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November 7, 2006

Vote. Today.
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 12:00 AM * 309 comments

Today it’s important to go to the polls and vote.

Vote straight-ticket Democrat.

A vote for a Republican, any Republican, is a vote for torture.

A vote for a Republican, any Republican, is a vote for corruption.

A vote for a Republican, any Republican, is a vote for cronyism.

A vote for a Republican, any Republican, is a vote against habeas corpus.

A vote for a Republican, any Republican, is a vote against our troops.

A vote for a Republican, any Republican, is a vote against liberty.

A vote for a Republican, any Republican, is a vote against the Constitution.

A vote for a Republican, any Republican, is a vote against being secure in our persons, houses, papers, and effects.

A vote for a Republican, any Republican, is a vote against Social Security.

A vote for a Republican, any Republican, is a vote for “preemptive” war.

A vote for a Republican, any Republican, is a vote for incompetence.

A vote for a Republican, any Republican, is a vote for Bush.

Go out today. Vote Democratic.

Today is the first day of the struggle to take our country back.

Comments on Vote. Today.:
#1 ::: Adrian ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 12:55 AM:

Thank you, Jim.

#2 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 12:56 AM:

Well put. I'm gonna crib it if you don't mind.

#3 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 12:56 AM:

Very good. I'm going to vote before I go to work.

Since I'm pretty much on a first-name basis with my polling peoples, I don't expect a challenge. if Mr. Talent's folks accost me on my way in, I'm going to give them a piece of my mind. I think he's a lying asshole and deserves to be voted out.

and I have my social security card and passport as well as my current driver's license in my purse. Plus I've been voting at the same place since fall 2001.

Talent's ads are crap and infuriate me, his ads are all attack and no substance until this last two days, where it appears he has realized that acting like a mad dog might be offending people.

Bastard deserves to lose.

#4 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 12:57 AM:

Oregon's mail-in voting takes a bit of the tension out of things. I voted . . . last week? The week before?

#5 ::: Kevin ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 01:01 AM:

I'm gonna crib this, too, if you don't mind.

#6 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 01:02 AM:

...and just remember, the Republican Party hires spammers. That's really bringin' it home, guys.

(If we can spread that framing fast enough, it might actually make a difference.)

#8 ::: Janine ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 01:51 AM:

I have before never voted for a straight party ticket. I'm doing it today.

Republican Party, I'm done with you.

#9 ::: meredith ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 01:58 AM:

I voted (absentee) last week.

I'm afraid I couldn't do straight-ticket Democrat, though. I am lucky enough to live in a town where Green candidates running for local office actually have a chance (and sometimes they even win), so thankfully I was able to vote my conscience where I could.

#10 ::: Leslie in CA ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 02:41 AM:

Thank you.

#11 ::: Damien Neil ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 03:10 AM:

I know Republicans who don't stand for torture, for corruption, for cronyism, and so on and so forth. I know Democrats who do.

Yes, the Republican party leadership is evil. So is the current leadership of the United States of America. Is a vote for an American a vote for torture?

Go out and vote today. Vote with your mind, not with the casual moral laziness of the unthinking party ticket. And avoid the easy trap of blind vilification, because every citizen of this country lives today in a house of glass. I'll no more condemn an honorable Republican for striving to reform his party than I'll condemn myself for failing to flee to Canada.

#12 ::: Brienze ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 03:41 AM:

I did vote for one Republican... Susan Combs, for Comptroller of Texas. Her Democratic opponent was featured here recently -- the asshat who tried to make an issue of her "egotism" in having her name printed on every even-numbered page of her romance novel.

So thank you, Making Light, for educating me. Without that post, I would've assumed the Democrat is always the lesser evil.

#13 ::: Giacomo ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 03:51 AM:

Damien @ 11:
Is a vote for an American a vote for torture?
Go and ask around the globe, and the answer today will predominantly be a sound YES, I'm afraid. Abu Ghraib docet. If you like that image, keep voting Republican candidates; if you are not smart enough to see that the GOP is 100% controlled by the White House cabal, and the likes of Chafee are just useful idiots, then I'm afraid there's little hope for you.

Democrats can be silly and corrupt, but in the last 30 years they certainly never were as corrupt and inept as the current administration.

#14 ::: Anthony ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 03:51 AM:

how many democrats voted for the patroit act, for torture, for budgets that increase the power of the pentagon, against health care?

how many forgave abu gharib, gutted habeous corpus?

how many took payments from oil companies, drug companies, et. al?

i cant see a good option here

#15 ::: sem ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 03:56 AM:

I already did vote. Last week, actually. And I got to do it on a paper ballot. And it's all thanks to... early voting! (insert cheesy Hanna-Barbera music sting here) Good luck to all of you who have to futz with electronic voting.

#16 ::: Ty Johnston ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 04:06 AM:

Usually I'm against voting straight party ... but this year ... man, I see little choice, at least in my state.

#17 ::: Francis ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 04:46 AM:

i cant see a good option here

Nor can I. But the Dems are far the lesser of two evils, as right wing* and corrupt as they are.

* The Dems are definitely right-wing by European standards even if they are the left wing of the mainstream US parties.

#18 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 05:11 AM:

Jim, I think you could add "A vote for a Republican, any Republican, is a vote against genuine Christian values."

#19 ::: lalouve ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 05:17 AM:

Good luck, all of you who want your country to change into something better. I am keeping my fingers crossed for you all.

#20 ::: Jackie M. ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 06:16 AM:

A vote for a Republican, any Republican, is a vote for torture.

What if the Republican in question is running unopposed for State Inspector of Mines?

#21 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 06:22 AM:

What if the Republican in question is running unopposed for State Inspector of Mines?

Don't vote for him/her.

#22 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 06:23 AM:

In Massachusetts our incumbent Democratic Secretary of State is pro-Diebold machines. No Republican is running; the only other choice is the Green.

I'd really like to vote against this guy, but after much thought I know there's no way I'm ever going to vote for a Green again. I guess not voting at all in this race is half a vote in his favor but I don't know what else to do.

#23 ::: Paul ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 07:46 AM:

Because, you know, all people in a party are all absolutely identical.

I must admit this kind of generalisation is something Making Light has been doing more and more often lately, and it's not good. I agree with Damien at #11 - think and vote, don't just vote for someone because of what party they're in.

(That said, I really hope Bush loses what remaining power he has...)

#24 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 07:47 AM:

Tried to post this once and it vanished in the ether...

I voted at 6:05, primarily Dem but a few Greens in races where the Dem is going to win overwhelmingly anyway.

I'm puzzling over whether I've encountered voter suppression, though. Posted all around my polling place are signs informing people that the Ward 2 polling place has moved, purportedly paid for by the Dem gubernatorial campaign. That polling place HAS moved. However, my polling place has NOT moved. So why are these signs outside it?

I stayed after I voted to put up signs and stump a bit for Lamont. Disturbingly, a confused would-be voter came up to me with a question. He'd gotten one of those different-polling-place notices IN THE MAIL. He was confused because he knew this was his polling place. He'd heard on Air America about voter suppression and wasn't sure if he was supposed to vote here or go elsewhere. I know the drill for this one: I got him to go inside and try, and he was on the proper lists and able to vote successfully (for Lamont, hurrah!) He gave me the notice he got in the mail. Another Lamont volunteer turned up so I gave him my cards and a sign and came straight to work to try to figure this out. I called the Lamont campaign and the DeStefano campaign (that being the name on the notices); both phones are now being answered by people who don't sound old enough to vote but promised to look into it.

I'm not sure if this is incompetence (not generally a characteristic of the Dem machine in New Haven) or genuine suppression. I have work responsibilities for the next half hour or so; anyone want to tell me if I should take this any further when I get back to my office?

I carried a Lamont sign walking to work and waved it at drivers. I got thumbs up from a smiling Muslim lady and a few others.

Aux barricades indeed, Serge...


#25 ::: amysue ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 08:00 AM:

I was going to write that I am torn here about the "straight ticket" concept, especially given that I abhor voting the party line and not the individual, but I realized I'd be saying it just to sound PC. I agree, the stakes are high, too high and there has to be a change and a move away from the current mess. I know that there are indiviudal Republicans who are good people, but the party is not and I can't align myself with their goals, tactics and beliefs.

I am posting and linking on my own blog as well (for the 50 family, friends and knitters who read it (a good number in Australia, Israel and other countries come to think of it)

#26 ::: Red (Chris Holdredge) ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 08:12 AM:

Ugh. Just cast my vote in the bluest part of Randy 'shotgun' Khul's soon-to-be-former NY-29 Congressional district. And what to my wondering eyes should appear but a stranger in my poling place, armed with a stack of papers including the word "challenge" in the title. I didn't get a close look, but it seems clear that the shenanigans are already well underway. Please, whoever you'll vote for, get out and vote. Anything else is a gesture of support for the kind of people who think that their world would run better with a little less input from the rest of us.

#27 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 08:15 AM:

Paul wrote -
Because, you know, all people in a party are all absolutely identical.

I must admit this kind of generalisation is something Making Light has been doing more and more often lately, and it's not good. I agree with Damien at #11 - think and vote, don't just vote for someone because of what party they're in.

This isn't about the person, to be honest.

This is about the party.

There are, in fact good Republicans - there may even be good Republican candidates (I wouldn't know - the ones I have to vote for at the Federal level are all pretty rotten, from what I can tell).

But the party as a whole has a disease. It needs to be woken up.

Up above, someone asked "how many Democrats voted for (Patriot act, suspension of Habeas Corpus, etc.)" - and that's a serious problem, because the answer (from both parties) should have been "none".

But the counter to that question is "how many Republicans voted for them - in total numbers, and in percentages of membership in Congress?

The Republican party needs to wake up.

They need to haul out the long knives, and put paid to the worthless, venal, greedy, and frankly fascist fucks who have taken over their party. Those bastards need to be cut out of the body politic - by force, if necessary - and never allowed anywhere near power again. The party needs to reformulate itself based on its original ideas - ideas that the Liberals and Democrats here may, in fact, be repulsed by (in some cases) but the intellectually honest ones will, I hope, admit that they need a counterbalance - or they will go too far, just as the Republicans have this time.

As a nation, we are perilously close to losing the Mandate of Heaven. The Republicans may already have done so. We are closer to open revolt than anytime in the last forty years - we've gone from nutcases shouting about it, to perfectly sane folks wondering about it.

They need a wakeup call, and the only thing they respect is votes against them - those that still respect that. Their influence juggernaut needs to be broken - and the only way to do that is to isolate the White House (which we can't do anything about for two more years), and give control - and solid control - to their opponents. We need to break the never-ending cycle of redistricting and suppression of voters in the States - so we vote Dems into the offices in the States that have influence over voting - Secretary of State, Comptroller, Governor. We need to break their hold on our local schools, so we vote them out of local offices.

Straightline Democratic ticket. Even if you're holding your nose. Not because you agree with them. But because you need to send a message to the Republicans that what they have done and what they have become, is unacceptable.

After this election, if the Republican party puts paid to the jackasses that are in office - send them to the Hague, try and convict them here, dump them on their asses at the curb and throw bottles at their heads, disappear them in the night - in some cases, at this point, I don't fucking care what happens to them, as long as they never darken my TV screen or legislative ballot again - then by all means, vote your conscience, vote by default against incumbents, vote Green - hell, vote purple, for all I care (and I do - old-school members of RASFF may recall I argued against the very position I now am taking, a few years ago - which should suggest how seriously I take this now).

But this year, the message needs to be "shape up, motherfuckers!" to the Republican party - and the only way for them to get that message is to lose - and lose big - throughout this nation.

And that is written as a registered Republican.

#28 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 08:26 AM:

Because, you know, all people in a party are all absolutely identical.

Unfortunately, electing or reelecting a Republican who is likely to split with the administration on issues doesn't help the issue of a single party controlling all three branches of government.

The only way to create an effective brake on the erosion of our Constitutional freedoms and basic human rights is to put another party, in this case the Democratic Party, in control of Congress. Any vote for any Republican, especially one in Congress, is a vote in support of the current administration. Right now, there are no two ways about that.

#29 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 08:40 AM:

I don't know. I voted Libertarian.

I know that it doesn't particularly matter if or how I vote, but in my imagination voting for a third party is a way of saying to both major parties, "You make me queasy. You embarrass me. Get your shit together."

Not that they'll listen, but what the hell.

And #11 and #23, I'm with you. Voting is irrational, say the economists, but that doesn't mean we can't use our brains and make some actual decisions.

#30 ::: Dave Kuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 08:51 AM:

If there's no one opposing a Republican candidate in your precinct, then write in your own name. If enough write in votes appear in your precinct, it just might make the news and put that candidate on notice that there really is opposition and that it just might be organized in the next election.

#31 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 08:55 AM:

Susan... "Enfants de la Patrie, le jour de gloire est arrive..."

#32 ::: Lee Sandlin ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 08:56 AM:

I can only repeat what they say in "The Untouchables:" You're not from Chicago. No matter how bad the Republicans are as a national party -- and I'll be dancing in the streets if they lose Congress -- it's morally impossible to vote a straight Democratic ticket here. A few highlights -- but by no means all: one Democratic candidate for state office has been plausibly accused (by the leadership of his own party) of being connected with the Chicago mob. And you've heard of dead people in Chicago voting? The local Democratic organization fielded a *candidate* for president of Chicago's county board who has not been seen in public since last March and might actually be dead. (If you don't believe me, search news archives, or Wikipedia, for "John Stroger.")
I understand the impulse to "take the country back" from the current administration, but will somebody please explain what the point of that would be, if all it means is turning it over to a crew like this?

#33 ::: Linda Daly ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 08:57 AM:

I just voted. The polls were busy enough to surprise the election officials. I know they say that Democrats vote early, but I'm still encouraged.

Just wanted to post an update from my little corner of the Front.

#34 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 09:02 AM:

Giacomo wrote: Democrats can be silly and corrupt, but in the last 30 years they certainly never were as corrupt and inept...

Meanwhile, last night, my wife got a call from Patricia Madrid's nearby office to the effect that she'd be watching a different polling station than the one she'd been assigned. She was told to call someone else, who'd give her the details. He had no idea what that was about so he drove to the central office to find out and, when he called back, it turned out that there was no change in Sue's assignment.

I shouldn't be surprised, considering that this was the same outfit that had an reconstructed hippy lady excuse the disorganization by saying that Democrats don't do linear thinking. Really though... I always thought of the Democratic Party as Star Trek's Federation, not as the superduper aliens who inhabit Deep Space Nine's wormhole and who had to be told what linear time is.

#35 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 09:05 AM:

Well, actually, I did vote for one Republican. For City Council. In DC. The Democrat is in the pocket of real-estate developers; the District is 90% Democratic (probably 70% even in my upper-middle-class, mostly white Ward 3). So chances are that my vote won't matter.

Actually, none of my votes matter, because DC doesn't have a vote in either house of Congress, and Congress can (and routinely does) overturn DC legislation. But I vote out of principle.

#36 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 09:06 AM:

#34: Meanwhile, last night, my wife got a call from Patricia Madrid's nearby office

Are you sure that was actually her office? There have been reports of phone frauds, claiming to have "important messages" about one side while being on the other (in order to piss the voters off at the first side for calling), and some about just that--changing a polling site.

#37 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 09:06 AM:

I'm so convinced, I'm even going to vote Democratic on our state's ballot initiatives!

#38 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 09:14 AM:

I understand why it's attractive to simply vote for whom you like, to "vote your conscience." I'm not typically a fan of straight ticket voting. (And as it turns out, I made one exeception to voting straight ticket. Sorry, Jim.) However, in a simple plurality wins voting scheme, it pays to think about strategic voting to increase the odds that the winner is someone who supports your views at least in part. As our legislatures behave in more and more a parliamentary fashion, it pays to take the party of the candidate into consideration as he or she may be called upon to make a party line vote.

What's important is that through the process of your legal and accurate vote, the end result is one you are willing to live with. It is possible to vote straight ticket as a deliberate choice, not simply as a matter of laziness. I believe this is what Uncle Jim encourages.

To simply dismiss this tactic as lazy and unthinking with generic platitudes about voting strikes me as being being a bit lazy and unthinking itself. (I considered it and chose to make one justified exception. I didn't simply reject it without thought.) It sidesteps the important question of whether or not this election is a national referendum on the performance (or lack thereof) of our government. A straight line Democratic vote is a conscious choice to take our government to task for what they've done. As voters, it's our only effective mechanism to express this disapproval. (Granted, this would be more effective in a truly parliamentary system where a change in majority would likely result in a change of government. Of course, the timing of the election would also be different.)

Having said that, I did vote for Jill Stein, the Green candidate, over William Galvin, the Democratic candidate, for MA Secretary of State. I thought hard about this. There is no Republican running for the office, so a vote for her is not also a vote for a Republican candidate. I think I'm on relatively safe ground here. I also find her extremely unlikely to win. cf. strategic voting. I wouldn't be upset if she did though. I don't think she will have any problems working with what I hope is the incoming Democratic administration in MA.

#39 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 09:18 AM:

Serge #31:

Amour sacré de la Patrie,
Conduis, soutiens nos bras vengeurs !
Liberté, Liberté chérie,
Combats avec tes défenseurs !
Combats avec tes défenseurs !
Sous nos drapeaux, que la victoire
Accoure à tes mâles accents !
Que tes ennemis expirants
Voient ton triomphe et notre gloire !

#40 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 09:25 AM:

Good lord. Before we all start singing La Marseillaise, let's not forget the charming bits about watering the furrows in our fields with the impure blood of foreigners, shall we?

#41 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 09:27 AM:

"Amour sacre de la Patrie...Que la victoire accoure a tes males accents"... Thanks, Fragano. For those who are interested, that translates as "Sacred love of the motherland...That Victory will run to your male accents..."

Male accents?

#42 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 09:27 AM:

Under normal circumstances, I'm more of a split-ticket voter. These aren't normal circumstances.

#43 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 09:30 AM:

Will.. For some reason, the idea that those bastard nazis had made the initial call telling Sue about the change had never occurred to us. If that is indeed what happened, it means that one of the creeps had infiltrated the Madrid organization and made a copy of the volunteer list. Interesting, to say the least.

#44 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 09:31 AM:

I'm not the least bit interested in straight-ticket voting for either of the two big parties, but I'm voting Democrat for congressional candidates this year. As a person, I'd probably prefer one of the Republican candidates, but united Republican government has been a genuine disaster for the country, and I don't want to help it along.

Longer-term, I hope we can turn our country around, but I'm not sure. Will Democrats (probably running the whole Congress and the White House after 2008) give back any of those civil liberties we all gave up after 9/11? Will President Hillary or President Barrack distance himself from the current claimed powers of the President? Or will the next President decide that, well, those powers are in good hands now, so let's keep them around? Democrats didn't fight torture before because they were afraid of taking a hit politically. They're going to become more principled after they're in the majority? Yeah, I can see how well that worked with the Party of Small Government.

The Republicans need to lose power because they're grossly, horribly incompetent, corrupt, and unprincipled. But we don't have competent, honest, principled people waiting in the wings to take over, we just have people who appear to be somewhat less horrible.

#45 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 09:33 AM:

Anybody watched TCM last night? They had the musical 1776 on, for reasons that are obvious. I caught only the end of it, the scene where every member of Congress is called to sign the Declaration of Independence and the whole thing turns into the famous painting, upon which the Document is superimposed. It was pretty scary to then see the words "the end" appear over the whole scene...

#46 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 09:42 AM:

11 and 23: It bothers me, too, voting straight Democratic. But I feel I have to.

Every time a bill comes up that I desperately want to lose... like "Torture is good"... the news comes across as something like this:

"11 Democrats voted for it, as well as EVERY REPUBLICAN. Without exception."

As long as the Republican party votes as one entity, I will treat them as one entity.

#47 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 09:58 AM:

Serge: Oh, I didn't read yours carefully enough. Her assigned watchdog place had changed? Yeah, that sounds like a bad bit of crossed wires, sorry for putting paranoia into your mind.

Then again, you never know.

#48 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 10:00 AM:

While we're mostly agreeing with one another, let's spare a thought for Making Light regulars like Susan, who's been working herself to exhaustion for actual decent Connecticut candidates like Lamont. Most of us don't do a lot more politically than talk. A few of us get out onto the streets and do the hard work, and today, win or lose, they're the heroes.

#49 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 10:03 AM:

Susan in #24 and others who see or experience questionable tactics today - please do report them! It's important that we get as much information as possible about any shenanigans, so that these can be fought, this election or in the future!

Copied directly from a post at DailyKos:

Several sites will serve as clearinghouses for election issues tomorrow. ProtectOurVotes.org is already on the robocall story. Video The Vote and Veek the Vote are camera-ready. If you have a website, you can add a "Tell Your Voting Story" widget, a tool that makes reporting election shenanigans a snap.

Election incidents can also be reported to several national hotlines. Those reported to 1-866-OUR-VOTE will be catalogued in the Election Incident Reporting System (check out the incident map, which already reflects several incidents across the nation). Problems with voting machines can also be reported by calling 1-888-SAV-VOTE (1-888-728-8683). You can also report incidents through the DNC by calling 1-888-DEM VOTE or by filling out this online form.

Don't be shy. If you witness something at your polling place that seems off, report it. If your friends or family tell you about dirty tricks or suppression tactics, urge them to report it. Because this time around, we're not going to let them get away with anything.

Be prepared. Be vigilant. And let's do everything we can to ensure that no citizen is denied his or her right to vote.

#50 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 10:05 AM:

Yes indeed, Patrick. Three cheers for Susan!

#51 ::: JonathanMoeller ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 10:06 AM:

Go out today. Vote Democratic.

Except, of course, for Fred Head. Don't generalizations suck?

#52 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 10:10 AM:

Actually, Will, it turns out that my wife's watch place had NOT changed. Because of that, someone legit within the organization wasted time trying to resolve the situation. Maybe it is paranoia. It's not like there is any reason to lend credence to the possibility of a Republican infiltrating the opponent's organization and then illegally obtaining information used to mess up the opponent's resources.

#53 ::: OG ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 10:13 AM:

Serge @ 45:

Was it the full version?

#54 ::: Paul Eisenberg ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 10:14 AM:

I agree somewhat with Lee up in #32, as I also live in the Chicago area, which tends to skew one's angellic perception of Democrats. Still I'll vote for the younger Stroger, mostly because a last-minute mailing from Dick Durbin and Barrak Obama changed my mind. But in a hotly contested governor's race, I'll be voting Green, because the Democrat incumbent is a do-little dweeb. Go Rich Whitney in Illinois!

#55 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 10:18 AM:

As far as I know, OG, what TCM showed was the full version of 1776. I've never heard of their cutting anything out. I wound up not watching it because I have the DVD, which is one of my July Fourth traditions (along with James Cagney's Yankee Doodle Dandy). Still, I made sure to sit thru that final scene.

#56 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 10:24 AM:

I am overjoyed to find that my new district uses paper Scantron ballots, of the sort where you fill in the bubble. My old one used rickety, sketchy touchscreen machines.

I bubbled in that straight-party DEM bubble, which let me vote for one representative and a bunch of uncontested races.

Then I bubbled in lots and lots and lots of nonpartisan judges. Luckily I received a brochure in the mail with candidate bios for the judges. It was very handy. I simply voted against whoever used the code words "I will not legislate from the bench." (Honestly, they didn't usually stay in code that long. If a candidate said that, s/he tended to also say "the courts should protect traditional marriage, prayer, and values" and "endorsed by Dole and Burr [our two R senators]".)

I wasn't challenged. Good thing, because unlike last time, I didn't come laden with passport and utility bill as well as voter card and driver's license. (Luckily, the line was not long and the polling place was two minutes from my home, so I could have gone home and fetched those things if necessary. But I am white and middle-class with standard American accent, so I'm not real likely to be challenged. Members of the Latino community who live nearby, on the other hand....)

The only silly thing that happened was the woman campaigning out front, just outside the "no campaigning beyond this point" line, looked me up and down as I approached and said "You don't look old enough to vote, are you old enough?" I said "Yes ma'am, I sure am" and she gave me the campaign literature, but not without a suspicious look.

I guess I can stop worrying about getting old, if at age 24 I am still informed that I don't look 18.

#57 ::: Elizabeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 10:33 AM:

I was so distressed this morning - I was listening to the local alt-rock station that is my alarm clock, and the first thing I heard was the jocks laughing about how pointless voting is.

This is in San Francisco. This is a station listened to by a good portion of the city's youth. If there's something that progressives have against us, it's that the right wing thinks voting is the most important thing in the world, next to godliness and cleanliness, and major radio in liberal cities is making a joke of it. Conspiracy would point out that they're corporate owned - but my mind says, there are a lot of people out there who don't understand the process.

Anyway, I voted. Absentee, on paper.

#58 ::: JBWoodford ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 10:34 AM:

#54 (Paul Eisenberg) wrote:
...in a hotly contested governor's race, I'll be voting Green, because the Democrat incumbent is a do-little dweeb. Go Rich Whitney in Illinois!

Spouse and I agreed to split on that one--I held my nose and voted for the incumbent, even though Rich Whitney seems to be a mensch (I'm told that his favorite TV show is BSG).

#59 ::: Elizabeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 10:34 AM:

Uh, read that to be "conservatives have over progressives" in #57. Pre-coffee ire.

#60 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 10:39 AM:

The Partisan Ground

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Republicans risk losing Congress as US votes

Notable about the above include,

1. The implicit defining of Republicans as owners and masters of the US Congress, instead of a headline such as "Voters poised to return power to Democrats," which would denote that Democrats in the past have had majorities in US Congress, the headline says that the Republican dominance is risked .

2. It's partisan and very biased, see above. The headline indicates strongly that there is something wrong and/or susceptible to causing badness if the Republicans don't continue to have a majority in Congress.

3. This is typical of the so-called news media, and typical of Corporatism--whatever happened to fairness... yeah, I know, what happened was evil slime such as Karl Rove and the Schmuck and the evangelical bigotry and intolerance spreaders... it's gotten so bad there there are people high up in the Southern Baptist Convention, an entity I usually have enormous dislike and disapproval of (I admire their dedication, I don't admire their goals and the values generally that drive those goals), who are upset about the lack of separation of church and state. I applaud them for that, even though it doesn't change my mind about most other things about them...

#61 ::: OG ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 10:43 AM:

Serge, "Cool, Cool, Men" was cut from the original theatrical release. With the mood of recent years, I was wondering if it had been restored.

#62 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 10:45 AM:

Jim, thanks for the post. I'm with you all the way. Scott Taylor at 27; well said.

If I absolutely can't vote for a particular Democrat, I won't vote at all for that particular office. I don't think I'm going to run into that problem today. I'll be heading to the polls in about an hour and a half; nine am CA time. There's nothing at stake in my particular district: the Democrat in the House (George Miller) and my Democratic Senator (DiFI) are going to cruise to victory, and Aahnold is going to return to the Governor's mansion whether I vote against him or not.

I will ask the poll workers if turnout is up. If the answer is yes I will be very happy. The more folks who vote, the the more secure is the health of democracy in this country.

#63 ::: Paul Eisenberg ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 10:47 AM:

It's interesting to note that here in Illinois, the Republicans are more afraid of the Green candidate for Governor than the Democrats. After blaming Nader for Gore's loss in 2000, I figured the Dems would be out to get the Green candidate, but in line with the general evil ways of Republicans, the party of Bush is the one that dug up the "dirt" that Green candidate Rich Whitney (who is, btw, a science fiction fan) was once a socialist. Democrats have generally ignored him. Of course, the current Democrat ignores just about everything.

#64 ::: Stephen G ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 10:51 AM:

Patrick @ #48 reminds me: for those of you wanting to do more, MoveOn.org is still running "Call for Change," their get-out-the-vote effort. Got a cell phone and even twenty minutes? Spend it calling and reminding people to vote.

#65 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 10:55 AM:

"Cool, cool, men"... Which one is that, OG? I know that my DVD contains a number excised from the theatrical release of 1776, where Rutledge and others of his ilk sing about always dancing to the right...

#66 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 10:56 AM:

#61: OG, "Cool, Considerate Men" is in the Restored Director's Cut DVD released in 2002. I didn't watch it on TCM, but it's certainly possible that they aired the restored version.

#67 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 10:58 AM:

I'm not Serge and didn't see TCM's broadcast of 1776, but "Cool Considerate Men" has been fully restored onto the present DVD release, even remastered enough for its appearance to blend smoothly into the surrounding footage. As a previous intermediate step, the footage for that song had been placed on the laserdisc release, but still looked extremely scratchy and non-photogenic.

I seem to recall hearing that "CCM" was cut from the theatrical release because of objections from Nixon...? Not quite as bad as the curse of Sondheim's Assassins, though--iirc every time it's about to open on Broadway, President Bush invades Iraq.

#68 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 11:00 AM:

I don't feel like a hero, actually. I feel like I haven't done nearly enough. It's one of life's little ironies that I've spent the last several years creatively semiemployed and could easily have taken time off to work for a campaign, but this year, when there's one I'd really like to work, I'm tied to a demanding day job (which I really need the income from). Among other things, this means Tuesday is the one day of the week I can never take off between October and February. I feel like my priorities are badly out of whack; I'm trying to earn a living and develop an artistic career while democracy goes down the tubes. I feel guilty for not having done more, or done it before. If we don't win tonight I'm going to crash badly, and I hope I can pull out of it enough to remember that this is only the first step in a long process and we have to keep working like this over and over again to fix things.

Anyways, don't discount the talking. The reality-based people here and at places like DailyKos have really helped give me the impetus to get out and finally act on my convictions. Keep talking, please; I'll be online until around 2:45 when I can finally leave the office to go poll-stand.

I think this may be the polling place I'm going to stand at this afternoon. It's a school in the same town, at any rate.

And, um, if any NYC people are free, Ned and House candidate Diane Farrell need more people in Fairfield County today. Easy hop from Grand Central on Metro-North.

#69 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 11:01 AM:

Belatedly...

Paul, Scott Taylor already covered most of what I was thinking. (What a surprise. Hey, Scott.) But I'd like to add a little.

Bloc voting is a reasonable response to a party that has, for the moment, an extremely strong centralized discipline. And this is what the modern Republican Party has - they can't govern for sour owl stools (hat tip to Avram Davidson), but they sure can manage a permanent campaign. Republicans of good will inevitably face that good will thwarted right now, because the party bosses are very, very, very good at whipping outlyers into line.

The only people who can change that, until and unless the racketeering and other charges come in, are Republican party activists. Candidates themselves have very little influence over the process, as nearly as I can understand. The current crew of bosses worked two decades and change to get their control; it may well take others that long or longer to topple them. But in the meantime, the rest of us have to deny them the raw material of more of their celebrated whisker-thin majorities, and that does mean cutting off good men and women who are in the party doesn't care about them.

#70 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 11:10 AM:

#67: Not quite as bad as the curse of Sondheim's Assassins, though--iirc every time it's about to open on Broadway, President Bush invades Iraq.

It was a different President Bush each time, of course. The word is that the first war in Iraq was a factor in Assassin's initial off-B'way production not transferring onto B'way. Its second attempt to reach Broadway was delayed by 9/11. When it finally opened on B'way, the US had invaded Iraq. (For the record, I thought it was a terrific production. Extremely chilling.)

#71 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 11:11 AM:

Paula (#60), that's a customized Google start page with a small news feed showing Reuters's top two stories.

And headlines about a party-in-power "losing" Congress are pretty common.

#72 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 11:18 AM:

I was just chatting with one of our residents who is still registered in Ohio (where she voted straight-ticket Dems absentee a week or two ago on a throw-the-corrupt-bums-out tear.) Joe attends her synagogue; she said he and his wife were very, very nervous about the election on Friday. I guess that's good news.

#73 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 11:25 AM:

Serge, JC -- TCM aired the complete 1776 last night. Even though I have the 2002 edition of the movie, I still watched the whole thing.

We, too, play the DVD on the Fourth of July.

Serge, the musical number "Cool Considerate Men" occurs just after Franklin, Chase and Adams leave the Congress to inspect George Washington's troops.

The song contains the chorus "We go right, ever to the right, never to the left, always to the right -- we sing Hosanna, Hosanna..." and there are instrumental references to the National Anthem in the song.

Both "Cool Considerate Men" and "He Plays the Violin" were chopped from the film. "Cool" was eliminated before theatrical release, and "Violin" was chopped when the film went to videotape. The former song was cut at President Nixon's request...

In case you don't know, the current release of 1776 -still- isn't complete. They dropped a verse from "Piddle, Twiddle and Resolve" at the beginning of the film. You can here that verse on the original Broadway score.

I've been told that Nixon wanted "Mama Look Sharp" cut as well, but don't know if that's true.

#74 ::: Andrew ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 11:25 AM:

#38: I'm with you, JC. William Galvin needs a swift kick in the pants for way too many reasons, so I'm also going with the Green/Rainbow candidate, Stein. Democratic for everyone else, down to the Registrar of Deeds. I can see Jon's point in #22, but leaving the Secretary of State line blank -- as if I didn't know who the candidates were and what they stood for -- is more than I can contemplate.

If the Green/Rainbow here was like Greens in PA and AZ in that they had accepted Republican backing, I wouldn't be doing this, but as far as I know, the MA party is legit.

#75 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 11:27 AM:

A nervous Joe? Sounds like music to my ears, Susan. About not feeling like a And if things don't work out this time, there is still 2008.

On a possibly more cheerful note, a buddette of mine who currently lives in England says that, over there, it's not unusual for polling stations to be set up in... pubs.

#76 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 11:31 AM:

Oops. Something fell off my post. It should have said: About not feeling like a hero, do real heroes ever feel like heroes? And if things don't work out this time, there is still 2008.

#77 ::: Jeremy Hornik ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 11:31 AM:

#32, Lee: I agree. This Chicago election marks the first time in almost two decades of voting that I've ever voted Republican. Four years ago, the Democratic party swept Illinois, taking the Governorship, the state House, the state Senate, and every statewide office except the Treasurer. Since then, they've generally acted as if all they have to do is recite a few platitudes and do a little light fearmongering about Republican corruption, and no one will ever notice the blatant influence-peddling.

The County story is almost worse. The deeply entrenched John Stroger faced a reform challenger in the primary, and had a stroke one week before the election. All information about his condition has been held up since. All we know is that although he is too sick to vote in this election, he was apparently well enough to nominate his son Todd to take his place. Stroger's family may be shameless, but they're not dumb: although John named the new county hospital after himself, he was smart enough not to go there.

The contempt of the local Democratic party at city, county and state level for the voters is an elegant fractal recursion of the Republican attitude nationally.

And Jim, if that makes you angry, note that our fine Democratic mayor Richard M. Daley came out in defense of Dennis Hastert's handling of the Foley scandal.

So as much as I hate nuanced political argument, and as much as I mostly agree with the sentiment, all local politics is local. I can't in good conscience vote for a candidate I believe to be corrupt, no matter what message I may be sending nationally.

For federal offices, though, I'm right with you. Go team!

#78 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 11:31 AM:

Serge: good things ours aren't in pubs. I'd be tempted to take to drink, and it only takes one drink to make me tipsy. I need to be sharp today.

#79 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 11:36 AM:

#74: I wrote in Bonifaz, the Democratic primary runner-up. I hope that action was the best of three bad alternatives.

If there had been a Republican in the race I would have voted for Galvin without any qualms.


#80 ::: Pedantic Peasant ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 11:41 AM:

OG and Serge:
Great movie! Didn't know it was on, but when they've shown it in the past (as they seem to twice and thrice a year) they have included "Cool, Cool Men."


Paula Lieberman:
I think you're over-reading here. As far back as I can recall (late 80s-ish) the phrase "losing Congress" (or variants thereof) has been applied by media outlets to either party when it has lost, or been in danger of losing, control of Congress. I know I remember hearing it back in 94 when the Dems lost control.

"Risk", as opposed to "in danger", is biased, yes, but IMO it's biased more in favor of dems than the GOP: "risk" implies they are at fault, as opposed to "in danger" which would simply imply circumstances beyond their control. And, yes, the headline implies that for the republicans there would be something wrong and/or susceptible to causing badness if they don't keep their majority. And, there is: US, the American people. If the Republicans lose we want our country back, and that would be very, very likely to cause "badness" for them.

I don't think it's over-biased; there is a likelihood of the GOP losing control. Reporting it that way is fact. Turning it about: "Dems stand to gain (or re-gain) control of Congress" or somesuch would be as much -- and possibly far more -- biased, as it is only speculation and would look like wishful thinking.


And yes, thank you Jim

It's all very well to smile and say,
"I won't vote the ticket, I'll go my own way."

But when the people in power grab with both hands
And look to their party to follow commands
And expect the rest to all follow, with flags and brass bands
Then it no longer matters where a "good man" stands
For there is no room for alternate plans
And there's only one thing corrupt power understands

So go to the polls, this is not time for doubt
Take a breath, take a stand, and vote all of them out

#81 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 11:47 AM:

Patrick #48: That is very true.

#82 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 11:49 AM:

There's still 2008? Think martial law, suspended Constitution, canceled elections and rule by decree for the duration of The Emergency. And that's not even a worst case scenario. Have a nice day, citizen.

#83 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 11:49 AM:

I think tonight I'm going to reread Alex Ross's graphic novel "U.S." I's about a man who believes he is Uncle Sam and how he must fight for the soul of America.

#84 ::: Pedantic Peasant ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 11:53 AM:

Serge @ 83

Yes, great!

I know we've previously posted on four color heroes in sequential art novels [God I miss Mike Ford!], but can't remember your position on them ...
If pro, Watchmen is also a good Machiavellian corruption made right scenario.

#85 ::: Dru ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 11:55 AM:

Voted today, but not straight ticket for the Dems. My Congresswomen time after time have returned letters and calls to them about issues like, oh the Patriot Act, civil liberties, silly things like that, with "thank you but we won't be listening to you, Mr. Constituent." I know it won't be a popular sentiment here, but I cannot in good conscience support someone who has told me that civil liberties are passe to my face (actual or virtual). So, Mickey Mouse got some votes today. Then there were the three pages of propositions and local elections.

I have modified my whiteboard, in a high traffic zone at work, to read "Get out and VOTE". The number of people who have stopped and said, "Oh, is that today?" is truly disheartening. Still, a couple people at least said they would skip lunch and make sure they got home to vote (many have less than 15 min travel time to/from work).

Hurrah for Susan and others who are keeping a keen eye out for potential fraud. Black Box Voting got another donation last night, along with Open Secrets and the EFF.

#86 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 12:01 PM:

Definitely a big fan of sequential art novels, Pedantic. Every once in a while, I dig up Ross & Busiek's Marvels to remind myself of how good the men-in-tights stuff can be. (My apologies to everybody else for going off topic.)

#87 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 12:07 PM:

I voted early (last week). Trying to vote today would fall into the category of "often".

The local straight-ticket electronic gives you the chance to review. So I plowed through all nine screens. They all looked fine to me, unlike reports of events elseplace in Texas. (Of course, what the review shows and what actually gets counted may be two totally else different things, but that's beyond my low-rent powers.)

#88 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 12:11 PM:

There's one Dem I'm voting against today. Otherwise, straight party line, and no Gops.

Paul @23: Because, you know, all people in a party are all absolutely identical.

I must admit this kind of generalisation is something Making Light has been doing more and more often lately, and it's not good. I agree with Damien at #11 - think and vote, don't just vote for someone because of what party they're in.

(That said, I really hope Bush loses what remaining power he has...)

And how is that supposed to happen if we vote his people back in? Haven't you seen what they do? Even the ones who stand up in front of the cameras and, with furrowed brow, express their deep misgivings -- even those fall in line and vote for whatever Bush wants to do.

They're his bricks and mortar. They're his legs. The only way to keep him from doing even more damage in the next two years is to vote those legs off of him and take away his rubber-stamp army.

ps: I linked to this post on my LJ today. Very inspiring.

#89 ::: Lee Sandlin ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 12:14 PM:

#77 -- Jeremy's fuller description of the situation here in Illinois is exactly on target. Lenny Bruce said, fifty years ago, "Chicago is so corrupt, it's thrilling." Absolutely nothing has changed since then. Today I had to vote Republican (in the election for county board) for the first time in my life, and I'm not at all happy about it. But I don't care how desperate the political situation is, we're doing absolutely no good for our side, or for the country, when we vote for people we know are dishonest.

(And I hope that Barack Obama's contemptible endorsement of Todd Stroger was just a momentary lapse rather than a sign that he's really a typical Illinois politician after all.)

#90 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 12:20 PM:

Vote straight-ticket Democrat.

Done.

That was fun.

Sometimes just for fun I vote for all the D's separately. In 2000 I had so much fun pushing all the levers on the old machine - click, click, click, click, click -- that it wasn't until I got out of the booth that I remembered that I'd meant to vote for a 3rd-party candidate for governor!

But today I just tapped the "Straight Democratic" box on the touch-screen, and then the one for the library levy (which is a large part of our budget), and that was it.

On the side of the screen, on the machine we use in our county, there's a tape -- like a cash-register tape -- that lists all your votes, so you can see and so there's a paper record. Then when you hit the final "button" to finish voting, that scrolls up so the next person can't see.

#91 ::: Stephen Frug ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 12:23 PM:

To Jim's post: Amen.

A few of us get out onto the streets and do the hard work, and today, win or lose, they're the heroes.

Amen to that too.

I'm consumed with fear and worry about voter fraud... Kevin Drum linked to this piece about voter fraud by Greg Palast talking about the votes that have been, as it were, pre-stolen; and a post just put up on TAPPED indicates that the Republican's robo-call-harrassment scheme is working...

It goes without saying that this makes it more important to vote rather than less. We need to win by enough that they can't steal it this time.

But I'm worried.

#92 ::: Andrew ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 12:24 PM:

#79: It works for you; that's what matters. And it's an elegant solution for the conundrum of having two candidates for whom even "the lesser of two evils" is too tainted for you, when you know which one of them will be running away with the election.

It's too bad Bonifaz couldn't have made more headway against Galvin in the primary. It's one of the things that makes Patrick's ascendance so remarkable and gives me hope for the political system in Massachusetts.

#93 ::: Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 12:25 PM:

Good luck to all of you. What sites will you people be using to track the results of the vote, or does it really not matter?

#94 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 12:31 PM:

I just voted. I was number 46. It took no time at all. We use paper ballots with an optical scanner. There are about 1200 names on the roll at my polling place, but about 1/2 of those are inactive, i.e. they don't vote, or they vote absentee. The county sent the polling place 650 ballots, and the usual number of folks voting at my polling place is 450. And yes, the pollworkers told me, turnout is UP!

Go Democrats! Take our country back!

#95 ::: JBWoodford ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 12:48 PM:

#85 (Dru) quoth:
So, Mickey Mouse got some votes today.

I don't do things like that any more, after finding out from pollworkers that frivolous write-ins add buckets of time to their already-long election days.

#96 ::: Rainy ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 12:48 PM:

I'm sorry, but how about no. No to the unthinking party ticket.

In at least one case, the Democratic candidate on my ticket is a bottomfeeding, corrupt scumbag and the Republican alternative is actually not so bad.

I'll vote according to what I think is right. I don't believe that to be limited by party lines.

#97 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 12:52 PM:

Still fretting in the office, wanting to be out on the street.

Called in to one of the hotlines about the funny poll-place-changing notices; they are filing an incident report.

#98 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 01:02 PM:

I voted on a machine. I'm glad I figured out that I really was supposed to vote for the same guy twice for House—once for the unexpired term, and once for the 2007 seating.

One of my gym acquaintances said he was voting for the GOPper for Senate, because the Dem was "about to be indicted." Sounded like a GOP rumor to me, but also, I told him "If he gets elected and then indicted and resigns from the House, [our Dem Governor] gets to appoint his replacement. That's better than having [the asshole GOPper who filed a complaint against the Dem] in the Senate for six years!" He said he'd think about it.

Another one said "what's the difference? They're all crooks anyway." "OK," I responded, "but if you have two groups of crooks who hate each other, and one's already in the White House, put the other one in Congress. If nothing else, it will slow them down." "But then they'll do nothing," he said. "That's better than destroying the country," I replied. He agreed.

#99 ::: Annie G. ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 01:06 PM:

Serge @ 34: I always thought of the Democratic Party as Star Trek's Federation, not as the superduper aliens who inhabit Deep Space Nine's wormhole and who had to be told what linear time is.

I'm unfortunately not surprised. The DNC/Kerry campaign sent me (from MA) to canvass in FL for the 2004 election...and, among other fck-ups, our promised housing went from a hotel to a homestay that suddenly disappeared out from under us. I don't mind homestays; I do mind homestays that are promised and not delivered, leaving us with nowhere to sleep the night before an Election Day where we will be on our feet 18+ hours. It soured me somewhat on activism within the DNC.

However, all that being said...I just got back from voting the straight Dem ticket in Mass (I don't know enough about Galvin to feel that I can make an informed decision to withhold my vote), and the polls seemed to be well run, with adequate support for handicapped/elderly/non-English speaking voters. I moved this year so I had to sort out which polling place I was going to, and the poll-workers were knowledgeable and helpful. Plus, I feel a lot more secure about Scantron voting than about the electronic kind.

#100 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 01:06 PM:

Rainy #96, see my post. Under current conditions, a bottomfeeding slimeball Democrat is better than the most noble, upstanding Republican.

EVERY Republican will vote to rubberstamp the Bush Administration's horrific crimes. EVERY ONE OF THEM. No matter what they say now, or even believe now, the GOP leadership has ways of twisting them until they do as the leadership requires.

Local elections, OK. But if you vote for a GOPper for House or Senate, you really are voting for torture and indefinite detainment without trial.

#101 ::: Christian Griffen ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 01:07 PM:

If you look at the way Congress works, you'll see that Jim is exactly right.

The very first vote that any member of Congress casts is for majority leader (for House or Senate, respectively). The majority leader controls the flow of legislative activity. They have immense power over what bills get considered at what time, who gets to head what committee, and so on. This vote is the most important vote any member of Congress casts during their time in office. It determines the power structure for the whole legislative session.

Even Chaffee votes for a Republican as majority leader. That means no matter how "independent" a Republican is, they're still empowering the Republican majority to do exactly what they want.

If you vote for a Republican for Congress because you think they are the better candidate, you still empower the corrupt ones and the whole neocon machinery, and you hamstring the ability of Democrats to get anything seriously considered that could move this country in a better direction.

So vote Democratic. Please.

#102 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 01:12 PM:

I voted last week (absentee), against corrupt one-party rule. Which this year, meant voting yellow dog Democrat ("i.e. I'd vote for the D even if they ran a yellow dog") in all the national offices, and giving presumptive preference to Democrats at the state level (since they draw the district lines), and giving presumptive preference *against* Democrats at the city level. We're not quite Chicago, but our city has its own share of entrenched D corruption.

Our local D rep. is someone I consider corrupt (she voted for a clearly unconstitutional pay raise for herself and her co-legislators, and never gave the money back even after the raise was overturned by the courts). I'd have voted for a principled, reasonable R if one were running, but since there wasn't, I wrote in the name of a neighborhood community activist who I admire. It won't make a difference in the outcome, but it will at some level register my no-confidence vote for the incumbent.

As it turned out, I didn't end up voting for any R's this time, but I easily could have at the local level.

Voting D *all* the way down, regardless of circumstance, smacks uncomfortably of the principle "whatever you do, vote for the person who has these particular values, regardless of whether or not they can or will do much with those values in office." And I think that principle recently has mainly served to shore up the *Republican's* base and give that party much more power than it should have. (That seems particularly true with the religious segment of their base, where R politicians have been much more willing at least say they share the values of religiously conservative voters, even while in practice the politicians mostly concern themselves with a different agenda, that of those who are hungry for money and power.)

#103 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 01:31 PM:

a bottomfeeding slimeball Democrat is better than the most noble, upstanding Republican

I'd like having the guts to make a bumper sticker out of that, Xopher.

#104 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 01:34 PM:

#92: In Massachusetts the only suspense tonight will be how large Patrick's victory is. Kerry Healey forgot that you just don't have explicitly racist ads here; it isn't polite.

However, the current situation: two opposing Democratic camps, the Reformers and the Machine, and a virtually powerless Republican party, is untenable. I expect various conservative Machine pols to drift over to the Republican side in the next few years. (That is, of course, if we still have a democracy then.)

#105 ::: Crossbow ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 01:37 PM:

I usually vote for the Green party or some other smaller party, but it's just gotten too bad this year. I have to vote Democrat. I hate that I have to vote AGAINST the Republicans instead of voting for candidates I actually like.

But I have to point out: Isn't a vote for any politician a vote for cronyism? Isn't that the name of the game?

#106 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 01:41 PM:

Crossbow, there's a certain amount of cronyism in politics no matter who's in charge. But Bush cronyism involves appointing wholly incompetent people to important jobs, on the strength solely of their loyalty to Bush.

Different kind of cronyism. Very bad.

#107 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 01:42 PM:

Done, and done.

Of course, it's pretty easy to vote straight-ticket deomocrat in Seattle; ours are fairly inoffensive. For those of you with dems who are worse than the GOP - wow, I'm sorry.

We're all absentee ballots here (yes, I ought to have sent it last week, but I've been waylaid by a nasty flu), so I just need to head out to the post office for a stamp today, and I'll be all set.

I feel hopeful about this election, but that could be the cold meds speaking.

#108 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 01:51 PM:

"Risk", as opposed to "in danger", is biased

I think all that's actually going on in that headline is the typical headline-writer's tendency to use the shortest possible word that fits, especially if it's an active verb.

#104 (re: Massachusetts) I expect various conservative Machine pols to drift over to the Republican side in the next few years.

I find that extremely unlikely. What we'll have after today is a return to the MA status quo: all Democrats, all the time. The risk to any Democrat of switching to the GOP is that when the next palace revolution comes there is no chance of being on the winning side.

#109 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 02:01 PM:

My mail-in ballot left the house this morning- my son and I were going to drop our ballots at the fire station on our way to run errands, but the F-250 hates the rain, and refuses to start.

We live in the Washington 9th, where the Republicans cared so little about winning that they ran an unknown with an unspellable, unpronouncable name against Adam Smith, the D incumbant. Our legislative district had Rs running opposed for Senate and one of the two house positions; I did not vote for any unopposed candidates, reguardless of party.

I voted straight-ticket D. I've never done that before; there's always been one or two progressive Republicans on the Washington ballot, but not this year.

It felt weird.

#110 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 02:02 PM:

As I said in another thread, I voted DEM where available, but there were almost as many races where there was no option to oppose the Republican candidate but Libertarian. If I voted straight ticket DEM, then all those Republican candidates would have, in terms of my voting power, run unopposed (as did many other candidates in actuality, all REP that I saw).

I realize this particular constellation of options is probably not terribly common in the rest of the country, but there are places where voting straight-party Democrat is less effective as a vote against Republicans than voting mixed ticket.

#111 ::: Dru ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 02:05 PM:

@#95 (JBWoodford):

Until I can vote no-confidence on the ballot, instead of a write-in, I'll vote the fictional character. Depending on the reader machine and software mechanics, a blank vote gets the entire sheet(s) rejected. The crew at my station were more than happy to take the write-in, I even asked them afterwards. YMMV.

#112 ::: Melody ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 02:10 PM:

Done. Plus, I broke the optical scanner! Seriously. My ballot was so left-weighted, it made the poor thing shiver and die. As Oleander and I vote in a thumper church, my theory is that my ballot caused blue flames to erupt from the rollers and foul up the machine. Now my precinct gets to hand-count them all, oopsy.

Here in MN we have a fantastic Dem Senate candidate, Amy Klobuchar. It does my old sick heart good to be able to vote for such a good woman. No nose-holding here in DFL country.

#113 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 02:18 PM:

BTW, yes, I voted for Fred Head. As was pointed out in the comment thread, he may simply be mentally ill. There's treatments for that. Hard-line Conservatives are harder to cure.

#114 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 02:29 PM:

A thumper church, Melody? Dare I ask what that is?

#115 ::: Neil in Chicago ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 02:34 PM:

Lived here in Chicago all but a few years of my life, so far. In one of the most liberal districts in the country; Jan Schakowsky is filling Sid Yates' shoes, and if you follow this sort of stuff, I don't need to introduce Illinois' Senators.

The local Dems (i.e., Junior's machine) pushed a guy for President of the County Board (hot Dem-city vs Repub-suburbs action) in the primary who was in a coma from a stroke, and may be a vegetable or less; no one's seen him since March.
And then they handed the nomination to his worthless son. Not evil, just utterly worthless. But the Republican nominee is a Brown Shirt.

We have a Democratic governor who isn't good for much except ingratitude. (He was sure no help to his father-in-law, the big alderman who gave him his in.) And a Republican challenger who is at the worst, an interesting, respectable candidate. But to give a Republican governorship to the Rumsfeld-Cheney Administration would be unconscionable.

Anyway, I already voted, first thing this morning, and was careful to vote against retaining the worst judges, no matter how worthless an effort it might be.

#116 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 02:36 PM:

Xopher--

Oh yes, that's the kind of cronyism that's unique to Republicans. Democrats wouldn't know anything about that, nosir.

#117 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 02:37 PM:

I'd be willing to bet "thumper" is short for Bible thumper, aka "Hellfire and brimstone" preaching...

In other words, funnymentalist christian.

#118 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 02:41 PM:

I should say, by the way, that I voted straight Democrat this morning, but it was remarkably easy....Alexandria had only two sets of names--local Congressman and the Webb/Allen fight--and three ballot propositions. No non-national elections at all.

#119 ::: Randy Chapman ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 02:46 PM:

Robert Byrd was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Can't vote for any party that has him as a member.

But I DID vote straight ticket.

#120 ::: Melody ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 02:48 PM:

Lori, exactly. When I was a bit younger, Serge, and voted there for the first time, I noticed that they had what looked an awful lot like Christian (AKA Republican, here in the 'burbs) voting guides right there at the welcome table(!!!). Being, then, young and completely, utterly stupid I burned in silence and said nothing. What a freaking idiot I was. How in blazes they have continued to keep their designation as a voting place is beyond me.

#121 ::: OG ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 02:49 PM:

Lori @ 73: Whoever told me that Nixon had also requested that "conservative" be replaced with "considerate" in that song forever ruined me for remembering which is actually in the title. And yes, the missing verse to "Piddle, Twiddle and Resolve" greatly disappoints me.

But it's good to hear that they're not shying away from including CCCM in the broadcast version.

Pedantic Peasant @ 80: Great enough for me to remember most of the lyrics for years after seeing it once. I'm not sure, now, which had the greater impact: the movie, or the elementary school teacher tasked with taking us to the movie who afterward huffed that the Founding Fathers wouldn't have talked like that.

#122 ::: Janni ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 02:52 PM:

I'm not really seeing that my vote for local corporation commissioner was a vote for torture, actually.

#123 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 02:53 PM:

Ah, that's what a thumper church was. I knew it had nothing to do with Bambi's bunny buddy, but I never thought of the obvious explanation. Too bad. A bunnymentalist would be more interesting than a funnymentalist.

#124 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 02:54 PM:

Voted two weeks ago - straight Dem, and with a clear conscience.

Here in WA, there are a lot of non-partisan elections on the ballot, so it took some checking to figure out who wore the white hat.

I also pointedly *didn't* vote in any races where the candidate was running unopposed. This is a policy I've always had. This isn't the Soviet Union or North Korea (yet) so I won't vote for an unopposed candidate unless I would have chosen them anyway. (Frex, if Jim McDermott ran unopposed, I'd still have voted for him.)

Still, in Seattle and King County, I'd like to see some serious reform within the Democratic party, which seems to be totally aligned with real estate interests and against the will of the people. (Stadium giveaways, special infrastrcture just for Paul Allen's development projects, killing the monorail even after the public voted for it *twice*, trading a money-making airport for a trail right-of-way, giving away a valued local event venue, plus a litany of other issues...)

#125 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 02:56 PM:

All right, they're gone. Six candidates duly interviewed and out of this place. The last one proved a pleasant distraction - she turned out to be a protofan coming out of the anime and online fanfic communities. We chatted amiably about Firefly and Harry Potter and Classic Trek vs. Next Gen. The generation gap is fascinating; she was stunned to find out they'd had fanfic before the net. I'm going to try to bring her along to Arisia even if we don't match with her.

And now, I'm outta here, off to poll-stand for Lamont for the rest of the day. I have food, drink, warm clothes, a folding chair, all my campaign literature, and a passionate attitude. Thanks for all the direct support and the indirect support of helping me remember there are people who really care about this stuff.

I'm probably going to the Lamont event to wait for returns with fellow Nedheads. I expect it will be a long night. Hopefully I'll be back late celebrating one thing or another!

#126 ::: Ken Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 03:08 PM:

Here in Joisey, we had a choice between a vote for torture and a vote for a man who voted for torture.

Did the right thing, though.

#127 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 03:09 PM:

I've been wrestling with this issue here in Hawaii, a long-time Democratic machine state a la Chicago. Our Republican governor, Linda Lingle, has not only done a better job than the last twenty-five years of Dem governors, but is very arguably more compassionate in addressing issues like the homeless problem. Running against her is a non-entity from the local Democratic committee, who I suspect to be a pure time-serving professional party hack.

Ultimately I've come to the conclusion that her professionalism does not matter as much as her alignment with a national party that is now dedicated to corruption and evil. If she were to run as an independent, she would have my wholehearted support; until then she'll have to do without it.

#128 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 03:09 PM:

Larry Brennan @124:
Fair point on the locals. The no-more-sports-giveaways initiative made me smile, even if it does feel like closing the barn door after the cattle have gone.

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one with that same view of unopposed races.

#129 ::: Howard Peirce ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 03:23 PM:

my theory is that my ballot caused blue flames to erupt from the rollers and foul up the machine

Cincinnati Enquirer reports that a Direct Response Electronics touch-screen voting machine in Newport, Kentucky "immediately began to smoke, emit a foul electrical smell, and the touch screen went blank." No permalink; go here and scroll to the bottom, or Ctrl-F, and find "smoke."

I vote in an inner-city, majority Black precinct. We used optical scan ballots (we used punch cards in the last election). I liked the optical scan ballots -- complete paper trail, and the voter's intent is pretty clear if there's a need for hand recounts. Turnout seemed low to me, but I heard one of the poll workers say that it had been much higher earlier in the morning.

#130 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 03:34 PM:

Sarah @ #128,

Actually, that makes three of us.

Although I was tempted to vote for Gerry Alexander just to spit in the Master Builders eye again.

#131 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 03:49 PM:

Howard, another nice thing about the optical scans is that, with the educational system being what it is today, most of the younger generation is familiar with "bubble sheets" and how to fill them out.

I still prefer my New York State mechanical machines.

#132 ::: Pedantic Peasant ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 03:50 PM:

OG @ 121

I'm not sure, now, which had the greater impact: the movie, or the elementary school teacher tasked with taking us to the movie who afterward huffed that the Founding Fathers wouldn't have talked like that.

Ha ha! Which was the teacher objecting to: accent, patterns of speech, or human behavior?

But it's good to hear that they're not shying away from including CCCM in the broadcast version.
Maybe, maybe not. Nixon wanted people to like him, and felt that was a negative song. I'm not sure W would agree. I suspect he might be very inclined to sing along. What's the line Dickinson and Hancock exchange in the middle of the song?:

H: Fortunately there will never be enough men of property in America to dictate policy.

D: You forget that most people would rather believe in the possibility of becoming rich, than face the reality of being poor. And that is why they will follow us!

I can easily see Bush not seeing the portrayal as a negative ...

Xopher @ 106 and
Sarah S @ 116

there's a certain amount of cronyism in politics no matter who's in charge.
Yeah, and when done right -- by either side -- it's a case of "I know this guy, I know he knows his stuff, and I know we work well together." I mean really, anywhere, would you really hire a complete unknown over someone you knew who was capable of doing the job well?

And yes, both parties have filled sinecures in the past, which is elite cronyism: You scratched my back, I'll scratch yours with a high-pay low-work position.

Some of the problems with this administration (Surgeon General, Rumsfeld, and etc.) steam me, but are similar to what Dems do -- give the job to someone with a similar ideology, who will do what they want.

The very bad cronyism Xopher speaks of (it seems to me) is this administration's "to the victor go the spoils" Jacksonian policies: They don't give or make sinecures -- they take important positions (FEMA) and give them to completely unqualified loyalists as sinecures. And they've seemingly made it a policy to do so.

DaveL @ 108

>>"Risk", as opposed to "in danger", is biased

I think all that's actually going on in that headline is the typical headline-writer's tendency to use the shortest possible word that fits, especially if it's an active verb.

Couldn't agree more. I don't think it's biased at all.

I was just saying if it had actually been biased my read would be more anti-GOP than pro ...

One more hour til I vote ...

#133 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 04:07 PM:

Maybe OG's teacher objected to one of the Founding Fathers complaining about there being no privvy in Congress. Or maybe to John Hancock blowing his nose and then using the hankie to wipe the sweat off his neck.

#134 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 04:14 PM:

Skwid #110 As I said in another thread, I voted DEM where available, but there were almost as many races where there was no option to oppose the Republican candidate but Libertarian. If I voted straight ticket DEM, then all those Republican candidates would have, in terms of my voting power, run unopposed (as did many other candidates in actuality, all REP that I saw).

I take your point, but to my mind, the local Libertarians are frequently even goofier/more despicable than the Republicans. All those land-rights nuts. They any less extreme a couple hundred miles up the Interstate?

#135 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 04:16 PM:

Clifton, I voted for Linda's opponent knowing full well he hasn't got a prayer of winning. The Senate race would be no contest if this were the primary; I'd vote for the lady with no doubts at all. But if she's elected to the Senate she'd vote for a Republican leader in caucus, and I can't/won't agree to that.

#136 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 04:18 PM:

In other words, funnymentalist christian.

No, the Funny Mentalist Christians are the ones holding their hands on the lady's head and saying "Jeeeeeeesus, please help me find this lady's card. Is it a black suit? Jeeeeeeeesus, is it clubs?" and so on.

#137 ::: Chris Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 04:21 PM:

Here's how seriously I took the strategic straight ticket thing just now: I voted for Jerry Brown for California Attorney General.

It took a moment and a hard swallow and a conscious attempt to steel my resolve, but I did it.

#138 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 04:26 PM:

I voted the straight ticket (I was born in Louisiana -- it's genetic) with a smile this morning. This county is using a ES&S mark-sense system where you fill in the bubbles on one or more paper ballots, then you insert them yourself into the scanner, which confirms whether or not it could read your ballot. All entered ballots are deposited in a lockbox in the base of the scanner. At close, the totals are pulled off the machines and sent downtown for tallying, while the machines are transported, with escort, to a locked and guarded room at the county offices. If there is a problem, you retally. If that doesn't work, you open up the scanners and look at the paper. It's been working fairly well here.

#139 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 04:28 PM:

Would Miss Cleo be a funny mentalist, Xopher?

#140 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 04:29 PM:

Chris Clarke @ 137

I'm not going to have a problem doing that, being dem myself. It's the pr*ck on the train who's voting for McClintock because Garamendi is pro-environment (and therefore a wacko - his conclusion) that bothers me. You'd think he'd have a clue about McClintock after the recall. (I'm not voting for Mountjoy either; I lived in his district for a while. Long memories can be useful.)

#141 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 04:29 PM:

No, the Funny Mentalist Christians are the ones holding their hands on the lady's head and saying "Jeeeeeeesus, please help me find this lady's card. Is it a black suit? Jeeeeeeeesus, is it clubs?" and so on.

Inspired, Xopher. Rates right up with the Buddhist Pentecostals . . .

#142 ::: Robert Glaub ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 04:29 PM:

For the first time in my life I voted straight Democrat...

#143 ::: John Aspinall ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 04:30 PM:

Another MA voter here; I was amused to see that (absent a write-in) my choices in several races were between Dem and Green. No Rethugs in sight.

DaveL (#108): My confidence in Massachusetts Democrats is buoyed by the number that I know whose only deviation from party loyalty was to vote for Weld (R) over Silber (D) in the 1990 governor's race. That was a choice of values over party ID.

#144 ::: Greg ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 04:33 PM:

Well done, Jim. I voted (felt good) and volunteered for four hours as a Dem poll-watcher. No malfeasance out here in Johnson County (heavily Democratic) in Iowa, but still helpful. I may go out and canvass later this afternoon, despite a truly annoying lingering cough. For motivation, I just think of Bush giving the State of the Union to a majority Dem House, scowling. And I think of Rick Santorum and George Allen crying like little babies (first is likely, second questionable� but hey, elections are all about hope, right?)

#145 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 04:34 PM:

For the first time in my life I voted straight Democrat...

Is there a gay joke somewhere in there?

#146 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 04:40 PM:

folks who vote for third party candidates who have no chance of winning need to understand the concept of Strategic Voting.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_voting

If your system of government does not use the australian voting method, the condorcet method, or some other form of weighted voting, then you must vote for one of the two most likely to win candidates, or you may as well not vote at all.

Seriously.

Voting for Candidate-who-will-never-win doesn't send anyone a message other than "your vote didn't make any difference". You are as effective voting that way as you are staying home and watching TV. Your vote is thrown out.

There is no objective reason for doing this. It is not a reality based voting method. In a majority-wins voting system, you must vote for one of the two mostly likely to win candidates to have ANY impact on the election.

#147 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 04:46 PM:

Serge #139: yes, but not a Christian funny mentalist.

Claude: Thank you. In fact "THANK YOU, cLAUDE!" ("...and I believe that God/Believes in Claude...")

Serge #145: The only straight thing about ME is the ticket I voted today! *wags cigar and bushy eyebrows* Thanks, I'm here all week, remember to tip your waitress.

#148 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 04:51 PM:

#69 gets it just right. The R's have gotten really good at party discipline, and that's made it hard to vote for a good Republican for congress against a bad Democrat just now--the good Republican will inevitably find himself pressured into voting for bad things, while the bad Democrat will often find it in himself to vote against bad things.

Re: hand-marked ballots

IMO, hand-marked paper ballots scanned at the polling place, combined with good procedures, are the most secure voting system in widespread use. (Of course, they're not all that great if nobody ever looks at the paper ballots again, but at least they're around for recounts.)

Here in Maryland, we're voting on the infamous Diebold DREs that have been shot full of holes by a long string of researchers.

#149 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 04:52 PM:

Greg, I think you understate the case for voting third-party. By voting third party, you are sending the following message to the main party: "No matter how much you embrace our agenda, we will still screw you. You might as well drift to the center; you can't count on us."

#150 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 04:54 PM:

Speaking of Groucho and politics, Xopher... A few months ago, columnist Jon Carroll talked about his own foolish youth in the early Seventies, when he and some friends decided to drive to southern California and interview Groucho. (They connected with him simply by looking him up in the phonebook.) During the interview, Groucho expressed the desire that someone would bump off Nixon. I think some attorney general wanting to make a name for himself started talking about putting him on trial for saying that, but that they dropped the whole thing when they realized how ridiculous it'd look to put Groucho on trial.

#151 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 04:58 PM:

Greg, I think you understate the case for voting third-party. By voting third party, you are sending the following message to the main party: "No matter how much you embrace our agenda, we will still screw you. You might as well drift to the center; you can't count on us."

Not voting in a way that can possibly make a difference in the outcome is equivalent to not voting at all.

If you want to send a message, use email.

#152 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 05:06 PM:

Greg, I read Alex as saying that third-party voting is WORSE than not voting at all...because in addition to not affecting the actual outcome of the election one iota, it encourages the two main parties to ignore the agenda of the people who vote 3p. Regardless of WHICH 3p you vote for, this is counterproductive, not just unproductive.

Alex, is that what you meant?

#153 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 05:10 PM:

joann (#134) said:

I take your point, but to my mind, the local Libertarians are frequently even goofier/more despicable than the Republicans. All those land-rights nuts. They any less extreme a couple hundred miles up the Interstate?

Not particularly, joann, but one more vote actively against a Torture-Party supporter is more significant to me than any shenanigans a third-party official might be able to purport if they happened to gain office, given that they wouldn't have the machinery of a "real" national party to back them up.

#154 ::: OG ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 05:19 PM:

Pedantic Peasant @ 132

Ha ha! Which was the teacher objecting to: accent, patterns of speech, or human behavior?

Profanity and earthiness. I think he would have keeled over in a dead faint had someone proven to him that Governor Franklin was, indeed, a bastard.

I can easily see Bush not seeing the portrayal as a negative ...

I was thinking more of the corporate network masters.

#155 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 05:30 PM:

Item posted today on Salon.com's War Room...

Just in time for Election Day, Fox News is reporting in back-to-back stories that al-Qaida in Yemen has issued a threat against U.S. interests and that New York City may let transgender individuals change their sexual identifications on birth certificates. A talking head warns that the rule change could be an end-run on laws against gay marriage and declares: "Just because you wear a brassiere doesn't mean that you're a woman."

Good thing that Hardy Har Har isn't around.

#156 ::: Dck Hrtz ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 05:36 PM:

Lbrlsm s mntl llnss. Y r jst t mntlly nstbl t knw t.

#157 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 05:36 PM:

#152, I just had an argument this morning with someone who was voting for a third party candidate. I think they actually used the phrase "send a message". Some of that may have spilled over into my reply here. sorry.

Must remember to breath.


#158 ::: Gena Newman ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 05:42 PM:

I agree with Dick. Me and all my liberal friends are just fuckin goofy, i.e support for lack of immigration control, supporting the the aclu responsible for putting incompetence in prominent positions. I was on the Right before my nervous breakdown. Now that I'm nuts I feel I'm in the right crowd.

#159 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 05:44 PM:

In regard to voting the straight ticket while holding one's nose . . .

As stated above, I grew up in Louisiana, where political corruption is the third largest industry. At that time there seldom was a Republican candidate at all, even for Governor -- the real competition was in the Democratic primary where you got to choose between the candidate from the Longs and the candidate supported by the Kennons. Edwin Edwards, one of the most popular politicians in LA history, was so notorious that in the 1987 race Buddy Roemer jumped from last to first place in the primary almost overnight when he said in a Democratic primary debate: "[W]e've got to slay the dragon. I would endorse anyone but Edwards." That year, Edwards was precisely the kind of person that even yellow dog Democrats would vote against. One columnist declared that the only way Edwards could ever be re-elected governor would be to run against Adolf Hitler.

Well, the Republicans did their best to comply. Four years later, Edwards faced Republican nominee David Duke, a neo-Nazi and sometime KKK Grand Wizard. This election featured the two best bumper stickers in American history: "Vote for the crook, it's important" and "Better a lizard than a wizard". Edwards did win his fourth term, but was convicted on federal corruption charges after he left office. (To the best of my knowledge, the 1991 LA Governor's race is still the only one where both candidates ended up in federal prison.)

So, what about this election?

This regime has moved well beyond simple corruption. They have combined bad policy, corruption, and incompetence in a way never seen in this country before. Not only are we mired in an unnecessary war, in the eyes of the world we are no longer the good guys -- we are the wild bunch that insists on the right to commit acts that we tried Nazis for at Nuremberg.

And it isn't just Bush. Rove, DeLay and company worked sucessfully to integrate the Republicans nationally in a new way with conservative institutions and media along with an all-Republican K Street. Today, if you are running as a Republican, whether you like it or not, you are running as part of this machine. Well, it's time for this gang of poseur cowboys to learn the Law of the West: ride with the outlaws, get hung with the outlaws. We aren't just voting for individual candidates, we are voting against an entire corrupt organization, and the message must be crystal clear.

I am not suggesting that you should vote the straight Democratic ticket even if you have to hold your nose. I am insisting that you should vote that straight ticket even if you have to wear a fsking gas mask.

#160 ::: Nncy Plcy ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 05:52 PM:

My frnd Jhn Krry sys cn b th spkr f th hs. My frnd Jhn Krry sys cn rn mrc, my frnd Jhn Krry sys thr s n thrt t mrc, my frnd Jn Krry sd vn thgh 'm wmn nd shld spnd my lf n my bck mkng bbs nd ckng fr my ld mn thr s lwys plc fr m s kky lbrl. f w wn, W r gnn brng mrc t t's kns. Thnk Gd cn spk Frs.

#161 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 05:55 PM:

Dick Hertz:

I surmise that your surname is the result of you stepping on your forename -- and will charitably ascribe the tetchy tone of your posting (#156) to your consequent state of mind.

#162 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 05:56 PM:

Boy, I feel left out of the party. However, given that I live across the street from Cambridge City Hall, I'm pretty confident that my political opinions will be well-represented at the ballot box.

Now I'm off home to assemble an apple crisp to take to an Election Night party, where I get to play the role of International Observer and watch Indecision 2006. (Stewart and Colbert, reunited!)

#163 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 05:57 PM:

PS: Who left the barn door open? And would they mind rounding up the livestock before they shit everywhere and make a mess?

#164 ::: Rachael de Vienne ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 05:59 PM:

Good lord. Before we all start singing La Marseillaise, let's not forget the charming bits about watering the furrows in our fields with the impure blood of foreigners, shall we?

Dear Sarah S.:

Third verse of the Star Spangled Banner:

And where is the band
Who so vauntingly swore,
'Mid the havoc of war
And the battles confusion,
A home and a country
They'd leave us no more?
Their blood has wash'd out
Their foul footstep's pollution.
No refuge could save
The hireling and slave
From the terror of flight
Or the gloom of the grave;

And the star-spangled banner
In triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free
And the home of the brave.

Just to keep things in perspective. Oh, and I still eat Freedom Fries! Well, maybe just "fries." ... Our national anthem isn't quite as blood filled as La Marseillaise.

There is a Monarchist Party. I'd make a great queen. Write me in. ...

#165 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 06:03 PM:

Vowels. Someone has waaay too many vowels.

#166 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 06:05 PM:

My god, it's The Invasion of the Zombies That Think They're Funny.

#167 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 06:07 PM:

I'm prepared to listen to explanations for how my choice to vote for Todd Chretien instead of either Dianne Feinstein or Dick Mountjoy was a vote for torture, corruption, cronyism, "preemptive" war, incompetence, George W. Bush, and against our troops, liberty, the Constitution, Social Security and being secure in persons, houses, papers and effects.

I crossed party lines to vote for a lot of Democrats today, and I gave all my contribution dollars to Democrats this year, and I agitated among my friends, relations and neighbors to vote for Democrats, but asking me to vote for a particular Democrat who voted to authorize the Iraq War and the USA PATRIOT Act, who is also one of the safest Democrats in the U.S. Senate, just to pass a goddamn loyalty test, is a bit more than I can stomach. My sincere apologies for failing to live up to expectations.

You may now hang me in effigy and call me a traitor. I'm used to it.

#168 ::: Greg London sees moronic graffitti ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 06:17 PM:

Did the short bus just stop nearby?

#169 ::: Paul Eisenberg ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 06:22 PM:

Greg sputtered several things about the counterproductivity and uselessness of voting third party.
This is a blanket statement that I wholeheartedly disagree with. In my (blue) state, the Democrat incumbent governor has had a pitiful first term. He's a product of a political machine, and it shows in his leadership. His Republican challenger seems to be a moderate, but takes right-sided stands on too many issues.
Neither candidate deserved my vote.
The Green Party candidate said many things that I agreed with, and put forth a plan for education funding, for example, which is better than any implemented or proposed by the two mainstream candidates.
No matter which way this election goes, I'm proud of my third party vote. I didn't do it to send a message, I did it because I'm through voting for the lesser of two evils.

#170 ::: Edward Oleander ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 06:24 PM:

What if the Republican in question is running unopposed for State Inspector of Mines?

My state doesn't have enough mines to inspect. It's really the Third World countries that need to be inspected for mines. Hundreds of millions of mines are buried all over the.... What? No. Really? Ooooh...

Nevermind...

;-)

#171 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 06:25 PM:

#143: Weld vs. Silber. That was a strange election: the left voted Republican and the right Democrat. All due to the personal qualities of Mr. Silber, which made one miss the reasonableness, openness and charm of R. Cheney.

Said kind of ideological-switch election will Never Happen Again. Even less likely than Galactus returning.

#172 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 06:30 PM:

I'm prepared to listen to explanations for how my choice to vote for Todd Chretien instead of either Dianne Feinstein or Dick Mountjoy was a vote for ...

well, it certainly wasn't an effective vote, from the point of view of actually effecting the election. Unless Chretien actually had a real world chance of winning, which would mean he would come in with the second largest number of votes.

If three people, Alice, Bob, and Charlie run for office in America, and the vote comes down between Alice and Bob, then all votes for charlie are thrown out.

THROWN OUT.

That's my point. All the people who voted for charlie have their votes thrown out, and then they count the votes for Alice and the votes for Bob and decide who wins. A vote for charlie in this sort of race has no effect on who wins.

NO EFFECT.

If the vote comes down between two evil candidates, then you can only have an effect if you vote the lesser of two evils. A vote for a third, less evil candidate, has no effect. none. zip. nada. It's a non-reality vote. Its wishing the candidates aren't who they are, its wishing teh method of voting isn't the way it is, and its wishing reality isnt teh way it is.

If you want to have any effect in the current American voting system, you must vote for one of the two candidates who get the most votes.

If you want to send a message, use email and vote for the lesser of two evil candidates.

#173 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 06:35 PM:

No matter which way this election goes, I'm proud of my third party vote. I didn't do it to send a message, I did it because I'm through voting for the lesser of two evils.

Oh, you sent a message all right.

Take that, evil world!
Your candidates are evil,
and I am too proud to vote for either.

you may as well have stayed home
and waxed your cat.

#174 ::: Lisa Goldstein ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 06:37 PM:

Chris Clarke @ 137 Here's how seriously I took the strategic straight ticket thing just now: I voted for Jerry Brown for California Attorney General. It took a moment and a hard swallow and a conscious attempt to steel my resolve, but I did it.

Funny, I was just going to post the exact same thing. I really really dislike the man. When he was mayor of Oakland about all he seemed to do was try to get the homeless out of downtown so developers would come in. And I met him once, and he seemed extremely humorless -- though, of course, that doesn't make him a bad politician, just made me dislike him more. And damn if he isn't here on the ballot again, running for Attorney General, and damn if I didn't vote for him, though very much under protest.

I really wish there was another way to do this, one that involved voting for instead of against.

#175 ::: Paul Eisenberg ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 06:38 PM:

Greg:
Those who vote for the lesser of two evils must live with the knowledge that when "their" candidate commits his or her lesser evils, they supported that. I refuse to vote for candidates I don't like. People tell me all the time that I throw my votes away when I vote third party, but I tell them that it makes me feel good to vote for candidates I like. If both major parties supported torture, would you vote for them?

#176 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 06:49 PM:

Greg - the problem with your logic is that when Alice and Bob run against each other, and Alice has more votes, then all the votes for Bob are thrown out as well. Alice wins, and everyone who voted for Bob might as well have stayed home.

By your logic, your vote only counts if it's for the person who win.

I think what you're heading for is "when two candidates are close, and one is clearly preferable, don't vote for a third party candidate." That would be good advice.

There are a number of other facts you're assuming about the relationship of candidates and voters that I don't see a whole lot of evidence for.

On a very minor tangent, one of the MA ballot questions (#2) was for allowing multiple parties to nominate the same candidate for an election. That way, if Green Alice and Democrat Alice are running against Republican Bob, people can vote their party without splitting the vote. I believe NY already has this.

#177 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 06:54 PM:

I got an email from michaelmoore.com this morning (I'm still on their mailing list), which made a good point:

All that will matter by midnight tonight is the math on the big tote board. Did America say YES to Bush or NO to Bush? The ONLY way they're going to add it up is by counting the number of votes under the big D and the big R. The only way to take a stand against Bush today is to vote for the Dems on the ballot.

I think that's the most important message to send, which is why I am agreeing with the urging to vote straight-ticket Democratic.

Even if it's a bit late for me to urge anyone to do it now. (Actually, not in my county. All polls in my county are staying open an extra hour because one was delayed in opening this morning for one hour.) But I urged people all day -- emailed everyone to wish them Happy Election Day and gently remind them to go vote.

A friend of mine, who just got citizenship over the summer, had the joy of voting against George Allen, and against the gay-bashing amendment in Virginia, in her very first election ever. Some people have all the fun. My first election was the 2000 presidential election....

#178 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 06:57 PM:
No matter which way this election goes, I'm proud of my third party vote. I didn't do it to send a message, I did it because I'm through voting for the lesser of two evils.
Neat. Maybe soon we will all be through with voting altogether, but at least some of you will know that by god you didn't compromise.
Those who vote for the lesser of two evils must live with the knowledge that when "their" candidate commits his or her lesser evils, they supported that. I refuse to vote for candidates I don't like. People tell me all the time that I throw my votes away when I vote third party, but I tell them that it makes me feel good to vote for candidates I like.
At least you understand that your vote is all about making yourself feel good, and not at all about making whatever possible positive effect is available to be made. It's more honest than "voting my conscience", and I admit that it's kind of refreshing.
#179 ::: Shannon Chamberlain ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 06:59 PM:

Greg, I vote for third party candidates because third parties don't always stay third parties and they need our help to assure that, someday, there are alternatives to waterboard-happy Republicans and their Democrat enablers. I vote for third party candidates because they often have a shot at minor races, and minor races give these parties credit with the voting population and the candidates in local races often have more of an impact on the day to day functions of living in a community. And most importantly, I vote for third parties because voting for either of the major parties would signal my cooperation with a corrupt regime on the one hand and on the other a major source of the notion that "we're the government and we're here to help" is actually something that most of us look forward to hearing soon. I'm thoroughly shocked that you think the Democrats--who voted for the Patriot Act in droves--are any less power-hungry or any more principled.

And I'm furthermore disgusted that some random schmuck in a comment thread has the effrontery to tell me that anything but a purely partisan, single-issue vote is really the thinking man's approach to electing a government. I'll vote my conscience and you vote yours: if enough people bothered to do just that, we wouldn't be in this wretched mess, and I wouldn't have to read your damn poetry.

#180 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 07:08 PM:

Do these threads always have to degenerate into arguments? Look, we're together. No, the Democratic Party isn't peopled with saints. And NO the Democratic Party isn't the same as the Republican Party. As columnist Rob Morse once said in SF's Chron, sure, money fuels both Parties, but saying they're the same because of that is like saying that toasters and VCRs are the same because they both run on electricity.

Meanwhile, we have people like Susan who used to be an Independent and only recently became a registered Democrat. She's doing the right thing according to her conscience. Let's each follow our own conscience and stop getting mad at each other otherwise we're screwed.

Jeez.

#181 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 07:13 PM:

Greg, in the California race for U.S. Senate this year, the pragmatic view is that there is only one candidate running with a real chance of winning, Dianne Feinstein— while there are a collection of secondary candidates, including the Republican Dick Mountjoy with no realistic chance of winning whatsoever. Mountjoy is polling below the 30% mark.

In a race like that, one where the results were in the bank months ago, you either vote for the front-runner and side with the winners, or you pick one of the losers and throw your vote away. It's only in a close campaign where the winner-take-all voting system boils down to a decision between two front-runners.

But that's okay. I don't mind taking heat for refusing to pass a loyalty test. If Democrats don't want me supporting their candidates unless I'm willing to support all of them without regard to any of their policy positions, even when I can't stand them and they are in no realistic danger of losing, then I might as well stop voting altogether.

#182 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 07:16 PM:

Lee at 89:

My straight party ticket* did include one Democrat who is almost certainly corrupt, though possibly not enough to be kicked out of office for. If Hevesi is re-elected NY State Comptroller, the almost certain outcome is that Elliot Spitzer gets to nominate a replacement. If the Republican is elected, not only is that a candidate from the party of torture getting the job, it's someone who probably doesn't have the experience and backbone to do a good job.

[It would be mathematically possible for Spitzer to be re-elected and for the Republican whose name I keep forgetting to be elected governor; that's extremely unlikely in reality, and leaves us no worse off than in the scenario above.]

*Not precisely a straight party ticket: there were a total of three candidates, on three different party lines, for two judgeships: one Democrat and two running on roll-your-own third parties, the "Equal Justice Party" and the "Northern Manhattan Party," neither of which had candidates for anything else. The EJ person was promoted heavily, including by someone I'm inclined to trust, so I voted for her. Not only do I not know why the Democrats only named one candidate, I don't know why any of the other more established party had no candidates for this position.

#183 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 07:16 PM:

Could we please have instant runoff voting?

And while I am wishing for things, how about making Election Day a federal holiday?

And a pony. A pony would be nice.

#184 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 07:20 PM:

The parking lot was about half full at 12 noon when I got there; my ballot was the 402nd to go through the optical scanner. The poll worker I spoke with said the site had been busy in the morning and he expected it to be busy this afternoon (polls close at 6:00pm HST).

Judging from the voter lists posted outside, there probably aren't more than a thousand or so voters assigned to that precinct, so turnout looked to be about 40% by lunchtime. There were maybe 20 booths for the SAT-style ballot users and one touch-screen machine designed for use by folks who can't use that variety. Of the 20, about half were full when I walked in.

Photo here.

#185 ::: Damien Neil ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 07:21 PM:

I am not suggesting that you should vote the straight Democratic ticket even if you have to hold your nose. I am insisting that you should vote that straight ticket even if you have to wear a fsking gas mask.

I reject your insistence. Blind tribalism has no place in rational behavior.

#186 ::: Darkrose ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 07:24 PM:

I voted absentee, which turned out to be a good thing, because I could search online to see what various groups had to say about the umpteen propositions and ballot measures.

I did vote for Todd Chretien, the Green senate candidate in CA. He's not going to win--but since DiFi is not going to lose, I felt comfortable not giving my vote to a woman with a history of taking progressives' votes for granted.

I'm frankly more concerned with the Sacramento School Board race, which includes a foaming-at-the-mouth right-wing homophobe.

#187 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 07:25 PM:

Xopher #136: That's a YOMANK.

#188 ::: Paul Eisenberg ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 07:30 PM:

Scraps,
You appear to be a Gene Wolfe fan (judging by the link associated with your name), so you're not a total idiot. But your post in response to mine sure makes you appear, umm, undereducated. For example, you say: "At least you understand that your vote is all about making yourself feel good, and not at all about making whatever possible positive effect is available to be made."
That's not my understanding at all. I voted third party because to me, there is no possible positive effect available with the two mainstream candidates.
Prior to that, you say, "Maybe soon we will all be through with voting altogether, but at least some of you will know that by god you didn't compromise."
I'm not even sure what you're trying to say there, but it didn't make much sense. As I said I'm proud of my vote. If I didn't vote, I wouldn't be proud.

#189 ::: Edward Oleander ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 07:30 PM:

Voting for Candidate-who-will-never-win doesn't send anyone a message other than "your vote didn't make any difference". You are as effective voting that way as you are staying home and watching TV. Your vote is thrown out.

There is no objective reason for doing this. It is not a reality based voting method. In a majority-wins voting system, you must vote for one of the two mostly likely to win candidates to have ANY impact on the election.

Greg --- THANK YOU!
PNH --- THANK YOU!

In normal times, there are indeed very solid arguements for and against casting your vote for a third party candidate who has no chance of winning. There are arguements for and against "silly" votes as a means of protest (but beware... I come from the state that elected Jesse Ventura ).

But NOT TODAY!!!

TODAY we are under pressure as no time before in my lifetime. Pressure from a Republican party gone over the brink. Under pressure from a President who recognises no law he didn't have written himself. Under pressure from a rubber stamp Congress who gave that maniac and his co-Presidents everything they ever wanted.

TODAY we need to think short term. We need to change direction NOW. Later we can go back to voting for the third parties that are more in tune with our moral and ethical viewpoints.

There are many Democratic candidates we normally wouldn't vote for (although here in MN we got lots 'o' good ones this time), but RIGHT NOW we need to vote DEMOCRAT wherever there is one to vote for, even if it means holding your nose.

Sometimes survival is the number one priority. This is one of those times. This goes a little beyond Jim's original premise with this thread, but I thank him for opening it up for discussion...

Just wish I'd had time to write this earlier today...

#190 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 07:30 PM:

If voting with your conscience means anything, it means voting with consideration toward other people, not yourself. Your conscience isn't the part of you that doesn't compromise. That's your pride. Your conscience is the part of you that wonders whether what you're doing is making the world a better place.

If half the people who say they voted their conscience voted their decency and jugment instead, their consciences wouldn't have anything to worry about.

#191 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 07:33 PM:

Damien Neil #185: I don't think this is a matter of blind loyalty. The people in power are, without the least doubt, rascals, rogues, villains, poltroons, and dastards. It is time for them to go.

#192 ::: Shannon Chamberlain ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 07:36 PM:

If voting with your conscience means anything, it means voting with consideration toward other people, not yourself.

Scraps, I have to agree with the other commenter who mentioned your undereducated approach to the issue of voting. No. Just no. I vote for the candidate I think would make the best elected official. I don't vote for you, or for anyone else. By your line of reasoning, I'd have to be considerate of my Republican neighbors and think that perhaps they'd like me to vote for their candidate. This is where altruistic voting of the kind you're suggesting leads. I take the evidence presented to me and make my own decision, based on what I believe, not on what you or anyone else thinks is right. And your implication that "conscience" is anything other than personal judgment and decency is frankly mystifying. If you're the sort of person who separates his conscience from his judgment and decency, I'm glad you're at the other end of a comment thread and not my neighbor.

#193 ::: Victor Reppert ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 07:40 PM:

Don't blame me, I voted Democratic as many times as I could.

#194 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 07:40 PM:
there is no possible positive effect available with the two mainstream candidates.

This is not a reality-based position. I have to assume that it's the rationalization you sell yourself so you can vote for the feel-good candidate, since it doesn't matter anyway.

#195 ::: Edward Oleander ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 07:53 PM:

By your line of reasoning, I'd have to be considerate of my Republican neighbors and think that perhaps they'd like me to vote for their candidate. This is where altruistic voting of the kind you're suggesting leads.

I'm sorry, but that's kind of silly. That's a slippery-slope logical fallacy, and neither stated or implied by the arguement given. Scraps was saying that you should consider which candidate has an actual chance of making the world a better place.

Right now we need to make actual personnel changes, not make "statements" by voting in a way that would keep the buttwipes in office. As Greg said earlier, if you want to send a message, send an email.

#196 ::: Edward Oleander ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 07:58 PM:

That's not my understanding at all. I voted third party because to me, there is no possible positive effect available with the two mainstream candidates.

But isn't it just as viable to vote in such a way as to deny power to the party which will cause the most harm? To do that, you still need to vote for one of the major parties. Perhaps this logic stinks to many independent voters, but doesn't the prospect of continued Republican rule stink even worse?

#197 ::: Lorax ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 08:06 PM:

Shannon @179, if more people had held their goddamn noses and voted for the lesser of two evils back in 2000, there's a good chance we wouldn't be in this mess now -- if Gore's margin of victory had been that much larger in Florida, it would have been that much more difficult for Bush to steal the election.

My conscience tells me, as does my common sense, that any vote which helps a Republican to win is EXACTLY EQUIVALENT IN EVERY WAY to a vote for the Republican. And so I don't go voting for ponies and puppies and the hope that maybe, someday, the party that I can exactly agree with on every issue will stand a chance of holding office at the national level. I vote against the goddamn fascists. If the Ponies And Puppies Party stands a chance of winning in a local race, go for it. But the Nader voters are every bit as much to blame for Bush's election as the Bush voters -- they knew the system was broken, and chose to cast a vote for Bush and against the system, rather than one that was within the system, however distasteful they found it, and that was against Bush.

#198 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 08:09 PM:

I am now waiting for the Republicans to start accusing black voters of anti-black racism in view of what the result seems to be in Ohio.

#199 ::: Shannon Chamberlain ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 08:10 PM:

Edward: I'm going to repeat what I said about Greg. No comment thread schmuck is going to convince me that by voting for the Libertarian candidate for insurance commissioner of the state of California is going to prevent the boys from coming home. It's ironic that you're accusing me of "sending a message" when this is exactly what you and your lockstep Democrat friends intend to do by voting a straight ticket. You're not voting for any particular candidate; you're "sending a message" to the Republicans about their party leader's mismanagement of the country. In some sense, voting is all about sending a message. We appear to differ only on whether that message should reflect our actual feelings about who would make a better candidate or our blind hatred (perfectly justified, but nonetheless) for our Torture-happy Baboon in Chief. If a Democrat can't persuade me of his or her individual merits, well, individually, I see no point in assuring that my local dogcatcher is a by-the-book Democrat. It smacks of the worst kind of partisan groupthink.

I have a feeling we can argue this until we're both blue in the face (fingers?), and I'm not interested in that outcome. My point is that people like you win no converts when you harangue people like me for wanting to see a real alternative in this country, and attempting to do something about it instead of putting our fingers in our ears and humming "anything's better than a Republican."

#200 ::: Paul Eisenberg ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 08:12 PM:

As I said, my state is blue. It's 7:09 as I post this, and the polls closed at 7 p.m. The Associated Press has declared the Democrat incumbent the winner here in the Illinois governor's race. I'm still proud of my vote for Rich Whitney of the Green Party, and as Gov. Rod continues to eff up his office, I'll be able, and happy to tell everybody I know that I voted for Whitney.

#201 ::: Matt Austern ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 08:18 PM:

For what it's worth, I didn't vote a straight party ticket this year: I voted for the Peace and Freedom Party's Senate candidate, instead of for the wretched Dianne Feinstein.

I don't feel too guilty about that, since Feinstein has no chance of losing. On the other hand, I did start thinking I made a mistake soon after I sealed up my ballot and sent it in. I really ought to remind myself: in today's climate, the views and character of a single representative don't matter. I should not have asked myself whether I wanted to see Feinstein or her doomed and forgettable Republican challenger win the election, but, rather, whether I wanted a Republican-controlled or Democratic-controlled Senate. And that means I vote for whoever has that "(D)" after her name, no matter what the name is.

#202 ::: Shannon Chamberlain ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 08:21 PM:

Lorax: Well, as a libertarianish type who voted for Gore in 2000, I held my nose perfectly well, thank you very much. In fact, I just cast my vote for Diane Feinstein, which required quite a bit more nose-plugging action. Nowhere did I say that it was wrong to vote for a major party candidate (although you and your friends seem perfectly willing to dictate to me when and how I should vote). I don't deny the concept of strategic voting, and I often vote for candidates I consider subpar because in a close election where one candidate would, you know, annihilate the Republic. My objection is the principle (and yes, for some people here it does seem to rise to the level of principle) that voting for a third party candidate in any race and in any context is wrong, because it "takes votes away" from someone else. Bullshit. Those votes don't "belong" to anyone other than the candidate for whom I choose to cast them. I resent the suggestion that there's anything self-satisfied about making a decision to vote for the candidate you genuinely think will do the best job. On the contrary, it's the people who cast votes because Bob probably won't do away with our civil liberties quite as quickly as Elmo that have some 'splainin to do. I count myself among this number this election, and I don't think I should or can be criticized for trying to keep those black marks on my soul to a minimum.

#203 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 08:22 PM:

Incidentally, Greg, that's Australian, not australian. If a political party deserves a capital, we do too. Last time I looked, we were still a sovereign nation.

And why, yes, since you ask, after reading this thread I do prefer the method of voting we use.

#204 ::: Jacob Davies ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 08:28 PM:

Americans often speak admiringly of European systems with 3 or more parties, and certainly in those countries with proportional representation it does seem to allow some broadening of representation. But in Britain, which has a first-past-the-post system similar to the American system and many 3rd-parties that actually get candidates elected - presumably the desired state of affairs for 3rd-party advocates in the US - their actual effect is extremely minor, even for the Liberal Democrats who are by far the largest 3rd-party.

First-past-the-post systems tend to magnify small swings in voting patterns into fairly large majorities for one of the two major parties. And just as votes for 3rd-party candidates are meaningless in the US, in Parliament votes by 3rd-party MPs are pretty much meaningless too. They have some influence, but not a whole lot.

That's what would happen in the US even if there was a significant backing for a 3rd-party candidate. (Which there isn't.) Be careful what you wish for; in the UK, around 30% of people vote for 3rd parties, for which they receive around 15% of the seats, and pretty much none of the power. Counting the minority party votes, about 64% of the votes in the last UK general election went to candidates who will not be part of the majority government. For all its flaws, at least in America you have about a 50/50 chance of having voted for the guys in charge...

If you want proportional representation that's another thing, but I don't see how voting for 3rd-party candidates in a FPTP system advances that goal either.

#205 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 08:31 PM:

Bothering to argue with anyone who asserts that "there is no possible positive effect available with the two mainstream candidates" is a mitzvah.

Shannon Chamberlain, Edward Oleander, it's surely possible to disagree with Scraps without calling him "undereducated". I see no evidence in the thread that either of you have a superior understanding; and if education were the point of your arguments, I have to think you both would have included more facts and explanations.

#206 ::: Shannon Chamberlain ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 08:36 PM:

Sorry, Teresa, but the notion that I vote on behalf of my neighbor is just silly. I don't think it requires the marshalling of statistics. My neighbors have very different priorities and needs.

I spoke far too loosely when I called that view "undereducated", because I don't know anything concrete about his (her?) education.

#207 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 08:38 PM:

Sounds like Rick Santorum's diatribes about man on dog sex will be limited to Rotary Club dinners from now on.

One down . . .

#208 ::: Shannon Chamberlain ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 08:50 PM:

Stefan: And that is both the most sensible thing anyone has said here and the best news I've heard all day all at once.

#209 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 08:56 PM:

Shannon, a great many intelligent and well-informed people have believed, and still do believe, that we should vote on behalf of our neighbors as well as ourselves. You may not agree with that view, but it's neither a novel nor an outlandish political philosophy.

Back when I was a literary criticism reference series editor, I shared an office with two other editors of the same description. One of them was Patrick. The other was Scraps. He's a devout formalist, does a mean Samuel Johnson imitation, and when last I heard was Gene Wolfe's favorite copy editor. He's technically "undereducated" in the same way that Jim Macdonald, Mike Ford, Patrick, and I are.

#210 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 08:59 PM:

Rick Santorum and Katherine Harris have both been repudiated at the polls.

I'm suddenly finding myself very fond of that phrase.

#211 ::: Writerious ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 09:00 PM:

Another Oregonian here, who already voted last week. Love those mail-in ballots.

I just have one thing to say after the zingers delivered to the Republican party: I registered as a Republican, my parents' party of choice, in 1980, pre-Reagan and post-Watergate, back when the party still had true statesmen such as our own Mark Hatfield (I've met Mark O., and he's a perfect gentleman) or Eisenhower. The party changed during the Reagan years, with the rise of the "moral majority" who were neither moral nor a majority -- the first glimmerings of "we make our own reality." Maybe it had already been changing -- I was quite young and not very politically astute when I registered -- or maybe it was the taint of Watergate still clinging to it. I've watched it transform over these last couple of decades into something so far from what I took the party to be in my youth that I don't even know what it is any more. It's not the party of Lincoln nor of Eisenhower. What was once called "insane right-wing radical" is now called "conservative." What was once called "conservative," that is to say a true fiscal conservative who tends to support only needed changes to the system, is now called "liberal." What I took myself to be -- a moderate -- is now called "flaming liberal." What was once called "liberal" is now called "left wing radical," and all of those "liberal" groups are lumped together under the heading of "terrorist sympathizer." Hello, everyone, and welcome to the America we used to read about in bad sci-fi novels and think, "That could never happen here."

Now that I've cast my ballot, I'll be changing parties. To what, I'm not sure yet. But definitely not Republi-theocrat. Sorry, Dad. But at least I got to tell the happy little Bush supporter and Saxton (republican candicate for governor) supporter in the phone polls exactly how I felt about their candidates. Oh, yah.

#212 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 09:08 PM:

Amen, Writerious, amen. In my youth, I worked on Barry Goldwater's reelection campaigns. I knew old-line conservative Republicans. Some of them were honorable men, and I remember them respectfully to this day. Others were scoundrels -- but they were scoundrels on their own behalf. It wasn't systemic corruption. In the years since then, I've felt like I've watched the party get taken over by werewolves.

#213 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 09:10 PM:

Claude @ 159 --

That 1991 Louisiana gubernatorial race? That was my first election.

I miss open primaries.

And I'd really like to see preferential ("instant-runoff") voting and/or proportional representation. I'm tired of having to vote one set of bastards in to have a chance of getting the other bastards out.

#214 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 09:14 PM:

I also, apropos of nothing, really miss the Oregon Voters' Pamphlet.

On the other hand, I know I got no less than one vote for Mayor of Augusta, Maine, because I couldn't find a reason to vote for either of the people printed on the ballot, and I was looking for a better job anyway...

#215 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 09:17 PM:

#157 Greg:

I just had an argument this morning with someone who was voting for a third party candidate. I think they actually used the phrase "send a message".

The only message the Bushites understand is "You Lost."

#216 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 09:18 PM:

TNH #212: I think you are being unfair to werewolves. Given some of the acts of the Bush administration (one whole war to fatten Dick Cheney's bank account, the complete indifference to the fate of millions of Americans affected by Hurricane Katrina, the even more callous indifference to the Boxing Day tsunami the year before -- recall that Bush's initial aid offer was $35 million, and that he was instantly shamed by Koizumi who pledged ten times that), I'd want to call the current Republican leadership hyaenas.

#217 ::: Shannon Chamberlain ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 09:26 PM:

Teresa: Your assumption (and his) is that you know what is best for your neighbors, and have some superior understanding of what constitutes compassion towards them. I'm well aware of that philosophical tradition, and reject it for its exceptional arrogance. When you vote on this basis, you vote for your conception of his interests, which really isn't the same thing at all.

And since I apologized for using the term "undereducated" too loosely already, I can't imagine what you mean by going on about his qualifications to pronounce on political issues.

It's very difficult to see the distinction that all of you are making between you voting your conscience and me voting mine. Because that's exactly what you did, and I respect you for it. In fact, voting our mutual consciences led us to many of the same decisions regarding the national offices.

#218 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 09:33 PM:

We Dumped Rick!!! YEAH!

I voted a straight ticket for maybe the third time in my life. There was not a Republican I could vote for. Some of the Democrats I voted for weren't so hot, but they were better then the alternative.

#219 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 09:33 PM:

Damien Neil (185), you get a one-point demerit on your semester grade for sneering without reading. I'd have held it to a half-point demerit if you hadn't reflexively invoked "rational behavior".

#220 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 09:35 PM:

What, Laurie? No more man-on-dog Santorum?

#221 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 09:37 PM:

Rick Santorum and Katherine Harris have both been repudiated at the polls.

Alleluia! Allahu Akbar! Gods be praised! Jagadambe jeje Ma!

From now on, 'santorum' will refer only to the well-known frothy mix.

#222 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 09:37 PM:

#197 Lorax:

This isn't quite right. Voting for the Green instead of the Democrat is not like voting for the Republican--it has the same effect as staying home or not voting in that race. Voting Green instead of Democrat takes that vote away from the Democrat, but doesn't give it to the Republican.

It is definitely reasonable to do this in some cases, especially where the outcome is already determined. Your vote has three effects: In this election, it helps determine (with probability usually very close to zero) who wins. It also signals politicians running in the next election about your intentions. If 5% of voters vote Green, the Democrats (and to some much smaller extent, the Republicans) see that there was an extra 5% of votes which might be captured by accomodating Green issues. If 5% of voters vote Libertarian, the Republicans and Democrats each can see ways they might capture that 5%, or deny it to the other side. Finally, it signals to the country and world that there is a substantial number of people who care deeply about a certain set of issues--Libertarian, Green, Socialist, whatever.

The two big parties really enjoy having captive voters. You oppose gun control, that's you're big issue, but you're sick of Republican corruption? Who are you gonna vote for? The Democrats? You don't dare.

That makes it easy for the two big parties to just flat ignore big issues for some of their supporters. Your big issue is keeping abortion legal, but you don't like the local Democrat's support for locking up drug users forever? Who cares. You can't vote for the Republican, after all.

One choice is staying home. Another is not voting in races where you don't like the Democrat or Republican. A third choice is to vote for a third party. A fourth is simply to keep voting for the Democrat or Republican, no matter how much you think they've betrayed your values, because they're at least somewhat better than the other party.

I think Greg and several other posters are arguing that the fourth choice is the only one anyone should ever make. Or perhaps that the second choice might also be okay, but that the third choice would be inherently wrong. I don't see it.

#223 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 09:37 PM:

So Shannon, it's not arrogance to ignore your neighbors?

#224 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 09:47 PM:

Spitzer, Clinton, and Cuomo are well in.

With 4% of precincts reporting, they're confidently predicting a reelection victory for our congresswoman, Nidia Velasquez. Patrick and I still can't remember her Republican opponent's name. We theorize that he ran so he could have something to put on his resume.

In Arizona, Janet Napolitano's been reelected, beating out a Republican opponent who made Ev Mecham look good by comparison.

#225 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 09:52 PM:

Writerious, hello from the other side of the Columbia.

I started my political life as an Evans Republican; there's still one liberal Republican in state-wide office up here (Sam Reed, state auditor) but otherwise the party is pandering to the far right more and more each year. It's depressing- it used to be that there were liberal, pro-choice, pro-environment, pro-business Republicans and liberal, pro-choice, pro-environment, pro-labor Democrats, and one pretty much won either way. Now there's "moderate" Democrats (and Jim McDermott, perpetual representative from the fifth) and increasingly right-wing nutcase Republicans. Makes it hard to sleep at night.

#226 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 09:59 PM:

I'm pessimistic that this will be convincing to anyone, but here's a contrary view on the value of tactical voting: Tactical Voting Can Be A Weak Strategy.

#227 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 10:06 PM:

Teresa, Scraps--Am I correct in understanding voting with some consideration for your neighbors in this way:
I do not make minimum wage at my job; in fact I make enough that the level of the minimum wage is not likely to effect my rate of pay. It won't make a large difference in my life whether the minimum wage if left as it is, or raised to $6.25. However, I do have at least one neighbor whose rate of pay is low enough that it could be affected were the minimum wage to increase. Voting for candidates who are likely to support or even pass an increase in the minimum wage is voting with some consideration for her concerns.
Similarly, I don't take prescription drugs very often--but I have neighbors, friends and family who do--and so taking this issue into consideration when I vote is more about showing some consideration for their interests than it is mine.
Have I interpreted what you're saying correctly, or did you mean something else altogether?

#228 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 10:11 PM:

From Warren Ellis's email newsletter:

"Karl Rove is not Aleister Crowley,
Severus Snape, Darth Vader or
Satan. You can kill him by ensuring
your vote is counted and being
vigilant at your polling station. This
message is brought to you from a
country where votes are marked
with pencil on paper and counted
by humans."

#229 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 10:34 PM:

And she comes wearily home. Too tired to go to Meriden. With a new horror of lever machines and a better idea of why it takes so long to get results (my precinct took 1:40 to produce results from all of seven machines.) Oddly enough, also with a new respect for our democracy in action at the precinct level - it was strangely heartening to see so many people coming in to vote in a civil way.

Oh, yes, and Ned is losing. I didn't have the heart or the energy to drive up to the party. I see from previous entries that there is already some hope elsewhere, and I'm going to go check that out soon to try to alleviate what's shaping up as a major dive into depression, even though I'm not exactly shocked at the results. Just very, very sad.

More on the entire afternoon and evening's adventures tomorrow, I think.

#230 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 10:36 PM:

Canuck here, so my opinion doesn't influence the US election one jot (GO DEMS!) but, while some people have got a bit strident on the "Vote Domocrat straight ticket or else!", those opposing this point of view who criticise its advocates as suggesting this is the only way to go ANYWHERE, EVER, seem to have missed where this started: the people advocating it are advocating it IN THIS ELECTION; and most of them don't advocate doing it on an ordinary day (See people like Debra Doyle, amysue, and Sandy B. above).

#231 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 10:40 PM:

Something very like that, Fidelio. I have no children, but I'll happily vote for increased taxes to support schools and teachers. I don't work in manufacturing, so I'm unlikely to lose my job to Wal-Mart's "beggar thy neighbor" policies, whereas their low prices could be of considerable advantage to me; but I know they beggar my neighbors, so I don't shop at their stores, and I look favorably on politicians who're inclined to rein them in. Anti-immigration hysteria is never going to be aimed at me -- my own people came over on the Mayflower and Speedwell -- but I have a Nicaraguan living on one side of me, a houseful of Azerbaijanis and a Colombian medical student on the other side, and some kind of recent Oriental immigrants living across the street; and if I had to rely on native-born Americans for my takeout, I'd probably starve to death. (Dat's Brooklyn for ya.) You'd better believe I care about immigration issues when I vote.

If someone doesn't know about their neighbors' needs and interests, all I can say is, "Why the bleep not? Aren't you paying attention?"

I don't understand this idea that one's political life can be conducted independent of where you live and who else lives there. One man's ceiling really is another man's floor, just like one man's water main is another man's traffic obstruction. Urban living is an intensely cooperative enterprise.

Sometimes I think the modern suburban housing development was deliberately designed to foster the reassuring illusion that your neighbors' concerns don't affect you.

#232 ::: Lynn C ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 10:40 PM:

I will echo what a number of people have said -- 32, 54, 77 and 115 above.

In Illinois it isn't quite that simple... There are some profoundly corrupt Democrats here as well as Republicans. if the model was throw the bastards out, Daley and Stroger and Blagojevich are the people in power and at least some of the people in power probably should be thrown out.

That said, I did hold my nose (the gas mask might have helped more) and vote for Democrats who I sincerely believe to be corrupt for the reasons outlined above. But I don't feel that for local elections it necessarily means that voting against Republicans for offices like county treasurer just because they are Republicans is usually a good idea. I made an exception this year, but only this year. (For example the Democratic candidate for county treasurer is not particularly qualified, and is pretty much a sacrificial candidate. I voted for her anyway.)

I'm also not particularly a fan of a township resolution that we should withdraw from Iraq. Yes, I agree, but it strikes me as an exercise in pointlessness.

#233 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 10:49 PM:

#203 to Dave from Australia: sorry. better? greg.

#234 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 10:53 PM:

My wife just came back from her poll-watching at a location run by Republicans. They certainly did NOT make her feel welcome nor do they give a f*ck about democracy, based on comments they made about why voters who hadn't shown up yet should be reminded to go and vote.

#235 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 11:07 PM:

NBC's calling the Democrats taking the House.

#236 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 11:09 PM:

Serge, what were they saying?

#237 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 11:12 PM:

OK, tactical voting.

Alice is the devil incarnate. Were she to be elected it would be a -10 on the evil/good scale for the country and for you in particular.

Bob is a minor demon. Were he to be elected it would be a -5 on the evil/good scale for the country and for you in particular.

Charlie aint half bad. He comes in at a +2 on the scale.

Alice and Bob are on the Republican and Democrat tickets. Charlie is an independent. Word on the street, and everywhere else, is that together, Alice and Bob will get the lion share of the votes. Charlie is predicted to get no more than 10%.

With me so far?

Alice -10
Bob -5
Charlie +2

Now, you step into the voting booth. What are the choices you have that can have an actual effect on the outcome of the race?

Alice and Bob.

The winners will be chosen between Alice and Bob. That's where the lion share of votes are going. If you vote for Alice or Bob, you may tip the outcome one way or the other.

If you vote for Charlie, your vote has no effect on the winner.

No effect on who wins.

Alice -10
Bob -5

You have a chance to effect the outcome of an election and chose between Alice and Bob. Or you can choose the high road and make a completely pointless political statemetn that no one will hear except yourself and your friends.

If you vote for Charlie, neither Alice nor Bob will care, because you didn't count against either one of them in the elections. You didn't count for them. But you didn't count against them. Voting for Charlie is effectively "eating at the kids table" at thanksgiving. All the other kids will be impressed. But the adults will smile patiently as you explain the story of your imaginary friend and wait for you to go back to play.

If you vote for either Alice of Bob, you can actually influence the results.

Alice -10
Bob -5

Assuming that the candidates are not completely equal, the only reality based choice is to choose the lesser of two evils. You are presented with a chess board in play and its your turn to move, and you don't like the position of the pieces, you can either quit and go home and let someone else decide, or you can do the best with what you've got.

Assuming the amount of damage the two most likely candidates will inflict are not identical, you would vote for the candidate that will inflict the least damage.

Coming in at -5, you would vote for Bob. That action would mean you did your best to do what was best for the country and yourself and your friends and your familiy.

If the world gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Voting for Charlie means the vote could end up going to Alice and your vote for Charlie would give the country to Alice. The road to hell would be paved with your indignation.

If the quiz says True or False and you answer "maybe", you lose a point. If the vote comes down to either Alice or Bob and you vote Charlie, you've thrown away your vote.

So, to vote for charlie means you either believe that Alice and Bob are equally evil, and it doesn't matter who you vote for because the damage is the same, or you have kidded yourself into believing that voting for Charlie will have some sort of effect on the outcome of the election when it really won't.

No one will here your "message" other than you and your friends whom you righteously and indignantly explain why you threw your vote away and what a difference you think it will make.

You could perhaps sway the outcome to a -5 by voting for Bob, or you could vote for Charlie and let the adults vote between Alice and Bob, and maybe the results will come out a -10 for the country. yeah.

#238 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 11:30 PM:

#226: skimmed through it.

don't buy it. not for a second. Obviously everyone compromises some level when they vote. For any particular voter, the actual, real world, best possible, person to be in office that would guarantee the best outcome for that voter is...

that voter.

I'd vote for me. You'd vote for you. Alice would vote for Alice. Bob would vote for Bob. And so on.

If by chance, I were to win that election, I would then do everything in my power to serve my best interests.

But that ain't gonna happen. So I compromise. I vote for who will do the best for me and the country.

The attitude for people who throw their votes away seems to be that they're not going to cheapen themselves by compromising. As if the rest of us haven't compromised as well.

As for the rest of the article, throwing your vote today as a way of trying to influence the parties in the election AFTER this one is amazingly dense. You give up any and all influence on this election. And you've mortgage the next political term on the idea that -next time-, the next election, things will be different.

Of course, in teh meantime, the race between alice and bob might go to alice, who is a -10 on the evil scale. So for several years, Alice is wreaking havoc on the country becaue you had to vote for Charlie.

And you voted for Charlie because Bob, who came in at a paltry -5, wasn't good enough for you. You want Bob to clean up his act and get better than -5, and you're willing to let Alice at -10 have the country for a few years to make your point.

Near the end of Alice's term, Bob goes to a -3 in an attempt to draw in your votes. Alice is incombent and decides to stay at -10. Good ol' charlie comes along with a +3.

And so you decide that Charlie is much better than Bob, because +3 is far better than -3, so instead of voting tactically and voting for Bob and having some influence on the election, you vote for Charlie and throw your vote away. Again.

So Alice wins reelection, and the country gets another term at -10. Because -3 wasn't good enough for you.

If you want to influence future candidates, then you want to send a message. If you want to send a message, use email, sign a petition, protest, do a sit in, march in the streets.

If you want to make a difference in creating what is -best for you and your country-, vote for one of the two politicians most likely to win.

#239 ::: Andrew ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 11:33 PM:

Both house seats in New Hampshire have switched from Republican to Democratic. NH-01 -- Carol Shea-Porter -- was completely unexpected by everyone but Shea-Porter's team. Paul Hodes in NH-02 was a likely bet, but not a sure thing.

#240 ::: Kevin Andrew Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 11:42 PM:

I voted absentee-in-person today, handing my absentee ballot in while my mom waited for a voting machine that recorded the final vote while making the same noice Pac man does when swallowing a power pill. Yes, really.

I've never been thrilled with Feinstein, but really, compared to the alternatives? I voted for her happily and did the straight Democrat ticket specifically because I used to occasionally vote for a token seemingly sane and moderate Republican and look where that's gotten us. After this current debacle, the one-time "Party of Lincoln" deserves to be a flaming shack ringed with skulls. I'm certain we can find a photo reference somewhere in Iraq if anyone's unclear on the image.

#241 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2006, 11:45 PM:

Speaking of hate, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin all passed gay marriage bans.

#242 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 12:01 AM:

For most of my voting life I've been registered as Independent, and have voted for the person, not the Party. About 80% of the people were, as it happened, Democrats, and about 18% were somewhere to the left of them. The Politics of the last c. five years have been such that this year, for the first time in my life, I voted a Straight Party Ticket (including the Dem. recommendations for Judges & Propositions, insofar as I could locate any). I expect to do the same thing two years from now. (Mind you, I had to hold my (metaphorical) nose while filling in the circle for Feinstein).

#243 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 12:04 AM:

In Minnesota, parties that get at least 5% of the vote on a statewide office get a financial benefit. I'm blanking on what it is, but it seems like the state gives them a certain percentage of the campaign fund? In statewide offices where the Democratic candidate was certain to win, I voted Green, just to give them a chance to get the financing. It doesn't necesarily affect this election, but it does affect the future. (Not least because the Greens are fighting for instant runoff voting on all ballots in the state. They are starting to win IRV in local races, and expect that as more people experiance it, they'll vote for it further up the ticket.)

My daughter and I walked over to our polling place at 7am. There was about a 20 minute wait, including our voting time. (It took longer than it needed to, because my 5yo helped me vote. I pointed, she filled in the bubbles. This allowed her to tell one of her friends that she had voted for said friend's daddy. I took her along instead of voting after I took her to school because I want her to know that voting is important.) We had no problems at all, and the entire line was moving smoothly. The poll workers let her slip the ballot into the counting machine and gave her a sample ballot and an "I voted" sticker to take to school. They told me that everything worked, no one was getting out of line to leave, and that turnout was a little heavy, but nothing they couldn't handle.

#244 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 12:08 AM:

Greg - your argument would be stronger if you were able to demonstrate that voting for the least losing candidate means something.

Take the DiFi race - there are six candidates. There is a significant and predictable gap between Dianne and her closest opponent, the Republican. Practically speaking, what's the difference between voting for one guy who didn't win and the second guy who didn't win? Her re-election doesn't exactly come as a shock to anyone.

The sad truth is, for most races, your vote really doesn't matter. You choose to deal with that by telling yourself that at least you voted for the #2 guy. Other people choose to deal with that by voting for a candidate they would like to be elected.

Races where the vote -does- matter, such as the Senate race in Virginia, are a different matter.

#245 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 12:27 AM:

Greg - your argument would be stronger if you were able to demonstrate that voting for the least losing candidate means something.

Ralph Nader, 2000.

#246 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 12:36 AM:

1. But think of how many votes Al Gore would have gotten if the Republicans had all voted for him! Why don't you just ask everyone to vote for the most likely candidate so no one wastes your votes.

2. I think you mean the Worker's World Party. They got enough votes in Florida to bridge the official gap.

3. I don't know how to tell you this, but more people went to the polls to vote for Al Gore and he lost anyway. Nader didn't lose the election for him, he got more votes and lost anyway. That kind of invalidates your trump card.

4. You should go back and read about the Florida legislature's plans back in 2000 to vote to overturn the election and give the votes to Bush anyway. Net effect of those blasted Naderites switching: Nil.

5. I have, a few times, addressed the differences between races-close-enough-to-matter and races-where-you-could-perform-interpretive-dance-in-the-voting-booth-and-make-just-as-much-difference-to-the-electoral process.

In short, your argument would be stronger if you mixed some clay with your straw so it would stand up in the real world.

#247 ::: Paul Eisenberg ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 12:42 AM:

Today, my vote for a Green in the Illinois Governor's race made more of a difference than my vote would have for the Democrat incumbent, who right now has about 60 percent. The Green candidate is at about 10 percent. By garnering that many votes, the Green party will not have to collect nearly five times the amount of nomination signitures necessary for a third party to get on the ballot next time.
That margin also signals to other voters that there is an alternative to the established parties.
And I wouldn't have cast my ballot if I didn't think there was a very outside longshot chance that this third party guy could win, even if all polls predicted against it. There is a precident, though I hesitate to link my guy with The Body.
Nevertheless, to give up my vote to a candidate I didn't belive in at the expense of one whose policies and politics I agree with would have been giving up hope. And if I ever give up on hope, Scraps, perhaps you would be right. I may give up voting altogether.
And I introduced "undereducated" into this mix, by the way. That was a bit too harsh on my part and I apologize.
But hey, I can still celebrate most of the Democratic victories with you, can't I?

#248 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 01:08 AM:

Greg (241), not only did Virginia pass a no-gay marriage law, the law is worded so vaguely that no two people of the same sex can make contracts with each other. The Republican attorney general says it won't be interpreted that way, but I don't trust him. If, for example, my brother died and my sister-in-law and I tried to buy a house together, legally, we couldn't.

I voted all Democratic and for the other two VA amendments. I took my elderly legally-blind neighbor with me and this year he couldn't see the touchscreen with his lighted magnifier so we had to fill out the Assistant form and I followed his index card exactly.

My votes for Representative and VA state delegate both lost and I'm particularly worried about the last. He's currently a Manassas Councilmember and he initiated two recent laws that discriminate against Hispanics (Justice is now involved with one and expected to sue) and pushed other councilmembers to refuse a home-based business license (two of which type had been given before) to a gay man.

The VA Senate race is being called for Webb, but by less than 3000 votes. You know Allen will contest as much as possible.

#249 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 01:34 AM:

people went to the polls to vote for Al Gore and he lost anyway. Nader didn't lose the election for him, he got more votes and lost anyway. That kind of invalidates your trump card.

weighted voting: You vote for your first choice, then your second, then your third. If your first choice doesn't get a majority of votes, your vote is bumped to your second choice. If that candidate gets a majority he wins. if not, bump to number three. and so on.

Voting for Nader did nothing. Your vote had no effect on the outcome. If you want to have an effect on the outcome, you need to bump your vote to your next favorite candidate, and maybe he'll get the majority, until you get to the top two candidates, at which point one will have a majority, and no one needs to bump their votes anymore.

You talk about strawmen and say something like "Why don't you just ask everyone to vote for the most likely candidate so no one wastes your votes."? I don't ask everyone to vote for most likely because the last two candidates will always produce one candidate with a majority of the votes, so you don't need to bump your votes beyond the last two candidates. That's why. Make sense?

If you are in America where the system doesn't bump your votes automatically, you need to do it yourself, if you want to ahve any influence on this election. argue all you want about influencing the next election, but this election, voting for number three does nothing to select who wins.

And voting for Nader in 2000 when your second choice was Gore was irresponsible. on election day, the vote was too close to call to throw your vote away on Nader. Voting for Gore might have made the difference. Nobody knew until long after the votes were tabulated.

#250 ::: Damien Neil ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 01:38 AM:

TNH (219), I assure you that I read the comment that I replied to.

The fact that George Bush is quite possibly the worst president this country has ever had has not the slightest bearing on whether the best choice for the California State Board of Equalization (District 1) was Betty Yee, David Neighbors, Kennita Watson, or David Campbell. To blindly vote a straight party line is to say that it does.

To insist that I vote a straight party line is to insist that the single most important consideration in every elected office--regardless of how little connection that office has to national politics--is the candidate's tribe. I reject that view.

#251 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 01:41 AM:

to give up my vote to a candidate I didn't belive in at the expense of one whose policies and politics I agree with would have been giving up hope. ... I may give up voting altogether.


for third party candidates who get total votes far below the first two candidates, (1) voting for the third party candidate and (2) not voting at all, are completely indistinguishable from each other.

The only difference is the story you tell yourself in your head after the election. Other than that mental excuse, they are exactly the same: No effect on who wins.

#252 ::: Paul Eisenberg ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 01:57 AM:

Thing is, Greg, I did vote - In every race I could. I even went through the whole judge retention list.
Also, I talked about voting with my three-year-old son. I mentioned voting to my son's teacher when I dropped him off at school. I proudly wore my "I voted!" sticker all day long.
Your blather aside, my vote for governor, had it been included in the 60 percent the winning Democrat got, would have been completely indistinguishable from not voting. Wouldn't have made a bit of difference. Now my actual vote for the Green party governor candidate, may have made a difference. Perhaps that one vote pushed him up from 10 percent to 11 percent.
I can actually see that vote on TV.
And in my head, I feel better having cast that vote. Much better than I did voting for the Democrat, Stroger, who won for Cook County Board President.
In neither case did my vote affect who won, but one vote made me proud to tell my son I voted, and another did not.

#253 ::: Edward Oleander ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 03:50 AM:

Shannon: My objection is the principle (and yes, for some people here it does seem to rise to the level of principle) that voting for a third party candidate in any race and in any context is wrong, because it "takes votes away" from someone else. Bullshit.

Tonight, Minnesota provided a perfect example of why I don't agree with you. The race was very tight, and even now has not been officially called except by AP. If it turns out the Dem lost, it will be because an Independent took about 7% of the vote. Polls indicate most of that would have gone to Mike Hatch (Dem). Now we get four more years of a man who is just plain Evil. But it might not be four more years. This victory will likely make this buttwipe (Tim Pawlenty) the leading contender for a Vice Pres bid in 2008. This makes a local disaster a national catastrophy. All because a lot of people refused to help bail because they were mad at all the boat builders. They voted in an attempt to effect long-term change in a time where we truly need emergency short term help. Doing this put their long-term goals farther away than ever. My mother would say they bit off their nose to spite their face.

Incidently, I read my guides and did my Googling. In every case, I vastly preferred the stands of the Democratic candidate. THAT is why I voted a straight Dem ticket.

THN: Shannon Chamberlain, Edward Oleander, it's surely possible to disagree with Scraps without calling him "undereducated".

Umm, Teresa, I was supporting Scraps... I think the re-election of Pawlenty in Minnesota today was a perfect real-world example of his logic in action. I agreed with his posts and DO NOT consider them un- or under-educated in ANY way. It was Shannon's (il)logic I was taking issue with... To me, her later post (#206) shows that she still is stretching Scraps' point well beyond it's reasonable premise and into an illogical zone that distorts what I believe he meant.

BTW - Your comments in #212 describe my own political journey from Reagan Republican to flaming Liberal pretty closely.

Lenora (#230): Canuck here, so my opinion doesn't influence the US election one jot (GO DEMS!) but, while some people have got a bit strident on the "Vote Domocrat straight ticket or else!", those opposing this point of view who criticise its advocates as suggesting this is the only way to go ANYWHERE, EVER, seem to have missed where this started: the people advocating it are advocating it IN THIS ELECTION; and most of them don't advocate doing it on an ordinary day (See people like Debra Doyle, amysue, and Sandy B. above).

Thank you. That was the (perhaps poorly communicated) reasoning behind my supporting the straight Dem vote idea in the first place... A one-time desperation strategy in a desperate time.

#254 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 04:26 AM:

Damien Neil, #250: I'm British, so I didn't vote yesterday. But I'd like to take issue with what you said.

The fact that George Bush is quite possibly the worst president this country has ever had has not the slightest bearing on whether the best choice for the California State Board of Equalization (District 1) was Betty Yee, David Neighbors, Kennita Watson, or David Campbell. To blindly vote a straight party line is to say that it does.

You are, technically, quite correct ... until we consider the issue of party patronage. If George Bush can twist the arm of the Republican incumbent of the California State Board of Equalization (District 1) and make them comply with his policies, then yes, a vote for the Republican in that race is a vote to lend more power to the George Bush machine.

You're living through a period in which the Republicans have decided to import the trans-Atlantic idea of a whipped party line. The old rules don't apply: whipped parties don't work the same way, there's no room for independence and if a local official doesn't tow the party line, the party's support will be withdrawn and they'll be out in the cold, liable to lose their next election. (We can quibble about whether this is due to the cost of TV advertising, or to the K Street Project, or to procedural arcana in the RNC over who gets funding -- but this is the outcome.)

Sure, you might like local candidate X, even if you dislike George Bush -- but that doesn't matter any more because your local candidate is a subordinate of The Party, not a free spirit. When it takes millions to run a campaign, and you don't have millions, the people who have got the millions to bestow get to tell you what to do.

This is more pronounced the higher up the pole you go. And because the adoption of Parliamentary-style scorched-earth politics in the Republican party is so new, the usual mechanisms for accommodating grass-roots dissent among the new party haven't taken root yet.

Put it this way. I live in the UK, and to me, it doesn't matter whether my constituency MP does a good job or not: he's from the party of Tony Blair, and Blair derives political strength and influence from him. Therefore a vote for that MP is a vote for Blair, and if I don't want Blair to have a grip on the levers of power, I've got to vote for someone else.

#255 ::: Eve ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 04:51 AM:

Rachael de Vienne:

I think that most national anthems have a dreadful racist bit somewhere around the fourth verse, which nobody ever sings, and most people don't even know, because in my experience national anthems are rarely sung past the first verse and chorus.

"God Save The Queen" has that infamous bit about "rebellious Scots to crush".

#256 ::: Nick Kiddle ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 06:56 AM:

Greg London: every time you explain, it sounds like a better argument for a long lie-in on polling day. Is that what you're trying to encourage people to do?

#257 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 08:45 AM:

Charlie: I think one of the reasons things have been so bad in the US recently is the introduction of a parliamentary style whip without the corresponding parliamentary style "vote of confidence dissolves government and forces election" balance.

#258 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 09:00 AM:

Greg London:

In #245, you use the example of Nader in 2000. Suppose you were voting in Utah or California--states in which there was absolutely no question which way the electoral votes would go. Are you saying it would have been wrong to vote for Nader in those races? If so, why?

In #251, you say voting third party when the third party candidate gets way fewer votes than the main two parties is exactly like not showing up. So let's try the thought experiment. Next election in Maryland, instead of going 60% Democrat/40% Republican, it goes 55% Democrat, 40% Republican, 5% Green. Are you saying that there would be no effect on future Democratic candidates in Maryland from seeing that result? They'd just say "Yeah, let those Greens eat at the kiddie table--I don't want to move my position any to get another 5%?" That doesn't seem the least bit plausible to me.

#259 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 09:06 AM:

Charlie Stross #254:

I worry a lot about that, though I'm not sure Karl Rove really has much power over that Republican just elected to dogcatcher. The interesting question is whether this is specific to Republicans, or whether this is a result of redistricting, campaign finance "reform," and modern campaigning techniques--in which case we will see both parties adopt tight party discipline. It's also possible that this was the result of a unique set of circumstances (completely united Republican government, 9/11, the enormous importance of evangelical churches in providing campaign volunteers, Fox news, etc.) that won't apply to Democrats, and maybe not even to Republicans in a few years. I'm really not sure which way this goes.

#260 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 10:43 AM:

While this certainly isn't one of those times (with certain local exceptions), there are good and valid reasons for voting third party [albatross (222)] . As a concrete example, in 1980, here in Massachusetts -- where the outcome of the actual contest was assured -- I voted for Anderson to help him qualify for federal matching funds (in the primary, I think).
Outside candidates getting noticeable percentages gives them a voice in politics, and can get their ideas noticed, and even acted upon, without ever being a real contender (the Socialists in the early 20th century, forex. 40-hour work week, minimum wage).
We need other voices in politics. New ideas and new approaches can help us understand where we want to be as a people and a country. Even the lunatic fringe helps inform the debate -- sometimes only as a cautionary tale or comic relief, but if we know where the fringe really is, we have a better sense of where the center actually is. If we can't move the Democratic party back to more liberal and progressive policies, we'll need a new party to help us move there. And it will have to start small, and without support and votes it will shrivel and wilt.
Yes, sometimes we have to hold our noses or wear gas masks and vote for the lesser of two evils, but we also need to fight for the future we dream of, not just a rearguard action.

Yesterday was just a start, a good start, but just a start.

#261 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 10:55 AM:

states in which there was absolutely no question which way the electoral votes would go. Are you saying it would have been wrong to vote for Nader in those races?

No. If there's absolutely no question who is going to win your state's electoral votes, then an antithesis vote has no functional effect at all, whether it be for the #2 or #3. At that point, your vote makes no difference in who wins, and serves only as an extremely formal and highly simplistic messaging system. A lot of hooey over nothing.


55% Democrat, 40% Republican, 5% Green. Are you saying that there would be no effect on future Democratic candidates in Maryland from seeing that result?

Unless the predictions are for a landslide, I'd say its impossible to predict just how close the race will be and whether or not the third party votes would have made a difference. People who voted for Nader in 2000 can look back with hindsight and defend themselves by saying even if they had voted for Gore, Gore still would have lost. But they sure as hell didn't know that going into the voting booth. They rolled some pretty high risk dice on that one.

And that's the naivete that is not reality based. A pessimism that explains away the high risk dice they're rolling with a fundamental assumption that their vote won't make any differnce anyway. Resignation and third party voters seems almost always to come together.

So, since they don't see themselves as making a difference in the actual outcome, they decide that they will instead make a difference by "sending a message", because, they explain, it doesn't matter anyway.

Rather than get Bob in office at a -5, they throw their vote and get Alice at -10, on the thinking that it will be better if they get Bob's party to shift to a -3 by the next election.

This is almost identically equivalent to those who argue that we should lose the elections today so we can really win the next time.

We should toss our vote today and chance that Alice gets in and does -10 damage for four years, because that'll force Bob to clean up his act to a -3, and then we'll really clean up this town.

Erm, no. You should vote now for the best of the two most likely candidates. And if you feel the urge to send a message, use email, sign a petition, make a phone call, write a letter. The country can't handle any more -10 politicians because people decided to burn their vote as some form of protest message or because they were so resigned they didn't think the number two candidate even had a chance of winning.

#262 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 10:58 AM:

shorter me:

We should toss our vote today and chance that Alice gets in and does -10 damage for four years, because that'll force Bob to clean up his act from -5 to a -3, and then four years from now we'll really clean up this town.

#263 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 11:00 AM:

counterproposal:

Vote for Bob at -5 and lobby and campaign for him to change his ways from -5 to -3 by next election

#264 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 11:19 AM:

Jo Walton #257 I think one of the reasons things have been so bad in the US recently is the introduction of a parliamentary style whip without the corresponding parliamentary style "vote of confidence dissolves government and forces election" balance.

It has long been my contention that what Parliament has that we lack is Question Time, which provides a useful layer of accountability. Carefully scripted press conferences are no substitute whatever.

#265 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 12:27 PM:

Greg, may I respectfully point out you have made EXACTLY the same argument in about 4 messages now, without adding anything of substance? You've changed your example slightly, but not in ways that alter the underlying message one jot, and not in ways that would persuade me any more than they would in the prior explanation.

It might be time to let the argument stand on its own, and not to leap to repeat yourself, poiint for point, the next time someone else disagrees with you.

I'm not saying it's a *bad* argument, FWIW, though I'm not sold on it in all instances and for all time (This election, yes. Elections not in Emergency "get rid of the Cheney Administration" mode? Not necessarily). Just that we've heard it by now, we udnerstand the principle, you've made it absolutely clear, and if you're not going to give in until everyone agrees.... you're never going to get to rest, and there are other things worth focusing on.

#266 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 12:57 PM:

It might be time to let the argument stand on its own

I believe I responded to either questions asked or scenarios posed.

#267 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 01:03 PM:

Greg -
Unless the predictions are for a landslide, I'd say its impossible to predict just how close the race will be and whether or not the third party votes would have made a difference.

Are you someone who's simply lucky enough not to live in a district where races are pretty much predetermined after the primaries? I don't need to wait until after the election to know how my local races are going to come out - maybe the Republican will make a huge showing and get a roaring 25% of the vote here in machineland! Even the major races tend to offer no surprises at all; all my election-night suspense is generally focused on other states. The most competitive race in my ward was a few years ago when a Green beat a Dem. The Republicans often don't even field sacrificial candidates.

For the record, as stated somewhere else here, I didn't vote a straight Dem ticket. In all the races where the outcome was already known beforehand, I voted third-party. Normally I would have included some Republicans instead, but not this year. I do not like the attitudes incumbents get when they roll up huge majorities every time - I haven't seen hide nor hair of my Representative since she won her seat in 1990. Given the nonexistent chance of her losing, I choose to at least not add to her landslide.

One of the attractions of working for Lamont was the idea that I might get to vote for someone who could win in an actual competitive major race; that's kind of different around here. The last time I can recall was 1990, when Joe and his right-wing backers toppled Weicker. Presidential races have not provided any competitive races in my time here either.

That isn't the case in other CT districts, but the New Haven machine roars on. This is the same machine Joe came out of way back before I actually moved here.

#268 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 01:28 PM:

Good thing the election came out sort-of okay anyway. We might be able to slow the rate of growth of the fire. It would have been nice to be able to put the fire out, of course, but it feels like a miracle that we've gotten this far.

#269 ::: Kevin Andrew Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 01:47 PM:

Interestingly enough, in the board of equalization race mentioned, Kennita Watson, the Libertarian candidate, is also a local fan. I felt slightly bad not voting for her, but I'm not a huge fan of Libertarian policies and I was wanting to give any and all help I could to the Democrats this time out.

#270 ::: Jon Baker ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 02:44 PM:

You know, I said exactly the same thing on my blog, "to vote Republican is to vote for X" repeatedly, but deleted it because it hurt someone I considered mostly a friend.

Not that he hadn't made similarly dismissive statements about Democrats over the years. But, OK.

#271 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 03:39 PM:

According to stats as of this moment, the Virgina senate race is coming in at

Webb(D) 1,169,337
Allen(R) 1,162,640
Parker(independent) 26,048

I would like to thank the 26,048 voters who tossed their votes away on an independent when the cliffhanger race that would give Dems control of the senate is off by only 8,000 votes currently.

Your message has been received loud and clear:
You have no clue what you're doing.

#272 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 03:41 PM:

someone who has been so adamant about the benefits of third party voting want to explain the Virginia race for Senate?

Or am I the only one who sees a problem here?

#273 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 04:44 PM:

About Parker: She's not an independent, she's an "Independent Green" which is a very conservative set of Greens. When it became clear that it would be tight between Allen & Webb a few weeks back, she talked to both candidates to see what they would offer her if she threw her votes their way. Neither would offer her what she wanted, a guarantee for a national network of high-speed rail. Her campaign slogan was "Gail for Rail."

Analyists said a lot of regular Greens would probably vote for her because of the "green" in her party name, pulling from Webb.

#274 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 05:16 PM:

All the races where the results were known beforehand?

In NH-01, Carol Shea-Porter was trailing by 9 points in the polls as of yesterday morning. She was a newcomer with little financing (the national party figured that one for a loser) facing an experienced and well-liked incumbent, she was a woman in a state that had never sent a woman to Congress, in a district that had gone Republican since just about forever.

She won yesterday by only 6,030 votes.

Good thing there wasn't a third-party candidate for anyone to vote their conscience on. That would have sent a Republican back to Congress.

#275 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 05:17 PM:

Greg:
someone who has been so adamant about the benefits of third party voting want to explain the Virginia race for Senate?

I don't think I've been particularly adamant about it, but I will note that I have discussed the local scenario of overwhelming wins which exceed what generallly gets called a landslide as a rational time to vote third-party, and you haven't addressed that at all. You just keep bringing up the tight-race scenario, which I don't think anyone here has suggested is a good time for third-party voting. Are you unable to see the difference?

If you would stop setting up that straw man and implying that there is no difference between a race where one candidate wins by a 40-50% margin and a squeaker coming down to the last 1%, it might be worth discussing it further. As it is, one has the impression you are riding a hobbyhorse rather than engaging in discussion.

Here's another question: what do you do when it's a Dem vs. a Green? Is your position that the only ethical vote is for the Dem? Or is one allowed to consider their actual positions on the issues? (This isn't a hypothetical; it's my alderman race a few years back.)


#276 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 05:29 PM:

Jim:
You can do better, please. You are shifting the ground from landslide races to actual contests. Those are different situations.

Hey, everyone, I voted third-party for the House yesterday! I bet that was a big factor in dropping my Democratic rep's winning margin below 60% of the vote (that is, she won only about 75%-25% rather than 80%-20%)! She was so worried about this squeaker of a race that I think she invested in a couple of campaign signs, but I can't swear to it, never having seen any personally. No one knew who her opponent was either; resistance to the local borg is known to be futile so he didn't actually do any visible campaigning.

Feel free to pitchfork me off the blog for this terrible, election-shifting, disloyal vote. I'm finding this whole thread more than slightly insulting and patronizing.

#277 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 05:41 PM:

Oh, and my (Dem) state rep had a tight contest too: she only won 88%-12%. I'm just shocked at how close her opponent came - it might be a new record! If you think this is just sarcasm, note that was not the biggest landslide in our state legislature. It wasn't even in the top ten - eight Democrats and a couple of Republicans captured over 90% of the vote. That's running with opposition, mind you, if you can really call it that.

For what it's worth, one useful result from CT last night is that I think we're looking at vetoproof Democratic supermajorities in both houses of our state legislature. Since our gov is a Republican, this is useful, though Rell is sufficiently moderate that I wasn't too worried anyway.

#278 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 06:43 PM:

You just keep bringing up the tight-race scenario,

Because I've already been dinged for repeating myself, please see msg #261: "If there's absolutely no question who is going to win..." then it doesn't matter who you vote for, #2 or #3 or write in for Mickey Mouse.

Now, can you answer my question? In teh Virginia senate race, the third party candidate has enough votes to throw the election to either of the two front runners. For the voters who voted third party, didnt they throw away all influence on who wins that race? Didn't they take a chance of letting Alice win at -10 when they could have voted for Bob at -5 and effected the outcome?

I hear a lot of "in a race where the number 2 can't win" and I hear a lot of "influencing the election after this one" and I hear a lot of "sending messages", but I don't hear anything about the 26,000 voters who voted independent in a race that was last time I checked only different by 8,000 votes. What do you say about those people? What would you say to those people?

#279 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 06:58 PM:

What do you say about those people? What would you say to those people?

I didn't answer this before because I didn't think I was in the "adamant third-party group", but I'll give it a shot. I'd say approximately the same thing I'd have said to the Nader voters in Florida had I had any in front of me:

You blithering idiots, a close race with so much at stake is not the time to vote third-party.

I also note that I'm not arguing with what I saw as the original premise of the thread, which was don't vote Republican; this year I was careful not to do that for anything right down to dogcatcher, even in the races cited above where the only suspense was how big the winning margin for the Dem would be this time. I didn't even do it in the governor's race, where the only question was how big the winning margin for the Republican would be.

If you think that a combination of "don't vote for Republicans" and "don't vote third party if the race is close" is an unworkable or unethical political philosophy, we might as well just end the conversation now, since we're really not going to agree.

You could answer my question on the Dem-Green race, though. I voted Green in that one because I wasn't willing to sacrifice civil rights locally to make whatever point it would have made. The Green won, but a few years later she switched to the Democrats and caved on the civil rights anyway. Quite annoying.

It might be nice to keep in mind that there are a few people here whose party affiliation is not solidly Dem but are nonetheless voting Dem and working hard in the same causes (including solid Dem control of Congress) and for the same candidates. This thread makes me feel like if I don't pass the purity test I should just give up. Thank goodness Lamont's people were quite happy to take any workers they could find without actually asking to see party registration.

#280 ::: Paul ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 07:29 PM:

Greg: leaving aside the rest of the arguments (for various reasons), one thing to recognise here is that you're creating a vicious circle. "Don't vote for third party candiates because they won't get in" more or less guarantees that they never *will*, because nobody votes for them.

But, hey, I've never really pretended to understand the American voting systems. It always has seemed pretty bizarre to me anyway. :)

(For what it's worth, our local council was purely Liberal Democrat, and is now split between Tory/Labour/LibDem - so voting third party does matter, at least here.)

Oh - I'm not saying that no voting stations are ever set up in pubs, but I've never been to any. The ones I've been to are usually in churches, community centres, that kind of thing. Can't imagine there's really that many set up in a pub.

#281 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 07:34 PM:

You could answer my question on the Dem-Green race, though.

the one with the 50 point spread?

Yeah, sure, what the hell. Go for it. If it turns out the dem could have won, though, but lost because of the Green vote, I'll switch to an adamant policy of always voting for one of the two primary candidates.

It comes down to probabilities. personally, I'll
always vote for one of the top two candidates. I don't like playing the odds. And there are some probabilities involved in determining who the top two candidates are, but the odds of picking the top two are probably a lot more solid than figuring out who of the top two will actually win.

I mean, what we're talking about here is a choice:
(1) vote for Bob at -5 on the one in a million chance that your vote could push him over the top, or

(2) vote for Charlie at +2 to send a messge.

Possibly make a difference or guaranteed to send a message.

Personally, I won't play those odds because when you put them in the game theory table, there's only one choice. Sending a message isn't worth to me the chance of actuall effecting the outcome.

Now, if you vote for Charlie and Alice wins by a landslide, I'll let it go. But if you vote Charlie and it turns out that Bob could have won had you voted for him, well, then, how do you justify that? The folks who voted for Nader rolled some dice and the effects could have impacted ME, had the race been a little closer. And I would have been a little upset by that.

But I promise that I will not begrudge you if you vote Green and the Republicans win by a massive landslide and the Green vote would have made no difference. You took a risk and it paid off for you. You got to vote your conscience and it didn't negatively impact me or the results.

And I applaud successful risktaking.

#282 ::: Nick Kiddle ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 08:06 PM:

What about the registered voters who didn't vote? (Unless my estimates are way off, there are considerably more of them than voted independent.) Any special messages for them?

#283 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 08:17 PM:

Any special messages for them?

If they're registered for the party of my desired candidate:

(homer) Doh! You little #@$%& ! If I ever get my hands on you! (/homer)

#284 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2006, 09:03 PM:

Jim:
You can do better, please. You are shifting the ground from landslide races to actual contests. Those are different situations.

I am not shifting the ground. My position has been clear from the very top of this thread.

The race in NH-01 turned out to be close. Yesterday morning it was a write-off Republican victory.

#285 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 01:32 AM:

Jim: you said she was trailing by only nine points in the polls. Around here that would be considered a close race. If she'd been trailing by 50-60 points, that would have been a write-off. How close does someone have to be for you to consider it close if nine points doesn't make it?

#286 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 01:37 AM:

Greg:
[me]You could answer my question on the Dem-Green race, though.

the one with the 50 point spread?

Yeah, sure, what the hell. Go for it. If it turns out the dem could have won, though, but lost because of the Green vote, I'll switch to an adamant policy of always voting for one of the two primary candidates.

Um, Greg? You're starting to sound like the Onion. That was a Dem-Green race. No Republican candidate could have won because....there was no Republican candidate. The Dems and Greens were the two primary candidates. The Dem could indeed have won if no one had voted for the Green; that's how two-person races work. Do you still feel in this situation that voting for a third party is wrong?

#287 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 01:57 AM:

Greg: In spite of what you think, I'm certain now that you're answering new questions with the same points. In fact, you're doing so to the point of failing to answer the question asked but instead answering the question you assumed was asked.

We've heard about Bob and Alice and Charlie, about -10 and -5 and -3 and +2. We've heard about not sending a message, and having no effect on the outcome. We've heard about them 6 times.

Repeating these things doesn't make them suddenly jump into better relief -- it makes it look like you think the people responding are not disagreeing based on considered opinions, but on instinct and knee-jerkism. In short, you're treating your opposition like you think they're children.

Perhaps, instead of writing 500 word posts of which 450-480 words are old material, write a 50 word post which is all new argument.

#288 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 01:43 PM:

That was a Dem-Green race ... Do you still feel in this situation that voting for a third party is wrong?

No, I never said that was wrong. I tried to make an consistent effort to talk about Alice and Bob and Charlie WITHOUT ANY PARTY LABELS. Alice is pure evil, causing -10 damage. I tried to make a point by never labeling her as Republican and Bob as Democrat.

I have said, and I think I have been consistent in this, that the only effective vote is to vote for one of the two most likely candidates. For example:

from #281: I'll always vote for one of the top two candidates. ... And there are some probabilities involved in determining who the top two candidates are,

That last bit should have been a tell that this isn't about voting republican or democrat, this is about whichever two candidates are in the top two.

If I mentioned specific parties, it was usually as an example that someone asked for. Nader was one that I brouht up. The Virginia senate race was another close one where the #3 candidate votes may have made a difference. If I talked about party affiliations, it was generally in relation to specific examples where the top two most likely to be elected candidates were Republican and Democrat and people were still voting Independent. But the principle is not based in party affiliation, it's based in whoever the top two candidates are. And I believe I have made this distinction before.

And to Lenora who is hounding me for repeating myself rather than saying anything new, all I can say is, sorry, but when someone asks a question that was already answered in some way in previous posts, I have no alternative but to repeat myself in some form or another.

If it continues to bother you so much, I suggest you avoid reading my posts in this thread.

#289 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 01:56 PM:

In short, you're treating your opposition like you think they're children.

No. I said "vote for one of the two most likely to win candidates". People asked for examples. I gave historical examples where the two most likely to win candidates were Republican and Democrat. Susan took this to mean that I was saying "vote for either Republican or Democrat".

And we've been goign back and forth trying to figure out where the miscomunication occurred.

I originally thought she was asking "what if Alice is certain to win and I want to vote for Charlie?" I replied to the question I thought she was asking.

I think Susan's last rephrase of her question put it in such a way that I finally got where she misheard me. She thought I said "vote only Republican or Democrat". But I kept mis-hearing her question up until her last post.

And then I replied to that.

I haven't been relating to anyone as children. Susan misunderstood what I was saying initially. I misunderstood her request for clarification. She reasked. And then I finally got what she was saying and responded to that.

Does everyone always understand what you are intending to say to them, and you always understand what they are intending to say to you?

Me, I think I'm probably more equivalent to being a man who sometimes doesn't realize he's mumbling his words, and who sometimes realize that he's hard of hearing in certain frequencies.

Which means there might be some back and forth between me and the poeple I'm talking with, because I think the problem is either me or them, before I finally realize the real problem is that my hearing aid is off.

I don't know what to tell you if that annoys you other than to avoid my posts.

#290 ::: Paul Eisenberg ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 02:19 PM:

My local daily came out in support for my third party vote in its lead editorial:
http://www.dailysouthtown.com/news/opinion/editorials/130115,1EDT1-09.article
Some highlights (which align your view, Greg and Scraps, with that of local Republicans):
"THE ISSUE: Some politicians and pundits derided as a "waste" the notion of voting for Green Party candidates in Tuesday's election.

WE SAY: By winning more than 10 percent of the gubernatorial vote, the Green Party has won a role in the state's political process that could bring new and worthwhile ideas into future elections. ... Republicans and their supporters staged a last-minute campaign to dismiss votes for Whitney as "wasted." But those votes were in our view among the most productive cast this year. By garnering more than 5 percent of the vote, the Green Party qualified as an "established party" under Illinois law. That means the Greens get out from under the onerous "new party" regulations that make it extremely difficult for candidates outside the Democratic and Republican parties to seek office in Illinois. ...
Most of these Green candidates will be also-rans, of course, but some of them may be good candidates with a chance to win. Some will raise important issues and advance ideas that wouldn't get heard otherwise.

For example, Whitney this year called for education funding reform that would have reduced property taxes by raising the state income tax, the formula that independent commissions -- and this newspaper -- have called for for more than a decade. Blagojevich and Topinka wouldn't touch the idea and instead advanced proposals such as "selling the lottery" or putting a casino in downtown Chicago as their proposals to fix the school funding system.

Whitney also called for bans on corporate campaign contributions and on donations to political campaigns by state contractors -- two proposals that Blagojevich and Topinka would have nothing to do with. He also wanted to create independent hiring agencies to fill state jobs in order to take politics and favoritism out of the process. You won't hear Republicans or Democrats proposing that idea either.

We say those Green Party voters did themselves and the state a favor by creating a means for constructive new ideas to be raised in Illinois elections. So, no, they didn't waste their votes. The voted in their own best interests, and we applaud them for it."

So there.

#291 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2006, 02:35 PM:

Paul, if the election you're voting in has Alice (-10), Bob (-5), and Charlie (+2), and no matter how you vote, you are pretty sure Alice will win, then vote for Charlie. If Charlie gets 10%, great.

But if Bob ends up losing to Alice by less than that 10% you just gave Charlie, well, you could have much better results had you voted for Bob, instead. So there.

;)

Really, if after all the votes are counted and Alice wins by way more than what Charlie got, then I don't care if you vote for Charlie.

But Virginia could have gone to Alice, and the difference between Alice and Bob was small enough that the votes for Charlie could have won or lost the election.

THOSE ARE THE PEOPLE I"M TALKING ABOUT.

Here, lemme try a piece of software code based on vote tallies in the after-election results:

IF ( ALICE > BOB > CHARLIE)
THEN
...IF ( ALICE > (BOB + (2*CHARLIE)) )
...THEN
......KNOCK_YOURSELF_OUT(CHARLIE);
...ELSE
......!WTF();
...ENDIF
ELSE
...exit(NOT RELEVANT TO THIS APPLICATION);
ENDIF


#292 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2006, 03:57 AM:

Greg: You're right, that last message of mine was too harsh; I see the misunderstanding going on. I still don't see why you have to repeat the whole rigamorole about Bob and Alice in its entirety, or even in programmer-speak(g) but I was nastier than you've earned.

Now I'm missing something, and you have a chance to say something new .

We've established that in a close race, voting for a third party and possibly sending the election to the third person is bad. Got that, everyone agrees. Cool.

However, when the third party cannot have any possible effect on the election:

You say then the vote is equivalent to doing nothing. Which, for this election is true.

However, if the vote cannot have any short term effect, is it not possible to *then* work towards a long term goal?

So, to steal and extend your example: we know Alice is definitely going to lose and Bob is definitely going to win. Voting for Charlie *will not change this*. (No net short term effect. With me so far?)

Unlike close elections, voting for Charlie will NOT hurt things in the short term. It won't help, but it won't hurt. Once the short term effect is nil, does it not *then* seem like a reasonable strategy to work on a long term goal which does, in the paragraph above, actually have a proven effect?

Fron the article Paul quotes above: By garnering more than 5 percent of the vote, the Green Party qualified as an "established party" under Illinois law. That means the Greens get out from under the onerous "new party" regulations that make it extremely difficult for candidates outside the Democratic and Republican parties to seek office in Illinois. ...

Charlie, instead of having to do three times as much as either Alice or Bob to get into the next election at all, can actually spend that energy on campaigning for the position itself. And in the next election, the vote will be between Charlie at +2 and Bob at -3 (Because he did clean up a bit), with -10 Alice being the one predicted to get 5% of the vote and to have no practical effect on the election.

Does this not come out to "nil effect now for gain later"?

I'd never advocate Letting Alice Win Now and screwing the next 4 years by voting your conscience (Per the Virginia Senate Race). But ocne you know for sure it's not even close, can't a person try this without being considered unstrategic?

#293 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2006, 08:21 AM:

How close does someone have to be for you to consider it close if nine points doesn't make it?

Within the statistical margin of error.

#294 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2006, 09:14 AM:

How close does someone have to be for you to consider it close if nine points doesn't make it?

Within the statistical margin of error.

Wow. That's just amazing. And you're not inclined to reconsider this even in light of the race you cited where the challenger closed the nine-point gap on election day? I would think that demonstrates clearly that nine points is, um, close enough for government work.

I'd call anything within 15 points, maybe 20, close enough to bother with. Bother with includes not voting third party and nowadays possibly getting involved in the campaign. Your definition would allow one to write off an awful lot of races where there's a real chance to win.

The ones where I feel there's so little chance it's not worth bothering with are the typical 50+ point margins I see in many of my local races. It's rare to have a winning margin under 30%. If you think a 9% margin is not even close, surely you're not going to argue that a 50 or 60% margin is a race where a vote third-party is going to make any difference at all, or that it's irrational to say that the outcome is known in advance.

Or can you cite some examples of 50+ point margins that close up on election day for a surprise victory for the challenger?


#295 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2006, 11:53 AM:

once you know for sure it's not even close, can't a person try this without being considered unstrategic?

Yes, as long as your premise is true:
Premise: Alice will win no matter what.

The Virginia senate race results look like this:
Alice 1,175,350 49.59%
Bob 1,166,314 49.21%
Charlie 26,098 1.10%

This doesn't make any sense to me. Alice won by a margin of 11,000 votes over Bob. But Charlie had a total of 26,000 votes.

The Charlie voters could have flipped the win to Bob if they would have voted for Bob. And if they would have voted for Alice, that means they took a massive risk that Alice would win and threw their vote to charlie.

Whoever they would have picked, alice or bob, they didn't vote smart. They didn't vote strategically in an extremely close and important race. Their second choice could have been Republican or Democrat, but they didn't vote strategically.

And the point I am trying to get myself to is
to be able to frame this in such a way that
people get it. And you'll know people get it
when all close elections have all votes go to
the two top candidates.

The Virginia senate race indicates that a bunch
of people don't get it.

#296 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2006, 06:34 PM:

Now I get to repeat myself {g}:
We've established that in a close race, voting for a third party and possibly sending the election to the third person is bad. Got that, everyone agrees. Cool.
AND
I'd never advocate Letting Alice Win Now and screwing the next 4 years by voting your conscience (Per the Virginia Senate Race).

And then went on to talk about real 50-point margin races and possible fall-out consequences.

Which remarks you answer by again raising the example of the close race in Virginia.

These are the places which cause me to say you're repeating yourself for no purpose.

Nobody here was asking about Virginia. Nobody here disagrees about Virginia.

In fact, NOBODY HERE is one of those Virginia voters. You're trying to convince voters from Virginia who aren't HERE by talking to people here who voted in entirely different races. (Or countries)

Here's the thing: You've got a great frame for why Not to vote third party in a close race. You've made the thing you say you're trying to make.. For close races, it stands up very well indeed. Those at making light who didn't already agree with you as to close races, have been convinced -- or won't be no matter how good your frame is. We all think close races means no s**t, vote for Bob. (And in definition of close, BTW, I'm with Susan, not Jim.)

We're just trying to refine the edge cases because you were at first saying voting third party has either bad effect (in close elections, based on Susan's definition of close, where we're all agreed on what to do) or else no effect (In not remotely close elections). The first part, your frame stands, and stands up well. The second part, the no effect part, is where people are asking, because it seems that in zero short term effect situations, long term effects might spring up, and at first you seemed not to account for these.

And you'll know people get it
when all close elections have all votes go to
the two top candidates.

I think this is asking too much of your frame. If only because not everybody reads Making Light or other sources of Greg London. Your frame is good for close elections. But 100% convincing wouldn't ever happen, however good it is, until it spreads.

#297 ::: Edward Oleander ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2006, 09:57 PM:

McD (#274):Good thing there wasn't a third-party candidate for anyone to vote their conscience on. That would have sent a Republican back to Congress.

Further proof of this wisdom: Minnesota's 1st District was a total write-off for us, with SS Uberfuhrer Gil Guknecht a shoe-in for re-election. Except that today ol' Gil is clipping janitorial ads in the local paper while updating his rap sheet... I mean, resume'... while Freshman Congressman Walz books a flight to Washington.

The margin was only a couple thousand votes... multiply this by only a few Districts nationwide and the headlines would have been "Democrats Heartbroken Over Lost Opportunity"...

#298 ::: Gary Townsend ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2006, 11:27 PM:

That's exactly what I did. Straight Democrat. And we now have Cardin still in office, and Erhlich out of office! :D It should be noted that I've been known to vote for Republican, Democrat, *and* independent candidates.

But... I can't stand what this administration has done to my country! Grrr!

#299 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2006, 12:49 PM:

You're trying to convince voters from Virginia who aren't HERE by talking to people here who voted in entirely different races.

Well, no. I was trying to explain the concept of strategic voting in general. People objected with "yeah buts" and somewhere along the line Virginia came up as an example. I don't know if people from Virginia are here or not. The election's over so it doesn't really matter.

What I've been trying to get for myself in my recent posts is a frame that explains Strategic Voting so that people don't vote third party on a close rep/dem race, so that the "yeah butts" don't come up, so that it is clear that I'm not saying "vote Repub or Dem" but "Vote for one of first two candidates", that there is some strategic value in voting third party when its a landslide race anyway, etc.

And part of the reason I keep repeating myself is because I haven't quite got a handle on how to communicate all of that in one little parable.

But another part of it is that I've been soaking up all the different points of view from everyone, so that the next time I have this conversation, I'll at least know where other people might be coming from.

Maybe next time, even if I am still long winded, I'll at least be able to address the "yeah buts" ahead of time, so the conversation can focus on the meat of the issue, rather than all this miscommunication I had going on.

Obviously, given your last response, I still have plenty of room for improvement as far as trying to say-what-I-mean goes, and as far as getting where everyone else is coming from goes.

#300 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2006, 04:52 PM:

If you think a 9% margin is not even close, surely you're not going to argue that a 50 or 60% margin is a race where a vote third-party is going to make any difference at all, or that it's irrational to say that the outcome is known in advance.

I'm going to say that, in this election, even with those margins, any vote for any Republican would have been wrong, and any vote other than Democrat in a race where there were both Republicans and Democrats would be wrong.

#301 ::: Paul Eisenberg ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 03:36 AM:

Jim, I have to respectfully disagree. You say:
"any vote for any Republican would have been wrong, and any vote other than Democrat in a race where there were both Republicans and Democrats would be wrong."
Not sure where you're located, but in my state, a vote for the Democrat governor was a vote for a regime of corruption, while the Republican was a moderate who actually pissed off her party by siding for reproductive rights, among other matters.
A vote for our current Democratic governor, who won, will harm the Democratic party as a whole when this guy is eventually indicted.
When you paint with such a broad stroke, you cannot help but obscure the details, of which this is one: My vote for the Green candidate was at least not a vote for the Republican, but part of me wondered if I should even vote for the Republican, who had a better chance to win than my Green candidate, just to help the Democratic candidate off the hook.

#302 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 08:59 AM:

I'm going to say that, in this election, even with those margins, any vote for any Republican would have been wrong, and any vote other than Democrat in a race where there were both Republicans and Democrats would be wrong.

Looks like I fail the ML purity test. By those standards, I voted wrong. This sort of simplistic sanctimoniousness is exactly what drives people away from the Democratic party, you know - circular firing squad starts now!

(Note to self: change registration from Dem back to indie ASAP. I'm just not good enough for the high standards of this crowd.)

#303 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 09:26 AM:

Susan,

You can change your registration, of course, or you could figure that this particular strain in the Democratic party needs a counterbalance. If they can't learn to cherish dissent, they'll be as bad as the other lot.

I won't tell you what to do. I think there's been enough of that going on. But it's something to consider.

#304 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2006, 09:27 AM:

You wouldn't reconsider that, Susan?

#305 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2006, 10:14 PM:

This sort of simplistic sanctimoniousness is exactly what drives people away from the Democratic party .... Note to self: change registration from Dem back to indie ASAP.

Wow. One person disagrees with you, and you leave the entire Democratic party?

I'm might question who it is that has a problem with dissent.

#306 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2006, 04:15 PM:

Don't be disingenuous, Greg, it was more than one, and the line you were taking was not exactly open to differences of opinion.

Susan's term hit it precisely: it was a purity test. She (and I, confiteor) didn't measure up, and all the time she spent on polling day doesn't seem to compensate in your eyes, or Jim's.

You're entitled to your opinion - but I note you weren't very tolerant of hers. Playing the "you have to tolerate my dissent from tolerance" card now isn't persuasive.

#307 ::: ptrt ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2006, 11:30 AM:

hy ts m gn cld hv tld by th wy y ctd y wr dmcrt. 'm rpblcn. WHT TH FCK R Y SYNG! D Y WNT MRC T PRSH!?jst sht yr mth r bllt wll b cmng fr y swr!
ps. y cn gt jst bt ny mfrmtn n th ntrnt. knw whr y lv.

#308 ::: P J Evans sees another cause for disemvowelling ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2006, 11:32 AM:

same small mind screaming....

#309 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 06, 2006, 12:21 PM:

Congratulations! I know where I live too! And I put it on my web page, just to make it easier for folks to find me.

(Real patriots vote Democrat. As we saw in the last election....)

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