Comments on: Wednesday morning quarterbacking–final edition until November! History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Sun, 21 Sep 2014 09:59:39 +0000 hourly 1 By: Historiann Sat, 07 Jun 2008 14:02:56 +0000 Thanks for stopping by to comment, Meteorplum–good points. Yes, the EC–long may it rot in hell! I didn’t even get beyond suggestions for fixing the Dem primary system, but that’s another outdated mechanism that needs to be euthanized.

By: Meteorplum Sat, 07 Jun 2008 08:14:59 +0000 RIght, I’ll nitpick my own comment, and by nitpick I mean “correction”.

1. Yes, there are active political parties in the US other than the Dems and Reps, and virtually none of them are represented in national office. My point.

2. 10,000 signatures might be a tough call for less populated places, so that should change to “the lessor of 10,000 or 1% of the county population, as reported in the most recent, published US census data”.

By: Meteorplum Sat, 07 Jun 2008 08:02:38 +0000 So who would, in fact be a “better” nominee for the Dems: someone who can get a clear majority of the votes or someone who can out-maneuver the person who can get a majority of the votes?

* * *

I am all for electoral reforms, which should start with requiring that voting systems in a national election[1] be completely open to public review, including publishing the source code to any software used. I would also be happy to toss the electoral college.

As for parties, they are free to do what they like, but the fact that we only have two seems wrong, or at least not great. I don’t have any ideas of how to separate the two-party system from the legislative branch without causing chaos that would making the current nomination saga seem like the height of impartial cordiality by comparison, so I’ll settle on something that might be the camel’s nose under the tent:

Allow anyone to get on county specific ballots for a national election if they can submit 10,000 signatures from that county three months before election date. Require states to add candidates to every ballot in the state for a candidate if more than 50% of the counties have added that candidate.[2]

That ought to mix things up a bit.

[1] States should be allowed to do whatever they want for local elections, and the truly stupid rules will either get laughed/outraged out, or we are really doomed anyway.

[2] And the Own Petard version of this is to give state officials 14 days to accept the signatures or reject them with specific names/issue highlighted, unless they have a voter ID law, in which case they only get three days.

By: Historiann Thu, 05 Jun 2008 21:10:48 +0000 Preening media personalities, who are all filthy rich (compared to the U.S.’s median national family income of $51,000, or thereabouts) as well as people with a lot of other priveleges besides economic privilege. (The vast majority of them are white, straight, middle-aged men who live in either New York or Washington, D.C.)
They are a highly inbred class of people who are able to impose that point of view even on the few other commentors who aren’t necessarily, white, or straight, or middle-aged, or men. Funny how that works!

By: Indyanna Thu, 05 Jun 2008 20:55:14 +0000 Historiann,

And I like Iowa, having taught there for a while. Great people, but not that representative either. (Although Iowa’s having put its early stamp on Obama is now credited with having ignited or strengthened his viability with both African-American and white voters, by some analyses).

Not sure if I’d agree with all of these proposals, but they would make a great starting point for a dialogue on overhaul. This year actually has twisted the question of early/late out of shape, as bunches of states after mid-April were saying….maybe we should have waited? But incentivizing late with extra delegates isn’t the way to go. Actually, if Obama has any “mandate” that he could very credibly pursue early it would be to launch an extensive overhaul of the nomination process, including maybe finding a more creative approach to “debates” than Q & A sessions moderated by preening media personalities!

By: Historiann Thu, 05 Jun 2008 19:01:57 +0000 Yes, Indyanna–the nomination process is totally screwed up. It needs to be reformed, but one of the problems (as I see it) is that the primaries/caucuses are each run by the state parties, not by the DNC, so it has to be both a top-down and a bottom-up overhaul. Historiann’s modest proposal:
–no more “open primaries.” You have to be a registered party member in order to vote in a party’s primary. (But, since I also favor same-day registration as a mechanism to increase voter turnout, that shouldn’t be too hard.)
–no more caucuses, without a severe delegate penalty. States who want full representation at the national convention should solicit the votes of as many Democrats as possible, not just the able-bodied, child-free, middle-class and upper-class types who run the caucuses.
–no more weighted systems for awarding delegates. What’s the incentive (in those cases) to work like hell to increase turnout in a historically Republican district, if you’re not going to be rewarded the same as everyone else?
–and let’s stop this ridiculous protection racket for Iowa and New Hampshire. Nothing against those states–I quite like NH, actually–but their populations are nowhere near a representative slice of the Democratic electorate. In 2012, I say let Michigan and Florida speak first!

By: Indyanna Thu, 05 Jun 2008 18:24:09 +0000 I just want to weigh in on the indisputable points about “biases” in the “delegate allocation system,” and the campaigns’ differential “understandings” of the arcana of that system, with the resultant “outmaneuvering” by Obama. [In the RCP article excerpted in the 6/5 Update]:

There’s nothing in the Constitution requiring political parties to have equitable structural processes of the sort that the Supreme Court has discerned there for general electoral processes during the past century and more. Indeed, there is nothing in the Constitution *about* parties at all–hardly an accident, since the Signers abhorred the very “idea of party.” But a party that wants to call itself “Democratic” would be well advised not to allow its operating mechanisms to stray too far from such principles. The first Mayor Daley and the party pro types he symbolized in 1968 similarly “better understood” the equivalent arcane procedures of that era. The Revolution of 1968 was one against the very *idea* of such arcana, not just against the particular ones the Daleyites liked to use in their legendary “smoke filled rooms.”

The generation of 1972, who came of age implementing the overthrow of the Old Guard (and here you’d ironically have to include both Clintons, but obviously not Barack Obama) in the long run reinvented an arcane “process politics” and learned how to use it to their own benefit. From there you get caucuses, weird delegate allocation mechanisms at variance with one person-one vote, and other technocratic elements. (I’m not sure whether you’d place worshiping at the Shrine of Iowa and New Hampshire in the Old School or the New School). The Democrats are famous for wanting to make sure every kid goes home from the Little League banquet with at least one big shiny trophy, but I think the underlying spirit of ’68 gets lost in the shuffle. The politics of the smoke-FREE rooms of Woodstock Vermont lead to the travesty of the Rules Committee “compromise” on Michigan and Florida, as surely as the ones from the smoke-filled rooms led to Michigan and Balbo in 1968.

By: Ari Thu, 05 Jun 2008 05:09:27 +0000 there’s nothing you can’t say about the Clintons

As usual, I agree with almost everything you say. But also as usual, we differ on key points. For many people, including lots of Democrats, the Clintons are not beloved figures. Many people, myself included, believe that President Clinton did more harm than good to the Democratic Party. As for Senator Clinton, her war vote, as we’ve talked about before, was a key point of separation with Senator Obama. In other words, hittlng the Clintons hard on matters of policy, and even on issues of politics, should be totally fair game. But none of that excuses the sexism and outright misogyny apparent in so many attacks on Senator Clinton. Truth be told, the whole primary has left a very bad taste in my mouth.

As always, thanks for your excellent posts.

By: Historiann Thu, 05 Jun 2008 01:57:19 +0000 Good points, Susan and Indyanna. I think one reason it was so virulent was that the chromosomes were one of the few things that separated them. They were very similar on issues, so the primary was going to turn on something trivial rather than substantive. And, everyone knows what a bitch she is, and how old and ugly and eeeeevil she is, and there’s nothing you can’t say about the Clintons, so there you go.

The sexism was probably less overt last year, but that’s before she started doing well in the actual voting. When it looked like she might win, and especially when she did in fact win all spring, then the volume on the misogyny was turned up really loud.

By: Indyanna Wed, 04 Jun 2008 21:43:20 +0000 I’m not sure either, but another possibility is that it became more visible as it became more of a threat to her viability, and thus wider networks of observers began to work collectively to assemble and distribute the evidence. Both sides, after all, were far more electronically connected than would have been imaginable even in 2004 (as the very existence of this blog and numberous others shows). And thus “massive parallel processing” of inherently scattered bits of “data” became far more possible. Also, the perps became more emboldened the more they thought they could get away with it, and there would be nobody around positioned to retaliate or punish. In any case, here’s one “undecided” Pennsylvanian, for the time being at least. Uniting on the basis of some modest cooing language after the deal gets sealed would only encourage and enable more of it every time out.