US voting strategy
By garlic (Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 10:22:46 AM EST) (all tags)
So, say there are 3 candidates running for office. Let's call them R, D, and G. I have to live with the voting system we currently have, so how do I choose who to vote for?

The easy answer is to vote for who you like the most. So say F is the Favor(F) amount of each candidate. I could vote for max(Fr, Fd, Fg) and I'd be voting for the candidate I liked the most. Let's call this the "My favorite candidate" strategy.

But it's not an even race. Based on the polls, it looks like R or D have a 99% Chance (C) of winning. If Fr = -10, Fd = 5, and Fg = 10, but Cr = .48, Cd = .48 and Cg =.01, maybe I ought to consider that, since I don't want R to win more than I don't want D to win. That would be something like voting for max(Fr*Cr,Fd*Cd,Fg*Cg). So I don't vote for the guy I like the most, I vote for the guy I like who's most likely to win. Let's call this the "Most likely winner" strategy.

But there are a lot of other guys voting out there. My vote will be a very small percentage of the total votes cast. My vote will be 1 out of all the Votes (V) each candidate gets. Vr or Vd will be related to Cr or Cd pretty close to Vr/V ~ Cr and Vd/V ~ Cd. My vote will actually be the largest percentage of the total for a candidate if it is for the candidate who gets the least votes. Or in a close election where I vote for the winner, my votes power could be seen as 1 over the difference between winner and 2nd place. Here's where I start getting confused. I think that if the previous part is true, then it should be true if I vote for second place: my_vote_power = 1/(V_first - V_second). So it looks like I've come up with 2 ways to measure the power of my vote, 1 relative to the difference between my candidate and the highest other vote receiving candidate, and 1 relative to the total vote count of my candidate.

I'm having a hard time putting this into equation format, but I think this adds up to a strategy where I want to vote to maximize the power (with either measure) of my vote for candidates that I prefer. So to determine which power measure to use for each candidate it would be something like power_canidate = max( 1/(C_candidate*100), 1/(abs(C_candidate*100-max(C without current candidate)))). Then I get confused how to combine that mathematically with how much I Favor each candidate, but I think it should turn out so that I vote for my favorite candidate unless the candidate I favor most likely to win has a higher vote power.

so yeah.

What do you think is the most rational way to pick your candidate? Does it ever make sense to vote for candidates who are unlikely to win? How would you mathematically describe a "Vote against the worst candidate" strategy?

US voting strategy | 94 comments (94 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Rational way by jimgon (3.00 / 3) #1 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 10:31:41 AM EST
Pick the two candidates that have the best chance of winning.  Find out which one is the furthest from your political/economic/philosophical point of view.  Vote for the other.

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Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
pretty good by garlic (2.00 / 0) #3 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 10:34:39 AM EST
But it doesn't account for the chance that if I vote for the other, they'll still lose. If I'm going to vote for the loser, shouldn't I vote for the loser that I agree with most?

[ Parent ]
Increase the odds by jimgon (2.00 / 0) #4 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 10:42:08 AM EST
You at least increase the odds of the person for which you do vote.  Maybe s/he'll win after all.  The other way you are more likely to have used your vote in a way that won't matter.

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Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
really? by garlic (2.00 / 0) #8 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 10:49:24 AM EST
if I vote for the 2nd loser, that matters more than voting for the 3rd (or more) loser?

in a close race, the polls might be 43% A, 54% B, 1% C with 5% margin of error. So there, voting for A or B makes a difference on the outcome and matters. Voting for C doesn't make a difference on the outcome of this election, but does show support for C or C's ideas in the future.

In a more unbalanced race, the polls could be 30% A, 60% B, 5% C with a 5% error. In this case, B will win whether I vote for A, B or C. So if I prefer C to A, why not vote for C?

[ Parent ]
Increasing the odds by jimgon (2.00 / 0) #13 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 10:56:35 AM EST
In the case of the more imbalanced race (30% A, 60% B, 5% C) you're probably safe to vote for anyone.  In the case of the more balanced race (43% A, 54% B, 1% C) if you vote for C you know the person you vote for won't win.  If you vote for A you know the person probably won't win, but the chances are better that s/he will.

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Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
"showing support" is a fallacy by ShadowNode (2.00 / 0) #28 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 04:16:56 PM EST
In reality, the vast majority of votes serve only to nullify other people's votes.

Voting for C doesn't nullify anyone's vote. The question is then, does nullifying a vote for you're least favourite provide a reasonable chance of impacting the election. In the first scenario, it does, so you should not vote for C. In the second scenario, you have to consider other factors. Will C likely generate more support in the future, or is he a fringe candidate? You may well be better off voting for A, making the race look closer and bringing out more of A's supporters to the polls next time around.

[ Parent ]
that's a really good counterargujment by garlic (2.00 / 0) #39 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 03:52:03 AM EST
for voting for myself every election, since I have no supporters. It also makes sense in a situation where I hate 1 candidate more than I like any of the others.

[ Parent ]
Not only that ... by lm (2.00 / 0) #42 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 04:20:12 AM EST
But a fair number of places don't count write in votes. In Ohio, as one examples, write in votes are only counted for state candidates that collect a certain number of signatures and file a request with the secretary of state. Candidates that don't follow those rules don't have their votes counted.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
in my circles by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #60 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 07:09:06 AM EST
Were I a hacker by lm (2.00 / 0) #92 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 10:23:23 AM EST
I'd hack the machines to make Mickey Mouse the uncontested winner this fall.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
in Ohio by dr k (2.00 / 0) #90 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 10:20:12 AM EST
the vote totals are agreed upon beforehand, and Diebold sets the machines accordingly.

:| :| :| :| :|

[ Parent ]
Rational way is to vote for the candidate that by cam (4.00 / 1) #9 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 10:49:31 AM EST
best represents you. Voting strategies pervert the system.
[ Parent ]
Rational by jimgon (2.00 / 0) #10 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 10:51:56 AM EST
I read rational to read, how to use my vote to it's greatest effect.

More than three parties in the US makes things interesting.  In most cases the third party is a spoiler for one of the other two.

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Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."

[ Parent ]
Britain has three way contests and a FPTP by cam (4.00 / 1) #12 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 10:54:54 AM EST
system yet its third party manages to get seats in Parliament. The perception of a third party (ie genuine choice from the Rep-Dem duopoly) as a spoiler needs to go. It only entrenches the duopoly.
[ Parent ]
Usually what happens by jimgon (2.00 / 0) #17 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 10:59:23 AM EST
Is a third party will hit critical mass and either the Dems or Reps will adjust their platform to encompass what that other group was advocating and it destroys their party.  The Reform Party was doing well until the Republicans adjusted their platform.

---------------
Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
Britain has n-way contests by yicky yacky (2.00 / 0) #31 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 09:13:25 PM EST

For some value of n between three and twenty (although most of that is contingent upon how many locals are prepared to lose their electorial deposit in any given constituency).

Aside from the big three, you always have the nationalist parties, some old trots and one or two independents represented. I'd note that this works (for some value thereof) because of FPTP, in the sense that, when the government is largely opposed by the other two to the point of almost stalemate, the "minor" parties and dissidents end up holding the balance of power. I suspect it can only ever work this way in a system where plurality is the accepted mode of operation. In a ying or yang dichotomy, these patterns never have a chance to manifest themselves.

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Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
[ Parent ]
really? by garlic (4.00 / 2) #15 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 10:58:56 AM EST
The candidate who best represents me is me. Should we all be writing ourselves into the ballots?

It seems that this doesn't make sense because we don't have a chance to get elected. So if we are limiting who we will vote for to someone who can get elected, how much do we limit it? When does it make sense for us to ignore this limit and vote for the person who best represents us? When we do, should that still be a major candidate or do we write ourselves in?

[ Parent ]
States have write in candidates by cam (4.00 / 1) #18 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 11:04:23 AM EST
put yourself in there if you think you are of the best political material for the job.
[ Parent ]
Why by garlic (4.00 / 1) #22 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 11:42:03 AM EST
Why shouldn't one consider that a candidate they really dislike may win if they don't vote for a candidate they mildly like vs a candidate that they really like?

[ Parent ]
Because you arent voting for the best by cam (4.00 / 1) #23 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 11:46:15 AM EST
representative.
[ Parent ]
The system is already perverted by ShadowNode (4.00 / 1) #29 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 04:18:34 PM EST
Voting strategies are necessary to get a candidate that represents you in a first past the post system. Ignoring that is naive, and will just lead to others who will game the system getting what they want.

[ Parent ]
Britain has single member districts by cam (2.00 / 0) #30 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 07:23:29 PM EST
and a FPTP electoral system. You will note that the third party got 22% of the vote and 62 seats in parliament. It has the same electoral technology as the US does for House elections - the only difference is Americans don't vote for third parties. There seems to be Green and Libertarian candidates in most elections, including presidential, but people do not vote for them. The 'gaming' mindset in the US is part of the problem IMO.
[ Parent ]
It's worth noting, though, by yicky yacky (3.00 / 1) #33 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 09:43:45 PM EST

that 62 seats constitutes only about 9.5% of the house, for all their 22% market share.

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Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
[ Parent ]
It should also be noted that Australia's House by cam (3.00 / 1) #35 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 02:59:20 AM EST
of Representatives has single member districts with preference voting (instant runoff) and that has entrenched a duopoly as effectively in the house as the US attitude to the House of Reps has.
[ Parent ]
Does that third party ever hold the government? by ShadowNode (2.00 / 0) #37 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 03:02:09 AM EST
Because it's more or less the same in Canada, but we only ever get Tory or Liberal PMs.

[ Parent ]
Westminster is not a presidential system by cam (2.00 / 0) #38 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 03:25:43 AM EST
you don't vote for the executive you want, you can only vote for your representative in your electorate.
[ Parent ]
That's somewhat academic by ShadowNode (2.00 / 0) #50 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 05:50:40 AM EST
Most people just vote along party lines for the executive they want.

[ Parent ]
indeed. by garlic (3.00 / 1) #53 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 05:54:17 AM EST
when UK elections come up the talk here definately seems more about gaming the system than US politics. In US politics, we just don't discuss anyone but the big 2 parties to game the system.

[ Parent ]
The media in Australia has been focusing by cam (2.00 / 0) #55 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 06:09:28 AM EST
on the parliamentary elections as if they were presidential rather than parliamentary. But even so when you are faced with a ballot it is pretty obvious you are voting for a local representative and not the executive as the leader of the majority parties are not on the ballot.

The preferential system also means you can vote above or below the line (it varies between fed/state) and your preferences will flow through so a local representative gets a preference majority which may or may not be an absolute majority.

The Senate and some of the State Assemblies and Legislative Councils have multi-member districts and preference systems which means voting for non-major party candidates can have pay-off. The third parties in Australia have survived mainly in the multi-member districts as preference voting in single member districts helps enforce duopolies.

[ Parent ]
part of canada's problem by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #62 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 07:11:04 AM EST
is that it's largest third party exists in only one province. it's damned hard for them to elect the PM.

although it was amusing a few years back when they were the official opposition.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
I'm not disagreeing by garlic (2.00 / 0) #40 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 03:54:34 AM EST
that people should be willing to vote for 3rd parties. What I'm saying is that it seems that in an election, if you hate a candidate in a close race more than you like any of the other candidates, you should use your vote to prevent him from being elected by voting for their most popular opponent.

[ Parent ]
i'm not entirely convinced. by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #61 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 07:10:07 AM EST
i mean, the libertarians often run candidates who want to sell off all public parks and have them be privately run, and the greens often run candidates who want to prohibit personal ownership of cars.

why should either of these lunatic positions get my vote?
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
How can a choice of one from two every really by yicky yacky (3.50 / 2) #32 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 09:40:47 PM EST
represent you? That's not a choice; it's a "fix" with one extra party.
----
Vacuity abhors a vacuum.
[ Parent ]
Same can be said of one from three by ShadowNode (3.00 / 1) #36 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 03:01:19 AM EST
Which is essentially the situation we have in Canada. The problem isn't people's choices, it's the electoral system.

[ Parent ]
Back up a step by lm (2.00 / 0) #2 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 10:32:14 AM EST
Why are you voting?

Once you answer that question, then you can start to figure out how a vote for a particular candidate may or may not help that achieve your purpose.

For example, in the 2000 election I voted for Nader for president not because I really wanted him to win but because I wanted a third part to both qualify for federal matching funds and to get to send in their candidate to the next presidential debate.

In the 2004 presidential election I voted for Kerry because of all the candidates, I thought he had the best shot at unseating Bush. Kerry didn't particularly excite me, but I figured he was the least bad of all of the options.

In the 1992 election, I voted for Perot because I thought it would be awfully, terribly funny if by some fluke he would have won.

So start by figuring out what you hope to achieve by voting. Once you figure that out, then it is relatively easy to figure out which candidate will come most closely to helping  bring about you particularly desired outcome.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
i skimmed over that by garlic (2.00 / 0) #5 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 10:42:19 AM EST
with talking about which candidate I favor. Maybe I favor them because they have nice hair, maybe I favor them because they're going to balance the budget, maybe I favor them because they're going to blow up michigan and make me a cabinet member.

The thing I think I'm trying to figure out is a situation like your 2004 vote. You voted like how jimgon describes, for the candidate who would beat the guy you really didn't like. When does that make sense to do, instead of voting for who you really like?

I think my current strategy is to ignore who's likely to win and just vote for the one I like, but I think this is probably suboptimal. I also tend to favor 3rd party candidates because I feel like my vote is more likely to be noticed in the smaller pool. I don't think either of these ends up being a good way to get people who I agree with elected.

[ Parent ]
in some cases by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #6 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 10:47:18 AM EST
voting for the third party candidate is a good way to ensure that the person you like the least is elected.

consider the plight of the poor republican voters in Connecticut: voting for the republican candidate increases the likelihood of a Lamont victory.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
Indeed. by garlic (2.00 / 0) #11 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 10:53:20 AM EST
It appeared that in 2000, Florida voters who voted for Nader would have made the difference if they'd have voted for Gore instead.

[ Parent ]
They were never Gore's votes anyway by cam (3.66 / 3) #14 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 10:57:52 AM EST
so they wouldnt have gone in his column. Those voters proved that given choice they would vote outside of the duopoly. They werent saying I dont want Bush or I dont want Gore, they were saying they want a THIRD PARTY and hence Nader as President.
[ Parent ]
Well, by garlic (2.00 / 0) #19 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 11:31:26 AM EST
I imagine there were some that Favored Nador at 10 and Gore and Bush at -10, but there were also probably some that Favored Nador at say 10, but Gore at 0 and Bush at -10. Were the second set of voters better off voting for Nador who they knew would lose instead of voting for Gore who was in a tight race and would be better for them then Bush?

[ Parent ]
Does it matter by cam (3.50 / 2) #20 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 11:33:01 AM EST
their vote says they balanced the policies of all three and decided that Nader would best represent them as President. Those votes were never Gore's votes.
[ Parent ]
Not necessarily their policies by lm (2.00 / 0) #26 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 12:50:08 PM EST
Many may have figured that a vote for Nader was the best way to give the single finger salute to both major parties.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
3rd Party by jimgon (2.00 / 0) #7 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 10:48:04 AM EST
I would only vote for the 3rd party candidate when it was obvious that the race was completely dominated by one party.  Say Ted Kennedy's re-election in Massachusetts.

---------------
Technician - "We can't even get decent physical health care. Mental health is like witchcraft here."
[ Parent ]
you're making a bad assumption by lm (2.00 / 0) #16 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 10:59:08 AM EST
That the purpose of voting is always to affect who wins or loses. Voting for who you like best is only suboptimal if you feel that the purpose of voting is to decide the winner and/or loser. In 2000, I didn't care who won or lost. I was voting for other reasons.

By 2004, I thought it clear that Bush '43 was a danger to the country. Consequently my vote went to the candidate best poised to beat him. My vote for governor next month will be pretty much the same. Whoever is the candidate mostly likely to win over Blackwell gets my vote. But those two situations are fairly exceptional in my experience. (The experiences of others may vary.) Hence, my point that you first need to clearly identify why you want to vote. If your purpose in voting isn't clear, then whether or not your strategy will help bring about your purpose is indeterminable.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
This may be what you're saying, but backwards by garlic (2.00 / 0) #21 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 11:39:09 AM EST
Voting, as I see it, has two outcomes. The first is determining which person will represent you for the next term. The second is showing politicians that there is public support for your candidates policies so even if they never win, their ideas may be addressed in the future.

I guess this is close to what you're saying.

I'm saying that if your vote does not help determine the winner because everyone else's vote has already done that, then you can certainly vote for whoever's policies match yours the most. If your vote can help determine the winner, it seems better used in doing so, then voting for an obvious loser. This presupposes that you have some preference for one winner over the other in that situation.

[ Parent ]
You're getting closer by lm (2.00 / 0) #24 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 11:51:01 AM EST
I wouldn't limit the purpose of voting to only the two purposes you've listed, but I'll certainly accept that those might be the only purposes you have in voting. I think you now need to decide which of the two purposes you've presented is more important to you. The way you present it just now ``If your vote can help determine the winner, it seems better used in doing so, then voting for an obvious loser'' seems pretty confused. If there is already an obvious winner or loser then your vote cannot possibly help determine the outcome as its already decided.

I think you're making it all too complicated. Just ask yourself this ``what do I hope to accomplish by voting?'' Whichever answer to that question you feel most strongly about, act in a fashion to bring that hope about. Purpose assumes a value judgment. Value is created by the individual.

Think of your vote as money. Just as money is viewed by economists as a measure of the value individuals place on a product or service, your vote is a measure of the value a voter places on a politician. Figure out what you would value one politician over another and spend your vote accordingly.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
another strategy by alprazolam (2.00 / 0) #25 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 12:06:30 PM EST
move to texas and don't bother voting.

that's how we get by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #27 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 01:22:45 PM EST
people like Rick Perry.

surely you can do better than that.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
Assign some values... by Alice Pulley (2.00 / 0) #34 Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 11:25:31 PM EST
...and away you go!

--

'But they're adults and perfectly capable of working it out themselves. And if not, well, fuck em.' - Nebbish '06.

The main problem by Bob Abooey (2.00 / 0) #41 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 04:17:36 AM EST
I see the "I'm voting for a third party to show my support for them and to help them continue to get funds etc etc etc" and I can't help but thinking it's specious reasoning.

The fact is with the political system as it is today you're simply throwing your vote away when you do that. Voting for a party that has no chance to win will not, in an of itself, EVER change the system. In the 2004 presidential election the Libertarian candidate got .32% of the pop vote. Nader got .36% of the pop vote. The people who voted for them didn't make a statement, they aren't promoting change in the system, they're basically a statistical anomaly.

Each "major" party has a base that will vote for their party no matter what. These are the people who view their party like they view their favourite football team. It doesn't matter if they're filled with a bunch of bloodthirsty thugs, they'll vote/root for them. I don't know what those numbers are but I'm guessing they range into the 30% - 35% range for each party. As such, the two parties are pretty much guaranteed to get 60 to 70 percent of the vote, regardless of who they trot out there as a candidate.

The only way for a third party or independent candidate to win is for them to somehow convince those that remain, the true independents like myself, (and maybe sway a few of the fringe partisan people) to come to their side. Ross Perot1 almost did this, due to the fact that he's a rather charming fellow who happens to be a BILLIONAIRE. If your third party guy is a bright charming BILLIONAIRE then he might, might, have a slim chance at winning. So by all means, support him if you wish.

My point being, the system as it stands today makes it almost impossible for anyone other than someone from the two major parties to get elected. If you want to effect change then you need to work on changing the system. Voting for some lame third party that hasn't got a chance in hell doesn't do that and you may as well just stay home and not even vote in that case.

As such your best bet is to vote for the guy you like the best out of the candidates that have a chance of winning.

[1] - I met Ross Perot, by the way. Well, okay, I didn't really meet him, but I was in the same gift shop with him in Vail while on a ski trip in the early 90's.

Warmest regards,

Counter argument: Ross Perot and Teddy Roosevelt by lm (2.00 / 0) #43 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 04:26:11 AM EST
While admittedly Roosevelt and Perot both lost their independent bids for president, they both pulled in enough votes to demonstrate that in principle an third way is possible. If Perot had actually built a third part infrastructure rather than running as an ego trip, he could have won.

I think  it telling that after Perot was in the presidential debates, Congress took away the debates from the League of Women Voters and gave them to the newly formed bipartisan commision on presidential debates and instituted new rules for who qualifies as a serious candidate. If Nader had been in the 2000 debates, I'd wager that the Greens would have gotten five percent they needed to get matching federal funds the next time around.

Also, it is worth noting that there are third party candidates that do get elected in many local elections. Cincinnati, as one example, has a local Charterite party that has more than one member that serves on the city council.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Roosevelt? by Bob Abooey (2.00 / 0) #44 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 04:40:32 AM EST
Things are pretty different today wrt to how the parties market politicians to the masses. You need big money, big big money, to win a major race (president, congress, etc) If Roosevelt ran today I'd say his chances of winning would be in direct relation with his ability to raise major funds. Pretty slim IMO. That would be something to see though.

Congress took away the debates from the League of Women Voters and gave them to the newly formed bipartisan commission on presidential debates and instituted new rules for who qualifies as a serious candidate.

Exactly my point. The system is setup to make sure the system stays as it is. The job of a politician is to get elected. Once elected their job is to keep that power. Since the guys in power are the ones who make the rules it stands to reason they're not going to make it fair for everyone.

I'll concede that a local race can be won by an independent. In that case the ability for interested citizens to actually go out and meet the candidates and become part of the process makes that possible.

Warmest regards,

[ Parent ]
Sure, it takes more money nowadays by lm (2.00 / 0) #45 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 04:53:08 AM EST
But I'm not convinced that it takes all that much more once inflation is taken into account. There is far more free publicity availability now (talk shows, radio call in shows, tabloid shows, blogs) then there was even a scant thirty years ago. An Anderson running today would make a much bigger splash than back in 1980.

Also, you picked 2004 for a baseline when it was an outlier. In 2004 almost everyone was voting directly for or against Bush whereas in most elections, people tend to favor candidates they actually like. Historically the Libertarian candidate gets at least one percent and the Greens got almost 3% in 2000 whereas in 2004 the Greens and Libs combined got less than one percent.

For Holy Joe's sake, just look at the Conneticut senatorial race where an independent is in the lead in the polls.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Connecticut??? by Bob Abooey (2.00 / 0) #47 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 05:15:50 AM EST
Are they still in the Union??

I'll again concede that 2004 was a bit of a special case, I only cite it as I blame many of those people who voted for Bush by voting for a Third Party for the fact that that incompetent nutball is out President. I guess I need to get over that, eh?

Still, other than Perot, can you give me a modern day case where an Independent candidate had even a slim chance at becoming President?

Also, in modern times how many times has an Independent won a seat in Congress?

Warmest regards,

[ Parent ]
President is a special case by lm (4.00 / 1) #49 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 05:27:55 AM EST
And your framing is disingenuous, ``other than the guy who had a chance of winning when he ran twice within recent memory, can you name a modern candidate who had a chance to win?'' Anderson pulled well over five percent in 1980. That is a pretty amazing number at a time when the only way to get national exposure was to spend quite a lot of money.

I do know that within the last ten years there have been a number of independent governors. Jesse Ventura was one. I can't remember any other names off the top of my head. There have also been a fair number of independent US senators such as Jim Jeffords and, possibly soon to be, Lieberman.

I don't know any number for state legislatures. But it is pretty common for independents to server on city councils and other local institutions such as school boards.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Not really by Bob Abooey (2.00 / 0) #51 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 05:50:56 AM EST
I've stated that Perot had a chance because he was extremely wealthy and rather charming. I submit those are the qualities you need to run as an Independent candidate for President.

Frankly I don't think Perot would have made a good president (you need to be a politician to get things done in Washington and he's a businessman) but that's beside the point. The point is that no other third party even had a slim chance. Sure, 5% is better than .32 percent, but it's still a million points of lightyears away from being close.

I'll bet if Forbes had been as charming as Perot he might have had a chance too, but only because he was loaded.

Warmest regards,

[ Parent ]
okay, let's count two things by lm (2.00 / 0) #66 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 07:25:57 AM EST
How many people have run national campaigns for presidency (not including primaries) in the last twenty five years? Of those, how many have not been both extremely wealth and charming?

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Clinton for one by Bob Abooey (2.00 / 0) #73 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 08:08:06 AM EST
He was charming (heck I would've slept with him and I don't even swing that way) but he wasn't wealthy at all.

Bush I was wealthy but certainly not charming.

But that's not really my point. If you have the backing of a major party you don't really need to be charming or wealthy, at that point you just need to have really smart advisors and handlers to tell you what to do and say.

Warmest regards,

[ Parent ]
Clinton wasn't wealthy? by lm (2.00 / 0) #77 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 08:27:24 AM EST
Maybe not when he ran for governor. But the Clintons were very wealthy by the time Bill was campaigning in 1992. Their net worth put them in the top 5% of households despite not even owning the house they lived in.

GHWB was plenty charming. Maybe if you had named Bob Dole, I may have agreed with you although he has his own quirky little charm, else he would have never become the poster child for erectile dysfunction disorder.

The point being the overwhelming majority of candidates for either party in the last few decades have been both exceedingly wealth and very charming.  Not being both charasmatic and part of the leisure class (those who can afford to not work for a living) is pretty much a disqualifier for anyone running for president whether or not they are a Demopublican.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Not in 92 by Bob Abooey (2.00 / 0) #81 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 08:41:10 AM EST
It was my understanding that the Clintons didn't become wealthy until after he retired from being President, what with the book deal and all the lucrative speaking gigs.

Warmest regards,

[ Parent ]
Their net worth was over 700k USD i n 1992 by lm (2.00 / 0) #83 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 08:47:35 AM EST
That's top five percent and doesn't even include intangibles or the such niceties as the great state of Arkansas paying for the mansion he lived in and chauffering him around pretty much anywhere he wanted to go.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
I don't consider that wealthy by Bob Abooey (4.00 / 1) #84 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 09:09:39 AM EST
Not to be a pedant, that's certainly very comfortable, but I don't consider it wealthy, not even in 1992 dollars.

That said, I didn't know that's all it took to get in the top 5% of the US. I've got friends worth much more than that and they're just regular people. Hell, my Grandfather is worth more than that and he's about as regular as you can get.

Warmest regards,

[ Parent ]
That's a cool million in today's dollars by lm (2.00 / 0) #86 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 09:31:30 AM EST
... and by just about any objective standard it counts as being independently wealthy. You can disagree if you want but living in Arksansas as they did at the time just about any economist would have told you that the Clintons would never had to work another day in their life and still had a very comfortable lifestyle right up until they met their maker.

And, as I mentioned before, that doesn't include all the extra benefits Bill was pulling in as Governor. A net work of 700k + house provided by the taxpayers + transportation provided by the taxpayers + retirement provided by the taxpayers means that that 700k is going far further than 700k would for the likes of you or I.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Perspective by Bob Abooey (4.00 / 1) #88 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 10:01:59 AM EST
John and Teresa Kerry's net worth was 750 million.

That's wealthy.

G W. Bush is estimated at between 9 and 26 million 2003 dollars. That's fairly wealthy.

Warmest regards,

[ Parent ]
Between 9 and 26M by lm (2.00 / 0) #89 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 10:17:04 AM EST
Gets the Clintons in 1992 to within one order of magnitude of Bush '43. Which makes the contest right about fair because Bush '43 trails the Big Dog in charm by about the same extent that the Clintons trail the Bush houshold in wealth.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
not to mention Bernard Sanders. by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #63 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 07:13:13 AM EST
I don't agree that Lieberman and Jeffords count, though: they were originally elected as members of the major party and then became independents, and ran as an independent only after they already had the incumbency advantage.

Can you cite a case other than Sanders where a non-incumbent independent has won?
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
I disagree with your disagreement by lm (2.00 / 0) #68 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 07:34:50 AM EST
Independent is independent, incumbent or challenger. Regardless, you've pointed out a `true' independent in a national office (US Senator). That's probably about as far as we can go. According to some sources, Sanders was the first independent senator in forty years.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Oh please by Bob Abooey (2.00 / 1) #76 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 08:22:36 AM EST
Lieberman is a Democrat running as an Independent.

Warmest regards,

[ Parent ]
Lieberman is not a Democrat by lm (2.00 / 0) #78 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 08:29:44 AM EST
You can't even get Senate Dems to go on the record pledging to allow Liberman to caucus with the Dems should he win. For that matter, you can't even get Lieberman to pledge that he will do so.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Of course by Bob Abooey (2.00 / 0) #80 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 08:39:04 AM EST
The Dems are towing the party line, they have to say that.

Meanwhile Lieberman is trying to play both sides of the fence in order to get elected. The guy was almost VP as a Democrat, he can say whatever he wants, the cat is a (D)

Warmest regards,

[ Parent ]
I don't think it's that clear. by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #85 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 09:17:49 AM EST
I mean, ok, he clearly was a Democrat. But things change. On what is perhaps the fundamental policy issue of the day, he doesn't agree with the Democrats, and does not wish to be counted as one of them.

So is he a Democrat?

For that matter, am I? I'm registered as a Democrat, unlike Lieberman, but i'm likely to vote for as many Republicans this year as Democrats, and I think the Democrats --- while they were right to oppose Iraq --- have been dead wrong on foreign policy since then. I'm uncomfortable with their approach to fixing Iraq, and i'm more uncomfortable with the administration's approach; where does that leave me?

There's a vast group of people who aren't really happy with either party, and it looks to me like Lieberman is one of them.

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
here's my rationale by aphrael (4.00 / 2) #79 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 08:37:52 AM EST
it's one thing to get elected as a democrat or a republican and then leave the party and run as an independent: the advantages which accrue to the incumbent are enormous.

it's an entirely different thing to get elected outright as an independent, without the incumbency advantage.

if it's true that sanders is the only one to have done it in 40 years, we have a long way to go before there's any meaningful non-duopoly presence in politics; the duopoly basically still controls the gatekeys.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

[ Parent ]
that's a pretty good point. by garlic (2.00 / 0) #46 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 05:01:16 AM EST
when the third party is going to get less than 1% of the vote, giving a vote to them isn't going to change much. But, since my vote is so small to begin with, they'll certainly appreciate it more than the big parties will.

Viscerally I want to agree with cam -- vote for who I want to win, not for who has a good chance for winning. I haven't seen any good reason for an exception except the case where a guy you really don't want to win is in a close race with someone you'd prefer over him.

[ Parent ]
I can think of lots of reasons by lm (4.00 / 1) #48 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 05:19:43 AM EST
1. Someone who thinks that any competent person can handle the office might vote for the person most likely to defeat someone perceived as not being competent.
2. Someone who really likes candidate C but finds candidate B to be acceptable might not mind voting for candidate B if B is perceived as being more likely to be able to win.
3. Someone who really likes candidate A and thinks that candidate A has the election in the bag might vote for candidate B in order to help candidate B raise attention and awareness over a specific issue.
Rationality (in a purely economic sense) is defined as acting in such fashion as to bring about one's goals. Consequently, it follows that if you multiply the number of different goals that people have in voting by the number of ways that those goals might be achieved and counting each unique strategy only once, you have a set of different rational ways to vote. People who talk of ``throwing your vote away'' or ``wasting your vote'' generally only do so because it is in their interest to have you vote a particular way that might be frustrated if you ``throw away your vote.'' IMO, the only way to throw away your vote is if your vote doesn't represent your intent in voting.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
someone is messed up here. by garlic (2.00 / 0) #52 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 05:52:53 AM EST
1, 2, and 3 are all included in the case I gave. Either I only explained it well in my head, or I didn't explain it well in your head.

[ Parent ]
I don't see it by lm (2.00 / 0) #65 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 07:22:34 AM EST
I can see formulating a ``case where a guy you really don't want to win is in a close race with someone you'd prefer over him'' can fit situation 1, someone who thinks that any competent person can handle the office might vote for the person most likely to defeat someone perceived as not being competent. But you need quite a stretch to shoehorn that situation into the other two situations, especially the third,  someone who really likes candidate A and thinks that candidate A has the election in the bag might vote for candidate B in order to help candidate B raise attention and awareness over a specific issue.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Eh?? by Bob Abooey (2.00 / 0) #54 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 05:57:14 AM EST
People who talk of ``throwing your vote away'' or ``wasting your vote'' generally only do so because it is in their interest to have you vote a particular way that might be frustrated if you ``throw away your vote.''

If your vote doesn't count then has it not been thrown away? Why vote if not to effect the course of your representative government? You're just wasting your time and living in some form of delusion if you vote for someone who cannot win.

Warmest regards,

[ Parent ]
Count for what? by lm (2.00 / 0) #64 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 07:18:17 AM EST
You've been spending too much time with computers, Bob. Unlike a function in a computer program, different people have entirely different reasons for voting. Some of these vote because they want to help decide who wins and who loses. Others vote because they want to send a message ``none of the above.'' Others vote because it's fun. Others vote as a way to pick up chicks with the cool `I voted today' sticker.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Okay then by Bob Abooey (3.00 / 1) #72 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 08:03:50 AM EST
It's the people who want to "send a message" that I'm taking umbrage with re: specious reasoning. It's a smile on a dog as far as I'm concerned.

Now then, I'm going to claim victory in this thread and will not be responding to any further comments unless new facts are brought to light which prove me wrong. QED.

Warmest regards,

[ Parent ]
Except, by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #67 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 07:32:56 AM EST
the only reason someone who represents a point of view that a sensible and rational person can hold should be able to win, and if they're not, then the system is faulty.

[ Parent ]
Excellent, we've come full circle on this one by Bob Abooey (2.00 / 0) #70 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 07:54:25 AM EST
I believe I've stated several times that it's the system that needs to be changed. My stance is that simply voting for some guy who will end up getting 17 votes isn't doing anything to change it.

Warmest regards,

[ Parent ]
It's a tragedy of the commons. by ambrosen (2.00 / 0) #71 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 08:02:50 AM EST
It requires a lot less negativity on everyone's part to get rid of it.

[ Parent ]
More that that by Bob Abooey (2.00 / 0) #75 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 08:14:15 AM EST
I submit that it would take armed revolution to change it now. But I'm certain that wouldn't fix it as it would just be a matter of time before the new system got perverted and fell back into control of the wealthy.

Warmest regards,

[ Parent ]
Britain has the same FPTP system by cam (2.00 / 0) #82 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 08:41:38 AM EST
and single member districts in its House of Commons. It is the same technology as the Congressional House of Representatives. The difference is the voters. The British vote for third, fourth and fifth party candidates.

The US system does not need a revolution, the technology to force change is in place. It doesnt have to be this way - the voters are the ones ensuring that it does remain this way. US voters can vote differently.

[ Parent ]
No you are not by cam (3.00 / 2) #56 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 06:12:54 AM EST
The fact is with the political system as it is today you're simply throwing your vote away when you do that

It is impossible to throw your vote away if you vote for who you believe will be the best representative for your district.

[ Parent ]
Which begs the question by Bob Abooey (2.00 / 0) #57 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 06:25:57 AM EST
What is your goal in voting?

If it's not to take place in deciding who will represent you then why vote?

Warmest regards,

[ Parent ]
The integrity of the modern representative system by cam (4.00 / 1) #58 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 06:46:27 AM EST
is dependent upon the good conscience of the voter in casting their ballot for the best candidate to represent them in their districts seat in Congress/Parliament.

If you vote as a spoiler or ignore the best candidate then you are not casting your ballot in good conscience and are impacting the integrity of the representative system negatively by helping inferior candidates become elected.

[ Parent ]
That sounds quite noble by Bob Abooey (2.00 / 0) #59 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 07:02:29 AM EST
However I don't believe it meshes very well with reality as it stands today, as I've stated here.

Warmest regards,

[ Parent ]
Because you are all so busy trying to vote like by cam (4.00 / 1) #69 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 07:48:54 AM EST
Survivor rather than American Idol. You waste so much energy trying to fuck over the other person rather than just picking the best person for the job. You are fucking up what should be a meritocracy by thinking that way.
[ Parent ]
True enough by Bob Abooey (2.00 / 0) #74 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 08:10:00 AM EST
But that's as a result of what the system had become, not by choice.

Warmest regards,

[ Parent ]
I read this ... by lb008d (2.00 / 0) #87 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 09:58:00 AM EST
and think "what a shame we don't use a sensible voting method."

meh by dr k (2.00 / 0) #93 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 10:23:49 AM EST
better

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[ Parent ]
not complicated by tps12 (2.00 / 0) #91 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 10:22:08 AM EST
If there's a distant favorite and your vote won't make a difference, go ahead and lodge a protest vote to let your preferred side know you're paying attention. If it's at all close, open your eyes to the world around you and vote D.

you don't matter by dr k (2.00 / 0) #94 Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 10:33:00 AM EST
Voting season means it is time to submerge your ego for a bit. You are only one vote in a giant seething mass of prejudiced and demented comrades, an infernal collective where things like "voting strategies" are obliterated in an imperceptible whiff of smoke.

:| :| :| :| :|

US voting strategy | 94 comments (94 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback