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Kalbear Total Landscaping

US Politics: Ruthless ambition

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20 minutes ago, Gertrude said:

We have only 6 votes to give, but every bit helps, right? 

ANYTHING. I have had yet to consider Iowa as an option for being blue while messing around with my little 270towin maps. I’m no expert on polling, or really politics in general, but I know a thing or two about maps and arithmetic and there are not too many plausible paths to victory for Trump. There is certainly a path, but the map favors Biden. So anyway, I’ll take anything. Anywhere that can be made competitive decreases Trumps chances. I don’t care where the flips happen, but with so many of his 2016 states in play I can’t see him holding across the board. 

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5 minutes ago, Lord of Rhinos said:

Sure, a lot of people are just lazy but that doesn't mean they are wrong. Obviously, the easiest way to deal with this is by making voting as easy as possible (as discussed up thread).

It is pretty funny you bring ego into it though.  Obviously, the people voting because they think their votes matter are the egotistical ones.

This is the well I'm rubber and you're glue response. FYI - ego isn't bad in itself. I qualified the term as seeing themselves as kings and queens in their own minds and not liking to be reminded of that. My vote matters but I don't think that the *only* way my vote counts is for me to get my own way every time. I'm a drop in an ocean. I'm cool with that. Gotta get together with the other drops. That's the point.

You're putting a lot of time into trying to convince yourselves and others to not vote and from the way you come across, this isn't the only time you've thought of or voiced this opinion. From just a time-management position, it's less time to pop off a ballot application, fill in the easier elections like pres and senators and return it. So this isn't about time. Even if you think your vote doesn't matter, it's still quicker to just do it. So this is about something else.

Again - YOU WILL NOT GET YOUR WAY EVERY TIME YOU VOTE. You aren't king of the world. Welcome to being an adult. It sucks sometimes.

 

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1 hour ago, Lollygag said:

Other reasons folks may not vote:

  • Entirely too many confuse politics as a substitute for entertainment and find it deficient. They're looking for an emotional high or excitement and if they don't get that emotional hit, they're not interested. Voting is seen as emotional fulfillment, not duty.
  • Being informed to vote from the president on down can be daunting. Media coverage is confusing in that it's either junk news or pick-a-side in a war coverage. They'd rather not deal with it and voting is facing how uninformed they are and it's uncomfortable.

I think these two in particular are worth calling out and expanding on. For the first I think I'd also add that your election campaigns are so damn long that it plays into this dynamic - when there is always an election campaign, or a primary campaign or a shadow primary campaign going on there is "content" for news organizations to cover...permanently. This lets the coverage of an election campaign change from a rare occurrence to something that is a permanent staple in many peoples entertainment diet. Our campaigns in Aus are starting to get longer, but that's more of a movement from 6 weeks to a few months, its nothing like the permanent fixture of US electoral coverage. We do still get plenty of other political coverage on a permanent basis that forms a part of entertainment, but its not quite the same thing of the breathless election coverage.

On the second point - I think its a combination of just how many things you vote on in the US and that its all bundled up onto the one election day. The amount of ballot papers are overwhelming and some of them are really not straight forward. We have a very simple House of Reps ballot paper here, and then a much larger and seemingly complex Senate one but with what we call "above the line" voting it can still be completed trivially. And that's all that we do on a federal election day. You could comfortably do your vote in under a minute and be out the door. We have to go in on separate election days for state and local elections, but in each case its still only a couple of ballot papers. By contrast the US has it all stacked up, and for your local elections you've got so many things - judges, coroners, comptrollers (i think?).... It all just adds to the complexity of the process and makes it much harder to feel like you've "done your research" for this particular election and have your vote all figured out.

All these factors combine to deter people from making the effort (which as mentioned can be quite considerable) at personal cost (literal monetary cost and potentially career impacting too) to bother showing up to vote. Your system wants to deter people instead of encouraging as many as possible.

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Hi Lollygag,

I'm not trying to convince you or any others not to vote and I've voted in every federal election since I was eligible.  I was disputing the accusation that non-voters are dumb.  I'm just shocked people don't seem to understand how voting in the USA works.  A tremendous amount of time and effort is put into brainwashing the populace to vote because individual votes don't matter.  That's why we have civics lessons, and Hollywood movies, and tell people the lie that their vote matters.

I think the idea of people voting together to make changes is romantic.  And the sheer irrationality of a bunch of people deciding to vote, even though it doesn't matter on an individual level, is what makes it romantic.  I like voting because of that romanticism, but I'm not going to pretend that anyone who doesn't get the same sense of satisfaction is dumb.

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5 minutes ago, karaddin said:

I think its a combination of just how many things you vote on in the US and that its all bundled up onto the one election day. The amount of ballot papers are overwhelming and some of them are really not straight forward. We have a very simple House of Reps ballot paper here, and then a much larger and seemingly complex Senate one but with what we call "above the line" voting it can still be completed trivially. And that's all that we do on a federal election day. You could comfortably do your vote in under a minute and be out the door. We have to go in on separate election days for state and local elections, but in each case its still only a couple of ballot papers. By contrast the US has it all stacked up, and for your local elections you've got so many things - judges, coroners, comptrollers (i think?).... It all just adds to the complexity of the process and makes it much harder to feel like you've "done your research" for this particular election and have your vote all figured out.

I don't think the length of ballots/number of contests is much of a problem.  First, ironically, polarization actually helps with this as very few voters ticket-split anymore so you can simply vote down the party line.  Second, most people don't participate in local elections when they're off-cycle, and during presidential and even midterm cycles there's considerable ballot runoff (meaning people just vote for the top contests on the ballot).  Third, a lot of the size of ballots often has to do with a state's direct democracy initiatives.  It is true it takes considerable time to educate oneself on how to vote on such issues, but I hardly think direct democracy is a bad thing.

As for the perpetual campaign though, yes, it is well-founded that that is one of the main factors that feeds into political apathy.

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9 minutes ago, DMC said:

I don't think the length of ballots/number of contests is much of a problem.  First, ironically, polarization actually helps with this as very few voters ticket-split anymore so you can simply vote down the party line.  Second, most people don't participate in local elections when they're off-cycle, and during presidential and even midterm cycles there's considerable ballot runoff (meaning people just vote for the top contests on the ballot).  Third, a lot of the size of ballots often has to do with a state's direct democracy initiatives.  It is true it takes considerable time to educate oneself on how to vote on such issues, but I hardly think direct democracy is a bad thing.

And as I try to point out to people, it is possible to look up what will be on your ballot before Election Day. 

If you don’t want to be overwhelmed in the booth, research everything you’ll be voting on beforehand. 

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14 minutes ago, A True Kaniggit said:

And as I try to point out to people, it is possible to look up what will be on your ballot before Election Day. 

Also as long as you have internet access, it's very easy to find plenty of sources that will fairly and succinctly describe the candidates' positions - even for down-ballot "nonpartisan" contests.

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Its not about what you can and can't do, its just about whether it would put people off from putting in that effort. I'm suggesting that it would, although I'm freely admitting I don't have data to back that up. I just want to make it clear that I'm not saying its not possible, but it is work.

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52 minutes ago, Lord of Rhinos said:

Hi Lollygag,

I'm not trying to convince you or any others not to vote and I've voted in every federal election since I was eligible.  I was disputing the accusation that non-voters are dumb.  I'm just shocked people don't seem to understand how voting in the USA works.  A tremendous amount of time and effort is put into brainwashing the populace to vote because individual votes don't matter.  That's why we have civics lessons, and Hollywood movies, and tell people the lie that their vote matters.

I think the idea of people voting together to make changes is romantic.  And the sheer irrationality of a bunch of people deciding to vote, even though it doesn't matter on an individual level, is what makes it romantic.  I like voting because of that romanticism, but I'm not going to pretend that anyone who doesn't get the same sense of satisfaction is dumb.

Hi there.

I don't see where anyone said non-voters are dumb but you said people who do vote are dumb.

Your statements contradict. Telling people that their votes don't matter is the same as telling them they shouldn't vote. Voter suppression 101.

4 hours ago, Lord of Rhinos said:

Voting only matters in aggregate.  Anyone who decides that on a individual level voting matters is the dumb one.  People that vote do so because society spends a lot of time brainwashing them to do so.

3 hours ago, Lord of Rhinos said:

And yet those positions are also not determined by one vote.

3 hours ago, Lord of Rhinos said:

It is an argument.  It makes the point that non-voting is a perfectly rational decision and has nothing to with being "dumb".  A person who says their vote doesn't matter is correct.  The person who says their vote matters is incorrect.

Again - just being upset that you or those who are like-minded aren't the one(s) guaranteed to decide the outcome.

 

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2 hours ago, Kalibear said:

Conversely, those are people who are not particularly inclined to vote for a variety of reasons, and outreach won't matter. 

The notion that people are not spending crazy amounts of resources, time, and advertising to get people to vote is not in line with factual reality and appears to be wishful thinking.

Maybe give them a reason to be motivated. This is absolutely one of the reasons that these voters do not come out, because they are not brought into the process. You are so convinced that these people are completely unreachable that you are perpetuating the same issue.

Obviously there is money being spent, but that doesn't mean that money is being spent effectively. There are tons of stories from campaign workers, especially from left leaning candidates, of going into communities where a lot of people they were talking to hadn't been contacted by a political campaign in years.

Quote

Do you know what their needs are? Sanders thought their needs were things like M4A, and as a result he got fewer people who generally don't vote to vote for him than he did previously. Whatever their needs are, it doesn't appear to be the case that it's addressed by super progressive viewpoints.

Now I find myself asking for a citation. Sure you can talk about raw vote total, but that is completely ignoring the many ways that this election is different that 2016. Also how the hell do you think that our supposed allies in the Democratic party using right wing talking points helps? Deficite hawking, attacking the government's ability to effectively administer programs, acting like the health care system is somehow salvagable and that private industry must play a role, these sorts of attacks are counter productive if Democrats actually want to achieve any leftward momentum like they claim to it is time to rethink how they interact with their left wing, because their actions right now are counterproductive.

 

Quote

Citation REALLY needed. Populism was tried in the most recent election and it failed pretty spectacularly. Mass mobilization was tried as well, to similar failures.

You realize that these things take time, right? We have so much work to do in order to affect the change that needs to happen, and this sort of mindset is utterly detrimental to that. Things like encouraging youth involvement, not just at the high school and college level, but even younger. We need to draw clear distinctions between the two parties, make sure the whole both parties are the same shit goes away and we need to be ale to go to the voters and say hey, what do you want us to do, because right now, we have a bunch of folks who have decided what they think people want, but as this WAPo article illustrates, Democrats actually think their constituents are more conservative than they actually are.

Quote

But chances are good that there's enough precedent of this happening in our history that there will not be enough to say no.

Precedent only matters when it agrees with the Republican position.

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2 hours ago, Lord of Rhinos said:

Hi Lollygag,

I'm not trying to convince you or any others not to vote and I've voted in every federal election since I was eligible.  I was disputing the accusation that non-voters are dumb.  I'm just shocked people don't seem to understand how voting in the USA works.  A tremendous amount of time and effort is put into brainwashing the populace to vote because individual votes don't matter.  That's why we have civics lessons, and Hollywood movies, and tell people the lie that their vote matters.

I think the idea of people voting together to make changes is romantic.  And the sheer irrationality of a bunch of people deciding to vote, even though it doesn't matter on an individual level, is what makes it romantic.  I like voting because of that romanticism, but I'm not going to pretend that anyone who doesn't get the same sense of satisfaction is dumb.

You can't say voting matters on an aggregate level but not the individual level.  The aggregate is composed of individual votes.  To say that because an individual's vote isn't the deciding vote that individual votes don't matter is totally misleading.  Especially if the people who believe this could skew the election.  

Your argument also ignores that the margin of victory/loss also sends a message.  If one side is only getting 25% of the votes versus 45% is going to affect their policy positions in 2/4 years time.  So even if your vote isn't the deciding vote, it can still matter.  

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1 hour ago, IheartIheartTesla said:

Two polls from NBC/WaPo (LV) have Trump up by +4 and +1 in FL and AZ respectively, and they are pretty good pollsters. The RV has Biden up though.

Yeah, that is, without hyperbole, the best poll result Trump has gotten all year.  Hopefully it's just an outlier - the rv/lv split is strange to say the least.

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1 hour ago, IheartIheartTesla said:

Two polls from NBC/WaPo (LV) have Trump up by +4 and +1 in FL and AZ respectively, and they are pretty good pollsters. The RV has Biden up though.

Considering the states, the numbers, and the quality of the pollster, they're arguably the worst polls all year. However, at this point, I simply don't believe them. I don't think things have changed so dramatically from the consensus of high quality (and lower quality) polls of a few days ago. And even this poll found no difference in their days in the field from before Ginsburg's death to afterwards.

If we start getting more polls like this, I'll start panicking I suspect. But at this point I'll just dismiss them as outliers.

ETA: St Pete also put out a Florida poll today, finding Biden +3. Not saying they're right, or a better pollster. But, considering how inelastic Florida is, they are seeing a very different electorate than WaPo is.

Edited by Fez

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7 hours ago, Lollygag said:

Hi there.

I don't see where anyone said non-voters are dumb but you said people who do vote are dumb.

Your statements contradict. Telling people that their votes don't matter is the same as telling them they shouldn't vote. Voter suppression 101.

Again - just being upset that you or those who are like-minded aren't the one(s) guaranteed to decide the outcome.

 

Go back a few pages and look at Tywin's words. He literally says American populace is dumb. 

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Oh and states better be fucking prepared to count votes fast. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2020/11/what-if-trump-refuses-concede/616424/

Quote

Trump may test this. According to sources in the Republican Party at the state and national levels, the Trump campaign is discussing contingency plans to bypass election results and appoint loyal electors in battleground states where Republicans hold the legislative majority. With a justification based on claims of rampant fraud, Trump would ask state legislators to set aside the popular vote and exercise their power to choose a slate of electors directly. The longer Trump succeeds in keeping the vote count in doubt, the more pressure legislators will feel to act before the safe-harbor deadline expires.

 

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10 hours ago, DMC said:

So?  It still would be misleading to suggest there's a link between having more nonvoters than any and all political parties in a given country causes an unhealthy democracy, because it doesn't.

It can certainly lead to it. If the biggest bloc of eligible voters picks none of the above in a two party system, that creates an environment in which a slide to authoritarianism is more possible. Or to put it another way, >70% of Americans are at the very least indifferent to it. 

Quote

So, what does this mean for your assertion?  That citizens in countries that include the occasional overthrow by authoritarian regimes are too stupid to be included?  That Americans are dumber than other countries with multi-generational democracies because they voted for Donald Trump (except they didn't)?  These seem to be self-fulfilling hypotheses.

No, it's that they're so different that you can't really draw great conclusions by comparing the two. And it's not because they voted for Trump, it's that they didn't stop an obvious threat. 

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6 hours ago, GrimTuesday said:

Maybe give them a reason to be motivated. This is absolutely one of the reasons that these voters do not come out, because they are not brought into the process. You are so convinced that these people are completely unreachable that you are perpetuating the same issue.

Obviously there is money being spent, but that doesn't mean that money is being spent effectively. There are tons of stories from campaign workers, especially from left leaning candidates, of going into communities where a lot of people they were talking to hadn't been contacted by a political campaign in years.

Now I find myself asking for a citation. Sure you can talk about raw vote total, but that is completely ignoring the many ways that this election is different that 2016. Also how the hell do you think that our supposed allies in the Democratic party using right wing talking points helps? Deficite hawking, attacking the government's ability to effectively administer programs, acting like the health care system is somehow salvagable and that private industry must play a role, these sorts of attacks are counter productive if Democrats actually want to achieve any leftward momentum like they claim to it is time to rethink how they interact with their left wing, because their actions right now are counterproductive.

 

You realize that these things take time, right? We have so much work to do in order to affect the change that needs to happen, and this sort of mindset is utterly detrimental to that. Things like encouraging youth involvement, not just at the high school and college level, but even younger. We need to draw clear distinctions between the two parties, make sure the whole both parties are the same shit goes away and we need to be ale to go to the voters and say hey, what do you want us to do, because right now, we have a bunch of folks who have decided what they think people want, but as this WAPo article illustrates, Democrats actually think their constituents are more conservative than they actually are.

Precedent only matters when it agrees with the Republican position.

Wait, wait...I agree with you most of the time, but are you actually saying that decades of corrupt politics and a concerted effort to create a sense of helplessness in voters can't be undone in a few years? It just seems so contrary to what so many here (who I assume are experts) claim when laughing at Bernie and the importance of youth turnout.

Edited by Simon Steele

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8 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

It can certainly lead to it. If the biggest bloc of eligible voters picks none of the above in a two party system, that creates an environment in which a slide to authoritarianism is more possible.

The problem is 45% of the populace doesn't vote, and that the Republican party is distinctly authoritarian.  The fact that both of those mean that only around 30% of the voting-age population votes for the Democrats is purely a symptom of those two things, making up this "plurality" standard like it's in any way a causal factor is entirely trivial, pointless and unfounded.

12 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

No, it's that they're so different that you can't really draw great conclusions by comparing the two. And it's not because they voted for Trump, it's that they didn't stop an obvious threat. 

If you're trying to compare the US to different countries to try to figure out how the electorate/citizenry may impact a descent into a more authoritarian or "dysfunctional" regime, and you intentionally omit countries that have descended into more authoritarian or dysfunctional regimes, I don't know what else to tell you except your comparisons are incredibly stupid.

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42 minutes ago, Maithanet said:

Yeah, that is, without hyperbole, the best poll result Trump has gotten all year.  Hopefully it's just an outlier - the rv/lv split is strange to say the least.

Isn't that the way these polls 'normally' were? Republicans used to always do better in LV versus RV; however, there is some modest evidence to suggest that Biden was doing not-as-bad when RV was flipped to LV (in some cases better even, based on his strength with older people).

It could be that the WaPo poll has some weird demographic make-up that explains it (too few old people maybe)

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