Regarding the upcoming elections in the US:
'I attended a symposium of political science departments of Ivy League schools a few years ago. They were rebuilding the department curricula because they said----there is no American politics, only international politics'.
Gone will be environmental law, labor law, justice law------corporate law and international law would rule the law schools! SEE WHY YOUR POLITICIAN IS COMPLETELY IGNORING RULE OF LAW AND THE CONSTITUTION?
Raise your hand if you know the difference between neo-liberal and democrat? MORE AND MORE OF US! When Congressional democrats say they are concerned that democrats will lose seats to republicans because the democratic base sees now that all of the policy produced from a supermajority of democrats in 2009 until present are republican and fraud and corruption runs rampant....one asks 'why would the democratic base vote republican to replace democrats passing an republican agenda?
This is where mainstream media has completely lost credibility in its quest to paint neo-liberals as center democrats and labor and justice, 80% of the democratic party knows this now! The Tea Party are conservative republicans and labor and justice are the democratic base and the neo-cons and neo-liberals are the global corporate rule pols that are anything but CENTER. GLOBAL CORPORATE RULE IS CENTER IN A FIRST WORLD DEMOCRACY? REALLY? Global corporate rule ends democracy and Rule of Law both essential with the US representational Constitution! Neo-liberals may win a few more before labor and justice can organize to take back the party----but strength is growing every day! Remember, Obama and Clinton had to run as progressive labor and justice to get elected and then they just worked as corporate wealth and profit pols after.
I've spoken of the crony politics of Maryland from media to elections but let's review and look at some of the new strategies of the 1% to keep control of elections from everyone else. I highlighted last election cycle of Cardin vs Muse because Cardin is not liked by most people in his district. Polls showed around a 50% approval rating and Maryland polls are captured towards the establishment. So, there was a complete blackout of Muse's campaign with not a mention of his name or policy stances while Cardin was in the news throughout the election cycle voting for a few progressive bones as campaign fodder. WE HAVE A BROKEN ELECTION SYSTEM THAT CAPTURES ELECTIONS FOR INCUMBENTS AND THEIR MACHINES! The remedy is to vote for the candidates without the WAR CHESTS and look at each candidates website and talk directly to candidates. If they are afraid to talk out loud about the issues of importance to you during the campaign, they are not going to pursue them once elected. GET RID OF THE NEO-LIBERALS HANDING ALL WEALTH TO THE FEW!
The second indicator of a captured election is the proliferation of private non-profits headed by directors working to advance the agenda of the few at the top. Maryland is one great big corporate private non-profit that captures public policy writing and organization and community activism. O'Malley and Rawlings-Blake----raging neo-liberals have these political machines with a choke-hold on Baltimore communities but this happens all over Maryland. You know a political/labor and justice organization that says it is progressive and NEVER MENTIONS ANY OF THE ISSUES I SPEAK TO is a captured organization and not working for you and me! Once again, the answer to this is to get out and organize outside of these captured community organizations and create your own networks. It is important to create newsletters delivered snail mail because we know all social media and email is monitored and controlled by corporations that mean us harm. So, get used to the old school way of meeting together and using the mail. Remember, grants are available for all groups and should not be denied because of protected political speech!!! I want to put a spot in here for the US Post Office because neo-liberals and republicans have been slowly dismantling it for two decades now as they intend to end public communications altogether. Autocratic societies must control all communications you know!
LEARN ABOUT A CANDIDATE THROUGH YOUR OWN RESEARCH AND NOT FROM CAMPAIGN PROPAGANDA AND BUILD YOUR OWN COMMUNITY NETWORKS OUTSIDE OF CITY HALL AND MARYLAND ASSEMBLY----THE CAPTURING POLITICAL MACHINES!!!!
There was media last week on the latest plan by neo-liberals to keep control of elections even as the majority of labor and justice realize neo-liberals are not democrats. How does 20% of neo-liberals keep winning elections when 80% of the democratic base is on to them?
Notice neo-liberals call all of this dissent from the right and left-----uncivil. They use terms like hecklers and dissenters for the majority of people not getting a voice in this captured political system. We are being pulled off stage or threatened to shut up when talking with cameras running in government buildings. I am constantly told to stop talking when pols get uncomfortable with the truth!
This is my blog that speaks to this:
BELOW YOU SEE WHAT NEO-LIBERALS DO WHEN THEY KNOW THEY ARE OUTED AS BAD FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE----YOU CHANGE THE VOTING SYSTEM TO FAVOR THEM!!!!
It's best to look at ranked choice voting another way. The neo-liberals have control of the democratic party that has a membership that is mostly labor and justice ----80% or more. Neo-liberals work for wealth and profit just like republicans and are killing the democratic base. Now, labor and justice are ready to vote neo-liberals out of party leadership and they need a solution to maintaining power. The idea is to strengthen the neo-liberal/neo-con global corporate pols by having this ranked choice voting scheme.
This is how it works. If you are in a heavily democratic district like Maryland where republicans know they don't have a chance then the republicans will vote for their candidate but rank the neo-liberal candidates next in line heavily weighting against labor and justice. IT SKEWS THE VOTING TO THE GLOBAL CORPORATE POLS AND AWAY FROM THE BASES OF BOTH THE REPUBLICAN PARTY AND DEMOCRATIC PARTY. The same works for districts heavily republican as the democrats know they can't win so vote for the neo-cons rather than the Tea Party as neo-cons are more tolerant of social issues important to labor and justice. So, the voting is skewed away from Tea Party. THE RANKED CHOICE VOTING IS A SCHEME TO MOVE ALL ELECTIONS TO THE GLOBAL CORPORATE POLS OF BOTH PARTIES!
The Tea Party is the conservative base of the republican party and they hate naked capitalism because it is not free market and full of unaccountability by too powerful global corporations. The Labor and justice is the progressive base of the democratic party and they hate naked capitalism because it kills the lower/middle class and is full of unaccountability by too powerful global corporations. So, you see that where Tea Party and Labor and justice are rivals-----THEY BOTH HATE GLOBAL CORPORATE POLS! See why neo-liberals and neo-cons want this voting reform??????
STOP THIS PROCESS BY VOTING CORPORATE POLS OUT OF OFFICE!!!!
Take a look at this article and check with real progressive academics who will tell you the intent of this policy is to end politics in America by handing elections to the 'center'---the global corporate rule pols! I attended a symposium of political science departments of Ivy League schools a few years ago. They were rebuilding the department curricula because they said----there is no American politics, only international politics.
The paradox of ranked-choice voting Ranked-choice voting is a technical fix to voting problems. But it can often make matters worse.
In ranked-choice voting, aka instant runoff voting, you rank the candidates in order. Then the candidate with the lowest number of first preference votes is eliminated, and people who voted for him have their second preference counted instead. Keep eliminating candidates until there’s only one left. The aim is to make sure people don’t worry about “wasting” their vote on a comparatively unpopular candidate.
Proponents of ranked-choice voting generally fall into two camps. The first hopes to get more centrists elected, like the UK’s Liberal Democrats, or California’s Tom Campbell. Another popular reform of this type is open primaries, and centrists will keep coming up with these ideas as long as they can’t get anyone to vote for them.
The second hopes to get more left-wing parties running, like Greens or Socialists. The argument goes that people don’t vote for Greens like Nader because they’re worried about splitting the left-of-centre vote and letting the right in, as in 2000. But with ranked-choice voting, Nader could have run, disaffected Democrats could have indulged themselves with a protest vote for him, and it would have all worked out OK – Nader’s votes would have been redistributed to Gore, letting him win. It’s an attractive position, as it lets you be smugly superior in your purist vote without actually having to face the consequences of eight years of Bush-Cheney.
So how can it make things worse? One example is San Francisco, where it’s combined with public campaign financing to give 16 candidates for the mayor’s race. Mercifully, San Franciscans don’t have to rank order the whole set – they only need choose their top 3. But that gives 16*15*14 = 3360 possible choices, quite enough to induce analysis paralysis among anyone who took the task seriously. The “paradox of choice” says that all these options will give worse results.
And how is the election shaping up? With 16 candidates, all the messages blend into one vague mush of centre-left platitudes – protecting the environment, encouraging sustainable growth and so on. Nobody attacks anyone else, because they want their supporters to put them second or third. It’s San Francisco’s most boring election.
Who benefits from all of this? The same people who always benefit – incumbents and moneyed interests – the only ones who can cut through the chatter. What the reformers have forgotten is that, since Ancient Rome, any election worth anything has been, at base, a contest between rich and poor. Not that the patrician candidate is always worse – the rich didn’t get to be rich by being dummies. But the best way for the rich to win the class war is to deny and obscure its existence, and ranked choice voting is an excellent assistant.
Update: The left-wing SF Bay Guardian notes “Several consultants and election experts [the editor] talked to this week said that [incumbent mayor] Lee would be far more vulnerable in a traditional election. ‘He would lose a runoff against almost any of the top challengers,’ one person said.” and quotes Corey Cook, a political scientist at the University of San Francisco as saying “Ranked-choice voting clearly favors incumbents.”
CAN YOU REALLY NOT SEE NEO-CONS AND NEO-LIBERALS TEAMING UP TO RANK GLOBAL CORPORATE POLS EACH TIME? WOULD LABOR AND JUSTICE BE ABLE TO ORGANIZE AGAINST THE CLINTON/OBAMA/BUSH MACHINES!!!!?????
Can Adopting Ranked-Choice Voting Make Politics Civil? Some think a new voting process could heal many of the nation's political system's ills.
by Louis Jacobson | November 4, 2013
San Francisco elected its first Chinese-American mayor, Ed Lee, using the system in 2011. Advocates say that the system encourages demographically diverse representation. AP/Paul Sakuma
For several years now, ranked-choice voting -- a system by which voters rank-order their selections of candidates rather than choosing just one -- has been bandied about by experts and politicians as a way to improve the voting process. While it's been used in mayoral elections in Minneapolis and San Francisco, the process hasn't really caught on widely. But could 2014 be the year it starts taking off?
Ranked-choice voting emerged as an alternative to the traditional American method of first-past-the-post voting, where whichever candidate gets the most votes wins the election.
By contrast, under ranked-choice voting, voters whose first-choice candidates finish at the bottom in the initial round have their vote added to the total of their second-choice candidate. If there is no winner after those votes are reassigned, then the lowest-finishing candidates' votes are reassigned until someone receives at least 50 percent of the vote.
The system is designed to produce a winner who is at least somewhat acceptable to the widest share of the voting population. Ranked-choice voting doesn't affect the result in a two-candidate race, but once three or more candidates are running, the system prevents the election of a winner who secures less than a majority of the vote.
An actual "runoff" -- in which the top two finishers face off against each other -- can achieve the same result. But ranked-choice voting makes the selection process quicker by making a second, or if necessary, a third round of voting almost instantaneous. It also avoids the likelihood that voter turnout will decrease in the runoff election. In fact, ranked-choice voting is sometimes called "instant-runoff voting."
By way of example, if ranked-choice voting had been used in the 2010 Maine gubernatorial race, conservative Republican Paul LePage probably would have lost. LePage won just 38 percent of the vote, barely edging out Independent Eliot Cutler with 37 percent; Democrat Libby Mitchell won 19 percent. Observers suspect that ranked-choice voting would have redistributed the lion's share of Mitchell's supporters to Cutler, providing him with more than enough support to win.
That certainly would have harmed the Republican candidate. But there are plenty of instances where a Democrat would suffer. Take the 2012 Montana Senate race, where Democrat Jon Tester won with less than 49 percent of the vote. Republican Denny Rehberg's 45 percent of the vote could easily have been combined with second-choice votes from supporters of a Libertarian Party candidate, enabling Rehberg to win.
Perhaps the most notable case in which ranked-choice voting could have made a difference was in Florida's 2000 presidential voting. If just a tiny fraction of Ralph Nader's 1 percent of the statewide vote had gone to Al Gore -- who was a more likely second-choice candidate for most Nader voters than George W. Bush was -- then Gore would have won Florida, and the presidency.
In the United States, ranked-choice voting has made tangible, though limited, inroads in recent years. In addition to Minneapolis and neighboring St. Paul, it's now used in San Francisco; Oakland, Calif.;Berkeley, Calif.; and Portland, Maine. A few states -- including Arkansas, Louisiana and South Carolina -- have allowed residents temporarily living overseas to cast votes by ranked-choice voting. Some smaller localities have adopted it as well, including San Leandro, Calif.; Takoma Park, Md.; and Telluride, Colo.
But Election Day 2013 will bring one of the highest-profile tests of the system in the United States, when voters in Minneapolis will use ranked-choice voting to choose from among three dozen candidates to fill an open mayoral seat. Meanwhile, other places being targeted for possible expansion of ranked-choice voting include New York City, Los Angeles and Maine (statewide).
In an important development, the nation's largest voting machine vendors are finally building ranked-choice-voting into their equipment, said Rob Richie, the executive director of FairVote, an electoral-reform advocacy group that has long supported ranked-choice voting. That makes it possible for advocates to focus "on what ranked-choice voting will accomplish, rather than what will be necessary to make it possible to administer," Richie said.
Ranked-choice voting is already used abroad. Irelanders use it to choose the president, Londoners vote by ranked-choice in the mayoral elections and, notably, Australians use it to elect members of parliament, a system that has been in place for almost a century.
Peter Fray, a veteran political journalist in Australia, said the system is broadly popular in his native country. "There are grumbles from time to time about the results it throws up, such as the Motoring Enthusiasts Party or far-right candidates winning," he said. "But faced with first-past-the-post, Aussies will go preferential any day of the week."
Advocates tout several benefits from the system, beyond electing candidates with the broadest degree of acceptance. "One of the biggest is that it saves a ton of money," said Steven Hill, the former director of the political reform program at the New America Foundation and a leader in the bid to expand ranked-choice voting to San Francisco in 2002. Cost, he said, can be especially problematic in cities that end up having to hold runoffs in both a primary and in a general election. "San Francisco, which pays approximately $4 million to administer a citywide election," Hill said, "has saved millions of dollars beyond the initial startup costs as a result of having fewer elections."
Higher voter turnout is another benefit, Hill said, since the final vote in municipal elections can be held on the same day as major statewide or national elections, when more voters are already casting ballots for higher offices.
Advocates add that the system encourages demographically diverse representation. Since beginning to use ranked-choice voting in 2004 for elections to its 11-member Board of Supervisors, San Francisco voters have more than doubled the number of racial and ethnic minority supervisors from four to nine, including five Asian Americans, two African Americans, and two Latinos. San Francisco elected its first Chinese-American mayor using the system, and in that race, the runner-up was Latino.
The reason for the expanded diversity is that minority voters may be able to select a minority candidate for first and second place; if one is eliminated, their lower-choice candidate may prevail instead.
To be sure, the system has also inspired opposition. For starters, it's more complicated for voters to understand, at least until they get used to it. In addition, some say there may be value in having an actual final round of campaigning between two candidates. That way, voters can see the top two finishers directly battling each other for public support.
These drawbacks have come into sharpest relief when second-place or even third-place finishers in the first round ended up winning the election. "That of course is to be expected, and is the reason to ask people to rank candidates," Richie said. "But it can catch some people by surprise if they don't understand the system."
In 2010, Oakland held its first election for mayor under a ranked-choice voting system. The frontrunner, Don Perata, was the first choice of about one-third of voters (including many in the political establishment), but most other voters put him at or near the bottom of their list. Perata ended up losing to city Councilmember Jean Quan, based on her stronger record of securing second place votes.
PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW THAT QUAN INTRODUCED SAIC SURVEILLANCE ON STEROIDS-----THINK THE REAL WINNER MAY HAVE BEEN BEST?
Quan's experience suggests that candidates running in ranked-choice voting contests should avoid polarizing appeals and instead emphasize broadly popular themes, which could ultimately inspire less acrimonious elections. "Quan's campaign and others in the Bay Area with ranked-choice voting suggest that earning second choices is best done through people meeting the candidate and coming to believe the candidates will listen to them," Richie said.
After Quan's victory, some members of the Oakland political establishment, seemingly craving the predictability of a more traditional voting system, sought to overturn the ranked-choice voting system. But the repeal effort stumbled.
Voters in the Bay Area have tended to be copacetic about ranked-choice voting, Hill said. "I don't think most San Franciscans even think that much about it. It's faded into the background, much like the operating system of your computer, which is not something you think about very much."
In Minneapolis, ranked-choice voting was used in 2009, but with popular incumbent R.T. Rybak running, the race wasn't competitive. This time, he isn't running for a new term, so the 2013 open-seat election has become a much higher-profile test of the system.
As Governing recently reported, City Councilmember Don Samuels and former City Council President Dan Cohen were tied at 16 percent in a September Minneapolis Star-Tribune poll, followed by two candidates with greater establishment support and money -- Councilmember Betsy Hodges with 14 percent and former Hennepin County Commissioner Mark Andrew at 10 percent. Each of these candidates except for Cohen are Democrats; Cohen is an Independent.
Ranked-choice voting "could have a big impact," said David Schultz, a political scientist at Hamline University in Minneapolis who has studied the city's electoral process. "It may affect campaign styles, in that it is hard to criticize a candidate and then ask his or her voters to make you their second choice."
Still, ranked-choice voting hasn't had staying power everywhere.
In Pierce County, Wash., voters approved ranked-choice voting in 2006, then used it in 2008, but later repealed it. Why? The answer probably has to do with the complicated trajectory of Washington state's primary system, said Todd Donovan, a Western Washington University political scientist.
"In early 2000s, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled our 'blanket' open primary unconstitutional, so the state was experimenting with a replacement," Donovan said. "During that period, Pierce County adopted ranked-choice voting, while the state used a different system for state races. When the Supreme Court upheld a 'top-two' primary system similar to the old blanket primary, it may have made it seem as if ranked-choice voting was no longer needed there, or it might have highlighted the fact that the county was using a different election system for state vs. local races."
Washington state's changing electoral processes may have contributed to the short life of ranked-choice voting in Vancouver, Wash., as well. "The voting system was adopted for Vancouver in 2003, and once I left the council, it had no champion," said Jim Moeller, a Democratic former Vancouver City Council member who is now Speaker Pro Tem in the state House. "It was never used, and since it required action by the council and county auditor, the legislative window closed."
The system has also been scrapped for statewide races in North Carolina. It had previously been available for certain judicial special elections.
Still, the biggest challenge to the further spread of ranked-choice voting may be that electoral reform remains a hard issue to rally rank-and-file voters around. "Voting reform is always a challenge," said Heather Gerken, a Yale Law School professor who studies election law. "People are skeptical of change, and politicians are often the most skeptical of change. No matter how good the idea, it's always an uphill slog to get it passed."