ChrisWeigant.com

Reforming Iowa's Voting Process

[ Posted Thursday, February 6th, 2020 – 18:22 UTC ]

Iowa royally screwed up. That much is beyond dispute. In fact, as I write this -- days after the Iowa caucuses concluded -- the results still are not complete and no winner has been anointed. Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg are within a tenth of a point of each other in the metric used to determine winners, although Bernie's clearly going to win the popular vote (both of them, in fact). Perhaps by the time New Hampshire votes we'll all know who the winner in Iowa was. But at this point, even that isn't guaranteed.

The easiest thing to point the finger of blame at is the new and untested technology that Iowa relied upon to report the caucus totals. Savvy users of technology know full well that buying the 1.0 version of anything means you could be in for trouble -- big trouble, at times. People in the computer industry whose job it is to test software before release so that bugs can be fixed (software quality assurance engineers) have long had a saying: "The Ford Pinto was released six months early -- but that's not what everyone remembers about it." It doesn't matter how fast you get to market if there's an enormous and embarrassing flaw in your design, in other words. And the Iowa app blew up just as spectacularly as a rear-ended Pinto.

But that's an easy fix: use paper and the telephone. There! Problem solved!

However, the fiasco has opened a much larger conversation, about the entire Iowa caucus procedure and whether Iowa should always get to go first. These could mean fundamental changes in the way Americans winnow their presidential fields in future years, so they're much more consequential than determining how to actually count the votes in Iowa.

The Iowa caucuses make it harder and more confusing for the voters to cast a ballot. That cannot be denied. It's built in to the system. You have to physically be present at the caucus site at the appointed time, or else your vote will not count. Got a sick baby? Have to work at that time? Then you are out of luck and your vote doesn't count. Compare this to the primary system, where you have all day long to cast a vote and can even mail it in if you don't want to physically be present at the polling place. Now, Iowa has tried (this year, for the first time) to make it marginally easier for busy people to get counted, but the entire system is a lot more stringent than merely filling out a ballot and dropping it off (or mailing it in). Caucuses discriminate against those with swing shift work schedules, the disabled, the elderly, and anyone else who finds it tough to physically show up on a frigid evening.

Not only is it harder for people to attend caucuses, but it takes a lot of time. Voting in a primary -- once you make it through whatever line exists at your polling place -- takes 10 minutes or less. You fill out the ballot, you hand it in, and you're done. Not so with Iowa, where you have to play a game of musical chairs for more than an hour. More on that in a moment.

Iowa caucuses are also a throwback to a much earlier age, because there is no secret ballot. Anyone and everyone gets to see how you vote -- your spouse, your neighbors, your boss, and anyone else in town who also shows up. There's a very good reason America moved over a century ago to the secret ballot, and yet for some reason Iowa voters are still denied this basic privacy.

Iowa, unlike primary states, has what could be called a "physical instant runoff" system. If you stand in a corner for a candidate who doesn't manage to get 15 percent of your town's voters -- no matter how well your candidate is doing statewide -- then you have to declare for a second candidate on the spot, by physically moving to another candidate's corner. This is downright bizarre. Why not just hold one round, count all the votes, and then apportion the delegates according to the statewide totals? If candidates don't get 15 percent, then they don't get delegates, but at least everyone gets to vote for the candidate of their choice no matter how their neighbors vote. That's how all the primary states do it, to one degree or another. So why is Iowa so radically different? Nobody has a good explanation for this other than "we've always done it this way." Which is not really a logical argument for continuing the system as it stands. Iowa Republicans don't go through this musical chairs dance in their caucus, so why should Iowa Democrats have to?

The biggest flaw in the way Iowa votes, though, is that it essentially creates a miniature "Electoral College" system, where the winner of the popular vote statewide can wind up losing to someone who wins more "state delegate equivalents." Now, nationwide we are stuck with the Electoral College until a constitutional amendment passes, but this just isn't true for Iowa's caucuses. There is no national law that mandates such a system, so it'd only be a matter of one state changing its election process to get rid of the current caucus rules. Right now, with 97 percent of the precincts counted, Bernie Sanders has won the popular vote (both in the first round and in the final round), but Pete Buttigieg has more state delegate equivalents. So officially, Pete might "win" after not getting the most votes. How is that (small-d) democratic?

All around, Iowa's caucus system is worse than holding a primary. So why not change it to the way that virtually every other state votes? Would the corn all shrivel in the fields if Iowa voted the same way that Nebraska or Minnesota voted? I'd bet not.

This brings up an unrelated subject -- why does Iowa get to go first? Well, not totally unrelated, because if Iowa did move to a primary system then they'd engage in a calendar battle with New Hampshire for "first in the nation" status. New Hampshire law states that their primary will be held "one week before any similar contest is held." It's relational, it's not a solid date on the calendar. So if Iowa announced that in 2024 it would be holding a primary, then New Hampshire would leapfrog ahead of it and Iowa would have to vote second. Even if they still called it a caucus while essentially moving to a primary voting mechanism, New Hampshire might determine that it was "similar" to their primary and try to muscle their way to the front of the line.

But all of this brings into focus the question of why four states get to vote before all the other states have a chance to. Super Tuesday is "super" because it is the earliest date any other state is allowed to vote. If they schedule their vote before this arbitrary date, then the national parties can penalize them by barring their delegates from voting at the convention -- where the nominee is officially chosen. This has happened in the past.

The national party apparatus has decreed that four states get to vote early. But this can change. Up until not so long ago, there were only two early-voting states, Iowa and New Hampshire. But when Democrats took a long look at this system, they realized that they were shutting out pretty much everyone but white people from having an early say. Both Iowa and New Hampshire are 90 percent white or more, which is nowhere near representative of the country as a whole. To ameliorate this inequity, two other states were chosen to join lily-white Iowa and New Hampshire at the front of the line: South Carolina and Nevada. Nevada has a large proportion of Latino voters while South Carolina has one of the highest proportions of African-American voters in the country. This has helped to diversify the early-voting process. But it's not etched in stone anywhere that four states must vote early. Remember, it was only two not so long ago. So why couldn't it be three? Iowa is in danger of being booted all the way back to Super Tuesday as a direct result of their monumental screwup, at this point. Some argue that Iowa is overwhelmingly rural and therefore representative of a different kind of diversity, but this isn't as strong an argument as it used to be in the Democratic Party.

Of course, there are all kinds of good ideas out there for how to reform the entire primary process, not just the initial four states. Most of these propose differing schemes for scheduling all the states while still allowing the same four states to go first. Of these reform schemes the one that makes the most logical sense to me would be to allow the state that had the highest voter participation in the last primary to go first. If Oregon (for instance) saw more eligible voters turn out than any other state in their 2020 primary, then it would get to go first in 2024. The next-highest turnout state would go second, and on down the line. If it's true (as we are constantly told) that the voters of Iowa and New Hampshire "take their civic responsibilities very seriously," then they'd have to actually prove it, by competing with the other states to see whose citizens really did take their responsibilities more seriously than the other states.

That's just one idea out of many. Whether any of them will get serious consideration or not is an open question, even after Iowa's face-plant. But perhaps it is time to have this national conversation.

Even without the technological problems that happened, Iowa's caucuses are a mess, plain and simple. Even if we had gotten results within hours of the conclusion of the caucuses and the app had worked perfectly, the other problems would still exist. Iowa's caucus system is a Rube Goldberg machine that had many inherent flaws even before that app was written. And fixing the technology isn't going to fix any of those problems.

Iowa will most likely continue as an early-voting state, even though the obvious thing to do would be to penalize it for creating so much confusion by kicking it back to Super Tuesday or even later next time around. But traditions are hard to change, so my guess is that they'll still be allowed to vote early. However, there's simply no excuse for continuing the arcane and Byzantine process of the Iowa caucuses, especially since Iowa Republicans don't even use the same system. At a minimum, this should mean the end of public voting (by switching to secret ballots) and an end to the "instant runoff" game of musical chairs. There is simply no reason to continue any of the broken aspects of the way Iowans vote. These changes would be pretty easy for the national party to force upon Iowa, at this point. With the threat of possibly being denied early-voting status, Iowa would likely knuckle under to any changes the national party demands, after this week's screwup. Thus the opportunity exists to demand radical changes, and I for one hope that the national party takes this golden opportunity to force such changes, because they really are long overdue.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

54 Comments on “Reforming Iowa's Voting Process”

  1. [1] 
    dsws wrote:

    [79] of previous thread:
    Texas is red and will remain that way for the rest of our lifetimes.

    Nah. There are enough of us here that someone will live another forty or fifty years. Stuff flips more often than that, and Texas has a growing Hispanic population that could easily flip it in eight to twelve years if Republicans don't improve their image with that constituency.

  2. [2] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    the best way to reform the voting system would be to include pie. i marvel at your commitment to the false narrative of the big cake parties, when all it would take to solve all the problems of electoral politics is a firm commitment to pie.

  3. [3] 
    Kick wrote:

    CW: Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg are within a tenth of a point of each other in the metric used to determine winners, although Bernie's clearly going to win the popular vote (both of them, in fact).

    Caucuses shouldn't be judged by popular vote since a whole lot people are disenfranchised for a myriad of reasons and unable to make their actual preferences known on a private ballot due to another long list factors in addition to the ones you listed:

    * Wives are cajoled into voting for their husband's choice

    * Younger people don't want to sit alone for hours away from their friends

    * Families don't want to be split into groups or have their other members discover they made a different choice

    It's dumb to force people into groups in order to vote and awards a hive mentality.

    Right now, with 97 percent of the precincts counted, Bernie Sanders has won the popular vote (both in the first round and in the final round), but Pete Buttigieg has more state delegate equivalents. So officially, Pete might "win" after not getting the most votes. How is that (small-d) democratic?

    It isn't. It's a stupid caucus and not a primary that awards the lead vote totals. If they wanted to award the vote totals, they could hold primaries where everyone's vote was counted and people weren't forced to choose another candidate and/or cajoled or felt peer pressure to vote for a candidate for which they really don't support.

    Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders (naturally) declared himself the "very strong" victor today based on vote totals (that weren't yet totaled) from the Iowa caucuses that are designed to award more delegates to the candidate with more broad appeal statewide... and guess what?

    With 100% of the votes totaled:

    Buttigieg leads in 58 counties
    Sanders leads in 20 counties

    Pete Buttigieg...... 564..... 26.2%
    Bernie Sanders.... 562..... 26.1%

    And there you have it.

  4. [4] 
    Kick wrote:

    JL
    2

    Damn straight! And I want to be able to choose the pie of my choice... by myself... and not be pressured or cajoled into eating some other pie with lots of nuts. :)

  5. [5] 
    andygaus wrote:

    The Iowa caucuses effectively embody a 'ranked-choice' mechanism, whereby you get to select a second choice when your first choice proves not viable. They should replace their caucus with a primary, but their primary should allow ranked-choice voting like the kind that has been implemented for statewide contests in Maine. Ranked choice allows voters to say more exactly what they want, for example: "I want either Biden or Buttigieg, but definitely not Sanders or Warren."

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    DSWS,

    Nah. There are enough of us here that someone will live another forty or fifty years. Stuff flips more often than that, and Texas has a growing Hispanic population that could easily flip it in eight to twelve years if Republicans don't improve their image with that constituency.

    Just because Texas has a growing hispanic population doesn't mean it will turn blue..

    Let's face it. President Trump's support of hispanic Americans is growing by leaps and bounds.. Must have something to do with that massively awesome lowest unemployment for hispanics in history.. :D

    The only hispanics who vote Democrat are illegal immigrant criminals.. :D

    And THAT demographic is shrinking by leaps and bounds..

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    {{{{ssssiiiigggghhhhhhh}}}}

    In the Weigantia of yore, the commentary would have been about how DEMOCRATS "royally screwed up"...

    Now, it's about IOWA royally screwing up.. Democrats are as pure as the driven snow.. :(

    Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg are within a tenth of a point of each other in the metric used to determine winners, although Bernie's clearly going to win the popular vote (both of them, in fact).

    And, since all ya'all care about is the Vanity Vote, then obviously ya'all must declare Bernie the winner in Iowa.. :D

    Anything else and it's hypocrisy... :D

  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    And the Iowa app blew up just as spectacularly as a rear-ended Pinto.

    Nice Pop Culture reference.. :D

  9. [9] 
    Michale wrote:

    I woke up this morning and President Trump was STILL President..

    He was STILL completely and utterly exonerated and vindicated...

    And he is STILL completely innocent of all charges (not that there were any REAL charges) and accusations..

    It's THIS a great country or what!!??

    "Great day for America, eh gentlemen??"
    -Agent J, MEN IN BLACK III

    :D

  10. [10] 
    Michale wrote:

    With heartfelt apologies to Liz.... AND JL...

    The Democrat/Iowa frak up makes one thing perfectly clear...

    Joe Biden is not going to be the Democrat nominee...

    It's either going to be a socialist that no real American will vote for..

    Or a totally inexperienced gay man that no black American will vote for..

    And Biden supporters will stay home by the tens of millions..

  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:

    Playing America’s TV President Is Working For Trump

    Tuesday's State of the Union address was thoroughly Trumpian because it was not about ideology, it was about good television.

    In the meantime, Trump is riding high. His party held together through impeachment. His poll numbers are at their highest levels. The economy is booming. His big calls on terrorist killing haven’t drawn us into further war. Things are working for him. His supporters are emboldened, and his opposition is divided, frustrated, and struggling to even get their votes counted. He is in the midst of the best week of his presidency. It’s stunning, and it’s happening at exactly the right time to ensure he gets to play this part for four more years.
    https://thefederalist.com/2020/02/05/playing-americas-tv-president-is-working-for-trump/

    Democrats and Trump/America haters are demoralized, decimated and depressed...

    Yunno it's bad for Democrats when they ignore the Vanity Vote in pursuit of their Anti-Trump Anti-America agenda.. :D

  12. [12] 
    Michale wrote:

    Trump Wins Again

    Trump broke Pelosi. Or maybe she just broke herself.
    https://tinyurl.com/vwsrbfu

    President Trump couldn't ASK for a more incompetent and moronic group of enemies than he has right now in Democrats...

    He's running rings around them so bad they have no idea which way is up... :D

  13. [13] 
    Michale wrote:

    Trying to dislodge a president whose approval ratings have been stuck well below 50 percent for virtually his entire presidency, in an atmosphere of economic effervescence, Democrats would be smart to signal voters that they won’t bring about major policy shifts but will restore decorous behavior.

    Instead, they’re doing the opposite.

    George W. Bush inspired Charles Krauthammer to coin the term “Bush Derangement Syndrome.” President Obama likened his opposition to a “fever.” But no president has ever done what President Trump is doing to his ideological adversaries, which is to cause them to lunge uncontrollably around the political stage like so many kittens chasing the dot made by a laser pointer.

    You simply HAVE to wonder why Democrats insist on playing President Trump's game when they ALWAYS lose...

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:

    Behold: Nancy Pelosi, she of the tight self-control and the 32-year run in Congress, threw a hissy fit on live television and ripped up the State of the Union speech. The silky slalom schusser tumbled over her skis and planted her face in the side of the mountain. What she probably thought would look like a gesture of aggression and defiance instead looked more like petulance and frustration. Trump not only gave a great speech, he gave great television, which is far more important. “A master showman at his best,” declared Norah O’Donnell, the CBS Evening News anchor. The effectiveness of the SOTU made Pelosi mad. Trump’s discipline made Pelosi mad. His obliteration of the impeachment drama by not even dignifying it with a mention made Pelosi mad. #PelosiTantrum and #NancytheRipper were top trending topics on Twitter. Democrats think they’re going to rage their way into the White House. Maybe you can try that when the country’s on fire. It isn’t.

    NancyTheRipper.. Now THAT's funny... :D

    Once again, Democrats are left broken and decimated.. :D

    And President Trump is laughing all the way to re-election..

    Despite the hopes that impeachment will WEAKEN President Trump, Joe Biden's prediction was prescient...

    Going into re-election, President Trump is STRONGER because of the faux impeachment coup..

    Who could have POSSIBLY predicted this!??

    Oh.. wait.. :D

  15. [15] 
    Michale wrote:

    The Democrats cannot go to the voters with a straight face and tell us that the country has lived down to Paul Krugman’s notorious 12:42 a.m. prediction on November 9, 2016: “If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.” Trump has so much winning to boast about, and boasting is not something he’s bad at. Democrats would prefer the Dow Jones Industrial Average had gone the way of the San Francisco 49ers defense and that unemployment stood at 117 percent, but in politics you play the hand you’re dealt. Things are good. People have noticed. The case against Trump must, on present trends, rest on his behavior and personality. Yet if Pelosi would have us believe that Trump has shattered all norms, abandoned all restraint, and sullied his high office, those claims seem hollow if she’s ripping up paper like a first-grader refusing a homework assignment. Pelosi herself acknowledged her blunder by hastily sending out a tweet echoing, in effect, the eternal childish lament, “He started it!” In the tweet she claimed she had proffered the “hand of friendship” and sadly been denied. Please. The midst of an unnecessary and doomed impeachment proceeding is not the time to wrap yourself in the fleece of bipartisanship. If Donald Trump wants to insult you, he won’t be shy about it. At worst the no-handshake moment was a split-second of awkwardness out of a tea party in an Edith Wharton novel, not roast-your-enemies-over-an-open-flame Trumpism.

    Waaa Waaaa

    Po' widdle Nancy couldn't get a handshake from the Great and Powerful so she throws a tantrum that would make a 1st grader proud... :^/

    And THIS is the Party ya'all want to hand the keys of government to???

    Shirley, ya'all jest...

  16. [16] 
    Michale wrote:

    Remember the word “normalize” and the urgent cries that we must not apply this to Trump? Remember how the idea persisted even after the American people made Trump our president? The more Democrats do things like tear up SOTU speeches or flounce out of the chamber while they’re being delivered (as Congress members Bill Pascrell, Tim Ryan, and Rashida Tlaib did, with Tlaib going so far as to declare herself “triggered” like a sophomore majoring in Advanced Veganism), the less normal they look. If everyone’s going to put on Joker makeup and sow bedlam in the streets, how does that isolate Trump? If both sides are being childish, why not go with the child who has delivered record-low unemployment and record highs in the stock market instead of the children who want to rejigger the health-insurance system again?

    Democrats dance to President Trump's tune..

    They can't help themselves.... :D

  17. [17] 
    Michale wrote:

    The way to rule Trumpism out of bounds is not to proclaim, “I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him” (Joe Biden), to read a comedy rewrite of Trump’s Ukraine phone call into the Congressional record (Adam Schiff) or huff out of the room like Miss Piggy when the president is praising veterans. Remember when backbencher Joe Wilson shouting, “You lie!” during a 2009 Obama speech was the most shocking breach of decorum anyone could recall? How does that compare with the Speaker of the House turning human paper shredder right behind the president’s shoulder? Trump broke Pelosi. Or maybe she just broke herself.

    President Trump has the unique ability to force his opponents and enemies to do completely and utterly stoopid things that makes themselves look like morons and and make President Trump presidential and the only adult in the room.....

    It's his superpower! :D

  18. [18] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    "The opportunity exists to demand radical changes, and I for one hope that the national party takes this golden opportunity to force such changes, because they are long overdue."

    We actually agree that the Iowa caucus system should be scrapped.

    But looking to the national party for radical change is not going to happen because the national party likes things the way they are. It is their job to maintain the status quo.

    Who is going to force the national party to force the changes on Iowa and how?

    The opportunity exists for citizens to demand radical change, and I for one hope that YOU take this opportunity to force such changes by informing citizens about One Demand so the 80% of citizens that want the big money out of politics (including a majority of Republicans) can work together to demand that the national party(-ies) and it's candidates stop taking big money and run small donor only campaigns, because it is LONG overdue.

    You could even include the idea for citizens to demand that the DNC, which changed the debate rules to allow Bloomberg in, make another change in the debate rules to only allow small donor candidates in the debates.

    If you want the national party to make radical changes then you have to provide incentive for them to make the changes or replace the people running the national party.

    As long as the people running the party are working for the big money interests they will be working against ANY change.

    And as long as citizens keep voting for their big money candidates there is no incentive for them to change.

    You can hope for change that will never happen or you can take action to try to make real change happen.

    Don't even bother to think of your responsibility as a journalist to provide ALL information and ideas, just think of your duty as a citizen and a human being.

    Or you could just continue to not bother to think.

  19. [19] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    What it all boils down to, CW, is why you and so many other people that seem to think citizens and/or organizations can make demands and enforce those demands with votes apply that belief to everything except citizens demanding small donor candidates.

    Why is this the only thing that cannot be demanded and have that demand enforced with votes?

    Give me a reason why this idea should not be part of the national conversation.

    It's way past time- no perhaps about it.

    You remind me of the religious zealot (maybe in the Religulous movie or Penn and Teller's Bullshit) that talked about how they instructed their children to ignore anything that might conflict with their dogma.

    You write about citizens taking their civic responsibility seriously, yet you ignore the most glaring example of citizens not taking their civic responsibility seriously by voting for big money candidates and not demanding that the candidates run small donor only campaigns to earn their votes.

    People that live in glass houses should not throw stones.

    First live up to your own civic responsibility to inform citizens how they can meet their responsibility to take action against the greatest threat to our democracy, the big money interests controlling our political process, before any further talk of anyone else meeting their civic responsibility.

  20. [20] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    And Biden supporters will stay home by the tens of millions..

    unlikely. unless of course they were silly enough to wager their votes on the primary outcome... ;p

  21. [21] 
    Michale wrote:

    unlikely. unless of course they were silly enough to wager their votes on the primary outcome... ;p

    hehehehehe

  22. [22] 
    Michale wrote:

    January adds a much stronger-than-expected 225,000 jobs, with a boost from warm weather
    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/02/07/us-nonfarm-payrolls-january-2019.html

    It is UNDENIABLE that President Trump succeeded where Barack THOSE JOBS AIN'T COMING BACK Obama failed..

  23. [23] 
    Michale wrote:

    Joe Biden has cancelled $150,000 in ad buys in South Carolina..

    Either he is supremely confident about South Carolina (much like Hillary was about Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania)...

    OR....

    Given his dismal Iowa showing, Joe is shoring up his finances for a Super Tuesday push...

    It's all going to be for naught.

    The Dem nominee is going to be either an old white millionaire guy or a young inexperienced white gay guy...

  24. [24] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Why do you think that an idea that would have Iowa and New Hampshire competing with other states to see who goes first should be considered but don't think that the idea that citizens could demand small donor only candidates shouldn't be put up to compete with your idea that citizens should vote for big money Democrats?

    Why are you in favor of competition for others but afraid of competition to your perspective?

    As you often say if something has overwhelming support like 80% of citizens wanting the big money out of politics it is NOT fringe it is MAINSTREAM.

    Are you afraid that enough of the 80% will like the idea of possibly achieving what they want over continuing to accept the excuses that you have to settle for what you are offered and the big money Democrats will no longer be elected?

    Big money Democrats sometimes win and sometimes lose to big money Republicans.

    So it doesn't always work to support big money Democrats in beating big money Republicans and when it does it still doesn't change the fact that the office is held by a big money legislator.

    As it says in the Who song; "we we're liberated from the foe- that's all"

    So come on, CW, let's put these two competing ideas in front of the citizens and see if they choose to take their civic responsibility seriously.

    And you can provide a good example of taking civic responsibility seriously by offering them this choice instead of continuing the lie of omission of pretending this choice is not an option worthy of discussion.

    Democracy is knocking with an opportunity.

    Will you shirk your civic responsibility or answer the call?

  25. [25] 
    Mezzomamma wrote:

    I've just posted my California primary absentee ballot. I voted with my heart--which doesn't mean I didn't use my brain as well.

  26. [26] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Mezzo

    From what I seee in Idaho, a lot of Californicators are voting with their feet!

  27. [27] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    The question is did your heart lead you to vote for a big money candidate?

    If so, then you didn't use your brain as well as you could have.

  28. [28] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    my heart says pie.

  29. [29] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Don,

    So in past elections, have you written your name in for every race on your ballot that doesn’t have a small money candidate running under the One Demand guidelines? Your ballot is filled with your name for every position?

    I was talking to my brother in GA last night and we got on the topic of Big Money in our elections. I mentioned to him your idea for One Demand and he asked how your idea was supposed to work in a state where the ballot is electronically cast and voters are not allowed to write-in names?

    Believe it or not, I tried to paint One Demand as positively as possible, and my brother was intrigued by the idea. As we were hanging up, I suggested that he visit your website for more info...and then I sat and waited...

    About 5 minutes later I got a text message from him that said:

    WTF?!? Please tell me you are not buying into this guy’s scam to steal personal data? His “non-profit” isn’t even an actual non-profit!

    I texted him back: ”Gotcha!”

  30. [30] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Rep. Douglas A. Collins (R-Ga.) sought Friday to highlight political donations by Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) — whose seat he is now seeking — to a super PAC that supported Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) when he was the GOP presidential nominee.

    In a new digital ad, Collins compares the more than $1 million that Loeffler, an Atlanta businesswoman, and her husband donated to the pro-Romney super PAC in 2012 to an absence of contributions to Trump’s campaign in 2016.

    “The same Mitt Romney that voted impeach our president,” the ad says.

    “Loeffler’s big money talks: but it was silent for Donald Trump,” Collins said in a tweet in which he shared the ad.

    Collins is running against Loeffler in a special election in November.

    That is just Tucker,GA-tacky right there! They are definitely keeping it classy in that race. Funny that Collins didn’t post how much he gave to each campaign!

  31. [31] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    After testifying before Congress, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman informed senior officials at the NSC that he intended to leave his post early — by the end of the month, according to people familiar with his decision.

    Trump chose to show what a vindictive little bitch he truly is by having Vindman humiliated and escorted out of the White House.

    Vindman’s attorney released the following statement:

    Today, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman was escorted out of the White House where he has dutifully served his country and his President. He does so having spoken publicly once, and only pursuant to a subpoena from the United States Congress. 

    There is no question in the mind of any American why this man's job is over, why this country now has one less soldier serving it at the White House. LTC Vindman was asked to leave for telling the truth. His honor, his commitment to right, frightened the powerful. 

    During his decades of service to this country, LTC Alexander Vindman has served quietly but dutifully, and he has served with honor. He came into the public eye only when subpoenaed to testify before Congress, and he did what the law demanded.In recent months, many entrusted with power in our political system have cowered out of fear. And, yet, a handful of men and women, not endowed with prestige or power, but equipped only with a sense of right borne out of years of quiet service to their country made different choices. 

    They courageously chose to honor their duty with integrity, to trust the truth, and to put their faith in country ahead of fear. And they have paid a price.The truth has cost LTC Alexander Vindman his job, his career, and his privacy. 

    He did what any member of our military is charged with doing every day: he followed orders, he obeyed his oath, and he served his country, even when doing so was fraught with danger and personal peril.  And for that, the most powerful man in the world - buoyed by the silent, the pliable, and the complicit - has decided to exact revenge. 
    LTC Alexander Vindman leaves the White House today. But we must not accept the departure of truth, duty, and loyalty that he represents. In this country right matters, and so does truth. Truth is not partisan. If we allow truthful voices to be silenced, if we ignore their warnings, eventually there will be no one left to warn us.

    Funny how Trump supporters have heaped so much praise on him for not mentioning the impeachment during his State of the Union TV show. Trump showed such great self-control...that lasted less than 24 hours! Seriously, it’s like they are praising a small child who sleeps the whole night without dropping a load in his diapers!

  32. [32] 
    Michale wrote:

    Russ... You sound bitter..

    You lost.. Get over it...

  33. [33] 
    Michale wrote:

    Vindman was a traitor to his uniform and his country.

    He is a bitter little man who couldn't handle that no one would listen to him..

  34. [34] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Don,

    You know one of the most telling signs that the “non-profit” asking for your support is really a scam??? The organization doesn’t have a board of directors listed on its site!

    Another big red flag is when the “non-profit” doesn’t give its tax ID number indicating that it truly is a non-profit.

    And yet you think CW should risk his credibility as a journalist promoting your scam! Face it, you’ve been told this shit for years and you still refuse to do any real work to make your “group” look credible...which can only support the theory that it truly is a scam! Why would anyone risk having anything to do with your poor attempt at stealing people’s data?

  35. [35] 
    Michale wrote:

    And yet you think CW should risk his credibility as a journalist

    Let's be factually accurate here..

    CW is not a journalist.. He is an advocate.. An activist..

    As such, that precludes him from the journalist label..

    You can't be a journalist if you are an activist or an advocate with an agenda..

  36. [36] 
    Michale wrote:

    The Democrats’ Unserious Week

    The fiasco in Iowa, the foolishness at the State of the Union—do they realize how bad they look?

    Democrats, when they’re feeling alarmed or mischievous, will often say that Ronald Reagan would not recognize the current Republican Party. I usually respond that John F. Kennedy would not recognize the current Democratic Party, and would never succeed in it.
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-democrats-unserious-week-11581032929

    What ya think, Liz?? You agree with Noonan??

    It was a VERY "Unserious" week for Democrats???

  37. [37] 
    James T Canuck wrote:

    'Vindman was a traitor to his uniform and his country.
    He is a bitter little man who couldn't handle that no one would listen to him..'

    Everyone who decides to do their job, but happens to rub Trump the wrong way because they felt his actions were inappropriate has to be a traitor...

    What a pile fucking shit.

    You do realise that Trump and America are NOT one in the same. If not, then you might want to re-assess your definition of democracy. Moreover, if you see the two as indivisible, I put it to you that it is in fact yourself that more closely resembles a traitor.

    The thread that runs through the US constitution strongest is that no one man is equal to or above the state. I suspect the Founders would judge anyone who considers Trump's interests over the national interest as the worst kind of traitor there could be.

    LL&P

  38. [38] 
    Michale wrote:

    Do they understand what a disaster this was for them? If Mr. Trump wins re-election, if in fact it isn’t close, it will be traceable to this first week in February.

    Iowa made them look the one way a great party cannot afford to look: unserious. The lack of professionalism, the incompetence is the kind of thing that not only shocks a party but shadows it. They can’t run a tiny caucus in a tiny state but they want us to believe they can reinvent American health care? Monday night when the returns were supposed to be coming in, it was like the debut of ObamaCare when the website went down.

    See?? THAT is how you address issues such as this..

    It was totally the fault of DEMOCRATS in the state of Iowa.. It wasn't the fault of Iowa itself..

  39. [39] 
    Michale wrote:

    Everyone who decides to do their job, but happens to rub Trump the wrong way because they felt his actions were inappropriate has to be a traitor...

    Vindmen didn't DO his job.

    He DECIDED to go against the orders of his commanding officer...

    That makes him a traitor..

    You do realise that Trump and America are NOT one in the same.

    Factually not accurate..

    America = President Trump

    President Trump = America

    I don't expect a foreigner to get it..

    I suspect the Founders would judge anyone who considers Trump's interests over the national interest as the worst kind of traitor there could be.

    As usual, you speak from ignorance and bigotry and hatred.. NOT from fact..

    What a pile fucking shit.

    Don't get down on yourself.

    You still have a lot of growing up to do..

  40. [40] 
    Michale wrote:

    And what happened a day later in the House was just as bad.

    Speaker Nancy Pelosi shattered tradition, making faces, muttering, shaking her head as the president delivered his State of the Union address. At the end she famously stood, tore the speech up and threw down the pieces.

    “But he didn’t shake her hand.” So what? Her great calling card is she’s the sane one.

    She introduced him rudely, without the usual encomiums. Oh, snap.

    The classy lady was not classy. She forgot she has a higher responsibility than to her base, but—yes, how corny—to her country, the institution, the young who are watching and just getting a sense of how to behave in the world.

    If she was compelled to show symbolic fealty to the “resistance” she should have taken it outside the chamber. That place is where Daniel Webster debated; she occupies the chair of Henry Clay and “Mr. Sam.”

    And she set a template: Now in the future all House Speakers who face presidents from the opposing party at the State of the Union will have to be rude fools.

    Remember those videos that used to be all over the internet, with members of the Korean congress punching each other in the face on the floor of the legislature? Man, we used to laugh. Now in the future that can be us.

    There is simply no other way to describe it..

    Democrats are falling apart...

    At least when Joe Wilson (you remember him right?? Yer new hero???) debased himself and the Republican Party at Odumbo's SOTU address, Wilson at least had the advantage of being factually accurate..

    HHPTDS is in full bloom... Democrats are going to get worse and worse culminating in the landslide re-election of President Donald Trump... :D

  41. [41] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Listen-

    As I grew in a very Republican area there were often many elections with only a Republican on the ballot including Congressman.

    So I have been writing in my own name long before One Demand.

    Sometimes I have voted for third parties and an occasional Democrat (Bill Bradley may be the only candidate I ever voted for that actually won).

    Electronic voting machines in NJ are able to take write-in votes. Just because it can't start everywhere at once because some states don't allow write-in votes doesn't it mean it can't be started now in places that do allow write-in votes and bring the other states along as the movement grows.

    And citizens in the states that don't allow write-in votes signing up to participate in One Demand
    provides evidence that citizens in that state want their right to cast write-in votes which can be evidence in overturning laws that do not allow write-in votes which is a violation of free speech rights.

    Amusing story about write-in votes on the electronic machines in NJ.

    Each time you press a button it beeps.

    When you cast a write in votes it beeps for each character you put in.

    It takes some time and announces quite a few more beeps to write in your own name for multiple offices than just casting a few votes for candidates.

    After a few years of doing this there was an off year election with just the congressional candidate on the ballot and one or two public questions.

    There was third party candidate to vote for so there was no writing in for this election.

    As I left the polling station I heard one worker say "Hey- it didn't beep!"

    Another interesting story about write in votes in NJ is many years ago I thought that if voters were to write in the name of the major party candidates instead of voting for them under their party slot it could count to get them elected but not count as vote to establish the party for the next election so the major parties would no longer qualify as major parties for the next election, would not get a primary and would have to petition to get on the general election ballot just like third parties and independents.

    I called the county clerk and was told this was correct.

    I wrote a letter to the Star-Ledger about this that was actually published.

    About two years later when I got my sample ballot in the mail there was new instructions for write-in votes. If a citizen wrote in the name of a candidate already on the ballot their vote would be disqualified.

    There is no way to know if I had anything to do with the change or if they figured it out on their own.

    But it is clear that I was right or they would not have made this clearly undemocratic and unconstitutional change.

    Voting is an act of free speech. By not allowing citizens to vote for a candidate in this election to hold office without also voting to establish that candidate's party for the next election it violates a voters right to free speech.

    The issue of which candidate you want in office and whether you want to eastablish that candidate's party for the next election are two separate issues for two separate elections and the current ballot does let citizens separate these two issues with their vote.

    They must sacrifice their free speech on one issue in order to vote on the other.

    Getting the ability to cast separate votes to establish a party for the next election was part of the approach of the precursor to One Demand, the Hundred Dollar Party. The idea was to get the courts to overturn laws that do not allow separate voting for parties and candidates so the Hundred Dollar Party could be funded with small donors and not have to spend years running candidates that can't win to grow a third party by not running candidates but running only one national campaign to get the party established for the next election cycle.

    Citizens could vote for the major party candidate but cast a vote to establish the Hundred Dollar Party or other third parties for the next election cycle where we could qualify for a primary and ballot access as a major party and then run candidates that could win.

    I don't know where your brother gets his information but One Demand is a legitimate non-profit.

    Your brother must not be all that smart if he thinks that my site is a scam to get personal information.

    There is virtually nowhere that does not ask for the same information that I do and that information is required by law.

    The only way One Demand is a scam is if everything else is a scam or the law requires scamming.

    In fact, your comments of recycled and debunked objections are by far more of a scam then One Demand could ever be.

  42. [42] 
    Michale wrote:

    This is how a great lady becomes just another hack.

    Some progressive members refused to attend, or walked out during the speech—one said, without irony, that she was “triggered.” Those who came slouched angrily in their seats, looking down, refusing to rise for all the heroes in the balcony. Why do they think that is a good look?

    Those who didn’t come were unprofessional, but it was also a practical failure. They abandoned the field and let the Congress of the United States look like one big, cheering, unified bastion of boisterous Republicans, with a few grim women dressed in white in the corner. That’s what you want America to see?

    The speech itself was shrewd and its political targeting astute. There were the usual boasts: “The unemployment rate is the lowest in half a century”— but they had force in the aggregate. The policy that was emphasized (opportunity zones, expanded vocational education, neonatal research combined with a call to ban late-term abortions, expanded child credits) combined with the heroes in the balcony (a Border Patrol agent, a kid trying to get into a charter school, the brother of a victim of crime) was powerful and rich in inference.

    Democrats hate... Period...

  43. [43] 
    Michale wrote:

    This was the president putting the Republican Party on the side of the nobodies of all colors as opposed to the somebodies. (Van Jones on CNN had it exactly right: Trump is going for black and Hispanic men, and the Democrats are foolish not to see it.) This is a realignment I have supported and a repositioning I have called for and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t please me to see it represented so effectively, and I very much regret that the president is a bad man and half mad because if he weren’t I’d be cheering.

    Yes it was bread and circuses, and yes it was like a reality TV show. There should be a word for “I know I’m being manipulated but I am moved anyway.” We need that word because it is the essence of our entire media/entertainment/political culture. But if you weren’t moved by the mother of the baby born prematurely and the 100-year-old Tuskegee Airman there’s something wrong with you, and in your attempts to maintain a fair minded detachment you’ve become distanced from your fellow humans.

    Republicans in the Reagan era used to say, and think, that we were the Main Street party, not the Wall Street one. In the three decades since, small-town America has fallen apart and Main Street disappeared into broken up, lonely, ex-urban places. Mr. Trump is saying he’s for the people who live there, in Main Street’s diaspora.

    Whatever happens with him, that is the party’s future. Whatever happens with the Democrats they cannot afford another week like this.

    Democrats better wake up and take notice..

    They are losing.. More so than they ever have before..

    Nov 2016 will seem like a fun day at the beach compared to how Democrats are going to get clobbered in Nov of 2020...

    Ya'all are not doing yerselves or the Democrat Party any favors by continuing on as if nothing is wrong..

  44. [44] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Credibility as journalist is EARNED.

    At this point CW sacrificed his credibility long ago.

    There is nothing wrong with being an advocate or activist and also being a journalist.

    But it must be done in a credible manner.

    And pretending that competing ideas to what your are advocating do not exist is no way to establish credibility.

  45. [45] 
    Michale wrote:

    Compare the Democrats "UNSERIOUS" week to President Trump's BEST week..

    TRUMP's BEST WEEK

    His highest approval ratings yet. A Democratic debacle in Iowa. A State of the Union address that fired up his base and infuriated his foes. And finally, an historic acquittal in the Senate.

    Republicans say Donald Trump had perhaps the best week of his presidency, nine months before the election. And even some Democrats privately agree with that assessment.

    “Through a combination of unforced errors and political maneuvering, Trump had one of his best weeks,” one House Democrat involved with the impeachment effort acknowledged to The Hill.
    https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/481938-trumps-best-week-ever

    President Trump (and patriotic Americans) are blessed to have such totally incompetent and moronic enemies...

  46. [46] 
    Michale wrote:

    “only Donald Trump could win both the Democratic and Republican Iowa caucuses,”

    hehehe It's funny cuz it's true.. :D

  47. [47] 
    Michale wrote:

    On top of that, two top leaders of the host committee for the 2020 Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee were fired for creating a toxic work environment — a negative story that largely flew below the radar this week because of the Iowa disaster, Trump acquittal and State of the Union.

    Trump’s annual address to Congress was, as expected, controversial. He snubbed his political nemesis, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), when she tried to shake his hand; Pelosi returned the favor by shredding a copy of his speech. And his 90-minute address was packed with red meat for his conservative base, including a big section on illegal immigration and his border wall.

    But Trump also drew on his reality-TV past to create an address that kept viewers at the edge of their seat and pulled at their heart strings. Like a game-show host, Trump gave a scholarship to a young disadvantaged, minority student; reunited a military family; and directed his wife, Melania, to drape the Presidential Medal of Freedom around the neck of a cancer-stricken Rush Limbaugh, who had to be pushed in a wheelchair to the House gallery.

    Democrats blasted Trump for turning the State of the Union address — and the House chamber — into a stage for one of his political campaign rallies. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) predicted all of Trump’s theatrics would backfire, excite the liberal base and cost Trump his reelection. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) dismissed it as a “MAGA rally.”

    But one House Democrat said she looked up from the floor and saw people in the gallery wiping away tears when Trump surprised a North Carolina military wife and her two children by informing them he had brought her husband back home from his fourth tour in the Middle East.

    The doors opened and Sgt. 1st Class Townsend Williams barreled down the stairs to embrace his kids and kiss his wife.

    “It was like Oprah; it was effective,” the Democratic lawmaker said, acknowledging that it likely played well for the television audience.

    Democrats looked petty and mean...

    President Trump has well and truly won the week..

    Those who can't (however grudgingly) acknowledge this fact and this reality????

    Explains perfectly why they always lose to President Trump...

  48. [48] 
    Michale wrote:

    Trump’s allies on Capitol Hill are departing Washington with a bounce in their step. Cole, a former House GOP campaign chairman, called this week the “trifecta of politics: Iowa, State of the Union, impeachment acquittal, and then the Super Bowl kicking it all off.”

    Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), who attended the White House celebration, called it Trump’s “best week” since he shocked Hillary Clinton — and the Washington establishment — in November 2016.

    “He scored one victory after another, shaking up Democrat leadership and putting their entire party in a tailspin,” Banks told The Hill on Thursday. “Democrats’ 2020 election chances are faring about as well as Speaker Pelosi’s copy of the State of the Union.”

    That about sums things up..

    Democrats are ripped and torn and thrown away on the trash heap of history... :D

    It's a good look for them... They better get used to it..

    :D

  49. [49] 
    Michale wrote:

    And, just for the record.. Before I sign off for the night..

    President Trump is STILL President Of The United States..

    President Trump was completely and utterly exonerated and vindicated..

    And finally..

    President Trump is ***INNOCENT*** of all charges and accusations.. Even the charges that were bullshit non-crime charges...

    So ends another glorious week with President Trump as our President.. :D

    Ni Ni all.. See ya'all in the AM.. :D

  50. [50] 
    Michale wrote:

    Ooops Forgot this tidbit...

    Hay Russ..

    Trump chose to show what a vindictive little bitch he truly is by having Vindman humiliated and escorted out of the White House.

    President Trump also had Vindman's brother fired as well.. :D

    Ya mess with the bull, ya get the horns.. :D

  51. [51] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    Vindman was a traitor to his uniform and his country.

    So doing your job properly and telling the truth makes you a “traitor” in Trump’s White House, is that it? Wow, you truly are all in with the Cult of Trump. Anyone who dares speak any words that do not please the Trump, that disagrees with Trump on any matter — that person deserves to be tarred and feathered and run out of the party!

    Trump knows better than any of you! Trump cannot be wrong; so no matter how many times he contradicts himself, he’s always right!

    Following Trump like you do means that you’ve lost your gag reflex, right?

  52. [52] 
    Michale wrote:

    Trump fires key impeachment witnesses Sondland, Lt. Col. Vindman in purge
    The officials provided critical testimony during the House inquiry into the president's conduct with Ukraine.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/trump-impeachment-inquiry/vindman-who-provided-key-impeachment-testimony-escorted-white-house-attorney-n1132526

    President Trump is cleaning house!! The White House, that is.. :D

    3 years to late, in my not so humble opinion...

  53. [53] 
    Michale wrote:

    "Allow me a moment to thank — and this may be a bit of a surprise — Adam Schiff. Were it not for his crack investigation skills, @realDonaldTrump might have had a tougher time unearthing who all needed to be fired."
    -Donald Trump Jr

    hehehehehehehehehehehehehehehehe

    "There is mimicry and there is mockery and THAT was definitely mockery!!"
    -Dr Leonard 'Bones' McCoy

    :D

    Com'on, guys!! Ya'all just GOT to love the irony... :D

    Democrats' every actions serve the needs and desires of President Trump... :D

    It's hilarious.. :D

    And Democrats only have themselves to blame. If the weren't so mired and snared in their hate and bigotry, President Trump would be infinitely less powerful than he is right now..

    Congrats Democrats.. You have CREATED the President Trump we have today..

    Awesome job!!! I mean that sincerely.. :D

  54. [54] 
    Kick wrote:

    Russ
    51

    Following Trump like you do means that you’ve lost your gag reflex, right?

    A combination of pure unadulterated ignorance and hysterical nonstop sucking. They don't know they're rubes. :)

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