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View Diary: The Libertarian spoilers (259 comments)

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  •  Your state -- (0+ / 0-)

    has some fairly prohibitive ballot access requirements for third parties... given this, it's no wonder Carl Romanelli went to the Republicans.

    I don't, frankly, see the point in fighting this.  If, by some bizarre circumstance, both Democrat and Republican politicians are screwing the public, what are disgruntled voters to do?  Threaten the Democrat politicians that "if you don't fly right, we'll vote Republican"?  That will frighten nobody.

    reduce, reuse, recycle

    by Cassiodorus on Wed Jan 31, 2007 at 03:54:54 PM PST

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    •  It's more of a problem, though... (0+ / 0-)

      ...when the voters in question are irrational extremists who are both unwilling to admit that their agenda will never be accomplished in a few bold steps, and unwilling to accept the fact that change in American politics tends to happen incrementally.

      The Pennsylvania Democratic Party can, and should, do everything it can to knock Greens off of the ballot. It's a simple matter of self preservation. You can't expect us NOT to fight a party that's hell bent on attacking us.

      On another note: I found Green Party criticism of the Democratic Party's tactics to be ironic.

      The Greens like to spend a lot of time bitching and moaning about how no one takes them seriously as candidates. Well, guess what? Candidates who are taken "seriously" end up with their petition signatures placed under the highest scrutiny. The fact that the Democrats sat down and looked at the petition that the Greens turned in is a sign that we take them very seriously as a party, indeed.

      Whenever one of the major party candidates - Democrat or Republican - files to run for office, the other side ALWAYS sits down and goes through their petition signatures with a fine tooth comb. There have been Democrats in my home county who have ended up being tossed from the ballot because it turned out that they didn't have enough valid signatures. There have been Republicans, elsewhere in the state, who've had the same thing happen to them.

      Why, exactly, should the Greens be exempt from that same scrutiny, if they wish to be "taken seriously?"

      •  Sure: fight or flight (0+ / 0-)

        You can't expect us NOT to fight a party that's hell bent on attacking us.

        Do you stand for anything?  Or has the law of the jungle completely taken over?

        Let's go back to my question.

        If, by some bizarre circumstance, both Democrat and Republican politicians are screwing the public, what are disgruntled voters to do?  Threaten the Democrat politicians that "if you don't fly right, we'll vote Republican"?

        Got an answer?

        reduce, reuse, recycle

        by Cassiodorus on Wed Jan 31, 2007 at 08:05:40 PM PST

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        •  Run in the Democratic primary (0+ / 0-)

          It's kinda what they're for, ya know?

          •  And if the Republican voters cross over (0+ / 0-)

            and defeat your candidate in the primaries?

            Or if your "Democrat" opponent runs in the final election as an "independent"?

            (see under "Joe Lieberman")

            Primaries are just rehearsal elections.  Their results says little about the "party's choices," or about the electability of candidates.  In the end, they reduce the voter's array of selection to the "lesser of two evils."

            And nobody cares about third parties in American politics, at least not consistently.    Even so, America is better off with them than without them.  If (in certain circumstances) both parties happen to be screwing the people, the people must have somewhere to go, and someone to vote for.

            reduce, reuse, recycle

            by Cassiodorus on Wed Jan 31, 2007 at 08:27:02 PM PST

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            •  If a majority of the public.. (0+ / 0-)

              ...agrees that both parties are "screwing" them, primary challengers ought to be able to win and effect change within their party, though.

              If that can't happen, they're certainly not going be able to win as third party candidates in the general election.  Not if they can't even rally the people who ought to be their ideological base.

              Most of the ideas that have been pushed by third parties have only been adopted after the party decided to fuse with one of the major parties, anyway.

              •  That's not the way it works, unfortunately (0+ / 0-)

                If a majority of the public agrees that both parties are "screwing" them, primary challengers ought to be able to win and effect change within their party, though.

                What really happens under a two-party system is that the general public is not consulted, and that the partisans of Party A end up selecting a candidate who is viewed as having the financial resources and general command of the "swing vote" necessary to defeat the candidate of Party B who, as the executive, is deemed as having command of the mass media (who rely for news upon the repetition of executive pronouncement) and an extensive treasure chest (since the ability to get things done attracts lobbyists).  The general public is then, after the primaries are over, presented with a fait accompli and told to vote for the lesser of two evils.

                reduce, reuse, recycle

                by Cassiodorus on Wed Jan 31, 2007 at 09:20:58 PM PST

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                •  But, again... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...if a Green can't muster enough support in a major party primary, how the hell is he ever going ot gain broad enough support to win as a third party candidate?

                  It's not enough just to run someone to annoy the hell out of the Democrats (or the Republicans).  If you truly think that both of the parties are "screwing" the public, then you've got to find a way to convince THEM that they're being screwed.  Gadfly bids that only serve to appeal to a very narrow segment of the populace simply aren't enough to do that.

                  •  H. Ross Perot -- (0+ / 0-)

                    didn't go through a primary, yet early in the 1992 campaign he polled at 33% support.  Making Perot declare as a Democrat or Republican would have limited his appeal.

                    If you truly think that both of the parties are "screwing" the public, then you've got to find a way to convince THEM that they're being screwed.

                    Indeed, but a two-party system sets the bar far, FAR higher than this.  Not only does the public need to be convinced that it is being screwed under such a system, the public needs to be convinced that the gains to be made by dumping both parties outweigh the risks of allowing the "greater of two evils" candidates to be elected.

                    In a two-party system, you could run Mussolini and Hitler in front of a knowledgeable, well-educated public, and Mussolini would be elected because that public would be so afraid of electing Hitler that any third-party candidates challenging both Mussolini and Hitler wouldn't stand a chance.

                    reduce, reuse, recycle

                    by Cassiodorus on Wed Jan 31, 2007 at 11:11:10 PM PST

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                    •  Perot (0+ / 0-)

                      H. Ross Perot didn't go through a primary, yet early in the 1992 campaign he polled at 33% support.  Making Perot declare as a Democrat or Republican would have limited his appeal.

                      Serously?  It would have limited his support to below 33%?

                      When was the last time a major party nominee got less than 33% of the vote?

                      In a two-party system, you could run Mussolini and Hitler in front of a knowledgeable, well-educated public, and Mussolini would be elected because that public would be so afraid of electing Hitler that any third-party candidates challenging both Mussolini and Hitler wouldn't stand a chance.

                      I'm not going to say that you're wrong. Unnaturally limited options in elections is one reason WHY I support reforms like instant run-off voting, PR for legislative bodies, and maybe even allowing "fusion" tickets, like in NY State.

                      That said, we don't have any of those things right now. And when the Democrats run a candidate in an election, we're stuck operating under the laws that we have. We have to protect ourselves, and part of that means trying to eliminate the possibility of being attacked from the left in the general.

                      The other problem:

                      There are large chunks of the public that honestly don't feel that both parties are corrupt.

                      There are a lot of us, for example, in the Democratic Party who don't feel that way about the Democrats.

                      I'm one of them. I've been working on campaigns since I was in college. I work in a lot of local level races, where I get to know the candidates personally. Over the years, some of the people I've worked for have been a small businessman who ran for county commissioner, a college professor and Vietnam war veteran who ran for congress, a welder who ran for state senate, and a machinist and volunteer fire fighter who ran for state house of representatives.

                      None of those people were, in any way, "corrupt." I didn't agree with them on everything, but, at no point did I doubt that they were anything but sincere in their views.

                      When someone in the Green Party accuses us, or our friends, or candidates that we've invested a lot of time or energy in, of "selling out," or being "corrupt," or somehow having abandoned our "core beliefs," simply because we don't agree with them 100% of the time on 100% of the issues, it hurts, and it's insulting, and it does nothing to make me sympathize with their issues, or their point of view.

                      It’s even worse for the fact that, the Democrats can have people who seem to agree with the Greens 99% or 100% of the time, and they still run candidates against them, and they still level the same attacks.

                      The Greens decided they HAD to run someone against Paul Wellstone in 2002.  What possible purpose could that serve?  Wellstone was the closest thing they had to a natural ally in the U.S. Senate.  Doesn’t it remove some of the Green Party’s credibility about what it claims to stand for, and what it claims it wants to do, when they run someone against a guy who’s there for them on most of the issues?  And, for that matter, doesn’t it remove any incentive that Green Party candidacies might have in convincing the Democrats to turn left?  I mean, Wellstone was about as liberal as they come, and he still got a Green Party challenger.

                      I suppose we could get into the tiny, tiny fraction of votes that the Greens disagreed with Wellstone on.  But, at what point does a demand for absolute adherence to some unagreed upon left-wing agenda actually begin to tear apart a political movement and cause more harm than good?  

                      For that matter, shouldn’t elected officials be granted at least some level of accommodation for political reality?  

                      I mean, Wellstone’s vote to authorize the war in Afghanistan was one of the reasons the MN Greens decided to run someone against him.  But, a large number of German Green Party members of Parliament voted in favor of involving that country in the war in Afghanistan.  And, the MN Greens ended up nominating someone who said that he "agreed" with Wellstone on that vote, anyway.

          •  Brute majoritarianism (0+ / 0-)

            Too many Americans take for granted a sort of brute majoritarianism, that allows them to say unrealistic, power-driven statements such as that the Greens are out to "destroy" the Democratic Party.  (Elephant, looking at mouse, screams: "It's trying to destroy me!")  This is why I put America's chances of survival in the decades to come as significantly lower than those of the multiparty democracies of western Europe, even though many of those people drink and smoke tobacco and have abused their land through centuries of rampant urbanism and capitalist exploitation.  Democracy in the US is too thin, too thoroughly based on big money and executive power and winner-take-all elections.

            reduce, reuse, recycle

            by Cassiodorus on Wed Jan 31, 2007 at 09:03:12 PM PST

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            •  Yes, certainly this is the only time... (0+ / 0-)

              ...in the past two hundred years when someone has said that America's political system will lead to its collapse as a democracy. Certainly that's not an argument that's been used over and over again in the past, only to be proven wrong.

              Could our elections be done differently? Yes. I'd even support changes like instant run-off voting and greater proportional representation. But just because there's a better way to do things doesn't mean that the current way of doing things is going to doom us to collapse. I'm even willing to entertain that, in the long run, we'd be better of switching to a parliamentary, rather than a presidential, system. Even though chances of that ever happening are absolutely nil.

              But, there have been other times in the past 200 years when big money has had too much control over the government, when the country's institutions have governed for the elite at the expense of regular people, and when the executive has gained too much power. The system has always, eventually, found ways to correct itself in those cases. To say that we won't correct ourselves this time is alarmist, and totally ignores the political cycles of 200 years of history.

              In any event, nothing you've said has changed my mind that the Greens ought to be treated differently than any other party. When we reviewed their ballots in 2006, many of the signatures were obvious fakes. Signatures they turned in included names like "Jesus Christ," and "Terri Shivo."

              Why should they be held to a different standard? Any Democrat or Republican who tried to turn in petitions like that would be laughed out of the state.

              •  Present-day ecological crisis IS new (0+ / 0-)

                ...in the past two hundred years when someone has said that America's political system will lead to its collapse as a democracy. Certainly that's not an argument that's been used over and over again in the past, only to be proven wrong.

                Spare us all the sarcasm.  Go back to your history books and find a prior era when the world's climate was as endangered as it is now by the threat of global warming, or when the world's economy was threatened by the potential extinction of oil reserves, as it is now.

                reduce, reuse, recycle

                by Cassiodorus on Wed Jan 31, 2007 at 11:16:11 PM PST

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