Is the sleeping giant waking?

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  1. Personal opinion : go to the Aussie system. Once an of-age citizen, you vote or be fined $200.oo . Commonwealth of Australia has a better than 97% voter turnout and it eliminates all those “silent majority” things as well as all those goofballs who don’t vote but feel free to gripe about who is in office.

  2. The real question is whether the election of a group of moderate Republicans like Chaffee can have a real impact on the direction of the national party, which is the grips of fairly radical leaders. I am not optimistic (but we can hope).

  3. The problem with the mighty middle is that they are not motivated to vote in non-presidential elections. You have to actually go to the polls to have influence. Primary elections anywhere in the US have really low turn out percentages. I would put more weight into any so called voter mandate/outrage/whatever, based on the actual race. I’m curious about some elaboration on the open primary statement you made.

  4. Uhhh, wouldn’t that be better if it were a “the election of a group of moderate”s from both parties? The far Left Wing Democrats are at least as nutty as the Far Right Republicians.
    Polimom and I don’t agree on all that many things, BUT, there are a few were we do. I kind of agree with a central theme Polimom (and no this is not brown-nosing) has had since I’ve been reading her stuff. I don’t mean to speak for her here, but seems the problem isn’t one party or the other, but the extremists in BOTH major parties.
    Imagine an elongated horseshoe (make that “a low frequency sine curve function +or- 1” for you geometry students, of 0 to 2 PI on the sine curve). What we have in the U.S. now is the horseshoe open-end pointed down with the center of the curve top { sin (|) = +1 } the mid-ground dividing point of the political spectrum. Gravity or its psychological social equivalent “attitude and opinion” is forcing the parties to the extreme ends of the horseshoe { sin (|) = 0.0 / PI }.
    What many believe must be done is to invert the horseshoe where the open end is pointed up { sin (|) = -1 } . This is easier said than done thanks to a physics law known as [S] entropy.
    Entropy [S] affects carry over to the sociological condition causing much the same effects on social order that it does on any other condition. Consider some degree of emotion unification takes place, such as the American Revolution, taking society to the apex { sin (|)1 } but over time entropy [S] takes effect and the unification begins to dissolve and separate as you would expect in anything else (it called social physics).
    Entropy [S] does not have to be a constant thing. Modifications often takes place after some major, society-changing event, such as an attack on the body social, read that as a war, sinking the Maine; Pearl Harbor; the attack on the Twin Towers. The problem of course is that don’t reverse entropy [S], it simply temporally halts it, in some case even a slight reverse occurs. But the parties benefiting from entropy [S] soon start the process again.
    Many people believe natural social physics does not consist of a complete 2PI sine wave but only the 1PI . Each time entropy [S] breaks down the unified element of society into its separate parts it eventually causes these mono-factions to turn on each other, much like elementary reactions inside a radioactive isotope at critical mass. Ka-BOOM
    Short of a people resolving to meet a common goal, something Plato says is more difficult the greater the population involved, revolution is the only know social event that “resets the entropy [S] clock” as it were. In short, this is a bad thing for nations.
    The answer? This is my opinion:
    “We The People” must take on the Yoke of Freedom, as did our Founders, and once again till the “soil” of our collective consciousness, sewing the seeds of righteousness; of reasonable freedom; of dedication, especially to the Golden Rule – Do for others, what you would have them do for you; of veraciousness; of simple caring; of understanding and patients; of the Only Command Christ Jesus gave us – to Love. Then fertilize with reality, a generous dose of intelligence, and wisdom. Finally, be willing to water these seeds of Freedom with the free-flowing blood of real heroes that will stand between their homes and wars’ desolation be the enemy foreign or domestic.
    That’s my opinion, I could be wrong?

  5. “The real question is whether the election of a group of moderate Republicans like Chaffee can have a real impact on the direction of the national party, which is the grips of fairly radical leaders.”
    John, to be perfectly honest, the same can be said for the Democrats – and in fact for the other parties (though their numbers in power are small enough that they aren’t all that huge a factor.)
    I’m not sure that “open primaries” are the answer, either – you might well see parties attempting to “vote bomb” the other party’s primary, sending folks out to vote en masse for the weakest candidate, in order to give their own party’s candidate the better chance.
    And, as to the Aussie “vote or pay a fine” system – do we really want people to vote simply in order to avoid a legal sanction? What about those who are “conscientous objectors” and refuse to vote based on principle?
    ~EdT.

  6. Ed says What about those who are “conscientous objectors” and refuse to vote based on principle?
    Make them poll watchers *hehehehehehehe* Sorry, I’m in a weird mood today. I think because last night I accomplished something important to me.
    I have to agree with you and the “open primaries” . In a perfect world that is the perfect answer, but in a perfect world strict Socialism/True-Communism is the best form of government. The problem with both is the same – humans are involved, and where you find humans, you find rats. More of the two-legged varity than the four-legged I fear. *sad but true*

  7. Sounds to me like Chafee is one of my Red Dog Republicans.
    As for getting out the vote, I don’t know exactly how you do it, but… in denmark, everybody & their brother votes. They don’t fine people for failing to vote, but they have many, many parties to choose from, so everybody feels like there is somebody who represents their views. People don’t have to choose between red and blue; they can take a light purplish-mauve if they prefer. The highest vote-getter still wins, but at least you have had the option to cast a personally meaningful ballot.
    The problem in the US is that if you speak out loud that you are planning to vote for an independent, a libertarian or a pink-zebra communist, everyone near you says, “That’s stupid; you are just wasting your vote.” So instead, you don’t bother to go to the polls at all.
    By and large, in the American voting booth you end up with two almost equally bad choices. I have no science to back up this assertion, but I believe that most people’s choice at the polls is to vote *against* something rather than voting *for* someone who stands for a better thing.
    Want to fix voter turnout? Do a few things. One, make all elections on one day. No separate stupid elections for water district, fire district, homeowner association, school district, community college, special school bond issue, etc. All of it is done on one Tuesday in November, always at the same place: the elementary school where your kids would go to school if you had some in public school. Not the firehouse, not the rec center, not a church, not some guy’s garage.
    Next, you realize that people hate to stand in line and you make the experience less annoying. Help them find out before they wait for an hour that they are at the wrong school, and know where the RIGHT school is so you can direct them there. Direct traffic for parking. Make the experience as friendly as going to the mall or a concert!!
    That’s a start. The last major election, I lived in Arizona and the polling place was a mess. In expectation of high turnout, they had changed the traditional polling location so people were either standing in the wrong LONG line at the right location or at the completely wrong location for an hour before they learned they had to start over. Traffic in/around the polling place was a mess (thankfully I could walk), and the poll workers were (naturally) as cranky as the voters.
    We could do better.

  8. Great comments…
    Laz, you and Ed are exactly right: I see the extremism evident in both major parties as the problem (or rather, a problem).
    Re: open primaries. I know that “vote bombing” is seen as a risk, but (as far as I know) we’re not having major problems with that in TX. I see a number of problems with closed primaries, but two come immediately to mind:
    1. More passionate party members (who tend to be more active) can effectively re-direct the party by the candidate they end up offering. It skews the results available to the public. CT is a great example of the impact of closed primaries.
    2. Smukke alluded to this one: The net effect of closed primaries is a voting population faced with choices over which they had no control, and from which they are deliberately excluded by what has become a political duopoloy.
    And I agree, Smukke, that the way elections (all of them) are handled is confusing as all get-out.
    I’m not sure what you were looking for in terms of elaboration, Jack, but this link has some general primary information that includes links, and also a table of the states and how they handle the primaries.

  9. In Texas, there is not a requirement to be registered with a party to vote in that party’s primary. You can decide on the very last day if you want to vote in the primary. You cannot vote in more than one party primary. But you can pick a different party in the next election without changing any paperwork or registration information. It starts all over for you every time.
    Nothing prevents a third party from forming and having its own candidate other than that party being new. People like what they know, and a third party is not very appealing when it is new unless they just hate both other candidates. Our two major parties being so old is a big “incumbent” advantage to overcome.
    I would also argue, that voter turn out to prmaries is so low, that your vote on that has a lot more influence than if you vote on regular election day. And if more people over all turned out to vote, they would get better candidates, because the candidates would have to do more than just inspire the bitter core of their people to vote. They would have to make a broader appeal. Basically, you get what you vote for. And if you don’t vote…

  10. Polimom
    Interesting discussion. I agree with you that Chafee’s victory, and especially the margin (54% to 46%–what would be considered a solid margin in most elections but is being portrayed as a “squeaker” in much of the MSM coverage) are a hopeful sign that the Republican party seems to still have room for moderates.
    The recent Connecticut Senate Democratic primary appears to send the opposite message about the Democrats. If this augury is right, I do not see it as good news for the Democrats’ hopes to retake control of either the House or the Senate in two months, or to retain control if they do win it.
    In fact, for a variety of reasons too long to put into a comment, I suspect the Democrats’ public support is peaking right about now–two months before the election. By election day they will be bemoaning the Republican “comeback”.
    [BOLD PREDICTIONS]
    1) In 2006 the Republicans will lose no more than 3-4 Senate seats and 6-9 House seats, thereby retaining control of both chambers–just barely. This will further empower the moderates, like Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and Olympia Snowe of Maine.
    2) The Democrats will go berserk when their hopes of regaining control are crushed. Much internal bloodletting will take place within the party. The party will be weakened, and maybe even more the captive of it’s hard Left by 2008.
    3) The MSM and the Democrats will blame their failures on some Machiavellian (or underhanded) maneuver by Karl Rove that will appear clear in hindsight but that couldn’t be anticipated and countered before the election.
    4) They will repeat the whole cycle again in 2008 (unless Hillary is able to provide some adult supervision).
    [/BOLD PREDICTIONS]

  11. Jack if you don’t mind me adding to your post: They stamp your voter’s card when you vote in the primary to avoid folks from the other party from attempting to influence any party run-off election. Like you said, that only affects that year’s vote.
    Here’s the thing, historically Texas has been a predominately Democratic state. In rural counties in more modern times, they’ve voted Republican in national elections but for local elections (county commissioner, justice of the peace, MUD, constable) the people running for that office are almost always on the Democratic ballot. So if you want a say in who your County Commissioner is, you MUST get stamped DEM (in red) on your card because if you vote in the Republican primary, there ain’t a name in the slot! If I’m lying, I’m dying! (Okay that don’t count with me but I promise it’s the truth.) Now lately here in Liberty County, the Republicans have figured this out so they list SOMEBODY’s name (could be an ex-con because no one in the Barber’s Shop ever heard of them).
    Come November you can count without cheating how many punched the straight Repub Ballot by counting the votes the ex-con gets. For real.
    Anyway, that’s my two cents.
    You know Smukke’s got some good ideas. There was a time in Texas almost all Democrats from here would pretty much fall into your Red Dog alignment. But the further the national party went left and started putting up people like Adlie E. Stevenson , George McGovern (Geo. McGovern??) , Walter Mondale, Mike Dukakis, well Texas Democrats simply gave up.
    We thought they’d regained their bearings with Jimmy Carter and most voted for him hoping he’d clear out the Mouthocrats in Washington, but his problem was he was a victim of the Peter Principle. He was a fine person and a great governor but was promoted to his “level of incompetence” as president.
    Bill Clinton was slightly different. He was for the most part a good ol’ boy with idea’s that really could help people but his wife “wore the pants in his household” and he spent too much time worrying about how to get the dresses off the women around him who wore them. He might have been a better than average president, even good, but he couldn’t stay on message because he was trying to get it on with the intern messenger.
    Anyway, Smukke has some ideas except it would require a Constitutional Amendment to make it viable. See U.S. citizens don’t elect the president and vice-president. We elect “people” (called electors) who elect the president/vice-president. That throws a kink in mauve.
    I agree with Master’s predictions for the most part. Although the Democrats may not win that many. And 2008 will feature the first two women as presidential candidates from major parties or the possibility of the first all-colored (black/black; black/brown) national Presidential Ticket. And please, no comments about “colored.” To start with a lot of people were hurt and many died to be called colored and spitting on their graves is bad form. Second, if you have a problem with it, take it up with the NAACP. Face it folks, we’re ALL colored with the possible exception of albinos. And the only two albinos I know personally, are from Beaumont and play the blues better than most any person of any color!

  12. Lazarus – actually, I would say that Texas has always been a pretty conservative state. While it is true that from the end of the War of Northern Agression 🙂 until the Reagan era people voted mainly Democrat, that was in response to the post-WoNA policies in the US (think Reconstruction, carpetbaggers, military law etc.) In fact, the term ‘DixieCrat’ was coined to describe the southern wing of the Democrats, and these folks really didn’t have all that much in common with the philosophies of the Dems as we know them today (especially as regards civil rights and that kind of stuff.)
    Some other things that could be done to improve elections::
    Make both primary day and general election day national holidays – only critical safety-sensitive positions (e.g. police, fire, refinery worker, air traffic controllers) are allowed to work. Keep them on a Tuesday, to prevent the ‘three-day weekend’ syndrome from pulling people out of town. Those who have to work are allowed to vote absentee. If you are going to make the local school the polling place, then make it a school holiday, too (this keeps the polling from being disruptive to the school day – something I have seen.) People can vote in whatever primary they wish, but they can only vote in one – and they must not vote in the ‘runoff’ for another party (yeah, I know Poli disagrees with that, but it does help avoid the time-honored tradition of ballet box stuffing.) Maybe you can open up the school cafeteria, and hold sort of a community block party on the grounds – again, it helps to get people there, and to pass the time. And, instead of standing in line, you take a number, and then wait around until your number (or block of numbers) is called. Since no one has to be at work, there is no hurry to get finished (something I have personally experienced), nor any intimidation by the boss (something else I have personally experienced!)
    ~EdT.

  13. Ah, this is a truly “great” discussion and I’ve got to commend Lazarus for his “In a perfect world that is the perfect answer, but in a perfect world strict Socialism/True-Communism is the best form of government.” It’s so rare these days for Marxists to reveal their true colors, prefering to hide behind other’s labels thus deceiving the public and hiding their true agenda. And that of which you all speak goes to the core of the problem which I’ve spent a great deal of time researching. True Marxists hide behind and promote the “democracy” concept, i.e., small “d” democracy wherein, as in the Australian variety, all are forced to “vote”. The idea there is simple yet as ingenious as Sadaam’s Bathist party techniques of forced “loyalty”. The Bathist Party technique involves holding a Party conference, singling out “traitors” (at random) and then requiring new or key members from the audience to come forward, climb upon the stage and execute the named traitor by shooting the traitor in the head in full view of all in attendance. Of course, now publicly killing the “traitor” the shooter owed his continued life to the Party and loyalty thereto was assured. Thus, with forced voting, the “citizenry”, (truly just the new serf class), is painted with the “blame” for whomsover is elected and “loyalty” thereto is “assured”.
    And of course, therein lies the “lie” of Marxist “d”emocracy, “all for one and one for all” and of course instant legitimacy for the election winner, while of course, all along the “outcome” has been predetermined by the party elites. This effect is of course most obviously demonstrated in ONE PARTY Jurisdictions. (An interesting side effect of the corruption of a system into “d”emocracy is the eventual rise of a one party jurisdiction).
    According to my Brit friends, England is, anymore, a One Party Jurisdiction, which of course gives rise to the perfect Marxist Nanny State. And therein lies the primary reason that an increasing number of us in the so-called silent middle no longer vote. Ah, come on, admit it, you really thought we were just too fat, dumb and happy to care; Beer and Nascar was all we needed, right? No……some of us can read and write and have actually gone to University (and travelled the world I might add), and we’ve recognized that the U.S. system has degenerated over the last 100 years from a Representative Republic to a “d”emocracy. And to the extent that it has, the new siren call of the drivers of the hidden agenda is, “All Must Vote!” And thus, many refuse to participate in the unconstitutional scheme which has given rise to increasingly evil and corrupt government. (HeHeHe, and that’s what bothers the extremists on either side so much. They don’t know who we really support or what we really support and it’s steadily driving them NUTS!)
    Worse, as more join the silent revolution, increasingly positions are filled through elections that provide no viable mandate to the winning Buffoon. Thus weakened, “gridlock” occurs.
    I can’t predict the future, but I do watch the trends. Interesting phenomenon reported on NPR a couple of days ago; the “emigration” of Brits from England is such that now, nearly 40% report wanting to leave. There are now 8 million Brits living outside of Britain, more than the number of non-Brit foriegners living in England. And that’s possibly the next effect we’ll see from the rapidly developing “d”emocracy here in the U.S., a steadily increasing “emigration” out of those who can. And since so many of those who can leave actually “think”, they may well have caught on that the development and promotion of “d”emocracy in the U.S. is racially motivated and ultimately designed to seperate the “White” population from any wealth and property it might still own, this period of “emigration” may resemble the ultimate “White Flight.”
    Good luck to those of you who stick around for history has taught us that “d”emocracy ultimately descends into caos and is then replaced by a Dictatorship. You are about half way there!

  14. Ed yea, you are right. But I always thought of ‘DixieCrats’ coming from the more traditional “Deep South.” I always thought of us as Texas Democrats: in favor of equal rights in a job; folks should live wherever they can afford; nobody, other than convicts, should be denied the right to vote (including women and tee-totalers); schooling should be equal for all Texans; and if anyone except a peace officer attempts to take take your gun away, you have full right to shoot them. As for the War Between the States, I and the United States Supreme Court have the opinion Texas’ place in the war was unique in it did have an agreed right to leave the Union, still does, and can divide itself into five different sates at any time Texas voters choose, each with automatic acceptance into the Union if the voting public in each of those five sections agrees they want to be part of the United States.
    Until Reconstruction and carpetbaggers, most of the populated part of Texas didn’t have that much of a slavery problem. There were flatland areas that the horrendous “Plantation System” did take holt, but the vast part of East Texas was the Big Thicket and a live-and-let-live sort of arrangement was achieved. Few white people in the area could afford slaves and those were darned big trees back in that virgin jungle. Men, white and black (some time slaves of the white man) worked equally cutting them down. If a particular white man was of the mean inhumane sort, odd things can happen in those woods.
    “Uh, no Miss Daisy, I doesn’t think Mr. Bob every saw it coming. We yelled ‘timber’ at the tops of our lungs but he mussunt heard cause it landed right atop of him. We brought his body back with us, restin’ atop that pine log on the wagon. We alls powerful sad about it.”
    It didn’t take too many mean-spirited “Mr. Bob’s” unfortunate demise for people to get the feeling it was best to treat everyone nice as everyone’s life was in the hands of everyone elses in the Thicket. I suggest reading The Big Thicket by Dempsey Henley. He was an old Trinity River Rat and friend to Sam Rayburn and Lyndon B Johnson.
    Don’t forget a Texas Democrat pushed, cajoled, arm-twisted and out-right blackmailed more lawmakers to pass the furtherest reaching desegregation legislation than any President since Abraham Lincoln. The “Great Society” didn’t work like he planned because it became a method to buy votes, but his heart was in the right place.
    Glide I think you misunderstand. It’s not Carl Marx, or Marxism, I align with but a teacher much further in history. I’m like the folks from the Hebrew National Hot Dog Company , I answer to a Higher Authority. *warm smile*
    You say, I’m not “deceiving the public and hiding their true agenda,” and you are right that’s not me. So, thanks for your invitation and when you’d like to visit about the condition of your eternal soul and your relationship with Jesus the Christ, I’d love to do so with you.
    I would suggest you spend more time looking into the Australian Commonwealth as they have secret ballots. And you’re not forced to vote, but it’s in your financial interest. Interestingly, Texas is considering a system based on the same benefit, but in a reverse manner. Every voter would automatically be entered into a Million Dollar Lottery and has a chance to gain money as opposed to lose it. Works for me.

  15. Lazarus,
    Well, I too align with a higher authority and it may very well be the same one to whom you are aligned. I must say I’ve been terribly amused by Lotto Vote concept. Now that’s an idea whose time has truly come? Hey, could we vote with scratch off cards. Hey, maybe the idea would be that the Used Car Salesman running for office would win an equal amount of money if he agreed to leave the country and never return to blight us with his/her BS. Then the position would be unfilled and under my version of “new Campaign Law”, an unfilled position is automatically……………….eliminated and the monies budgeted therefore are refunded to the taxpayers!
    Have a good one and enjoy my new slogan/bumper sticker “CRACKPOTS UNITE”

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