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BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...

CarolC 04 Nov 04 - 12:39 PM
sledge 04 Nov 04 - 09:57 AM
Wolfgang 04 Nov 04 - 09:55 AM
Wolfgang 04 Nov 04 - 09:50 AM
Paco Rabanne 04 Nov 04 - 08:32 AM
GUEST,John O'Lennaine 04 Nov 04 - 08:27 AM
GUEST,Larry K 03 Nov 04 - 11:24 AM
GUEST,Hakman 03 Nov 04 - 10:53 AM
GUEST,Desdemona 03 Nov 04 - 09:46 AM
GUEST,Mungojerrie 03 Nov 04 - 09:35 AM
Wolfgang 03 Nov 04 - 09:12 AM
Peace 03 Nov 04 - 01:15 AM
beardedbruce 03 Nov 04 - 01:12 AM
CarolC 03 Nov 04 - 01:03 AM
mg 03 Nov 04 - 12:56 AM
Little Hawk 02 Nov 04 - 11:01 PM
IvanB 02 Nov 04 - 09:39 PM
frogprince 02 Nov 04 - 09:26 PM
Pauline L 02 Nov 04 - 09:09 PM
JudyB 02 Nov 04 - 09:04 PM
pdq 02 Nov 04 - 08:14 PM
jaze 02 Nov 04 - 07:50 PM
Jeri 02 Nov 04 - 06:45 PM
GUEST,Songster Bob 02 Nov 04 - 06:38 PM
Rustic Rebel 02 Nov 04 - 06:38 PM
Bobert 02 Nov 04 - 06:27 PM
Cluin 02 Nov 04 - 06:04 PM
DougR 02 Nov 04 - 06:01 PM
Once Famous 02 Nov 04 - 05:32 PM
bbc 02 Nov 04 - 05:06 PM
GUEST 02 Nov 04 - 03:47 PM
Bill D 02 Nov 04 - 03:42 PM
Bill D 02 Nov 04 - 03:35 PM
DougR 02 Nov 04 - 02:50 PM
GUEST 02 Nov 04 - 02:30 PM
Stilly River Sage 02 Nov 04 - 02:01 PM
Amos 02 Nov 04 - 01:16 PM
DougR 02 Nov 04 - 01:14 PM
Amos 02 Nov 04 - 12:57 PM
Jack the Sailor 02 Nov 04 - 12:06 PM
GUEST 02 Nov 04 - 12:02 PM
CarolC 02 Nov 04 - 12:01 PM
Uncle_DaveO 02 Nov 04 - 12:00 PM
Uncle_DaveO 02 Nov 04 - 11:54 AM
GUEST 02 Nov 04 - 11:47 AM
GUEST 02 Nov 04 - 11:45 AM
GUEST,Tweed 02 Nov 04 - 11:43 AM
pdq 02 Nov 04 - 11:26 AM
GUEST 02 Nov 04 - 11:24 AM
GUEST,marks 02 Nov 04 - 10:37 AM
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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: CarolC
Date: 04 Nov 04 - 12:39 PM

Ooohhh... I hope you're right about Rumsfeld, sledge. But I fear that you are not.


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: sledge
Date: 04 Nov 04 - 09:57 AM

Its a case of wait and see, the pundits on BBC world are on about a cabinet shuffle with Rumsfeld and Powell getting the boot.

Sledge


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: Wolfgang
Date: 04 Nov 04 - 09:55 AM

The United States is the oldest continuously functioning democracy in the world.

The unfounded use of the superlative is an American pecularity often confusing to Europeans.

Switserland and Iceland are the first two countries that come to my mind that have a much longer claim to democracy.

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: Wolfgang
Date: 04 Nov 04 - 09:50 AM

I've some post-election wishes for a smaller community:

I hope the number of threads about Kerry/Bush will soon decrease. I've heard enough of that.

I hope that the level of debating goes up. Even some of the more considerate Mudcatters have at times lost their good style and made worse posts than usual (I often like to read political threads, but in the last weeks that wasn't a pleasure, with several exceptions, of course, like for instance McGrath)

I hope that some posters who seem to have come here only for the election debates (of the lowest level) either show also up in the music threads or disappear. (And who was the first to declare a temporary absence after the election? Amos. Some evil force must have seriously misunderstood this hope)

Wolfgang


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: Paco Rabanne
Date: 04 Nov 04 - 08:32 AM

The best man won.


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: GUEST,John O'Lennaine
Date: 04 Nov 04 - 08:27 AM

The bones of Frodo & Sam were found in Indonesia last week. The writing was on the wall. The quest has failed. Sauron W. Bush has regained possession of the One Ring of Power.


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: GUEST,Larry K
Date: 03 Nov 04 - 11:24 AM

Last night I told a friend that no matter who won, half the people in the country were going to be upset.    She answered "I will be upset if either of them wins".   I thought that was the best line of the night.


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: GUEST,Hakman
Date: 03 Nov 04 - 10:53 AM

http://www.angelfire.com/md2/customviolins/dieboldnever.jpg


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: GUEST,Desdemona
Date: 03 Nov 04 - 09:46 AM

BS is right; I have never been so disgusted in my life. I am frozen in disbelief, and as the mother of 3 sons, I look forward to 4 more wars--er, years--with W with a great deal of trepidation.

Most upsetting is that I keep hearing that people voted him back in for "moral" reasons. HUH???

#1-This is the United States. We (theoretically) have a separation of church and state, right?? Now I realise a document like the Constitution has a lot of big words that Dubyah probably can't read himself, but maybe Laura could read it aloud to him as part of her literacy initiative, right after "The Very Hungry Caterpillar". Religion has no place in politics.

#2-I think I speak for many when I say that I do not look to my political leaders for the answers to moral and ethical questions.

#3-In what way can a man who orchestrates and implements an unnecessary and completely specious war, and basically promises to keep it going ad infinitum (wonder who we're going to "liberate" next, whether they like it or not, hmmm?) be considered "moral"?

I am sick to my stomach at this whole thing, and feeling deeply disheartened about the future of our country.

D


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: GUEST,Mungojerrie
Date: 03 Nov 04 - 09:35 AM

Thank you OSAMA.

MJ


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: Wolfgang
Date: 03 Nov 04 - 09:12 AM

I base my comment on the now most probable result.

Most people in Germany (and in many neighbouring countries) will not be happy at all with that choice. The German conservatives will be particularly unhappy. Bush gives being conservative a bad name. Kerry would have been a guy slightly right of the middle of German conservatives, a guy to their taste.

Some people in the German government are happy now without showing it. Kerry perhaps giving the UN the opportunity to take over in Iraq would have made it extremely difficult for Germany to say NO to German soldiers in Iraq. With Bush, that's easy. So one worry is off their souls now.

Wolfgang (being a bit tongue in cheek in the second paragraph)


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: Peace
Date: 03 Nov 04 - 01:15 AM

Neither does mine. But it has seldom counted here, either.


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: beardedbruce
Date: 03 Nov 04 - 01:12 AM

CarolC,

Not to worry. I vote in MD- My vote does not count, either.


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: CarolC
Date: 03 Nov 04 - 01:03 AM

I voted on a paper ballot today... first time with a paper ballot for me. I felt very good about that (even though my vote won't be counted). I wish all voting precincts would use paper ballots.


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: mg
Date: 03 Nov 04 - 12:56 AM

The people have spoken. I don't know what they said because I haven't even turned on the radio but I think it's fairly important for us not to get hysterical about things. We'll make do. We'll adapt. We'll hopefully set an example for the younger generation. no point in scaring them to death all the time. They have to have hope and encouragement etc. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: Little Hawk
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 11:01 PM

Pauline, any strongly focused thought IS a prayer (whether or not you think it's being directed toward God or whether or not you think there is a God). You visualize, you imagine, you send out the thought and hope and intention...that's a prayer. Everybody prays, whether or not they know that's what they're doing.


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: IvanB
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 09:39 PM

Bobert, what makes you think there'd be any need for "deal making" if the election were thrown into the House. There's a Republican majority, there'd be no need to make any deals. Bush would be elected in a heartbeat.


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: frogprince
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 09:26 PM

I was almost dumbfounded when Nixon was reelected; the Watergate mess was getting so obvious, you could see the smoke trailing behind him as he went down, and yet somebody reelected him. This time I won't be surprised, but I'm going to be either mighty relieved or damned dissapointed.










w


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: Pauline L
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 09:09 PM

I haven't been so concerned about a presidential election since Nixon ran for his second term. I've been making phone calls to people in swing states for weeks. If I were a person of faith, I'd pray. Now I'm just sitting and waiting nervously.


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: JudyB
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 09:04 PM

Our small town in Maine had an estimated 79% turnout, considerably better than in 2000.

At least 3 of Maine's 4 electoral votes are projected for Kerry based on the strong Democratic vote in our state's 1st Dictrict. Maine is one of the few states which has awarded eletoral votes by Congrational District.

It's been a looooong day for me as volunteer coordinator of our town Democratic Committee with about 25 volunteers monitoring who had voted at the polls, phoning supporters who hadn't voted yet, maintaining sign visibility, providing coffee and other refreshments for volunteers, and cleaning up our house so people would not run screaming out the door!

Things look great for Democrats in Maine, even better than we did in 2000 when Gore took the state by 5 percentage points.

However, it looks like a long, long, night before we'll see the results in the larger battleground states.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble,

Judy's off in the State capitol awaiting results from the legislative house races so she can learn who will have a majority to elect her boss the House Clerk.


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: pdq
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 08:14 PM

I agree. This year's election will produce a record burnout.


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: jaze
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 07:50 PM

I like Colorado's idea of splitting each states electoral votes according to the % each candidate gets. Then every voter is truly repesented whether their choice wins or not. It would feel a lot more fair. The way it is now, if 49% in a state vote for one candidate, their vote doesn't matter. I too, for once, agree with DougR, I hope whoever wins,wins without any doubt. AND, tonight!


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: Jeri
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 06:45 PM

I worked today, and talked to some folks in that town who said there were huge lines. I came home and voted. I've voted before, and there have usually been a few people there besides me. This year, in this town with less than 3,000 inhabitants, there was a line. Not a long one, but a line. A man working there said (at about 5 PM) they'd been counting absentee ballots since 1 PM.The two young women in front of me had registered right before they voted. No matter who wins, I think there's going to be a record turnout for this election.


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: GUEST,Songster Bob
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 06:38 PM

I think the Electoral College has outlived its usefulness (if it ever had any). The big-state advantage is there, no matter which system you use. That is, Wyoming doesn't get many visits, 'cause there ain't enough voters there. If there were no EC, the vote of someone is a small state would count EXACTLY the same as in a big one. And, though small states might not get many visits (and the concomitent boost to the local economy), they might get more than when a given state is declared "red" or "blue," and therefore not a "battleground state."

Think of it. Iowa, Ohio, Florida, all got so many visits that some people probably went to five rallies or so, when no one in Maryland or Arizona or one of those "safe" states got any chance. And their economies didn't get squat, either.

So I think pure popularity would be better. An intelligent politician (yeah, I know all about oxymorons) would see that at least a few visits and dollars spent in those smaller states would pay bigger dividends than a heavy presence in the big states.

Who knows? It might mean that the president would be beholden to real voters instead of big money. (Yeah, I know all about vain hopes, too).


Bob


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: Rustic Rebel
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 06:38 PM

They just called it the Bush/Kerry campaign on CNN. Where is the mention of the other 5 (or 6) candidates that where on the ballot? When are we going to quit this 1 party bullshit and hear from some real candidates?

Maybe next century....


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: Bobert
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 06:27 PM

Dave O,

Actually, sometimes good things happen when the Presidential election is thrown inot the House of Representatives.

Looking back at the 1876 Hayes/Tildon election is such an election. What came out of it was Rutherford B.Hayes becoming president in exchange for the end of the Union occupation of the former Confederate states, also know as the "Reconstruction" which was very unpopular in the South...

So fast forward to 2004. A deal could be struck where by George W. Bush would be awaeded the presidence with an agreement by the Repubs that they would support a constitutional ammemdment to end the winner-take-all Electorail College to a porportional Electorial College.

I don't think this is that farfetched. I can't think of any one thing that would make such a impact toward correcting a mess up system.

An added benefit would be, because of the compromise that would be involved, that folks who haven't known how to compromise, i.e. Congress in general, might learn an imporatant lesson in the art of compromise.

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: Cluin
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 06:04 PM

Get a room, you two!


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: DougR
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 06:01 PM

bbc: Smaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: Once Famous
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 05:32 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: bbc
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 05:06 PM

I agree w/ Doug. Whoever wins, I hope we can get past this election & get on w/ what's best for the country.

bbc


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 03:47 PM

Ah, Doug my man...the quote above is a joke.

Some comic relief.

Pokes fun at the gloom and doom sayers of both sides.

But ESPECIALLY poking fun at the "a vote for Anybody But Bush is a vote for Osama bin Laden" faction.

Or not.


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: Bill D
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 03:42 PM

(you can read my long explanation in thread 70855)


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: Bill D
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 03:35 PM

"I'd like to think that my vote, cast in a less populous state than say, California, counts."

I'd like to think MY vote counts, too..and last time, a million or so more Americans voted for Gore than for Bush...I don't like a system that divides America into enclaves where a 500 vote margin make all the other votes useless.....

why SHOULD we pit North against South and cities against rural? If more people want A then B, that's how it should be, no matter which way it comes out.


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: DougR
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 02:50 PM

Thank you very much, GUEST OSMA.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 02:30 PM

"It does not matter which way you vote. Either way your planet is doomed. Doomed. Doomed!"

                                       --The Simpsons


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 02:01 PM

Link to A Civil Society Apres-Election thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: Amos
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 01:16 PM

Glad you're ready, DougR...

I will honor the same principle.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: DougR
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 01:14 PM

My wish is that we do not do away with the electorial college. I'd like to think that my vote, cast in a less populous state than say, California, counts.

My wish, also, is that George W. Bush is elected for another term, and that he is followed by John McCain.

My final wish is that whoever wins, wins by a large enough majority that we do not repeat the Florida experience, and that the losers accept that their candidate did not win and accept the loss gracefully.

DougR


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: Amos
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 12:57 PM

ABsolutely.

Tomorrow we wake up with a President. It's been a long time.

Good luck, boys!!


A


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 12:06 PM

It's the most important election in decades.

And the choice is incredibly clear, it seems to me.

It's just about a perfect clash of emotion vs reason.




For Ron Davies


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 12:02 PM

We'll know by morning. This isn't going to be a repeat of 2000, even though it is painfully obvious the Democratic party is stuck in rerun mode.


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: CarolC
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 12:01 PM

Ok, pdq, if the electoral college is so important to states like Wyoming, why is it that neither of the candidates really cares about Wyoming's paltry handful of electors, and are focusing all of their attention on states that have enough electors to actually make a difference in their ability to get elected (states like Ohio and Florida). Let's be honest here. The electoral college doen't protect states with small populations any more than an election process that usees the popular vote to determine the winner. With the electoral college only a very small handful of states (the "battleground states") have any real voice at all. The rest are essentially ignored, while roughly half of the voters in the US are disenfranchised.


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 12:00 PM

Bobert, you said, among other things:

Yes, this is my greatest hope tonight. I hope that the courts are clogged up and I hope that this election ends up in the House or Representatives.

Bobert, I think you are thoroughly confused here.

If it ends in the House, Bush wins. That's that. Later in your post you seem to indicate that's not what you want, so you'd better not hope to have it in the House, which is Republican.

The House does not have the power to do anything about the Electoral College, even if that is desirable, and even if they wanted to.

A tie in the Electoral College is a win for Bush, pure and simple. Well, maybe not so pure.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 11:54 AM

I'm eager to find who wins. To that end, I have made a note on January 1, 2005 on the calendar to check to find out who the winner is. We might know by then.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 11:47 AM

Oh yeah, one more thing: to get rid of the corrupt incumbency system, make all terms equal, four years, and limit the US House and Senate to two terms, just like the presidency. That alone would clear out a lot of the Congressional dead wood and sweep a lot of shit down into the sewers where it belongs.


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 11:45 AM

There are two main problems with US elections: 1) that we don't regulate the financing of them with non-partisan government oversight, and 2) that the winner take all system hasn't been reformed to allow for some form of proportional representation.

I'm not convinced that scrapping the electoral college and simply going with the winner of the majority popular vote takes all system is a cure.

I do think we could keep some form of the electoral college to protect the interests of smaller states, and balance the power of the regions better, while reforming the electoral college into some sort of proportional representation system to select the president and vice president through our electoral college representatives, not our Congressional representatives. I also think the electoral college representatives would have to be bound to vote according to the popular vote, which they aren't right now.

The other major reform has to be some sort of institution with a reputation like the League of Women Voters, to be appointed as the regulators of election financing. All donations should go into a single pot and be distributed, and campaign advertising should be regulated too. This election year, Americans saw twice as many campaign advertisements as in 2000. Where is it all going to end? Where is all this money in elections leading the nation? Those are the questions we need to be asking, but not asking of our fat cat politicians who are making a financial killing out of their "public service".


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: GUEST,Tweed
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 11:43 AM

Don't be an asshole! Click HERE!!


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: pdq
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 11:26 AM

...this is stuff we all should know but probably don't...


------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Electoral College
------------------------------------------------------------------------

"The United States is the oldest continuously functioning democracy in the world. Its constitution was ratified in 1788 and has been amended only 27 times since then. The first 10 of these amendments, called the Bill of Rights, were approved in 1790. Amending the constitution is (by design) an exceptionally difficult procedure, as described near the end of this page.

The procedure for electing a president is spelled out in Article II. Each state is entitled to a number of electors equal to that state's representation in Congress (Senate + House). Since each state has two senators and at least one Representative, every state has at least three electors. Currently California has the largest number of electors: 55. The electors meet in their respective state capitals in December of each election year to cast their votes for president and vice president. These electors, who together form the electoral college, are the ones who actually elect the president. If no candidate gets a majority of the electoral vote, the House of Representatives elects the president, with each state having one vote. This happened in 1800 and again in 1824.

Each state is free to choose its electors as it wishes. In the 18th Century, America was largely rural and most people were farmers who knew little about politics. In this climate, a direct election of the president would probably have been difficult in any case. In the early days of the nation, electors were chosen due to their wisdom and knowledge of politics, not due to their preference for any particular candidate. Even in the modern world, direct election of a distant president is not always so easy. For example, the European Union does not have a direct election for its president. Instead, a complex system exists in which countries, not citizens, are the key players, exactly like the role of the states in the U.S.

Each state determines how its electors are chosen by state law and the process varies from state to state. In states with primary elections, each presidential candidate usually designates a slate of electors who then appear on the November ballot. The voters are then actually voting for a slate of electors pledged to one candidate or another. In caucus states, the electors may be chosen at the state caucus. Electors are actual human beings, with houses, children, jobs, and very occasionally, their own opinions. In most states, the slate of electors that gets the most votes wins and gets to travel to the state capital in December to vote for president and vice president. In the bitterly contested election in Florida in 2000, George Bush carried the state by 537 votes out of over six million cast, and thus got all 25 of Florida's electoral votes. Since it is the electoral vote, not the popular vote, that actually elects the president, keeping track of it is crucial for people who want to know how the campaign is going. This website is designed to make it easy to track the electoral vote.

Many criticisms have been leveled at this 18th Century system. First, why have electoral votes at all? Why not just elect the president by popular vote? The reason this system has never changed is simple: politics. States with many buffalo and few people, like Wyoming, benefit from it and are not keen on changing it. Since every state gets at least three electors, low-population states have proportionally far more political power than they would have in a direct election system. The number of voters per elector is about four times smaller in the three-elector states than in the most-populous states, as shown in this table. The fact that nearly all the low-population states are heavily Republican adds to the difficulties of changing the system. Direct election of the president would eliminate the current bias in favor of the Republicans.

Getting rid of the electoral college would require a constitutional amendment. Amending the constitution is (by design) an exceptionally difficult process requiring not only 2/3 majorities of both houses of Congress, but also by the legislatures of 3/4 of the states. Even in 1788, the Founding Fathers knew that politicians often made outrageouspromises. They wanted to make sure the constitution, which most Americans regard as sacred, could only be changed when there was a massive consensus in favor of the change. To give a modern example, president George W. Bush has called for a constitutional amendment stating that a marriage shall be a union between exactly one man and one woman. The Founding Fathers well understood that political slogans like this should not find their way into the constitution too easily, so they made the process very difficult. Changing the electoral college system will not be easy.

A second criticism of the electoral college is its winner-take-all character. If Florida's 25 electoral votes had been split 13 for George Bush and 12 for Al Gore, then Al Gore would now be president. There is nothing in the constitution mandating winner-take-all. The manner for choosing electors is regulated by state law. In fact, two states, Maine and Nebraska, do not use winner-take-all. In those states, the winner of each congressional district gets one elector and the winner of the state as a whole gets an additional two. Any state that wanted to adopt this system need only pass a state law to do so. No constitutional amendment is required.

In his book Fixing Elections: The Failure of America's Winner-Take-All Politics Steven Hill argues for Instant Runoff Voting. In this system, each voter would designate a first choice, a second choice, etc. After all the votes have been cast, everyone's first choice is counted. If some candidate has a majority, he or she is elected. If not, the candidate with the fewest number of votes is disqualified and his or her votes redistributed to the voter's second choice candidate. This process is repeated until some candidate has a majority. In 2000 under this system, voters could have designated Ralph Nader as their first choice and Al Gore as their second choice. When the first choice votes were counted and it was discovered, for example, that Nader came in last (not really, since there were even more minor candidates), his votes would then have been given to the second choice candidate. In effect, a voter could have said: "I want Ralph Nader but if I can't have him, I'll settle for Al Gore." With instant runoff voting, this is possible. This system is used in some municipal elections. Again, any state that chose to adopt it need only pass a state law to do so. No constitutional amendment is required.

The third objection to the electoral college is the so-called faithless elector problem. As mentioned above, electors are actual human beings, with all the properties that go along with that. In particular, when they meet in December in their respective state capitals, they sometimes do not vote for the candidate they are officially pledged to. In 1948, for example, Truman elector Preston Parks of Tennessee, voted for Strom Thurmond who was running on the pro-segregation Dixiecrat ticket. In 1960, Nixon elector Henry D. Irwin of Oklahoma voted for Virginia Senator Harry F. Byrd, then an ardent segregationist. In 2000, one of Gore's D.C.'s electors, Barbara Lett-Simmons, cast a blank ballot in protest of the District's lack of congressional representation. None of these faithless electors changed the outcome of their respective elections, but in a close election in the future, it might be possible for a candidate to bribe enough electors to swing the election. At the very least, state law could make voting the wrong way a felony with life in prison as the punishment.

If Congress wanted to keep the electoral college but make it fairer, there is a simple (but unlikely) solution: increase the size of the House of Representatives. There is nothing in the constitution mandating a particular size except that each member must represent at least 30,000 people (which puts an upper limit on the House of about 10,000 members). In fact, the House has been expanded repeatedly in the past as the nation grew. The most recent expansion was in 1911, when the U.S. population was about 93 million, so a representative had 212,000 constituents. With the current population of 293 million, a representative has 674,000 constituents. To bring this number back to its 1911 value, the House should be expanded to 1370 members. Since a state's electoral vote is equal to its congressional representation, with 1370 House members, the effect of the 100 senators would be much smaller and the electoral votes would be almost proportional to population. To increase the size of the House, Congress would merely have to pass a law; the states would not be involved at all.

Even without any changes, the system does offer some flexibility. In New York State, for example, there is a Liberal Party and a Conservative Party, and both are on the ballot at every election. The Liberal Party usually nominates the same person as the Democrats and the Conservative Party usually nominates the same person as the Republicans. As long as each party gets enough votes, it retains its status as a recognized party and gets on the ballot automatically at the next election. It has been suggested that if Ralph Nader were to choose the Kerry electors as his electors in each state he gets on the ballot, then people could express their support for him, and provide impetus to his movement, but a vote for Nader would (literally) be a vote for Kerry. This would no doubt encourage many people to vote for him knowing that such a vote would not help George Bush."


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 11:24 AM

1. That the media did a bang-up job selling this election to us as "the most important election of our lifetimes".

2. I find it amusing that no one seems to know or care that along with the national campaign ads, we in the so-called 12 battleground states have been inundated with over 2 times the number of campaign ads as 2000--also a "statistical tie"--while the other 38 states have been virtually ignored.

3. That there are a lot of horrid, morally flaccid white men running around getting VERY RICH off the election industry.

4. That the US citizens' votes are getting much more expensive for the US oligarchy to buy--why a single vote already costs $80 in South Dakota!

5. That regardless of whether it is Kerry or Bush, we're still screwed, but not as much as the Muslim world in general and the Iraqi people in particular.

6. As soon as the election is over, Fallujah, the city of mosques with a population of nearly half a million people, will be leveled within two weeks, and it's citizens be killed, maimed, or made refugees.

7. Regardless of who it is, we'll see the draft reinstated by June of next year.

8. Regardless of who it is, if the draft isn't reinstated, it will be because we decided to cut and run, abandoning most of Iraq to chaos, but hang onto the oil fields, withdraw the troops to Kuwait, the US invasion staging ground in the Middle East, and prepare for the invasions of Iran and Syria "to smoke the terrorists out of the their holes" a la Bin Laden and Al Qaida in Afghanistan.

9. That we will not only still be stuck with the electoral college system, but we will also be stuck with the same old oligarchy we've lived under for the past 50 years.

10. That Nader will be proved right about everything, and he won't seem near as crazy as he looked to liberals and sell out progressives before the election. Especially when they'll need his name recognition and backbone to fight the bad guys the liberals and sell out progressives just worked so hard to back in the White House regardless of which group of rich white guys wins the horserace.


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Subject: RE: BS: THE ELECTION... Your thoughts...
From: GUEST,marks
Date: 02 Nov 04 - 10:37 AM

I think it will be so tight that many states will not certify the results until all the absentee ballots are counted. Also, the new voting machines in many areas will generate more than the usual number of lawsuits. Meaning it may be weeks before we know who the actual winner is.
Sorry, but the differences between the major political parties are so small that many people, in effect, toss a coin before voting. That is what is making the pluralities so small, and triggering all the follow on problems.
Mark


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