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A poll worker hands a sticker to a voter at a polling place in Charlotte, North Carolina October 27, 2012. REUTERS/Chris Keane
The crocodile tears are flowing at Politico where right-wing law prof Eugene Kontorovich tries to make the case for why early voting is a bad thing:
A single Election Day creates a focal point that gives solemnity and relevance to the state of popular opinion at a particular moment in time; on a single day, we all have to come down on one side or the other. But if the word “election” comes to mean casting votes over a period of months, it will elide the difference between elections and polls. People will be able to vote when the mood strikes them — after seeing an inflammatory ad, for example.

Voting then becomes an incoherent summing of how various individuals feel at a series of moments, not how the nation feels at a particular moment. This weakens civic cohesiveness, and it threatens to substitute raw preferences and momentary opinion for rational deliberation.

Because right-wingers value nothing more than civic cohesiveness and rational least when it means being able to corral voters into a single workday when their votes can most easily be denied, delayed and  frustrated by impossibly long lines, specious challenges and insufficient ballots.

More below the fold.

But Kontorovich, a Federalist Society darling and blogger at Volokh Conspiracy, really shows his concerns in his promo piece at the Washington Post, where he slippery-slopes from a little early voting to the techno-horror prospect of chips implanted into our brains, constantly sampling our thoughts:

The advantage of early voting is making access easier. In the future, however, there may be no need for early voting – everyone will participate in all decisions all the time. The excellent Welsh science fiction writer Alastair Reynolds has a series of novels involving a society of Demarchists where the nanocircuitry that will inevitably be in everyone’s head constantly polls everyone about every decision and aggregates the results.

Policies are set by this constant neural vote – no lines at the polling place. Constant voting leads to pretty good decisions in Reynolds’ world.

Robert Wilson introduces a twist on this in the novel Vortex, with a world populated by “cortical democracies” and “limbic democracies.” The former, much like Reynolds’ Deamarchists, reach decisions by constant background polling of the reasoning areas of the brain. In the latter, the chips connect to the structures responsible for emotion – a constant vote on how you feel. The two factions are regularly at war.

Because government that operates according to the true will of the people is something to be feared, apparently.

Kontorovich and his fellow right-wingers often seem to act as if they think people can't be trusted with too much democracy.

It certainly is a strong theme in American neoconservatism from Leo Strauss onward that the people must constantly be tricked and lied to and led on like children, by leaders who really know what's best for them whether they like it or not.

Of course, he means to make the very idea of direct democracy something frightening and disastrous, with chips in our heads and mobs engaged in endless pointless conflict.

Personally, I think part of the problem with democratic governance right now is that we are on the cusp of being able to move beyond the highly imperfect system of representative democracy we have now. More people are more highly educated than they ever have been before. They have more access to more information than they have ever had before. They have the technological tools to get what they want and do what they want in so many more areas than they have ever had before. They see the short-sightedness and self-interest of those who've clawed their way to the top positions of "leadership."

Small societies have been able to govern themselves with direct democracy—people voting directly on policy initiatives—but larger and more complex societies have had to make do with the compromise that is representative democracy, electing people who you hope will make the choices you want to see made.

Technology may change that, sooner or later, if it's allowed to. And it won't require chips in our heads. Just voting on significant issues which our public servants will then serve us by carrying out. Goodbye then to drug wars and corporate-written trade deals and cuts to the social safety net and sweetheart tax deals with wealthy campaign donors and wars of choice with nations who haven't attacked us.

I may be an optimist, but I look forward to that day.

In the meanwhile, we'll have to make do with expanding early voting and pushing back on reactionaries like Kontorovich who are so, so concerned about damaging civic cohesiveness by giving people the opportunity for too damn much democracy.

Originally posted to Th0rn on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 07:50 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I Came Here For an Argument (44+ / 0-)
    A single Election Day creates a focal point that gives solemnity and relevance to the state of popular opinion at a particular moment in time; on a single day, we all have to come down on one side or the other.
    Thank you for introducing the bill making election day a national holiday in which all Americans by law are granted all the time off work or school needed to vote. I also wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
    But if the word “election” comes to mean casting votes over a period of months.... People will be able to vote when the mood strikes them — after seeing an inflammatory ad, for example.
    Not to worry: Citizens United means nobody going to the polls even on your One True Election Day will ever again be able to do so without having just seen an inflammatory ad.
    Voting then becomes an incoherent summing of how various individuals feel at a series of moments, not how the nation feels at a particular moment..... and it threatens to substitute raw preferences and momentary opinion for rational deliberation.
    As the lawyers say, res ipsa loquitur.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 08:04:38 PM PST

    •  What bothered me (32+ / 0-)

      about this twerp is how Politico and Wapo both fail to point out his ideological background. They publish his disingenuous arguments as if this is just some normal respectable legal scholar pointing out the dangers of early voting so that we won't fall into its unseen pitfalls. It got my goat.

      •  Why would biased news orgs... (0+ / 0-)

        Not be biased in how they present articles?

        Workers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your shackles. It is by the picket line and direct action that true freedom will be won, not by electing people who promise to screw us less than the other guy.

        by rhonan on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 08:47:48 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, sorry, this is abuse. (6+ / 0-)

      Please know I am not rude. I cannot rec anything from this browser. When I rec or post diaries I am a guest at some exotic locale's computer. Ayn is the bane!

      by Floyd Blue on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 09:03:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  As someone who (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        worked her ass into the ground for my degrees, you are not abusive. You are springing to the defense of hard won expertise over unaccredited blatherings.

        Thank you, gentle sir.

        Joy shared is doubled. Pain shared is halved. Spider Robinson

        by nolagrl on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:31:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  No you didn't. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JrCrone, happymisanthropy

      Please know I am not rude. I cannot rec anything from this browser. When I rec or post diaries I am a guest at some exotic locale's computer. Ayn is the bane!

      by Floyd Blue on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 09:03:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Then absentee ballots need to go, too. (13+ / 0-)

      After all, absentee voters fill out their ballots weeks earlier, and mail them in to be counted on election day. What's the difference between that and early voting.

      Find out about my next big thing by reading my blog. Link is here:

      by Kimball Cross on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 10:56:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  When I worked briefly (15+ / 0-)

      for Underwriters Laboratories, Presidential Election Day was a paid company-wide holiday; all the US facilities shut down to give employees the opportunity to vote. I thought that was really cool.

      Wonder how this guy feels about voting by mail as practiced by the state of Oregon and other areas? Or permanent absentee ballots for those unable to get to traditional polling places due to age or infirmity?

      We should be making it easier for people to participate in the election process, not setting up artificial roadblocks such as requiring them to show up at a polling place on a particular date. What about firefighters who might be on duty and who can't get to their home polling place?

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 01:50:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Feel, don't think! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Smarmy may be the word I'm searching for about his tender regard for the sacred duty of voting.  

      I will, however, agree with him that brain chips are in our near future.  A smartphone that you can't lose, is waterproof and makes secrets needless.   To would-be lords and kings, that is their greatest fear.  No intermediary to 'interpret' the secret Sacred Words of the ( your favorite written document here) to the ignorant masses.  

      Hal2000 was always a paranoid fantasy.   Spider Robinson, in one of the later Callahan's Crosstime Saloon books (read them. You'll thank me.) reads the riot act on computers 'gone bad.'  

      Anyway, it's too late.  Anyone under 30 is a cyborg assisted telepath.  We ARE all here to get telepathic together.

      And did anyone else notice the C-in-C castrate the entire JCS in public?  Before taking away their control over defense contracts and demonstrating that the troops are loyal the THEIR oaths.  Unlike their generals.

      Joy shared is doubled. Pain shared is halved. Spider Robinson

      by nolagrl on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:26:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Kontorovich doesn't know simple history (6+ / 0-)
      But if the word “election” comes to mean casting votes over a period of months, it will elide the difference between elections and polls.
      Like it did in 1804:
      Since fall travel to the polls often proved difficult over primitive roads, the election season was extended from Friday, Nov. 2 to Wednesday, Dec. 5.
      Now, let's all denigrate Jefferson's election as being really a pseudopoll lasting more than a month!

      Oh, Politico. You silly thing.

      "Homeless veteran" should be an oxymoron.
      "Please know that I accept you and yours with no need for explanation of [any] kind." -Translator

      by iampunha on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 04:39:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  1804 Election Fraud by Thos Jefferson (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dconrad, Arctic Belle

        in that one month election season, a farmer landowner could have been falsely influenced by his neighbor's claim, or one of those hot head newspapers pasted to the side of the country store, what horrors!  Surely the Founding Fathers never intended this!  Oh, wait, Jefferson was a Founding Father.  Drat.

        "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of the United States of America -9.75 -6.87

        by Uncle Moji on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 08:16:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not Newspapers, Broadsheets n/t (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Uncle Moji

          We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

          by dconrad on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 03:42:45 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  The more interesting fraud around then, to me, (0+ / 0-)

          is by people pretending to be women and black people in New Jersey so they could stuff the ballot box. Fascinating stuff.

          "Homeless veteran" should be an oxymoron.
          "Please know that I accept you and yours with no need for explanation of [any] kind." -Translator

          by iampunha on Sat Feb 01, 2014 at 06:12:16 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Election Fraud (0+ / 0-)

          I wonder how it works when a person owns property in two states.  Sure, they need to proclaim only one as a primary residence, but it seems there's a much greater opportunity for voter fraud in that instance - voting by absentee in one state and going to the ballot box in another.

          "The French have no word for entrepreneur!" G. W. Bush

          by bbuudd on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 10:27:12 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  THE NEW DEMOCRACY (0+ / 0-)

      What seems to  be possible now is a state where the decisions are constantly voted on & made by advanced technology. America made it's mark as the prototype of the revival of Classic Greek Athenian style representative government. Of course now our concept has been developed & tweaked by other, more sophisticated society's to the point that our government seems a bit undemocratic & even quaint. The concept is just as often Mocked by corrupt little Third World Dictatorships. Just because we were the first doesn't mean we are the best. BELIEF in our government is the energy that makes our way The American Way. If I may say so this latest challenge by the Ultra Rich is the ultimate cynical response. These people at heart do NOT believe in our nation. They wish to convert our government to a shell, as Russia's government was for decades. They want the world's biggest Banana Republic with them calling the shots  but retaining the Constitution as a shell. Will they win? Who will be the country to advance the concept of Democracy to the next, higher level that technology promises is possible? I don't think it will be America; We have already lost so much more than our Middle Class in the last few decades. I think we have lost the lead, the moral high ground & other things that can't even be defined. It's really kind of pitiful.

      •  FURTHER THOUGHTS (0+ / 0-)

        To prevent government by mob we might have an Electronic Republic where the Representatives have a formal electronic link to their constituents. There would be a sort of ongoing citizen's caucus with your representative who would be bound to take comments & mini votes on matters of importance & then even more formal votes on important questions. He or she would then be bound to advance the results of that constant dialog to the legislature (with the threat of recall if he/she constantly refuses to do so). With safeguards against sock puppets & paid shills dominating the conversation & of course multiple or fraudulent votes it would serve to bolster citizen involvement by making it constantly available & convenient. The network of activist groups which both sides have spontaneously formed on the internet recently for petitions & fund raising is a possible forerunner of this which seems to be bringing itself into being. A remarkable number & variety of sources Email me every day to ask my aid in petitioning government & informing me of causes & news which advance the political dialog. The Cristie Scandals were in my inbox two full days before the media took them up. Might be that the future is taking shape even now.

  •  I've always seen the internet (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mookins, Skyye

    as the eventual catalyst that leads to a system where we can all cast a vote on all laws, and do away with politicians, if not ceremonially then at least functionally.

    "In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.” -Confucius

    by pierre9045 on Wed Jan 29, 2014 at 09:40:48 PM PST

    •  Be careful what you wish for (6+ / 0-)

      California is a prime example of what happens when people (actually corporations) can do an end around and skip the legislative process.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 01:54:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  California is better because of it (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rabel, nocynicism

        Yes some corportations have gotten some stuff passed, but they would have gotten much more passed if we only had the (corporate controlled) legistators.  And occasionally we get some religious group sneak something by us (Prop 8), but fortunately the courts can be a balancing act (Prop 8 was overturned).

        But overall, we have done better with the public voting instead of the legislators. We got Medicinal Marijuana passed way back in 1996, and several injustices done by older laws. In fact, last year, we even had tax increases voted in by the public.

        Like Bill Maher said, we got rid of our Republicans and now we are much better off.  

      •  Constant Headache (0+ / 0-)

        It is kind of true. Lately in CA the Ultra Rich have put radical, self serving measures on the ballot in a steady stream. They can pay petition signature pros to lurk outside all the Walmarts to trap the unwary into signing almost anything. Not so the real grassroots activists who have to volunteer their time.

  •  The problem with Direct Democracy (12+ / 0-)

    according to right-wingers like Kontorovich and plutocrats, once you sift pass the bullshit, is that they fear the people will seize power and do to elites what the elites have been constantly doing to the people. The Founding Fathers had the same "fear," which explains the mess we have now.

    •  Actually, they feared a "mobocracy".... (18+ / 0-)

      "the worst of all possible governments" as Samuel Chase put it.

      Of course, he said this in reference to the horror of Universal Suffrage for white men lol.

      But if you wanna understand what they were getting at, imagine a world where Jim Crow could only be undone via public referendum in The South. Yeah.

      Then again, you don't HAVE to imagine, because we've seen what's happened with referendums banning Same Sex Marriage. Even Coloradans couldn't resist that sweet siren song.

      Our experiment with "Popular Sovereignty" vis-a-vie Slavery is another good example of how this concept has the potential to go to hell on a speeding shit rocket.

      Goodbye to Corporate Influence? No, more like hello more Bread and Circuses. "HEY FOLKS! HERE'S A GALLON OF FREE GAS! DON'T FORGET TO VOTE FOR THE OIL SUBSIDY REFERENDUM!"

      The phrase also implies the erosion or ignorance of civic duty amongst the concerns of the commoner.

      Yeah. Direct Democracy is utterly worthless if the masses voting are ignorant and stupid.

      Not that I have any sort of starry-eyed adulation for our current system. I'm just sayin' w/ my contrarian ass lol.

      "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

      by TheHalfrican on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 02:23:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Another example--California's debt crisis (6+ / 0-)

        was fueled in large part by referenda that slashed revenue plus other referenda that required spending. And somewhere in there I think there might have been one to require a 2/3rds vote in the legislature to raise taxes--and of course the cute  one that banned same-sex marriage--fortunately elected officials and the federal judiciary managed to clean up that mess.

        Actually, it's funny to hear liberals going on about the beauty of direct democracy at the same time they herald the power of the federal courts to decide right from wrong....

        "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

        by Alice in Florida on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 06:36:43 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  This example proves the point. (0+ / 0-)

          "And somewhere in there I think there might have been one to require a 2/3rds vote"

          The problem California had insofar as tax revenue was concerned was exactly that it moved further away from direct democracy. Not only were these decisions left up to representatives, they had to be determined by a super majority of them. You are left to conclude with this example that the problem with direct democracy is that the people may stupidly vote to give it up.

          Prop 8 is a tragic example. On the other hand, Californians are now 60% in favor 34% opposed to legalizing same-sex marriage.

          "beauty of direct democracy at the same time they herald the power of the federal courts to decide right from wrong...."

          You leave out the fact that we don't have a direct democracy, we are pretty far from it. Even in the case of the courts repealing a State Proposition passed by the voters, we are talking about something that didn't get the majority of the votes from eligible voters.

          If you are talking about a federal law, then the courts overturning such a law is simply the courts fixing an error of *in*direct democracy.

          •  Why Direct Democracy Isn't Rational! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            [...] we are talking about something that didn't get the majority of the votes from eligible voters.
            This highlights the impossibility of a direct democracy in any government entity with the population of all but (perhaps) the lowest population states.

            In a state with the population of California, it's just not rational for a voter to become truly educated in even one proposition on each ballot now because their vote is so insignificant when diluted by the 18M registered voters, let alone the 24M eligible voters.

            Consider, for example, if every registered voter voted on a measure. Suppose there was a measure that a particular voter felt strongly about, but would not quite quit their job (if any), abandon their family and friends, and devote their entire life to for ten years if that would allow them to make the decision on their own. Let's define "entire life" as 365 days a year, 15 hours a day (one needs to eat, sleep and, perhaps, bathe). Thus, this ten year commitment that they would not quite be ready to make corresponds to 3,287,250 minutes of effort. Taking this effort as their threshold (although their threshold is actually somewhat less of course) for 100% control of the outcome, what is the maximum rational effort they would take to have a 1/18,000,000th of control of the outcome? Of course, the answer is 3,287,250/18,000,000 = 0.18 minutes (i.e., 11 seconds). Since there's probably never been a proposition in the last ten years that anyone could actually read the full text (let alone understand it) in 11 seconds, voting on propositions is irrational unless you would more than sacrifice your life if that would give you 100% control (if one was on the cusp of being willing to do that but wasn't quite willing to do that for some measure, it would be irrational of them to spend more than about 93 seconds on understanding and voting on the measure if one assumes a lifespan of 85 years).

            Of course, political junkies (i.e., political hobbyists) may act irrationally for fun - much as a recreational chess player plays because they enjoy the game rather than because they actually receive tangible net gains from doing so.

            In addition, governments promulgate so many laws now that the most intelligent and engaged person can't possibly understand every one of them, let alone evaluate all those that are proposed. There just are not enough hours in the day even if one didn't have to sleep and eat.

            •  This is actually a good point (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              and a very good reason against direct democracy. I would say, however, that it is very different from the criticisms given so far of direct democracy. It is more a matter of practicality, than it is basically an accusation that the masses are inherently evil and would vote to oppress each other.

              In fact, I find that criticism quite ironic. It is perhaps a fatal flaw that in a direct democracy, people could vote to install a dictator, for example. On the other hand, this criticism concedes that a bad state of affairs is when you have less direct democracy. In other words, it seems ironic to say that the optimal government is exactly one where we have already declared the people to have voted themselves away from a direct democracy.

              I will however say, and you will probably agree, that if we were to design a government which tried to preserve the essential fairness of a direct democracy, while compromising for the fact that the people cannot possibly vote directly for every proposition, the outcome system of government would still look far faaar different from what the United States looks like.

        •  that was (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Prop13. Which was a crappy proposition from the start. (There was a better one on the same ballot, but it didn't have the big bucks behind it.)
          We're still stuck with the @#$%^&* super-majority, but it's been eliminated for some purposes.

          (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

          by PJEvans on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:29:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes. Our "friend" Prop. 13 (0+ / 0-)

            which was supposed to keep our Senior citizens in their homes during times of home and tax inflation.

            Well, what went under the radar was that the biggest beneficiaries of Prop. 13 were business property owners.

            What amazes me here in California, specifically in San Francisco, is that we have these insanely expensive housing properties, and property taxes. And yet public education goes begging, in essence.

            Where'd this enormous mass of money (that was ear-marked for education) go?

            Darling, you didn't use canned salmon, did you?

            by JrCrone on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 08:00:27 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  TRUE (0+ / 0-)

              Business was the main beneficiary and this has been perpetuated even though it should have been fixed decades ago. It has kept the homeowners from being run out of their homes by constant re appraisals but business property owners have used it to take themselves off the tax rolls. It passed because arbitrary re appraisals were causing a regular holocaust among retirees. I was in Santa Barbara at the time & it was a slaughterhouse.

      •  Yeah, but why? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Why did the Founders fear "mobocracy?" I mean, what evidence did they have that direct democracy would actually lead to "mob rule" followed by all the claimed doom and gloom? What research did they have? What polling data did they have as to how people would behave? Did they even have any historical examples?

        No, they had none of this. Once you sifted past their bullshit, the Founder's arguments against direct democracy amounted to nothing more than psychological projection, arguing that the people would behave with as much greed and lust for power as they did.

        The more cynical amongst the Founders argued against giving power to the people because they recognized the people would do with it what they have always wanted to do with it: use it to ensure wealth is more fairly distributed. According to the Founders this was bad because the supposedly learned wealthy elites knew better what to do with power and wealth. Well, they were wrong. It is quit telling though, those that argued most vociferously against direct democracy, or giving more power to the people in general, always had the most to lose by doing so.

        "imagine a world where Jim Crow could only be undone via public referendum in The South."

        ...or what if the North could vote on it as well?

        I think this is largely besides the point, because Jim Crow was decidedly not the result of direct democracy. In fact, the whole point of Jim Crow was to disenfranchise Southern Blacks, because allowing them to vote and take an equal part in the economy was to result in the end of White power structures. Jim Crow was exactly the bad result of undemocratic (State and local) governments, it is very ironic to use it as an example of how direct democracy would fail.

        "Our experiment with "Popular Sovereignty" vis-a-vie Slavery"

        Slavery persisted in the United States longer than it should have exactly because slave owners had disproportionate power in the government.

        "Goodbye to Corporate Influence? No, more like hello more Bread and Circuses."

        This is a good one, and it reminds me of a point Chomsky often makes. There is a reason Republicans promote State and local government control over federal government control. Republicans never actually argue for giving more power to the people. The reason is that it takes a pretty large corporation to push the Federal government around. Think of something on the level of G.E. or General Motors.

        On the other hand, State governments can be bought pretty cheaply. Indeed, the Connecticut State government is pretty much owned by a few insurance companies, up to the point that they owned their own Senator. Should I mention again that Lieberman is the sole reason why we have Obamacare, instead of something like the Public Option?

        My point, in a country of nearly 400 million, that is a lot of bread and circuses to buy. With this in mind, Senators come relatively cheap.

        "Direct Democracy is utterly worthless if the masses voting are ignorant and stupid."

        But why are they ignorant and stupid? Largely because they know that in our current political system, it is worthless to be educated and informed. By design, it has become a self-fulfilling vicious circle. Elites set up a system where power funneled to the wealthy few, arguing that it is necessary because the masses are ignorant. The masses, even after much progress and fighting, see that power is still concentrated at the top, and so lose interest in the political process. The elites point to their disinterest as proof that they were right.

    •  ALL CIVILIZATIONS (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      All civilizations have their elite class. The Aristocracy, The Priesthood, The Robber Barons, The Commissars. Perhaps we can develop society's which can eliminate the privileged overlords forever; That would be real Human Progress.  

  •  Single Election Day (13+ / 0-)

    Has the most risk of being skewed by a contrived announcement.

    "A functioning Democracy must defy economic interests of the elites on behalf of citizens" Christopher Hedges Econ 3.50&Soc. 5.79

    by wmc418 on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 03:33:27 AM PST

  •  The system the framers created was a feature not (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raincrow, PJEvans

    A bug.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 05:12:48 AM PST

  •  LOL! (11+ / 0-)
    the nanocircuitry that will inevitably be in everyone’s head
     Pfft. He is obviously unaware that tinfoil will prevent the government mind control rays from activating the chips.

    Is this guy really a law professor, at a real law school?

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 05:41:52 AM PST

  •  'A single voting day creates'... a bottleneck. The (17+ / 0-)

    current reality is that our election voting technology has not kept pace with the scores of millions of voters who wish to vote.

    No one should be kept waiting more than 15 minutes to vote, must less the 5-6 hours that we have seen in some states in some election districts.  

    Multi-day, multi-method (mail ballots) voting alleviates this problem.  Any thing else is an attempt to whitewash the efforts by some to deny citizens, or groups of citizens, their constitutional right to vote.

    To write a Republican Party talking point on a policy issue, any policy issue, all you need is: a noun, a verb, and 'Obamacare'.

    by MARTinNJ on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:11:38 AM PST

    •  No reason a week or a few weeks can't = a day (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      His stance that the one day of voting somehow makes it special could certainly be applied to a week of voting, or even a few weeks of voting - a voting "season" as it were. After all, most employees of large companies are used to have a 6-week period of "open enrollment" in which to make changes to their benefit selections; why should a national or local election be any different?

      A government that denies gay men the right to bridal registry is a fascist state - Margaret Cho

      by CPT Doom on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 12:57:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We know how the Federalist Society types... (11+ / 0-)

    ... are against mob rule, and the emotion of the moment, unless of course, the mob and emotions are on their side.

    Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

    by RhodeIslandAspie on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:14:04 AM PST

  •  Let's Make MLK Day = Voting Day (0+ / 0-)

    I was talking with my wife at the dinner table the day before the special Virginia State Senate election the next day, Tuesday. I had recently watched a clip from Bill Maher where Bill was asking such penetrating questions like:

    1. Why do we need two Dakotas?
    2. Why isn't voting day in America a holiday like it is in just about every other civilized (and some non-civilized) countries?

    I said to my wife -- OK, I can see where Loudoun County and Virginia have to follow the feds on national elections; but, for a special election like the one we're about to have, why not have it on a Saturday? What is so special about Tuesday?!

    Of course, the day before this special election was MLK day. And then, it hit me, an idea with which my wife actually agreed.

    Let's move the MLK holiday to the 1st Tuesday after the 1st Monday in November. In other words:

    MLK Day = Holiday = Voting Day
    I can think of no greater tribute to a man who fought for the rights of all of us.
  •  True will of the people (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MPociask, happymisanthropy
    government that operates according to the true will of the people is something to be feared apparently.
    Kontorovich and his fellow right-wingers often seem to act as if they think people can't be trusted with too much democracy.

    It certainly is a strong theme in American neoconservatism from Leo Strauss onward that the people must constantly be tricked and lied to and led on like children

    1) Actually, it is the Founders who articulated the case for a democratic republic in order to mitigate the well-known problems and deficiencies of democracies. Beyond that, there is a good deal that would need to be said about what constitutes "the true will of the people," how it might be determined, and what weight it ought to be given. Here, there is just a bit of rhetoric about fear and trust, but no acknowledgment that there even could be any sort of negative issue with pure democracy. This stands in need of support.

    2) I would be very interested to see where Leo Strauss ever said that people must be lied to and tricked like children. I teach political philosophy and have read a fair amount of Strauss's writing, and have yet to run across such a statement. Have you got a Strauss citation for your statement?

    •  As anyone (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Egalitare, stevemb

      who teaches political philosophy should know, Strauss argued that esoteric meanings are embedded in the writings of the classical philosophers. Only those initiated into their secret meanings can understand them properly though, because their true teachings must be kept from the masses. So you must know that Strauss would never come out directly and say such a thing as "people must be lied to and tricked like children." But it is between the lines of everything he wrote. Anyone who wants to become informed about him should start with his Persecution and the Art of Writing and then read him while keeping what he says there in mind. It becomes clear as can be what he's doing then - advancing the need to lie to and lead the masses without leaving the overt fingerprints you so innocently ask for.

      Or just read Shadia Drury's The Political Ideas of Leo Strauss or her Leo Strauss and the American Right.

      But something tells me you already know very well what he's all about.

      •  Seriously unpersuasive... (0+ / 0-)

        ...starting from the small truth that a very long line of philosophers from ancient to modern times, Plato to Nietzsche to Heidegger, understood as a matter of plain fact that there were esoteric and exoteric meanings aimed at different audiences for the same work. However, these so-called "secret meanings" had nothing to do with initiations or attempts to keep "true teachings" from the unworthy masses—we are talking about philosophy, not Rosicrucians and Dan Brown potboilers. Instead, Strauss and many others were very much aware of the difficulties attendant on needing to speak one's mind in places where doing so openly courted retaliation, anything from book bans to the gallows. Peasants with pitchforks, not so much.

        In any case, the "masses" are almost by definition both uninterested in philosophic matters and incapable of understanding them. This is just common sense, backed up by a glance at the sales figures for Harry Potter vs. copies of Al-farabi. But there is is no logic whatsoever that therefore concludes that the existence of levels of meaning and a restricted audience for subtlety constitute some kind of plot.

        So, your answer to my question is clear—you are unable to point to anything to back up your claim. What's most entertaining about your paranoic response (that's an interpretive, not a clinical verdict) is its perfectly absurd appeal to absolutely unverifiable hypothesis, e.g. lines that not only must be read between for meaning, but which are "everywhere" (thus conveniently relieving you of supplying particulars to demonstrate your assertion). Strauss, of course, set down rules for when one might reasonably suspect exoteric meanings, and then set out his rationales in scholarly detail.

        This is particularly entertaining because it is the classic rap against Strauss that he saw exotericism where none can be demonstrated. People like Drury (who is basically Dan Brown in drag, and simply not all that competent) want to argue that Strauss practiced some sui generis exotericism, yet simultaneously assert that the works he commented on cannot possibly be read along the same lines. Now, that's genuinely amusing.

        So, yes, I know very well what he's about. One of those things was his consistent insistence on a direct, unmediated attempt to understand a writer on his own terms, rather than putting some 3rd party between the reader and the text. You might consider losing the Drury and trying to work this stuff through yourself. But something tells me that you find it easier to rely on Drury's thinking instead of your own—a conclusion that took little reading between any lines.

        •  Alrighty then (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          You (a) asked for evidence you knew very well was not available in the form you asked for; (b) know very well the only way to deal with Strauss's approach is by close textual analysis of his close textual analysis, word by word, which ain't happening here; and (c) are a serious misogynist (the distinguished scholar Shadia Drury, member of the Royal Society of Canada, Canada's national society of arts and science, is "Dan Brown in drag").

          BTW I haven't read Drury myself, but have read quite a bit of Strauss. I recommend her work for those who just want a layman's introduction.

          For Strauss and his followers, ie the neoconservatives, the truth that is too dangerous to speak today is exactly the one we're talking about here - that democracy must be a sham, and the sheep must be kept ignorant and misdirected and carefully led. The lies they have to be fed are constant but the purpose behind them is "noble."

          So i get it - you're down with the whole pull-the-wool-over-the-eyes-of-the-masses thing.

          •  I get it (0+ / 0-)

            You got nothing, except hollow charges of misogyny and a recommendation of stuff you haven't read (really?). You may have passed some Strauss before your eyes, but it doesn't seem that it could possibly get past your preconceptions about what it is Strauss must, must have had to say about democracy and sheep and stuff—not that you can even vaguely point to anything concrete. This is simply laughable. As for what you imagine I am down with, it seems there is no need to pull wool over the eyes of the self-blinded. And I think I will just bow out here—there is clearly little point to continuing.

    •  You are cordially invited to compose a diary (0+ / 0-)

      in which you take to task the left's perception of Strauss and Straussians. Feel free to include citations. If you want to waste your time, focus on esoterica like meanings hidden in the writings of classical philosophers. If you want to accomplish something, try to explain the relationship, or lack thereof, between the practical political philosophy of supposed Straussian devotees like Dick "So What" Cheney, and whatever theoretical political philosophy you infer from Strauss's own writings.

      Alternatively, of course, you could just troll around in other people's diaries.

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 08:02:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  case against early voting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    please let me put my boots on and give me a large shovel to work with.

  •  It's too bad we aren't all as intellkshul as this (5+ / 0-)

    guy, and we all can't write the blah blah blah like he kin.  If we could, and we were, we could mebbe be trustid to partissipayt in this heya democraseee.

    Please know I am not rude. I cannot rec anything from this browser. When I rec or post diaries I am a guest at some exotic locale's computer. Ayn is the bane!

    by Floyd Blue on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 09:04:56 AM PST

  •  so has this guy ever heard of primaries? (7+ / 0-)

    i mean, seriously, is he even aware that that's how we do elections in america, with primaries that stretch the election out over several months?

    freedom isn't free, but it isn't dumb either.

    by astro on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 09:24:55 AM PST

  •  This clown wants us to buy his magic beans? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PJEvans, JrCrone

    Voting the day/week before the standard election day causes social in-equilibrium?

    Horse shit!

    What are these liars going to pull out of their asses next time?

    "There are many truths of which the full meaning cannot be realized until personal experience has brought it home." John Stuart Mill

    by kuvasz on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 10:44:47 AM PST

  •  I like the chip idea... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, stevemb

    But implant  them in the politicians, wired to pain receptors throughout their bodies.  

    There was a science fiction story about this over 40 years ago.  The citizens all had little remotes that would stimulate the receptors in the politician's body that corresponded to the citizens district.  One or two people activating their remotes wouldn't be felt, but if a lot of the people triggered their remotes the politician would definitely wake up with their ass (or calf, or whatever) on fire.

    •  If We Had An Actual Lie Detector... (0+ / 0-)'d be amusing to have in employed in debates, perhaps with somebody who got caught too many times being dumped into a shark tank or something (although they'd probably arrange for budget cuts to replace it with a kiddie pool of snapping turtles).

      On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

      by stevemb on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 07:19:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The single voting day (0+ / 0-)

    is a necessary evil given the fiscal and technical restraints in which the system evolved.  That is it.  All this nonsense about solemnity (didn't even know that was a word, so at least that prof taught me something) and relevance is solipsistic bullshit.  There's no reason why today every voting jurisdiction couldn't migrate to a system in which voters could register and modify their choices year round, with decision locked in only at the completion of a cycle and a new round starting immediately thereafter.  

    •  Some people still do see Election Day (0+ / 0-)

      as a "solemn" event -- I'm married to one; he got it from his parents. When his father was still alive, we used to have election parties; we'd gather at the house, order in some good quality Chinese food and have dinner, then clear the table and everyone would break out their campaign literature (not just the ads, but newspaper editorials and the like; I'd bring diaries I printed out from DKos or info from other progressive blogs) and we'd hash out the candidates and issues, marking our sample ballots. (Afterwards we'd have the ceremonial recycling dump where we'd get rid of all the ads and such.)

      I'm not sure about modifying a decision year-round; that seems too open to hanky-panky. But there's no reason why you can't have a voting season of a week or a month in length.

      There's only one rule that I know of, babies -- goddammit, you've got to be kind. -- Kurt Vonnegut

      by Cali Scribe on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 02:07:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  A week, a month, at that point (0+ / 0-)

        it really doesn't matter how long you keep the polls open, provided you can afford it.  And we live in a day and age where the cost of affording everyone the right to vote any day in the cycle is downright negligible.  As for hanky panky, again there's not much exploit to gain from a year round opportunity than there is from say a day everyone knows is coming.

        While I'm glad you have fun with your vote, not everyone is interested or even able to make a holiday or ritual out of voting.  A good number of us see it as yet one more decision we frequently have to make in our lives, and we are deliberating hamstringing ourselves by insisting that said decision be made once in a cycle without much chance of reconsideration.

  •  Thanks for the diary. Where *do* they find these (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bluezen, happymisanthropy, Naniboujou


    These are people willing to twist reality into knots and turn it on its head, just to fit some party-line.

    I wonder what's worse: if this guy is a shill, or if he really believes in what he says.

    FWIW, I'm betting the former. He seems too smart not to know he's conning.

    •  the propaganda biz pays well. as bill o'reilly (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JrCrone, Egalitare, Assaf

      once said to jon stewart: assassins get paid a lot of money.

      The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness. ~ J.K. Galbraith

      by bluezen on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 04:35:27 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I thought they... (8+ / 0-)

    liked two day voting...Tuesday for Republicans, Wednesday for Democrats.

    "It's almost as if we're watching Mitt Romney on Safari in his own country." -- Jonathan Capeheart

    by JackND on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 02:17:38 PM PST

  •  Is voting a Right or a Privilege? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This is actually the core issue.  If we had a Constitutional Voting Rights Amendment that, among other things, stated "In the United States of America, Citizens are guaranteed the right to vote at age 18" ... then the argument over when and where voting would take place would be eliminated, and officials would be obligated to accommodate voters, rather than having the luxury to disenfranchise them.

  •  That prof is spouting fatuous self-serving ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PJEvans, happymisanthropy, Naniboujou

    ... sociology. I worry what kind of law he is "teaching."

    2014 is HERE. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:18:14 PM PST

  •  The logical conclusion to his argument (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy that if we REALLY want to achieve the ultimate in "civic cohesiveness"...we should narrow the voting window down to a single one hour period on election day. Or no...make that a single MINUTE. THAT'S The Republican Dream.

    "Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous Communist plot we have ever had to face?" - General Jack D. Ripper

    by wilder5121 on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:20:42 PM PST

  •  It is true that if voting (0+ / 0-)

    were all on one day it would be more solemn. But since when is solemnity something we actually want in our lives? When it comes to elections wouldn't we rather have more people vote, even if they have to do so happily, versus having less people vote, solemnly?

  •  I can't speak for (0+ / 0-)

    every state, but in Texas, early voting is less than a month long, and it's only at a limited number of precincts.
    I don't think early voting is going to make elections more than a month long - and even in Texas, it was still a polling place, not a celebration.

    This guy is out of his ever-lovin' mind.
    Bless his heart.

    (Is it time for the pitchforks and torches yet?)

    by PJEvans on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:22:00 PM PST

  •  That's some pathetic (il)logic. I might (0+ / 0-)

    agree to nix early voting, if it was part of a deal to get election day off of Tuesday and onto a weekend, with polls open 12 hours on both Saturday and Sunday.

    So I see only tatters of clearness through a pervading obscurity - Annie Dillard -6.88, -5.33

    by illinifan17 on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:23:41 PM PST

  •  such tortured logic (4+ / 0-)

    to try to justify a forgone conclusion based upon a lie.

    "Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government" T. Jefferson

    by azureblue on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:34:45 PM PST

  •  Huh. You'd think a law professor would know (0+ / 0-)

    that our election day isn't a national electoral event; it is 50 state elections that happen to all coincide with one another. Hence, the President being elected by the Electoral College, not a popular vote.

    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

    by bigtimecynic on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:35:31 PM PST

  •  "Solemnity and relevance" (5+ / 0-)

    Don't know how one measures "solemnity," but a vote is surely more relevant when as many citizens as possible are able to vote.  So, early voting wins.

    Voting then becomes an incoherent summing of how various individuals feel at a series of moments, not how the nation feels at a particular moment.
    Gosh, but what if someone might vote differently in the morning than after they saw an inflammatory ad in the afternoon?  Maybe the polls should only be open for 30 seconds!

    I shall die, but that is all that I shall do for Death; I am not on his payroll. - Edna St. Vincent Millay

    by Tara the Antisocial Social Worker on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:38:50 PM PST

  •  Derp: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VincaMajor, Egalitare, godlessmath, Th0rn

    The solemn pulse of the nation is taken on a workday when the working poor can't take time off to stand in long lines for the few polling machines in their underrepresented neighborhoods.  

    Life is good. Injustice? Not so much.

    by westyny on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:39:17 PM PST

    •  Although he did say this (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Egalitare, Naniboujou, westyny

      at the end of his article:

      "Moreover, there are other ways of achieving some of the benefits of early voting, such as old-fashioned absentee ballots or setting up more polling places. Even a limited few-days-early voting period could convey most of the advantages of the practice while limiting the most severe democratic costs."

      It was buried at the end, so he's not advocating for this.
      Sounds more like a weak attempt not to appear to have partisan intent.

    •  There was an original practical reason for this. (0+ / 0-)

      Farmers had to ride into town perhaps one weekend a month for supplies: Saturday to ride in, Sunday to go to church, Monday to buy supplies (perhaps by selling some produce or livestock), Tuesday to ride home.  On the weeks with elections, they stayed in town Tuesday to vote, then rode home on Wednesday.

      In the days before corporate ownership and rules, most people's working hours were flexible (and towns were too small to make voting a long errand away from work).  A storekeeper who wouldn't let his staff take an hour to vote would be considered not a good citizen, and lose business.  Corporations don't care about this, of course.

      Registration was originally required before EACH election, and it was a way to keep black people from voting after emancipation.  For rural black farm workers, going into town and coming anywhere NEAR the courthouse was very intimidating.  But unless you showed up at the courthouse at least 30 days before every election, but after the last one, you wouldn't be able to vote.  White citizens had no problem with that, and they even got help from sheriffs and other authorities so as not to forget to register and vote.  Black citizens were too afraid of the courthouse (and nobody reminded them of the date, either), so when election day came, they were told they couldn't vote because they didn't register.

      Today, registration is maintained automatically until a voter missing an election, but states which do not want everyone to vote still have a problem with election day registration, even though residence addresses can be verified instantly online.  And a low tech procedure can prevent double voting: a purple thumb like they use in newly democratizing third world nations.

      My proposal would be a full week of elections with polls open 12 hours a day, but different hours on each day, so you could vote any hour out of 24 on at least one day of the election week.  Or maybe month.  The thumb dye would only be good for one day, but in 24 hours the online database would be updated to show you had already voted.

  •  I am not disabled or elderly (just old) (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LeftCoastTom, JrCrone, Naniboujou

    and I have a permanent absentee ballot. I haven't been to a polling place in years. When I lived in Oregon, I'm not even sure there was a polling place (all voting is by mail-in ballot).

    However, even in CA, if you want to go to a polling place, you can turn in your absentee ballot at the county recorder (or designated election person's office) and save yourself a couple of stamps.

    I happened to be in Martinez (county seat) and walked the three blocks to the Election Office/County Recorder's office and put my ballot into the designated ballot box.

    I even got a little sticker to wear that said "I voted". Neat!

    I reject your reality and substitute my own - Adam Savage

    by woolibaar on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:40:05 PM PST

  •  Ok, if no early voting... (3+ / 0-)

    Then make it a requirement that the maximum wait time to vote is under 15 minutes.  Do we have a deal, conservatives?  Go have the State buy all those extra voting machines and have them lined up and ready.  Budget for that eventuality.  OR, you know, let people spread that voting out over a longer period of time and save the money for something else.  Or, if there are long lines, mandate that machines must be re-allocated each year to obtain an average wait time across all jurisdictions.  I live in a predominantly black area and until moving here, I never had to wait longer than 10 minutes to vote in ANY election.  Even presidential years.  

    I went into science for the money and the sex. Imagine my surprise.

    by Mote Dai on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:43:45 PM PST

  •  Was this idiot born yesterday? (0+ / 0-)
    A single Election Day creates a focal point that gives solemnity and relevance to the state of popular opinion at a particular moment in time; on a single day, we all have to come down on one side or the other.
    Well, as a Californian who's been registered Permanent No-Excuse Absentee for, maybe a decade or so now...and looking at Oregon where voting has been only by mail for some time...and I'm sure Washington fits into one of those two categories but just can't be arsed to look it up now...this guy sounds like a fucking idiot.

    Who the hell pays people to write about stuff that hasn't been relevant for at least a decade?

  •  Is this the best they have? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    beauchapeau, Naniboujou

    Science-fiction novels and the influence of campaign ads on fragile minds? These are legitimate reasons to ban early voting?

    You'd think the author would slip a Benghazi reference in there somewhere. I guess he's not even trying.

    Here's a rebuttal argument:

    "Early voting makes democracy accessible to more people."

    Done. And I didn't even need to quote Isaac Asimov or H.P. Lovecraft.

    We don't see things as they are; we see things as we are.

    by EighteenCharacters on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:50:12 PM PST

  •  Kontorovich really needs (0+ / 0-)

    to go out on a date, have a fun conversation, maybe shoot a little pool instead of spending all his time reading dystopian science fiction novels.

    Speaking of elision, HOLY CATS! How do you get from having the opportunity to vote early (because, you know, disability, not scheduled to be in town during the day of national cohesiveness, work schedules not coinciding with polling times....) to having nanotransmitters implanted in your noggin?

    Interesting. I bet he didn't cite Orwell or Huxley, did he? Nope. And Nope.

    No matter. Perhaps as a substitute for everyone having to stand in line (if they are allowed to do so) at the exact same time, perhaps Professor Kontorovich would accept a giant parade of weapons of mass destruction and tools of mass surveillance down every main drag in the Nation instead?

    Wait. Maybe I should just get this dude together with Jaron Lanier and they could play Virtual Valerie together instead.

    Darling, you didn't use canned salmon, did you?

    by JrCrone on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:51:41 PM PST

  •  People like this are so twisted I don't (0+ / 0-)

    know how they can stand up and walk.

    Fight them to the end, until the children of the poor eat better than the dogs of the rich.

    by raincrow on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:51:43 PM PST

  •  "Monsters from the Id!" (0+ / 0-)

    See the '50s scifi flick Forbidden Planet for the downside of this technology.

    Could we dream up anything worse than what we've elected to date?

    My δόγμα ate my Σ

    by jubal8 on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:53:50 PM PST

  •  Solemnity is the luxurious privilege of the (4+ / 0-)

    monied classes.

    The rest of us need to get things done.

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 07:57:56 PM PST

  •  He wants to force campaigns to stop before (3+ / 0-)

    election day, right?

    No? He didn't argue that?

    Because if somebody will get stirred up by an ad or rally and then vote, and if that's a bad thing, then we should, by law, force all campaigning to cease a few days before election day to let things simmer, right?

    What a fool.

  •  That's it? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    That's all he's got? Some feeble notion about "solemnity" on election day and the evil influence of advertising? That's his argument?

    He must have gotten his law degree from a crackerjack box. He's going to have to work a lot harder at spewing vast loads of random bullshit like the guy Rachel Maddow interviewed, or learn to threaten reporters if he has any hope of keeping his phony baloney job. His argument is laughable, and I don't imagine the people who pay his bills are looking to be laughed at.

    •  Maybe he's gunning for (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      George Will's job?

      Darling, you didn't use canned salmon, did you?

      by JrCrone on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 08:25:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Tell us how you REALLY feel. (0+ / 0-)

        I mean, to suggest that someone would be gunning for G. Willy's job has got to be one of the best insults I've heard in a while.  GW simply twists and contorts the English language in such oddball ways.  I may be wrong, but it seems all he's truly interested in is to give the impression he's an intellectual in actuality.  But, whenever I take a deep breath and slog through his tripe, I realize - once again - his lone brain cell is very lonesome.

        "The French have no word for entrepreneur!" G. W. Bush

        by bbuudd on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 10:53:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Direct democracy is a terrible idea (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The Greeks learned this over Salamis .

    The town of Salamis rebelled; the Athenian Senate, pissed off and angry because minor rebellions were happening all over the place, and riled up by a powerful demagogic speech, voted to raze the town and sell its inhabitants into slavery. By Athenian rules issues could only be debated for one day, so at the end of the day they dispatched a trireme with the terrible order.

    The next day they came to their senses and voted for a far more appropriate punishment. They then dispatched a 2nd trireme to try and catch the first. In classic Hollywood fashion the second boat got there just in the nick of time - as the first boat was reading out the orders (hey it wasn't a cliche back then!).

    After this the Greeks realized that passion and voting didn't mix, and that their system needed some kind of filtering. This is the reason we have a House and a Senate.

    As imperfect as our system is, it's actually pretty well researched and tried and tested. All we need to do is to have only public financing for elections. And mandatory voting - a great idea from Australia.

    •  Vietnam War (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Consider your example more carefully, because the end result was that direct democracy did get it right, and it didn't take long for them to realize that they had erred.

      On the other hand, we could study the Vietnam War to see if our system did any better. Well no it didn't, our elected leaders clung on to it far after popular support tanked.

      It seems the Greeks, along with the rest of us, learned the wrong lesson here. The fact that it was a public decision in fact meant that once heads cooled down, it could be overturned. Now imagine the fate of the Salamis was delegated to some hot-head who once pissed stayed pissed for 48 hours. (We actually don't need to imagine this, history is littered with examples.)

      Direct democracy may not be optimal, but insofar as our system was tried and tested, it was done so for one reason: to maintain elite power structures.

  •  OK. Make Election Day a mandatory, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, Naniboujou

    paid day off. How does that sound?

  •  Single Day? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, dconrad

    OK, conservative whack job.

    Then make the day a National Holiday, and voting a national requirement of all citizens.

    Try that.

    Ugh. --UB.

    "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Randian Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of West Dakota!"

    by unclebucky on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 08:12:00 PM PST

  •  Wing nutty professor (4+ / 0-)

    Kontorovich says that:
    "A single Election Day creates a focal point...... But if the word “election” comes to mean casting votes over a period of months, it will elide the difference between elections and polls."

    Nonsense. Oregon has had vote-by-mail for years. You often get your ballot a month before election day. Plenty of time to research the candidates, call friends to ask what they know about this or that school board candidate. It makes for a thoughtful decision. We don't need no stinking focal point and we know the difference between elections and polls.

  •  "I Told You So" (0+ / 0-)

    - Immanuel Kant

  •  rationalization (0+ / 0-)

    right wingers know early voting (or anything that makes voting easier for more people) is bad for them so ... this is just an attempt at rationalizing being against it in terms that aren't obviously partisan (maybe this guy even fooled himself?)

  •  Anyway, we already HAVE (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, Inland

    a National Day of Cohesiveness.

    It's coming up on Sunday.

    Darling, you didn't use canned salmon, did you?

    by JrCrone on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 08:36:46 PM PST

  •  Dr. Kontorovich: why don't you give up you tenure (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Naniboujou, stevemb

    after all, it was granted rather early when compared to the vast extent of your career. If I may compare it to voting, it's as if the University gave you a way to stay permanently looong before all the relevant facts were in...

    Why would you choose to accept such a rush to premature judgement? Wasn't that unfair to other candidates for your position? Don't you believe in your own integrity?

    Doesn't this contradict the ironclad logic of your position on early voting? Isn't a tenure decision a form of voting held within an Academic Department? In fact I would point out that the vote to grant you tenure was even more rash and unsound- everyone was forced to vote early long before you stained your institution writing bullshit articles like the one mentioned in the diary.

  •  it's all good to go buy a gun and ammo (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Naniboujou, Th0rn

    RIGHT FREAKING NOW....but don't you dare try to vote when you've been perturbed.

    Wendy Davis, please.

    by tinfoilhat on Thu Jan 30, 2014 at 09:09:35 PM PST

  •  the total bullshit of this argument (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    if the word “election” comes to mean casting votes over a period of months,
    No extended  election period  goes beyond a few days in october- the phrase "period of months" is a strawman argument that shouldn't be published in a serious news outlet
  •  A right winger defending the indefensible... (0+ / 0-) there any other kind? There is always one rpwilling to defend the stupidest wingnut statement and position...

    Ideology first and foremost!

  •  Ha! I would love to see a word cloud generated by (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    brain-implanted chips constantly reading our thoughts.  I think among men it would be geared less towards electoral policy and more heavily weighted towards:

    Nice Butt

    Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

    by bigtimecynic on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 05:39:40 AM PST

  •  What a crock of shit. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Here is how voting needs to work: Voting starts on the first of the month, and ends on the last day of the month. There is no such thing as registering to vote, because if you have a SS# (or better yet, a national ID, but that's a different topic), you're a voter. Because Everyone should be able to, and absolutely Should, vote. If you are a citizen, you are a voter.

    We should have multiple ways to submit our vote: online, automated phone service, by mail, and in person. And with 30 days in which to vote, and then another 30 to tally the votes, the system would lose its crazed urgency, counts could be fairer, and the ridiculousness of 6-10 hour waits would be a thing of the past.

    I do not believe in big government, or small government. I believe in good government.

    by xenothaulus on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 08:01:23 AM PST

  •  As usual, (0+ / 0-)

    A right-winger votes in favor of symbolism over reality.

    A single Election Day creates a focal point that gives solemnity and relevance to the state of popular opinion at a particular moment in time; on a single day, we all have to come down on one side or the other.
    Hey - would you rather feel cuddly, or get the task done? (That's a rhetorical question, of course.  While wingers go on and on about hard work, they are rarely actually in favor of doing it.)

    And by the way, Reynolds is not that big a deal as a writer.

    I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

    by trumpeter on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 08:04:39 AM PST

  •  Oh How Wrong I Was (0+ / 0-)

    I honestly believed I couldn't find anything less connected to reality above the fold but what came below the fold proved me wrong. I cannot believe anyone would even try to pass off that kind of insanity let alone someone publish it.

    Collect Different Days

    by Homers24 on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 08:16:20 AM PST

  •  This quote here kills me: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    on a single day, we all have to come down on one side or the other.
    Yeah, voting or keeping your job.  Voting or caring for your kids.  

    Most republicans just admit that they want to narrow voters to those people who are able to take the day off.  They don't put it in terms of people with good jobs vs bad jobs; they talk about making a sacrifice as a hurdle to qualify as a voter.

    Of course, there's no hurdles for republican demographics.

    The dossier on my DKos activities during the Bush administration will be presented on February 3, 2014.

    by Inland on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 08:37:28 AM PST

  •  Strange Contradictions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I am so far left I wrap around onto the extreme right at times (raised in a 'good' Trotskyite family) . Please note that good ol' Ultra Liberal NY has NO early voting - absentee ballots require at least a farcical excuse for one's pending absence. Also recently, gun toting Red states like Tennessee introduced legislation to allow bringing guns into establishments that serve alcohol !!!  Clarksville downtown businesses (surely not leftists) retaliated by posting signs in every window WARNING that anyone bringing a gun into their establishment would be prosecuted for trespassing - VIOLATING their right for how they wish to run their PRIVATE business !!!  Meanwhile I checked my county's and  NYState's Pistol Permit bureau and found that my memory as a 35 year pistol permitted supporter of the Black Panthers is correct. In NY one always had the right to bring a properly permitted hand gun into any bar - it is NOT recommended and must be concealed unless a law enforcement person BUT ???

    What should and must happen is that the underclass who is being excluded from easy voting must STAND UP and demand voting rights -
    demanding voting access and registration ease to be comparable to  gun access and obtainment ease. OR guns should be registered and controlled and restricted even more stringently than voting.  Makes sense - too bad most political posturing is irrational and inconsistent.

    I betcha a whole gang of Black Panthers and sympathizers waving guns around at a demonstration like those dirt bag Tea Baggers do would create some attention - YO!

  •  My whole life (0+ / 0-)

    I have preferred to vote on Election Day because the later my vote, the more information it had behind it.  But you know what?  Voting early beats not voting all to heck.  I'm in an all-mail state and I'm fine with that.

  •  This is dog-whistle Nazism, pure and simple- (0+ / 0-)

    hear me out please, before Godwinning me with your mighty orange something. Ahem:

    This person, whoever he is, is pounding on FEELINGS as the thing that needs to be respected, counted, allowed to ripen at the same time, and (implicitly) triumph over REASON. This is exactly the same sort of thing Hitler said:
    "All great movements are popular movements. They are the volcanic eruptions of human passions and emotions, stirred into activity by the ruthless Goddess of Distress or by the torch of the spoken word cast into the midst of the people"
    "I use emotion for the many and reserve reason for the few"
    (Read more at Brainyquote)

    He wants a poll of "how the nation feels at a given moment". I submit that he wants the feelings at that moment to be cynically manipulated by the Far Right, fueled by the now-unchained wealth of the Koch Bros because of the Citizens United ruling.

    Cynical, ruthless, dishonest, these are the "tags" for Kontorovitch's piece.

  •  Eugene forgets one important thing... (0+ / 0-)

    This is the 21st century. Not everyone can physically go and vote on the same day, much less during the hours of 7AM and 7PM.

    Who are these people? They are people without transportation, they are the shift workers, they are 2 and 3-job workers, they are the people who have kids in day care and school, and most importantly, they are the people who hold marginal jobs at places where the "boss" will not allow them to go vote, even though it is the law. (these folks are not about to report the "boss" because they could lose their job in retaliation)

    What do all the above have in common? They are probably poor or resource-challenged, and of course...most of them are DEMOCRATS.

    Hmmmm...maybe Eugene knows EXACTLY what he's doing!

  •  Another example (0+ / 0-)

    of the endless stream of brain diarrhea which flows so freely from the new fascist minds of the far right.  Oh, if only they could forever install the bullet-proof system where-by only the Right people could vote!

    "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican."­ ~ H. L. Mencken  

  •  Voting (0+ / 0-)

    The Tea-Party Republicans will go all out to keep people from voting. As we have already seen, they will try any and all things to stop the vote. It is now number one on there list. Make no mistake about that. But this is a very dangerious game they are playing. Americans don't like that right watered down.

  •  A Modest Proposal (0+ / 0-)

    Wouldn't it give it much more solemnity and relevance to limit voting to a single hour of the day, so that it doesn't become an incoherent summing of how various individuals feel at a series of moments over the course of an entire day?

    Your vote must be cast between 6:00 and 7:00 AM on election day, or it doesn't count.

    We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

    by dconrad on Fri Jan 31, 2014 at 03:47:33 PM PST

  •  "period of months" just a lie (0+ / 0-)

    most early voting does not go beyond 30 days- if you have to lie to make a point maybe that point isn't worth making

  •  paraphrase (0+ / 0-)

    If I may paraphrase Herr Kontorovich: Bullshit bullshit bullshit, bullshitbullshit, Bullshit bullshit bullshit. Furthermore, bullshit and bullshit.

  •  I'd buy the solemnity of one day argument (0+ / 0-)

    if Republicans weren't always hell-bent on keeping so many people from voting on that one day!

  •  And we need a Constitutional right to vote (0+ / 0-)

    with a PROPERTY right associated with it.  That is, if the state denies a qualified citizen the ability to cast his or her ballot, the citizen can sue for MONETARY damages.  I think most people would feel they had been cheated out of, say ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS by being forced to miss an election.  If we got this idea enacted into law, right wing officials who want to stop people from voting would have to pay, from the STATE TREASURY, a penalty of $100 thousand dollars to each disenfranchised voter.  Is it worth a billion dollars to stop the 10 thousand votes for your opponent you need to win the election?

    As a side benefit, the first few election cycles of such a law would pump lots of cash into poor neighborhoods.

  •  Obama's Biggest Failure (0+ / 0-)

    In my view Obama's worst failure is his administration's very weak response to the denial of voting rights, especially in certain GOP-Controlled (often due to extreme state gerrymander) swing states.  

    He appointed a panel of two and they came out with summary/ whitewash that basically "we can trust the Republicans" and "there is no effort by either party to curtail voter participation".  This is shown to be a lie by both GOP actions and occasional statements indicating the real purpose of gerrymanders, new restrictive photo ID requirements, lessening access by removal of polling places, lessening the number of voting booths, limiting voting times and dates, etc. etc., see new laws and lawsuits in NC and other states.

    If we can't get people to vote (without spending a half or a full day in line, plus missing a full day of work or job searching in order to wade through new photo ID lines at the state DMV) then we're not going to ever get anywhere on the important issues that need to get through congress either.

    Typical chickens**t "action" from mainstream Dems!  They'd rather do PR about our great democracy than actually get any functional democracy really going.

  •  Not just a weak argument- a plagiarized argument (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    THoRN hits the nail on the head with the critique of The Case Against Early Voting.

    I just want to point out that these constitutional law scholars lifted the entire argument from an earlier article:

    "The Case Against Early Voting" (2008) by Prof. David Lewis Schaefer in National Review Online.

    There is a sweet amusement that the only argument that the professors here did not copy from Prof. Schaefer is his suggestion that early voting leads to voter fraud.  So I can't accuse them of hypocrisy, as they didn't decry frauds.  Thanks,    

  •  Hmmm... I wonder... (0+ / 0-)

    America seems to be the only democracy on the planet where voting rights are being suppressed rather than encouraged. Intrepid right-wing law professor Eugene Kontorovich has said that early voting is a bad thing. I'd be curious to hear this guy's lofty opinion on gerrymandering.

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