It's more like each candidate has support from less than a quarter of the population and most people don't support either.
Somehow I find that reassuring.
This covers a vast group of people in the united states.
As George Carlin (loosely) said: If you voted for the people in power, you have no right to complain when they do things you dont like. You voted them in. I on the other hand... Did not vote for them and have every right to complain about the mess you made and I had nothing to do with.
I raise you one Emerson:
"The other terror that scares us from self-trust is our consistency; a reverence for our past act or word, because the eyes of others have no other data for computing our orbit than our past acts, and we are loath to disappoint them.
But why should you keep your head over your shoulder? Why drag about this corpse of your memory, lest you contradict somewhat you have stated in this or that public place? Suppose you should contradict yourself; what then?
A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.--'Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood.'--Is it so bad, then, to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood."
Each voter has to figure out where to best cast their vote, compromising some of their values for others they prioritize. One hopeful way to view this is that they're likely a lot of values we hold in common. These are things we can hopefully work on together.
* This is really a very general statement I've tried to keep in mind in reading all of these comments, not just this thread. It's placement isn't a reflection of my opinion of the immediately preceding comment or the one prior. It just had to be placed somewhere.
In the hopes of better communication, if you'd like to down vote this comment, will you also take the time to add a brief reply? I appreciate it.
Is opening up communication channels responsible for social conflict?
Is Mark right or wrong in his last paragraph.
I've always assumed he was wrong but the premise should be examined explicitly.
Naturally I don't claim that the radio or newspapers invented the social conflict. I am saying they could be responsible for the actual incidence of conflict itself.
If you picture each person as a collection of memes, then;
> The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. - H.P Lovecraft
The potential for conflict in the individual is not resolved with conflict for the most part. We do know the more intellectual among us tend to be more neurotic, perhaps another hint at the essential lovecraftian truth.
That means barefaced conflict is only possible when an individual meets another and communicates. It is then latent contradictions become evident.
Far from the notion that communication acts as a meditator and leads to peace, the truth might be the opposite.
tldr; if we don't talk to each other, everything will be fine!
I mean this is ridiculous.
He's all like "oh don't hate on Thiel just because he supports Trump. Half of the US does it so it's a valid opinion"
Why not support other republicans who aren't chauvinists?
They talk like "Oh we just have Trump and Hilary and Hilary is corrupt, so what should we do? Vote Trump of cause!"
I mean if you're a chauvinist and like what Trumps says, just vote for him, it's your right to do so. But talking about diversity and then supporting people against it is bullshit.
"Hey yes, you can work at FB, we think you got mad skills, but we will invest the money you make in people who make your life worse!"
It's the natural consequence of a plurality voting system.
Conservatives remember H. Ross Perot spoiling the election for George H.W. Bush, and throwing the election to Bill Clinton. Progressives remember Ralph Nader making the contest between Al Gore and George W. Bush close enough that G.W. was given the election by a Supreme Court stocked with his dad's buddies.
Voting for third parties is a terrible political strategy in the United States. The spoiler effect is real. I'd go so far as to say that our plurality system all but guarantees bad candidates--it's not the fittest that survive the primary election process, it's the most memorable, the one who we feel will best appeal to our neighbors.
Going further, I'd suggest that having a strong majority political belief is a major liability in U.S. elections.
When Bill Clinton was elected, the nation was largely happy with the center-right GOP of the time. As a result, the further right bloc had the confidence and diversity of small differences of opinion to split and lose the whole thing. (Never minding the fact that Bill Clinton was far to the right of traditional Democrats).
The same was true with Nader and Gore in 2000. Bill Clinton's policies had been so popular that people largely wanted another Clinton, but perhaps a little more progressive. Disagreement ensued as to how much more progressive, and thus we had Nader and Gore losing to the much more hawkish right-wing George W. Bush.
So, in the U.S., you're best off being part of a popular political leaning, but pray your political leanings don't grow so popular as to result in a split.
My personal feeling is that this country desperately needs to move past plurality voting. The easiest path to this is for states to apportion their electors based on ranked choice voting. It doesn't solve all our problems, but it does remove the spoiler effect. With luck, that would allow us to have less shrill, more substantive candidates--even if the major parties continue to dominate.
Another thing that I've noticed is that it also optimizes for moderates/centrists, since that's where the Nash Equilibrium is.
With the growing polarization in our politics, I think that the political spectrum in the U.S. now looks less like a Gaussian distribution and more like a bimodal distribution. At this point the median voter is becoming a smaller and smaller plurality, and the equilibrium is becoming unappealing to more and more people.
Also, that's precious little evidence that the US political spectrum has ever looked anything like a Gaussian distribution.
I think you've made some insightful points here, particularly when you said "In the U.S., you're best off being part of a popular political leaning, but pray your political leanings don't grow so popular as to result in a split." This does explain a lot.
However, I'd like to see some evidence that ranked-choice voting actually leads to better outcomes. I believe Australia has this system, doesn't it? They've elected some of the worst sorts of people I've ever seen in public office outside of an outright dictatorship, pushing the worst sorts of policies.
My concern is that RCV-like voting strategies may encourage a tyranny of the majority to emerge. While I'm no supporter of either Jill Stein or Bernie Sanders, I do like the idea that Hillary Clinton has to worry about what they have to say, for fear of being Nadered in one or more critical swing states. Likewise, I can see the Libertarians, both big-L and small-l, having a moderating influence on the knee-jerk theocrats who would like to take over the GOP. It seems that ranked-choice voting might have the effect of removing those beneficial "spoiler effects."
Just as one example, most Americans self-identify as members of the Christian faith. (Not picking on religion per se, just saying that it's probably the one cultural attribute that Americans share more widely than any others.) The same is true in Australia. There, a wave of neo-Puritanism has swept over the country, resulting in legislative micromanagement of everything from Internet censorship to the bra sizes of porn actresses.
So, does ranked-choice voting inevitably lead to the emergence of a nanny state? If so, I think we're better off here in the US with the strong two-party system. If not, are there any other downsides that should be discussed before switching over to RCV?
We also have no such regulation regarding the breast sizes of porn actresses. The refusal of classification is done on a "We'll know it when we see it" basis, much in the same way that many US laws are interpreted.
Your comments about religion are inaccurate in that we do not allow our faith to dictate our politics in the same way as the US. A 2011 Census question put Christianity at about 60%, while in the US it's at 70%. We do not have parts of the country that have a reputation for being deeply religious (unlike the American South) and we do not reference a deity of any kind in any official pledge whatsoever. We don't even have a pledge of allegiance that we force on our children in schools.
Our country has real problems (i.e humanitarian treatment of refugees and the environment) but we aren't the kind of place you're talking about.
Our High Court isn't a political game, our banks didn't fall apart during 07-08, and our worst terrorist attack in the past 10 years wasn't even bad enough to be considered a "mass murder" under the FBI's definitions.
One key difference between Australia and the US is that our Parliament can be dismissed if they are at a gridlock. This prevents the kind of gross obstructionism that has prevented the US government from functioning properly in recent years.
The other key difference is that we have compulsory voting.
Sounds like you're under some mistaken impressions about First Amendment law in the US, particularly doctrines such as strict scrutiny. But to be fair, I'm sure that's true for both of us.
In any case, you've made an impassioned defense of the lawmaking process in Australia, but failed to answer my question regarding whether RCV would actually lead to improved outcomes if implemented in the US.
If adopted right now with no other considerations, preferential voting offers one big win for the US over the current status quo, which is that you'd be able to quantify the true level of support that the minor parties have.
If given the option of voting third-party without running the risk of vote stealing, I'm certain that tons of Americans would take that option. Right now Alice might want to vote third party but won't do it because she knows that people like Bob won't, and Bob won't vote third party because he knows that Alice won't do it. Preferential voting breaks that cycle because it doesn't matter how other people vote and allows people to just care about their own vote.
Both the Australian and US Green parties were founded in the 1990s, and the Australian Greens have been able to take seats and hold the balance of power at times while the US Green party hasn't been able to take a single seat at the federal level or in most states. I fully attribute that to the ability of preferential voting to let minor parties grow over time without fear of vote stealing.
There are also a few other things that Australia does with voting that I think make a lot of sense, but many of these don't really need preferential voting to be of value to the US:
- All elections (local, state, and federal) are held on Saturdays.
I don't really think I need to explain why this is a Good Thing.
- Voting is compulsory. For free speech advocates this is sometimes a
tough pill to swallow. However, compulsory voting ensures that people
of all economic backgrounds and living situations still turn up and vote
- without making it mandatory and forcing everyone to do it many people
simply won't be able to find the time to vote. You are still allowed to
cast an informal (and thus uncounted) vote if you *really* don't want to
express your political views.
- You do not have to vote at a designated polling place - you are free to
vote at any polling place on the day of the election without any
justification whatsoever for being out of your electorate, and you are not
required to register for an absentee vote ahead of time in this case. Again,
this is a way of ensuring that as many people vote as is humanly possible. It's
also somewhat required here due to it being really unfair to force people to
vote but then potentially turn them away for being in the wrong place.
(Electoral rolls are of course checked during counting to ensure that people
haven't voted at multiple polling places)
- Funding is allocated to the recipients of first preference votes (as long as
there's more than a certain threshold). House votes are worth $2.60, Senate
votes are worth twice as much and the value is indexed to inflation. This
allows smaller parties to slowly build up a base over time without actually
winning the election to begin with.
- We do not use electronic voting. Our elections have comprehensive paper trails
that can be audited to ensure accuracy.
Not that he is answerable but if he has good reasons I'm sure he wouldn't mind talking about them.
Let's not leave that out. What he is being accused of is no more or less than what he has actually bragged about doing. Bragged about on videotape.
And here's the thing -- we all have equal protection under the law. If Trump ever did anything that a female acquaintance considers assault she has recourse under the law and should have gone to the police and not a newspaper 30 years later. Police will investigate the validity of your claims and whether or not your story has holes or inconsistencies. It's their job. If you move on without pursuing legal action then it cannot be said it was not acceptable because you accepted it.
I wonder what kind of saint would be able to resist the trappings of wealth and fame in the 80-90s. Judging from the condemnations all around, we're surrounded by such saints.
In any case the parallels are shocking and I'm far from the only one who has noticed, so I don't think the idea is all that radical to begin with.
All moderately successful and ambitious politicians will, to a first-order approximation, be similar to Hitler. Why? Because Hitler was a successful, ambitious and quite influential politician who fought against the hardships in his life. This is not to say that Hitler was in any way good, but the "similarities" you refer to are quite natural considering that you're comparing classes of people that must (by necessity) have similar character traits. A timid, unambitious person wouldn't be a serious contender for President of the US.
All of this being said, I'm not American so I literally have no ball in this game (though on the record, Trump's policies on climate change are more than enough for me to not wish him to be the next President of the US).
Sorry that's not a 'first order approximation of similarity to Hitler' any more than 'adult member of the human race' is.
A comparison made directly to Hitler would, as a first order approximation, follow the most notable facts about him. In fact, most politicians are not megalomaniacs who rise on a platform of racial scapegoating and then go on to wage total war and genocide. Donald Trump, uniquely among modern American political figures, strikingly resembles the first part of that.