how things really do suck. Oh, and you're so real, too, because you don't buy any of that crap being fed you by The Establishment. </rant>

There is no magic formula. You are half-right, though. If you think that you're going to make a difference just buy voting, you're wrong. The people in this country who vote aren't most people, which is why we get a government that most people don't like. Why do you think the whole prescription drug thing is becoming a big issue this year? Because old people vote. Not only do they vote, they have lobbying organizations that work to try to convert other voters and demonstrate to members of Congress that there is a significant voting bloc out there that will affect their chances of election. If you think all that focus on Medicare is a waste of time, you need to do the same as the old people. People waste their time on discussion boards complaining (as I am doing now), but what real change results from all this? Hell, people probably waste all their energy arguing on bbses/discussion boards/usenet, and then have no energy left to actually make a difference. One thing is clear, though, your (not just the author; people in general) hot air will make no difference at all. Making a difference requires effort and dedication. Nobody's going to come to ask your opinion; you have to go out and fight for it.

America's implementation of democracy to me is a sham.

And another thing... where do you get off saying crap like that? To you it's a sham? Tell me this: has there been a recorded instance in recent memory of election fraud in this country? Am I disgusted with the reduction in privacy, the growing power of corporations, soft money, etc.? Yes, and probably more so than you because my memory is longer. That doesn't change the fact, though, that it's still one vote per person, and when you vote someone out of office, (s)he is out of office. This isn't Nigeria, or Myanmar/Burma, or any other country where elections are overruled by the military. America is a democracy, and calling it anything else is just a way to get out of taking some measure of responsibility for things being the way they are. If it is important to you to effect change, you will do it. Otherwise, do nothing, but don't complain and don't make excuses. America is still one of the most free nations on this Earth.

Study some history (3.33 / 6) (#51)
by error 404 on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 11:09:05 AM EST

I mean the old stuff, not the propaganda about the last 200 years.

There is more difference between the two main choices than between most of the alternatives over which civil wars and church schisms happened.

Compared to what it should be, the American elected republic is a sick joke. Compared to %99 of world history, it is beyond Utopia. There are actual differences in policy and character between the candidates, and you won't get shot at for voting for the loser.


..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

Re: Study some history (4.50 / 2) (#73)
by aphrael on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 02:05:17 PM EST

Compared to what it should be, the American elected republic is a sick joke. Compared to %99 of world history, it is beyond Utopia

The thing that is so frustrating about this fact is that it is really easy to either fall into complacency about the American republic (because it's better than 99% of world history, so there's no need to try and make it better) or despair (because it's a sick joke compared to what it should be).

The former is scary because complacency will lead to the slow morphing of the republic into something else; this has happened many times in history, most notably in Venice (which went from being a republic to being a notorious police state over the slow course of four centuries)(/p>

The second is scary because despair, if sufficiently widespread, will lead to attempts to replace the republic with something else --- which will have extremely good odds of actually being worse.



[ Parent ]
The way it seems to be falling now (2.00 / 1) (#84)
by error 404 on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 03:17:02 PM EST

The second [despair because America is nowhere near what it should be] is scary because despair, if sufficiently widespread, will lead to attempts to replace the republic with something else --- which will have extremely good odds of actually being worse.
That despair is what I'm seeing in the "why vote?" question.

I also see that despair in the militia movements.

The only place I see complacency is in the Republicrat parties.

Interesting times. And not at all time to sit an election out, although declining to vote is an option as long as the non-vote is a participatory event.
..................................
Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

Canuck Opinion (3.37 / 8) (#55)
by FFFish on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 11:20:55 AM EST

Reading through the messages here, it seems that a lot of people are going to vote for a third party.

The K5 population is presumably aged 15-35, is well-educated and middle-class. You're all probably fairly well-respected by friends and family.

So use that power. Start convincing *everyone* you know that they should "free their minds." There is *NO* reason to vote for Gore or Bush. Indeed, from my Canadian perspective, both those men are the worst thing that can happen to the USA. You've already got huge disparity in wealth, health and education: they're just gonna make it worse.

Get your ass out and vote for a third party. Get out there are persuade your peers to get off their asses and vote. Get out there and persuade your parents, your siblings, your teachers, your cow-orkers to get off their asses and vote.

And when they whinge on that voting makes no difference, re-iterate the arguments you've read here.

If 10% of the disaffected youth/young adult population were to vote for a third-party candidate, there'd be substantial, radical change in the government within the decade.

And I suggest y'all vote for Nader. He's the leading alternative, and seems pretty sensible, honest and hard-working. If you all vote for him, there's a chance he'll get into the double-digits. At that point, the media will be forced to deal with him as a contender, and the next election will be played differently.

Good luck, Americans. You're going to need it.

Re: Canuck Opinion (3.50 / 2) (#63)
by Matrix on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 11:47:51 AM EST

And to those who say that a third party will never amout to anything, look at the Canadian system. Our "third parties" hold a good percentage of the seats in the house of commons. The conservative party, in fact, seems to be slowly dying out, and (IIRC) only has a few seats. I personally would go for the Libertarian candidate over Nader (small government thing), but Nader would be far better than Gore or Bush.


Matrix
"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]

Re: Canuck Opinion (none / 0) (#130)
by Requiem on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 01:53:54 AM EST

The Canadian system seems to work well. While we've only ever had two parties in power (the Liberals and the Progressive Conservatives), a substantial number of seats are taken up by other parties, such as the NDP (New Democratic Party, a vaguely left-wing party that has shifted to the center in recent years to attract voters), PQ (Parti Quebecois, pardon the spelling), and Reform (now the Canadian Alliance). You even get the odd Communist in parliament; sure, the last time was back in the second world war, but the point is: it happens. And it happens because we don't see voting for a party other than the big two as useless or futile.

[ Parent ]
Try Nader (2.25 / 4) (#56)
by xcvbyz on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 11:21:31 AM EST

There are alternatives to voting for Bush or Gore. Vote Nader - sure he won't win. The Greens didn't win in Germany the first time out either. More information on him can be found at http://www.votenader.org . Basically, he stands for the kind of things Democrats used to stand for back when the Democratic Party stood for something. If Nader isn't you cup of tea, there is a Libertarian candidate, a Reform candidate, and probably a Communist candidate. Vote for one of them. You have plenty of choices. Yeah, yeah, I know they won't win this time - but is it really about voting for the winner?

About that other 51% (4.08 / 12) (#57)
by Elendale on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 11:29:56 AM EST

Think of it this way: if those 51% who aren't currently voting voted for... say... my personal favorite Nader then he would win the election, no? An interesting thought. I have so many complaints about politics they will not fit into one posting, nevertheless i will try to explain my position and how it relates to the article above.

Firstly (and as you pointed out above, one of Ventura's big beefs with politics) i think the role of the press in elections and politics in general is distorted and basically used by big media to get $$$. In an interview Jesse Ventura had not so long ago, one of the reporters commented that they only cover the candidates they think have a shot- that is, the republicans and democrats. My complaint with this is: do the press really think they can determine who the next president/whatever will be? Is that not the job of the people, or more precisely: is that not what elections are all about? Anyone who is so egotistical as to think they can guess who the public favors before the public decides needs to do us all a favor and stay away from society. The media only covers those they think have a chance at 'winning', but do they not help determine the outcome by who they cover? Shouldn't the media have a responsibility to cover all the candidates equally instead of covering those they think will win?

In addition to that, i would like to address another of the two "big party's" defense mechanisms: throwing your vote away. It is never outright said, but i believe most people feel that to vote for the candidate that will not win is like not voting at all (your voice was not heard, correct? Therefore you didn't count). This is the most flawed form of politics i have seen in the US. I conducted an informal (and highly unscientific- quite similar to a poll on The-Site-That-Must-Not-Be-Named) survey among my peers and discovered that- surprise- nearly 80% of them would vote for Nader if they thought he had a chance at winning. Think about that for a second. A large majority of the people i interviewed (though they are not 'normal' voters, mind you) would vote for a candidate if they thought he had a chance. The problem with this that due to several factors (not the least of which is covered above: media portrayal of candidates) people don't believe that their favored candidate will win and therefore choose their 'second favorite' in a somewhat misguided attempt to do what i call 'defensive voting'. Defensive voting is voting on a candidate you do not particularly like in effort to keep a candidate you really dislike from winning. This can be fixed a number of ways- one of the more interesting way is giving each person more than one 'vote' to cast in an election and thus allowing a person to 'rate' the candidates- but each way has been shot down by (guess who) the major two political parties. This must be addressed if future candidates are to have a chance to defeat the established political parties.

Lastly, for this post is already huge and honestly i'm surprised you read this far, i will discuss the dirty little secret of the United States: that we live, not in a democracy, but in a republic. What does this mean? What many people forget about when they are talking away about votes and so forth is that the electoral college actually chooses the winner. Now throughout the past, the electoral college has almost always gone along with the public election- i seem to remember one time in which they did not, though it escapes me at the moment; history is not my best subject. I must stress i do not think this is necessarily a bad form of government- government is only as good or bad as those in power- but it is almost always hidden from view.

Now you are asking yourself "what the hell does this all have to do with what's posted?" Well, not a whole lot really. I just lose control when i see a political subject i can rant on. However, the point i'm trying to make is: every single vote counts! If you don't vote, you don't really have a right to complain for the next four years about how corrupt the system is. Don't like big companies turning our government into a gigantic, beurocratic, puppet? Vote Nader/LaDuke in the upcoming election. Or vote someone else. Or whatever. Every single person has a responsibility to ensure his or her freedoms.
That said, i'm voting this year mainly because i want to complain how corrupt the government is for the next four years- i love complaining.

-Elendale (Knows more than ten people who will vote for, in all seriousness, Xellos the Trickster Priest of Slayers fame. Hey, he'll do a better job than those other two fools.)
---

When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.


Re: About that other 51% (none / 0) (#74)
by eventi on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 02:07:27 PM EST

Does anyone know of a formal study done along these lines? Do you plan to vote, for whom, and if not, why not?

[ Parent ]
when the electoral college goes its own way (none / 0) (#78)
by Anonymous 242 on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 02:24:10 PM EST

Now throughout the past, the electoral college has almost always gone along with the public election- i seem to remember one time in which they did not, though it escapes me at the moment; history is not my best subject. I must stress i do not think this is necessarily a bad form of government- government is only as good or bad as those in power- but it is almost always hidden from view.

I can think of two situations that might be what you are talking about.

(1) In one presidential election, a person was elected who had a minority of the popular vote. This occurred because of the distribution of electoral votes within the fifty states. In a close race, a candidate can (and at least once has) win an overall majority of votes while still receiving fewer electoral votes. This is especially true when states give out their electoral votes 'all or nothing' instead of splitting them along the lines of the popular vote. I can't remember which election this occurred in.

(2) The Libertarian party managed to win a single electoral vote because the Republican party sent a man who was a closet Libertarian to the electoral congress. Doing what any solid Libertarian would do in a similiar situation, this guy put in his vote for the Libertarian candidate instead of for the Republican nominee. Again, I can't remember which election this was.

[ Parent ]

Haha! (none / 0) (#162)
by Elendale on Sun Sep 30, 2001 at 11:47:42 PM EST

Wow, this is very interesting... looking back on it after Bush won due to the electoral college not agreeing with popular votes :)

-Elendale
---

When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.


[ Parent ]
I'd like to ask the poster a question (3.33 / 3) (#58)
by pete on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 11:36:52 AM EST

Please tell me: in your ideal situation, what specifically would you want the elected officials to do? I'd like to see your:

  • Top 5 laws passed by Commienst's new Congress
  • Top 3 actions of Commienst's new President

    I'm just curious about the source of your frustration. (I am NOT defending, nor an I going to defend, the people in office right now.)


    --pete


  • Re: I'd like to ask the poster a question (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by XScott on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 06:00:19 PM EST

    I'm not the poster, but I'll respond anyway. :-)

    1) First and foremost: Kill the income tax. Do it gradual or kick it in full gear Jan 1st 2001, but it's a total waste of resources. Allow for a federal sales tax to compensate for it (if need be). By definition there are an order of magnitude more people than there are businesses (many people work at one business, but few people work at many). The accounting would greatly simplify and much of the IRS could be shit canned.

    2) Legalize drugs. All of them. Insert the typical rant about how stupid the war on drugs is. Or, at least be consistent and make tobacco and alcohol illegal as well.

    3) Kill welfare programs.

    4) Open up the borders to unlimited immigration.

    5) Get rid of all anti-gun regulation across the board. It's the second ammendment for a reason. Next thing you know they'll be trying to step on the first ammendment. Oh yeah....

    6) Get rid of the DMCA and related crap.

    7) Establish a new ammendment regarding a right to privacy. It's not too clear that we have that right now. It ought to be the 4th ammendment, but it would be nice if the word "privacy" was in there.

    8) Kill the patent system. It's completely broken. At least in the software arena. There are plenty of financial incentives to be first to market, and the research costs of software don't justify a monopoly.

    9) Offer stronger economic incentive to polution free cars. Something along the lines of taxing the shit out of gasoline or gasoline burning cars. The market will adjust.


    I'm voting for the first time this year.


    -- Of course I think I'm right. If I thought I was wrong, I'd change my mind.
    [ Parent ]
    Re: I'd like to ask the poster a question (none / 0) (#147)
    by CodeWright on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 09:43:07 PM EST

    YAY!

    Finally, someone who sounds sane.



    --
    A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
    Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

    [ Parent ]
    Re: I'd like to ask the poster a question (5.00 / 1) (#126)
    by warpeightbot on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 12:30:59 AM EST

    Lemme take a whack at this:

    Top 5 laws enacted if WarpEightBot had his way about things:

    • Resolved: The Sixteenth Amendment to the United States is hereby REPEALED, as soon as this measure is Ratified by three fourths of the legislatures of the several States, AND Whereas the Sixteenth Amendment authorizing income tax has been repealed, we hereby lay a direct tax on the first retail sale of all durable goods, foods ready to eat, and real property, which shall be initially fifteen percent, and which shall require a three-quarters majority of the House and Senate to increase.

    • Whereas the founding fathers enacted the Second Amendment to the Constitution, and thought it so important that it should be Second only to those guarantees of freedom found in the First Amendment, RESOLVED, that the right of any person, which person is eligible to posess a firearm under Federal law, to keep said firearm on or about his person, under his direct supervision, and to use same in defense of self or others present, SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED; FURTHERMORE, that only a conviction or valid guilty plea shall be valid criminal grounds for loss of these rights, specifically that an order in restraint without a supporting conviction shall NOT be grounds for loss of rights, and that aside from the enumerated use of a firearm specifically, prevailing state law concerning the use of deadly force shall apply.

    • RESOLVED, that beginning in the year of school that the pupil is nominally twelve years of age, this normally being called the sixth grade, and ending with the attainment of one's high school diploma, or equivalent thereof, the art of statecraft shall be taught, and the basic exercise of all of one's individual rights under the Constitution, to include public oratory, journalism, comparative religion, indoor and outdoor assembly, basic firearms safety and marksmanship, camping, basic detective work, how to conduct oneself in the legal system, running for public office, lobbying, and the theory of representative democracy; and that one's high school diploma or equivalent shall indicate posession of the requisite knowledge and therefore confer on one the right (and the responsibility) of voting. (Please note that this does NOT violate any of the Amendments to the Consitution. You can't discriminate on the basis of race, sex, age over 18, or require a poll tax, but you CAN pass a FEDERAL law that says they have to understand the system they're trying to control. You cannot charge for the attainment of that knowledge; I do not propose to do so. If you're going to let just about everyone vote, then universal education becomes less of a right and more of a responsibility.)

    • A person may serve no more than twelve years, total, in Congress. A person elected to a fourth term in the House of Representatives shall be ineligible to become a Senator. Furthermore, no person shall, having been a member or employee of one Branch of Federal government, shall be eligible for employment in another Branch. (a former Rep can't be Prez or a Judge; nor could SecDef run for Veep or work for a Senator.) (three words: CONFLICT OF INTEREST)

    • All demographic data is the property of the person or entity the data describes, and shall not be used without that person or entity's express prior written permission. Use of this data shall not be a condition for unrelated transactions, nor shall a collector of data presume in any way the right to use that data for other than the immediate transaction. Demographic data for which a person is giving permission for redistribution shall be entered separately from any transaction. A copy of the collector's privacy policy shall be obtainable before any data is submitted for redistribution. A person or entity shall have the right to terminate the business relationship with a data collector and require that the collector purge his database of all data relating to that person or entity. Furthermore, the right of citizens to encrypt their data in order to protect it from unauthorized data gathering shall not be infringed.
    And the three exec orders:
    • Cabinet-level organizations having to do with health, education, and welfare are hereby dissolved and replaced with standards organizations. Responsibilities for implementation of same are given to the several states. Social Security is exposed for the lie that it is, and sunset in an orderly fashion. The States are allowed to form their own organizations if they so choose.

    • Aid to foreign nations not supplying us with vital resources is hereby terminated, and the US ceases to play traffic cop for the world. The Monroe Doctrine is hereby re-instituted, and fossil fuels are to be bought from sources on the Americas rather than outside them. One notable exception is made: Taiwan is hereby a U.S. protectorate until such time as her vital technological resources can be moved to, oh, say, somewhere in Mexico. I am NOT depending on the largesse of the PRC for motherboards! (Oh, yeah, and the Monroe Doctrine means the Panama Canal is ours again, see previous comment...)

    • The Federal Election Commission shall investigate implementation of an Australian style of balloting (multi-party, none-of-the-above).
    Ok, that's my swing at it.

    You may fire when ready, Gridley.

    [ Parent ]

    Re: I'd like to ask the poster a question (none / 0) (#148)
    by CodeWright on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 09:52:40 PM EST

    My God!

    ANOTHER SANE PERSON!

    I swear allegiance, to the WarpEightBot, and to the 5 laws and 3 executive orders for which he stands...



    --
    A: Because it destroys the flow of conversation.
    Q: Why is top posting dumb? --clover_kicker

    [ Parent ]
    What a lazy whiner (3.50 / 8) (#59)
    by hwbj on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 11:36:52 AM EST

    Being stuck somewhere between being a "do nothing whining slacker" and a "decrepit brain-addled geezer" I'm always amazed by the amount of time and energy spent complaining about something and the lack of effort to improve the situation.

    Using a cheap paraphrase " WHAT CAN YOU DO FOR YOUR COUNTRY?"

    We know you can complain, and there is a lot to complain about, I agree with a lot of what is posted here in this topic. This *could* be a very important election for the 18-21 year olds.

    You may not like either of the two top candidates but there are at least three viable other parties. Would your vote be wasted if you used it on Ralph Nader. NO...at least that sends a message that you are fed up with the status quo.

    Maybe more importantly, you had better look into the people behind the candidates. Find out about who might be friendly to Net Culture, and e-business and the future of the internet. Then find out who will sell it all off to big business and the wealthiest few.

    Most importantly you had better think about the next 3-4 decades of who is setting on the Supreme Court. What kind of laws will your children have to deal with, will new justices be more or less friendly to what you think and feel is right.

    So if you ask me what is wrong, I'd say NOT voting is the biggest mistake you could make.

    Get some friends together, talk about how you feel about all the canidates, talk about what you think are the important issues, talk, discuss, share and then DO SOMETHING.

    Vote, join a party, make a statement, run for office, it was only 30+ years ago that the "kids" of this country stopped a war, helped end segragation, and succeded in changing this country.

    It wasn't done by words alone...

    What are you willing to do for your country?

    Reform (2.66 / 3) (#60)
    by crizh on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 11:37:48 AM EST

    God I seem to be repeating myself a lot today.

    I'm getting more annoyed/passionate/up my own ass with each post.

    Nearly 50% of the electorate don't vote in much of the democratic world.

    God knows how many voters vote for 'lesser of two evils' because they believe not voting is morally wrong.

    TALK IS CHEAP

    We need to organise a democratic reform movement throughout the democratic world to give the protest voters something they can all unite behind.

    All the US 'reform' parties stand 'a whelk's chance in a supernova' because they plan to GOVERN not REFORM.

    Give them something they can unite behind, promise never to govern, discuss openly on this World Wide Forum what reforms need to be made in each specific constitution, get elected, fix it and step down.

    If its been fixed properly then it should run itself.

    People that are fit and qualified to govern will be elected and we can all stop moaning about the government and get on with our lives.

    I'm serious (sick to the back teeth in fact) so let me know what you think we should do first.
    Danger Newbie (please do not flame, rather educate)
    Decide for yourself (2.50 / 2) (#62)
    by MmmmJoel on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 11:46:19 AM EST

    Instead of having other members give you their rant on who to vote for, find out for yourself. www.bettervote.com gives you a survey where you can weigh the issues that matter to you and then find how the candidates voted (without the bs).

    Re: Decide for yourself ("Bettervote.com" (none / 0) (#114)
    by Dr.Dubious DDQ on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 07:53:43 PM EST

    It's rather ironic - one of the issues that's important to me is abuse of the patent system...and I notice that 'bettervote.com' claims to have a patent pending on what sounds like 'polling someone's opinion online and finding the closest political match.' (Which doesn't sound like something deserving of a patent to me, at least from the basic description).


    "Given the pace of technology, I propose we leave math to the machines and go play outside." -- Calvin
    [ Parent ]
    Have you considered... (2.83 / 6) (#65)
    by Luke Scharf on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 11:54:56 AM EST

    Have you considered running for office yourself?

    After all, this is a democracy -- if you're unhappy, fix it! The Open Government and Open Source have something in common!

    Don't run for president right away -- it's still, like, 18 years before you're old enough. In that time, though, you can work your way up to senator and get to know enough people to make it work.

    I'd gladly vote for someone who will "keep it real". :-)



    Re: Have you considered... (4.00 / 1) (#82)
    by Erbo on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 02:57:29 PM EST

    This would work...if we had a reasonable system of public campaign financing in this country. Unfortunately, the present system pretty much ensures that successful candidates for virtually any office beyond state-legislature level (and many at that level, even) are either (1) independently wealthy, or (2) beholden to the special interests that helped finance their campaigns.

    In the case of (1), anyone who's devoted that much of their time to making money is liable to be "out of touch" witht he concerns of the average citizen. (That's one of the criticisms that's been leveled against both Bush and Gore, and could be applied to many other politicians as well). In addition, the candidate may create the impression that he/she is "buying" his/her way into office (see, for example, Michael Huffington, in California...he lost, though).

    In the case of (2), a candidate elected by means of special-interest PAC money (the only kind of money that could get you enough publicity to get elected, particularly to a statewide office in large states like California) becomes morally indistinguishable from any of the existing "politicians" out there. These politicians care about one thing and one thing only: getting elected, then getting re-elected. (Term limits don't help here; all that results in is a higher turnover of experienced legislators, and the appearance of more "newbies" who are easier for special interests to sway.)

    I'm not sure what the solution is; without complete public campaign financing (none of this half-measures stuff) and strict oversight of private donations, we won't improve matters any, but the citizens of this country don't seem willing to pay for better government...so the corporations pay for it, and in return, get government that's more to their liking.

    Eric
    --
    Electric Minds - virtual community since 1996. http://www.electricminds.org
    [ Parent ]

    I have to say (3.28 / 7) (#67)
    by randyrat on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 12:03:26 PM EST

    BS. So, you don't like Gore or Bush. Well, there are other guys running too! The Green Party (Nader) is one... so is the Reform Party (who knows - they are in court), the Libertarians, the Communist Party (can't remember their new name)... you name it they are out there and most of them WILL be on the ballot.

    And don't buy into this "A vote for Nader is a vote for Bush" crap that the Democrats are spewing. For the record, I am voting for Nader. Why? Because I am sick and tired of all the crap that is going on with the two party system. It is a joke. Well, guess what? It is time to do something about it - hence, how I am voting.

    And never ever vote for "one of the big guys cause that is what everyone else is doing." That is bullcrap. There are so many people out there who only vote Democrat or Republican - they don't even consider any of the other parties. That does not make for good government or good citizenship.

    So go to the websites of the other candidates and see what they have to say. I am willing to bet you will find one you like. And vote for them!

    Re: I have to say (4.00 / 1) (#87)
    by Chris Andreasen on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 03:28:44 PM EST

    The U.S. Communist party is still called the U.S. Communist Party ... but as far as I know they don't run for president. I'm not sure whether it's because they don't believe that capitalism can be transformed from a political office or because they stick with the Marxist government == bad point of view (probably not, since they refer to themselves as a Marxist/Leninist group), or a combination of those two.
    There is another Marxist party in the U.S. named the Progressive Labor Party at http://www.plp.org/
    Their homepage is http://www.hartford-hwp.com/cp-usa/
    You may be thinking of the U.S. Socialist Party, which is at http://www.sp-usa.org/ . Their candidate is David McReynolds (http://www.votesocialist.org/).
    Other useful links:
    The Green Party -- Ralph Nader
    Libertarian Party -- Harry Browne
    Reform Party -- Whoever
    --------
    Is public worship then, a sin,
    That for devotions paid to Bacchus
    The lictors dare to run us in,
    and resolutely thump and whack us?

    [ Parent ]
    Re: I have to say (none / 0) (#89)
    by Chris Andreasen on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 03:31:27 PM EST

    Oops...
    The U.S. Communist Party is at http://www.hartford-hwp.com/cp-usa/,
    the Progressive Labor Party is at http://www.plp.org/.
    Sorry for any confusion...
    --------
    Is public worship then, a sin,
    That for devotions paid to Bacchus
    The lictors dare to run us in,
    and resolutely thump and whack us?

    [ Parent ]
    Voting is good, maybe (3.55 / 9) (#69)
    by QuantumAbyss on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 12:13:11 PM EST

    Here is my two-cents (why 2??) about this.

    If you think that the system can be reformed from the inside out, then vote. If you don't think it can be reformed, then don't vote and start something else going (think it through first tho).

    For myself, I will vote for Nader. He isn't rich, he isn't pompous, and he really works hard. I like that. I don't think he will win, or even come close to winning. But the Greens need 5% to get federal funding, so that is what I am hoping for.

    I really don't know whether I think our system can work. I do know it isn't a democracy. I also know that it is a hell of a lot better than many systems - but that isn't a reason not to act.

    For myself, I just want to think about ways to make the changes I see as being needed. It takes some time and thought, and generally isn't easy. But what else do I have to do with my life that is so important?

    Science is not the pursuit of truth, it is the quest for better approximations to a perception of reality.
    - QA
    Re: Voting is good, maybe (1.00 / 1) (#81)
    by plastik55 on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 02:56:42 PM EST

    But the Greens need 5% to get federal funding, so that is what I am hoping for.

    When did that figure change? The Libertarians qualified for Federal funding in 1996; I'm sure they had less than 5% of the vote in the previous election. Harry Browne, of course, stuck by his principles and refused all federal funding -- since when does the government have the right to give out money to whoever it thinks are viable candidates?--but I digress. This 5% is a figure that snuck in in the past few years.
    w00t!
    [ Parent ]

    Re: Voting is good, maybe (none / 0) (#142)
    by QuantumAbyss on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 03:41:12 PM EST

    I may have the figure on that wrong... I'd heard it on the news and it wasn't real specific about stuff. There also may be different funding levels or something along those lines. As far as the governments right to give money... I see it as an attempt to even the playing field. I mean, if you don't got money, you don't got a prayer. At least the way the system is setup now (which I hate, me noting having money and all). So, the thought goes that if a person gets X percentage then they have enough of a backing to not be a fluke or something. I'm trying to find the exact figure for that percentage... but it is proving VERY hard and I'm at work, so I suppose I should get back to work :(

    Science is not the pursuit of truth, it is the quest for better approximations to a perception of reality.
    - QA
    [ Parent ]
    The Death of the United States of America. (3.75 / 12) (#71)
    by Alarmist on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 01:49:51 PM EST

    "Why vote, they're both slime and it won't make a difference."

    That sentiment is one of the contributing factors to the decline of the United States of America.

    Apathy is bad news. We should be motivated enough to care about who we elect as our leaders. We should run them out of office and into jail when they break the law or do bad things, and we should applaud when they do good things. Instead, we pick names at random (or not at all) and gripe endlessly about the moronic laws that they pass. Citizens get the government that they deserve; good citizens create good government, while bad ones create bad government.

    Your vote does make a difference. Seek out the candidate who hews most closely to your personal beliefs. There are many "third parties," some of them with quite interesting ideas. Do a little research and find out for yourself. If you don't find anyone that suits you, write in a vote for someone that you do approve of, even if that person isn't an official candidate and doesn't stand a chance of winning. It's hard to fight agains the two party system, but that system is crushing this nation and it needs to come to an end.

    I'm going to vote in this election. I know that my candidate probably won't win. I know that the party I vote for will probably never win the White House. That is not the point. The point is that I voted with my conscience, and I can say honestly that I have done my civic duty. Have you done yours?

    Fight the Power.


    (4.22 / 9) (#72)
    by aphrael on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 02:01:09 PM EST

    I think one of the fundamental problems with political discourse in this country is that we expect too much out of it, and then get bitter when we don't get what we expect.

    Winston Churchill once described Democracy as "the worst form of government, except for all the others." This underlies an important truth: democracy is *hard*. It requires at least as much work to get a law passed as it does to write a new piece of software, maybe more; you essentially have to get everyone with an interest in the issue to agree; and that means, usually, compromises with which neither side will be completely happy.

    That doesn't mean there aren't things that we could do to restructure the American political system to make it more responsive to the people; but getting any of those things to happen requires years of work. Emancipation of slaves, desegregation of schools, voting rights for women --- all of these took decades to be accomplished; how then is campaign finance reform going to happen overnight?

    In part, the lack of difference between the candidates is a *good* sign --- it means there are no tremendous ideological differences that are threatening to tear the country apart. I've been in places that had these, and it's scary when you don't know that the next election won't mean that the entire world changes, again, for the second or third time this decade. Our stability is a feature, not a bug.

    As for not voting --- it's a dangerous tactic, because as the number of people voting decreases, the country becomes more vulnerable to takeover by a truly obnoxious minority. I don't fear a Hitler in this country, but if one were ever to come about, he would be directly elected by a small percentage of the population, while everyone else didn't pay attention. Voting just to vote against the worst of two evils is better than not voting, in my view; it means that I'm doing what I can to prevent the worst-case scenario, even if I can't spare the time and energy to fight for the best-case scenario.

    Also, in many states --- California is one of them, as are Oregon and Washington; I don't know which other states have this practice --- voters can vote directly on laws in the form of ballot initiatives. Not voting in a state where that is true is, IMO, insane; what could be more democratic than voters themselves choosing to change the law?



    Restrict voting (2.80 / 5) (#76)
    by phantomlord on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 02:17:28 PM EST

    Many americans today are totally ignorant of and apathetic to politics, especially at the federal level. Many of these people tend to not be taxpayers because they don't have enough education to figure out how to do rudimentary office work much less make decisions on complex political issues like foreign affairs, energy management, etc. These are the same people who believed Clinton was impeached for having sex rather than risking national security (the israeli embassey knew about lewinsky - can you imagine if a fringe nation got ahold of that news instead?), trying to coverup his lying, trying to get others to lie, etc. These are the people most prone to rampant populism and listening to soundbytes rather than actually thinking out the consequences of the candidates' promises and ideologies. These are the people most likely to think government should hand them out everything for free because they think the government magically creates wealth out of thin air - they think government owns tax money rather than the people who paid it. They think everyone else is rich which the government is raping the so called "middle class" blind...

    The point? As long as government is providing services based on the taxation of only a certain subset of citizens, those citizens should be the only ones to determine where their money should go - that is, they should be the only ones with the power to vote. If I was ignorant and didn't pay taxes, I'd vote to redistribute someone else's money into my pocket. The Constitution didn't provide a means for redistribution of wealth as it's unfair to demand one person surrender his money under threat of imprisonment to somone who's either too lazy to work or was too ignorant to actually get themselves an education when they were offered one for "free" (those who are actually physically or mentally disabled and incapable of actually holding a job are a different matter). Yes... people should be willing to help their family, friends and neighbors BUT we shouldn't expect some distant government to steal from us so we can just get by after paying their exorbitant taxes.



    Re: Restrict voting (5.00 / 1) (#80)
    by schmoko on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 02:48:03 PM EST

    I don't know what kind of bubble you're living in, but Americans aren't as stupid as you make them out to be. You sound like you're singling out the entire middle and lower classes as ignorant, uneducated, apathetic non-voters; and then you say that because of this they should be deprived of their right to vote.

    A hundred years ago, I'm sure that you would be telling me about two other groups that are too "ignorant, undeducated, and apathetic" to vote-- blacks and women. It's just as unfair to assume that an entire race or gender is too stupid for the right to vote as it is that entire economic classes are.

    If we do take the right to vote from anyone then that group loses their right to stand up for themselves against a majority, or even a vocal minority (the rich, "educated", upper class). America is everyone in it, not just those with money; that is the nature of democracy. It doesn't matter who funds what, or who has "enough education" to push papers in an office.

    [ Parent ]

    Re: Restrict voting (1.00 / 1) (#101)
    by phantomlord on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 05:11:49 PM EST

    but Americans aren't as stupid as you make them out to be

    I wish that were true. I believe many individual americans are quite smart... however, the larger the group grows, the more ignorant it seems to become.

    you're singling out the entire middle and lower classes as ignorant, uneducated, apathetic non-voters; and then you say that because of this they should be deprived of their right to vote.

    Who is more dangerous, a person who is capable of thinking about the future ramifications and responsibilities of voting for someone's platform or a person who isn't capable of looking into the future to predict results and is swayed by promises they don't understand?

    If we do take the right to vote from anyone then that group loses their right to stand up for themselves against a majority

    We do not live in a democracy. We live in a republic... we elect leaders whom we intrust the job of representing individuals... some are for the big guy, some are for the little. The problem is that there are too many ignorant people voting that don't understand reality and our system is crushed under the weight of people with little foresight but good intentions literally destroying our economy, the constitution, creating racial tension, etc. The federal government was meant to have a very minute role for a reason... it's impossible for such a distant government to be able to represent everyone under it's umbrella. It wasn't meant to provide retirement, health care, housing, education, etc -- that job is left up to the state, local communities and the individual. The only thing the federal government is allowed to do is protect our country and our interests abroad, regulate interstate affairs, control immigration and foreign trade, and maintain a common currency. Unfortunately, the ignorant people that can't see into the future and often don't keep a job to pay taxes, are in the majority. Their lack of foresight has corrupted our federal government into something it should not be by buying into populist ideas that aren't grounded in the real world. Taxes are at an all time high since WWII, their precious retirement will bankrupt in a few years either causing millions of people to lose the money they were forced to invest in it or taxes to be raised again, politicians are promising billions worth of new federal health care which will never be repealled if it becomes too burdensome. The current unconstitutional model of federal government has allowed 45% of the population to literally steal 15-39% of the money earned by working families, single parents, etc so that they can get some program for free because of their self-induced ignorance/laziness. If someone who is capable of, but isn't willing to, help themself it is ludicrous to demand that I, and everyone else who pays taxes, work an extra 12 hours a week just so I can bring home what I was supposed to when I work 40 hours a week so they can sit around playing basketball, getting high, selling drugs, etc.

    Democracy is actually a far worse form of government than a republic and our founders understood that... it allows the premise of "tyranny by the majority", the best example being a lynch mob. A federal republic with strict restrictions on what it is allowed to do, especially to someone's inalienable rights, and with a limited role of ensuring everyone is treated equally under it's jurisdiction, which means either everyone gets taxed the same or nobody get taxed, no programs are created to take from peter to give to paul, etc, is the only form of government I know of which ensures protection to all it's citizens from all the other citizens. Nobody has an inalienable right to have housing, clothing, food, retirement, health care, etc but they do have the inalienable right to persue them. It may sound cruel, but if we artificially ensure the continued existance of the weaker members of the human race by providing for all their needs, we, as a species, will grow weaker rather than stronger -- eventually becoming into what our weakest members are after the burden of supporting them destroys the strongest members. A zebra too lazy to run will be eaten by the pride of lions and if the rest of the pack of zebras all wait for that lazy one to decide to run, they'll all be eaten... enough rambling for one message

    [ Parent ]

    Re: Restrict voting (none / 0) (#116)
    by aphrael on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 08:50:31 PM EST

    First, as to the "facts": I don't know where you got the impression that the ignorant people that can't see into the future and often don't keep a job to pay taxes, are in the majority; as far as I can tell, that is supported neither by statistics nor by experience. I live in a town with an immense homeless problem, but they still constitute only a small percentage of the population; the vast majority are hard-working, even if they are poor. And i'd really like to see the source for this: The current unconstitutional model of federal government has allowed 45% of the population to literally steal 15-39% of the money .

    That said, the more interesting question in your post isn't the data, but rather the theory. What you are arguing is that allowing everyone to vote allows clueless people to control the direction of the state, the economy, etc.

    as someone who lives in a small town with a large university population, where the "progressives" distribute fliers at the university before the election and the students march off to vote, in huge numbers, the way they were told to, to the detriment of local politics, i'm not unsympathetic to the argument. The effect of people voting without thinking, because they like someone's hair style (yes, I heard someone claim to be casting a vote for US Senate based on this) or because of someone's party affiliation, is hard to overstate. I live in a state which has ballot initiatives (which allow the voters to vote on laws directly); the arguments before and against, published in the ballot pamphlet, are usually highly emotional and without a trace of rational thought.

    But I think your proposed cure is worse than the disease. It requires one sector of the population to say to another sector: you do not have the right to control your own destiny. It requires some group of people to assume parental responsibility for the rest of the population, and it relies on that group taking the interests of the other group into account when making decisions. The second half of that clause is unlikely unless you have some system in place to only select, as members of the responsible group, people with enough altruisim to consider the interests of other parties. The first half is elitist; it is no different than when Lenin insisted that the proletariat was too stupid to revolt and that the intelligentsia needed to lead the revolt for them.

    I don't *like* the way most people vote, or the lack of information in the popular press. I believe that some people are stupid enough that they shouldn't vote. But I don't have the right to tell them how to run their life, nor to cut them out from the common running of our state and society; no matter how dumb a person is, they are still part of the community. I can try to persuade, I can try to educate, but I don't have the right to take the ballot away --- and neither do you.



    [ Parent ]
    Re: Restrict voting (none / 0) (#117)
    by phantomlord on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 09:42:29 PM EST

    I live in a town with an immense homeless problem, but they still constitute only a small percentage of the population; the vast majority are hard-working, even if they are poor.

    The problem isn't so much the homeless voting as that is a VERY miniscule number... The problem is largely all of the people living off the public dole being pursuaded by their local leaders, folk heroes and pandering politicians to vote for them because they're going to give them some new benefit.

    source for this: The current unconstitutional model of federal government has allowed 45% of the population to literally steal 15-39% of the money .

    I don't have excel on my box but I'm pretty sure it originally came from the 1998 IRS report on tax income from the spring of 2000. If it's not there, I'll see if I can track down where I originally found the stat.

    It requires one sector of the population to say to another sector: you do not have the right to control your own destiny.

    Isn't that the effect of the high tax rate on the middle class because of expanding federal government programs?

    I believe that some people are stupid enough that they shouldn't vote.

    I'd prefer we give tests to people before they're allowed to step into the booths which would ensure they understand the basic premise of the Constitution, Bill of Rights, etc so that they know that the federal government Constitutionally doesn't have the power to be the growing central, populist monster it's becoming. I doubt that it would do much good though since people already whine about it taking a whopping 5 minutes of their day to get down to the poll... so, the next best thing would be to allow those to pay for the government to decide what functions that government would provide.

    [ Parent ]

    Re: Restrict voting (none / 0) (#119)
    by aphrael on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 10:08:18 PM EST

    ... The problem is largely all of the people living off the public dole being pursuaded by their local leaders, folk heroes and pandering politicians to vote for them because they're going to give them some new benefit.

    There's certainly a perception that there are large numbers of people living off the public dole, but I see no evidence for it. There are, essentially, seven classes of such people: (1) retired people living off of social security; (2) people living off of welfare payments; (3) people living off of state-funded disability programs; (4) students living off of state educational aid; (5) members of the military; (6) children who are wards of the state; (7) employees of the state.

    Classes 5 and 7 we'll ignore for the moment, as they theoretically are being paid by the state for services rendered (and class 5 is underpaid anyway). It's fairly difficult to argue that the state has any option but to support group #6 (this would entail orphans without family or children whose parents are in jail, etc). Group #4 I could see an objection to, but (a) it's temporary, (b) most students are funded through loans and not grants, and (c) a better-educated workforce is a more productive one and an asset to the economy.

    So we're really talking about groups 1-3. Theoretically Group 1 is only getting money out of the Social Security program, so they aren't being underwritten by the general fund. How many members of Groups 2-3 are there? Welfare reform has been fairly successful in reducing the number of people in group 2, so ...

    I don't have excel on my box but I'm pretty sure it originally came from the 1998 IRS report on tax income from the spring of 2000. If it's not there, I'll see if I can track down where I originally found the stat.

    I couldn't find the statistic in those files. I find it an incredibly unlikely one, because (a) the economy would have collapsed if it were true; (b) US social services are considerably less fleshed-out than those in Western Europe; I would have to assume an even greater ratio there --- which is not consistent with what I saw when in those countries. Without a citation, I have to treat the statistic as exaggeration and hype; it is utterly at odds with every experience i've had in day-to-day life, both in this country and abroad.

    Isn't that the effect of the high tax rate on the middle class because of expanding federal government programs?

    What high tax rate? I'm in the middle class; I pay ~30% in *taxes combined* on my income. This is the lowest tax rate in the industrialized world (and, while it's higher than in much of the developing world, we have a functioning system that is remarkably uncorrupt), and I get reasonably good services from the state for my money; I don't see what there is to complain about. Sure, i'd like to pay less --- but compared with people in every other country in the world, i'm well off.

    I'd prefer we give tests to people before they're allowed to step into the booths which would ensure they understand the basic premise of the Constitution

    I seriously doubt you could devise such a test which would not require that people subscribe to a particular ideology before allowing them to vote. Not to mention which, the scheme would introduce a massive balance-of-power problem: who devises the tests? Who decides what tests to use? Doesn't that increase their influence and power over the destiny of the people?

    Note that we used to have literacy tests; they were explicitly banned by constitutional amendment because it was believed that they were in practice being used to keep black people from voting.

    the next best thing would be to allow those to pay for the government to decide what functions that government would provide.

    I assume you meant "those who pay", not "those to pay". How would that work? You pay $x in income taxes and you get the right to vote that year? What about people who (like me, in 1998) aren't working this year because they are living off of money they earned in previous years? Should they be automagically denied the right to vote? If not, how do you prove who has the right and who doesn't? Such a system strikes me as being totally impractical ...



    [ Parent ]
    Re: Restrict voting (none / 0) (#124)
    by phantomlord on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 11:28:28 PM EST

    Theoretically Group 1 is only getting money out of the Social Security program, so they aren't being underwritten by the general fund.

    Only considering federal numbers for these 2 groups... SSI had a net loss of $78 billion last year and will be broke before I retire... if it's broke, either I never see a dime of the money I paid in or else income tax rates have to increase to cover my generation. Also, you have to consider medicare which accounts for $217 billion of the general fund. Then there are the proposed prescription health plans that would cost anywhere from $50-200 billion depending on which estimite of who's plan you read. There are 39 million people on medicare (retirees + disabled (group 3)) which is about 1/7 of the population. They're probably the largest chuck of non-taxpayers in elections and doesn't even consider the effect of the baby boomers in a few short years.

    Welfare reform has been fairly successful in reducing the number of people in group 2

    According to the white house numbers, 7.3 million people are on welfare. However, that number may be misleading as it may be just cash assistance and not the broader total of people receiving federal aid. Total Medicaid( from medicare page above) spending was $170.6 billion in 1998. Assistance for Needy Families spent 16.4 billion. Another $28 billion for HUD... plus others

    What high tax rate? I'm in the middle class; I pay ~30% in *taxes combined* on my income.

    I'm in the middle class, and pay about a third in just income taxes( state + federal ). Factor in sales tax, gas tax, FCC and energy taxes on utilities, property taxes, school taxes, etc and I estimate I pay close to 50% of my income in taxes.

    This is the lowest tax rate in the industrialized world (and, while it's higher than in much of the developing world, we have a functioning system that is remarkably uncorrupt), and I get reasonably good services from the state for my money; I don't see what there is to complain about.

    ...and compared to the rest of the industrial world, our economy is the most robust and our government inteferes in the fewest services. The more government interferes, the higher the tax rate and the staler the economy. I'm also in utter awe that you consider our system <q>remarkably uncorrupt</q>. According to reports on FoxNews I've seen in the last two weeks, $800 million is missing from the Dept of Education -- it was put into the wrong account and the auditors said it would be impossible to figure out where it went, $2 billion is missing from HUD, etc. As for services from government, I've gotten none other than military defense and police judicial related stuff. The other services provided by government could be handled FAR better in the private sector and through charities.

    I seriously doubt you could devise such a test which would not require that people subscribe to a particular ideology before allowing them to vote. Not to mention which, the scheme would introduce a massive balance-of-power problem: who devises the tests? Who decides what tests to use? Doesn't that increase their influence and power over the destiny of the people?

    Congress would give the authorize the FEC to devise such a test that must be ratified by at least 2/3 of the states just like an amendment. You should only need to come up with a bunch of questions which you can alternate on tests:

    1) Where does the federal government derive it's authority to rule?
          a) the Constitution
          b) the Congress
          c) the President
          d) the Supreme Court
          e) all of the above
    
    2) What section of the Constitution deals with the powers of Congress?
          a) Section I
          b) Section II
          c) Section III
          d) Bill of Rights
          e) all of the above
    
    3) What is the primary function of the Supreme Court?
         a) to determine the Constitutionality of laws passed by Congress
         b) to enforce the laws enacted by Congress
         c) to change laws written by Congress
         d) to control the progression of society
         e) all of the above
    
    4) Who has the power to declare war?
         a) the President
         b) Congress
         c) Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
         d) the States
         e) all of the above
    
    5)  What is the purpose of the Bill of Rights?
         a) to authorize Congress of what they are allowed to do
         b) to ensure people can not be harmed by the government
         c) to declare what services people have the right to receive
         d) to tell the President what extra rights he receives
         e) all of the above
    

    I'm sure you can see how it can remain quite neutral while ensuring the person has a basic foundational understanding of how our government works.

    You pay $x in income taxes and you get the right to vote that year? What about people who (like me, in 1998) aren't working this year because they are living off of money they earned in previous years? Should they be automagically denied the right to vote? If not, how do you prove who has the right and who doesn't? Such a system strikes me as being totally impractical ...

    If after filing your 1040 (or subset of) and deducting your deductions and credits, you owe (that doesn't mean you can't get a return) $1 in tax, you have the right to vote for that year. I would hope if you're living off money you've earned in previous years, you'd have it in some kind of account either earning interest, rolling over, etc... In which case when you withdraw it, you're paying taxes either through capital gains on stocks, tax on money earned on interest or dividends, etc. I'm not asking for everyone to shoulder the entire burden of the cost of the government services they receive, merely to contribute to the income column of the ledger so they would hopefully understand that government gets the money for services from taxpayers and not out of ether.

    [ Parent ]

    Re: Restrict voting (none / 0) (#137)
    by aphrael on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 02:33:42 PM EST

    SSI had a net loss of $78 billion last year and will be broke before I retire

    You've got me there --- I have no expectation that SSI will mean anything when I retire, and I expect that the Congress will use the special tax status of 401K programs to raid 401K funds, as well. We bought ourselves a nice little pyramid scheme there, and it's politically untouchable; the price we pay for that will be high.

    I'm also in utter awe that you consider our system remarkably uncorrupt.

    Have you ever been to a place where you have to bribe people to get anything done? I'm talking about places like Portugal, where you basically have to take the guy at the desk out to coffee/beer to get anything done, or most of the non-industrialized world, where the only way you can do anything is through well-placed bribery. For the most part, our system works on rules, and bribes to go around the rules are relatively rare; a little experience outside the US and Canada makes that abundantly clear.

    I would hope if you're living off money you've earned in previous years, you'd have it in some kind of account either earning interest, rolling over, etc...

    And if I don't? If i'm the type of paranoid who keeps my money in a mattress and I don't work for a year, I can't vote? Seems awfully unfair to me ...



    [ Parent ]
    Re: Restrict voting (none / 0) (#138)
    by phantomlord on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 02:44:37 PM EST

    And if I don't? If i'm the type of paranoid who keeps my money in a mattress and I don't work for a year, I can't vote? Seems awfully unfair to me ...

    First you have to ask if your house is more secure from a break in than a bank... Second, even if you didn't want to risk loss of principal, you could buy CDs, government bonds, simply put up to $100k into a savings account (FDIC insured), etc. You'd have to be an idiot to not let your secured money earn more money for you... If you have enough money stuffed under your mattress and you refused to earn at least interest off it, I'd wonder if you had enough sense to understand voting...

    [ Parent ]

    Re: Restrict voting (none / 0) (#139)
    by aphrael on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 02:57:52 PM EST

    If you have enough money stuffed under your mattress and you refused to earn at least interest off it, I'd wonder if you had enough sense to understand voting...

    This strikes me as coming very close to meaning: "people who don't think the way I do shouldn't be allowed to vote".



    [ Parent ]
    Re: Restrict voting (none / 0) (#141)
    by phantomlord on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 03:21:06 PM EST

    "people who don't think the way I do shouldn't be allowed to vote".

    Not at all... People who are so foolish as to not secure their money and not want to make money of that money are questionably not wise enough to make a decision as important as who will control our government in the future. It's got nothing to do with their ideology and everything to do with their common sense.

    [ Parent ]

    Re: Restrict voting (none / 0) (#143)
    by aphrael on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 04:25:58 PM EST

    It's got nothing to do with their ideology and everything to do with their common sense.

    You are aware that certain religions prohibit the collecting of interest on money, yes?



    [ Parent ]
    Re: Restrict voting (none / 0) (#149)
    by phantomlord on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 10:59:26 PM EST

    If someone belongs to such a religion, I don't see why they can't file for an exemption( maybe take the aforementioned quiz to ensure people aren't simply using religion as an excuse of why they don't pay taxes so they can vote ).

    [ Parent ]
    Re: Restrict voting (none / 0) (#106)
    by HypoLuxa on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 06:15:11 PM EST

    Do you realize that you are fascist?

    I mean, I don't want to bust out and go after someone my first day out, but I think this is important to address. You are suggesting that since you have more money, therefore pay more taxes, that you are some how more capable of making decisions about how the country should be run? I have a pretty strong anti-statist streak in me, and I tend to agree that the government has far surpassed it's design, but you have gone way too far and gotten way too disconnected.

    You have swallowed the social conservative fantasy that our country is made up of hard working honest citizens (us) and dope smoking, drug dealing welfare cheats (them). You are the first person I have ever heard of who looked at the American political system and seen that the poor controlled it to attack the wealthy. That's simply not the case. The poot don't control anything, and they have the worst voter turnout percentages of any demographic. It's hard to argue that the people with the most control of our current government aren't also the wealthiest voters.

    I am also a little appalled by the fact that you called upon the Constitution to back up your arguments, while you are arguing in fact that "All men are NOT created equal." If you want to bring the Constitution in at your back, you have to read and understand the entire document, not just the parts that assist your argument. The Constitution clearly spells out that we are not a monarchy, not a fascist state, and that everyone shall be given the right to vote. To propose that those with more money than others are somehow more entitled to equality is an insult.

    Ok, I've calmed a little :) I didn't mean my above rant as a personal attack, and I hope it isn't seen that way. I just really got my dander up over that one.

    --
    I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
    - Leonard Cohen
    [ Parent ]
    Re: Restrict voting (none / 0) (#110)
    by phantomlord on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 07:15:24 PM EST

    You are suggesting that since you have more money, therefore pay more taxes, that you are some how more capable of making decisions about how the country should be run?

    It has nothing to do with money... it has to do with who pays for the functions of government. I'm not suggestting for every dollar you earn, you get a vote. If the federal government would do only what it Constitutionally allowed to do, we wouldn't have a need to protect one group of voters from another. Instead, because the federal government has abused it's power and overstepped it's bounds, we need a correction to offset it to get it back to its original goal... Once it gets put back into check, let the non-taxpayers vote again and ensure that the federal government remains solely in it's Constitutionally authorized state.

    You are the first person I have ever heard of who looked at the American political system and seen that the poor controlled it to attack the wealthy.

    The poor do this by electing those extremely rich (northeast and hollywood) liberals and the poorer pseudo-socialists because of their rampant populism and grandeous promises to fight "the man" by abusing the purpose of the federal government... if that's what they're being elected to do, largely by that ignorant non-taxpaying group which is easy to sway by such methods, don't be surprised when everything you do is monitored by the government to ensure you don't offend anyone or commit any thought^Whate crimes, when they take enough of your money for your own retirement that you can't afford to retire under your terms, when your taxes jump up to 80% so everyone can have a piece of your hard work without doing it themselves, remove your ability to defend yourself from the government, etc. For example: Carnivore, universal health care, social security, gun control, etc.

    hey have the worst voter turnout percentages of any demographic.

    unless they're bussed in and offered donuts like in NYC in 1996... or people like Jesse Jackson tells his black followers to "stay outta the bushes."

    It's hard to argue that the people with the most control of our current government aren't also the wealthiest voters.

    While the rich may be the the people sitting in office, money means nothing if you don't get your constituency out there to vote for you again... which means they have to pander to get re-elected... which mean the ignorant control who's in office.

    while you are arguing in fact that "All men are NOT created equal."

    If ALL men ARE created equal, why don't ALL men get treated the exact same way? Why are some people exempt from paying taxes while others pay almost 40% in just federal income taxes? Why are some groups protected by opposing speech (the "trinity" of racist, homophobe, sexist)? Why is it that in Massachussets, the state sponsered talk about anal fisting and other subjects on school grounds, yet the boyscouts, a private group, are getting kicked out of schools for not wanting gay leaders? How about affirmative action which allows a rich black man to have a higher preference in hiring than a poorer white man who worked his way up to earn a position? I could give you a thousand examples of how the current government and populist ideology creates greater imbalances separating how people are treated unequally.

    To propose that those with more money than others are somehow more entitled to equality is an insult.

    To propose that those who don't pay for government programs should dictate how much money is stripped away from those who do isn't just an insult, it's government sanctioned robbery.

    [ Parent ]

    Re: Restrict voting (none / 0) (#113)
    by aphrael on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 07:32:31 PM EST

    Interesting rant. There's a lot to respond to there, but this is the most interesting: As long as government is providing services based on the taxation of only a certain subset of citizens, those citizens should be the only ones to determine where their money should go

    .

    In a state which has a sales tax, everyone pays taxes. In a state with income tax, everyone with more than a minimum income pays income taxes. In a state with real property taxes, everyone either pays taxes directly (on their property) or indirectly (through increased rent). So the number of people you're talking about who don't pay taxes at all is small

    But there's a more important issue --- we want a stable society, right? Disenfranchising people, giving them no voice in the future of the society at all, is hardly a good way to bring about stability; indeed, if I were poor, and couldn't do anything to bring about social change when I felt it was necessary, I'd be real easy to recruit into a revolutionary movement. There's a pretty strong argument that universal male suffrage, in the United States, was a major contributing factor to the weakness of communism here.



    [ Parent ]
    Re: Restrict voting (none / 0) (#115)
    by phantomlord on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 08:00:21 PM EST

    So the number of people you're talking about who don't pay taxes at all is small

    I was referring to income tax:

    1999 tax numbers taken from my 1040 booklet:

    Income:
    Income taxes paid by individuals: $829 billion
    Income taxes paid by corporations: $189 billion
    Federal Excise and sales taxes: $58 billion
    Fed Deposits: $75 billion
    Social Security taxes: $572 billion

    Sales taxes aren't likely to go up at the federal level since it takes from everyone regardless of income amount... Everyone has a certain threshold of necessary goods to buy so this would hurt the poor more than the wealthy. No politician who wants to keep his job would vote to raise sales tax at the fedreral level... which means that if more programs are demanded, income taxes have to rise. The people who pay income taxes are the people burdened by every new government program. So, with non-taxpaying people electing people who will create new, expensive programs for them, the people who get the shaft are the working class.

    Disenfranchising people, giving them no voice in the future of the society at all, is hardly a good way to bring about stability

    You mean like stealing the money the middle class earned through hard work so that they can give it to bureaucrats and lazy people and are stuck living week to week when they should be thriving?

    Here's the breakdown on spending for 1999:

    Social Security payouts: $650 billion
    Social Security net LOSS: $78 billion
    
    Payouts:
    1. Social Security, Medicare, and other retirement:
            $650 billion
    2. National Defense:
            $248 billion to equip, modernize, pay armed forces
            and military efforts    
            $33 billion to veteran benefits and services
            $16 billion to internation activities
            ----
            $297 billion
            $323 billion claimed
            $26 billion in "black book" projects
    3. Net interest:
            $243 billion on public debt of roughly $5 trillion
    4. Physical, human and community development    
            $144 billion
    5. Social Programs:
            $198 billion to fund Medicaid, food stamps, temporary
                    assistance, supplimental income and others
            $99 billion to health research, public health programs,
                    unemployment, HUD and social services
            ----
            $303 billion total
    6. Law enforcement and general government
            $36 billion
    7. Surplus to pay down debt
            $69 billion on debts of roughly $5 trillion
    
    Total Gross Revenue: $1,722 billion
    Total Gross Spending: $1,683 billion
    Difference: +$69 billion
            
    Outlays necessary for _federal_ government:
    Military:       $323 billion
    Law:            $ 36 billion
                       ----
                      $359 billion or 21.7% of the budget
                    
    1997 figure:    $325 billion + $33 billion = $358 billion
                            or a .28% decrease
    
    Raw Socialism:
    SSI:            $650 billion
    Social pgrms:   $303 billion
                    ----
                    $953 billion or 57.7% of the budget
    
    1997 figure:    $632 billion + 294 billion = $926 billion
                            or a 2.8% increase
    
    Perks and Pork:
    PHCD:           $144 billion or 8.7% of the budget
    
    1997 figure     $123 billion or a 14.58% increase
    
    Debt related:
    Interest:       $243 billion
    Principal:      $ 69 billion
                    ----
                    $312 billion or 18.9% of the budget
    
    1997 figure     $244 billion or a .41% decrease
                            plus borrowed $22 billion
    
    % Change in required programs:          -0.28%
    % Change in unecessary programs:        +17.38%
    
    Outlay necessary for federal government: $359 billion
    Cost for indivuduals: $170 billion
    Estimated cost per capita: $566
    



    [ Parent ]

    Re: Restrict voting (none / 0) (#121)
    by aphrael on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 10:15:08 PM EST

    Income taxes paid by individuals: $829 billion

    Divided by ~250 million people living in the country, that's ~10 / person / day; an amazingly good price to live in this country, don't you think? (OK, yeah, the average is not a good representation of who actually pays how much. But it's still not that unlikely; I think in fewer than half the years of my working life have I paid more than that in taxes).

    Raw Socialism:
    SSI:            $650 billion
    Social pgrms:   $303 billion
                    ----
                    $953 billion or 57.7% of the budget
    

    "Social programs" != "Socialism". Social Democracy yes, but they're different concepts, with different historical meanings, and developed down different paths.



    [ Parent ]
    Re: Restrict voting (none / 0) (#125)
    by phantomlord on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 11:44:46 PM EST

    $829 billion Divided by ~250 million people living in the country, that's ~10 / person / day;

    $1,683 billion (total expenditures) - $189b (corporate taxes) = $1494 billion in individual taxation / 250 million = $5976 per person / 365 days = $16 per day.

    Doesn't seem like much... until you consider that a new pickup cost me $10 a day ($13200+700 in sales taxes + interest). Or that $480 a month is $30 short of my mortgage (including school + property taxes). That $16 a day is the difference between someone owning their own home rather than relying on the government... that $16 a day is the difference between sending your kid to private school rather than public school... that $6000 a year would be a nice nest egg for someone to put away for their retirement. The question is, who knows how to spend your money better, the people in DC or you? Who knows best with respect to what your individual needs are, the feds or you? Who should determine what type of education your kid gets, the feds or you? Who should determine if you can get ahead on your bills rather than running paycheck to paycheck? Reducing the federal government to it's Constitutional role gives you a cost of $1.55 a day... less than a tenth of what they're currently squeezing you for and allowing you to put YOUR money where YOU NEED it.

    [ Parent ]

    Re: Restrict voting (none / 0) (#136)
    by aphrael on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 02:27:04 PM EST

    Or that $480 a month is $30 short of my mortgage (including school + property taxes).

    Wow --- where I live, the mortgage on a recently purchased 3-bedroom house would be ~3000/month, which is one of the reasons why I have a hard time believing this: That $16 a day is the difference between someone owning their own home rather than relying on the government. In this part of the country, that simply isn't true --- and it contains a bizarre assumption that anyone who doesn't own their own home is relying on the government.

    Reducing the federal government to it's Constitutional role gives you a cost of $1.55 a day

    I suspect that if the federal government's role in society were reduced, the state governments would step in and provide the same services, and impose the same level of taxation; it's not like the needs that the federal government is fullfilling will go away. I think you're conflating two issues, in fact: (1) what is the appropriate level of *government* involvement in the economy and of taxation; (2) should that involvement be federal or state? Don't get me wrong, there are things I can see no reason for the federal government to be doing --- but at the same time, for the economy to function, there need to be nationwide standards, as well.



    [ Parent ]
    Re: Restrict voting (2.00 / 2) (#140)
    by phantomlord on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 03:17:19 PM EST

    Take here in NY... We give $15 billion more to the federal government than we get back. Not only could we reclaim that money, we could also cut out an entire level of bureaucracy to save a ton of money. Those high level administrators have pretty exorbinant salaries and little demand to really perform. $115 billion extra in the last 10 years has been spent by the feds on education and standardized test scores haven't had a statistically measurable change. Clinton demanded money for 100,000 new teachers even though some schools don't need teachers - they need books, computers or a building expansion. The federal government is too distant to really be able to handle such minute local issues and make gross overgeneralizations about cures.

    (1) what is the appropriate level of *government* involvement in the economy and of taxation;

    Government should have very little involvement in the economy... let the market decide unless someone is abusing the market (ie, anti-trust laws). Artificial manipulation can cause the economy to get out of whack VERY fast. As for taxation, the intent in the Constitution was to pay for a *limited* federal government through tariffs and state contributions rather than a direct taxation of the people. Income tax punish people for succeeding, especially with a progressive tax like we have today. The key, of course, is to have the federal government be as small as possible so that people can govern themselves locally where their voices can be heard.

    (2) should that involvement be federal or state?

    The federal government can:

    Section 8. The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

    To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

    To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;

    To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;

    To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;

    To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;

    To establish post offices and post roads;

    To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

    To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;

    To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;

    To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;

    To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;

    To provide and maintain a navy;

    To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;

    To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

    To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings;--And

    To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.

    Backed up by:

    Amendment X The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

    for the economy to function, there need to be nationwide standards

    Those standards are: a uniform currency, protection from market abuse and fraud, and an oversight of securities and banking.



    [ Parent ]
    Your Constitution quotes screwed up formatting!!!! (none / 0) (#144)
    by meldroc on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 06:23:44 PM EST

    When you blockquoted the segment of the
    Constitution using the <PRE> tags, my browser
    renders this entire page with a ridiculously wide
    horizontal width, forcing me to scroll side-to-side
    to read the text.

    I know it's important to have some formatting
    features for users to be able to format their posts,
    but I really would prefer that formatting be done
    without disrupting the format of the rest of the page.

    Because I used <BR> tags liberally, this post
    is probably the only one readable on this page.

    Meldroc

    [ Parent ]

    Re: Your Constitution quotes screwed up formatting (none / 0) (#150)
    by phantomlord on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 11:00:27 PM EST

    Sorry about that... should have previewed before I posted...

    [ Parent ]
    Fusion (cross-nomination) is one solution (3.50 / 6) (#77)
    by Fantod5 on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 02:22:48 PM EST

    The New Party (NewParty.org) advocates a change to voting procedures -- so-called "fusion" -- that would allow multiple parties to nominate the same candidate, with each such nomination getting its own line on ballot. See http://www.newparty.org/fusion_info.html. One advantage of this is that a small third party can nominate a candidate that has a chance of winning because that candidate is also nominated by other parties, perhaps by one of the big two. A voter can then vote for that candidate using the ballot line for the small party with the result that it is clearer why they voted for that candidate. Of course, the big two parties don't like this possible dilution of their power, so they have resisted fusion at every step. The issue went to the US Supreme Court a few years back, and lost. The dissenting opinion by Justice Stevens was fascinating to read.

    Re: Fusion (cross-nomination) is one solution (none / 0) (#111)
    by aphrael on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 07:28:09 PM EST

    New York has a fusion system, as do several other places; there doesn't seem to be much of a legal problem with having them (although states certainly aren't *required* to do so).

    One of the more interesting implementations of this sort of thing in the past was cross-filing --- it used to be that you could run simultaneously in the primary of multiple different parties. (This would probably not hold up in court today).

    California had a blanket primary for a couple of years, but the Supreme Court invalidated it earlier this year.



    [ Parent ]
    People don't know what they're voting for... (3.50 / 6) (#79)
    by DJBongHit on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 02:24:21 PM EST

    If you ask people these days why they're not going to vote for one of the other candidates, they'll say "Because they have no chance of winning." Since when is that the reason that people vote? The idea is to vote for the person that best represents your views and ideals, not for who you think is going to win. If more people took this approach, candidates like Ralph Nader (and my personal favorite, Harry Browne) would have more of a chance of winning, and things would be different in this country.

    ~DJBongHit

    --
    GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

    Why vote third party? (4.00 / 7) (#86)
    by mark.wallace on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 03:26:05 PM EST

    I wish I could cite my sources, but they're gone in the forgotten mists of the past. Thus, what follows, although stated as fact, is in reality, merely my opinion, and worth what you paid for it. The purpose of a third party candidate in American today is not to be elected. (Sidenote: although it is possible: at one point the Republican party was a "third party"). The purpose of third parties is to air issues. The major political parties will move towards the demographic bulges. They're whores, pandering to voters. Nothing can be done about that, and frankly nothing should be done. Third parties provide an opportunity to inform the centrist parties of what they're missing. I'm going to vote Libertarian this year, not because I think there is a chance that Harry Browne can be elected. (heck, I'm not even sure I've got my candidate's name right!), but because I believe that the two major parties are quick to consider federal solutions. [Sidenote: The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court wrote to congress last year to ask them to stop passing laws in violation of the 10th amendment of the constitution, because they were creating too much work for the courts. Kind of mind boggling.] Sorry, I digressed. The point is that as voters defect from the centrist parties to third parties, the party bosses will pay attention to the statistics. The center parties are always looking for a block of dissatisfied voters to whom to go pander. This year the three biggest third parties are Nader - anti corporatism Buchanan - Reactionary conservatism Libertarian - anti-statist. Gore has already started to move his campaign towards populism to counter Nader. Whichever party loses this year, next year they will pitch a platform which is designed to appeal to the third party voters who defected. By voting Libertarian, I send a message to the Republican party; I'm saying that I'll return when the Republican party pays more attention to states rights than to the Religious right. In the american system, third parties serve as a referendum on the centrist parties. Voting for third party candidates is not an attempt to get them elected, but an attempt to tell the centrist parties _WHY_ you're dissatisfied. Like I said, my opinion and worth what you paid for it.

    Vote or Die (2.75 / 4) (#90)
    by b!X on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 03:33:53 PM EST

    See this for an answer to "why bother voting".



    There's some things you just don't get... (2.00 / 10) (#91)
    by Colin Winters on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 03:38:20 PM EST

    Look, politicians need to promise things to get elected. Who's going to vote for someone who says "I promise to submit my bills to subcommittees, but if they're denied, oh well!" I have personal experience with politicians (my dad is a state rep) and I can actually say I know how they work. Politicians aren't "bought" by corporations. The major factor in their voting is from party pressure-it's a "you scratch our back, we scratch yours" system. For instance, a politican will have to vote yes on a bill he doesn't particularly like in order to make sure that the rest of the politicians vote on his bills. It's just the way it is, so don't go whining about people "breaking promises." Do you know how hard it is to pass a bill when you're in the minority? A lot of votes are on straight party lines, and if you're a minority, your bills just don't get passed. On another note, what's wrong with either of the candidates? Everyone keeps blabbing about Nader, even though he has no chance. The candidates aren't that similar-they have different views on abortion, the role of government in our lives, etc. I'm going to vote Republican because I want lower taxes. I know people who are going to vote Democrat because they want to see the government help us. A lot of you people here just hate the government for no apparent reason, and decide that the whole system is corrupt because they aren't pandering to your own interests. Colin Winters

    Re: There's some things you just don't get... (4.00 / 4) (#104)
    by Scriven on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 05:23:21 PM EST

    You apparently didn't read many of the articles, and you've obviously been indoctrinated by the "2 party system" chant for far too long.

    Whether or Not Nader has a chance has to do with the voters. As has been said a sagan of times in this long series of discussions and opinions, the "2 party system" is a myth, there are currently (someone please correct me if I'm counting wrong) 4 active parties; Democrat, Republican, Green and Libertarian. So, if enough people vote their hearts, and not what they're told, then perhaps Nader, or Brown, will have a chance. The only reason the "don't have a chance" is because every media outlet in the world is telling the Americans that, and the Americans are buying it.

    Also, a lot of people hate the government, as you said, for VERY apparent reasons, like the DMCA, like stupid Encryption laws, like states that are forcing filtering software on their libraries. Should I go on?

    They're "deciding" that the whole system is corrupt because the elected officials are doing what Ford, and GE, and AOLTIMEWARNER, and ABCDISNEY are telling them to do, not what the citizens who elected them are telling them to do. Or, they're just toeing the party line, and letting these companies, and other politicians, chip away at your civil rights and freedoms.

    Your future is being bought and sold, via your wonderful elected officials, by the big companies of your country, and of the world. Remember that when you cast your ballot.


    --
    This is my .sig. It isn't very big. (an oldie, but a goodie)
    [ Parent ]
    Re: There's some things you just don't get... (5.00 / 1) (#120)
    by SbooX on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 10:12:35 PM EST

    There are actually many other "third-parties" out there, they simply don't have even the meager resources of the Green's or Libertarian's. Also, you left out the Reform party, one of the "big" little parties. As far as other parties go i'll name off a few: Natural Law, Constitution, at least 2 different Socialist parties (that I know of), a Communist party, the Southern Party, and the Right to Life party, along with dozens of other smaller parties dedicated primarily to just one issue.

    As for corporations controlling things, you are absolutly right. Hope youre voting for Nader!

    Also, the original poster said that he understands politics because his dad is a state senator. So what? My mom works in a law firm and I dont have the slightest idea what goes on there. The fact that your father does something does not give you any credibility in my eyes.

    ---

    god is silly. MGL 272:36
    [ Parent ]

    Re: There's some things you just don't get... (none / 0) (#155)
    by Commienst on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 02:13:43 AM EST

    Politicans make promises they know that they can not keep on purpose to drudge up as many votes as possible.

    "I have personal experience with politicians (my dad is a state rep) and I can actually say I know how they work. Politicians aren't "bought" by corporations. The major factor in their voting is from party pressure-it's a "you scratch our back, we scratch yours" system. "

    Politicans are "bought" by corporations and it happens all the time. I can see why your father would not want to clue you in on that part of the political process. The big corporations hire lobbyists to lobby the legislators to pass laws that serve the company's best interest. These lobbyists often whine and dine the politicans and give them gifts and cash. Voting for bills because your party tells you is a horrible practice. You should vote on new bills and laws based on their merit.



    [ Parent ]

    Local Elections (4.11 / 9) (#94)
    by trust_no_one on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 04:16:18 PM EST

    I can understand the (mistaken I believe) feeling that your one vote cannot and will not make a difference in a sea of 60,000,000 votes for President. And this is the race that gets all of the publicity.

    But there are many local races where your vote counts for much more. Local elections can be decided by less than 100 votes. In this country it is often local government which has the biggest impact on our daily lives. State and local governments play a much larger role in education, crime prevention, transportation, and preservation of open space than the Federal Government.

    Local races get far less coverage than national races, because most of our information comes from the national media. But you have a much better chance of interacting with local candidates and actually getting to know their positions directly.

    As the bumper stickers say, Think Globally, Act Locally.
    I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused

    Re: Local Elections (4.00 / 1) (#98)
    by aphrael on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 04:58:12 PM EST

    Local races get far less coverage than national races, because most of our information comes from the national media. But you have a much better chance of interacting with local candidates and actually getting to know their positions directly.

    Which of course means it's more *work* to find out about them --- i spend about a night a week during the two months before an election going to local election forums; it's exhausting and time consuming. :(

    What I really don't understand is why my *local* newspapers don't cover the local elections ...



    [ Parent ]
    Re: Local Elections (none / 0) (#118)
    by SbooX on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 09:54:57 PM EST

    Unfortuntly in many local elections the choices voters are given are far worse then in Presidential elections. I'll try to give an example that some of you may be familiar with.

    I live in Massachusetts where Ted Kennedy's seat in the U.S. Senate is up for election. There are only three canidates running for that office. Ted Kennedy is running for reelection w/ the Democrats, Jack E. Robinson is sort of running with the Republicans and then there is a Libertarian canidate (whose name escapes me at the moment.)

    I am unable to in good conscience support any of the canidates. I find it difficult to support any Libertarian given their total disregard for reality, and Robinson's politics I do not agree with (and he has a host of personal problems). This leaves me with Ted Kennedy, a man who I absolutly despise. Although I agree with most of his policies, I find him to be a terrible human being. Chappaquita (sp?) alone should have landed him in jail. This is a great message to be sending our kids: "Be powerful and rich and you can get away with even murder!" While we're on the subject of kids, my sister took a class trip to Washington, DC a few years back. Part of the trip was a visit to Kennedy's office. When Teddy walked in, the kids, only in Middle School at the time, could smell alcohol on him!

    So what am I supposed to do? I will more then likely abstain from voting in the Senate race. As for the Presidential elections, Nader is my man all the way!

    ---

    god is silly. MGL 272:36
    [ Parent ]

    War (3.33 / 9) (#99)
    by Daemosthenes on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 05:07:21 PM EST

    My response to you consists of a single word: War.

    Now, don't get me wrong. I don't support the slaughter and destruction that goes along with war. However, just for a minute, think about it.

    The United States has not been on the wrong end of a war since 1812. We have not been invaded, we have not truly had to fight for our country, our homes, and our very lives for nearly 200 years. (The civil war is excluded from this, as it was not a unified attack on the US, but rather an internal conflict). In viewing the results of World War II, we see that the democracies who had the greatest conflict now have some of the greatest nationalistic spirit. Take France for example. The French are (for the most part) indomitably patriotic, partially due to the fact that they fought for their home and country, lost, and were able to see the absence of what they had taken for granted so long. England, while not as radically patriotic as the French, is another fiercely proud country. The Blitzkrieg helped to unite the nation. Even America was affected by the war, even though our home was not threatened (w/ the exception of Pearl Harbor); The "Greatest Generation", the baby boom, and the surge in patriotism were a result of the war.

    In short, we only really take our democracy seriously after seeing or knowing how radically different its absence would be. The way through which this is brought about is war.

    I do admit that this is not the best account ever written, so I expect that there will be a few loopholes in my supports. Please feel free to correct me, flame me (hopefully not), or just reply.

    -
    Re: War (none / 0) (#108)
    by TOTKChief on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 06:44:54 PM EST

    The United States has not been on the wrong end of a war since 1812. We have not been invaded, we have not truly had to fight for our country, our homes, and our very lives for nearly 200 years.

    Have we forgotten Vietnam so quickly? True, it was not on our soil, but it was (in the minds of the politicians, which is all that matters in war) a war for the ideals that America holds dear. We obviously lost that one, and Vietnam remains a closed country only now opening up.

    Vietnam was a small part of the Cold War, which America no doubt won, but Vietnam was more than a battle in a war -- it noted America's political inability at the time to project power past our borders. That's what superpowers do -- push other people around.


    -- <>< Geof F. Morris, Chief Editor, TOTK.com Sports
    [ Parent ]
    Why vote? Here's why. (4.60 / 5) (#107)
    by TOTKChief on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 06:31:47 PM EST

    The original poster discussed the interesting turn that happens when fewer people vote in each succeeding election. As I live in a state that has an even lower-than-national-average turnout, Alabama, I can tell you what happens: special interests dominate the playing field.

    You may have heard about Judge Roy Moore, the guy from NE Alabama that posted the Ten Commandments in his courtroom and led a prayer at the opening of each judicial session. Not going on a rant on religion in the courtroom (I'm a member of a mainstream Christian denomination), Moore was roundly reviled for his actions, as well he should be.

    Fast forward a few years; Moore runs for the State Supreme Court. Moore runs on being "The Ten Commandments Judge". Sure, it's notoriety -- he's notorious. =) Most folks were pretty apathetic about the candidate list -- myself included! -- and didn't vote. Moore's supporters, though, turned out in droves, wanting to "prove him right" by voting him into office. He won, overwhelmingly, despite a much more experienced candidate being on the same ballot.

    If you don't vote, your voice won't get heard. If you don't vote, that means that my vote carries more weight than it did previously. You might choose one or the other as the lesser of the two evils. I might choose another. Were we to live near each other, and we both voted, we could either combine our votes or split them.

    But if you fail to vote, mine stands strong by itself. If we agree, we have lost nothing, really; if we disagree, you have let me win.

    I have a rule -- don't vote, don't bitch. I didn't get the opportunity to vote in the last major election in Alabama because I switched my residency at just the wrong time. I've wanted to bitch about the results, but I won't. But I'll have the right to bitch this year . . . 'cause I'm votin'.


    -- <>< Geof F. Morris, Chief Editor, TOTK.com Sports
    Why *not* bother voting? (3.66 / 3) (#122)
    by Captain Derivative on Tue Sep 19, 2000 at 10:16:02 PM EST

    (Disclaimer: I'm borrowing this line of reasoning from Pascal's Wager, for those of you who know what that is)

    Why bother voting? Because you can't possible be any worse off than if you didn't. Here's why.

    You have two options: either you vote, or you don't vote. There are also two possibilities: either you vote matters and makes a difference, or it doesn't matter and it's completely irrelevant. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that we really have no idea which of the two possibilities is real -- we don't know if it really counts or not.

    So, we have two options, and the result of each option will depend on whether the vote counts or not. The following chart illustrates the four possible outcomes:

                Vote Matters    | Vote Doesn't Matter
    ----------+-----------------+--------------------
    You vote  | Your vote makes | Your vote does
              | a difference!   | nothing.
    ----------+-----------------+--------------------
    You don't | You lost out on | You don't lose
    vote      | making your op- | anything.
              | inion count!    |
    

    If you vote, and your vote matters, that's terrific! You have some say in the future of our government. If it doesn't matter, then, well, you haven't really lost anything except for the few minutes you spent registering to vote beforehand, and going to the polls on election day.

    If you don't vote, and your vote doesn't matter, you don't lose out on anything. But if it does matter, then you missed a change to help select our next government leaders.

    So, in other words, if you vote, the outcome will always be at least as good as if you hadn't voted. So, if you don't mind wagering a few minutes to vote, you don't risk losing anything, and you actually stand to gain. But if you don't vote, you stand to lose the power you may have had.

    So, the question isn't "why bother voting", but rather, "why not bother voting"? Voting can't be any worse than not voting, unless you consider the little bit of time you give up to vote worth more than the change to decide who runs our country.


    --
    Hey! Why aren't you all dead yet?! Oh, that's right, it's only Tuesday. -- Zorak


    The 'no confidence' vote. (3.33 / 3) (#128)
    by mindstrm on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 12:36:54 AM EST

    I am not American, I'm Canadian, but it's exactly the same up here.

    The person who posted a variation of Pascal's wager showing why the real question is 'why NOT vote?', is right, on pure logic.

    The problem is that 'not voting' is also 'not counted'. If you don't vote, nobody cares. The system is not designed to take the fact that you chose not to vote into account. If only 1% of the population votes, legally, I think we can still have an election. There is no requirement that the masses must agree.
    I also don't feel that mandatory voting is the answer.

    The solution lies in two ways, perhaps both are needed.

    1) A certain majority of the voting public must vote for someone to bring them to power. If people are to be forced to vote, they must be able to make choices from a wide variety of people.
    2) There needs to be an extra slot on the ballot for 'non confidence'. Some way to voice the opinion that you do not wish to have ANY of the choices on the ballot running the country. VERY important. You need to be able to vote against people.


    As for Gov. Ventura, as some mentioned.. have a good look at what he does. I suspect he is genuine.
    After all, the only requirements to be elected in the US, if I'm not mistake, are 'US Citizen, over 25'

    not 'lawyer, rich, etc..'



    What's wrong? Our focus on winning... (2.00 / 3) (#131)
    by Cubic_Spline on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 01:58:05 AM EST

    First off, to Commienst, I completely understand your frustrations and objections to the way the system works. I don't think there's anyone in this community that is shocked by your opinions or feel that you're totally off-base with your observations. I have, in fact, shared the same feelings until very recently.

    The way that I look at it, our society is totally obsessed with winning whether it be in a competition we're directly involved in or one in which we choose a "favorite" and hope that they win. Tell me if that surprises you... Now if you look at elections in that way, you can easily see how people will forgo the opportunity to vote when they feel that the person they would want to win won't likely prevail. Why go through the process of registering and going to the polls when the likelihood of reward (winning) is not certain?

    What if you were, instead, to look at voting as a way to voice your opinion about what you feel are important issues. See it as a way of sharing your views with the rest of the community/nation. Do the research and find the candidate that most closely fits your ideals. Don't compromise your moral/ethical/sensical views just because you question your voice's effectiveness.

    I feel that if we as a society were to look at elections and voting in this way that we would see the importance our vote has and participation would increase. And, clearly, the more people that make their voices heard the better the chance that we'll elect the best candidate.

    Nader & Truman (1.50 / 2) (#132)
    by whitefox on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 02:11:32 AM EST

    First, I dislike both Bush (big oil/corporations) & Gore (Mr. Internet & Mrs. Censor). Now if Cheney & Lieberman were the presidential candidates for their respective parties, I might think differently. But they aren't. And so, my vote goes to Nader because I believe in many of the same ideals he does and I want to register a PROTEST vote against the current, corrupt party system we have.

    Second, if I had to rank the top presidents of the 20th century, it would be 1) Truman, 2) Wilson, and 3) FDR.

    Now correct me if I'm wrong but when Harry Truman left office, he and his wife packed their belongings and went back home to Missouri, where they lived a semi-comfortable but now here near wealthy life.

    BTW, what does this have to do with technology?

    Truman, Wilson, FDR (none / 0) (#135)
    by guppie on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 04:01:23 AM EST

    I admit that I'm not that into the American presidents (I'm not an American), but I really can't understand your ranking.

    I mean, Mr. Atom bomb? Mr. Domino theory? In my book, Truman was as responsible as Stalin for the 45 years of cold war that started in TRUMANS period in office.

    I'm not that negative to Woodrow Wilson, at least he started the League of Nations, although it wasn't a great success. FDR is OK, I guess, he lead the US throught the WW2 in a pretty good way.

    BTW, this story was posted under "Freedom & Politics", a pretty fitting heading, I think. And the presence of good political discussion is what makes K5 better than TOS.

    What? The land of the free? Whoever told you that is your enemy.
    -Zack de la Rocha
    [ Parent ]
    Truman, Wilson (none / 0) (#161)
    by aphrael on Fri Oct 13, 2000 at 03:07:17 PM EST

    Truman was as responsible as Stalin for the 45 years of cold war that started in TRUMANS period in office

    Maybe yes, maybe no; Truman didn't actually move into full cold-war mode until the late 1940s, and was under significant political pressure to do more, not less, to fight communism. And the Marshall plan, which he put forward, and which paid for the rebuilding of western Europe, was, IMO, our country's finest hour.

    at least he started the League of Nations, although it wasn't a great success

    And then failed to get it through Congress by bull-headedly insisting that it would be his way, nor no way. Wilson was a great idealist, a wonderful thinker. But he was an awful leader, as the last two years of his presidency showed.



    [ Parent ]
    I may agree with you, but... (1.00 / 2) (#133)
    by Wolfrider on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 02:35:18 AM EST

    --For God's sake get a Dictionary. ;-) "Populous" is the name of a GAME - the word you were looking for is "populace." Wolfrider, 28, will attempt to register for the first time in his life JUST so he can vote for NADER...
    Run Linux and FreeBSD. Linus is not God. (But I think God likes him.)
    Electorate (3.00 / 3) (#134)
    by Commienst on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 03:42:46 AM EST

    Most of you who have criticized me for not wanting to vote do not even have a firm grasp of our electorate system. Let me explain how it works. Every state has a certain amount of electoral college votes depending the number of representatives that state has in both houses of congresses. When you go out and vote you are voting for someone to vote depending on the majority rule of your particular state (excluding Maine and I belive Nebraska). For my state of New Jersey for example lets say that Bush won the vote in our state. Then all of our electoral college votes should go to Bush. The electoral college is a group of people who go out and vote on our behalf. The electors can use their discretion and not vote for the majority winner of their state, but their names, addresses and other info are made public so it would not be prudent to do so.

    The reason our founding father's stated they developed such a system was so that each state did not have a different local winner preventing a national consensus. If you ask me this system seems very advantageous to the old money, the Republicans and Democrats, making it even harder for newer parties to win.

    I know this because Tyler Durden knows this (read Fight Club by Chuck Palanchik). Seriously my teacher taught me this senior year of high school he is one of the electorates for our state this year.

    Ballots are just another tool. (2.00 / 1) (#145)
    by Arkady on Wed Sep 20, 2000 at 08:19:45 PM EST

    My personal opinion was, until this spring, much the same: that voting, while it has no real effect on the outcome, still functions to "legitimate" the system. I no longer agree with that.

    The ballot box is just another tool. Though I never gave my endorsement to the system, those who do support it have left this tool available. It hurts no one, unlike (say) a bomb, and is not difficult or time consuming to use. So voting is generally preferable to most other forms of protest. Though on a per-person basis it seems to be much less effective than marching in the streets, it is a less obnoxious and difficult tool to use.

    So I think you _should_ vote, if only to express your disgust at the mainstream candidates and parties. Vote for someone who would genuinely do good (or even just interesting) things.

    -robin

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere Anarchy is loosed upon the world.


    My Turn (2.00 / 1) (#152)
    by reshippie on Thu Sep 21, 2000 at 11:53:26 AM EST

    I've read about half of the posts (connection is slow, so skipped a lot of the nested replies) and I've decided to speak my voice, after all that's half the point of this story.

    This is my first chance to vote in a national election, and I will be voting for a "3rd Party Candidate"(prolly Nader). I don't think we can, but I would like to be able to vote for "No One". Indicating that I showed up, and wanted my opinion, that I don't like any candidate, heard. I am going to vote, because <momvoice>There are people in other countries that can't vote</momvoice>.

    As for the current US election process, it's totally screwed up. I find the electoral college a dumb idea, and it makes it harder for the general public to find accurate statistics on how people voted. That and I feel that there should be NO MEDIA COVERAGE in a state until the voting booths are closed. People on the West Coast still have a chance to vote, after the Eastern and MidWestern states are done. But by the time that the last minute voters are heading out to the polls, the major news companies have already announced the winner.

    Ok, one last thing, ties electoral college, and my choice for Pres together. Nader is the only candidate(according to his site) that has visited all 50 states since the primaries. Some states are known to always vote one way, or another, so candidates skip them, because it's a lock, or they have no shot. They also repeatedly visit states that have more electoral votes. Since the President is supposed to represent the country, shouldn't he campaign in the whole country?

    Those who don't know me, probably shouldn't trust me. Those who do DEFINITELY shouldn't trust me. :-)

    Approval Voting is what we need (4.00 / 1) (#156)
    by bee on Fri Sep 22, 2000 at 05:59:45 PM EST

    I posted something along these lines over on That Other Site a couple weeks ago or so, so if this looks a bit familiar, that's probably why.

    Approval voting eliminates many (of course not all) of the problems people have with voting. For those of you that haven't heard of it, instead of voting for 1 out of n candidates, you vote yes or no on each candidate individually. In a 2-candidate race, this mostly reduces to our current system, but the fun comes in when there's a >=3 candidate race.

    For example: If you like Nader but still think that Gore is much better than Bush or Buchanan, you could vote yes on Nader and Gore and no on the rest. If you're tired of the major parties entirely, vote no to Bush and Gore, and yes to everyone else. If you don't like any of them, vote no to everyone. Voting no to all actually does mean something, since what would be reported is each candidate's yes/no percentage-- imagine if the most popular candidate got only, say, 28 percent yes and 72 percent no. A side benefit is that negative campaining becomes less usable as a campaign technique-- you'd have to get everyone else's approval to go down to get the same effect as getting your own approval to go up.

    The best part is that instituting approval voting wouldn't be that hard to do-- no constitutional amendment would be needed, just changes in state election laws. I think all we'd need is to convince one state to try it (perhaps one of the smaller, more forward-looking states like Vermont or New Hampshire), and if it works well, other states would follow suit.

    Of course, I could be totally wrong about this too :-) any thoughts?



    Avoid jury duty - don't vote. (2.00 / 1) (#157)
    by TuxNugget on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 02:00:24 AM EST

    Some food for thought:
    1. An election only matters if you are pivotal. Otherwise it is just for fun.
    2. You can only be pivotal if you cast the deciding vote. If everyone else voted randomly among the 2 parties, the chance that you would be pivotal scales as 2^-N. So what do you suppose 2^-100 million is? since 2^10 ~= 10^3, this is 10 to the power -30 million. Now if you just want to carry your precinct, your odds are a bit better, and of course, the 10^-30 million neglects the electoral vote system -- but a lotto ticket is still a much better bet.
    3. Now even if you aren't pivotal, you do get bragging/complaining rights and 2 hours or so off work.
    4. But, in many states, the voting rolls are used for jury duty and other spam.

    Just remember, if you do get called for jury duty, roll your eyes a lot and say "GUILTY" a lot under your breath while giggling in a kind of insane, geeky way. Unless it is a DeCSS case.

    dig jeff greenfield's fresh smack (2.00 / 1) (#158)
    by mattbert on Mon Sep 25, 2000 at 08:46:50 PM EST

    i highly recommend jeff greenfield's "the people's choice," an excellent satire of the political climate in this country, as well as an incisive dissection of the absurdity that is the electoral college. i know that sounds like it's off the book jacket, but it's true. it probably won't make you change your mind about voting/not, but you'll at least have a better understanding of the process after reading it.
    -m
    what is it? (none / 0) (#159)
    by Commienst on Tue Sep 26, 2000 at 11:03:14 AM EST

    What is jeff greenfield's "the people's choice"?

    Is it a book, website, movie, tv show? Where can I find it I will try to check it out.

    [ Parent ]

    Re: what is it? (none / 0) (#160)
    by mattbert on Tue Sep 26, 2000 at 08:58:21 PM EST

    it's a book. i think amazon sells it for around ten bucks. i probably should have given my obscure references a little context...sorry for any confusion. as for the author, greenfield used to work for ABC, but i think he's with CNN now.
    -m
    [ Parent ]
    Why bother voting? | 162 comments (155 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
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