Thursday Open Thread

“The world is indeed comic, but the joke is on mankind.”

–H. P. Lovecraft

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29 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. MADCO says:

    "I told you so.
     You damned fools." 

    – H.G. Wells

  2. itlduso says:

    Bloomberg and Steyer have already spent more than $200 million on their “campaigns” with much, much more to follow.  Imagine if they had spent that money recreating a nationwide liberal radio network, a la the former Air America.  The Dems are outgunned in rural America.  Drive outside of any urban area and you are stuck with Limbaugh and other right-wing nuts.  You can’t even find an NPR station in most rural areas. Dems have compelling policy positions that should appeal to rural voters, but they have no platform to get their message heard.  A liberal radio network that reaches the entire nation could certainly help.

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      Didn’t AlGore once try to set up such a network? What happened?

    • kwtreekwtree says:

      You’re right, Itlduso….except that even in some of the reddest counties (like Morgan and other NE CO places), there is usually a college station like Ft Collins’ KUNC that offers at least news and commentary from a left perspective. 
       

      And the Spanish speaking stations  in NE CO (KGRE, KNRV), often carry community news and updates that others don’t- for example, when the Army did military maneuvers in Brush and Fort Morgan, only the Spanish stations thought to inform panicky listeners that the helicopters and troops weren’t coming to haul away family members, and that it wasn’t WWIII starting. 
       

      We do need better options, though. Most young people listen to Pandora or other streaming internet stations, which are available in rural areas, but we still need a liberal talk show network, like the old “Air America”. That station saved my sanity many times  when I was working construction and listened to radio all day.

      To R&R’s question, Al Gore created a TV news cable channel, Current TV…not a radio station, but sold the channel to Al Jazeera News in 2013. And that deal went sour. 

  3. PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

    Colorado hits a new milestone with unaffiliated voters and busts the myth about its even partisan split

    “This is a state that is exactly a third Democrat, a third Republican and a third independent,” the Colorado senator says, as he did recently at a town hall in Denver.

    The refrain is a popular one in Colorado politics for Democrats and Republicans looking to prove a political point. And it’s repeated so often that it’s now part of the state’s image, seemingly certifying Colorado’s moderate “purple state” status.

    The problem: The newest voter registration numbers tell a different story.

    • MADCO says:

      The "problem" runs deeper and more bigly complex

      The Colorado "unaffiliated" voters still mostly lean R or D

      How about we strip partisan affiliation from the ballot  and do ranked voting?

      Or we have open primaries and the top 5 vote getters are on the ballot in the general – and still do ranked voting.

      These are democratic reforms that empower voters and we the people, and guarantee the D&R leadership want no part of it.

       

      • The open primary concept is a horror.

        I've asked, and Colorado's current certified voting systems can do Ranked Choice, though not all variants. Let's get rid of all the party advantages on the general ballot; all candidates equal in access and positioning, and maybe the parties can put an endorsement next to their preferred candidate.

      • kwtreekwtree says:

        At a recent Democratic Senate forum, most of the candidates expressed a preference for ranked choice voting- which is the best way for ordinary voters to have a meaningful voice in a primary.

        Without it, we can expect another election with DCCC-anointed candidates steamrolling over voter preferences, and “safe” , moderate white elderly male candidates who excite no one (except oil and gas PACS )on the ballot. 

        • JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

          kwtree … ranked choice doesn't seem to be the key to diversity.  Denver balloting didn't have it, and the non-white, non-elderly, non-male seem to have done reasonably well in both city/county and school board races.  Didn't seem to be totally necessary in the 2018 primary or general election, either.

          So, given the confusion of decision by anecdote, do you have any professional or professorial reasoning to suggest preferential polling is more likely to avoid DCCC-anointed candidates who excite oil and gas PACs?

          • kwtreekwtree says:

            Ranked choice Voting (RCV) would lessen  two obstacles in the way of diverse candidates – the “Catch 22” of lower money and polling numbers . Without money for ads and staff, name rec will remain low. Low name rec perpetuates low polling and campaign donations. So diverse candidates are seen as “less electable”.   And so it goes, no matter how otherwise qualified a candidate may be.

            I attribute some of this lower campaign  $$$$  problem  to racism/sexism, some to the lower resources of the working class donor base of these candidates, and some to the reluctance on the part of voters in general  to invest in candidates that are perceived to have lower chances to win. But, whatever the causes, the catch-22 is real. 

             This dynamic is empirically observable across the country-  ask Kamala Harris or Julian Castro about it. Obama. Joe Neguse and Alexandria Ocasio Cortez are exceptions to that rule, but they are also exceptionally charismatic, ran at the right historical moment,  and are  from deep blue districts. 

            Under ranked choice, candidates would still have to be good candidates – experienced in governance, appealing to a spectrum of voters, no significant “baggage”,  and have reasonably progressive policies that attract and excite voters. 

            But their names would be on the initial ballot, unlike the present system where they are effectively erased from voter’ choices early on. 

            I envision a helpful, neutral League of Women voters style blue book to help voters distinguish among a plethora of candidates.

            If it’s data that you want, J i D, check out the Fair Vote studies of RCV vs Plurality voting in places that have used both. In general, RCV brings less negative campaigning, higher turnout of independent voters, and, yes, more diverse outcomes as those financial barriers for less resourced candidates are eased. 

            https://www.fairvote.org/data_on_rcv#research_rcvrepresentation

    • JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

      The imbalance in registrations goes back AT LEAST to 2016.  In 2018, the numbers registered were quite different, but participation rates in the midterm election wound up about the same — Unaffiliated voting proportionately less, Republicans voting proportionately more, and Democrats in the middle.  A couple of people I've read say the strong Democratic outcome is a result of the Unaffiliated breaking at least 3-2 in the Democrats' favor.  Voter registration since that election has been interesting.  Republicans were holding their own or adding a few.  Democrats were consistently increasing numbers more than the Rs and maintaining their share of registrations.  Unaffiliated was outgaining Rs and Ds by substantial numbers, and their percentage of the registered voters was moving up towards 40% of the electorate.

       

    • davebarnesdavebarnes says:

      Why is anyone a member of a party?

      If you are "un", then you get every party's primary ballot. Then, you, in the privacy of your dwelling unit, get to decide whether to vote for a candidate you like or to ratfuck.

      • MADCO says:

        – it used to work differently
        – it matters when it comes time to caucus or be a delegate
        – some parties give out hats or swag
        – you get invited to relevant events
        – mailing list buyers/sellers knew more about you
        – bragging rights
         

         

      • JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

        The Unaffiliated get the major party ballots — and are supposed to choose one. 

        Experience thus far shows MANY people read the instructions and realized they could vote on one or the other ballot, but not both.  But as Denver Post pointed out "Hundreds of Colorado’s unaffiliated voters are turning in primary ballots for both parties, nullifying their votes"

        Denver Elections Division says of the 6,185 unaffiliated voters’ ballots they’ve received thus far, 3.4 percent — or 214 — have been rejected because of voters trying to cast ballots in both primaries.

        In Larimer County, the percent of rejected ballots for the same reason is 3.15 percent, while it’s 4.3 percent in Arapahoe County.

        In El Paso County, 7 percent of unaffiliated voters ballots have been rejected.

    • kwtreekwtree says:

      You must be really bored to try trolling us again over the Inquirer marijuana addiction vaping psychosis Colorado drivers are doomed story. 
       

      Or are you trying to earn brownie points distracting from the latest impeachment meltdown?

      • Duke CoxDuke Cox says:

        I think you nailed it, kwt. 

        The thunder caused by Lisa Murkowskis' statement about McConnells'  collusion with the Whitest House is just starting to reverberate through the Halls of the Senate Office Building.

         A simple majority of senators have the power to change Yertles' Charade, as I understand the power dynamics.

        • Diogenesdemar says:

          Setting aside the obvious, that there isn’t anyone who shouldn’t be, at the very least, “disturbed” by the leader of a once co-equal and separate branch of government utterly abdicating and abandoning that constitutional role, there’s two facts here that must be faced . . .

          . . . One, McConnell is a symptom. The disease being now an entire party, with their hands on the controls of a branch of government, that has not only abdicated and surrendered their responsibility, but are openly proud of their abdication and thrall.

          . . . And, two, Lucy Murkowski has regularly played Lisa-holding-the-football, and even every one of the minion Charlie Browns know it. (The same for Lucy Collins.)

          Wake me when Sasse and Romney and any others publicly promise to vote against Yertle’s machinations . . .

          Otherwise, it’ll just be Lucy as always . . .

          . . . a couple of Cory Gardners in drag, and GOPer kabuki as usual.

  4. kwtreekwtree says:

    More on Ranked Choice (Instant Runoff) voting

    The article on Maine’s RCV election (Posted by JohninDenver somewhere above) was written prior to the 2018 Maine election, and even prior to the midterm election in which Maine voters approved RCV. The article tone was despairing –  that elections are futile, and democracy belongs to the rich. Most of the article’s dire predictions did not come to pass. 
     

    But Maine voters, after enduring two terms of Trumpian  Governor Paul LePage , who was elected by a 38% plurality, were ready to try majority rule for their CD2 election. And it worked pretty well, though the Republican loser is unhappy with the result. The Maine chapter of the  League of Women Voters, an organization for which I have enormous respect, studied RCV for three years, and concluded:

    The League of Women Voters of Maine supports election systems for elected offices in single seat elections that require the winner to receive a majority of the votes, as long as the majority is achieved by Instant Runoff Voting/Ranked Choice Voting, rather than a second, separate runoff election.

    Your second article was on the San Francisco Mayoral election. There were some bumps in the road as with any new system, but San Francisco now has its first female African American Mayor, London Breed, elected with 50. 6 %  of the vote after the RCV instant runoffs.
     

    The Vox article I’m citing also argues ( backed with statistics) that ranked choice voting allows more qualified  female and ethnic minority candidates to win…at least in municipal races. Interestingly, when employed in party primary races, RCV seems to favor the more moderate candidate with the broadest appeal. That’s what happened in Maine’s gubernatorial primary, anyway, and South Carolina just did a ranked choice Presidential poll. Spoiler alert: Joe Biden won by a mile.

    Ranked Choice or Instant Runoff voting isn’t perfect; some voters will screw up and undervote by not ranking all candidates, just as in regular Colorado voting where a few people vote both party primary ballots, or vote in two jurisdictions like Jon Caldara.

    But if it allows a more level playing field for women and candidates of color, if it fosters civility and tones down the partisan polarization, and allows real majority rules democratic outcomes, what’s not to like about ranked choice voting? It might be the future of our democracy.

    note- these long comments are all responding to the Ranked Choice Voting conversation started by Phoenix Rising up there somewhere- my iPad has a mind of its own in deciding where to place my comments)

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