Thirds

By: sp34n119w , 8:14 PM GMT on October 23, 2012

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So, in the last presidential election, I wrote a lot about third party candidates. I made no secret of the fact that I would vote for Nader/Gonzales that year, and I did. Nader isn't running this time around but I still have choices.

I have no illusions regarding the possibility of a third party candidate winning the Presidency. That will not happen. The idea is to change the current, dysfunctional, system that leaves so many of us without representation.

So, another reason to vote third party is simply to voice one's own personal views on the issues of the day, especially those which are not being properly addressed by the two major parties. The two parties are, if you have not noticed, virtually identical in every way – if not in their official platforms, then definitely in their actions. By voting for someone else, someone outside of the machine, one can send the message that there are citizens who are paying attention to that fact.

I realize that the media portrays third party voters in a very different light (if they mention us at all!). Third party voters and their candidates are … what? Immature, irresponsible, silly, unrealistic, spoilers, and really ought to be ignored except when some comic relief is needed. Well, that's what happens to those who buck the status quo, so, that's okay.

While third party candidates have no shot at the Presidency, they do sometimes have a chance to win races at the local and State level, and even House and Senate contests. These are important, too, as was noted in the comments of the last blog here and, particularly, in the video that calpoppy brought about ALEC and their work in State legislatures. It's also important because every win at these levels lends strength to that party and legitimacy to the whole idea of Thirds.

The Thirds are more likely to address the issues that affect the average citizen day-to-day, and they are willing and able to talk about real problems and real solutions because, frankly, they've got nothing to lose by doing so. Now, they don't agree on what the solutions are, obviously, but at least they are often willing to consider working on them.
Even if they don't get elected, by raising these issues they can bring them into the public consciousness and, sometimes, force those who are elected to face those issues, themselves.

The current voting system supports a two-party political system. It is bound to push all candidates towards one or another extreme position as they compete for the same voters. Right now, all candidates skew far Right but, 50-70 years ago, all candidates skewed Left (read Nixon's positions on just about everything and shudder at the realization that Obama is far Right of that). We can get a pretty good balance going for awhile, so that it looks like a real choice, but it will always swing again. These swings necessarily disenfranchise large blocks of citizens.
We can talk more about this in the comments. In the meantime, have a look at RangeVoting.org and see what you think about that voting system.

Nationally, the largest thirds are Libertarian, Constitution, and Green. Each of them have fielded candidates for President and each has had some success at local and State levels over the years. They don't get a lot of attention.

As of 2008, here in California (the media's poster child for Liberalism), the Constitution Party had more than twice the membership of the Green Party. Add in the Libertarians and it becomes clear why we so often elect Republican Governors and House Reps. Californians are quite conservative, politically, but very divided in that conservatism. What about your State?

More references:
Wikipedia's entry on U.S. Political parties.
The census bureau's copious election and affiliation statistics.

I expect some randomness to creep (or barge) into the comments (as usual and much appreciated) but feel free to discuss the OP or your own political topics, too. I'd be happy to hear about State races and about any interesting referendums or propositions, if you've got something to say and need a place to say it. Probably I'll say my piece about one or more propositions on the Cali ballot, myself.
It's almost over, friends!

…..

Seditious Swirls:



For the bigger picture, have a look at the NE Pac WVloop.

Clashing Clouds :



Rebellious Rain:


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So you got the fierce winds, too? It's still howling between 5 and 10 mph here ;) and not hot, but that's fine, too.
No zombies at the side of the house.
I know you are not picking on me when pointing out dismal San Diego county numbers! I will have to say, it gets hard to vote (more and more lately) without the aid of range voting or at least being able to add comments (you jerk! or Are you kidding me!) And I get more than a little POed about hearing the national results called before Cali votes are in the box.
But I have long ago signed on to "If you don't vote, Don't complain". So I can complain if I want :)
Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 131 Comments: 1974
Hey! The wind showed up! Late last night, in fact, reminding me in a most inconvenient manner that I forgot to trim that one branch on the tangerine tree, so that it sounds like I've got a lazy zombie trying to get through the wall. Dude, we have a door, you know.

No major fire so far as I've seen, so, that's good.
Drink lots of water and don't play with hot stuff today, please.
80 degrees, 17% humidity, 20/41mph wind.

LC - LOL In my own defense, I spent the day alternating between (well, work, but we won't count that) writing my comments here and reading too much elsewhere about how and why women are not persons. Actually saw one comment that explicitly stated that businesses, and specifically financial institutions, should have no government oversight or regulation, while each individual woman should be regularly investigated and monitored by the government to ensure proper reproductive activity (by somebody's definition, although, clearly, definitely, not the individual woman's). IOW, corporations are free people, but, women are resources to be managed. It kind of messed with my thinking apparatus trying to understand all that.

Anyway, thanks for keeping us all informed!

Also, separately, I'm chuffed that my comment in your blog made the title :)

.....

Think I'll avoid politics today, as much as possible. Not much work to do, which is nice as I can play. Watching Sandy and that front for folks back there. Want to get a swatch done so I can wash it and see how it comes out. Need to water the balcony plants but couldn't yesterday because an orb spider had made a web across the slider door and I didn't want to disturb her but think it's blown away now. Will pick up the palm frond bombs at some point to clear the driveway. Oh, and must get to the tangerine branch before it wears a hole in the wall ... LOL

seewu!
Member Since: January 27, 2007 Posts: 82 Comments: 4307
Quoting sp34n119w:
.... I got some emails from Rocky but see he isn't on the ballot. Do we get write-ins? I should probably know that.
....
Yes, you should, lol. ;^)
Quoting LowerCal:
....
2) .... Liberals will be interested to know that the Justice Party's Rocky Anderson is a qualified write-in candidate (request the list from your pollworker). ....
Write-in voting instructions are on page 2 of a Santa Paula ballot.

"To vote for a qualified write-in candidate, write the person’s name on the blank line provided and complete the arrow.
IMPORTANT: USE BALL POINT PEN BLUE OR BLACK INK ONLY. DO NOT USE FELT TIP OR GEL INK.
"
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
... with the importanter stuff.

LC - it might take me awhile yet to get around to writing coherently about the Props (if I ever do, lol). So, thanks for bringing your thoughts here.
Oh, except the death penalty one - too expensive, doesn't work to deter, and, yes, is inhumane and uncivilized even when properly implemented, which it too often is not. So, that's gotta go and I'm glad to see it put before voters. Again, lol
Appreciate the info on the Thirds, the debate (I read a partial transcript, somewhere, but haven't watched the thing), and the fact-check link. They seem a lively group this time around, don't they?
I got some emails from Rocky but see he isn't on the ballot. Do we get write-ins? I should probably know that.

gg - wow, German rockabilly! Not bad :)

So, as LC kind of pointed out, you can't have it both ways. Either third party voters are considered insignificant, as you said at one point, or they are capable of wrecking an election, as you imply with your reasoning in urging people to vote for Obama for the sake of the Supreme Court.

Ross Perot, lo these many years ago, both times he ran, garnered far more votes nationwide than any other third party candidate, ever. Did it change the election results? Maybe. Gore lost his election but, as LC noted, some still blame Nader voters. As long as there are third party candidates they have the chance to make a difference - if not by electing their candidates, then at least in people's minds.

Back to your point about the Supreme Court appointments. I agree that that is a very important consideration and wouldn't blame anyone for voting for Obama (or against, you do realize) on that basis. Here's the thing: when will it not be very important? When will there be an election where everyone can vote their conscience without worrying about throwing the election to the greater of two evils? Can you imagine such a time? I cannot. There is always "too much at stake" to mess with the status quo, almost by definition, and if that's so, how will it ever change?
Will there be a day when the Republicans and Democrats will decide amongst themselves that it is now time to open up the process to other parties? Why on Earth would they do that?

That said, if I lived in Ohio or some other swing state, I would (probably) (try to) find a way to make myself vote for Obama. "The lesser of two evils", indeed.

.....

When this is over I'd like to go back to knitting and science posts. Okay?
Well, I'll break soon and throw some of that in here, anyway ;)

Member Since: January 27, 2007 Posts: 82 Comments: 4307
Only about 60% of U.S. Citizens who are eligible to vote are registered to vote. Only about 50% of eligible voters actually vote in a presidential election year (usually less than 40% in an “off” year) (just read today that, in San Diego county in this year's Primary, 27.8% of registered voters showed up). Of the registered voters, the majority are registered as Democrats, nationwide, and even in some of the States that can be counted on to vote for a Republican presidential candidate. What's more, when well-done national polls are conducted to determine citizens' preference on the issues, the clear majority express views that are right in line with my own Liberal opinion. Yet, we have an extremely conservative government that ignores many important issues while implementing or continuing policies that are contrary to what those polls indicate our citizens would prefer.

What this means is that we no longer have a government that represents its people. That is not the fault of the politicians. That is our fault. The people abdicate their right to a representative government when they abdicate their responsibility to participate in government.

More than that, when they do show up, they don't vote their own conscience. I have Republican friends who think we should have a single-payer option in health care; who think same-sex marriage is a non-issue; who believe women are autonomous persons with the right to determine what happens to their bodies and that government cannot make those determinations for them; who would like to see the money currently being spent on the endless war machine instead being spent on rebuilding our own infrastructure; who would shift fossil fuel subsidies over to renewable R&D; who think regulations should protect American interests, American jobs, and our environment, rather than protecting corporations' ability to undermine those things for the sake of profit for a few … well, you get the idea. They are right in line with the national polls on these issues and more.

When it comes time to vote, however, they will vote for Romney/Ryan. Here, locally, they will vote for a House Rep who stands steadfast against all of that mentioned above and who will happily vote his party's line while supposedly representing me and my neighbors.

Why do folks vote against their own interests? I don't know. Maybe they don't understand. I think there is some tribalism there, for sure. They like their labels. I saw a T-Shirt in a picture from a Republican rally that read, “Put the White Back in the White House”, and I think that has a lot to do with those unmoving poll numbers. We like to think that racism (not to mention sexism) is a thing of the past, but, pretending does not make it so. The problem such folk have with Obama has nothing to do with him as a president or as a person – they don't even consider those factors – they just don't like seeing a black man with a decent job. It messes with their worldview.
I know. We aren't supposed to talk about that. Ssshhhh. Everybody's entitled to their own opinion, dontcha know.

A quote attributed to John Steinbeck (but probably a rephrasing of something he wrote/said):
“Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”

Be right back ...
Member Since: January 27, 2007 Posts: 82 Comments: 4307
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
GG, I understand the calculation in your registering Republican for the primary. In the past I've changed my party affiliation to vote against a worst or for a least worst as well as for a best possible.

Your point about the Supreme Court is well taken. We likely wouldn't be facing the consequences of the bizarre "Citizens United" decision if it weren't for G.W. Bush nominees. Currently for the general election in California Romney is well behind. If that should change I could vote against him rather than for who I most agree with.

I respectfully disagree that, "The big parties do not care if you vote third party protests votes in the presidential elections. They consider you non-voters and insignificant." After the 2000 election the Democratic Party whined as if Nader votes were their stolen property.

(As an aside I think the real reasons for the Democratic Party's defeat in the 2000 presidential race were: the Democrat's weak campaign; G.W. Bush's deceptions about his concern for global warming, environmental quality and other issues; the premature TV network projections of a Gore victory in Florida; the Florida Secretary of State and the U.S. Supreme Court. Link)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Here's a really good and little known German rockabilly band called the Free Bears. Could almost be a political anthem.



So voting for the third party. If regular people could organize as well as crazy people (see teabaggers), we could take back America from the bottom up with write in candidates.
Sadly, I registered republican to vote in the primaries. Texas is a rabidly republican state. I wanted to vote for the least extreme congressional person to run this year.

For this years presidential election we have a choice of two very similar candidates. Obama is the lessor of the evils and better for middle America than Romney in my belief. He is a better candidate for personel freedom than Romney.

It amazes me that the republicans have done such a great snow job on working people that they are against big government in our lives and legislating against personal freedom. Their platform is all about regulating peoples freedom. Duh.

The big parties do not care if you vote third party protests votes in the presidential elections. They consider you non-voters and insignificant. Only in the smaller local elections does this type of voting matter...if there are numbers and especially if the non-institutional candidate wins.

This election could change our Supreme Court if an opening comes up in the next four years. Which party would you prefer to stack the court?
On that note I urge you all to protest vote for the smaller offices if you don't like your mainstream choices. For the President and Supreme Court I strongly urge you to vote for Obama.

Member Since: March 25, 2007 Posts: 256 Comments: 9578
sp, yep 100/50 here. I've been pushed left also. I refrain from totally agreeing with some insincere assertions that faux libertarians (plutocracy shills) like to repeat.

Range voting seems like a great idea. It might be a step too far for the immediate future though. I'd settle for one additional choice of "None of the Above".

Here are four decisions on the California ballot I want to share my opinion on:

1) I have a folder full of equivocal or condescending and paternalistic replies from Sen. Feinstein to my emails. I look forward to moving it all to Trash someday. Unfortunately Californians don't get a third choice in the non-Presidential partisan races since the new top-two primary system went into effect. I've examined the Republican challenger's statements and the polls. I'll vote for the Republican but only because she won't win. :^/

2) I've got more leeway in the Presidential race. The Libertarian Party candidates are on the ballot. Liberals will be interested to know that the Justice Party's Rocky Anderson is a qualified write-in candidate (request the list from your pollworker). If you want to see what all the "Thirds" have to say check out Third Party Debate: Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, Virgil Good and Rocky Anderson Face Off on the Real Issues at 6PM PDT today.

3) The anti Prop. 37 ads made me think twice... so I read the actual proposition. Monsanto has put $7.1 million into making Prop. 37 seem complicated, cumbersome and onerous but it's actually simple at a relatively insignificant cost and damit, I got a right to know what I'm eating, lol!

4) Finally, moral or not the death penalty is a huge economic burden for taxpayers.


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Thanks for the heads up, WTS! I hadn't bothered with reading the discussion and was just pleased to see the higher temps in the forecast. Seems we are all under the gun so SoCalians should check their own region's forecast.
Here's part of mine - also LowerCal's and calpoppy's:

"The gusty northerly winds will help to prime the already dry fuels
across the region. Winds are expected to shift to the northeast by
Thursday night...with the strongest and most widespread Santa Ana
wind event expected so far this season. Fire weather watches have
already been posted for much of Ventura and Los Angeles counties from
Thursday night through Friday evening. The strongest winds will
likely occur late Thursday night through Friday in the mountains of
Los Angeles and Ventura counties...when gusts in the 50 to 60 miles per hour
range will be possible. However...offshore winds gusting to between
40 and 50 miles per hour can be expected across coastal and valley areas as
well. Humidity levels will generally range between 10 and 20 percent
from Thursday night through early Friday morning...then lower to
between 5 and 10 percent across much of the watch area Friday
afternoon into Friday evening. If fire ignition occurs...this Santa
Ana wind event will have the potential to bring rapid spread of
wildfire due to critical fire weather conditions and critically dry
fuels. "

You know, that sounds a little scary. Let's hope we can enjoy the dry heat without the smoke this time around, hm?

Ylee - have you any hills to run to, should you be found out? LOL
According to that one link up there, Kentucky has more registered Dem than Rep so maybe you all need to get together more often! Chat, have a coffee, do some community organizing ;)

Glad you got to see the ALEC video. Everyone should. It isn't the only thing but it is a good indicator of what's going on around here.

LC - there are so few questions that I can guess which one landed me at the edge but further left, I guess. 90/30
I have definitely been pushed there.

.....

Linkies:

Why we vote on Tuesdays.

Good resource about voting procedures - with links to State info.


Member Since: January 27, 2007 Posts: 82 Comments: 4307
A promised warmup for you is Fire Weather Watch for us.. well as long as there is no fire - I like Santa Anas.
Aack and shocked! Another tally in the liberal column. Curious to see how this adds up. Can't just be the sea breeze, since Ylee is in the same boat (transplant?)!
Member Since: September 20, 2005 Posts: 131 Comments: 1974
Aaack! I'm a liberal! In Kentucky! (Better buy me a gun rack for my truck; better not have Bubba next door suspecting somethin'!) :)

I was surprised that the Glitchamatic(my work computer) could play the Alec video, but it did! Good stuff; only time will tell if the People can force legislations to call 1+1=2, and make ALEC a lobbying outfit, and adhere to the laws therein!

Range voting is also intriguing; sort of like product ratings at Amazon! :)

Seditious swirls, eh? :)
Member Since: February 3, 2011 Posts: 94 Comments: 15743
I was shocked to find myself along the outer edge and on the borderline between liberal and libertarian! ;^)
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Last blog comment replies:
Hi Ylee! Mt Wilson cam does show great color, when there is color to show. Wait until it snows! Snowy pines with that blue sky is a lovely sight :)

Quoting LowerCal:


There was an interval during the debate yesterday evening where Romney looked like HE wanted to vote for Obama, lol.

Random entertainment for those who like quizzes
World's Smallest Political Quiz


I have only seen the first half hour or so of the debate (had to go out and about in the world) but it seemed like Romney was just repeating everything Obama said! Can't blame him, really, as Obama has been doing what most people think he ought, so that is the position to take.
Nifty quiz! Easy and definitely quick.
I was shocked – shocked, I tell you! - to find myself categorized as a Liberal. Okay, “shocked” may be too strong a word ;)

…..

Oooo, look at that big swirly about to whack Vancouver. Very wintry.
It's cold here (for some values of “cold”, anyway) and there was a rain-like moment last evening and I'm looking forward to the promised warm-up later in the week.
[thought I oughta put something weather related in here somewhere ;)]
Member Since: January 27, 2007 Posts: 82 Comments: 4307

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When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle. - Edmund Burke

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