That would be the ideal. Unfortunately the ideal isn’t graspable in the real world. We’ll have to settle for snap elections and diligent public polling in the meantime. Imagine if that could work in the US today, right now?
Do we join Ukraine in fighting off Vladimir Putin’s aggression, yes or no? Vote now! Imagine the clarity we could get from a vote like that, if only we were allowed that freedom, the ability to decide important issues directly when the time required it?
What would the wisdom of the crowd be in this instance? No one can say because no one knows.
The various media outlets who obsess with metrics have been tearing down President Biden for months now. His metrics are bad, they keep saying. His approval ratings are down. The horror of it all!
To my mind, this is a classic case of mistaking metrics for meaning, mistaking the forest for the trees. Joe Biden is still more popular than Donald Trump was at any point in his Presidency, as this graphic reveals:
He’s still more popular than Trump has ever been or ever will be. Yes, that is damning with faint praise. Biden isn’t Clinton or Obama, true. However we aren’t going to get Bill or Hillary Clinton or Barack or Michelle Obama to replace Joe Biden. We aren’t going to get any one of the dozen Democratic opponents that competed with Joe Biden during the primary other than his Vice President, Kamala Harris. That is who we voted for, and that is who we are stuck with, for better or worse.
Joe Biden and Kamala Harris will be up for re-election in three years. The political opposition that has been kept alive since Donald Trump’s trouncing in November of 2020 is still solidly Trumpist in nature. They are denying the reality of the 2020 election and the reality of the continuing pandemic, as well as continuing to deny the existence of climate change.
In the midterm elections next year these pitifully deluded people will stand in opposition to everything that Joe Biden has done, hoping against hope that they can convince the disenchanted to vote for them instead of confirming the course the nation was set on when we elected Joe Biden in 2020. They are doing everything they can to manufacture a political upset in that election. They are rigging the vote in every state that they control and planning on keep people who want to vote Democratic from voting. They are using the system against us, just as they have always done.
I’ve disowned two siblings over the fiasco that is playing out now. I’ve disowned them because we don’t have a choice anymore when it comes to avenues of escape from the pandemic prison we find ourselves in today. Distancing and masking are all we can look forward to until we can convince or restrict the movement of vaccine hold-outs. Those are our choices. Whistling past the graveyard hoping not to catch the virus was never an option, no matter how many morons think that this is an effective way to deal with a pandemic.
I would have preferred different candidates than the two we had to choose from in November. Given the alternative the choice was clear. Given the alternative the choice is still clear. Science first. Reality first. Democracy first. The rest of it follows on from those clear facts.
This article penned by Glenn Greenwald is making the rounds of Facebook today, September 9, 2016, and I am personally a bit more annoyed than I probably should be at the continued whining of Sanders supporters. The whining surrounding the announcement of Hillary Clinton’s presumptive nomination by the Democratic party.
LAST NIGHT, the Associated Press — on a day when nobody voted — surprised everyone by abruptly declaring the Democratic Party primary over and Hillary Clinton the victor. The decree, issued the night before the California primary in which polls show Clinton and Bernie Sanders in a very close race, was based on the media organization’s survey of “superdelegates”: the Democratic Party’s 720 insiders, corporate donors, and officials whose votes for the presidential nominee count the same as the actually elected delegates.
It probably bears noting that these same superdelegates, which the democratically demanding Sanders supporters deride when lined up for Hillary, are the very same votes that Sanders will need to win the nomination now since Hillary has a commanding lead in numbers of votes and numbers of delegates in the popular vote.
But that isn’t the part that really annoys me.
No, the part that annoys me is that Greenwald is printing an outright fabrication in that article. Yes, it is true that the AP story which he cites claims that the survey was only of superdelegates, but it was no secret that Hillary Clinton was going to cross the threshold of delegates on the seventh or before, and that the announcement would probably be made before California went to vote.
Don’t believe me?
Here is the podcast I heard it on first.
Weekly Roundup: Thursday, June 2 A week of defense for Donald Trump, and Hillary Clinton goes on the attack in a big foreign policy speech. This episode: host/reporter Sam Sanders, White House correspondent Tamara Keith, digital political reporter Danielle Kurtzleben, and political editor Domenico Montanaro. More coverage at nprpolitics.org.
Please note the date of the podcast (June 2nd) and that the hosts of the podcast note that Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands voted before the four states whose primaries ran on Tuesday, and that the projected announcement date of crossing that threshold was on the seventh.
Which puts the lie to Greenwald’s assertion that “nobody voted”. There were people voting, they just weren’t voting in the officially recognized states of the United States. A minor oversight, I’m sure. Except he’s a journalist, and I’m just a blogger with access to the internet. One would hope that a journalist would have a firmer grasp on the truth, especially Glenn Greenwald after all the times he’s gone to bat for it.
But NPR isn’t the only source that understood the impending threshold that would be crossed on the 7th. Fivethirtyeight was predicting the seventh as the latest date that the threshold would be crossed as far back as May 24th!
Does this mean that the major news outlets will declare Clinton the nominee at exactly 8 p.m. on June 7? Not necessarily. There aren’t likely to be exit polls in New Jersey, and the news outlets will probably wait for returns — exit polls are expensive — from the state to determine whether Clinton has clinched. Still, it’ll probably be pretty clear after some votes are counted that Clinton has hit the minimum delegate threshold to win the nomination.
It turned out that the number of delegates required to be declared the presumptive nominee was crossed early, as it was always possible could happen. Nothing about this is unforeseen, or a surprise, except to the politically inexperienced who don’t understand how this game is played. That group certainly doesn’t include Glenn Greenwald or Bernie Sanders.
It is time and past time for Bernie Sanders to put a lid on the ridiculous accusations leveled at the party that he is purportedly running as a candidate in, and to start making the kinds of noises one makes when one wants to make a civilized exit from a political race. It is time and past time for the media to stop inventing reasons to dump on Hillary Clinton.
The voices of support for her are few and far between at this point, and the brave few who dare to speak out are routinely targeted as paid shills for her. As if she hasn’t earned some legitimate supporters of her own just through her own hard work in office and in the Democratic party itself.
In this telling, in order to do something as hard as becoming the first female presidential nominee of a major political party, she had to do something extraordinarily difficult: She had to build a coalition, supported by a web of relationships, that dwarfed in both breadth and depth anything a non-incumbent had created before. It was a plan that played to her strengths, as opposed to her (entirely male) challengers’ strengths. And she did it.
She is the presumptive nominee of the party. Her landslide victory in California proves that she has the backing of the Democratic party across the nation. It is time to put this race to bed and get on with the convention shenanigans.
The 2018 midterms are about to occur. It is mid-October 2018, and still the Berners can’t seem to understand that they can’t get their way just because they want it done their way. this has been going on for at least two and a half years now, and they are as clueless about how the system works as they were two and half years ago. I think this proves just how fruitless arguing with them is. I have the same message for them that I have for the Stormtrumpers and their leader the Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM). They think they can subvert the constitution and throw all the people they don’t like out of our country. That simply isn’t going to happen.
Berners who insist that the Democratic party is still rigged against them are also trying to subvert the system by force. That isn’t how this process works, and will ultimately fail just like the Stormtrumpers will fail and take the Republicans with them.
Bernie Sanders is putting on a good fight trying to move the Democratic party away from conservatism and more towards recognizable international liberalism. It has been hard going, to say the least. The difficulty in getting changes into the American system of government is one of its laudable achievements. The fact that the OHM can’t sign an order and alter the constitution and/or the law in the US is about the only thing keeping the United States democratic in any real meaning of the word. Changes have to follow a set course to be effective and durable. Ask any DACA recipient if they feel like they are are secure in their citizenship now. If they worry about becoming stateless and ergo expendable in the near future. This is an outgrowth of Obama being unable to get congress to follow his lead in making American children with cloudy citizenship secure in the nation they’ve chosen to devote themselves to. The voting population of the US to follow his lead in embracing the people who make this country function, bringing them officially into the system.
The durability built into the American system is also one of the biggest stumbling blocks for updating the system. The system is rigged, but it isn’t rigged in the way that Berners pretend. It is rigged against all forms of change by generations of old white farts who don’t want to be forced out of power before they are ready to leave power. The solution to this problem is not voting third party or boycotting the Democratic party. I don’t recommend trying to alter the Republican party, either. They made their hangman’s noose quite well, and they’ve already put it around their collective necks. They will hang, eventually. In the meantime this leaves only one party that can viably take over the party-geared machinery of the US government. Right or wrong, that is how the system operates currently.
Altering state parties and their associated primaries means altering the laws in 50 different states, laws that are set up 50 different ways. Fixing the gerrymandered mess that the US legislature is currently mired in means creating a whole new bureaucracy to handle redistricting. Fixing the primary vote means the adoption of some form of alternative voting strategy that keeps the most extreme individuals (The most recent examples of this were the OHM and Bernie Sanders. Hillary Clinton was never extreme. That’s why Berners hate her) from rising to the surface and winning elections. All of this has to occur in 50 different states, set up in 50 different ways. Two years isn’t nearly enough time to make that much change occur. It takes thousands of people working at the same goals across vast swaths of landscape to make these kinds of changes. We won’t see this done for at least 20 years, but it needs to be started now.
In the meantime, as the above mentioned changes are making headway across the 50 states, changes visible all around us, declaring you won’t participate in the system because it isn’t yet exactly what you want is to engage in Hunting for Unicorns. A pastime that I refuse to engage in. Let the social airlocking commence, because I have no more patience for people who will not participate in their government in a meaningful fashion. Go waste someone else’s time.
Trump is a manifestation of poor education in the US exacting its price on the US and the world. The chickens have come home to roost. The wide-spread, wrong-headed notion that a strong leader is the way to get the change you want in a complex system, has manifested in the personages of Trump and Sanders, the demagogic “outsiders” who are believed by the uninformed to be capable of effecting change on a system by themselves.
While Sanders elected alone would fail just as Obama failed to live up to the dreams of the people who voted for him in 2008, Trump is quite capable of wrecking the system all by himself if he is elected.
It is much easier to destroy than it is to create.
At this point in this election all that is left to hope for is that the Democrats can pull out a win. It would be nice to think that they could gain a sweeping victory that would bring in enough progressives to alter the system in a positive way. It would be nice to hand the Republicans such a crushing defeat that they are forced to re-invent themselves into a opposition party that doesn’t deny science and embrace religion as its starting point. The Bernie or busters are going to make that possibility as remote as they can, unfortunately.
The Bernie or busters are not interested in reforming the system any more than the Tea Party Trump supporters are. They want to re-invent it, which is just one step more than simply destroying it. They tell themselves they’ll be happy with a Trump presidency because at least the status quo will end. Both the Trump supporters and the Bernie or busters don’t really understand the kind of misery bringing down the US system will create. I’m becoming afraid we might just find out how deep that well of misery is.
The fix for this is so much more than just reporting. Being able to predict what the population will go for in an election is beyond the capacity of polling and reporting when the citizenry is so woefully uninformed as to vote for a demonstrable liar like Trump is. That is not even scratching the surface of the problem. First you have to educate the voting public on just how blind this faith in a strong leader is. The journalists who inform us on politics cannot be held responsible for the failure of the education system in the US to actually educate the population to the dangers of dictatorship. As college educated people the reporters of course discarded the idea that the average American would fall prey to a demagogue like Trump. It’s obvious he’s lying and has no clue what he’s talking about. Why would anyone take this orange hate-monkey seriously?
…Unless of course you believe that a strong leader is what we need, in spite of the obvious fact that a system as complex as the US government cannot possibly be run by one person. Then all bets are off and the people who want a guy who pretends to have all the answers have control of the mechanisms of statecraft through the selection of the next head of state.
We’ve been so busy propping up dictators in other countries that we’ve forgotten we might be subject to one ourselves. That fate is now just the flip of a coin away.
MAJORITY OF VOTERS SUPPORT INCLUSION OF THIRD PARTY CANDIDATE BOB BARR IN DEBATES
For Immediate Release
September 5, 2008
Contact: George Farah
Washington, D.C. – The majority of likely voters support the inclusion of Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr in the 2008 presidential debates.
A Zogby poll has found that 55% of likely voters want to see former Congressman Bob Barr participate in the upcoming presidential debates with Republican nominee John McCain and Democratic nominee Barack Obama. The Zogby also poll found that 45% of likely voters supported the inclusion of independent candidate Ralph Nader in the presidential debates. However, despite support from a majority of likely voters for Bob Barr’s inclusion, Barr will be excluded from the presidential debates. The Commission on Presidential Debates, a creation of the Republican and Democratic parties, established candidate selection criteria that ensure that only the major party candidates will be eligible to participate in the debates.
“The Commission on Presidential Debates should serve the interests of the American people, not the interests of the two major parties,” said George Farah, executive director of Open Debates. “The Commission on Presidential Debates should include candidates that a majority of Americans want to see participate in the debates.”
The Commission on Presidential Debates was created by and for the Republican and Democratic Parties. In 1986, the Republican and Democratic National Committees ratified an agreement “to take over the presidential debates” from the League of Women Voters. Fifteen months later, then-Republican Party chair Frank Fahrenkopf and then-Democratic Party chair Paul Kirk incorporated the Commission on Presidential Debates. Fahrenkopf and Kirk still co-chair the Commission on Presidential Debates, and every four years, it excludes candidates that most voters want to see debate.
I’ve gotten onto several polling lists of late; probably because I have time to respond to them these days. Polling Point sent me a weird one the other day. Mixed in with the usual “Who did you vote for last election?” and “What party are you affiliated with?” type questions (as well as race and other questions that I routinely abstain from answering if I can) was a little gem that went something like:
“Should an illegal immigrant be able to apply for citizenship if he has graduated a U.S. High School, has had no major convictions, and has enrolled in the Military or College?”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t understand how anyone who has lived in the U.S. for long enough that he can graduate High School shouldn’t be considered a citizen just on basic principles. Much less if he plans to attend college or join the military.
“You graduated High School? Hell that’s better than a good portion of the children of citizens around here. Come on into the clubhouse!”
Never mind the legal fiction that is the concept of illegal alien in the first place. If you live in a place, you are a citizen of that place. The ability to document your residency should be irrelevant. How many white skinned people get deported back to Europe because they can’t produce documentation to prove they are here legally? I rest my case.
In Polling Points defense, in most polls they offer a comments dialog so that you can give them your opinion of the poll after you’ve taken it. I wrote this on the poll today:
Like all ballot issues, the description of the bills I would vote on go beyond confusing. Clear and plain English should be the requirement.
Ron Paul should be listed as a candidate in the Republican party. It is an !outrage! that he is not.
Left/Right does not accurately describe political views; http://www.theadvocates.org/ check out the World’s Smallest Political Quiz for more info.
Race is an illusion. There are no separate races inside the human race. ‘None’ should be an options for those of us who do not claim a race as an identifier.
Atheism is not a religion.
I could go on, but I think I’ve said enough.
Yes, I do rant just about everywhere I go. It’s a burden, let me tell you.
Got an invite to do a Polling Point poll again a few days ago. This one, while more in depth than most, was still as infantile as most of the previous ones have been. So I decided to wax poetic in the “what can we do to improve this poll” dialog box. Political views cannot be accurately expressed on a left-right line. It is a basic mathematical principle that it takes (at least) two bits of data to place something on a graphical scale. The only logical political scale that has ever been created is this one: World’s Smallest Political Quiz
I have grave doubts as to the nature of this poll, and strongly suspect (as I have for many other Polling Point polls) that the questions are weighted in an attempt to skew the results.
When I responded to the question of party affiliation that I was “Other:Libertarian” I was presented with two pages of wheedling, a transparent attempt to skew my views into one of the left-right camps. I am in neither camp, I am a libertarian; a free-thinking, tax hating, liberty loving individual; and I resent the juvenile approach to politics that insists there is only one right answer to a problem, and two parties are enough to cover all answers.
If you can’t construct polls that attempt to take all views into account, then you devalue the worth of your own polls. It only makes good business sense, from a pollster’s standpoint, to create the most unbiased polls possible.
That would be an unprecedented improvement in my history of taking polls at Polling Point.
2017; There is a game theory explanation as to why any choices other than the top two are irrelevant in standard plurality voting methods; but addressing that here would just be clouding the legitimate complaint as to why the polls would not include minority view candidates.