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Voting

 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
Total Posts:  5135
Joined  28-05-2009
 
 
 
17 August 2019 07:00
 

I feel like our national discourse on the subject of elected leaders is pretty poor at present. I think we have some real systemic deficits in the system itself. The electoral college, for instance has a valid justification in its historical context but (in my opinion) does far more harm than good in preserving the concept of representative government.I think there are many other examples of obsolete methods and occupations embedded within the system.

What I’m curious about now though is how forum members consider a single ballot choice. What criteria are pivotal to your choice to mark someones box? I remember filling out a questionaire about this in high school and subsequently reversing my position almost entirely.

If you had to pick three things in order of significance (feel free to add any that I’ve missed)

*Legislative Record
*Party affiliation including changes
*Written platform
*Speeches
*Personal character and history
*Race
*Personal details like race, gender or sexuality

On a tangent I remember my high school survey included the option “The Man Himself”

 
Jefe
 
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Jefe
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17 August 2019 09:52
 
Brick Bungalow - 17 August 2019 07:00 AM

I feel like our national discourse on the subject of elected leaders is pretty poor at present. I think we have some real systemic deficits in the system itself. The electoral college, for instance has a valid justification in its historical context but (in my opinion) does far more harm than good in preserving the concept of representative government.I think there are many other examples of obsolete methods and occupations embedded within the system.

What I’m curious about now though is how forum members consider a single ballot choice. What criteria are pivotal to your choice to mark someones box? I remember filling out a questionaire about this in high school and subsequently reversing my position almost entirely.

If you had to pick three things in order of significance (feel free to add any that I’ve missed)

*Legislative Record
*Party affiliation including changes
*Written platform
*Speeches
*Personal character and history
*Race
*Personal details like race, gender or sexuality

On a tangent I remember my high school survey included the option “The Man Himself”

Legislative Record
Written Platform
Amount of lobby influence

 
 
Garret
 
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Garret
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Joined  16-01-2019
 
 
 
17 August 2019 10:10
 

For me it largely comes down to Democrat or Republican.

1.  This is really important, because it discards a lot of other factors: but the candidate has to be capable of achieving things.  The lower level the office, the less party affiliation matters.  In a city or town, the force of personality can achieve a lot, but at the state or federal level, even a strong achiever will fail if they aren’t organized with others (since state/federal officials tend to be high achievers anyways).  We don’t have a mandated “2 party system”, but rather this is the consequence of the mechanics of how we vote officials into office.  I’m willing to vote for a third party, but they have to convince me that they can actually do things.  Ideas are neat, but results are required.

2. I agree with a fair amount of Democrat positions.  Without pulling out a list and rating things right now, I probably strongly agree with 25-40% of the party platform, and mildly agree with another 30-40%.  My agreement with Republican positions are fairly close to nil, occasionally some rhetoric is agreeable, but virtually no actual policy proposals do I find persuasive.  Since I’ve already decided I’m going to vote for candidates who are more likely to pass legislation, and that means I’m going to limit my choices (barring rare exceptions) that means the Democrats get most of my votes.  If we had a more open system that allowed for smaller parties to be influential, there is a good chance that specific candidates from smaller parties would get my vote.  Voting for single issue parties that were likely to join a coalition with a larger party would be a useful way to send messages to the dominant parties that they needed to address that issue.

To highlight how important #1 is to me I can give a recent example: Bernie Sanders.  He ran for the Dem nomination in 2016, but I’ve looked at his record.  I’m not from Burlington or anywhere else in Vermont, so I can’t really speak to his success/failure as a mayor.  He seems like he did okay, but that was 30 years ago, and running a country is dramatically different than a city of less than 40,000 people.  In congress he’s achieved very little.  16 years in the House and 12 years in the Senate (or close to now), and he’s gotten 3 pieces of legislation passed.  Two of them were renaming post offices in Vermont.  I like his rhetoric and ideas, but he doesn’t get anything done.  We could chalk it up to his largely outsider status, but he doesn’t even get credit for influencing amendments on bills.  His voting record is good, but he doesn’t influence the legislation coming out of Congress very much.

I’m very familiar with our system and why it produces the outcomes that it does.  How the system works dictates what criteria I look at when picking a candidate.

 
EN
 
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EN
Total Posts:  21577
Joined  11-03-2007
 
 
 
17 August 2019 10:40
 
Jefe - 17 August 2019 09:52 AM
Brick Bungalow - 17 August 2019 07:00 AM

I feel like our national discourse on the subject of elected leaders is pretty poor at present. I think we have some real systemic deficits in the system itself. The electoral college, for instance has a valid justification in its historical context but (in my opinion) does far more harm than good in preserving the concept of representative government.I think there are many other examples of obsolete methods and occupations embedded within the system.

What I’m curious about now though is how forum members consider a single ballot choice. What criteria are pivotal to your choice to mark someones box? I remember filling out a questionaire about this in high school and subsequently reversing my position almost entirely.

If you had to pick three things in order of significance (feel free to add any that I’ve missed)

*Legislative Record
*Party affiliation including changes
*Written platform
*Speeches
*Personal character and history
*Race
*Personal details like race, gender or sexuality

On a tangent I remember my high school survey included the option “The Man Himself”

Legislative Record
Written Platform
Amount of lobby influence

I would switch 2 & 3; otherwise agreed.

 
Cheshire Cat
 
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Cheshire Cat
Total Posts:  1309
Joined  01-11-2014
 
 
 
17 August 2019 12:55
 

I will not vote for a Republican. They have become the party of “the Cult of Donald Trump.”

The Democrats are only somewhat better. They are run by neo liberals such as Schummer and Pelosi, people who kowtow to corporate power and influence. However, they are the only game in town.

Other things that peak my interest at the moment:

Are corporations and the elite wealthy contributing to a given politician’s election campaign? Who are they, how much are they giving, and what do they expect in return? What about “dark money” contributions?

What is a politician’s stance on global warming, and what do they intend to do about it?

So, in a nutshell, these are my priorities:

Party affiliation
The influence of big money interests
Policy on global warming

[ Edited: 17 August 2019 12:58 by Cheshire Cat]
 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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17 August 2019 14:14
 

I appreciate the replies.

Recently I’m grappling with the issue of character. Specifically a candidate who checks the box in terms of affiliation, platform, speeches and even record but doesn’t inspire confidence as a person. Doesn’t seem kind. Doesn’t seem honest.

I understand that my impression of these things is very flawed as a distant observer of a process that is heavily editorialized… I’m almost certainly wrong in my many of my personal judgments. Still, it’s a psychological barrier that I can’t really get over. Someone rubs you wrong just in terms of personal chemistry… how much credence does that deserve? I think these intuitions can be useful in personal affairs but maybe they are harmful in regards to civic duties.

 
Garret
 
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Garret
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17 August 2019 23:17
 

“Authenticity” and “honesty” are hard to judge.  They’re giving the same answers to the same questions every day of the week.  Even if the first answer wasn’t rehearsed, by the 50th time it will be.

I’m not worried about what people say for the most part in any specific setting.  Look for patterns.  Look for actions.  If a candidate says [blank] is important to them, but they have never once actually engaged in an action that would support [blank], it probably means that the issue is not actually that high of a priority to them.  It doesn’t matter how sincere they sound when talking about it if they take zero actions.  On the flip side, even if they sound phony, but they do engage in action… who cares as long as there are results?

I think the Democrat example from this cycle would be Amy Klobuchar.  Some people made a stink about how she treats the staff who work for her… maybe if I were applying for a job working for her I’d care more. I picked this one, since odds are she’s not making it that far in the primaries, and really… I just don’t care at all.

Honestly, I’m not paying much attention to the race at this point at all.  Even though I’ve actually had a role in state party politics before.  There’s just so much noise and news stories that will have no impact on the election.  I’ll start to care and pay attention when we actually get closer to votes being cast.  Maybe a couple weeks before Iowa/New Hampshire I’ll start really looking at candidates.

 
Jan_CAN
 
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Jan_CAN
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18 August 2019 09:03
 
Garret - 17 August 2019 11:17 PM

“Authenticity” and “honesty” are hard to judge.  They’re giving the same answers to the same questions every day of the week.  Even if the first answer wasn’t rehearsed, by the 50th time it will be.

I’m not worried about what people say for the most part in any specific setting.  Look for patterns.  Look for actions.  If a candidate says [blank] is important to them, but they have never once actually engaged in an action that would support [blank], it probably means that the issue is not actually that high of a priority to them.  It doesn’t matter how sincere they sound when talking about it if they take zero actions.  On the flip side, even if they sound phony, but they do engage in action… who cares as long as there are results?
...

I agree. 

I would add that a history of effectiveness is important.  Lofty ideas can be inspiring, but there must be the leadership abilities to get things done, to bring people together with an energy and determination to see a new law/policy/bill through.

Less emphasis should be placed on personality and more on substance.  Perhaps what is needed now is a little ‘boring’ – calm resolution, constancy, stability, hard work, some basic common sense.

 

 
 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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18 August 2019 13:30
 

In a two-party system, the only relevant criterion is: “Better than the alternative”.

 
 
Garret
 
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Garret
Total Posts:  491
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18 August 2019 14:32
 

There’s another layer to this that gets ignored by a lot of people: party politics is easily influenced.

I agree, in a two-party vote where the winner WILL take office, the best way to effect change is to influence who gets on that final ballot.  There has been a concerted by specific groups to influence who runs for lower level elections, which affects who runs for higher up elections (lower level offices become recruiting places for higher offices).  Some of those groups are better than others (for example, some groups focus on just encouraging more women or minorities to run for office).

I’ll let you in on a secret that isn’t really a secret.  If you show up to a party caucus, Republican or Democrat, and you are sober enough to stand up and speak without a slur, they’ll give you a position of responsibility.  I did it for one cycle, ended up a precinct vice-chair.  This got me into having beers with state representatives and shaking hands with US congressman in fairly short order.  I don’t know if I directly changed the state senator’s vote on a bill, but I feel like I helped lay the groundwork for him changing his vote on a specific issue (an old blue law in the state finally got changed).  If people actually show up to influence the process, it turns out that you can actually influence the process.

Anyways, show up to the party you care about more, and you can influence it to improve the quality of candidates, and try to sway people to supporting better candidates.

 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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Antisocialdarwinist
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18 August 2019 17:07
 
Twissel - 18 August 2019 01:30 PM

In a two-party system, the only relevant criterion is: “Better than the alternative”.

Bingo!

This is, in my opinion, still the best explanation for Trump’s victory. To paraphrase Churchill’s quote about democracy, Trump was the worst possible candidate—except for the other one.

 
 
Skipshot
 
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Skipshot
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18 August 2019 17:40
 
Twissel - 18 August 2019 01:30 PM

In a two-party system, the only relevant criterion is: “Better than the alternative”.

Yep.

 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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18 August 2019 20:12
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 18 August 2019 05:07 PM
Twissel - 18 August 2019 01:30 PM

In a two-party system, the only relevant criterion is: “Better than the alternative”.

Bingo!

This is, in my opinion, still the best explanation for Trump’s victory. To paraphrase Churchill’s quote about democracy, Trump was the worst possible candidate—except for the other one.

Except that you had to be terribly gullible to believe Trump is better than Clinton.

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
Total Posts:  5135
Joined  28-05-2009
 
 
 
19 August 2019 01:09
 
Twissel - 18 August 2019 08:12 PM
Antisocialdarwinist - 18 August 2019 05:07 PM
Twissel - 18 August 2019 01:30 PM

In a two-party system, the only relevant criterion is: “Better than the alternative”.

Bingo!

This is, in my opinion, still the best explanation for Trump’s victory. To paraphrase Churchill’s quote about democracy, Trump was the worst possible candidate—except for the other one.

Except that you had to be terribly gullible to believe Trump is better than Clinton.

Seriously. The way that partisan ideology nurses double standards and compels the compromise of principle is the single biggest argument against a (two) party system that I can think of. There are many others.

I prefer the Trump supporters who wear the hats and march in the streets with vulgar slogans on their shirts. This is at least a known quantity. It’s a manifestation of social issues that we can understand and at least try to address. I think this person is at least authentic.

It’s the quiet voter that terrifies me. The person who can privately rationalize all the manifestly toxic behavior for undisclosed reasons.  I think a lot of people were not actually scared of Clinton. I think that was a post hoc rationalization. I think that the specter of Clinton was inflated with manifest craft in direct proportion to the self conscious shame people felt over support for Trump. Her real problems got almost no press at all.

 

 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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Antisocialdarwinist
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19 August 2019 12:14
 
Twissel - 18 August 2019 08:12 PM
Antisocialdarwinist - 18 August 2019 05:07 PM
Twissel - 18 August 2019 01:30 PM

In a two-party system, the only relevant criterion is: “Better than the alternative”.

Bingo!

This is, in my opinion, still the best explanation for Trump’s victory. To paraphrase Churchill’s quote about democracy, Trump was the worst possible candidate—except for the other one.

Except that you had to be terribly gullible to believe Trump is better than Clinton.

Luckily for both parties, the country is full of terribly gullible people.

 
 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
Total Posts:  2756
Joined  19-01-2015
 
 
 
19 August 2019 21:23
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 19 August 2019 12:14 PM
Twissel - 18 August 2019 08:12 PM
Antisocialdarwinist - 18 August 2019 05:07 PM
Twissel - 18 August 2019 01:30 PM

In a two-party system, the only relevant criterion is: “Better than the alternative”.

Bingo!

This is, in my opinion, still the best explanation for Trump’s victory. To paraphrase Churchill’s quote about democracy, Trump was the worst possible candidate—except for the other one.

Except that you had to be terribly gullible to believe Trump is better than Clinton.

Luckily for both parties, the country is full of terribly gullible people.

According to all polls, better education doesn’t mix with voting GOP.

 

 
 
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