Sunday, December 3, 2017

The Most American Candidate, part 2, 2017 edition

If we were to design a candidate who could speak to the majority of Americans today, an interesting intellectual exercise could determine the political positions of a presidential candidate who could win their first election with ease. This candidate would not be a centrist but would adopt policy positions which the majority of Americans agree with. These are based on the most recent poll on the issues I can find.

Here is the platform:
Social:

  • Employers must provide health insurance which covers birth control regardless of personal beliefs. Pew
  • Transgender people should be required to use the bathroom of the gender they identify with. Pew
  • Homosexual behavior, Same-Sex Marriage, abortion, and condoms are all appropriate. Pew
  • Partisan Gerrymandering should be restricted. 71% of Americans agree

Economics

  • Implement a $15 minimum wage. Pew
  • We should increase spending for veterans benefits, education, and health care, we shouldn't reduce spending on anything. Pew
  • The rich do not pay their fair share, and should see an increase in their tax rates. Pew
  • Light Rail is essential to the building of a modern city. SJSU
  • Global Warming is real and we need policies to reverse it. People say this in every single state. NY Times
Foreign

  • ISIS is a major concern. Pew
This is a winning platform. What is most striking about this is that it is not "moderate", halfway between Democrats and Republicans. In fact, most Americans agree with several of the core policies of the Democratic Party and none of the policies of the Republican Party.

This says a few things,
  1. The Republican Party is in danger if it is to survive as a party, with its main positions being unpopular when polled.
  2. The Democratic Party needs to focus not on moving to the center (which is the effect of Median Voter Theorem) but to increase turnout among its natural voter base, which involves the majority of Americans.
The Democratic Strategy for 2018 needs to be to fight in every single district for every legislative and congressional seat. A winning candidate is going to be clear about their values and represent the majority of people, falling neatly in the progressive camp.

I do not know how many progressives are going to win next year, hopefully many. But if candidates stay reasonable, science focused, and honest to their values, they can win elections nationwide. The particular emphasis candidates have on their campaigns will change, but I do believe that with Congress sitting at 13% right now, Trump sitting at 40% approval, and both parties having less than 50% approval, our country needs some major political changes.

We have seen multiple elections in my life time where the Democratic Party running on the values most Americans share will win the majority of the vote, but still lose the House and Presidency. It is not because Americans are not voting or caring, its because we have a rigged election system. Gerrymandering combined with first past the post for the House and the Electoral College prevent us from having policies which the majority of us want.

This is where ranked voting comes in. We need to fight from the grassroots to help break the two party system. We need new voices which represent Americans accurately and have more incentives to be bold, or be forced to leave. Neither the Green Party or Libertarian Party fill this role. We need more candidates like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren running for office nationwide. We need people like Kamala Harris and Martin O'Malley to rise as high as they can go, and we need these people in local politics right now.

Breaking the partisan duopoly will offer candidates the ability to be more true to their values and more responsive to voters. Ending single member districts and first past the post will allow more voices to be heard nationally, which will be a more healthy politic. Ending the presidential primary system and electing the President using IRV is the eventual goal.

I have been thinking about this issue for years (as this blog shows), and the only way I can see to break the partisan duopoly is to reform our entire election system. Getting money out of politics is more tricky because you have to be clear about the relationship between money and speech, but changing our election system is relatively easy. Washington State has already done it, though top two primaries do not allow third parties to have a real chance to form, neither does it guarantee results which represents the views of the majority. The top two primary in Seattle this year and Attorney General's race last year have made that abundantly obvious. It has not broken the toxic two party system in our state because it can't.

This is how we are going to get the most American candidate who represents the people elected. Right now it is clear to me that candidates who follow this message precisely still don't necessarily win because people have to be strategic about their voting, especially in crowded elections.

Some will say this is impossible to do, but I refer those people to the 12th amendment which radically changed how the Electoral College works. Most Americans do not remember this today, but before 1913 Senators were not elected by the people but appointed by State Legislatures. The 17th Amendment changed this completely, making the Senators directly elected by the people. Let us not also forget that Slaves were counted as 3/5 of a person in the House of Representatives until the 13th amendment. The Senate is directly elected by the people, The Electoral College works differently, the calculation method for how many representatives each states gets in the House of Representatives has changed as well. None of our original election system survives today.

Abolishing the Electoral College is no more radical than directly voting for Senators. We have already completely eliminated one indirect election method our government.

Ranked voting is a far simpler system to understand than what is written in the 12th amendment today.

Having multiple representatives in a district has historical precedence. We once had them in my home, Washington State.

For those places which require districting due to their size (looking at you, California) we should use algorithmic districting to prevent Gerrymandering. The Shortest splitline method combined with STV would be an unhackable system.

We need to do this work now, and then we can get the candidates we deserve, and the politics which the vast majority of Americans desire.

Together, we can do this.

Please get connected with Fairvote today. We deserve better elections.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Swing States

A series of maps to illustrate swing states, defined as states which have not voted for the same party for the preceding 4 Presidential elections.

Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

Swing States, 2016


Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

Swing States, 2012


Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

Swing States, 2008

Another way to look at it, if you gradually turn states into swing states the further back you go:


Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

2016 results


Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

Since 2012


Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

Since 2008


Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

Since 2004


Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

Since 2000 (repeat)


Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

Since 1996


Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

Since 1992


Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

Since 1988


Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

Since 1984 and 1980


Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

Since 1976


Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

Since 1972 and 1968


Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

Since 1964

1964 was the first election where DC was allowed to vote, so every state has voted for both parties except for DC over the last 50 years.

If I were hired by the DNC to ensure Trump is a one term president, I would ensure to put resources everywhere I can. The first step is to fight against voter discrimination laws which should have started several years ago. It doesn't matter if you are polling 10 points ahead of the other major party if your voters cannot vote for you.

While fighting those laws in the courts and ensuring people have the right to vote, we need to also fight gerrymandering. If the Supreme Court rules that partisan gerrymandering is illegal than there will be many more cases to ensure fair districting. This will mean that we will have many more competitive districts.

Getting a great candidate in 2020, such as Kamala Harris, would help a lot to win the Presidency, and ending the super-delegates to have the primary done with a straight popular vote would be a very easy way to increase legitimacy of the Democratic Nominee. That wouldn't take any laws to change, only some rules. It would also improve the image of the Democratic Party in the eyes of Millennials. If the primary is open and ranked then we will have the best candidate possible with no question of their legitimacy.

That will be enough to win the 2020 election. Campaign everywhere and have the first national primary in America's history. Supporting local candidates, and have every Presidential rally be with a local politician to get them name recognition will help the Democratic Party more accurately match its vote share in its success.

In the long run, implementing ranked voting and ideally ending the electoral college are the only ways I know of to make a truly fair election system where voters have the ability to kick out members of congress and legislatures who don't speak for them. After that, there will be no single Democratic Party because it will split into multiple parties at various levels of liberalism which will be good for America and voters by getting more viewpoints into the national debate.

The best we can do in 2018 is get good strong candidates nationwide running for every single seat in every legislature and support them so they can win.

I know this is a big change and a big dream, but that's the only way this crazy world has ever improved. Fight for the ideal system and get as much as you can. Hopefully someone at the DNC will read this.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

2017 Election summary

Landslide.

The Democrats could hardly have hoped for a better possible result than what we saw last night. From Federal to State to Local, this as a victory for America, and a strong hinting against Donald Trump in one swing state.
  1. The most important election of the night was the Democratic Party picked up the New Jersey Governorship, gaining a Trifecta (control of the Governorship and both houses of the Legislature)
  2. In Washington State the Republicans had a one seat lead in the Senate, but once Manka Dhingra won the seat in the 45th legislative district last night the Democratic Party gained the Senate, and another Trifecta.
  3. In Virginia, Democrats held onto the Governorship, preventing a Republican Trifecta.
  4. 4 Virginia House races are still too close to call, and it could fall into Democratic Hands, Republicans have already lost 15% of the House. This happened with 40% of the House with no opposition candidates.
These are the three most important pickups of last night along with one that could be a massive shift. Seattle elected its first Lesbian Mayor, who didn't impress me personally with her ideas (or lack thereof) on her website when I read them, and we got the most moderate mayor we could get in our city.

In other (underreported) news we saw more Americans use ranked voting this year versus any other point in history. This saw an increase in turnout. Hopefully more cities will adopt ranked voting soon to increase democratic legitimacy. Fairvote Star Tribune

Another big lesson tonight is to compete everywhere. The Virginia House of Delegates is within 4 seats of either party taking control. We have seen one of the biggest switches in history with Virginia moving from being a solid Republican state to a competitive state which leans blue. Democrats could form a trifecta in the near future in Virginia if they tried.

The question remaining is if this success will continue next year. This will depend highly on Trump's popularity, as unpopular presidents tend to do very poorly in their midterm elections, and I expect it could be a big gain for the Democratic Party if they try.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

PutinTrump Communications Director

Richard Nixon, sellout to the North Vietnamese and indirect killer of thousands of American soldiers, had fewer communications directors than the current White House occupant. When Reagan was undergoing the Iran Contra Scandal coming out, he had only three communications directors. We are about to see the 5th Communication Director in 8 months. Something big is going to break if even negotiating with North Vietnamese, Watergate, Iran Hostage Crisis negotiations by Reagan, and Iran-Contra Scandal (where Reagan was selling drugs to Central American terrorists and weapons to the Iranian regime) were not enough to create such turmoil with White House Public Relations.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

When liberals fight, liberals win

When liberals go to court, liberals usually win. That is a large chunk of the history of the civil rights movement, for some reason today it is in vogue to disparage the work of lawyers (many of whom were POC) who eliminate legal barriers. If we had been more vicious while Obama was President at fighting gerrymandering we could have had a competitive election in 2014 and 2016, which would have made it so the laws which prevented people of color from voting would have never been proposed or passed, but oh well, at least we waved some signs. We need a lot more of this and to pool our resources to hire the lawyers to get this work done.

This legal fight against Dakota XL should have happened as soon as the pipeline was proposed, but it was the failure of liberal environmental organizations and the President to not press for this as soon as the illegal pipeline was proposed. This is part of a general trend which includes Democrats not fighting gerrymandering and many other weak aspects of the modern Democratic Party which makes them irrelevant to modern American politics.

The only way out of our current predicament is through ranked voting and a breaking down of the big tents.

http://sciencevibe.com/2017/06/19/oops-turns-out-the-dakota-pipeline-was-illegal-after-all/

Friday, June 16, 2017

RIP Helmut Kohl

On the same day that Helmut Kohl dies, the principal architect of the EU and Schengen Treaty which protects Western Europe from war, he who must not be named makes no public statement about his passing while making a major move to antagonize Cuba and alienate us from our allies. I am not surprised, only finster. I have a large amount of family who have benefitted greatly from this great work.

Es ist ein dunkel Tag für der Welt. Ich hoffe Kohls Arbeit wird überleben.

I hope that with the next president we have will move closer to a better relationship with Cuba and become even closer to our Canadian and Mexican friends. If we are to learn anything from Kohl's Chancellorship it is that we are more prosperous when we work together, and we are more free when we talk with each other. We need to reach out to others and build up a more peaceful world, tear down borders, and love each other no matter what language we speak or no matter what atrocities may have been committed. It is up to us to be that generation which expands this work to every continent in order to expand freedom to those who have famine, build bridges between our divisions, and defeat nationalism. Only when we see the humanity in each other's eyes and open our hearts to those who speak different tongues and worship differently will we be truly free.

That is the lesson we need to learn from Helmut Kohl tonight, may he rest in peace.

He was a true friend to all, and enemy of none. Today we have seen Die Linke, SPD, CDU, and Putin all have nice things to say about a man who truly made the world a better place.

Danke Kanzler.

Image result for helmut kohl

Thursday, June 8, 2017

United Kingdom General Election, 2017

If the projections are correct, then we are going to see a hung parliament this year. There are a couple possibilities which are based off of history:
1. Conservative/Liberal Democratic coalition as existed under Cameron's first ministry. I think this is unlikely since the Conservatives are in favor of a return to a Pre-World War I European Order which is what Brexit would bring, and the LibDems are the most opposed to a hard Brexit of the three major parties. They are also completely at odds with each other on environmental policy, making such an arrangement completely ridiculous and unsustainable.
2. Conservative/Labour. Labour is in favor of a soft Brexit and less strong on the environment as the LibDems, making them significantly closer to the hardline conservative policies of the Conservative Party which are very similar to the Republican party of the USA before Drumpf cheated his way into the White House. This would be very similar to the current arrangement in Germany between SPD (think centrist) and the CDU (drifts between very liberal and paleo-conservative on social policy, combined with the most conservative economic policy in all of Europe of the major parties I have studied) and should not be ruled out for Britain. It would be far more sustainable than a CLD coalition in my observation of their platforms.
3. Labour/Liberal Democratic/Scottish National Party would be the only stable coalition which could be formed with the current political arrangement. The Liberal Democrats have a more moderate although still ardently Keynesian economic policy from the results I got with iSidewith, are in line with Labour on social policies, and when it comes to Environmental and foreign policy will make Labour more liberal (in the International Relations part of the ideology). I think this coalition would destory Brexit (hallelujah) and will not end up with the writs being called early (aka a new election), given how their differences I can find are more or less regarding minutia, and will make the Labour Party policies which are more on the loony side under their current leader less likely to pass, while very important legislation which they agree on, such as killing Brexit, will be able to bypass the inevitable conservative opposition. SNP and Labour are very similar on most issues, I got the same score for each on the iSidewith quiz I took. This would mean stable and reasonable policy for Britain for the next 5 years.
4. The most likely of them all, and a win for the Brexit camp, would be a Conservative/Democratic Unionist alliance. This would ensure Brexit happens, and a ridiculous economic policy in line with Thatcherism. This is very unfortunate for Britain.

I hope for this reason that we see an LLD government in the coming years. I think it would be best for Britain economically, socially, preserve the European Union, and govern them as best as possible until the next election comes (whenever that will be). Unfortunately, this will likely not happen with the Conservatives and Democratic Unionists making a coalition with barely enough votes to have more than 50% of the seats.