jennythereader: (Professor Cat *)
Do you think it would be valuable to have more political parties with a real chance at the presidential level? If you do, what would you change to make it happen?

In my opinion, third parties could make the biggest difference at the local level, but most of them don't really seem interested in local politics. I also think it would be a good thing for third parties to be taken more seriously at the national level.

One way to get voters to think more seriously about third parties would be to have their candidates participate in the debates with the Democratic and Republican candidates. Unfortunately, the way the rules are currently written a candidate has to be polling above 15% for a certain period before the debate. This pretty much means that no third party candidate is ever going to participate.

I think one change to the debate rules would help solve both of these problems. Instead of a polling threshold, use an officeholder threshold. The one I thought of is allow any political party that has constantly had a member in office at the state (state legislative bodies, Governor or other state-wide office, judge [if they're elected and declare a party affiliation]) or national level (House or Senate) for the last 5 years to participate in the presidential debates. I might even count mayor of one of the 10 biggest cities in the country. If that leads to an unwieldy number of people on stage, than either increase the number of officeholders or the amount of time required.

This would help with what I feel is the biggest problem, by giving the third parties a strong motivation for getting people elected to lower levels of office. It would also help with the secondary problem by making it more likely that a third party politician who doesn't have high name recognition would be visible in the presidential campaign.

(Edited to remove some the "I thinks." There were way too many...)
jennythereader: (Professor Cat *)
Do you think it would be valuable to have more political parties with a real chance at the presidential level? If you do, what would you change to make it happen?

In my opinion, third parties could make the biggest difference at the local level, but most of them don't really seem interested in local politics. I also think it would be a good thing for third parties to be taken more seriously at the national level.

One way to get voters to think more seriously about third parties would be to have their candidates participate in the debates with the Democratic and Republican candidates. Unfortunately, the way the rules are currently written a candidate has to be polling above 15% for a certain period before the debate. This pretty much means that no third party candidate is ever going to participate.

I think one change to the debate rules would help solve both of these problems. Instead of a polling threshold, use an officeholder threshold. The one I thought of is allow any political party that has constantly had a member in office at the state (state legislative bodies, Governor or other state-wide office, judge [if they're elected and declare a party affiliation]) or national level (House or Senate) for the last 5 years to participate in the presidential debates. I might even count mayor of one of the 10 biggest cities in the country. If that leads to an unwieldy number of people on stage, than either increase the number of officeholders or the amount of time required.

This would help with what I feel is the biggest problem, by giving the third parties a strong motivation for getting people elected to lower levels of office. It would also help with the secondary problem by making it more likely that a third party politician who doesn't have high name recognition would be visible in the presidential campaign.

(Edited to remove some the "I thinks." There were way too many...)
jennythereader: (Wherever they burn books they will in th)
I've been trying to get down to New York City more often lately. My goal has been once a month, and I think I'm actually managing about every 6 weeks. Normally I pick a neighborhood and explore it, including whatever museums/tourist sites are there.

My next visit has been planned for this Saturday for a while, but this time I'll be doing something a little less trivial.

I'll be attending the Unite Women NY march and rally in lower Manhattan.

From the site:
  • "On Saturday, April 28, 2012, women and men across the United States will converge in state capitols and cities to give voice to our opposition to the oppression of women’s access to health care and women’s rights. Politicians in Washington and in legislatures across the country have been trying, and in some cases succeeding, to legislate away the rights that women have fought for and won over 40 years ago. We will not let them turn back the calendar to the middle of the last century.
  • Join us as we march united against the war on women in New York City and celebrate the history of women in the United States. The march and rally will also provide a platform to honor national and local organizations struggling to support women and to advocate for equal rights as well as local and state government officials who stand with us in opposition to the current social agenda aimed at reducing women’s rights.
The national site: Unite Women
Other events around the country
jennythereader: (Wherever they burn books they will in th)
I've been trying to get down to New York City more often lately. My goal has been once a month, and I think I'm actually managing about every 6 weeks. Normally I pick a neighborhood and explore it, including whatever museums/tourist sites are there.

My next visit has been planned for this Saturday for a while, but this time I'll be doing something a little less trivial.

I'll be attending the Unite Women NY march and rally in lower Manhattan.

From the site:
  • "On Saturday, April 28, 2012, women and men across the United States will converge in state capitols and cities to give voice to our opposition to the oppression of women’s access to health care and women’s rights. Politicians in Washington and in legislatures across the country have been trying, and in some cases succeeding, to legislate away the rights that women have fought for and won over 40 years ago. We will not let them turn back the calendar to the middle of the last century.
  • Join us as we march united against the war on women in New York City and celebrate the history of women in the United States. The march and rally will also provide a platform to honor national and local organizations struggling to support women and to advocate for equal rights as well as local and state government officials who stand with us in opposition to the current social agenda aimed at reducing women’s rights.
The national site: Unite Women
Other events around the country
jennythereader: (Success)
For some reason I have Tom Delay's retirement speech on my iPod. I think Tom downloaded it, and since we share our mp3 collections, that means I have it too.

Mostly it was a typical politician speech, but one section really caught my attention:

"For all its faults, it is partisanship - based on core principles - that clarifies our debates, that prevents one party from straying too far from the mainstream, and that constantly refreshes our politics with new ideas and new leaders.

Indeed, whatever role partisanship may have played in my own retirement today - or in the unfriendliness heaped upon other leaders in other times, Republican and Democrat, however unjust - all we can say is that partisanship is the worst means of settling fundamental political differences... except for all the others.

Now, politics demands compromise, Mr. Speaker, and even the most partisan among us have to understand that. But we must never forget that compromise and bipartisanship are means, not ends, and are properly employed only in the service of higher principles*.

It is not the principled partisan, however obnoxious he may seem to his opponents, who degrades our public debate, but the preening, self-styled statesman who elevates compromise to a first-principle. For true statesmen, Mr. Speaker, are not defined by what they compromise, but what they don't."
 

I think President Obama and the rest of the Democratic leadership in Washington need to remember this in the next two years.

* Emphasis added.
jennythereader: (Success)
For some reason I have Tom Delay's retirement speech on my iPod. I think Tom downloaded it, and since we share our mp3 collections, that means I have it too.

Mostly it was a typical politician speech, but one section really caught my attention:

"For all its faults, it is partisanship - based on core principles - that clarifies our debates, that prevents one party from straying too far from the mainstream, and that constantly refreshes our politics with new ideas and new leaders.

Indeed, whatever role partisanship may have played in my own retirement today - or in the unfriendliness heaped upon other leaders in other times, Republican and Democrat, however unjust - all we can say is that partisanship is the worst means of settling fundamental political differences... except for all the others.

Now, politics demands compromise, Mr. Speaker, and even the most partisan among us have to understand that. But we must never forget that compromise and bipartisanship are means, not ends, and are properly employed only in the service of higher principles*.

It is not the principled partisan, however obnoxious he may seem to his opponents, who degrades our public debate, but the preening, self-styled statesman who elevates compromise to a first-principle. For true statesmen, Mr. Speaker, are not defined by what they compromise, but what they don't."
 

I think President Obama and the rest of the Democratic leadership in Washington need to remember this in the next two years.

* Emphasis added.
jennythereader: (Default)

FiveThirtyEight: Politics Done Right: Not All Socialist Countries are Alike

A wonderfully snarky article by Nate Silver explaining the differences between a "single payer" system (like they have in Canada) and National Health Care (like they have in Great Britain.)
jennythereader: (Default)

FiveThirtyEight: Politics Done Right: Not All Socialist Countries are Alike

A wonderfully snarky article by Nate Silver explaining the differences between a "single payer" system (like they have in Canada) and National Health Care (like they have in Great Britain.)
jennythereader: (Money vs Poetry)
Who do you blame more for the current financial crisis? Washington or Wall Street?

Personally I'd split the blame 52% Wall Street/ 48% Washington. Washington wrote the rules in a way that left a lot of loopholes, but Wall Street decided to walk through them.

The episode in question
jennythereader: (Money vs Poetry)
Who do you blame more for the current financial crisis? Washington or Wall Street?

Personally I'd split the blame 52% Wall Street/ 48% Washington. Washington wrote the rules in a way that left a lot of loopholes, but Wall Street decided to walk through them.

The episode in question
jennythereader: (Parakeets *)

FiveThirtyEight.com: Politics Done Right: A Starry-Eyed Look at the 2012 Republican Field

The money quote: Paul is in a sort of libertarian hyperspace that few of us can hope to understand.

You can read almost all of Nate's stuff at fivethirtyeight.com
jennythereader: (Parakeets *)

FiveThirtyEight.com: Politics Done Right: A Starry-Eyed Look at the 2012 Republican Field

The money quote: Paul is in a sort of libertarian hyperspace that few of us can hope to understand.

You can read almost all of Nate's stuff at fivethirtyeight.com
jennythereader: (Blue Fractal)
The December 4th episode of Intelligence Squared US asks that very question. It's an interesting debate that I strongly recommend.

[Poll #1335649]

Added: Before the debate started they polled the studio audience. The results were:
65% agreed
17% disagreed
18% were undecided

At the end of the debate they polled the studio audience again. Those results were:
68% agreed
27% disagreed
5% were still undecided
jennythereader: (Blue Fractal)
The December 4th episode of Intelligence Squared US asks that very question. It's an interesting debate that I strongly recommend.

[Poll #1335649]

Added: Before the debate started they polled the studio audience. The results were:
65% agreed
17% disagreed
18% were undecided

At the end of the debate they polled the studio audience again. Those results were:
68% agreed
27% disagreed
5% were still undecided
jennythereader: (* Jesus Was A Liberal 001)
McCain's concession speech was very good. I think it was actually the best speech he gave of the entire campaign.

Obama's victory speech was amazing. I loved the device of using the life of one woman to explore all the changes this country has gone through in the last century.

One thing that I think sums up this campaign: when McCain mentioned Obama in his speech the crowd booed. When Obama mentioned McCain in his speech the crowd cheered.
jennythereader: (* Jesus Was A Liberal 001)
McCain's concession speech was very good. I think it was actually the best speech he gave of the entire campaign.

Obama's victory speech was amazing. I loved the device of using the life of one woman to explore all the changes this country has gone through in the last century.

One thing that I think sums up this campaign: when McCain mentioned Obama in his speech the crowd booed. When Obama mentioned McCain in his speech the crowd cheered.

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