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[P]
No Choice does not equal No Vote

By cestmoi in Op-Ed
Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 11:32:38 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

The California Governor's race is between an incumbent who has sold his signature on more than one occasion and a challenger who has been convicted of fraud. With major candidates like that, you'd think the minor parties would be having a field day.


Gray Davis is the governor of California. During the California energy shortage, Gray Davis appealed to the voters to trust him. Given the following, it's hard to see why we do.

Just days after the state purchased more copies of Oracle than there are state employees, Oracle donated $25,000 to Davis. The uproar over that caused Davis to return the funds and void the Oracle contract.

Then there's the case of Tosco refinery. The refinery had petitioned a state water board for permission to increase toxic discharges into San Francisco Bay. The petition was denied until Tosco gave Davis $55,000 in February 2000. When the board met the following June, the board reversed itself and relaxed Tosco's operating permit. A suit brought by an environmentalist coalition persuaded a superior court judge to overturn the board's reversal.

It's no secret that Davis has worked to close down less expensive private prisons and favors opening more expensive state prisons run by state-employed guards. The fact that those guards paid Davis $2.6 million might have something to do with Davis's position.

Taking huge payoffs isn't enough. A couple of weeks ago, the Sacramento Bee won a two year court struggle to unseal court testimony that Mark Nathanson had accused Gray Davis of soliciting donations after helping people gain favorable rulings from the Coastal Commission. For non-Californians, the Coastal Commission oversees development on the California coast. It was created in the early 70's when rampant development threatened to turn the coast into a condominium strip. Though Nathanson's charges Davis with behavior similar to the Oracle dunning, Nathanson's charges haven't been proved. The reason lies in large measure in that Davis succeeded in having the testimony sealed. Whether the testimony is true or not, getting it sealed so that the charges can not be proved or disproved borders on obstruction of justice.

With those plums being handed to the Republican Candidate, Bill Simon, you'd think he'd have the election in the bag. Since his nomination, Simon was convicted of defrauding a business partner. The fact that the jury's judgment was subsequently overturned fails to address the fact the Simon didn't know that his business partner was a convicted felon. Simon misfired again when he circulated a photograph which he claimed show Davis accepting a contribution in the state's capitol. When the news surfaced that the photo was taken in a private residence, Simon apologized.

So there it is. We're looking at an election tomorrow where neither major gubernatorial candidate is a palatable choice. This morning's San Francisco Chronicle is running an article that opens with a voter saying that tomorrow will be the second time in 26 years he will not have voted. A Field poll is predicting the lowest turnout tomorrow in 42 years. Of those that will vote, some are saying they'll vote for other candidates but not vote in the gubernatorial race.

There is another choice. Instead of voting for the stinkers the major parties have put up or not voting at all, Californians can vote for any of the 3rd party candidates. Though none of the third party candidates appeal to me, I'll vote for one of them tomorrow. Instead of spending my vote on either of two unpalatable candidates and get nothing I want in return, my vote will be a message to the major parties that I'm unhappy with what they're offering and I'm willing to look elsewhere.

During the first energy crisis, Detroit got a slap in the face from Californians who were sick of poorly made, inefficient automobiles and purchased Japanese vehicles in large numbers for the first time. Up to that point, the Japanese automakers had a mere toe-hold in the American auto market. Perhaps the political ethical crisis in California will launch a similar sea-change in the political scene tomorrow.

If enough Californians vote for a third party candidate tomorrow, perhaps the Democrats and Republicans might wake up to the fact that we're not going to continue voting for corrupt and/or inept politicians.

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Related Links
o Oracle donated $25,000 to Davis.
o Tosco gave Davis $55,000 in February 2000.
o paid Davis $2.6 million
o convicted of defrauding a business partner
o subsequent ly overturned
o an article
o Also by cestmoi


Display: Sort:
No Choice does not equal No Vote | 188 comments (166 topical, 22 editorial, 0 hidden)
I disagree with your premise because... (1.50 / 10) (#1)
by uniball vision micro on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 12:34:57 PM EST

It covers such wonderful topics as extremist view points and California (the hell hole state of massive ammounts of minorities, crime, hippies, extremists, and draconian abusive prison systems) but I would still like to debate the issues. It seems gramatically correct as well.
the death of one man is a tragedy the death of a million is a statistic Joseph Stalin
i don't have time (4.16 / 6) (#7)
by cicero on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 01:20:04 PM EST

to do your comment justice but that's flame-bait if I've ever seen it.
If this story is still around when I get back from class, I'll let you know why your premise (the hell hole state of massive ammounts [sic] of minorities, crime, hippies, extremists, and draconian abusive prison systems) is, for the most part, complete stupid.


--
I am sorry Cisco, for Microsoft has found a new RPC flaw - tonight your e0 shall be stretched wide like goatse.
[ Parent ]
blah (1.00 / 6) (#9)
by uniball vision micro on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 01:28:47 PM EST

"to do your comment justice but that's flame-bait if I've ever seen it. If this story is still around when I get back from class, I'll let you know why your premise (the hell hole state of massive ammounts [sic] of minorities, crime, hippies, extremists, and draconian abusive prison systems) is, for the most part, complete stupid."

One word Fulsome
the death of one man is a tragedy the death of a million is a statistic Joseph Stalin
[ Parent ]

hell-hole state? (4.57 / 7) (#11)
by aphrael on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 01:40:43 PM EST

are you trying to pick a fight? :)

More than a tenth of the population of the US lives in California. Many of us live here by choice; there is almost nowhere in the country that i'd rather be.

Yeah, we have hippies and liberal extremists (and, in some part of the state, conservative extremists). So what? Everywhere in the country has extremists of one sort or another; they're part of the entertaining background. California's politics are no more muddled than anywhere else in the country, and in some respects they're amazingly clean; one of the depressing things about Davis is that he's the first governor of the state since before WWII who could credibly be accused of massive financial corruption.

As for crime, well, crime is (again) no worse in California than anywhere else. Abusive prison systems is probably a valid charge, though, but it's relatively difficult to get *into* the system, especially now that drug posession is no longer punishable by jail time.

Minorities we have, in plenty, and that's a *good* thing; while the residential areas are all balkanized, to a great extent the workforce is integrated, and if you hang out in the social spaces in California's cities, there's a great mix of different cultures; this is a *good* thing.

And there is much natural beauty with a population which is largely committed to defending it.

Sure, there are problems --- traffic is probably the biggest, along with a largely dysfunctional educational system. And the political system is starting to break down under the strain imposed by the size of the population. But, all in all, things work reasonably well, and most of the people who live here love it here.

Hardly a hellhole.

[ Parent ]

exactly (4.33 / 3) (#18)
by thekubrix on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 02:18:38 PM EST

I too live in california, and out of experience of traveling this massive country, and living in another state for a while, I dont think theres anywhere else I'd want to be:

Cali:

To do:
 Disneyland
 Knotts Berry Farm
 Magic Mountain
 Sea World
 Universal Studios
 LegoLand
 Raging Waters
 Pacific Ocean

To live/visit:
 San Francisco
 Los Angeles,
 Orange County
 San Diego

Not to menion its far cleaner and more beautiful than a GOOD majority of this country. And I'm VERY glad that there at many minorities here, it was almost hell traveling cross country and being almost blinded by the white (people). tee-hee

Also the universities here (even the public ones) are by far the best in the country, AND cali is the 5th largest economy in the world

heh, I could go on and on and on.....

[ Parent ]

Minorities in CA (2.75 / 4) (#41)
by AnomymousCoward on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 03:07:43 PM EST

Minorities in California are fine.

There are two things I dislike about CA (and I've lived here my entire life):
1) Illegal immigrants
2) Violent crimes

It is my assertion that the two are related, both directly and indirectly. It has been shown that illegal immigrants commit a nontrivial amount of violent crimes, including murdering police officers, often in an attempt to avoid deportation. That, by definition, constitutes a direct relationship. The indirect relationship involves employment in low paying jobs. Many liberals in california contend that illegals only do jobs that citizens do not want, such as janitorial or field work. This is certainly flawed, as there were obviously people doing these jobs before the immigrants took them. The people who lost these jobs to immigrants who work for less than minimum wage become unemployed, and often go on welfare as it is easier to collect welfare than work for minimum wage (it's been shown that you can actually make more money by not working than you can by working, if you have a number of kids). Thus, the result is that people have no jobs, very little income, and end up living in poor areas (read: projects) which breed violence and gang-type associations. If, however, we were able to eliminate illegal immigration (or limit it to some small amount), more jobs would open, and the demand for workers would drive wages higher. Housing situations would improve, and crime would decrease.

But, that's assuming you can eliminate illegal immigration, and many liberals in california are in favor of legalizing all immigrants because it expands their voting base.

Vobbo.com: video blogs made easy: point click smile
[ Parent ]
ah yes.... (3.50 / 2) (#46)
by thekubrix on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 03:34:09 PM EST

let us blame all our woes on the immigrants, for they are severly taking down california

man, you are one ignorant white racist

[ Parent ]

excellent (4.00 / 2) (#63)
by Information Superhighway Patrol on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 05:01:50 PM EST

You learn quickly, young apprentice. Most excellent, indeed.

--
Information Superhighway Patrol
Policing the Streets of the Internet for Your Safety
[ Parent ]
no no no (5.00 / 2) (#64)
by thekubrix on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 05:07:46 PM EST

you misunderstood everything officer!

man,....if we only had a female jewish black president in the white house, all our problems would end

[ Parent ]

I'm not white. (4.40 / 5) (#73)
by AnomymousCoward on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 05:41:06 PM EST

I'm Mexican. I just happen to a LEGAL immigrant.

Vobbo.com: video blogs made easy: point click smile
[ Parent ]
That's a bit unfair. (3.75 / 4) (#47)
by aphrael on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 03:37:49 PM EST

Asserting that liberals only want to legalize immigration because it expands their voting base is a bit cynical, and a bit unfair; there are legitimate reasons, grounded in ideology, why a liberal, and in particular a libertarian, might be in favor of such a thing.

I agree with something President Bush said when campaigning: any parent in a poverty-stricken section of Mexico who is worth his salt as a parent is in the United States, trying to make money to feed his children. There is no effective way to prevent people from trying to come here; for them it's the best option.

I have a strong problem, as a liberal, with laws that tell people they can't move to where the jobs are, or laws that tell people they don't have the freedom to settle where they want to. I think our nation, a nation built by immigrants, should have an open immigration policy; anyone should be able to come here and live and work and go to school.

Now, getting welfare benefits, or becoming citizens --- that's a different question; welfare benefits should only be available to citizens, and citizenship should require demonstrated knowledge of US political institutions and political culture.

But people should still be allowed to move here if that's the best option for them. And I don't give a damn who they vote for.

[ Parent ]

Explanation (3.33 / 3) (#75)
by AnomymousCoward on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 05:43:33 PM EST

I have a strong problem, as a liberal, with laws that tell people they can't move to where the jobs are, or laws that tell people they don't have the freedom to settle where they want to. I think our nation, a nation built by immigrants, should have an open immigration policy; anyone should be able to come here and live and work and go to school. Schools are paid for by tax dollars. Tax dollars are paid by citizens. Immigration laws exist to keep the infrastructure from collapsing in on itself. If you open the borders, schools and public services will collapse, period. I agree, many Mexican parents come north in search of jobs and money with which to feed their children. I, however, believe that rather than entering illegally, they should apply to citizenship PRIOR to crossing the border: my family came here legally, they can come here legally as well.

Vobbo.com: video blogs made easy: point click smile
[ Parent ]
Tax dollars (4.83 / 6) (#77)
by aphrael on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 05:54:32 PM EST

Taxes are not paid only by citizens; anyone who works here pays income tax here, anyone who buys here pays sales tax here. Immigrants pay taxes too.

As for public services --- ok, fine, you don't provide public services to people who aren't citizens. I do not have a problem with that. But denying people who want to come here to work, to improve themselves and their life, the ability to do so, is just plain mean-spirited.

[ Parent ]

Population control (3.00 / 2) (#130)
by pattern against user on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 01:43:55 AM EST

Hispanics are the reason why America is not following the European trend to low fertility...they have big families.
The more people we have, the less to there is to go around...


[ Parent ]
Prop 187, RIP (3.00 / 1) (#148)
by AnomymousCoward on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 12:49:04 PM EST

As for public services --- ok, fine, you don't provide public services to people who aren't citizens. I do not have a problem with that. But denying people who want to come here to work, to improve themselves and their life, the ability to do so, is just plain mean-spirited.

It seems logical that things like public education, state-subsidised health care, etc. would be limited to citizens. That isn't the case. Prop 187 tried to do just this: it was easily passed, but overturned. At the current time, illegals have full access to public schools AND state-funded medical and dental care.

The reason there is such hostility towards illegals, at least in my narrow frame of reference, is that there are illegals receiving better health care than many citizens, simply because they have low income. A case in point: A friend of mine works part time, and goes to school part time. Her hours are limited to roughly 30 per week, so she does not qualify for full-time coverage from her employer's medical insurance. Unfortunately, she's a mere thousand dollars per year over the minimum cap to receive state-funded health care: her only choice is to pay for her health expenses out of her own pocket. Meanwhile, there exist a nontrivial number of illegals who work a considerable number of hours, probably make much more money than she does, but get paid under the table. The result is that they still qualify for, and receive, state funded health care. It's simple cases like this that really upset many, many people.

Vobbo.com: video blogs made easy: point click smile
[ Parent ]
Begging the Question (4.00 / 1) (#160)
by virg on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 05:24:56 PM EST

> It seems logical that things like public education, state-subsidised health care, etc. would be limited to citizens.

I'm not sure I agree that this is a logical consideration. As was stated by a previous poster, anyone who lives in the U.S. pays taxes for stuff, so it's not necessarily logical to limit government aid to citizens, since it's not just citizens who pay into it.

> The reason there is such hostility towards illegals, at least in my narrow frame of reference, is that there are illegals receiving better health care than many citizens, simply because they have low income. A case in point: A friend of mine works part time, and goes to school part time. Her hours are limited to roughly 30 per week, so she does not qualify for full-time coverage from her employer's medical insurance. Unfortunately, she's a mere thousand dollars per year over the minimum cap to receive state-funded health care: her only choice is to pay for her health expenses out of her own pocket. Meanwhile, there exist a nontrivial number of illegals who work a considerable number of hours, probably make much more money than she does, but get paid under the table. The result is that they still qualify for, and receive, state funded health care.

It's easy to say that this is a good example of why illegal immigrants are bad for community morale, but it's not a very strong argument for less immigration. The fact that your friend doesn't qualify for any kind of health care coverage is a problem in and of itself, and I suspect that solving it does not relate to reducing immigration, since there are many people in the U.S. that have this problem, but are not in an area where illegal immigrants are so numerous.

The other problem, wherein the illegal immigrants are paid under the table, and so don't appear to have income, can be solved by going in either direction. By throttling off the flow of illegals, you reduce the numberof illegals. However, by allowing anyone in, you legitimize them, and that would eliminate your direct crime link (legal immigrants wouldn't need to kill police to avoid deportation, after all), and you would also remove the motivation for paying them under the table, since employers would no longer have to hide their employees. It's easy to say that these people would overwhelm our infrastructure, but I disagree with that assertion, because they would be here legally, much like you are, and would therefore be paying taxes on the wages they earn, much like you do. Add to this a commensurate increase in penalties for paying under the table, so employers don't want to take the chance, and the problem as you described it doesn't exist any more.

While I agree that elimination of the problem of illegal immigration is unlikely, I think you need to reexamine whether your solution is the best answer, in moral and in economic terms, for the reduction of illegal immigrants. Remember, if wide immigration is legalized, they wouldn't be illegal immigrants any more, and so the social dynamic changes radically, and so must your analysis.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
education (4.00 / 1) (#170)
by aphrael on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 03:56:57 PM EST

Children of illegal immigrants should have open access to education.

There are two reasons for this. For one thing, despite the immigration status of their parents, the children may be citizens; citizenship is granted to all persons born within the United States regardless of the status of their parents. (This would require an unlikely constitutional amendment to change).

More importantly --- there is a significant *societal* benefit which accrues when the population is educated. Failing to pay for the education of children who are here illegally is counterproductive; the children are *here*, they aren't going to leave, and we'll all be better off economically *and* in terms of public safety if they're educated and able to earn good, high-paying jobs, then if they are uneducated and able to survive only by begging or stealing.

The amount we pay in taxes to educate them is *nothing* compared with the amount we'd pay to not educate them.

[ Parent ]

regardless (4.25 / 4) (#85)
by aphrael on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 06:15:00 PM EST

Regardless, you missed my main point: not all liberals favor open immigration because they think it will help them politically. Some liberals, at least, favor it because they honestly believe opening the borders is the morally correct thing to do.

[ Parent ]
Fair enough (4.33 / 3) (#86)
by AnomymousCoward on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 06:18:47 PM EST

I'll conceed that. I still maintain that open borders will absolutely murder the economy and education systems.

Vobbo.com: video blogs made easy: point click smile
[ Parent ]
Not so in the long run (4.00 / 1) (#161)
by KilljoyAZ on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 05:52:36 PM EST

The US population is aging because of declining birth rates. We need immigrants to come to this country to be able to support the social services at current levels in the future, especially Social Security and Medicare.

Many European countries have tough immigration laws, have low birth rates, and have extremely generous social services. Unless one of those circumstances change drastically, it's all going to blow up in their faces in a couple of decades.

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]

hm (3.80 / 5) (#43)
by tps12 on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 03:12:00 PM EST

Race riots, earthquakes, some of the most dangerous ghettos in the country, frequent power outages, droughts, bad roads, high taxes...the rich generally live well in California, but to a nation that left most of these things (I won't hold earthquakes against you) behind forty years ago, California is somewhat of an embarrassment.

[ Parent ]
things left behind (4.00 / 3) (#44)
by aphrael on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 03:22:30 PM EST

race riots have happened in recent years in detroit and new york; they're hardly isolated to California but seem to be a misfeature of all urban areas in the US. Dangerous ghettos can be found all over the country; i was far more nervous in DC, or in philadelphia, than I am in San Francisco or San Jose. Bad roads i won't dispute, nor high taxes.

[ Parent ]
Houston? (4.00 / 1) (#70)
by ph317 on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 05:34:23 PM EST


Houston hasn't had a race riot in recent history, while it does have substantial and varied minority populations and a very large size.

[ Parent ]
Houston (4.00 / 1) (#81)
by aphrael on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 05:58:19 PM EST

Houston also doesn't have zoning laws, which would make it, in my view, an unpleasant place to live. And I don't like hot, humid weather. :)

[ Parent ]
Yeah (4.00 / 1) (#143)
by ph317 on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 10:46:19 AM EST


The humidity is the number one problem.  I have one freind who moved out of Houston and refuses to come back just over the humidity.  Having previously come from Singapore, however, I find Houston to be quite dry.

What's the big problem with no zoning laws?  I haven't seen that it's that bad for Houston, other than it tends to dilute the city into more of a large sprawl than isolated "downtown" and "suburb".  Of course there's lots of better-off areas around town that incorporated into mini-towns and set zoning-like restrictions to protect their nice housing areas.

[ Parent ]

no zoning laws (4.00 / 1) (#172)
by aphrael on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 04:06:26 PM EST

i don't like sprawl; i *hate* the feeling of being inside an endless city. (i can handle parts of the bay area because the mountains and the bay are right next door; i can't handle LA). and i don't like the fact that there are no rules for what can go where; the idea that someone *can* open up a chicken factory right next to my house, without any warning, would make me not want to own a house there.

[ Parent ]
Silly (none / 0) (#187)
by Josh A on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 06:01:15 AM EST

I believe aphrael dealt with race riots... I will dispute roads and taxes, however.

Kind of. I'll leave it to you to prove taxes, actually. Can we get some sources here? Or can we dismiss your assertion as unsupported?

As for roads, sources would help. Granted, I only have anecdotal evidence, but it has been supported by the New Yorkers and Bostonians I have had visit me when I lived in Northern California. As far as I can tell, New York state and Boston are two of the worst places to drive because the roads suck. The rest of New England doesn't seem much better.

Granted, I haven't driven in LA... ;)

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
well, NY and Boston, sure (none / 0) (#188)
by tps12 on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 07:01:21 AM EST

You chose the only places with worse roads. California is not the worst (and it's not surprising that the places that are worse are the ones that've had liberals leading the state for a long time), but it's not great, IIRC.

[ Parent ]
Ahh, come on (4.00 / 1) (#128)
by dirvish on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 01:08:53 AM EST

the minorities, extremists and hippies are my favorite part.

Technical Certification Blog, Anti Spam Blog
[ Parent ]
Gotta disagree (3.00 / 1) (#157)
by broken77 on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 04:03:45 PM EST

I've been all over the country (and many parts of the world for that matter). I grew up in Missouri and once I came out here I knew I would never go back. California is the best place to be.

I wish they all could be California.... Girls...

I'm starting to doubt all this happy propaganda about Islam being a religion of peace. Heck, it's just as bad as Christianity. -- Dphitz
[ Parent ]

This is one reason... (4.33 / 9) (#2)
by jd on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 12:45:59 PM EST

I would -love- to see three changes to the US electorial system:

  • Proportional Representation. At the moment, in the Presidential elections, the first past the post gets all the say for that State. If the electoral college reflected the percentage of the vote, then Forida's fiasco would never have occured. 50.01% vs. 49.98%, either way, wouldn't have made any difference in the amount of voice in the Electoral College. Small levels of error, therefore, wouldn't matter.
  • Quorum. At the moment, there isn't a (realistic) minimum percent who must vote for the elections to count. IMHO, if 50%+ decide -not- to vote, then the election has been voted against. What you'd do to respond to that, I don't know, but those who abstain have a voice and if they use it, it should count the same as any other vote.
  • Re-Open Nominations. Again, at the moment, you are presented with a selection of candidates. If you believe they're all despicable, you should have a right to request that the selection be voided and a new selection chosen. That would mean an active vote to the effect that all choices are rejected. Again, this should count the same as any other vote. If Re-Open Nominations (sometimes abbr. to RON) "wins" the election, then the election should be abandoned and the selection process re-started.

The biggest problem with the existing system is that there is no way to demand quality. There is only an ability to request the least corrupt choice. If you were buying a car, would you demand quality, or just ask the salesman for the one that's least likely to explode in a huge ball of flame the moment it strikes a rain-drop?

IMHO, we have rights to demand that material goods live up -at least- to the standard of doing whatever those goods are designed to do. We should expect nothing less from services, including Government (which is simply a managerial service). We should be able to insist that a choice of crooks will no longer be good enough, that those who want to stand for office will have to prove to the majority of cynics and skeptics that they really will behave honorably and honestly.

In the end, it doesn't make a blind bit of difference if the voting system uses digital technology or color basketballs to represent a vote, if the product you're getting is bogus. Revamping the system with God-knows how many billions just means we will know with greater accuracy just what we're not going to get. THAT is the part that needs the revamp.

Ban corporate donations (3.80 / 5) (#13)
by doconnor on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 02:03:08 PM EST

Only allow individuals to donate to politics and limit the donation to a few hundread dollars per person. Then the causes to the corruption you're complaining about would disappear.

I'm starting to believe that money's influnence is the greatest problem in democracy and a cause of many of the other problems. It would be very easy to eliminate it.

Darwin O'Connor

[ Parent ]

Might make it worse. (none / 0) (#52)
by Kwil on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 04:02:15 PM EST

If you ban corporate donations, and limit individual donations to only a few hundred dollars, what you wind up seeing is more back-room deals where supposedly independant organizations spend their own money to create their own advert for a politico that they favor.

Phillip Morris (soon to be hiding under the name Altria Group) would simply run campaigns from a front company. You already see a lot of this type of thing "Paid for by the Citizens For Effective Government". This ban would just make that worse.

At least with the system as it stands, you have a chance of spotting who's supporting who.

I almost think we should do it the other way. Force anybody who wants to run a political advert to register who they are and which party they are affiliated with. Give the parties the yea/nay option as to whether that group really can run an advert for them. Registration would also have to include details on the sponsoring company and/or person.

That way, when we see negative campaigning done, a party can't weasel out of it by saying they had no involvement.

Were I to suggest a change, it would be either to restrict corporate and personal donations to only one party, or to restrict all political advertising, no matter who was doing it, to specific amounts of television and radio time, and a limited amount of advertising space.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
NOT Proportional Representation. (4.00 / 3) (#23)
by sakico on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 02:21:59 PM EST

If you are determined to have a functional multiparty system, a single transferable ballot (what Australia uses) is the way to go. This is also frequently called an 'instant runoff ballot'.

In short, you rank the candidates by order of preference. The result will presumably be the most acceptable choice to the largest number of people. With straight proportional representation, though, the party is everything and the individual candidates are meaningless. This is not a more democratic solution, as the representatives are beholden to nobody but Dear Leader for their positions.

A quorum is also a poor choice.

The paralysis and illegitimacy resulting from sequential 'invalid' elections far outweighs the illegitimacy caused by a low turnout. In the former case, the leadership void often results in open rebellion in some regions, and even lacking this, the military often winds up needing to take control of the government to solve the crisis. Quite frankly, someone who doesn't vote is apathetic and prefers neither candidate. They are not sending a "I hate you all signal", but a "Well, if I had a problem I'd get off my ass and vote. I haven't and therefore don't" one.

Finally, I am in full agreement with you that there should be a 'None of the above' choice on the ballot. This allows the real registration of a protest vote, and one which cannot be confused with the "Too stupid to figure out how the ballot works" segment of the population.

[ Parent ]

Why not Proportional Representation. (none / 0) (#51)
by Kwil on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 03:51:56 PM EST

After all, you really only have two parties anyway.

Even assuming every fringe party in the country manages to get a single seat (and most won't, as their total votes are way below the single seat percentage) you'd still have a system that was massively dominate by two parties.

What would happen is that these parties would have to at least give consideration to some of the outlying views of the country so as to try and sway the independants.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
Multiparty (2.00 / 1) (#68)
by jmzero on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 05:22:43 PM EST

If you are determined to have a functional multiparty system, a single transferable ballot (what Australia uses) is the way to go. This is also frequently called an 'instant runoff ballot'.

This is meaningless in the States, though, as the only two choices on the ballot that would have any meaning would be Democrat and Republican.

I'd suggest that the system continues as it does now, but with the addition of 5 or 10 seats given to the party who has the largest share of "unrepresented" votes.  This would mean a voter could vote Green/whatever, and have a reasonable chance of actually being represented.  
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

not as meaningless as you think (4.00 / 1) (#83)
by aphrael on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 06:04:48 PM EST

it's not uncommon in close races for people who would actually prefer a green to vote for the democrat (in order to keep the republican out), or people who would prefer to vote for the libertarian to vote for the republican (to keep the democrat out). Instant runoff voting would allow them to rank their preferred third-party candidate first and *then* their preferred major-party candidate; I suspect that the showing of minor-party candidates would increase significantly under such a scheme.

[ Parent ]
True (none / 0) (#89)
by jmzero on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 06:22:38 PM EST

I'm sure the system would help smaller parties get more votes.  However, I'm betting you'd still end up with zero Greens winning a seat.  I'd like to see a system where they could actually win seats - based on their "mile wide, inch deep" sort of support.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]
Problems with Proportional Representation (5.00 / 2) (#92)
by dachshund on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 06:37:18 PM EST

Proportional Representation. At the moment, in the Presidential elections, the first past the post gets all the say for that State. If the electoral college reflected the percentage of the vote, then Forida's fiasco would never have occured. 50.01% vs. 49.98%, either way, wouldn't have made any difference in the amount of voice in the Electoral College. Small levels of error, therefore, wouldn't matter.

Proportional representation sound great in theory. The problem is, the very nature of the EC is antithetical to true proportional representation. "Fixing" the first-past-the-gate problem won't produce a more accurate electoral system-- in fact it'll probably make things worse.

As it stands, the number of electoral votes per state is equal to the combined number of Senators and Representatives. Since each state is guaranteed two Senators and at least one Rep, no matter how small it is, every state gets at least 3 electoral votes. So even "tiny" Wyoming (population approx 500,000) has three votes. In a true proportional system it wouldn't have anywhere near that many-- Florida (population approx 16 million) only has 25, and you can do the math-- voters in Wyoming currently wield about 4 times as much electoral power as they should have under a truly proportional system. And there are a lot of states that have similarly inflated electoral power. Large states choose non-proportional representation because it's the only way that they can compete with the disproportionate voting power of the smaller states. It's an imperfect response to an imperfect situation.

Now imagine you got the whole country to move to Proportional Representation (you'd probably have to pass a Constitutional Amendment, which would be nearly impossible). In many cases, all you'd do is push the electoral college even further our of whack with the actual votes of US citizens. Candidates could lose the popular election by a landslide and still manage to win in the EC. That's hardly the improvement you're looking for.

The source of this whole problem is the minimum representation guaranteed to states. Non-proportional representation is an admittedly kludgy response to this problem, but it's the only response possible until the underlying system is changed. And that opens up another can of worms: should small states be given the extra electoral clout they currently possess... And could you convince them to give it up willingly?

[ Parent ]

Good metaphor: The World Series (4.00 / 2) (#99)
by SocratesGhost on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 07:49:43 PM EST

It's won by the team that wins the most games, and not the most points across all games. The point is to prove who has the better team overall, and not just in some concentrated areas.

You hit the nail on the head when using Wyoming as an example. It's a geographically big state that people don't generally think is useless land, but has an almost minute population in comparison to states like California and New York. It just doesn't seem right to re-proportion Montana into oblivion from the electoral process.

The population of the United States is split almost evenly between the top 9 most populous states (New Jersey, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Florida, New York, Texas, California, these actually comprise 51%) and the other 41. The only thing proportional voting will prove is how quickly 30 or more states will never have a vote in the presidential election as the candidates focus all their resources in the top 20 that will really decide matters, especially since those states comprise 75% of the US population. At least under the electoral college system the smaller states have a fighting chance of swinging an election, such as Kansas(ranked #30) in the Nixon-Kennedy election.

I'm Californian born and raised, but even moreso I'm a big supporter of states rights and localized government. The last thing people want is for the city folk telling the farmers how to live, or Californians imposing their will on Nevadans. Proportional voting is foolish.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Small groups of people. (4.00 / 2) (#132)
by Bill Godfrey on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 03:56:51 AM EST

But why should a particular small group of people have a greater say than another small group of people?

To put it another way, why should the population of Wyoming have a greater say than the same number of people who make up the population of a few square miles of New York?

Bill, just an Englander, living in England.

[ Parent ]

Because (Simplification) (4.50 / 2) (#142)
by br284 on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 10:10:29 AM EST

If you've met the needs of 100,000 people, chances are that the majority of your policies will also work with 150,000 people. A politician that is city-folk friendly will probably represent the needs of his constituents well if the number between 100,000 and 150,000.

The policy differences between politicians who represent 50,000 rural folk and 100,000 town folk will be much more pronounced. The needs of the 50,000 will be VASTLY different than the needs of a small city of 100,000. Because there are less of them, they do need on average more clout in order that their needs are meant also. If there wasn't this difference in power between the average rural and city voters, the rural communities would have city policies applied to their communities which would be extremely subpar.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

a few more reasons (4.75 / 4) (#145)
by SocratesGhost on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 10:52:27 AM EST

Population sizes don't necessarily equate to the size of an interest. Farming is VERY important to the American economy but compared to... say... lawyers, the number of farmers is smaller. If we don't balance competing interests, then we would create laws that would benefit lawyers and harm farmers, and a short slippery slope later, we end up as a nation of lawyers. The trick is in the balance, and proportional voting does nothing but exaggerate the disparity.

Remember, we wouldn't even have a United States if places like Rhode Island, Delaware and New Hampshire didn't sign on board against the powerhouses of Virginia and New York, and this was virtually the only way to get them on board. They didn't want their interests to be ignored. We still have that same problem today, but it's just much easier to forget that.

Part of the reason we forget this is because States no longer seem distinct. It's possible to travel from one state to the next and see basically the same people as the last one. We are more becoming the Homogeneous States than different States that are United. "From many, comes one" is not "From the masses, comes one". They were talking about differing ideologies, mores, and norms that collected together for a mutual gain, each benefiting from the strengths and advantages created by these differences. But this is being lost lost. Diversity in cultural and political climates was all part of the original American experiment. In programming terms, it was designed for extensibility.

Ever since the Civil War, the rights of states have been in decline, and we no longer think in terms of being a citizen of a particular state. It would be hard to find someone who would turn down the request of the President in favor of defending their state, and yet General Lee did. He didn't fight for the South and the Confederacy. He was fighting for Virginia. Now, we have one size fits all solutions handed down by a centralized federal power an entire continent away through processes of unfunded mandates, but what is lost is the representation at the local community level. Sure, they have their one small voice, but it gets drowned in the cacophony of all the other one small voices and the result is an unsatisfactory solution for all.

Government works best when it's local; studies show that satisfaction with local politicians is high, state politicians are medium; but federal politicians is low. Think on that and ask yourself why. Then, look at voter apathy and ask if there's a relationship between how we feel about our government and our role in that emotion. I'd suggest that there is, and the relationship is most important.

You can't have a town hall meeting for America and let everyone have a say. You can only do that for smaller groups. Aristotle said it best: A kingdom should be no larger than what can be seen from the top of a hill.

I say all of this as a very proud Californian. We have our problems, certainly, but we also have a reputation of being political and legal trend setters. It's not uncommon for a law to pass in California years before being adopted across most other states in the nation. And that's the point. States could and should experiment and every state can watch each other's progress, accept what they like, discard what they don't, and still be truer to their community than anything handed down from Washington and its lobbyists.

I'll close by saying that today is election day in America. Please remember to vote.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Rhode Island (none / 0) (#176)
by leviramsey on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 11:01:40 AM EST

we wouldn't even have a United States if places like Rhode Island, Delaware and New Hampshire didn't sign on

Interestingly, Rhode Island didn't ratify the Constitution until 1790, three years after it had been ratified to be binding for all the states.



[ Parent ]
YOu sir, are an idiot (none / 0) (#175)
by leviramsey on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 10:56:36 AM EST

Now imagine you got the whole country to move to Proportional Representation (you'd probably have to pass a Constitutional Amendment, which would be nearly impossible)

You do realize that the allocation of electoral votes, according to the Constitution is solely the domain of the Legislature of each state. For the 2004 election, the California Legislature could vote to not base its selection of Electors on the popular vote and to not even put President on the ballot. This would be fully Constitutional (assuming the California Constitution does not prohibit such an act). The states are free to allocate their Electors in any way, shape, or form that they choose, provided they do so in time and pursuant to any self-imposed rules on the process. 48 out of the 50 states use winner-take-all. Maine and Nebraska use a different system, to wit: each Congressional district accounts for one Elector. The state as a whole counts for two. Maine has two Congressional districts. So it's quite possible (and I believe has happened before) for one candidate to win a district, another to win the other district and one of those two to win the state as a whole, thus resulting in one candidate getting 3 electoral votes from Maine and the other getting 1. This system has proven to be eminently workable and more states should consider implementing it.

Junking the minimum representation requirement will never occur. The Constitution requires that any amendment be ratified by 75% of the states. The smallest third of the states are never going to ratify such an amendment because they are deathly afraid of the urban states running the show. Doing the back-door approach and abolishing constant representation (which is infinitely more unproportional than the Electoral College) is even less likely, as the Constitution sets a 100% ratification requirement ("no State shall be deprived of equal representation in the Senate without its consent").



[ Parent ]
Disagree (3.00 / 14) (#3)
by Silent Chris on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 12:57:19 PM EST

I vote every time an election comes around by not casting a single vote (which I've done every year since I was given the right to): I'm voting against the election process.  

I could care less about third-party candidates -- they're often as sleazy as the two major parties.  I'm disenfranchised with the whole thing.  The best way to tell America the system is broke is to not use it.

(And please, don't tell me to cast a throwaway write-in vote for some guy I just met down the street.  It doesn't mean anything.  The two major parties look at votes like that and think "Damn hippie."  If you've seen, the only real time they've sat up and noticed their party wasn't getting votes was when they picked up on the fact that more and more people were not voting recently.  This kind of information drives a knife through their hearts.)

you tell 'em chris (4.30 / 13) (#4)
by cicero on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 01:15:53 PM EST

you go on with your bad self silent chris, your apathy has really got them quaking in their boots.


--
I am sorry Cisco, for Microsoft has found a new RPC flaw - tonight your e0 shall be stretched wide like goatse.
[ Parent ]
so in other words....... (3.85 / 7) (#6)
by thekubrix on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 01:18:58 PM EST

your too lazy to get off your fat ass to register so you come up with the lamest excuse, eh? put the bong down hippie, and go vote!

[ Parent ]
...yeah. (3.00 / 2) (#138)
by Djehuti on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 08:33:34 AM EST

put the bong down hippie, and go vote!

Actually, if he's that stupid, I'd rather he didn't vote.

[ Parent ]

how does that help? (3.80 / 10) (#10)
by aphrael on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 01:34:06 PM EST

You don't like the process. Not many do. But not voting doesn't help change the process; if anything, it makes some of the problems in the process worse.

And, really, what would be better? Divine-right monarchy? A committee of self-appointed 'friends of the state' who decide what is to be done?

The current process sucks. But, sad to say, it's hard to imagine a better one.

[ Parent ]

How about... (3.00 / 5) (#21)
by Silent Chris on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 02:20:43 PM EST

  1. Making it illegal to lobby for senators?
  2. Presenting lie-detector tests to those who intend to vote for the populace?
  3. Repealing consecutive terms to avoid power mongering?


[ Parent ]
options (4.57 / 7) (#26)
by aphrael on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 02:28:29 PM EST

Option #1 is impractical: how do you define 'lobby'? Whatever definition you use someone will be able to find a way around it, or you'll run into first amendment issues.

Option #2 is scary (are lie-detector tests really trustworthy? The experts disagree, and i'm not sure an electoral system based on technology which isn't proven effective is a good thing. But also, it wouldn't solve the fundamental problem, which is that the size of the electorate requires candidates to use broadcast communication, and that the economics of the broadcast media require the candidates to amass large sums of cash.

Option #3 is one of those things which seems like a good idea but is questionable; while it would ensure new blood in the legislature, it would also ensure that the people in the legislature had, in general, no sense of the history of an issue and how it had evolved over time, and it would *tremendously* increase the relative power of the unelected staff, who would have that history and would be able to influence the elected legislators by means of their knowledge. I'm not sure that constitutes an improvement.

[ Parent ]

fixes? (5.00 / 2) (#98)
by seanic on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 07:31:29 PM EST

Fix 1: Donations must be spent in the state where the money came from, this is decided by the tax records of the donator.  Gift taxes should apply to those donations with lower trigger points (currently the trigger is $10,000) and that tax revenue would be used to maintain the polling places.

Fix 2: Big spender taxes imposed on candidates and parties who spend more than two dollars per voter.

Fix 3: Three people should be required to take part in a debate in order for it to be broadcast on radio or televison. (Let's face it we know what the two major candidates are going to say.)

Fix 4: Political parties should enjoy special tax status in that they would pay federal, state and local taxes based on the number of candidates running (a reverse poll tax) and how much they spend on elections (an advertisment annoyance tax).

Fix 5: Trial by water - if they float, they're guilty!
--
"The majority of the stupid is invincible and guaranteed for all time. The terror of their tyranny is, however, alleviated by their lack of consistency" -- Albert Einstein
[ Parent ]

Yeah, just imagine... (4.00 / 2) (#22)
by Ricochet Rita on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 02:20:56 PM EST

The current process sucks. But, sad to say, it's hard to imagine a better one.

Imagining a better one is simple. Now, getting those career politicians to abide by it, there's the rub.

But why make up new ones, many of the world's existing forms of government (including the US') would be perfectly suitable choices, were it not for the corruption and self-interests of the body politic.

R

R

FABRICATUS DIEM, PVNC!
[ Parent ]

Devil is in the Details (4.66 / 3) (#60)
by CENGEL3 on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 04:55:15 PM EST

Actualy I think our Form of Government (Constitutional Republic) is pretty darn good. Probably better then anything that exists elsewhere or has been tried before.

The thing I think really could use reform is the Election process itself. I would propose the following modifications which I think taken together would help provide fairer representation in Government:

1) Make Election Day a National Holiday. Bussiness would require a special permit in order to be open that day. This would afford regular working people much greater opportunity to vote.

   Most voting places aren't open much beyond regular working hours. Given commuting times and other tasks like dropping off/picking up children, etc. It really doesn't leave alot of spare time to get to the voting booth... and those times that you are available it is likely to be very crowded since that is when everyone else can go.

  I really believe that one major factor in low voter turnout is the difficulty for ther average working person in actualy getting to the polls.

2) Multi-Day Elections. The idea that voting can only span one day is an arbitrary restriction. There is absolutely no reason why elections can't span multiple days. I  also believe this would dramaticly improve voter turnout.

3) FEC Reform. The way the Federal Election Commision doles out money is completely assinine and helps to insure that only major party candidates stand a chance of being elected.

For those that don't know the FEC collects money from the public to help hold elections (there is a little checkbox on your tax return for "donating" part of your taxes to the election fund). A large portion of this money is then doled out to the candidates based upon the percentage of the vote thier party got in the Previous election. This essentialy insures that independent candidates or candidates from parties that are not well entrenched get screwed.

I would propose the following reforms....

   a) HALF the FEC money be dolled out to candidates. EVERY candidate who got enough signatures to be placed on the ballot by the cutoff date get an EQUAL share of the FEC money, regardless of thier parties performance in the last election.

   b) HALF the FEC money be used to hold public debates and (in addition to requirements for publicly funded stations to do so as part of thier programming). EVERY candidate who had enough signatures to get on the ballot be invited to participate in these debates.

   c) The FEC publish an "Election Information" Website. This features a list of every single candidate on the ballot (and every ballot question). Each candidate is provided with a link to thier own website, as well as provided with 10 pages to post thier platform. The site also publishes each candidates voting records for any previous office they have held, as well as updated campaign finance information which the candidates are already required by law to publicly disclose (but which often isn't easly accessable to the general public).

I can think of more reforms, but I think just these few simple ones would improve the process greatly. The problem isn't in the basic structures of our government... the problem is in the process of how people have to go about getting themselves elected.

[ Parent ]

good and bad (4.66 / 3) (#82)
by aphrael on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 06:02:24 PM EST

Make Election Day a National Holiday

I am strongly in favor of this. At least for federal elections; states would have to do it for state elections that aren't on a federal schedule (eg., primaries, etc).

Multi-Day Elections

I think there are serious security issues with this --- what happens to the ballots / voting machines overnight, how do you ensure that an election board which changes composition (potentially) is able to provide consistent enforcement of rules, how do you get volunteers to man the polls for two days, etc. I also think making election day a public holiday would obviate the need for this.

[ Parent ]

Suggested ammendments (4.33 / 3) (#87)
by squigly on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 06:19:48 PM EST

Make Election Day a National Holiday.

Instead make it a half day holiday.  Possibly allowing businesses to choose which half.  Give people a whole day off, and they aren't going to dedicate the whole day to spend a few minutes voting when they could be visiting friends and relatives.

Multi-Day Elections.

No reason why not, but would it really help?  I can't believe that more than 10% of people can't find a few free minutes.  More polling stations would be a better use of money.

FEC Reform

a) HALF the FEC money be dolled out to candidates.

In the UK, candidates have to pay a small deposit which is returned if they get enough votes.  (It's quite small - £500 I think).  There is a valid argument that this might prevent someone from running, but in practice, even joke parties can usually manage to pull this together.  Actually giving people money in return for running would therefore seem to be pointless.

HALF the FEC money be used to hold public debates

Good idea.  

The FEC publish an "Election Information" Website.

I like this idea too, although with the money saved by not doing (a), you could probably manage to set up a free telephone information line, and distrubute a printed booklet as well.  

That said, major state and national newspapers should feel responsible to dedicate a few pages each day near the election to a totally impartial summary of the various candidates views on various key issues.  Maybe they do this, or maybe I'm being too idealistic.  

[ Parent ]

One Point (4.00 / 2) (#141)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 10:07:48 AM EST

--------------------------------------------------
a) HALF the FEC money be dolled out to candidates.

In the UK, candidates have to pay a small deposit which is returned if they get enough votes.  (It's quite small - £500 I think).  There is a valid argument that this might prevent someone from running, but in practice, even joke parties can usually manage to pull this together.  Actually giving people money in return for running would therefore seem to be pointless.
--------------------------------------------------

In the U.S. people are already given money for running. The FEC doles it out based upon thier parties performance in the last election.

That system is (IMO) assinine in that it only serves to help perpetuate entrenched parties hold on power.

My alternate suggestion is that it is doled out equaly to every candidate that's on the ballot.

Now for state and federal elections you don't get on the ballot simply by registering as a candidate. You need to get a certain number of signatures on a petition before you can get on the ballot. For major offices that number is pretty high and acts as an effective bar against candidates who are not serious about getting elected.

In partice what ends up happening is that in most states (for the Presidential election as an example) you will have somewhere between 6 - 12 candidates on the ballot. The problem is that you will have only had the opportunity to hear anything about 2 of those candidates (The Republican and Democrat). The rest of the candidates you'll have likely never even heard thier name before let alone anything about thier stances.

As a voter you are supposed to make an informed choice but you are only allowed to have information about 2 of the candidates. Guess who is going to end up getting elected.

This is because none of the other candidates can get any exposure to get thier message out. Exposure requires that you either have the cash to pay for it (i.e. mass advertising) or that the press consider you "importantant" enough to cover you.

In practice the press doesn't even normaly report the names of the minor party candidates running for office. The republican and democratic candidates are the only ones that get any coverage.  Nor are anyone but the Republican and Democratic candidates invited to any of the debates because they aren't considered "important" enough by the sponsors.

In my living memory Ross Perot was the only 3rd party candidate to ever be allowed to participate in a Presedential Debate.... and that was only the first time he ran.... the second time he was denied participation in the debates... even though he won 20% of the popular vote in the previous election. Just look what happaned to Nader in the last electoral debates.

In practice there are only a few ways that a candidate can get a chance:

1) Get accepted as the Republican or Democratic nominee.... with all the baggage that entails (i.e. accepting the party platform, doing "favors" for party officials)

2) Be a celebrity before you run (i.e. Jesse Ventura)

3) Be wealthy enough to be willing to spend a HUGE amount of your own money on getting elected (i.e. Ross Perot)

4) Have special interests groups bankroll your campaign (i.e. be bought).

This process does a huge diservice to the voters and by extension the country as a whole.

Public Sponsorships of elections... including providing a Public Forumn for EVERY candidate to get thier message out is key to improving government in the U.S. (IMO)

[ Parent ]

I agree in principle (4.00 / 1) (#162)
by squigly on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 06:01:36 PM EST

/ In the U.S. people are already given money for running. The FEC doles it out based upon thier parties performance in the last election./

And this sucks.  I don't think I can disagree there.

I see how getting exposure is useful.  The flipside is that if simply by running, you can get a guarenteed amount of money, what's to stop people just doing it for the money?  

Even if there are restrictions on how the money is spent, what about jsut for the free publicity?  "Why not vote for the McDonalds Party.  Or just enjoy one of our burgers".  I think this sort of thing is why the deposit was introduced in the UK.  


[ Parent ]

Crucial misunderstanding (4.57 / 7) (#15)
by Perianwyr on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 02:10:16 PM EST

Do you understand why negative campaign ads are made? They are not made to convince you that the candidate making the accusation is a worthy fellow. Instead, the purpose is to keep you from voting at all- when a weakly involved person like you hears how rotten one of the candidates is, you'll be inclined (as your post says) not to bother at all, because that attitude is likely to wash off on your inclination to get involved. As your motivation seems minimal, that will translate into zero involvement. Remember, Candidate A would rather you not vote than vote for Candidate B. You not voting clears the road for the fanatical followers of A to fight with those of B. So, in that vein, your disinvolvement simply says, "I don't really care what the fanatics do." The best way to tell America that the system is broken is to *run for office*. You might be surprised. You may have to compromise with folks you hate- but remember, that's what you've been asking them to do with you, all along! That having been said, it is certainly your prerogative not to vote. I just don't think it sends the message you want it to.

[ Parent ]
Screwed up logic (2.50 / 4) (#27)
by Silent Chris on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 02:28:59 PM EST

Let's think about this mathematically:

I have a vote of value 1 (actually, in some cases, my vote doesn't mean much because of the electorial system -- but anyway).

I can cast my vote for either candidate in a 2-candidate race.  When I do so, it effecively changes 2 total values out of 3 -- but the two are not each candidate.  The values in actuality are:

Vote for candidate: +1
Vote for other candidate: +-0
Vote for no one: -1

If I do not vote, I subtract no value from other candidate, and I add one to "Vote for no one":

Vote for candidate: +-0
Vote for other candidate: +-0
Vote for no one: +1

By your logic, this would count against one of the parties.  It doesn't.  

[ Parent ]

that's not the point he's making, though. (4.75 / 8) (#32)
by aphrael on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 02:35:24 PM EST

He's saying that if moderates are convinced that both candidates are evil, and don't vote at all, that lets the extremists control the political debate. And he has a good point: the way the bible thumpers get control of school boards (and then ban the teaching of evolution, or prohibit any speech by teachers which might remotely be interpreted as saying that homosexuality isn't wrong, or ban books they don't like) is via low voter turnout --- *their* supporters are mobilized, nobody else cares, so they win.

[ Parent ]
You seem to fail to mention the opposite (2.12 / 8) (#97)
by Silent Chris on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 07:25:18 PM EST

The extreme liberals also win, so we never confront countries that could ultimately kill our people, and taxpayers dollars are often wasted on fluff.

As far as I'm concerned, both sides even out.

[ Parent ]

evening out (5.00 / 3) (#171)
by aphrael on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 04:01:13 PM EST

I use the evil conservative brand of the argument because i'm a leftist in a leftist town. I *could* use the evil liberal argument, although I think that true extremist liberals never get elected to anything, and that most moderates and conservatives have no idea what passes for extreme in liberal thought.

But that isn't the point i'm trying to make.

The entire public is harmed when the political debate is controlled by the extremes. I don't care if they're extremist conservative bible-thumpers or extremist liberal socialist pacifists; if those are the people controlling the political debate, instead of people who see merit in the ideas of both sides *and* problems in the ideas of both sides, we're doomed in the long term.

[ Parent ]

Why in God's name would the parent get 4.8 (1.40 / 5) (#137)
by Silent Chris on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 08:26:39 AM EST

while I'm voted down?  Because I presented the other side of the argument?

[ Parent ]
Umm (4.66 / 3) (#140)
by br284 on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 10:03:49 AM EST

Any number of choices:
  1. Moderation these days has nothing to do with the actual quality of the content of the post -- rather it has become a knee-jerk agreement / disagreement mechanism.
  2. Your post probably sucked.
  3. It's fun modding down those whose self-esteem is a function of their karma/mojo. There is no relationship between your rating and your intelligence/penis size/etc.
In other words, moderation here is meaningless. Don't fret it.

-Chris

[ Parent ]

Wrong Conclusion (4.66 / 3) (#53)
by CENGEL3 on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 04:15:21 PM EST

The candidates (and political parties) don't actualy care how many people vote or don't vote.

The only thing they care about is the percentage of votes their candidate gets (out of the pool of all those who did vote) and how much greater it is then the other candidates in the race.

It's the ratio not the sum that matters. If you vote for a 3rd party candidate (or even a write in candidate). You're letting both the major parties know that they've got problems.

In fact, in some races in some states if enough people vote for write-ins or 3rd parties it can even invalidate the election.... since some states have rules requiring a candidate to get a certain minimum percentage of the vote in order to be elected.

I believe there is a good chance something like that might happen in the Vermont Governors race.

[ Parent ]

Issue with your equation (4.66 / 3) (#107)
by Perianwyr on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 09:25:00 PM EST

If I do not vote, I subtract no value from other candidate, and I add one to "Vote for no one":

Actually, since non-voters are nothing more than a curious post-election statistic, when you don't vote, you really have no impact whatsoever. Really. I can't think of a US state election system that has a minimum turnout requirement, and contingencies for such an event. If one person in the whole state votes, well, great, he just elected the entire representation (if anyone knows of one, I'd really like to hear about it- it sounds actually rather model if the tolerances are set correctly.)

If there was an option to vote "none of the above" as there is in some states, I'd suggest you go do that. As it stands, it might be wise to pick a single issue that you'd rather have fall one way or the other, and vote purely on that. I'd stake a fair amount, actually, that most of the votes cast in the US are something of that character (hence why utter non-issues like abortion get center stage.) The concern I have with not voting as a form of political protest is that it is about the most ineffectual way that you can possibly bother doing so.

[ Parent ]

There was a municipal election in Alabama (4.00 / 1) (#179)
by leviramsey on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 11:37:53 AM EST

...some years ago where two people were running. One candidate showed up to vote. His opponent didn't even bother to vote. No one else in the town voted.



[ Parent ]
Screwed up logic vs. no logic? (4.00 / 1) (#139)
by Djehuti on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 08:42:13 AM EST

The problem with your analysis is that there isn't a "vote for no one" option on most ballots, and on the ones that have such an option you actually have to show up and select it.

Of course, if you ever bothered to vote, you'd have actually seen a ballot, and would know that already.

[ Parent ]

Wow (2.00 / 11) (#17)
by Silent Chris on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 02:17:53 PM EST

From the K5 FAQ:

"A good guideline to determine whether you should rate a comment at all is to ask yourself whether you could explain your rating if asked to do so. If you could not, it would probably be wisest to not rate the comment at all. Rating purely on the basis of emotional agreement without actual knowledge on the subject or rational/logical disagreement is considered bad style by many users."

[ Parent ]

A real knife (4.83 / 6) (#24)
by cestmoi on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 02:22:15 PM EST

If you've seen, the only real time they've sat up and noticed their party wasn't getting votes was when they picked up on the fact that more and more people were not voting recently. This kind of information drives a knife through their hearts.

What they really notice is when they lose. If a third party candidate were to win tomorrow, you can bet your bottom dollar the major parties would take notice of your vote.

Not voting is equivalent to voting for the party that's best able to get their zealots to the polls. It's the lazy voter's default choice.

Voting for a third party candidate is equivalent to saying you want a change in politics as usual.



[ Parent ]

Who's knife? (none / 0) (#186)
by Josh A on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 05:49:09 AM EST

Voting says, "I recognize this process as valid." To continue your metaphor it says "I agree with you that this knife I didn't choose is my only weapon."

How can someone who does not feel that way, in good conscience, vote?

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
Why? (3.75 / 4) (#37)
by squigly on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 02:59:08 PM EST

Why not spoil the form? Or write "None of the above" on  the form.  

How do they know that you actually care?  How do tthey determine that you're not voting on principle rather than not voting out of apathy?

[ Parent ]

Same thing (none / 0) (#185)
by Josh A on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 05:45:17 AM EST

How do tthey determine that you're not voting on principle rather than not voting out of apathy?

Same thing. I point it out here.

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
That's exactly what they want you to do... (4.66 / 3) (#144)
by tordia on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 10:46:22 AM EST

The incumbents, and most of the people running against them, don't want you to vote. If less people vote, that's less people the candidates have to influence to get elected, which means they can pay less attention to the voters.

You are not voting against the election process. Nowhere on the Wednesday following an election do I see returns of the form: 35% of the people voted, 40% of the people didn't vote because they don't care, and 25% of the didn't vote because they have a problem with the election process. You are not voting in any way, and I really hope you haven't convinced yourself that you are voting in any way, shape, or form.

By not voting, the only people you are doing a favor for are the people already in power.

[ Parent ]

Utter nonsense (4.00 / 2) (#147)
by Frank Wustner on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 11:39:51 AM EST

When you fail to vote, you are not voting against anybody. All you are doing is make yourself irrelevant. The election results are tallied by the number of people who actually vote, not by the number of elegible voters. By decreasing that pool, you are only doing "the system" a favor.

Your so-called "vote against the election process" only makes it easier for the two big parties to railroad you. If you really want to stick a knife to them, vote. Make your voice heard for the honest folks and vote for them. That is the only way to have any impact at all.



[ Parent ]
Fitting subject line (none / 0) (#184)
by Josh A on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 05:42:23 AM EST

Vote... That is the only way to have any impact at all.

Utter nonsense indeed. As someone else pointed out, they sit up and beg for those non-votes to change. Too bad they're not gettin' it. ;)

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
To non-voters (4.33 / 9) (#16)
by CanSpice on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 02:14:39 PM EST

I'm sure there are a lot of people who are just fed up with the whole system, fed up enough so they don't vote. Some of these people would say that their non-vote is a vote against both parties. To these people: you're deluding yourself. There is no way to tell the difference between you and Joe Slob who's too busy downing a 12-pack of MGD to vote. Your "vote against authority" is a vote for apathy.

So what's the solution? Vote, silly. But don't vote for one of the big two. Vote for a third party. Or, if there aren't any candidates that strike your fancy, spoil your ballot. Make the conscious decision to actively vote against someone by spoiling your ballot. This is the only way you can truly "vote against authority" and successfully rage against the machine.

I'm a strong proponent of what Nevada does (or is it Las Vegas?) -- put a "none of the above" option on their ballots. I wish every jurisdiction would do something like this.

Above all else, don't think that by not voting you're actually voting against the system, because you're not. Get out and vote. I couldn't care less who you vote for or what you do in the ballot box, just get out and vote.

none of the above option (4.00 / 1) (#19)
by aphrael on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 02:19:42 PM EST

An option for 'none of the above' was proposed in California by a ballot measure in the 2000 primary election. At the time, California had a 'blanket primary' where all candidates were placed on one ballot and you picked one, regardless of party; the top vote-getters in each party advanced to the general election. This was a popular system, and much of the opposition to 'none of the above' came from people who said that this system had solved the problem none-of-the-above was intended to solve.

Of course, California's blanket primary law was thrown out by the US Supreme Court later that spring as an unconstitutional infringement on the right of freedom of association. But the 'none of the above' option was nonetheless soundly defeated, and there is zero sign of anyone trying it again here.

One of the more frustrating things in that election was the way the state's green party, which had been championing 'none of the above' for years, refused to endorse the ballot measure because it wasn't binding (eg., votes for 'none of the above' would be counted, but if 'none of the above' won, then the position would still be filled by the second highest vote getter). The practical problems with a binding none of the above didn't seem to matter to them.

[ Parent ]

Uhh... what would be the point? (none / 0) (#182)
by Josh A on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 05:30:31 AM EST

Of a non-binding "none of the above" vote? Who would vote for a candidate if they knew, if s/he won, they wouldn't get to take office? THAT must be the definition of "wasted vote", right?

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
Just out of curiosity (5.00 / 2) (#20)
by Jman1 on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 02:19:50 PM EST

What happens if "none" wins?

[ Parent ]
I'm not from NV (none / 0) (#30)
by CanSpice on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 02:33:20 PM EST

So this is just what I've heard. If "none" wins, I believe they rehold the election. Makes for extra elections and more money spent on elections (and probably greater apathy), though.

[ Parent ]
highest total votes (none / 0) (#127)
by dirvish on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 12:57:47 AM EST

Whomever has the most votes, even if they have less votes than the blank spots on the ballot. AFAIK, there is no none of the above option in California. Although there are people trying to encourage such a thing.

Also, in the event of a close election instant runoff voting could decide things. I believe the Green Party is a proponent of both of these (IRV and NOTA).

Technical Certification Blog, Anti Spam Blog
[ Parent ]
What's the difference between (none / 0) (#35)
by fhotg on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 02:50:23 PM EST

not voting and spoiling your ballot ? How will anyone tell if you were too busy drinking, too drunk to vote properly or if you are supporting an idealistic yet profound change in the current powerstructure ?
~~~
Gitarren fr die Mdchen -- Champagner fr die Jungs

[ Parent ]
Fair enough (4.00 / 1) (#39)
by CanSpice on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 03:06:39 PM EST

True. Then again, who's to say that you weren't drunk when you went in and voted for Candidate X instead of Candidate Y like you wanted? Who's to say that you weren't thrown by a misleading ballot and voted for Buchanan instead of Gore like you wanted?

You could second-guess all night long.

[ Parent ]

Statistics (3.00 / 1) (#59)
by squigly on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 04:33:38 PM EST

It would be nice if there was a distinction between deliberately spoiled and accidentally spoiled ballots.  I've always liked the idea of a Re-open nominations option.  

Nevertheless, there is a small difference - The number of spoiled forms will be roughly constant.  If there is a spike, then it will be hard to argue that people are increasingly getting stupid.  

The number of non-voters will vary much more.  If there is a spike, people will consider the populace are getting lazier.

[ Parent ]

Are spoiled ballots counted? (none / 0) (#125)
by dirvish on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 12:49:23 AM EST

Or are they just tossed? I know third party votes are counted.

Technical Certification Blog, Anti Spam Blog
[ Parent ]
Vote for smart people (3.00 / 3) (#67)
by kholmes on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 05:17:23 PM EST

Too often, it seems to me, the voting is for platform or party instead of for people.

Consider, lets say you are deciding between a politician who is pro-life and another who is pro-choice. Do you vote for the guy you agree with?

Bzzzzt. Wrong. This one of the things that fuels the political machine.

Instead, if the pro-life politician is lazy or untrustworthy, you vote for the pro-choice candidate. You vote for the better candidate, not for the better platform. You only look for the better platform when you are undecided about the candidates.

The same thing goes for political parties. Political party doesn't really matter if the candidates standout by themselves.

I think if everyone did this, then the parties would be forced to produce better candidates rather electable platforms or microphone thumping speeches. Whats with the Bush bounce, anyway? Does he prove something about the candidate? He just likes the candidate because he's republican. It should be obvious to anyone. But its all part of the political machine, I guess.

Anyway, vote for smart people--not for a certain political party or for their platform. This is the only way politics will improve in America.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

"Before we begin tonight's political debate, (none / 0) (#74)
by Ricochet Rita on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 05:41:25 PM EST

"...would the candidates please fold these protein molecules together." ;-)

Great idea, but um, who gets to determin everyone's intelligence level? Let's hope you're not proposing a National IQ Plan or any similar (potentially-discriminatory) legislation.

Don't forget some awfully brainless people are really clever speakers (this is probably an entrance requirement to become a politician), where as others only sound intelligent at first listen (didn't George Carlin have a routine about this?--only taking about 5 second to figure out that a speaker's "full of sh*t?"), and then there's a number of us geeky types, who tend to have both feet firmly planted in our mouths, during any sort of social speaking engagement. Unfortunately, listening is one of the main ways people become acquainted with their candidates (that & reading lawn signs...). So, how do you tell who's smarter? SAT scores? Class rankings? BAR exams?

Or is that in itself, disenfranchising the "mentally challenged?" Maybe we should vote for the savants? Yo, Gump for Pres!

R

R

FABRICATUS DIEM, PVNC!
[ Parent ]

I don't mean smart as in "smart" (none / 0) (#121)
by kholmes on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 12:29:39 AM EST

I mean, *smart*.

Okay. I suppose I'm not being entirely clear.

I use the term "smart" to mean many things, not just intelligence. Lets say I'm the clerk to a store, and I see some kid come in and steal something and then leave the store. No, I wouldn't run after him, unless the item was of any real value. That's because I'm being smart and the kid is being dumb and me running after him would be dumber since I probably couldn't catch and it would be a waste of time even if I did.

Hence, smart.

So I guess I mean more competence and the ability to think things through with regard to politicians. For instance, a smart leader isn't just someone who tells people what to do, but also takes input to find the best outcome.

So yeah. Smart.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

Just a side note (none / 0) (#124)
by dirvish on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 12:47:45 AM EST

Whatever your definition of smart is, George W. does not qualify. The man is an idiot. He is a puppet of his cabinet (also his daddy's cabinet). Just listen to one of his speaches (entirely created by speach writers), he obviously doesn't even understand what he is saying. Hell, I scored higher on the SAT test than he did and I am a moron.

Technical Certification Blog, Anti Spam Blog
[ Parent ]
Hopefully his speachwriters can spell speech (n/t) (4.00 / 1) (#152)
by kableh on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 01:21:05 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Gosh, I hope you're kidding (5.00 / 2) (#84)
by dachshund on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 06:07:57 PM EST

Instead, if the pro-life politician is lazy or untrustworthy, you vote for the pro-choice candidate. You vote for the better candidate, not for the better platform. You only look for the better platform when you are undecided about the candidates.

The whole purpose of representative voting is to put people into office who will support your views. If you really don't want the US to invade Burkina Faso*, then why the hell would you vote for a guy who strongly supports invading Burkina Faso? Just because he's nice, confident and smart?

In a perfect world, we could avoid politicians and just vote on every issue directly. Obviously that's not practical, so representatives are necessary. I only wish more people understood that this is exactly what they're for: to represent you, not to make all of your decisions for you because they look like good people.

Your solution is just a slightly more sophisticated version of "I voted for him cause he looked good in a suit".

* Incidentally, I do not advocate the invasion of Burkina Faso, although I would support some sort of UN resolution forcing them to change their name back to Upper Volta.

[ Parent ]

I'm talking about character (none / 0) (#119)
by kholmes on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 12:22:51 AM EST

And no, I'm not kidding. Its not who do you agree with but who do you trust. You want honest competent politicians first, politicians you agree with second.

Yes, politicians are supposed to make decisions for you. That's what leadership is all about. Because a mob is always less competent than the individual in choosing what's best for them.

If you treat people as most people treat things and treat things as most people treat people, you might be a Randian.
[ Parent ]

Vote for third party... (5.00 / 3) (#69)
by jmzero on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 05:30:20 PM EST

It provides something measurable at the end, and shows dissatisfaction with the "real" choices.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]
Nice to hear you care... now shag off (none / 0) (#183)
by Josh A on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 05:38:20 AM EST

There is no way to tell the difference between you and Joe Slob who's too busy downing a 12-pack of MGD to vote. Your "vote against authority" is a vote for apathy.

Apathy's not invalid. Let's consider all non-votes "apathy votes". We cannot separate this apathy from the current system; they are a package deal. Obviously if > 50% of voters are apathetic about the system, there is a problem with the system, including its inbuilt methods of change.

Put "Nobody" on the ballot, and I'll vote for him. Please, no mumbling about write in votes. Remember, this is all about NOT wasting time.

I couldn't care less who you vote for or what you do in the ballot box, just get out and vote.

It surely must be nice for you to be committed to and supportive of the system you find yourself with. Others do not find themselves in a similarly luxurious place.

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
More on Simon being a dork.. (4.16 / 6) (#25)
by opendna on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 02:24:38 PM EST

When the Republican party was choosing it's candidate to run again Davis it quickly became clear that one candidate had a chance and the other was useless. The weaker candidate won the primary.

Why did Simon win the primary? Because he had the support of the arch-conservative (by California standards) Republican core. As a result he stands completly opposite the general population on many issues. [He's pro-vouchers. He's pro-off shore drilling. He's even pro-life for F's sake! Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!] The Republicans nominated Gov. Davis' favored opponent and discarded a hopeful who was *already* running ahead or Davis in the polls.

The Republican Party of California, being of sound minds and political body knowingly, intentionally and willfully committed political suicide in this gubenatorial election.



political suicide (5.00 / 3) (#29)
by aphrael on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 02:30:49 PM EST

The republican party of California knowingly and willfully committed political suicide in 1994 and has never managed to figure out how to recover; it has been stumbling around and shooting itself in the foot continuously since then.

It's truly a sad thing to watch.

[ Parent ]

Please elaborate (4.00 / 1) (#50)
by X-Nc on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 03:49:25 PM EST

> The republican party of California knowingly
> and willfully committed political suicide in 1994

I'm not from CA and, unfortunately, can not remember that far back in history. Could you explain what the Republican party did and it's repercussion? I would like to know, honestly.

--
Aaahhhh!!!! My K5 subscription expired. Now I can't spell anymore.
[ Parent ]

Prop. 187, mostly (4.50 / 2) (#58)
by KilljoyAZ on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 04:33:01 PM EST

The GOP-backed initiative denying social services to illegal immigrants alienated the GOP from Hispanics, the fastest growing voter population in the state. And it's not just the state GOP that suffered for it - Bush spoke a lot of Spanish on the 2000 campaign trail for a reason.

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]
do you want the simple answer or the complex one? (5.00 / 6) (#76)
by aphrael on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 05:47:36 PM EST

The republican party in california basically has two seperate problems, both of which to some degree were self-inflicted.

To begin with, in 1994, then-incumbent governor Pete Wilson, while running for re-election, loudly and vocally supported a ballot measure aimed at denying illegal immigrants access to education, emergency health care, and other state services. This in and of itself might have been recoverable were it not for the television ads he ran; ads which featured people who looked hispanic crossing mock-ups of border fences, etc, with narration that said things like "*they* keep coming."

The state's hispanic community was outraged. The state's hispanic community is still outraged; when Wilson showed up at a Bill Simon fundraiser last week, there were picketers. (True to form, Wilson made a comment about wanting to tell the picketers that they were in the wrong place for the unemployment line). This outrage denied the Republicans what had previously been assumed to be a group of natural allies (socially conservative hispanic voters) *and* mobilized them to become politically active; voter registration and participation among hispanics in California is the highest in the nation, and it is almost entirely devoted to the democratic party.

In a state where no ethnic group (including caucasians) constitutes a majority, and hispanics are the fastest growing minority, this has crippled the Republican party ever since.

But they've made their problems worse with another form of suicide: their primaries. The growing number of non-partisan voters in California (more than a third of the electorate are registered without a political party affiliation) means that the parties are dominated by ideologues; in the Republican case, the primaries tend in general to eleect social conservatives whose views on issues like abortion, school prayer, gay rights, and the environment don't match those of the non-partisan suburban voters. (Those who get nominated and don't share the extremist views, like bruce mcpherson for lt. governor this year and tom campbell for senate two years ago, don't get any funding from party activists and have a tough time mounting a campaign). This means that, while the republican candidates can count on the support of their mostly conservative base, that base is not much more than 30% of the electorate, and they have a really difficult time broadening that support --- the 15-20% who are really liberal won't vote for them, the hispanic community won't vote for them, and they have to fish for votes among nonpartisan suburban voters who don't like their social politics.

[ Parent ]

It seems to be basic political strategy. (none / 0) (#49)
by wumpus on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 03:38:10 PM EST

Take Bush vs. McCain. McCain promised to "beat Gore like a drum". Bush had to win by a contested votes and butterfly ballots. I doubt many Democrats believe anyone could beat McCain in a general election. Sometimes I think its because the Bush folks had Gore in their pocket (at least as well as McCain), and wanted to go for it all.

I don't remember much of the primary election at the time, but Dukakis seemed to be a simlar choice. (The great "shrimp or wimp" choice of '88).

Remember, its not who votes (or even who counts the votes, for all you have heard), but who does the nominating that matters. The US nominations are easily the weakest part of our democracy. Buy candidates early, and buy often, and you can pretty much own the government.

Wumpus

[ Parent ]

Solution: (4.00 / 1) (#65)
by jmzero on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 05:12:41 PM EST

A populace that cares enough to find out about candidates and participate in the primaries.

Unfortunately, they will also probably need to be American.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

Oddly (none / 0) (#177)
by leviramsey on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 11:07:12 AM EST

If you actually look at the platforms, McCain was further to the right than Bush on just about every issue.



[ Parent ]
Not to mention (4.00 / 2) (#55)
by Yanks Rule on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 04:24:03 PM EST

...the fact that Davis ran anti-Richard Riordan ads (he was mayor of LA, and the previously mentioned single candidate who could possibly unseat Davis) DURING THE PRIMARIES designed to get Simon nominated. Truely Gray Davis is the poster boy for the Sleazy Career Politician stereotype: willing to do anything to stay elected.


"I do think we live in dangerous times, and anybody who looks at the world and says this is the time to be a wuss--I can't buy that anymore. " -- Dennis Miller
[ Parent ]

Mirror image in New York (3.00 / 1) (#78)
by dachshund on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 05:55:25 PM EST

The same thing has more or less happened in New York with the Democrats. In a state that consistently goes Democrat in Presidential and Congressional elections, we're well on our way to re-electing a Republican governor.

Basically, one candidate was preferred by the entrenched Democratic machinery of the state-- which is great for winning primaries, but unfortunately not enough to handle a general election.

Fortunately (or unfortunately) for us, we don't have all of the fireworks and nastiness of the California race going on here. But we do have an anti-drug-war independent running at about 17% in the polls, which is at least worthy of note.

[ Parent ]

Massachusetts (none / 0) (#178)
by leviramsey on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 11:33:01 AM EST

Massachusetts is a state that consistently votes 2-to-1 Democratic and the Dems hold a 3-to-1 advantage in state government. The Republican party has done nothing but shoot itself in the foot in the great Commonwealth, save for one exception: it has run four straight winning campaigns, by substantial margins, for governor.

Why? I personally think it's out of fear that the Democrats will go crazy as they did under Dukakis in the 80's when the Commonwealth was known as Taxachusetts. The fact that everyone votes Democrat for the Great and General Court, Governor's Council, Auditor, Treasurer, Attorney General, and Secretary of the Commonwealth that, to balance that out, they vote Republican for Governor/Lt. Governor to maintain a semblance of balance. The Massachusetts Republican is also a different breed. Mitt Romney, a Mormon[!!!!!!!] is in favor of such decidedly atypically Republican positions as:

  • Tying the minimum wage to inflation
  • Though opposed to gay marriage, believes that domestic partnership should be extended to cover such rights as health benefits and survivorship
  • no change to the abortion laws
  • enforcement of the gun control laws, the assault weapons ban, and the right and ability of hunters to own and use weapons responsibly


[ Parent ]
Reminds me of a quote (4.75 / 8) (#34)
by 90X Double Side on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 02:47:15 PM EST

“Widespread corporate corruption, Cheney’s secretive energy plan, a $1.6 trillion tax cut, a crumbling economy, increases in unemployment, a return to a national deficit, the destruction of civil liberties, war without end... the list goes on and on. You’d think all this would be enough to spell the end of the Republican Party’s rule in Washington, but then you remember the opposition: the Democrats.” —Michael Moore

“Reality is just a convenient measure of complexity”
—Alvy Ray Smith
Liberals on Crack (1.00 / 1) (#93)
by mideast on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 06:42:59 PM EST

a $1.6 trillion tax cut, a crumbling economy, increases in unemployment, a return to a national deficit

Earth to Michael Moore: voters like tax cuts. They are also not stupid enough to blame economic cycles on any political party.

[ Parent ]

Oh really...? (2.50 / 4) (#102)
by Herb User on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 08:09:47 PM EST

Earth to mideast: Voters are stupid enough to like tax cuts under any circumstances. They develop irrational beliefs, and they can easily be led to believe that Clinton or Bush caused the recession. Look around, I've seen both cases.
They simply like tax cuts because they get more money.
People don't often think as much as I would like; they like everything in black or white, with no gray in the middle. You surely realize this, don't you?
Slackware GNU/Linux: The Best!
[ Parent ]
YOU on Crack (none / 0) (#180)
by Josh A on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 05:20:19 AM EST

They are also not stupid enough to blame economic cycles on any political party.

They certainly are! And I'm not convinced there isn't an effect, only slow enough that people don't realize who caused what when.

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
Thanks for that (none / 0) (#181)
by Josh A on Fri Nov 08, 2002 at 05:25:33 AM EST

It expresses my feelings perfectly.

I heard some democrat AM talk radio for the first time yesterday. I tried to listen for a whole segment, but I had to change it because it was absolutely asinine. I kept asking aloud, "When are you going to TALK about SOMETHING?" Instead all they offered was shrill ad hominems. I'm not even talking subtle & clever attacks, but insults circa third grade (the words "Republican" and "scum" were used in the same sentence.)

I'm not a Republican, but I'll listen to Rush any day over b.s. like that.

---
Thank God for Canada, if only because they annoy the Republicans so much. – Blarney


[ Parent ]
What are you complaining about? (5.00 / 2) (#38)
by KilljoyAZ on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 03:04:45 PM EST

The choice is clear! (Flash required)

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos (n/t) (5.00 / 3) (#61)
by jmzero on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 05:00:51 PM EST

I can't believe nobody has made that joke yet...
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]
Plausible deniability (3.25 / 4) (#56)
by squigly on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 04:27:34 PM EST

I'm impressed that Davis is both crooked and and blatent about it.  In Bill Simon's case, there's some degree of plausible deniability.  e.g. He could have been given the photo in good faith that it was not taken at a private residence, and the fraud could have genuinely been a bad deal.  

Davis on the other hand just seem to be a fool.  Accepting money from the prison guards may have been reasonable.  It is possible that he was against privately run prisons, and the contributors gave him the money to help his campaign because it would benefit them if he got in.  I can think of no possible defence for buying that many Oracle licences.  

I have to ask - is it better to have an intelligent crook or a stupid one in ofice?

I vote for No Crook In Office (none / 0) (#100)
by cestmoi on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 07:54:13 PM EST

Seriously - it's absolutely appalling that Davis or Simon are even in the running. Corruption has become so pervasive that no one is batting an eyelash anymore.

Case in point. Local cattleman took a bunch of retarded children under his wing and raised them the best he could. He dies, leaves provisions in his will for the kids and leaves a sizable chunk of land to a college. The land comes with a stipulation that if the college elects not to build a campus, the land is to be turned into a park. Nice guy, nice idea.

Twenty years pass and the college tries to sell the land to a local developer. For some unexplained reason, the state who is clearly the beneficiary since the college has discarded the campus idea, walks away from the land. No records of why or what not - just a quit claim saying the college can go ahead. That's just one of many stories out here.

Graft is becoming endemic and no one gives a rat's ass.

[ Parent ]

Spoil your ballot (1.00 / 1) (#71)
by Rogerborg on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 05:37:09 PM EST

By folding it into a little origami envelope, writing "Death to the Man" on the outside, and filling it with sherbet.

Yes, I know, not a big joke for the ballot counter, but how else are you going to get your message across?  Vote libertarian or green or independent?  Who gives a rats ass?  Neither of the two mandatory winners can win those votes anyway, so what do they care?

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs

Heres why they care (4.00 / 1) (#135)
by brunes69 on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 06:37:57 AM EST

If the Libertarians (or Greens, or whoever) get an extra 2000 votes more than normal, and the Republicans or the Democrats lose to the other major party by less than that margin, don't you think that they might sit up and take notice? It's basiclly a slap in the face, saying "these votes may have been yours, had you not been such a jackass"



---There is no Spoon---
[ Parent ]
If... (none / 0) (#136)
by Rogerborg on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 06:58:40 AM EST

So, where does this actually happen?

You are aware that over 90% of Congressional representatives are reelected, and in the last Senate race, 98% of incumbents were reelected?

The... system... is... broken.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

They care because (none / 0) (#156)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 03:30:16 PM EST

the amount of money campaigns get from things like Federal and State election funds is directly related to how well (in terms of percentage of the overall vote) thier party did in the previous election.

So by voting for anyone other then the those 2 candidates you are taking money directly out of the Republican & Democratic parties pockets.

If you spoil your ballot your vote doesn't get counted as part of the total. If you vote for anyone (even a write in) it does.

That alone should give you incentive to vote if you aren't happy with either major party.

[ Parent ]

Yup (none / 0) (#164)
by Rogerborg on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 08:11:37 PM EST

They'll really appreciate the ten cents from my vote.  Jeesus fucking Buddha, if the only point to voting was to get money for my chosen candidate or party, I'd just give them the money.

The purpose of voting is to elect a candidate.  Not to influence this or to steer that or gain funds for the other.  It's to pick an actual representative on the day.

Unfortunately, neither Tweedle Dee nor Tweedle Dum represents my views, and the chances of my contributing to picking a representative from a third party is somewhat lower than the chance of winning the lottery.  In fact, given that 98% of standing incumbents are reelected to the Senate, even voting for anyone other than the incumbent is an aberrant - one may even suggest unpatriotic - piece of behaviour.

In short: The.  System.  Is.  Broken.

Supporting it in any way is just perpetuating the myth that it serves us and not the massively rich hereditary ruling class.  In an ideal world, that wouldn't be the case, but I'm talking about the system as it actually is right now.  And right now, it stinks to high heaven.  Take part if it makes you feel better, but I can not bring myself to contribute to the farce of giving a "popular mandate" to the 2nd worst candidate on offer.

"Exterminate all rational thought." - W.S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]

problem... (none / 0) (#166)
by aluminumaloi on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 11:42:41 AM EST

The problem is, not matter what your real reason for not voting is, no matter how valid it might be, it will ALWAYS be interpreted by the people in power as one thing: Apathy. The only way NOT voting will EVER influence anything is if EVERYBODY didn't vote. Which is never, ever going to happen. So get off your balls and vote. Write yourself in. Do something. Otherwise your little protest will go unnoticed.

Of course, it's too late, but think about that and let it sink in between now and the next election.

[ Parent ]

Re: Yup (none / 0) (#167)
by cduffy on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 01:38:24 PM EST

They'll really appreciate the ten cents from my vote.

Whether a minor party gets ten cents extra or not isn't necessarily a big deal -- but whether they get the minimum number of voters to be recognized for any campaign funding at all (and so to have a better shot at electing a candidate next year) is a big deal.

the chances of my contributing to picking a representative from a third party is somewhat lower than the chance of winning the lottery.

Know what? If enough people just like you get off their asses and vote third-party, it would at least result in a substantial message being sent to the major party candidates: Shape up, you're alienating too many voters on [this side]. Even if the major party candidates still get elected, what percentages voted for which minor candidates can still have an effect on policy.

In short: The.  System.  Is.  Broken.

Yes, it is -- and by sitting outside and talking about how much of a problem it is, you're being counterproductive towards those who are interested in fixing it.

Even if the system won't absolutely do what you want (elect good people to office), by participating you -- and those who act as you do -- can at least have some reasonable effect on policy. To not vote because you can't get everything you want hurts those of us who are trying to create real change, however minor.

Supporting it in any way is just perpetuating the myth that it serves us and not the massively rich hereditary ruling class.

Since when did it have to serve only one group? It gives the appearance of popular support to those who are elected, granted -- but it also gives them guidelines on what policies are likely to gain popular acceptance, and what lines will help them be reelected next year. If those policies and those lines are closer to what you want them to be than what they'd be otherwise, all the better! Refuse to vote and you won't even have that.

[ Parent ]

Private Prisons (4.63 / 11) (#79)
by Blarney on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 05:56:41 PM EST

It's no secret that Davis has worked to close down less expensive private prisons and favors opening more expensive state prisons run by state-employed guards.

Yeah, private prisons are much cheaper. They can feed the inmates less, don't have to waste time on "rehabilitation" education programs that nobody likes anyway, they can hire high-school dropouts for $5.15 per hour to walk around beating prisoners for sticks, and they can please their stockholders best by squeezing as much forced labor out of their charges as they can without injuring or killing enough of them to get in trouble.

That Davis, what a crook for not supporting these good honest businessmen. All you Californians better vote in a governor who really knows how to run a prison.

Prison... (2.00 / 9) (#94)
by TheEldestOyster on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 06:50:40 PM EST

... is supposed to be a punishment, and nothing more.
--
TheEldestOyster (rizen/bancus) * PGP Signed/Encrypted mail preferred
[ Parent ]
Rehabilitation too (4.60 / 5) (#95)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 06:55:26 PM EST

Not according to the US Bureau of Prisons.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
No... (4.00 / 6) (#96)
by goonie on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 07:03:28 PM EST

That's your opinion, and you're entitled to it. Many people would disagree with you. I agree that it is and should be a punishment, but I would like prisoners to receive some help whilst inside so that when they get out they are less likely to offend again (for instance, to get off the drugs that causes most of them to commit their crimes in the first place).

Even if you don't give a crap about prisoners as people, you want them not committing crimes when they are released.

[ Parent ]

Punishment my ass (none / 0) (#169)
by mcelrath on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 02:31:58 PM EST

Put them in a small space, surrounded by other criminals. What do you think happens? They gain criminal contacts, knowledge of how to better commit crimes, and resources for when they get out. Prison is not about rehabilitation for 90% of the inmates, and in fact makes the crime situation worse in the long run.

The argument over prisons should not be about what kind of prison, it should be about how to get people OUT of prison. The US currently has more of our population in prison than any other country. That is simply shameful. Note that this includes "oppressive" regimes like Iraq, Cuba and the like. And we call ourselves a "free" country. We are approaching 1% of our population in prison. But it's okay since "it's not happening to me"...

The solution is not more, bigger, better, or cheaper prisons, but legalize drugs (the vast majority of inmates are there for minor, nonviolent drug offenses), dispose of "zero tolerance" laws and mandatory sentencing. Give discretion back to judges, and get our countrymen out of prison!

-- Bob

[ Parent ]

The myth of cheap private prisons (4.00 / 3) (#111)
by dachshund on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 09:37:59 PM EST

Yeah, private prisons are much cheaper

On top of your concerns, the whole idea of private prisons being "cheaper" stands on some pretty dubious ground. There's no conclusive evidence that corrections contractors are any more efficient than public prisons. They're government contractors, with limited competition and an understanding of how to charge more than they quote. They also routinely use their funds to lobby politicians. Think about other industry contractors (defence, for instance) before you make the assumption that they're efficient.

[ Parent ]

Trust me on this (1.00 / 1) (#123)
by dirvish on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 12:34:45 AM EST

Simon is a complete idiot...and a criminal. I am voting for Camejo and hoping Davis wins.

Technical Certification Blog, Anti Spam Blog
[ Parent ]
Private prisons (3.75 / 4) (#131)
by kuro5hinatportkardotnet on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 03:47:57 AM EST


The whole idea of a for profit industry built around the imprisonment of human beings is repugnant.  They do not have any incentive to rehabilitate the prisoners rather they have an incentive to make sure that they will be back thus increasing profits.

 

Libertarian is the label used by embarrassed Republicans that long to be open about their greed, drug use and porn collections.
[ Parent ]
He's not a crook for his position (4.50 / 2) (#146)
by KilljoyAZ on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 11:20:43 AM EST

He's a crook because decided to take a $250,000 check from the prison guard's union two months after he took his position. That's the largest check his campaign has received. Support Gray Davis if you like, but you're seriously deluded if you think he's a man of principle.

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]
I wouldn't call that crooked (1.00 / 1) (#151)
by greenrd on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 01:09:06 PM EST

I don't believe that campaign donations from unions are a sign of "crookedness". Supporting state-run prisons is just the right thing to do, IMO.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

You just don't get it (4.00 / 1) (#154)
by KilljoyAZ on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 02:21:12 PM EST

Do you think Gray Davis actually cares about the well-being of the prison population? How do you reconcile this with his rejections of practically every offer of parole the state parole board has sent to his desk for approval?

===
Creativitiy cannot be SPELT by over 98% of all American troops. - psychologist
[ Parent ]
What's wrong with you Californians? (4.50 / 4) (#90)
by jabber on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 06:29:20 PM EST

Enron screwed you all over with the help of your own elected officials. Your elected officials screwed you over with your blessing. What is the matter with you people?

Doesn't your State Constitution entail a clause about recall, impeachment, or ejection of your officials? Isn't there legal substrate to resolve the situation you've gotten yourselves into? There really should be.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

I'm Voting for Schwartzenegger! (3.00 / 2) (#106)
by egg troll on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 08:34:32 PM EST

Basically I think California is screwed until Arnold Schwartzenegger throws his hat into the ring. Now there is a man with a solid plan to clean up this state! Nevermind that I don't know a thing about his political views. He's a famous actor and its apparent that's enough for this state!

He's a bondage fan, a gastronome, a sensualist
Unparalleled for sinister lasciviousness.

[ Parent ]

Arny (3.00 / 1) (#122)
by dirvish on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 12:33:02 AM EST

He authored a measure to fund before/after school programs here in Cali.

Technical Certification Blog, Anti Spam Blog
[ Parent ]
Yes BUT (none / 0) (#150)
by greenrd on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 01:03:59 PM EST

Yes, but not by raising taxes, but by taking money from other areas of state spending.


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes
[ Parent ]

Voting Systems Analyzed (5.00 / 1) (#101)
by SEWilco on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 08:07:39 PM EST

There is a recent article pointed to by Slashdot.Org about the mathematical characteristics of several voting systems. I like the method where one votes for as many candidates as desired. This allows both targeted votes for a single person, votes for several preferences, or votes "against" by voting for everyone else.

Here's the link (5.00 / 2) (#134)
by squigly on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 04:53:26 AM EST

You could at least tell people where to find it

http://www.sciencenews.org/20021102/bob8.asp

[ Parent ]

Better Voting System? (none / 0) (#168)
by mcelrath on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 02:19:48 PM EST

I don't understand why this is so hard. The article mentions that all existing voting systems were proven not fair by the criteria that increasing the number of people that vote for you cannot make you lose the election. Ok, so big deal, it shouldn't be that hard to invent a function that satisfies those criteria. Has anyone proven that such a function is impossible or is it that the mathematicians aren't paying attention to it?

-- Bob

[ Parent ]

Third option: (none / 0) (#103)
by LilDebbie on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 08:10:13 PM EST

None of the above.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

good option, but not the third (5.00 / 1) (#108)
by dirvish on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 09:27:19 PM EST

more on the NOTA option

Actually, that would be the fourth option. The third option is Green Party candidate Peter Camejo. Even if you don't entirely agree with the Green Party you have to admit it would be nice to have another political party around that could actually challenge the Republican-Democrat status quo. The green party is the closest to achieving this. The only way they can become a viable threat to the existing political powers is if they get some votes, money and recognition.

Many left wing voters will not vote for a Green candidate because they are afraid it will only help a Republican win. This attitude will only guarantee a continuation of the status quo. There will never be a change for the better if people let the FUD control them, don't vote their hearts and settle for the lesser of evils.

Technical Certification Blog, Anti Spam Blog
[ Parent ]
Green? Hell no (none / 0) (#112)
by LilDebbie on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 10:34:28 PM EST

The Independent or Independence parties have trounced the Greens election after election. The Greens are just the noisiest.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
depends on the state. (5.00 / 1) (#114)
by aphrael on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 10:49:38 PM EST

in minnesota, maybe. in california, there is no independance party, and the greens are the most successful and most organized minor party.

[ Parent ]
Yeah.. (none / 0) (#159)
by VrtlCybr2000 on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 04:34:32 PM EST

I know here in Michigan, Green party has like, a predicted 16% of the vote... we'll see at the end of the day and all, but that's what it was at as of like, Saturday...

[ Parent ]
I will NEVER vote Green!!! (1.33 / 3) (#117)
by lilfeet on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 11:52:47 PM EST

IMO the Green party is responsible for George Bush. Had Ralph Nader not siphoned the Democratic vote in the last presidential election we wouldn't have got sunk with this stinker in the White House. While I have to admit Gore wasn't too hot, I still would have taken him over Bush anyday! At least we wouldn't have been embarrassed, just bored. I will simply choose not to waste the gas to go to the polls tomorrow. Neither candidate appeals at all, and any vote for an alternative nominee just takes away from the Democratic vote assuring us a Republican Governor. Worse, it may hurt us in years to come if the increased voting for their parties leads to better funding for their future candidates. I wouldn't worry so much if Republican voters crossed over too, but traditionalists remain so, even in a bad year.

[ Parent ]
illogical (none / 0) (#120)
by dirvish on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 12:27:01 AM EST

"Neither candidate appeals at all, and any vote for an alternative nominee just takes away from the Democratic vote assuring us a Republican Governor."

How would you getting off your ass and voting green instead staying home assure a Republic Governor?

Make a statement with your vote instead of settling for the lesser of two evils...or worse being apathetic and not voting.

Technical Certification Blog, Anti Spam Blog
[ Parent ]
The fault's with the system, not the candidates (4.66 / 3) (#133)
by squigly on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 04:52:44 AM EST

IMO the Green party is responsible for George Bush. Had Ralph Nader not siphoned the Democratic vote in the last presidential election we wouldn't have got sunk with this stinker in the White House.

But surely this means that nobody who isn't a major party should run for election for fear of ruining it for someone who might actually get in.  

Slashdot linked to an interesting article in Science News a couple of days ago about this.  One of the arguments is that the system is wrong for allowing this.

How about instead, deliberately voting for a third party spoiler.  It might help people realise that this is a bad idea.  

At the very least, turn and spoil your ballot.  It makes more of an impression than staying home.

[ Parent ]

Thanks... (5.00 / 2) (#149)
by kableh on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 01:03:00 PM EST

Had Nader not run I certainly wouldn't have voted Gore. Bush and Gore are both corporate wh0res in my mind, so what makes you think Nader gave Bush the election? We have the Supreme Court to do that.

Too many Americans treat voting like it is a football game...

[ Parent ]
Nonsense. Who cares about that? (5.00 / 4) (#153)
by Frank Wustner on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 01:39:10 PM EST

If the Democrat Party was not good enough to keep people from voting for Nader instead of Gore, then they did not deserve to win the election. A party needs to stand on its own merits. The Democrats failed to do that and it is their own fault, not the fault of Ralph Nader or the Green Party.

I say this, BTW, as a registered Democrat who voted for Gore.



[ Parent ]
On a related note: (5.00 / 2) (#163)
by Frank Wustner on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 07:37:07 PM EST

The Republicans did not deserve to win either. They were just the ones who succeeded in using the legal system to steal the election. The fact that they did so does not mean that Gore was any better a choice.



[ Parent ]
Greens don't vote for mules or lizards (5.00 / 3) (#155)
by I am Jack's username on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 02:35:55 PM EST

I will NEVER vote Green!!!
Power to you.
IMO the Green party is responsible for George Bush. Had Ralph Nader not siphoned the Democratic vote in the last presidential election we wouldn't have got sunk with this stinker in the White House.
Have you ever even read the 10 core principles of the Green Party of the USA? Greens realize that the two major parties differ, but the reason we talk of "republicrats" is because our values are so completely different from both the Republicans and the Democrats. Do you understand that Greens are not just a little bit more liberal than the Democrats - we are way the hell out there! We wouldn't have voted for Gore had Nader not stood as a candidate. Our conscience impels us to only ever vote for something we agree with: "It's better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it." - Eugene V. Debs

"It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see..."
"You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?"
"No", said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, "nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people."
"Odd", said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy."
"I did", said Ford. "It is."
"So", said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't the people get rid of the lizards?"
"It honestly doesn't occur to them", said Ford. "They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates to the government they want."
"You mean they actually vote for the lizards?"
"Oh yes", said Ford with a shrug, "of course".
"But", said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?"
"Because if they didn't vote for a lizard," said Ford, "the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?"
"What?"
"I said", said Ford, with an increasing air of urgency creeping into his voice, "have you got any gin?"
"I'll look. Tell me about the lizards."
Ford shrugged again.
"Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happened to them." he said. "They're completely wrong of course, completely and utterly wrong, but someone's got to say it." - Douglas Adams, So long, and thanks for all the fish, chapter 36
--
Inoshiro for president!
"War does not determine who is right - only who is left." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]

Similar problem in NJ (none / 0) (#109)
by jbm on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 09:31:12 PM EST

Third party is endorsed by major newspaper.

Note that the Bergen Record is really just a northern NJ paper. Though, I think it is the best paper from NJ.

smaller newspaper (none / 0) (#118)
by dirvish on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 12:22:49 AM EST

but a third party governor endoursement nonetheless.

Technical Certification Blog, Anti Spam Blog
[ Parent ]
-1, incomplete (none / 0) (#110)
by dirvish on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 09:33:17 PM EST

This story really should get voted down for not even mentioning the third candidate: Peter Camejo. But I gave it a +1 because I would like to read the discussion on the issues.

Technical Certification Blog, Anti Spam Blog
if you're going to mention camejo (4.50 / 2) (#113)
by aphrael on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 10:47:20 PM EST

if you're going to bring up camejo, you should also bring up the others; gary david copeland, reinhold gulke, and iris adam.

[ Parent ]
indeed [nt] (none / 0) (#115)
by dirvish on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 11:00:58 PM EST



Technical Certification Blog, Anti Spam Blog
[ Parent ]
And the alternatives are....? (4.00 / 1) (#116)
by frankcrist on Mon Nov 04, 2002 at 11:15:30 PM EST

This would have been an intellegent article covering the material of the topic if you'd done more of a spotlight on the alternative candidates instead of Davis's evils.  All you've done is pissed people off about the front-runner and not given them alternatives.  I'd suggest a follow-up article, but since you're voting tomorrow...

--x--x--x--x--x--
Get your war on!
Moorisms: Who to vote for. (5.00 / 1) (#126)
by opendna on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 12:54:56 AM EST

After Michael Moore's appeal to non-voters in the last presidential election:

If you were going to vote for Davis cause you like him: Vote for Davis.
If you were going to vote for Simon cause you like him: Vote for Simon.

If you weren't going to vote for either of 'em, and think government is too damn big: Vote for Gary David Copeland, the Libertarian.
If you weren't going to vote for either of 'em, and think they're both corporate whores: Vote for Peter Miguel Camejo, the Green.

I admit it, I don't know what The Natural Law Party, American Independent Party, or any of the write-ins mean. (Natural Law in Canada advocates levitating the Parliament with meditation and defending the country with bouncing yogis, so... yeah).

Thou shalt go to Smart Voter.

[ Parent ]

A bit late, but... (none / 0) (#129)
by Perpetual Newbie on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 01:15:15 AM EST

On the subject of California elections, here's a summary of the regional issues

Same in Texas (none / 0) (#158)
by bored on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 04:28:24 PM EST

Yah, I'm going to vote but leave the governor section blank or fill in "NC" if there is a place. The third party canidates are bad too, so I'm not going to vote for them either (even though I will be voting for 3rd party canidates in other races today). Basically I wish one of the LT gov canidates would have run for Gov. They seem to have more of a clue....

voting on principles (none / 0) (#165)
by bolthole on Tue Nov 05, 2002 at 10:15:01 PM EST

Well durnit, I wish I had posted this BEFORE the voting was over. But it is still good for people to see.

For those who think that a little under the table handout is okay (or for that matter, a little under-the-table nookie), back in the 1800s, a semi-famous man named Noah Webster said,

".... The preservation of government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty; if the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws; the public revenues will be sqandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizens will be violated or disregarded."

Y'mean like... (none / 0) (#173)
by Elendale on Wed Nov 06, 2002 at 11:52:53 PM EST

".... The preservation of government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty; if the citizens neglect their duty and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted; laws will be made, not for the public good so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws; the public revenues will be sqandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizens will be violated or disregarded."

So if we elect unprincipled people into office, we get thing like the DMCA?
Big surprise!

-Elendale
---

When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.


[ Parent ]
The next CA gubenatorial race will be... (none / 0) (#174)
by skim123 on Thu Nov 07, 2002 at 04:51:33 AM EST

Arnold Schwarzenager vs. Al Franken. Really.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


No Choice does not equal No Vote | 188 comments (166 topical, 22 editorial, 0 hidden)
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