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Friday Talking Points -- Trump's Temper Tantrum

[ Posted Friday, November 16th, 2018 – 18:43 PST ]

Most Americans, not being political wonks, have largely moved on from the midterm election results. The mainstream media has also largely been ignoring the still-developing story, for two reasons: (1) they really kind of blew it on Election Night, uniformly coming to the wrong conclusion very early in the evening ("the blue wave is not appearing") and so they're now avoiding having to correct their misinterpretation; and (2) there's a recount in Florida again! Woo hoo! Break out the video clips of that poor myopic cross-eyed guy with the magnifying glass -- that's always fun to run, right?

Sigh.

However, one notable person hasn't exactly been ignoring the still-increasing blue wave. From an extraordinary article (titled: "Five Days Of Fury: Inside Trump's Paris Temper, Election Woes And Staff Upheaval") comes the following behind-the-scenes news from President Trump last weekend:


On his flight [to Paris, France] and throughout the weekend, Trump was preoccupied by political developments back in the United States. He watched TV with rapt attention as late-counting votes resulted in the Senate race in Arizona and a number of House contests to slip out of Republican hands, and as recounts got underway in Florida's Senate and gubernatorial races. He also complained about the lack of congressional funding for his promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump sent political aides in Washington scrambling to prepare detailed briefings for him on the still-to-be-called races. He aired baseless allegations of voter irregularities on Twitter -- writing from the plane that elections attorney Marc Elias was the Democrats' "best Election stealing lawyer" but that he would send "much better lawyers to expose the FRAUD!"

Still, the president told aides he felt disconnected from the action in his suite at the U.S. ambassador's residence in Paris -- even as he consumed countless hours of television news on the trip.

Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley had the most quotable lines in the article, including: "He's just a bull carrying his own china shop whenever he travels the world," and: "Trump needs adulation, so heading into the midterms, holding these rallies, he was cheered and it became narcissistic fuel to his engine. After the midterm, it's the sober dawn of the morning."

Actually, it has taken quite a few literal dawns, and it's not even over yet. The still-uncalled races (as of this writing) that everyone is currently focused on come from Florida (governor and Senate) and Georgia (governor). Democrats are likely to lose all three races, although Stacey Abrams is now considering suing to force a re-election. This, it should be noted, is the longest of longshots, so nobody should really get their hopes up too high or anything. However, as of this writing, there are still six races left to be called in the House, as well.

Just for the sake of argument, let's assume the Republicans win all three of the marquee races. Let's also assume that of the six House races still uncalled, the parties who are ahead in each one will win (this will give three to the Democrats and three to the Republicans). So how high was that blue wave? Let's check it out, by the numbers:

 

Minus Two

Democrats will wind up losing a net of two seats in the Senate (assuming Republicans hold on in the runoff election in Mississippi). They lost seats they held in Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, and Florida. However, two Democrats bucked this trend and picked up seats previously held by Republicans, in Nevada and Arizona. This will lead to a 53-47 Senate for the next two years, which is a lot better than it could have turned out. The Democratic Senate map this time around was the worst Democrats had faced since the 1930s, so even just losing two seats is a notable achievement.

 

Plus Seven

Democrats picked up seven governor's seats -- and not every state held a gubernatorial election. Democrats picked up: Maine, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Kansas, New Mexico, and Nevada. This still leaves the Republicans with a slight overall edge, but Democrats certainly gained a lot of ground here in a single cycle. There will now be 27 Republican governors and 23 Democratic governors.

 

Plus Thirty-Nine

The best news came from the House, but it's been trickling in so slowly that few have noticed. Democrats needed to pick up 23 seats to regain control of the House of Representatives. They are now on track to pick up a whopping 39 seats. They flipped almost every Republican-held district in New Jersey (missing only one) and will flip six districts in California (leaving the GOP holding fewer than 10 of California's 53 House districts). Democrats, if the current total holds, will now hold every district in Orange County -- a place Ronald Reagan described as: "Where all the good Republicans go to die." This once-GOP-stronghold now doesn't even have a single GOP representative left. Democrats also now hold every House district that touches the Pacific Ocean, except for one in Washington state and the at-large member from Alaska. Democrats picked up two of Iowa's four districts, leaving only one held by a Republican (and a rather odious one, at that). The blue wave in the House was bigger than any midterm election for the Democrats since 1974 -- an election held three months after Nixon resigned over Watergate (when Democrats picked up 49 seats).

 

Plus Three Hundred

But the biggest news is the smallest news. After losing close to 1,000 state legislative seats under Barack Obama, the Democrats definitively turned this trend around by flipping 300 of these seats back to the Democratic column in a single election. The magnitude of this victory alone precludes calling this anything other than a wave election, in fact.

 

No wonder Trump's freaking out. This was a solid repudiation of Trump -- as he himself put it, he was indeed "on the ballot" in every race. And this has led to a stunning and historic rejection of the president's party, almost across the board. House election after House election has gone to the Democrats since Election Night, and there are still six left to call.

Speaking of Trump freaking out, though, he's got all sorts of things to worry about these days. One Washington Post article ran a full list of what's bugging Trump -- and this list was run on Monday, so it doesn't even include later developments:

  • His performance in Europe was panned.
  • The election results get worse for Republicans with each passing day.
  • His great North Korea diplomacy, contrary to the gullible pundits and political spinners, was a bust. (He was snookered.)
  • We now have two major Middle East problems -- Iran and out-of-control Sunni despots who think (not unreasonably) they can lead him around by the nose.
  • He is not winning the trade war, and it may be one of many factors leading to an economic pullback before the 2020 election.
  • Mueller plows ahead, with possibly more indictments (e.g., Roger Stone, Donald Trump Jr.). The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York (aided by Michael Cohen's cooperation) has its own case(s) to pursue against Trump and/or his helpmates.
  • Obamacare is here to stay. It's more popular than ever, and red America has fallen in love with Medicaid expansion.
  • Trump's finances are no longer protected from scrutiny, nor are his daughter and son-in-law's.

And that only takes us through Monday. But then, Trump had a particularly brutal weekend. He traveled to Paris to (he thought) see another fun military parade. Nobody apparently told him that the occasion was actually the centenary of the end of World War I, which is where Armistice Day originated (the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month -- ring a bell?). But he didn't get his big parade, and he bickered with European leaders (even ones who called him up to feed his ego over his non-existent "big victory" in the midterm elections). Trump was originally scheduled to attend a somber ceremony in a gravesite filled with American war dead from the Battle of Belleau Wood, but he cancelled it at the last minute, due to a light rain. He got excoriated on the world's stage for doing so, which didn't help his mood. The Washington Post summed it up with one snarky headline: "Parisians Brave The Rain To Protest Trump" and one rather brilliant bit of satire, Alexandra Petri's spoof article "All Quiet On The Western Trump." But the most scathing takedown of all came from Post columnist Max Boot, who minced not a single word:

The White House explained that bad weather grounded the helicopters that Trump and his entourage were planning to take. Yet somehow bad weather did not prevent French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel or Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau from attending outdoor ceremonies commemorating the end of World War I that afternoon. Somehow bad weather did not stop Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and retired general John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, from attending the very ceremony that Trump could not make.

Rather than make the hour-long drive (Aisne-Marne is only 55 miles from Paris), the low-energy president remained behind at the U.S. ambassador's residence. It's not as if he didn't sacrifice anything, however. Odds are that his room didn't have Fox News. So he was probably reduced to watching CNN all afternoon. If the New York dating scene was Trump's personal Vietnam, this was his personal Verdun.

. . .

Trump shows what he really thinks of the troops by using them as political props. He deployed 5,600 troops just before the midterm elections to guard against the supposed threat posed by a few thousand unarmed refugees hundreds of miles from the U.S. border. He even suggested that the troops should commit the war crime of opening fire on migrants who threw rocks.

The Pentagon grandly dubbed this Operation Faithful Patriot and circulated pictures of troops in full "battle rattle" stringing barbed wire, only to quietly drop the ludicrous moniker amid Election Day. Conveniently enough, Trump and his friends at Fox essentially stopped speaking about the caravan once the votes were cast. But, as the New York Times reports, the troops are still in the field, without electricity or hot meals -- or a mission. They will likely spend Thanksgiving away from their families.

Naturally, Trump will not bother to visit them, even though there is no risk in traveling to Texas. He still has not visited U.S. troops deployed to a war zone -- although he has spent 72 days at Mar-a-Lago and 58 days at his Bedminster, N.J., golf club.

Just for good measure, Trump also tweeted out -- on Veterans' Day itself -- that Florida should just stop counting votes -- before the deadline had arrived for overseas military voters to have returned their ballots.

Later in the week, Trump lost another court battle when a judge temporarily gave CNN's Jim Acosta his White House press pass back, signaling that the White House was likely to lose the court battle over the issue. And Trump gave a rather bizarre interview to the Daily Caller, where he trotted out his usual pack of lies. Notably, he made some extra-crazy claims about the election, and how hordes of imaginary people are voting multiple times:

I've seen it, I've had friends talk about it when people get in line that have absolutely no right to vote and they go around in circles. Sometimes they go to their car, put on a different hat, put on a different shirt, come in and vote again. Nobody takes anything. It's really a disgrace, what's going on.

Trump also made the downright hilarious claim that buying breakfast cereal required "a voter I.D.," much to the delight of everyone on Twitter:

If you buy a box of cereal -- you have a voter I.D. They try to shame everybody by calling them racist, or calling them something, anything they can think of, when you say you want voter I.D. But voter I.D. is a very important thing.

A mind is a terrible thing not to ever have had in the first place, to borrow a phrase. But this wasn't even the most brutal Twitter takedown Trump experienced all week, after one of his own petulant post-election tweets:

The White House is running very smoothly and the results for our Nation are obviously very good. We are the envy of the world. But anytime I even think about making changes, the FAKE NEWS MEDIA goes crazy, always seeking to make us look as bad as possible! Very dishonest!

That "We are the envy of the world" was just too hilarious for many people, many of whom pointed out: "You spelled 'laughingstock' wrong."

No wonder Trump's having such a tantrum, after a week like that.

 

Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week

We've got a whole lot of Democrats to congratulate this week, so let's get on with it without further ado.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is already winning hearts and minds on social media, chronicling her amazing voyage in becoming the youngest woman ever to join the House of Representatives. She's been sending out photos of her exploring the Capitol and Library of Congress, as well as mundane things like visiting a laundromat to wash her clothes. It's a fascinating look into the monumental challenge of what to do after the election's won, and she deserves an Honorable Mention for this alone.

However, this wasn't the only social media news about Ocasio-Cortez this week, since she's already been attacked in misogynistic fashion. Eddie Scarry, described as "a conservative writer at the Washington Examiner," felt the need to tweet out a photo of Alexandria -- from behind -- with the caption:

Hill staffer sent me this pic of Ocasio-Cortez they took just now. I'll tell you something: that jacket and coat don't look like a girl who struggles.

Now, Scarry got so much grief for this tweet that he later deleted it, but few are focusing on the most offensive part of it. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may be young, but she is definitely not "a girl." This semantic battle was fought a long time ago, in fact (back in the 1960s and 1970s), and anyone who still uses the word "girl" to describe any woman over the age of about 12 deserves all the grief they get. A teenager is a "young woman," and an adult female should never be described as anything other than "a woman." But Scarry didn't get as much pushback on this part of it as he did for the photo itself and his ignorance of fashion choices modern women make. In fact, some of the denunciations on Twitter were downright scathing, with probably the best coming from Jules Suzdaltsev:

Hill staffer sent me this pic of Ocasio-Cortez and she is showing ZERO signs of SCURVY, appears to be wearing SHOES, and isnt dancing a jig for LOOSE CHANGE.
Doesn't look like a girl who struggles...

But the best response was from Ocasio-Cortez herself, who tweeted in reply:

If I walked into Congress wearing a sack, they would laugh & take a picture of my backside.

If I walk in with my best sale-rack clothes, they laugh & take a picture of my backside.

Dark hates light - that's why you tune it out.

Shine bright & keep it pushing

This leads us to chime in with the only remaining acceptable slang usage of the term these days: "You go, girl!"

Congress is back in session, and two Democrats have wasted no time in acting. Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Ro Khanna (who represents parts of Silicon Valley), coming off the success of their "Stop BEZOS Act" shaming Amazon into upping all their wages to at least $15 an hour, have introduced a new bill. Let's see if you can guess who it is aimed at by its full title: the "Stop Welfare for Any Large Monopoly Amassing Revenue from Taxpayers Act." Bernie followed this announcement up with a rather pithy tweet pointing out a very uncomfortable truth:

Last year, 4 members of the Walton family of Walmart made $12.7 billion in 1 day. It would take a full-time Walmart worker making $11/hr over 653,000 years to make that much. Thursday, @RepRoKhanna and I are introducing legislation to make Walmart pay its workers a living wage.

That's a factoid worth keeping handy to toss about with abandon: an average worker would take 653,000 years to make what the Walton family raked in in one single day. That's a downright geologic time period, when you think about it.

Walmart is pushing back against the Stop WALMART Act, but this isn't really a legislative battle (the bill has zero chance of passing the Senate), but a public relations battle, so we'll see if it works out the way the Amazon one did. Still, Sanders and Khanna both deserve an Honorable Mention for their tireless efforts to shine a spotlight on this stuff.

Speaking of tireless efforts, Stacey Abrams of Georgia certainly isn't giving up without a fight. She has been shining the spotlight of public attention on the various ways Georgia elections officials (led by the man she is running against for governor) have been systematically attempting just about every voter-suppression method they can think of. Abrams, as previously mentioned, is most likely going to lose in the end, but she has almost singlehandedly turned Georgia into (at the very least) a reddish shade of purple. For that alone she deserves an Honorable Mention.

But our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week is none other than Senator-Elect Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. Sinema was the sole Democrat to pull out a surprise victory in the Senate after the Election Day frenzy was over. Flipping Arizona -- which hasn't elected a Democrat to the Senate in over a generation -- is an incredibly impressive feat. Next door, New Mexico has all but completed their journey from being a Republican stronghold to being a solidly-blue state, as Democrats swept the board in the House races (flipping the last GOP-held district) and picked up the governor's seat to boot. Arizona could follow this path as well, which would be a remarkable turnaround from the days of anti-immigrant "show your papers" laws being passed. John McCain's old Senate seat will be up for grabs in 2020, and although the GOP candidate who lost to Sinema may be appointed to the seat in the meantime, Democrats should have an excellent shot at picking up this seat in two years.

Sinema's victory was all the more sweet for being late. Up until early in the week, she was close but still trailing. Three days ago, she was pronounced the winner. This added to the proof of the blue wave, and prevented Republicans from picking up a net plus-three Senate seats. That doesn't sound like much, but it may become crucial in the 2020 Senate races, as Democrats try to regain control of the chamber. This will now be one seat easier to do.

Kyrsten Sinema's win was decisive (she won by almost 40,000 votes) and was well-appreciated by Democrats nationwide. For pulling her race out in the end and for waging what all agree was an excellent campaign, Kyrsten Sinema is easily our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week.

[You'll have to wait to congratulate Senator-Elect Kyrsten Sinema until she gets her new official Senate webpage up and running.]

 

Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week

We're going to have to slightly redefine this award, for this week only, because the winner isn't someone who was actually disappointing -- that's too strong a word, really.

So for the first time ever, we're awarding a special Most Ridiculous Democrat Of The Week award to West Virginia's Richard Ojeda. Ojeda is currently a state senator, and he just ran for a U.S. House of Representatives seat last week -- and lost. So he's following up this disappointing result by -- are you sitting down? -- announcing his bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Really? Seriously?

This is a world-class level of chutzpah, but that's not exactly something to be proud of. Ojeda couldn't even win a House district, so in his estimation he'd be the best candidate to take on Donald Trump? This level of ridiculousness is simply breathtaking. Which is why we've created our special MRDOTW award, just for him.

[Contact West Virginia State Senator Richard Ojeda on his official contact page, to let him know what you think of his presidential ambitions.]

 

Friday Talking Points

Volume 509 (11/16/18)

OK, another mixed bag this week in the talking points. Of course, there is plenty of speculation swirling right now about whether Nancy Pelosi will become the next speaker of the House or not, but even in such turbulent times it's important that Democrats keep focused on what unites the party -- especially when being interviewed on television. So here are our suggestions for talking points for Democrats this week (not one of which has Pelosi's name in it).

 

1
   Rain didn't stop them

Former Secretary of State John Kerry -- a highly-decorated Vietnam War veteran -- had the best response to Trump cowering away from a little rain at a World War I cemetery on the 100th anniversary of the end of the war. Kerry tweeted:

President @realDonaldTrump a no-show because of raindrops? Those veterans the president didn't bother to honor fought in the rain, in the mud, in the snow -- & many died in trenches for the cause of freedom. Rain didn't stop them & it shouldn't have stopped an American president.

 

2
   The disappearing caravan and 10% tax cut

Now you see them, now you don't.

"In the buildup to the midterm election, certain channels of cable television just couldn't shut up about the supposed dangers of the caravan from Central America. According to Media Matters, Fox News spent over 33 full hours on the caravan-is-coming-to-kill-you story before the election, while in the two days after the election they only spent a total of four minutes and 57 seconds talking about it. Donald Trump, meanwhile, was promising all his supporters -- at each and every campaign rally -- that he'd be signing a 10 percent middle-class tax cut any day now. After the election, the White House released a list of their top priorities for Congress to achieve in the lame-duck period, and guess what didn't make the list? That's right -- the magic 10 percent tax cut was nowhere to be seen. It's almost as if Fox and Trump were just outright lying to everyone in a naked effort to scare people into voting, or something."

 

3
   Now you want to play nice?!?

Hypocrisy, thy name is McConnell.

"Mitch McConnell wrote what I am assuming was an attempt at comedy this week, for a major newspaper. In this opinion piece, McConnell has the nerve to lecture the incoming Democratic House to be more bipartisan so they can get some things done together. This wouldn't be half as laughable, of course, if it weren't for just about everything McConnell has ever done as Senate Majority Leader. As plenty of people are now pointing out, on Twitter. Assuming Mitch isn't warming up a new bit for an open-mic night at a comedy club or something, I have two words to help bring Mitch back to reality: Merrick Garland."

 

4
   House Democrats announce first agenda item, media ignores them

Unbelievable. A big question on everyone's mind is: "What will Democrats do when they take control of the House?" So the Democrats answered. And the media yawned. If you haven't heard about the H.R. 1 proposal (the first bill to be introduced next year), you are not alone. We wrote a whole article of our own earlier this week on the subject, for those interested in further details, but here's a quick summary.

"House Democrats have already signaled what their first order of business in the House will be -- the first bill they'll be introducing after taking control next year. This is a far-reaching and ambitious piece of legislation, folks. Here is a quick rundown of what the bill aims to accomplish: Institute a federal requirement for all states to have automatic voter registration. Reinstate and update the Voting Rights Act that got struck down by the Supreme Court. Take away redistricting power from state legislatures and instead hand it to independent commissions. Overturn Citizens United. Make campaign finance more transparent. Make it illegal for presidents to have financial conflicts of interest. Expand anti-bribery laws. Oh, and just for good measure, require all presidential candidates to release their tax returns to the public. All of this may not go as far as some versions of a 'voters' bill of rights' do, but it certainly would be a large number of giant steps in the right direction, you've got to admit."

 

5
   N.R.A. falling on hard times

A bit of schadenfreude to bask in.

"The National Rifle Association is losing the battle and losing the debate. Multiple Democrats just elected to Congress ran explicitly on gun control and against the N.R.A. These candidates won in moderate suburban districts, for the most part. And now news comes that the N.R.A. is facing some hard times. Seems last year their membership revenue declined by $35 million, and this year the group only spent $10 million in the midterm races -- less than half what it spend in 2014 or 2016. Things have even gotten so bad that they have now cut off the free water coolers and coffee at their headquarters to save some money. Staff are reportedly 'freaking out' at this development. Maybe -- just maybe -- mainstream American gun owners are beginning to think twice about the N.R.A.'s extremist viewpoint, what with horrific mass shootings happening so often these days. We can only hope."

 

6
   Not ready for prime time

Speaking of extremist viewpoints....

"The Mississippi Senate race has gone to a runoff election, which will take place in a few weeks. The Democratic candidate is Mike Espy, a black man, running against a woman who was appointed to fill out Thad Cochran's term. This woman, Cindy Hyde-Smith, has been letting her constituents know her own particular viewpoint. One video was released this week showing Hyde-Smith stating that there were 'liberal folks' who, in her words: 'maybe we don't want to vote. Maybe we want to make it just a little bit more difficult. And I think that's a great idea.' Now, showing naked approval for voter suppression in the Deep South is bad enough, but that wasn't even the worst video of Hyde-Smith from this week. An earlier clip showed her joking -- joking -- that she'd want to 'be on the front row' for a 'public hanging.' In Mississippi. While running against an African-American. I'd bet my bottom dollar that every single black voter who is physically able to will be out to cast their votes when the runoff happens, because, as Espy's communications director put it, Hyde-Smith is nothing short of 'a walking stereotype.'"

 

7
   Sure beats the alternative

Speaking of runoff elections (or the lack thereof)....

"History was made in Maine this week, as Democratic House candidate Jared Golden defeated a sitting Republican incumbent through the means of instant-runoff voting. Maine was the first state to use this system for federal office, and it worked exactly as designed. Rather than the time, hassle, and expense of a runoff election, voters marked their ranked choices for all the candidates on Election Day. Since nobody got a clear majority of the votes cast in the first tally, the election went to a second and third round. But the best thing about the new system was pointed out by Golden himself:"

Using ranked-choice voting, we've determined a clear winner in a more timely manner than Louisiana and other states that hold runoff elections. And I'm going to go out on a limb here: I'm sure I'm not the only one in the state that's glad we used an instant-runoff system instead of holding another election. Who in this state wants to see another campaign commercial wedged in between Thanksgiving and Christmas?

-- Chris Weigant

 

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Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground

 

80 Comments on “Friday Talking Points -- Trump's Temper Tantrum”

  1. [1] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    "Lose 1000 state legislative seats in the '14 mid-terms, gain back fewer tha one-third of them in the '18 mid-terms!

    Sounds more like a ripple than a wave, but hey, dont get discouraged, keep on keeping on!!!

  2. [2] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Sounds more like a ripple than a wave...

    Did to me too, until the real numbers came in. Tsunamis begin as ripples, you know.

    I think another big loser this week was Putin, who saw his puppet-president further restrained, saw Brexit on the verge of collapse, and saw European leaders talking openly about taking more responsibility for their own collective defense.

    By all accounts Macron and Merkel provided a united front against Putin's mischief this week, and it's increasingly obvious that the future of Europe rests squarely on their shoulders. Trump's bad fortune here at home have conversely improved their positions considerably, but as usual, help from Americans will come later than European Democrats would have hoped.

  3. [3] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    C. R. Stucki -

    Actually, it's:

    Lose 1,000 seats in 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016 -- and then regain 300 of them in 2018.

    Looking a little better, now?

    :-)

    -CW

  4. [4] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Program Note:

    Forgot to mention in the text above, but there will be no FTP column next week, for Thanksgiving weekend. I will be watching football, instead.

    :-)

    -CW

  5. [5] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Great talking point seven.

    What could be better for the Democratic Party to celebrate winning an election and achieving a "majority" by eliminating votes from the total that only voted for a third party or independent and refused to be blackmailed and/or tricked into lesser evil voting by validating the Democrat or Republican with their second, third or fourth choice?

    Not exactly standing up for every vote to be counted.

    And not exactly a reality-based assessment of rank choice voting to only point out it's alleged virtues while ignoring the voter suppression.

  6. [6] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    forget these "run-offs" - plurality elections should be decided by BAKE-OFF!

  7. [7] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    pie would be ideal, but flan, tart or cobbler would also be acceptable.

  8. [8] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Balthy [2]

    Not true, tsunamis begin as earthquakes, not ripples!

  9. [9] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    But if I want to choose pie as my first choice, and would accept cobbler as a second choice, but do not under any circumstance want to validate tarts or flan (just look at how much trouble Bill Clinton had with tarts) why should my vote for pie or cobbler not be counted as part of the total vote to achieve a plurality of votes to validate tarts or flan?

    If you the only vote you can cast that would count is a vote for something you don't want then you can't claim the vote is a plurality of people that want to vote when it is only a plurality of people that would vote for tarts or flan.

  10. [10] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    no, i wouldn't get actual pie, a major disappointment to be sure. but at least my vote would have triggered a run-off, which is a heck of a lot more influence than it would have had before. sure, i didn't get actual pie this time around, but i got something much closer to pie than i had before. that's the nature of compromise, without which our country and its constitution would never have existed in the first place.

    JL

  11. [11] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Don Harris [5] -

    That's ridiculous, sorry. The VOTER has the choice of filling out all the rounds or not. So any "voter suppression" is self-induced. I mean, that is their right -- they can choose to vote or not -- but if they exercise it, then they have to abide by the consequences.

    If a traditional runoff happened, and the voters who didn't want to vote for one of the two finalists stayed home and didn't vote, is that "voter suppression"? No, it isn't. It's a choice, made by the voter.

    Just as not filling out the full RCV ballot is a choice. They themselves have taken themselves out of the process, by choice.

    What you're arguing is equivalent to saying that in a traditional runoff election, we go back and count some of the votes from the first election in the runoff total. Which is why I say you're being ridiculous. Only the voters who choose to participate in a runoff (instant or traditional) get to have their votes counted. It's a fairly simple concept, really.

    "If you choose not to decide
    You still have made a choice."
    -Rush (... um... "Spirit of the Radio" maybe?)

    -CW

  12. [12] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    CW-
    No.
    Voters that want to participate by registering a vote against and not validating with their vote the people they do not want in office are not ALLOWED to participate, they are not allowed to choose.

    If citizens do not want either of the final two and cannot register their vote and have it counted in the final total, then the plurality is NOT a plurality of people that want to vote- it is only a plurality of those that would vote for one of the final two.

    What you are offering is a false choice. Choose someone you don't like and validate them or your vote doesn't count. How is that not voter suppression?

    It doesn't matter if it is in a run off election or done by rank choice voting. That is not a choice.

    That is blackmail. It is forcing the lesser of two evils choice on people that want to vote against both evils.

    But I guess that's how Democrats work- if you can't convince people that the lesser of two evils will have to be good enough then you legislate mandatory lesser of two evil voting or your vote doesn't count.

    A citizen that wants their vote for an independent or third party or even a write in vote saying none of the above has not decided not to make a choice. They have made their choice- but their choice does not count in the total.

    They do not choose to not vote- they are legislated out of their right to vote.

  13. [13] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    What would happen if there was a five way race, with the top two candidates getting 24% and 23% of the vote and everyone that voted for the other candidates did not fill out the rest of the choices to include the top two candidates?

    By not counting the votes of those people the candidate with 24% of the original vote would be awarded the plurality of the vote total even though 53% of the original voters chose not to validate that candidate with their vote at any point in the process.

  14. [14] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    a run-off election does not erase the results of the general election. if i vote for pie and by some tragic accident pie doesn't make it to the second round, that doesn't negate the existence of my vote. a vote for pie will still be on the record. leaving an elected office vacant would create a whole slew of other problems, so in order for the people to be served (even if they are served big cake), someone has to win.

  15. [15] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Nypoet-
    It doesn't matter if it is still on the record. If it doesn't get counted as part of the total vote in the second round it will still exist, but it will have no power in selecting the legislator or in preventing an unsuitable candidate form being elected.

    There are many places where the status of a party for the next election cycle is determined by the votes the party;s candidates got in the general election in the previous cycle. Which general election votes are used to determine party status, the general election votes or the runoff/mandatory lesser evil votes in the final round?

    Of course, leaving the seat empty would cause a whole slew of other problems. It is these problems and the desire to avoid them that will provide the incentive for the parties to run better acceptable candidates in the next election.

    So when the candidates offered are not suitable to hold the office the people are better served by leaving the office empty.

    While you may disagree with me on that- under mandatory lesser evil voting or in a run off you are allowed to vote on your position and have it counted and I am not.

  16. [16] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    how would one measure whether or not the majority prefers a vacant office to one of their preferred candidates? not wanting to vote for someone doesn't necessarily mean you'd rather not have anyone at all, unless "leave the office vacant" is an option on the ballot.

  17. [17] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    If citizens could vote for the same choice in all rounds and have their vote counted as part of the total and no one in the final round got enough of the votes from citizens that voluntarily chose lesser evil voting to achieve a plurality and the law stated that in this circumstance the seat would remain empty until another election could be held it would be clear from the lack of votes to validate one of the top two candidates that citizens preferred the empty seat.

    That is how leave the office vacant can be and why it should be an option on the ballot.

    The purpose of achieving a plurality of the vote is to demonstrate majority support for the winning candidate. With only the ability to cast a vote for someone a citizen opposes to have their vote counted they are not being given the opportunity to vote for their choice and have that vote counted.

    And the plurality of support for the winner is not a true plurality because it does include the votes of all voters that want to vote.

    It's a pretty simple concept.

    And it's the most important aspect of the debate. That must be why you keep ignoring it and coming with other excuses to avoid discussing it.

  18. [18] 
    TheStig wrote:

    While I'm sort of happy that Costa got quick judicial relief, it would have been better if the respectable press had gotten together and called Trump's bluff by downing pencils and walking out on the next briefing.

    Of the major parties involved in the presser ritual, the President gets the biggest benefit. All Presidents, with the possible exception of Lyndon Johnson, love the these slow pitch events. Make that T-ball events, that's the level of challenge in this game.

    Here's the payoff matrix:

    Trump: Gets a perfect venue for his favorite past times: lying and fighting about it with those who call him out.

    Press: A few reporters get their egos tickled now and again. Most just sit there when they aren't shouting for attention and waiting not to be called.

    The public: those that bother to watch the YouTube snippets gets mild to moderate political stimulation and move on to something else.

    So, Trump's bitching and moaning is just Crocodile Jeers. The amazing part to me is that he's giving holding fewer of these events as his Presidency drags on and on and on..... I guess he's just too busy doing - uh, something.

    It's time to take this old ink stained news pooch out into a secluded place inside The Beltway and put it out of its misery. THAT would really piss Trump off. Be careful what you wish for, Donny Boy.

  19. [19] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Don Harris,

    So you are calling for the end of primary elections to thin the field of candidates now, is that it?

    You confuse your desire to protest against the current election process with exercising your right to vote. You seem to believe that you should be able to make a referendum out of an election to fill an elected position, and that is NOT how it works! You do not get to vote to not fill an elected position just because the current candidates do not meet up to your standards!

  20. [20] 
    TheStig wrote:

    DH-5 etc.etc.

    TAKE BIG MONEY
    LOSE OUR VOTES

    You seem pretty much OK with self suppression as a political tactic. As long as it's your idea.

  21. [21] 
    TheStig wrote:

    CW-

    The best part of the Five Days of Fury article is the photo of those women protesting in front of the Big Baby "Hot Air" Balloon. Those are the most fashionably dressed and color coordinated demonstrators I have ever seen!

  22. [22] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Listen-
    No. Not talking at all aboot primaries.

    But the original and current purpose of primary elections (with the exception of top two primaries which should be abolished for reasons previously explained) is not to thin the field. It is to select a nominee for a party.

    I am not confusing a protest with a vote. I am combining them into one more effective instrument.

    Why shouldn't I be able to vote against the current candidates if they do not meet my standards?

    Why should my only choice be to validate with my vote a candidate that is not suitable or not be allowed to vote as in the Mandatory lesser evil voting scam that is the subject of discussion?

    And in New Jersey (as in many other places) I do get to vote against the current candidates if they are not suitable.

    At least you scored a perfect 100% on getting everything in your comment wrong.

  23. [23] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Stig-
    Not sure what you are talking aboot with the self suppression reference. It doesn't apply to the subject of discussion or One Demand,

    The subject of discussion is mandatory lesser evil voting. There is no self suppression.

    Voters are not allowed to participate unless they are willing to vote for a candidate that they do not find suitable for the office.

    That is not a choice because it is made under the duress of not being able to vote unless you vote for someone you do not want.

  24. [24] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    it's one thing to give people the option to explicitly vote for anarchy, but to have the anarchist option become the default when no one wins a majority, i think goes against the will of most citizens.

  25. [25] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    It is hard to believe there are so many Democrats (or Democrat supporters) here and none seem to believe that everyone should be afforded the right to vote and have it counted.

    SHAMEFUL!!!!!!!

  26. [26] 
    TheStig wrote:

    DH-23

    It's very simple. Your own purity standard means that if there is no small money candidate on the ballot than your standard says you can't vote for anybody on the ballot. I guess you could write in some presumed small money candidate, but the practical effect of that is your write in candidate will lose and you have for practical purposes self-disenfranchised yourself. Another way to put it is you've F-ed yourself in the name of purity.

    What if a small money Neo Nazi is running against a big money non Nazi? Does the pledge mean you must vote for the Neo Nazi? Or are pledge takers at least allowed to disenfranchise themseves and stay home?

    Details Don. You need to address them...but not here. Get you own web site house in working order.

  27. [27] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    i think one big benefit of rcv is that people can safely vote for a third party- or even multiple third parties - while still voting a pragmatic last-resort to prevent the worst possible outcome.

  28. [28] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    [11] C.W...Ironically, the RUSH tune is Freewill.

    No relation to Orcas.

    " You can choose from phantom fears
    And kindness that can kill
    I will choose a path that's clear
    I will choose free will"

    TP5...who cares. They, as a group, take away people's breathing rights, what's a cup of coffee to that? I'm guessing the NRA can no longer surreptitiously receive money from Russia, plus...Ollie North will want a pile of cash to heave himself, once again, on his sword for a greater GOP cause.

    LL&P

  29. [29] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @ts,
    The beauty of rcv is that it will encourage more people to vote for pie, since voters no longer have to fear that their pie vote will enable the bcp candidate who wants to take away their healthcare and pollute their water.

  30. [30] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    You can eat your pie and have it too.

  31. [31] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Nypoet (27,29)-
    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    What you see as benefit that people can choose, I see as a detriment because it legislates that I MUST make the un-pragmatic choice of validating someone for office that is unsuitable or my vote will not be counted.

    The difference is that what I am saying gives citizens the opportunity to make the choice and yours legislates the choice that MUST be made to have your vote counted.

    And what exactly does "safely" mean?

    They can vote for a third party but it is safe for the CMPs because that vote will eventually be changed
    to a vote for the CMPs?

    Let's use a variation of Stig's example from comment 26, that is not aboot the subject at hand to try to change the subject because Stig has no credible argument aboot the subject at hand so it is just recycled discredited claims aboot One Demand that I have repeatedly addressed here in detail.

    The Republicans have nominated a Neo Nazi and the Dems have nominated a child molester.

    Should you be forced to validate with your vote one of those two candidates at any point during the process?

    Should you not be able to register a vote that says you do not want either in office at all and have it count in the total?

    And just because you fear that a vote for a third party will enable a bad candidate to lose to a worse candidate doesn't mean that everyone is such a wimp.

  32. [32] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    JTC-
    Well done.

    If only Americans understood Democracy as well as you seem to.

  33. [33] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @don,
    The issue afoot is that all voters are still being counted. you're insisting that a runoff negates the existence of the votes for candidates who don't make the final round? They get a vote, but not a "true" vote, because anarchy isn't on the ballot? Is anarchy better than nazism or pedophilia? Sure.

  34. [34] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Maybe you're right that anarchy deserves to be included as an option. However, that oversight does not exactly qualify as voter suppression. Pie is a better choice.

  35. [35] 
    Mopshell wrote:

    This year marked the centenary of preferential voting in Australia where it is used at every federal and state level election. Australians know it is by far the best and most democratic system because the majority of voters get their first or second (or sometimes third or, very rarely, fourth) preference. No candidate in Australia is ever elected by less than 50% of voters. The same cannot be said for American candidates.

    We do not find it complicated. To illustrate this I have only to look at Australian voters. Australia (unfortunately) has its share of total idiots but none of them have any problem casting their votes (more's the pity) and correctly using the preferential system. I do not believe that American idiots are more stupid than their Australian counterparts.

    Thankfully we do not call it "ranked choice" - that sounds like you're asking the voter to choose the rankest person on the ballot - ugh!

    We don't call it instant run-off either because we don't, and never have had, run-off elections so the concept isn't in our vernacular. I don't know if calling it this is more confusing or not - certainly Don Harris is totally (and hilariously) off-track without managing to get right a single aspect of the system!

    Don - even I know that a run-off race in American politics is exclusively between the top two contenders and most times that turns out to be the nominees of the two major parties. If you wanted to vote for a third party in a run-off race, you're shit out of luck because there won't be any on the ballot. If you didn't want to vote for either of the major parties then presumably you'd stay at home.

    The preferential system makes not one iota difference to this. If you don't want to vote for either major party, you don't have to. You can vote for any or all of the independents and third parties on your ballot. If the winner is not a candidate you voted for then you are in the minority of voters in your electorate. The majority get someone they did vote for.

    I read your blog yesterday, Chris, and yu really did make a complete dog's breakfast of your explanation of preferential voting! No wonder Don is so confused - he's all hung up because you inferred that ballots for those with the least votes are discarded. They aren't. The second preference on those ballots are then counted - i.e. they get counted a second time and sometimes a third time. But no vote is ever discarded. The ballot for those who voted for only one person are not tossed. They remain in the pile allocated for that candidate and the vote count for that person remains the same.

    It is a very simple system in practice. I was involved in ballot counting at our last state election and I can assure you it's child's play.

  36. [36] 
    Mopshell wrote:

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez gets an honorable mention for courting the most attention apparently. The fact that she has no idea of how Congress works is evidently unimportant in her case.

    Here's examples of what AOC has said:

    “It doesn’t mean you get everything tomorrow. As much as I would love that, I would love to get inaugurated January 3rd [and] January 4th we are signing health care, we’re signing this,” she added.

    So she's going to be inaugurated and will be signing bills into law.

    “If we work our butts off to make sure that we take back all three chambers of Congress — uh, rather, all three chambers of government: the presidency, the Senate, and the House.”

    Perhaps you could send her a booklet, Chris, that explains the difference between chambers and branches and how many there are of each.

    Apparently those of us who criticize her are jealous of her looks judging by this quote:

    "Like, what do you do with young brown women who are intelligent and whose faces are symmetrical? You paint them as a narrative.”

    She idolizes the Independent, Bernie Sanders (no Chris, he is emphatically NOT a Democrat - he only exploits the party name in primaries and when they're over, immediately renounces the affiliation). She said:

    “I want to be Bernie Sanders"

    Like him, she isn't a Democrat either. Like Sanders, she exploited the party to give herself a better chance of being elected.

    Now she's been elected she should have followed him and declared herself a Sanders independent or justice revolutionary or socialist or whatever the berners are calling themselves these days.

    But she didn't and I'm guessing that's because Bernie wants her in the Democratic Party. Let's see how much trouble she manages to cause. She certainly loves the spotlight - and the media adores her - so she has that advantage over all the real Democrats and it will be educational to see how, with Bernie's mentoring, she uses it.

    In AOC, the Democratic Party are now lumbered with their own Louie Gohmert. Heaven help us.

  37. [37] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Mopshell-
    Even though you don't seem to realize it, thank you for agreeing with me.

    I said that the votes of citizens that only vote for one candidate should stand and be counted as part of the total and that the winner should have to get a plurality of votes from that total, not just from votes for the final two candidates. This is just as you described your system, because if they are not tossed or discarded it implies they are counted as part of the total from which the winner must achieve a plurality.

    What happens in your system if no one achieves a plurality after all the rounds?

    As for your explanation of the run-off system- what is the point of the explanation?

    I am acutely aware of how citizens are not allowed to participate and have their vote cast, much less counted, in a run-off election.

    That is why I oppose them.

    I am not at all confused. You, however, are confusing your preferential voting system that appears to meet my conditions for participation with the mandatory lesser evil voting scam (AKA- ranked choice voting, instant run-off voting).

  38. [38] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @don,

    where you've written plurality i think you meant majority. also, the systems in australia and maine are identical, they just have different names.

    https://www.britannica.com/topic/election-political-science/Plurality-and-majority-systems#ref416858

    JL

  39. [39] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Mopshell [36] In AOC, the Democratic Party are now lumbered with their own Louie Gohmert. Heaven help us.

    Oh, c'mon now, when was the last time that Louie Gohmert was 'charming'? AOC charms effortlessly.

    Moreover, as a freshman congresswoman she is just one of 435 voices that make up the cacophony of that august chamber - hardly a threat to anyone's agenda. Once she settles in, her policy proscriptions will become more programmatic and less radical over time - just as Bernie's did.

    You need to make a mental distinction between what Bernie said on the campaign trail in 2016, and the role that he actually plays in the Senate to fully grasp this - most of the policies he advocated for at the stump were pie-in-the-sky stuff that would never see the light of day on the Senate floor, much less be enacted into law in a Congress operating under regular order. Most of the time, he votes the same as his Democratic colleagues.

    As AOC will. You can count on it. And we can use every vote that we can get.

    It's actually a small contingent of 'moderate' congressmen that are making life for Pelosi less confortable - Tim Ryan and his gang of eight (or nine or ten, I forget), who'd promised to throw Pelosi under the bus in return for their seats, and are now trying hard now to make themselves not look like total jerks for doing so, to the point of possibly endorsing an even MORE liberal candidate for Speaker in the process. Ugh.

    Remember this: Democrats fight, Republicans scheme.

    Whatever grief Democrats might suffer at the hands of the progressive caucus pales in comparison to the small pointy knives that Republicans have aimed at each others' backs all the time, which were unsheathed continuously throughout the terms of Paul Ryan and Boehner. Pelosi, thank goodness, can count on a caucus both more civilized and much less bloodthirsty.

  40. [40] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Nypoet-
    I called it a "majority" in comment 5.

    You introduced the word plurality in comment 6.

    If the Australian and Maine systems are identical, then Mopshell is misinformed aboot the voters in Australia that do not vote for more than one or all of the candidates do not have their votes tossed or discarded as they are in Maine.

  41. [41] 
    Steedo wrote:

    Mopshell [36] You should be more discriminate when selecting a bogeyman for comparison. As a resident of Texas 1st district I am sorry to report that Gohmert is actually MY rep and you have no idea what a hateful nutcase asshat he truly is. What you may have seen of him on TV is just a shadow of his true paranoia, racism and hate mongering nature. He is a wild-eyed, fearful, tinfoil-hat-wearing conspiracy theorist while AOC is merely young with a lot to learn. Let's cut her some slack for now and see how things shake out.

  42. [42] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    The American system of casting one's vote, in what seems like one long, never-ending slog to the poling station is overdue some sane fixes. Starting with the pointlessness of the primaries and ending with idiocy of the electoral college, there's lots of mending in the middle that's easily sorted. Granted, the Dems have this snazzy 'HR1' which is more a cudgel to batter the GOP with leading up to 2020 than it is any concerted effort to drive reform. We all know the GOP with dismiss most of this first bill as naked socialism, and why not? bludgeoning the Trump base with rhetoric about 'doubling taxes', 'banning guns' and 'reverting to Sharia Law' has always whipped up the herd in the past, if your bullshit keeps working, why waste time applying wits and grey matter to a shiny new muddle of sophistry. Obviously, the re-districting and shameless gerrymandering has to stop, as does the pissing around of the minority voters with the old 'poling station shell-game'. Imho, it would make more sense if federal level elections all had a standardized voting form and all state level elections, likewise. The lobbyists need regulating, if not completely liquidated...Lobby groups undermine democracy at its most fundamental level, as we have seen with the NRA and their cajoling of politicians. When the majority of the electorate want better gun laws, only to have their elected officials shrink from action for fear of a running foul of their financial backers, the system is seriously flawed. The NRA are certainly the lobby that spring to mind as too big for their britches, but the Coal, Oil, Nat Gas, big Pharma and a host of other lobby's all push their agenda's with cash, regardless of whether it's what the electorate, being generally of sound mind, would choose given any say. Then there's Don Harris' bailiwick, voting turnouts and a viable third party from which to chose and not to seem like a throw-away vote. I mentioned it before, were the Green Party to re-organize and draw up a set of left-center leaning national policies, they could use the nationwide party apparatus to field a plausible third choice. Having three political units in congress would allow for more good legislature ( I'm a firm believer that both the GOP and Dems have some sane laws both could sink their teeth into were it not for the hyper-partisanship and tribal bickering that two seemingly diametric sides, by nature, are at odds.) A strong-ish third party alternative would necessitate bargaining and deal-making that would see all sides getting enough of their own agenda implemented to appease their respective bases. As it stands right now, 40 house seats and 15 senate seats in the hands of an organised stable third party would have more influence than the sum of their seats and compromises would have to be made. Seems Trump and his vulgarity is one way to get people off their arses and down the poling station, but a more permanent solution to voter apathy needs implementing. I'm of the mindset that giving the electorate a slight shove on poling day is the way to go, make it mandatory for all new voters (age 18) to vote in three national elections before the age of thirty, this way they will get an appreciation for the duty. Also, if iphones can manage thumbprint recognition, surely poling stations can figure out a way to incorporate the technology. Casting your vote should be as effortless as phoning for a pizza, if it isn't, the easily distracted gen-xers will just say, 'bugger this for a lark, let's order a pizza.'

    Food for thought, but hardly paradigm altering observations. I suspect everyone here has a pile of shit they'd like to see change. Change is a knuckle dragger though, so resolve would be the first quality to assume as agents of change.

    LL&P

  43. [43] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    mopshell is correct regarding australia and also regarding maine. in this case it's CW who was unclear. i referred to plurality elections because a plurality is the largest percentage when nobody reaches a majority. one way to address this is a run-off, but my suggestion is a bake-off, since pie is a much better criterion than a re-vote.

  44. [44] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    JTC [42]: And here's why none of that matters:

    Because a President controls a separate branch of the government, his (or her) election is necessarily national. It's a winner-take-all election, which means that, more often than not, it's a two-person choice in the end. That's what fostered the two-party system, not some plot from a National Treasure sequel.

    As for ranked-choice voting, the problem there is that the only power that it provides to third parties is before the election is held, because the political value of an endorsement would diminish dramatically once all of the votes are cast. Runoffs might actually increase the value of third parties, as they can then negotiate some value for a later endorsement and/or assistance.

    Historically, viable third party candidates will draw off votes from one or the other major party in national elections. Many folks believe with good reason that we have third parties to thank for Woodrow Wilson, Bill Clinton, and George Bush (Jr.).

  45. [45] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Nypoet-
    Mopshell said the votes for one candidate are not tossed or discarded in that system. The votes for one candidate in Maine are tossed and discarded.

    They are not the same. Anyone claiming they are the same is wrong.

    But the question you keep avoiding with your bullshit diversions is:

    Why should those votes be discarded and not counted as part of the total for determining a majority?

  46. [46] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    JTC-
    The control of politicians by the Big Money interests (as I'm sure you are aware, but you can't cover everything in one comment) is not limited to the NRA and policy on guns.

    It has an effect on almost every issue. You can't swing a dead issue in DC (is there any other kind?) without hitting Big Money obstructions.

    You are right that change begins with resolve.

    So it makes sense that the first step is for citizens to resolve to stop voting for Big Money candidates which guarantees Big Money legislators that provide the obstruction that kills progress on any issue that would benefit ordinary citizens instead of the Big Money interests.

    You are also right that it only seems that the two parties are opposed. That is just a good cop/bad cop show put on to fool the rubes on both sides.

  47. [47] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Balthy-
    So what if third parties (viable or not) draw off votes from a CMP.

    That is not a problem with democracy, that is a problem with the CMPs.

    If with all the advantages the CMPs have given themselves over third parties and independents if the CMPs can't offer candidates that are good enough that citizens find that voting for a third party candidate (viable or not) is a better option, then the CMPs need to offer better candidates.

    There is no good reason to believe third parties should be thanked (or are responsible) for Bill Clinton, GWB or even Trump.

    The CMPs are responsible for offering candidates that citizens found less desirable than the candidates offered by a third party and those citizens voted accordingly.

    That's called democracy.

    But there is good reason to believe that the lack of viable competition to the CMPs is responsible for the CMPs getting away with offering substandard candidates election after election.

  48. [48] 
    TheStig wrote:

    DH-

    Every vote in Maine is counted at least once. After the first count, votes are transferred according to each voter's ranking instructions. If the voter doesn't name a second rank choice, their vote is never transferred. That is the voter's tactical choice or perhaps their tactical miscalculation.

    If your political strategy is entirely based on being a spoiler who drags out elections with a wave of runoffs, you are shit out o' luck.

  49. [49] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Oh, I see CW said the same thing. This what happens when the comments get weedy. My bad.

    Still, your reaction to Instant Runoff Voting - Main Style is revealing. Your approach to politics is basically to throw your shoe into the election machinery and thus gum it up. Sabot - er.

  50. [50] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @ts,

    his political strategy is to solicit endlessly and lash out aimlessly at any idea that's better than his. it sounds to me like don harbors some kind of hateful grudge against pie. :D

    It sounded t'me like he harbored some kinda hateful grudge against the Soggy Bottom Boys
    ~o brother where art thou

  51. [51] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Given the context, I could have phrased 49 better:

    Saboot-er.... Sabootage.

    The vowel raising of the Titanic.

  52. [52] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Stig-
    An explanation of "how it is" is not a counter argument to my argument that how it is denies citizens their right to vote and have it counted through all the rounds.

    A counter argument would have to include an answer to WHY those votes should not be counted in the total from which the majority would be derived.

    CW and others arguing that citizens are given a choice that they can cast a vote to validate someone that they oppose or their vote will not count in the total for a winner achieving a majority is not a choice. And if voters can only validate one of two candidates they oppose and cannot register their opposition and have it count in the total to achieve a majority then the majority is not a true majority of voters- it is only a majority of voters that find at least one of those two acceptable.

    A counter argument would have to address that also.

    And there is nothing wrong, in my opinion, with throwing a monkey wrench into the machinery when the machinery is being used to deny citizens their right to participate in our electoral process.

    In fact, I consider it a duty.

  53. [53] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Nypoet-
    How is ranked choice voting that denies citizens their right to vote and have it counted better than any idea?

    It's funny how those that never address the issue at hand and resort to ridicule because they have no rational argument to support their claims or beliefs accuse me of lashing out aimlessly.

  54. [54] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    don, your logic is as tortured as your spelling. the issue afoot is that rcv doesn't deny anyone their right to vote, and in fact increases most people's ability to vote for their first choice. just because you don't like the selection method, that doesn't mean you're not being allowed to choose. the only alternative you've offered is not filling the position, which is quite literally anarchy. i think rcv is better than anarchy.

  55. [55] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    also, pie is much better than don's demands. it is more popular, accomplishes just as much, has many tasty options, AND it has an outstanding, frequently updated website, which you can access through my profile link.

  56. [56] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    ok, last comment: if you don't want ridicule, stop being ridiculous.

    https://i.gifer.com/Cbi0.gif

  57. [57] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Let's see who is being ridiculous.

    You only make statements with no facts to back up your statements.

    I point out facts.

    If my argument is so ridiculous, you should be able to explain why the votes are counted instead of just making unsubstantiated statements.

  58. [58] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    why the votes are Not counted.

  59. [59] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    as everyone and his brother-in-law has attempted to explain, the votes ARE counted. they are counted for as many of the candidates as each voter chooses. if one voter's preferred candidate or candidates are eliminated from later rounds because they didn't get enough votes in the early rounds, that is due to their failure to win enough votes, not a failure to count their votes. if a voter does not choose any of the candidates who makes the later rounds, that is not a failure to have their vote counted. their votes were counted, their choices lost, and the world moved on.

    don, your argument is essentially, "why are the cleveland browns not allowed to play in the super bowl, and why are browns fans forced to root for the eagles or patriots?" that's an insane argument because of course the browns are allowed to play in the super bowl, and of course their fans may cheer for them to do so. they have the same opportunity as every other team. in order to make the final, first they have to win. it's a losing team and a losing argument.

  60. [60] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    since the anarchy argument is a non-starter, here's a more comprehensive discussion of possible reforms that go beyond the plurality and the run-off:

    http://theconversation.com/beyond-instant-runoff-a-better-way-to-conduct-multi-candidate-elections-74973

  61. [61] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Nypoet-
    Once again all you did was say this is how it is.

    You still did not address why it is how it is.

    You did not say why the votes should not be part of the total to derive majority approval.

    If you do not count people that do not approve (by not voting FOR a candidate you don't want in office), then you do not achieve a majority of voters- only a majority of voters that approve of the final two choices.

    Since the purpose is to achieve majority approval for the winner if you are not achieving a majority of all citizens that vote it is not a true majority.

    And what if a majority of voters picked the candidate that was eliminated in the first round as their second choice?

    If those votes were all counted in each round then the first candidate to be eliminated would win when it got down to three candidates.

    In order to do this right voters would have to in the case of say six candidates, Pick a candidate for the second round if each of the six candidates were eliminated in the first round, pick a candidate if each combination of two candidates were eliminated in the second round and so on.

  62. [62] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    don, you're like the child who won't accept an answer for why the sky is blue. it is how it is for a number of reasons, but none of those reasons will ultimately get anyone where you want them to go. a few of the myriad reasons why the sky is and shall remain blue in perpetuity are as follows:

    1. without a government, society would cease to function, and life as we know it would likely end.

    2. without an effective system for choosing members of government, there would cease to be one, and society would cease to function, ending life as we know it.

    3. other systems than plurality and run-off either are very complicated, untried, unconstitutional, or all of the above, while in almost all cases still yielding the exact same results. a few new systems might be feasible given some pilot testing on a small scale, but that's not what you've suggested.

    4. the system you've proposed is to hold endless re-votes until someone wins a majority, and if nobody wins a majority, have government jobs remain vacant. most people, even if they're not thrilled with the options available, would not prefer to be represented by nobody.

  63. [63] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    NYpoet-
    1,2,3- Nothing there to explain why my vote should not be counte3d.

    4- So my vote should not count because other people don't want me to vote the way I want to?

    But the real reason is contained in your lead in to 1-4. "...but none of those reasons will ultimately get anyone where you want them to go."

    You are afraid that if people had the choice they would choose to vote against the CMPs so the choice is denied unless people are willing to make the choice you want them to make.

    Pretty weak argument.

  64. [64] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    And your answers are like saying the sky is blue so you know where the sky starts and the green grass ends.

  65. [65] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    And 3 is actually an argument against rank choice/mandatory lesser evil voting.

    What I have suggested is that in order to do rank choice voting so it is not mandatory lesser evil voting would make it impossible to do as you said in comment 3.

    Which is why we shouldn't do it.

  66. [66] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @don,

    nobody's afraid of your ideas, but feel free to continue thinking that if it brings you comfort. of course your vote counts, but now you're getting closer. other people's votes count more than your vote, because there are more of them than there are of you. that's the main reason why people are supposed to vote in the first place, to decide who gets their way and who has to wait until next time. that's what democracy IS.

    JL

  67. [67] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Nypoet-
    If you're not afraid then why not let the votes be counted?

    But let's consider a different way to count the rank choice votes that allows all votes to be counted.

    Citizens rank their choices in order of preference 1 candidate A,2- C, 3-B, etc. and only rank candidates they approve being in office.

    In the first round any candidate that gets a majority wins. If no majority is reached in the first round no candidates are eliminated.

    In the second round all candidates first choice votes are added to the second choice votes for that candidate. If only one candidate gets a majority they win. If more than one gets a majority the highest total wins.

    This way if the second choice of citizens combined with votes of the citizens that voted for that candidate as the first choice achieved a majority ion the second or third round, their votes would not be eliminated or moved to their third or fourth choice because their first or second choice had been eliminated in the first round.

    For example, in a six candidate election candidate A gets the least amount of first round votes. But people that vote in the first round for candidates B,C and D all choose candidate A as their second choice and the people that voted for candidate A as their first choice split their second choice between candidates B,C and D. This could achieve a majority without needing the second choice votes of any of the people that vote for candidates E or F (which are the Democrats and Republicans in this scenario).

    If no candidates gets a majority in round two all candidates move on to round three the same as round two but using the first three choices of each voter.

    This way if the Democrats or Republicans are the third, fourth or fifth choice of a citizen it would have to get to the third, fourth or fifth round to change that vote to a vote for the Democrat or Republican and would only do that if the citizens chose to validate the Democrat or Republican with a third, fourth or fifth choice instead of citizens second, third or fourth choice being eliminated in previous rounds.

    This, of course, would force citizens that vote for the Democrats or Republicans in the first round to also make second and third choices which defeats the purpose of mandatory lesser evil voting to force citizens to validate the Democrats or Republicans that they do not find suitable for office.

    Of course, the citizens that vote in the first round for Democrats or Republicans as their first choice could choose to not vote for a second choice and hope it gets to the fourth or fifth round and enough citizens are willing to validate the Democrats or Republicans as a fourth or fifth choice.

    And if no candidate gets a majority after all the rounds then a new election is held while the seat is empty. A special election could be held in as little as six months so it would not have to be empty for the entire term of office.

  68. [68] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @don,

    if i'm understanding you correctly now, i'm not opposed to any part of your plan except leaving the office vacant. for all intents and purposes that matter to me, adding first plus second choices (instead of transferring second choices from losing candidates) is just as good as what's already being done. of course it first has to be tested on a smaller scale in case of unintended side-effects, but that system, which was one of those proposed by the article in the link i sent you, seems okay.

    if your idea stopped there and said that if after all the back-up choices are added there's still no majority, then the biggest plurality wins, then i'd say sure, why not. however, you seem to have yet again made the perfect the enemy of the good, not to mention conflating the different dimensions of public opinion.

    regarding the latter, just because the direction of most people's opinions regarding such a system may be positive, doesn't necessarily mean people care all that much about one run-off system versus the other. regarding the former, there's the additional (in my view superfluous) special elections at taxpayer expense, meanwhile leaving the public with no representation, and that situation is quite objectionable. if by some chance significant segments the public are really so stuck on their first choices that nobody wants to let anyone else be their back-up, allowing an ongoing "nobody wins" outcome is a recipe for public calamity.

    JL

  69. [69] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Nypoet-
    Well it's nice we can actually agree on something.

    I picked the empty office because the purpose of rank choice voting is to achieve a majority approval for the winning candidate. But I would have no problem with going with the highest plurality if no majority is achieved.

    I must admit I fully expected you to come up with some excuse to reject this approach to counting over the elimination system because the elimination system provides a greater advantage to the CMPs.

    As I often point out when I feel that commenters are letting their party preference determine their position, I have to commend you on being able to look beyond any party preference and recognizing what seems to me to be more balanced and inclusive.

  70. [70] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    If only Liz could see us now. :D

  71. [71] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @don,

    i don't care about the big cake parties, and never did. if it's possible for me to say so without seeming pompous, i think you really might benefit from a university education..

  72. [72] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    I have talked to enough college graduates and read articles by college graduates and professors that show beyond a reasonable doubt that the term "university education" is as much an oxymoron as military intelligence.

    As the Wizard of Oz said (not an exact quote) the people that go to college aren't any smarter than people that don't- they just have a piece a paper that says they are.

  73. [73] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @don,
    University doesn't make people smarter, but it does expose people to ideas that may allow them to make themselves smarter. Whether or not they avail themselves of that chance is up to them. The 'piece of paper' although it matters economically, is beside the point.

  74. [74] 
    Kick wrote:

    JTC
    42

    Casting your vote should be as effortless as phoning for a pizza, if it isn't, the easily distracted gen-xers will just say, 'bugger this for a lark, let's order a pizza.'

    I know I am late to the party on this subject and playing catchup, but I would just like to point out that -- in my opinion -- this would indubitably qualify as votes for pie. :)

  75. [75] 
    Kick wrote:

    Don Harris

    It doesn't matter if it is in a run off election or done by rank choice voting. That is not a choice.

    That is blackmail. It is forcing the lesser of two evils choice on people that want to vote against both evils.

    Poor Don. No matter how many times I or anyone else attempts to explain this extraordinarily simple concept to you, you seem irretrievably incapable of understanding the concept that you can't read the minds of every voter. The glaring flaw in your every post is that you are the authority on what all voters believe. You're not, Don. All voters do not believe the same ridiculous and rote utter nonsensical bullshit that you keep spewing on cue like an unaccomplished churl who genuinely seems to believe he possesses psionic powers of deduction.

    Choosing to not choose a candidate in a head-to-head contest or not to choose secondary candidates in a ranked choice voting system is still your choice "not to choose" and thus allow the aggregate of "qualified votes"... you know, the opposite of "disqualified votes"... that your constituents make to elect the representative.

    It's not a complicated system, Don. In the majority of states in America, in order for a write-in vote to be tabulated, a registered voter must cast a ballot for a "qualified candidate." In every state, they only count the actual votes cast by registered voters for qualified candidates, and it is genuinely the exception that write-in votes are counted and no one gives two shits about votes that aren't cast for qualified candidates because you can't count a "no vote" regardless of how many times disingenuous and uninformed people like yourself insist that you can. :)

  76. [76] 
    Kick wrote:

    JL
    71

    i don't care about the big cake parties, and never did. if it's possible for me to say so without seeming pompous, i think you really might benefit from a university education..

    Yes... exactly this! Don keeps incessantly factoring in his ridiculous belief that either every voter believes his "lesser of two evil" theory and/or that anyone who disagrees with said nonsensical notion of his is doing so because they are biased by Party. It's ridiculous on its face, particularly when the majority of voters do not belong to a Party and unequivocally do not believe a vote for one Party is a vote for Satan and a vote for the other Party is a vote for Hitler. It's laughable on its face and why Don gets it wrong. Every. Single. Time.

    It is my experience that the only people who tout and/or emphasize the superiority of a lack of higher education are those who do not possess one.

    If people like Don pushing a political agenda can con the uneducated masses into believing that they're "the smart ones," they can move morons to vote against their own best interests time after time; I'm talking about Don Trump, of course, and the GOP and con artists like Trump who increasingly rely on stupidity and conspiracy theory nonsense... among many other things... in order to influence voters.

    As far as Don Harris is concerned, he keeps whining incessantly about everyone else's political agenda while failing to recognize his own, and that makes him no better than the Party system he vilifies for the exact same reason. Too bad he's too ignorant to recognize it... likely due to the fact that self-awareness generally comes with education and looking inward, taking responsibility for your own actions and/or inaction rather than looking outward and blaming everyone else for your own choices or lack thereof. :)

  77. [77] 
    Kick wrote:

    Don Harris
    72

    As the Wizard of Oz said (not an exact quote) the people that go to college aren't any smarter than people that don't- they just have a piece a paper that says they are.

    I would wager it surprises no one that Don Harris uses a fictional fairy tale in a flailing attempt to make a point about education. Oh, irony. Don believes he has deftly illustrated a point about education when he has... in point of fact... revealed himself to be a gullible rube of the highest order. Yes, I can explain.

    Don has fallen for the con at the end of the fairly tale. I can only surmise that due to Don's lack of education, it was totally lost on him that Oz was an inveterate huckster and that this fact about "The Wizard" didn't change in the least when the curtain was opened and he was exposed... quite the contrary. Like the classic "collapsed" narcissist, the "Wizard" then used the heroes' empathy to persuade them that he deserves their pity for being unable to give them what he promised. He tells the gullible Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion that they already have the qualities they seek, but this is simply more nonsensical con artistry, Don, which you would likely know if you had an education worth two shits. The "Wizard" ultimately resorts to fraud yet again via handing out placebos that do absolutely nothing to change anything except the perception of the gullible morons.

    Handing the Scarecrow a piece of paper didn't give him the education he never got. If it had done that, the straw man would have easily recognized the paper he was handed was nothing more than a piece of paper and he remained uneducated... ditto the "heart" for the Tin Man who still had no heart and the medal for the sniveling cowardly lion.

    Setting aside fairly tales, you can watch this "Oz" scenario play out near daily with Trump and his sycophants on a regular basis. #Sad

    We have more money and more brains and better houses and apartments and nicer boats. We are smarter than they are. They say the elite. We are the elite. You are the elite. ~ Donald Trump rallying the gullible minions, June 27, 2018

  78. [78] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Kick-
    Once again you explain how it is without an explanation of why it is how it is.

    When it comes to run-off elections or rank choice voting the choice for citizens that do not want either of two candidates in office is to vote for a candidate that you do not want to vote for, to not vote in the run-off or for all rounds/choices of rank choice voting and/or to not have your vote counted in the total to achieve a majority.

    What is the justification for allowing the votes to be cast and/or not counting those votes?

    I do not claim that I know what all voters are thinking or what motivates them to vote how they vote. I do know that I usually find both CMP candidates unsuitable for office.

    I also know that the First Amendment guarantees my right to free speech whether anyone else agrees with me or not.

    You have claimed that my right to free speech should be limited in the most important place where free speech can be exercised- the voting booth.

    In order to limit my free speech you must demonstrate that it will cause harm for me to exercise my right to free speech. So again, why should my vote not be counted?

  79. [79] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    ...the justification for NOT allowing the votes to be cast....

  80. [80] 
    Kick wrote:

    Don Harris
    78

    Once again you explain how it is without an explanation of why it is how it is.

    The State of Maine has set the rules, Don. If you continually need the basic shit spoon-fed to you like a toddler, don't be surprised if people naturally equate your oft demonstrated ignorance with Trump-level stupidity.

    When it comes to run-off elections or rank choice voting the choice for citizens that do not want either of two candidates in office is to vote for a candidate that you do not want to vote for, to not vote in the run-off or for all rounds/choices of rank choice voting and/or to not have your vote counted in the total to achieve a majority.

    Yes, Don, our choices as defined by the rules of our local, state, and federal government entities are generally always limited and defined by predetermined rules. If you don't believe me, please try to name a "right" that you have bestowed by the United States Constitution or the Constitution of the state in which you reside that is an unlimited right.

    What is the justification for allowing the votes to be cast and/or not counting those votes?

    The predetermined rules require no "justification."

    I do not claim that I know what all voters are thinking or what motivates them to vote how they vote. I do know that I usually find both CMP candidates unsuitable for office.

    Yes, you do so frequently, and your incessant whining grievances assumes everyone shares your feelings. Gag.

    I also know that the First Amendment guarantees my right to free speech whether anyone else agrees with me or not.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    No, Don, the First Amendment actually does not do all that. If you believe it gives you an unlimited right to "free speech" in the voting booth, then you're seemingly woefully (and likely willfully) uninformed. :)

    How many times and in how many different ways do you need it explained to you that there is no such thing as a "right" that doesn't have limitations attached to that right? You have no "right" to a scintilla of the shit that you keep whining like a toddler that "somebody" owes you. None. Not CW, not the State of Maine (you don't live there anyway), and nobody on this board owes you a damn thing. Let that finally sink in.

    You (nothing personal) have no "rights" that are not limited in some way or another by promulgated rules that are generally set forth in writing.

    You have claimed that my right to free speech should be limited in the most important place where free speech can be exercised- the voting booth.

    I'm not the State of Maine nor do I live there either, and I have done no such thing of the sort whatsoever.

    In order to limit my free speech you must demonstrate that it will cause harm for me to exercise my right to free speech. So again, why should my vote not be counted?

    No, Don, I mustn't demonstrate a damn thing. The voting rules are predetermined by the representatives of the State of Maine. If you don't follow those rules for casting a "qualified vote," Don, then your vote will be a "disqualified vote" and will not be counted.

    Whining incessantly about the "injustice" of it all changes not a damn thing. Simple. Don't like the rules? Attempt to change them.

    What have you accomplished by whining about Ralph Nader and CW having a responsibility to shill for you? What does encouraging people not to cast a qualified vote accomplish? What was accomplished by voting in numbers too big to ignore and by formulating plans to transport eligible voters to the polls? We collectively flipped TX-32 and were only 2.6% away from defeating Ted Cruz, and that is something you can build on.

    Regardless the avenue you choose, please let it finally sink in that attempting to change anything via choosing to abstain from voting or by casting a disqualified vote that does not get counted is about the most ignorant path one could choose. :)

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