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Will Progressive Democrats Ever Support a Third Party Candidate?

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Is it ever the time to run a third party campaign for president to the left of the Democratic Party?That question’s been on my mind a lot recently as supporters of Hillary Clinton work themselv…

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Written by slothropia

August 23rd, 2016 at 8:12 pm

2010 Mid Term Election Predictions and Analysi

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Well, time to dust off the ol’ crystal ball and see what’s gonna happen tomorrow. Fear and loathing in the Midwest. One thing I’m pretty sure will happen is I will drown my progressive Green Wobbly sorrows at Drinking Liberally – Kelleher’s Tavern on Water Street in Peoria, 6:30 to?

Let me start locally. Here in Tazewell county, I predict that the incumbent Republican Sheriff will lose to the Democratic challenger. Davis (Dem) over Huston (GOP). Spanos will win a judgeship in the 10th circuit.

I think Mike Smith and Jehan Gordon (both Dems) will survive and retain their seats in the Illinois House.

In Central Illinois U.S. House races, Dems will suffer painful losses. There is very little chance of DK Hirner beating Aaron Schock of the fabulous 6 pack abs. What am I saying? There is no chance. This time. The Green party’s Sheldon Schafer will exceed expectations and get 3 or 4 per cent.

In Illinois 17, I think Debbie Halvorson will be a victim of the Republican wave and lose to whoever the tea baggers are running. Over in Il 19, I think Phil hare will win by a whisker, thanks to superior gotv. Get it? Hare by a whisker. Ha ha. I slay me.

Moving on to U.S Senate, sadly, Lealan Jones will come in third. Giannoulias will be first runner up, and the new Miss Illinois is Mark Kirk. Ptoui.

Pat Quinn will fall victim to the anti-incumbency mood, Blago hangover and his own dithering and hand the Governorship to tea bagger Bill Brady. Illinois is so screwed. Whitney of the Greens has a chance of getting five per cent and keeping his party on the ballot.

One caveat: if the Democratic gotv is really really good, one or both of Giannoulias and Quinn might squeak through.

Shall we look at selected races around the U.S. of A? First, the bad news: Rubio takes the Senate seat in Florida (big surprise,eh?). The good news is that FL’s new Governor will be Democrat Alex Sink.

Up the coast a bit, I am bravely predicting Tom Perriello retains his House seat. Maybe after a recount. Delaware…well, you know. O’Donnell is toast. But we can still feel lust in our hearts for her. maybe she’ll be back on TV with Bill Maher. Oh, and congrats to new Senator Chris Coons.

Joe Sestak will not be so lucky (unless the gotv is spectacular), but Blumenthal in Connecticut and Mancin in WV will be.

In Ohio, Dems reelect Strickland as Governor but lose the open Senate seat big time.

In KY Paul has the jelly. More ptoui.

In Co, Bennett beats buck. I do believe Reid will sneak past Sharon Angle, one of the most repulsive politicians I have ever seen live or on tv.

Good news for the Dems in CA, where Brown and Boxer both prevail.

Way up north in Alaska, I am going to go way out on a limb and predict that Scott Macadam will be the new Senator from the Land of the Midnight Sun.

Those are some cherry picked races to which I have paid enough attention to be able to predict a winner. I don’t really have a system or methodological basis for such predictions. I just soak up whatever info I can find in various media and then let my gut make the call. Accuracy sometimes suffers from wishful thinking. Please do not use these predictions for betting purposes. I couldn’t live with myself if you lost your home because my gut was acting up.

As far as the big picture goes, the Go Teabaggers will have more governorships after tomorrow. The Democrats will still have a Senate majority. In the House, everybody is predicting 50 or so seats lost by theb Dems to the GOP. Some see the possibility of 70 to 77 Dem seats changing hands – or whatever it is that seats change.

Nate Silver is one of those pundits predicting the Democrats will lose 55 or 56 House seats. But silver also sees a possibility that Dem losses might not be so bad. In fact, he says it is possible the Democrats keep their House majority.

I have found it hard to believe that U.S. voters would reward republicans so lavishly for creating the Great Recession and then being obstructionist and completely uninterested in trying to end it. The GOP – and to be fair, the Democrats – have run a pretty vacant campaign. Neither party has had much to say about how to lower unemployment. Yes, the right talks about reducing taxes, government spending and something called the “size and scope of the federal government”. Who cares about such abstractions when people are losing their home.

I also think the Democrats gotv effort could mitigate their losses.

Nate silver also see this as a possibility. In fact, he has a post at 538 today titled 5 Reasons Democrats Could beat the polls and keep the House.

1. The cellphone effect. This one is pretty simple, really: a lot of American adults (now about one-quarter of them) have ditched their landlines and rely exclusively on their mobile phones, and a lot of pollsters don’t call mobile phones. Cellphone-only voters tend to be younger, more urban, and less white — all Democratic demographics — and a study by Pew Research suggests that the failure to include them might bias the polls by about 4 points against Democrats, even after demographic weighting is applied.
2. The ‘robopoll’ effect. Unlike in past years, there are significant differences between the results shown by automated surveys and those which use live human interviewers — the ‘robopolls’ being 3 or 4 points more favorable to Republicans over all, although the effects vary a lot from firm to firm.
3. Some likely voter models, particularly Gallup’s, may “crowd out” Democratic voters. Gallup’s traditional likely voter model has consistently shown terrible results for Democrats this year, having them down by around 15 points on the generic ballot, which could translate into a loss of 70 to 80 House seats, or maybe even more. The Gallup poll and the Gallup poll alone is probably responsible for much of the sense of impending doom that Democrats feel and the (premature for at least 24 more hours) sense of triumphalism that Republicans are experiencing.
4. Democrats probably have better turnout operations. This is always what a party says when it’s about to lose an election: our amazing turnout operation will save us!

Still, Democrats probably do have an edge in this department with the voter lists and infrastructure they built up during Barack Obama’s campaign, and which have been perpetuated to some extent by Organizing For America. John McCain, by contrast, eschewed his ground game, devoting almost all of his money to advertising.

Now, Republicans may not need a terrific turnout operation — their voters are charged up enough, and probably don’t need a lot of glossy fliers and door-knocks.

Nevertheless, Democrats might be able to coax an extra percentage point or two of their vote to the polls, especially in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania where they’ve invested a ton of resources over the years. And in the event where Democratic turnout equaled that of Republicans (it won’t; the point is they might be able to get it a bit closer), they would probably hold the House, even with most independents breaking against them.
5. The consensus view of Democratic doom is not on such sound footing as it seems. When a party is likely to sustain fairly significant losses in a midterm election — and Democrats are going to sustain fairly significant losses tomorrow — there are a lot of things you might expect to see.

This is the optimistic view, and Silver doesn’t see this scenario as probable. But it is not impossible either.

Bottom line, I go along with the consensus that Dems will lose the House, but, I would not be surprised if we are all surprised.

Tomorrow, I will consider what the changed landscape in Congress (whatever it is) might mean.

NY Times Covers LeAlan Jones, Green Party Ill Senate Hopeful

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Last Friday, The New York Times (through its Chicago News Cooperative) published a very positive story about LeAlan Jones, Green Party candidate for President Obama’s old Senate seat – you know, the one Blago has not yet been convicted of trying to sell.

Anyway, back to the LeAlan Jones article.

There’s not much politics in the piece. It’s mostly biographical:

At 13, he started his climb up and out. He and his best friend, Lloyd Newman, teamed up with a producer from New York City and made an award-winning documentary for National Public Radio, “Ghetto Life 101,” a 30-minute tour through the other America.

A few years later, Mr. Jones, Mr. Newman and the producer followed with a radio documentary about the death of 5-year-old Eric Morse and the two boys — ages 10 and 11 at the time — who in 1994 dropped him out of a 14th-floor window at the Wells housing project.

Not much has changed in the intervening decades, Mr. Jones said, whether Democrats or Republicans have been in power.

“People don’t want to buy milk and bread from those establishments anymore,” he said, referring to the two major parties. “Their goods are rotten. The Green Party is the new convenience store on the block. We have the freshest fruits and vegetables.”

We also learn that as well as being mainstream Green on most issues, Jones is not entirely opposed to some gun rights.

Mr. Jones is not the stereotypical Green Party member. He supports, for example, “conceal-and-carry” laws, which allow registered gun owners to carry weapons for protection.

“I’ve never carried a gun and don’t want to,” he said. “I’ve always used diplomacy. I only support conceal and carry as a last resort. But there are those in our society who look at people as prey. They must be stopped.”

On other issues, Mr. Jones is Green all the way, from protecting the environment to advocating a single-payer health-care system to bringing the troops — and private contractors — home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The article quotes Robert T. Starks, professor of political science at Northeastern Illinois University saying that Jones and the Greens are not very visible in the African American community at present.

“But if he keeps getting his name out there,” Professor Starks said, “he could be a factor, especially among young people.”

From what I hear, which is not much, both Jones and Green Gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney are both doing well for third party candidates. I don’t have any fresh polls to back me up, but my sense is that both of the top of the ticket Greens could get more than 10% of the vote in November.

Will all of that support come from the Democrats? I don’t think so. Greens like to say that there is no difference between the two old line parties, which is not quite true, but in Illinois, many voters feel that both big parties have been cooperating in milking the state since before Lincoln passed the bar.

Written by slothropia

August 17th, 2010 at 9:56 pm


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I can’t believe the coverage the Kerry blunder is getting. Meanwhile, as many others have observed, the Iraqi Prime minister has effectively prevented the United States military from rescuing an American soldier. Meanwhile the U.S. military sees Iraq edging toward chaos.

Anyway, it is time to put up or shut up. Time to show my election junkie mettle. Time to show how great a political analys I am.

In general, it will be a good election for Democrats. Gee, ya think? Some things are so obvious, it seems trite to state them. Here are some specifics then:

  • The Great slothropia predicts between 230 and 240 House seats for the Democrats.
  • The Great slothropia predicts 50 Senate seats for the Democrats, 49 for the Republicans and Lieberman. I’m not happy about that last one, but right now the lead looks too big for Lamont to overcome.
  • I also think Webb wins in VA and McCaskill wins in MO. I hope Ford wins, but he is still an African American, and that will cost him 2 or 3 percentage points.
  • Get the butter. Chafee is toast.
  • Sayonara Santorum.
  • In Illinois House races, I pick Duckworth, Bean and Kirk. Hastert gets a scare, but returns to Washington only to get fired as Speaker.
  • For Illinois Governor, I put $2 to win on Blag. Rich Whitfield gets over 5% for the Greens.
  • It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to call it for Granholme for MI Gov.
  • In CO, Musgrave goes down and stays down.
  • Democrats will do well at all levels of government, from dog catcher on up.
  • Republicans will put up a nasty fight after the election with recounts, lawsuits, etc. Screw ’em.

That’s it for now. Maybe I will enter a trance and divine more of the future. If I do, I will post the results. Can’t wait for Wednesday morning to open my presents.

Written by slothropia

November 1st, 2006 at 9:50 pm

Endorsement for Illinois Governor

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Illinois has been run for a very long time by a cabal of RINOS and DINOS. The Land of Lincoln (spinning right now in his Springfield tomb) has long been divided between a Democratic fiefdom in Cook County and a Republican one in the rest of the state. Of course there are plenty of exceptions to this broad generalization, but I think it holds up pretty well.

George Ryan was a Republican governor who effectively ended capital punishment in Illinois. Rod Blagojevich is a Democratic governor who has promised not to raise taxes.

Democratic Mayor Daley recently vetoed a living wage ordinance passed by Chicago City Council. GOP Congressman Mark Kirk from a North Shore district opposes drilling in ANWR.

Sometimes I think Illinois might just as well not have political parties at all.

Now, Judy Baar Topinka and Rod Blagojevich are engaged in a great electoral battle to be Governor for the next four years. Two of the issues are corruption, of which they accuse each other, and education funding.

The Chicago Tribune notes that both Topinka and Blagojevich “…have turned to gambling to raise new education revenue. Blagojevich has proposed the long-term lease of the lottery, and Topinka has proposed a land-based casino in Chicago and expanded gambling at current casinos as the centerpiece of her proposal.”

This is what passes for serious debate and discussion about education funding in this state and in this era. Why these two clowns aren’t laughed out of public life is beyond me. Fix education funding with expanded gambling revenue? Get money for nothing and give it to the schools? Get effing serious. That is not the way grownups should behave.

I’m really worked up about this because public education is the key to any progress a society makes in the contemporary world. It sahould be at the top of the list of what state and local governments pay attention to. But in Illinois education is not important enough for politicians to provide it with sufficient resources. Let’s just throw some gambling loot at the teachers so they’ll shut up.

So on the one hand Topinka wnats a new casino, and on the other hand, Blag thinks that somehow he can raise a lot of money by selling the lottery. Then on the third hand we have the Green Party’s Rich Whitney. According to his campaign website, “Whitney is the only candidate for Illinois Governor that supports education funding reform through an income tax for property tax swap, commonly referred to as House Bill 750, also making him the only gubernatorial candidate with a plan that does not rely on state-sanctioned gambling.”

Move education funding from a regressive property tax to a progressive income tax? Why wasn’t this done long ago?
So while I desperately want to see Republicans get smashed at every level of government, and will vote Democratic for every other office, for Illinois Governor and Lieutenant Governor I am voting for Rich Whitney and Julie Samuels. I can live with RINOS and DINOS, but once in awhile one must vote for someone who is running on principle.

Written by slothropia

October 13th, 2006 at 9:58 pm

Three, Four, Many Parties

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Yesterday, USA Today (USA Yesterday?) had a piece about the effect of third party candidates on a number of races around the country. Somehow, they managed to miss some of the most interesting news.

On Tuesday, Malachy McCourt, the Green Party candidate for Governor of New York, was interviewd by Chris Matthews on Hardball. Chris likes him but Chris is a sucker for an Irish brogue (McCourt is soooo Irish he may have been created by Sean O’ Casey).

I predict that the McCourt will not get enough votes to deny Spitzer of his inevitable victory in that race. Who’ll give me odds? But the Green Party has been on the ballot in New York for some time now and may get a measurable share of the vote in that race.

In Texas, the GOP and Dems are joined by two independents, each of whom have substantial support. On August 9, Rasmussen had Governor Rick Perry (R) at 35%, followed by Chris Bell (D), Carole Keeton Strayhorn (I but really R)and Kinky Friedman (???!!!), all at 18%.

Zogby’s August 15 WSJ poll had the following:

Perry: 35%
Kinky: 23%
Bell: 23%
Strayhorn: 10%

If this kind of split maintains, it is hard to see how Perry loses, but it is not going to be a glorious victory. I am stunned and delighted by the success so far of the Friedman campaign. He has threatened to make Willie Nelson the Texas energy czar if he wins, which alone would get my vote if I lived in Texas.

I have no clue about why this is happening or what it means, but both major parties, as well as the Greens and Libertarians, should be paying very close attention. This could be a harbinger of a major restructuring of political parties in the U.S.

BTW, there is an independent running against Ned Lamont for Connecticutt U.S. Senator. I’m calling this one for Lamont.

Here’s the problem with third parties in the U.S. electoral system: As a rule, Libertarians take votes from Republicans and help Democrats, while Greens take votes form Dems and thus help the GOP. This frustrates voters’ intentions and produces an anti-democratic result. Of course, major parties get defensive when third parties gain voter support, which explains why ballot access rules are so restrictive in most states (California and New York seem to be exceptions to this rule).

Proportional Representation is a fairer system, but it is not on the table. Besides, we only have single memebr constituencies (as far as I know) at every level ogf government, so we would have to competely redesign the electoral system, which would probably mean amending the constitution. No prob.

It is my opinion that we would be well served by having more selection in the market place of political ideas. Therefore I would be in favour of making it easier for newer or smaller parties to compete.

The best we could probably do with the current system is to introduce the Single Transferable vote:

The Single Transferable Vote, or STV, is a preferentialvoting system designed to minimise wasted votes and provide proportional representation while ensuring that votes are explicitly for candidates rather than party lists. STV achieves this by using multi-seat constituencies (districts) and by transferring votes that would otherwise be wasted. STV initially allocates an individual’s vote to their most preferred candidate, and then subsequently transfers unneeded or unused votes after candidates are either elected or eliminated, according to the voter’s stated preferences (thanks Wiki).

Since this would help smaller parties (to what extent I am not certain), it is unlikely that the current duopoly will bring such a proposal forward.

And so the sclerosis of American politics will progress, maybe to the point of complete dysfunction.

Written by slothropia

September 7th, 2006 at 12:02 pm