[EM] Re: Duvergerian Candidates (lesser-of-2-evils voting)
nkklrp at hotmail.com
Sat Nov 20 17:04:56 PST 2004
I'm replying to your message below. But first:
You know, it's funny when people say that Nader made Gore lose in 2000, or
that Nader might make Kerry lose in 2004. Here's a sleazy, dishonest
corporate-contributer-owned candidate, with policy positions contrary to
what the public want, his supporters complaining if he loses because an
honest candidate with more popular policies runs, and because people vote
for the honest candidate.
Do you see how pitiful that is?
Nader didn't make Gore lose. Gore made Gore lose. Instead of criticizing
Nader for running, why not criticize Gore for not being worth voting for?
Gore's unappealingness wasn't Nader's fault.
Nor did Gore have some kind of claim on our votes when we voted for Nader.
Nader didn't take "Gore's" votes. That's true even if Nader voters would
have voted for Gore if no one better had been in the race. But many,
including me, wouldn't have voted for someone like Gore or Kerry under any
circumstances. But though Gore wasn't worth voting for, Kerry was worse.
>The media, including TV & NPR, decide who will be winnable, who's
>who's fringe, who's mainstream. Then you faithfully follow them. And
>even if you know that there's deception, you follow the people who are
>following the media, like cattle following eachother into a slaughterhouse.
>does the herd insinct show more than in voting behavior.
>You know that, for whatever reason, Nader can't win. And that for
>whatever reason that's the reality. But if a "realitly" had its origin in
>media, maybe you should disregard it.
I think that much of the voting public intuitively understand the
Duvergian effect of the plurality system, and understand that a
election with more than two viable candidates will be chaotic and can
easily thwart the will of the majority.
So far so good: In Plurality a faction, a group who want pretty much the
same thing, shouldn't split its vote.
1. I don't know about you, but I don't want anything like the same thing as
peoiple who vote for Kerry, whose only criticism of the war on Iraq was that
Bush handn't sent enough troops to win. Kerry said, "I'll be in Iraq to win,
not to leave.". Maybe that's what you want to vote for. The Kerry-preferrers
and the Nader preferrrers, then, ar not a group who want anything like the
same thing, and it isn't meaningful to speak of a split vote among them.
2. There should just be two viable candidates? If we want to vote
instrumentally strategically, that's true. Let's say that's how we want to
But who chooses which two candidates should be the viable two? You
apparently feel that the media should choose that for you. And how much
sense does it make for all of us to accept as the two viable candidates two
who are both completely unacceptable to us, in regards to t heir desire to
commit mass-murder on civilians in smaller countries. Two candidates whose
policies, judging by polls, are contrary to what the public, overall, want?
I guess it depends on what you mean by "viabl"e. Does "viable" mean offering
the poicies that the public want? Or, more likely, to you, "viable" means
"oficially designated by the mass media as viable".
The response that we have
developed to this is the primary system. The primary is analogous to a
two-round runoff; there are no legal restrictions on who can run in the
"second round" (the general election), but it is understood that those
win the "first round" (the two major primaries) should be considered
Understood by whom? So you're saying that everyone should recognize as
official the "two-party system", which is really a one-party system. You've
no doubt heard Gore Vidal's comment that we don't have 2 parties; we have
one party with 2 right wings.
You apparently want to make the Democrats an official fixture of the
electoral system. Well, the media support you on that. But more likely it's
the other way around--you probably learned it from the media.
The media's subliminal power of persuasion is amazing. I spoke to someone
who agreed with me that the media is completely unreliable, full of garbage.
And yet the things that she said about the issues were verbatim taken from
the TV news & commentary. That's why you think that the Democrats should be
accepted by all as an official part of the electoral system.
It's basically just a way of voters coordinating their
intent, so that you don't end up with two 'leftist' candidates getting
each against one 'right' candidate with 40%, or vice versa.
Why should voters who want completely different things co-ordinate their
votes? Why should voters who don't support the U.S. carnage in Iraq
co-ordinate their votes with people who prefer a candidate who wants to send
more troops than Bush, to "win" an even bloodier war on the Iraqis?
And, supposing that there's some group that agrees on those matters, yes
they should co-ordinate their vote. But you're missing the little question
of on whom they should co-ordinate their vote. You seem to think they should
co-ordinate their vote on someone whom they don't like, someone whose
policies are contrary to what polls indicate the public want. Someone who
wants to continue hurting people who have done nothing to us. You have an
odd way of choosing where to co-ordinate our vote.
So, no, plurality is not a good voting system, but as long as we are
stuck with it, I think that the primaries make sense, and I don't think
that it's duplicitous for the media to label the winners of the major
primaries as "frontrunners". It's not an ignorant herd mentality
I agree that it's not herd mentality for the media to say that. It's herd
mentalilty when you are led by the nose by it.
Call it what you want, but it's an assertion that the Democrat party is an
offical part of the electoral system.
way of avoiding a situation where a majority faction loses the election
splitting their vote.
A majority faction can lose the election also by giving it away, by
pre-emptive surrender. By, herd-like, following eachother follow the media.
You're not getting what I said: Only according to the media was Kerry more
mainstream & viable than Nader. By opinion polls, the public much prefer
Nader's policy proposals to those of Kerry.
And one must question where you've been if you believe that the media were
evenhanded about Nader and Kerry before the primary. OR Kucinich and Kerry.
The media were continually hammering home their message that Nader wasn't
viable, long before the primary. Kucinich too.
I think that if Nader wanted to steer the Democratic party in a more
progressive direction (something that he obviously does want, but
despairs of happening), or if he was actually interested in being
president, he should have run in the Democratic primary.
Then you should share your strategic advice with Mr. Nader. But, regardless
of what strategy would have been better, that has no bearing on the things
that I've been pointing out.
Steer the Democrat party in a more progressive direction? You've got be
kidding. Yes, progressives have always been saying that. Could it ever reach
a point where you'd agree that the Democrat party isn't going anywhere, and
that it's necessary to go without it? How do you proposes to separate the
big-money control from the Democrat party?
As for why Nader didn't run as a Democrat, he probably doesn't like what the
party stands for. It isn't really for you to tell someone else what party he
should be a candidate of.
Aside from that, I don't know if one has to accept the Democrat platform in
order to be a Democrat candidate or nominee. You know, the nomination
process isn't democratic (in spite of the party's name). The public vote
doesn't determine the nominee. There's no way of regulating the degree of
big-money-sponsor influence in the choice process of the Democrat
In the 2004 Democratic primary, the voters had a choice between
who ran as an outspoken liberal (Dean)
Outspoken, but inconsistent.
, a couple of
(Kucinich and Sharpton)
Must you use labels like "leftist"? What does that mean? Anyway, Kucinich's
extrteme progressivism just happened to start about the time of the election
campaign. Before that, his congressional voting and his statemenents didn't
match his later progressive pose.
Sharpton? His criticism of Bush's wars was that, by wasting our time on
Iraq, wwe weren't fighting effectively enough.
If you don't mind my saying so, you have a low standard for what
, a batch of more cautious and not-so-outspoken
center-leftists (Kerry, Gephardt, Edwards)
So they're leftists too? := )
But then who knows what you mean by that, without a defintion of what you
mean by the term.
, an apolitical general
and a Republican (Lieberman). A majority chose one of the more centrist
candidates, i.e. Kerry or Edwards.
Who told you that "centrist" means somewhere near where the Democrats meet
I'd expect it to mean "voter-median". If you're assuming that Kerry is at
the voter median, on the issues on which people have been polled, or closer
to it than Nader, where did you hear that?
So, we ended up with Kerry. There
choice between caution and outspokenness.
Kerry sounded pretty outspoken to me. He didn't leave any doubt about what
he intended to do in the war.
The hope was that Bush would collapse under his
weight when faced with a non-offensive opponent, but it didn't happen;
Democrats underestimated Bush's popularity in 'red' America.
Are you so sure it didn't have anything to do with unverifiable voting
machines? There were several precincts in Ohio where the number reported
voting for Bush was greater than the number of people who's showed up to
vote. Somebody goofed, and sent to those precincts a machine whose output
was programmed for bigger precincts.
Exit polls have always been reliable because voters are proud to say how
they voted, not inclined to lie about it. But the reliability of exit polls
has peculiarly suddenly gone down, coincident with the arrival of
unverifiable votiing machines. For instance, the exit polls indicated that
Kerry had won.
In Florida, precincts with much more Democrat registration than Republican
registration, where the exit polls said "Kerry", turned in reported results
that favored. Bush.
Does it occur to anyone that the mere use of unverifiable voting machines is
completely unacceptable for a genuine democracy, as opposed to a Ferdinand
Marcos-style "democracy"? Why isn't everyone objecting that elections aren't
at all legitimate if they use unverifiable machines, whereby we're expected
to take Diebold's word for the results without being able to verify them??
Perhaps next time, the Democrats will not be so convinced that a
candidate without starkly clear issue positions will be able to prevail
You're completely missing the point of why the Democrat is "cautioius" and
doesn't have "starkly clear issue positions".
It's because when you want votes from people who don't like your policies
and your intentions, you say as little about them as possible. And sometimes
you say one thing to one group, or at one time, and one thing to someone
else at a different time. Whatever you think they want to hear.
, and they will nominate someone who is more outspoken and
stands up for more leftist causes rather than being embarrassed by
Why should bought candidates stand up for goals different from their owners?
Embarrassed by the word "liberal"? Liberal...you mean like Mondale?
If you don't call that an embarrassmsent, then I'm embarrassed about you
being a progressive
Keep hoping the Democrat candidates will start supporting better causes, and
having more publicly acceptable policies if you want to. Manwhile, it would
be nice if many of would stop wasting our time, effort, and votes on that
My own personal hope is that the Democrats are able to
develop a platform that goes further left on economic issues, putting
forward proposals that are clear, progressive and common-sensical, so
to create a more clear distinction with the Republicans and to revive
their working class roots
Keep hoping. But why should they act contrarly to the interest and
instructions of their contributor-owners?
... while staying moderate on social issues,
avoid alienating culturally traditional working-class people. I also
that, for the presidential nominee, they're going to have to find
with a working class background, who is not from the northeast.
Well, did the Republicans need a candidate from a working-class background
to win in 2000 & 2004 (assuming he actually won)?
But sure, that would be good, a background in common with most voters.
Anyway, that's my advice for anyone on the left who doesn't like the
direction of the Democratic party: join it, get your friends to join
and try to pull it to the left via votes in primaries.
Perhaps you don't know for how long wishful progressives have been saying
For one thing, as I said, the nomination isn't determined by the primary's
For another thing, there's such a thing as something so corrupt and rotten
that it's ridiculous to speak of pulling it somewhere and making it better
than it is.
As for Nader himself, I think it is now safe to say that he can never
Due to led-by-the-nose, media-guided lesser-of-2-evils voters like yourself,
that's probably true.
He was expecting a lot of disaffected Republicans to vote
him, and it didn't happen.
Maybe, but I knew of one who did, only one acquaintance removed from me.
Nader has utterly
alienated himself from most people on the left (i.e. those who voted
One thing I like about Nader, one thing that's really encouraging, is that
Nader couldn't care less what sheep & cattle and their media herdsmen think
I'm sure that Nader doesn't care if he alienates a person who would vote for
Nader doesn't respect the people who voted for Kerry
I respect someone who's frank about what he doesn't respect. Who could
respect voting for Kerry, whose only critricism of the war on the Iraqis was
that Bush didn't send enough troops to win?
You're asking a bit much from Nader, in regards to respect.
, and yet
couldn't possibly win without them.
You've got the causation mixed up. He couldn't disrespect them for voting
for Kerry before the election. By "not respect them", do you mean that Nader
didn't take orders from them, and follow their herdlike acceptance of the
supposed "two choices"?
>People were saying that Kerry should have better policies, more exciting,
>more progressive, to be more winnable, to
>inspire people to vote. And these policies that Kerry should have, to be
>more winnable, turn out to be remarkably like those of Ralph Nader and
I agree with this, to an extent. Again, there was a choice between the
cautious-leftist route, and the whole-hog-leftist route.
Right, so "whole hog leftist" means not wanting to continue to murder many
thousands of women & children in Iraq?
Does it occur to you what you were compromising on when you voted for Kerry?
You didn't mind compromising the lives of lots more Iraqi civilians, the
ones that Kerry would have killed, by his own assertions that he would be in
Iraq to win, not to leave, and that he wanted to send more troops than Bush
And, when you're talking about a candidate who offers policies that are in
keeping with what the public has expressed that they want, in polls, what's
wrong with being "whole hog" in accord with those expressed public wishes?
wasn't a bad bet at the time, but it fell short
What? Say it isn't so. Do you know how long that Democrat bet has been being
, so we're left
what would have happened with the whole-hog route. Some of Nader's
policies would have been good for this, although not all of them, I
A living wage, better environmental protection, a crackdown on
crime, and universal health care are examples of issues that might have
improved Kerry's campaign. On the other hand, gay marriage, which Nader
supported in his campaign, is clearly not a winning issue at this time,
and would have buried Kerry deeper if anything. Likewise, I'm not sure
that a six month deadline for withdrawal from Iraq would have won
So then, you'd vote for continued butchery and mass-murder in Iraq.
Well, you _did_ vote for that, didn't you.
So, again, I don't think that Nader is a viable presidential
You'd already said that. Then I pointed out that you were led by the nose to
that conclusion by the media designating him as unviable.
I am hoping that the
progressive left will find leaders who share Nader's commitment,
and depth of understanding, but who are able to be less divisive
sympathetic with the moderate left.
You mean the moderate left who supported Kerry, part of whose moderate
leftness includes continuing to butcher civilians in a country that has
never done anything to us?
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