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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#16781 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-November-05, 15:21

Some cheerful thoughts, at least for me.

I was looking at the map on WaPo that gives election turnout by state..
https://www.washingt.../voter-turnout/

As near as I can tell, Minnesota comes in first with 79.1 % and, then Wisconsin with 75.5 . Michigan was in the same ballpark with 73.1 %..
If campaign people want to learn how to get out the vote, maybe they should spend some time up there.


Ken
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#16782 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2020-November-05, 15:25

View Postkenberg, on 2020-November-05, 15:21, said:

Some cheerful thoughts, at least for me.

I was looking at the map on WaPo that gives election turnout by state..
https://www.washingt.../voter-turnout/

As near as I can tell, Minnesota comes in first with 79.1 % and, then Wisconsin with 75.5 . Michigan was in the same ballpark with 73.1 %..
If campaign people want to learn how to get out the vote, maybe they should spend some time up there.

This is interesting. Elsewhere in the West, participation just goes down and down and down. In the US, there are fluctuations but not much of a trend.
When did pass become a 4-letter word? --- WinstonM
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#16783 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2020-November-05, 15:38

My observation & conjecture is that voting percentages rise when people think their vote actually matters or when people think the decision at hand is a vital one.

For example, in the UK, the Brexit referendum saw a participation rate of 72% whereas the preceding general election saw about 65% of the people voting.

Similarly, I recall reading somewhere that voters tend to participate lesser in those constituencies where the outcome is likely to be in favour of one given party. e.e. I have lived for a long time in a constituency where Labour always wins --- often receiving 60+% of the votes cast. It makes very little difference to the outcome of the election whether I vote because I "know" Labour will win.
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#16784 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-November-05, 15:54

View Posthelene_t, on 2020-November-05, 15:11, said:

Someone on Quora were discussing what would happen if the EC is split 270-270. As I understand, it is the HoR that chooses the president but the senate that chooses the VP, so you would end up with Biden as president and some republican (maybe Pence?) as VP. Is that really correct or am I misunderstanding something?

Lots of misinformation here. First of all a tie is 369-369; that is currently only possible if Biden wins Georgia and Trump sweeps the rest. The procedure if that happens is a special process. Yes it takes place in the HoR but it works on a vote by state process, not according to the usual House rules. According to the numbers I have seen, it were to come to that then Trump would win it. You are right though that the 12th Amendment process balances the House getting the last word on POTUS by allowing the Senate to elect the VP for tied contests. Also, if the House cannot manage to elect a POTUS, the Senate VP gets to be POTUS. This process will not happen this year but the potential for chaos if it did, given the way the 2 camps see each other, is enormous.
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#16785 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-November-05, 15:57

View Postkenberg, on 2020-November-05, 15:21, said:

If campaign people want to learn how to get out the vote, maybe they should spend some time up there.

I suspect a lot of democratic countries will look at this US election and decide that expanding their potential for mail-in voting is an extremely good way of both increasing turnout and also reducing on-the-day issues.
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Happy New Year everyone!
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#16786 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-November-05, 16:06

View Postkenberg, on 2020-November-05, 15:21, said:

As near as I can tell, Minnesota comes in first with 79.1 % and, then Wisconsin with 75.5 . Michigan was in the same ballpark with 73.1 %..
If campaign people want to learn how to get out the vote, maybe they should spend some time up there.

Before you feel too proud of your state Ken, it is worth mentioning that your local GOP put up various pro-drug candidates that appear to have made a decisive difference in some of the elections there. So perhaps it is time for Minnesotans to look at themselves and use ranked ballots rather than pure FPTP.
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#16787 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-November-05, 16:43

More thoughts on turnout. Maryland was awful with 54.6%. That's embarrassing but then I figured this was because "everyone knew" Biden would win Maryland. He did, but sometimes what everyone knows is not what happens.

Anyway, I then looked as Arizona and Nevada where the race was a lot closer than it was in Maryland. 56 point something in both those states. I don't get it, are there a lot of people out there who think it doesn't matter whether Trump or Biden wins?

My mind wanders back. When I was in grad school in 1964 it was Lyndon Johnson versus Barry Goldwater . A fellow grad student (not a fellow math grad student I assure you) thought it made no difference, they were just Humpty and Dumpty. He was running for governor on the Socialist Workers Party ticket. I guess if you are a vegan then hamburger and lobster are the same thing.

I have always voted. My friends always voted. My parents always voted. 56% ? I don't get it. Trump and Biden are not the same thing. Whatever they are or are not, they are not the same thing.

Added: Zel. I just saw the post above about the drug candidates/ Huh? I'll think about it later. Or call my gopher friends that are still back there.
Ken
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#16788 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-November-05, 17:19

View Postkenberg, on 2020-November-05, 16:43, said:

I have always voted. My friends always voted. My parents always voted. 56% ? I don't get it. Trump and Biden are not the same thing. Whatever they are or are not, they are not the same thing.

Look up Downs Paradox, Ken. From a game theory perspective, it is the voters that are irrational, not those who stay at home.
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#16789 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2020-November-05, 17:34

View Postkenberg, on 2020-November-05, 16:43, said:

I have always voted. My friends always voted. My parents always voted. 56% ? I don't get it. Trump and Biden are not the same thing. Whatever they are or are not, they are not the same thing.

Nationally, some 70% voted. That's quite good by international comparison.

Of course, one might expect a high participation in the US:
- the debates are entertaining, you can always vote for the most charismatic candidate even if you have zero understanding of politics. This is different in many other countries where it's really hard to have an opinion unless you study politics seriously
- the differences between the two parties is substantial. In the New Zealand debates I don't recall any difference between the two major parties other than about the quarantine rules for Polynesian vegetable pickers.
- there's usually both state and national voting on the same occasion so you'd think most people could have some interest in at least one issue

On the other hand, in most Western countries there's zero barriers to voting so if 70% vote it would mean that 29% made a conscious decision not to vote and then maybe 1% had an emergency or something. As I understand it, a lot of Americans would like to vote but were removed from the roll, had to travel far to register and/or to vote, or didn't have required ID or whatever. There are apparently people who have to queue up for a whole day to vote and couldn't even do it in their employer's time.

If I had to spend more than 15 minutes in total to register, travel to the voting place and then queue up, I would not vote. I'd rather spend my time writing social media rants about why I am not voting in such a ridicolous voter-unfriendly system.

In the four countries in which I have lived, it has always been very easy to vote. On the way home from the bus stop you just pop into the polling station, maybe it means I get home one minute later than I otherwise would.

Another thing is that in two-party system countries, a substantial number of non-voters probably just refuse to chose between two evils. Suppose you are a die-hard neverTrump republican. Would you spend an hour in the queue to write-in Mickey Mouse on the ballot? In PR countries you typically have some 10 parties for which you can meaningfully vote.

And nevertheless, typically some 25-40% don't vote. Some people just don't care about politics. Some people claim that all politicians are equally corrupt, even if they have some 20 or 30 choices.

The bottom line is that IMO a 70% participation rate is quite remarkable. Unlike many other people, it looks like Americans still believe in democracy.
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#16790 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-November-05, 18:00

View Posthelene_t, on 2020-November-05, 17:34, said:

The bottom line is that IMO a 70% participation rate is quite remarkable. Unlike many other people, it looks like Americans still believe in democracy.

You might think that but I watched a constant stream of conspiracy theories and chants of "they are stealing the election" on Fox for an hour or so before I had had enough and felt the need to switch it off. The current rambling press conference from dodgy Donald is actually mild by comparison, as full as it is of completely false statements.
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#16791 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-November-05, 18:21

Matt Yglesias said:

The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can't. Not without your help. But you're not helping.

What do you mean, I'm not helping?

I mean: you're not helping! Why is that, Leon?

Josh Barro at NYMag said:

Anderson Cooper just described the president's performance as "like an obese turtle on his back, flailing in the hot sun"

Memo to Dems: Next time you rig the election, pick up a few senate seats.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#16792 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-November-05, 18:28

Mary Astor at NYT said:

Erie County, Pa., a bellwether county that voted for Trump in 2016, just flipped to Biden. Trump’s lead in Pennsylvania is now less than 74,000. See Pennsylvania results.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#16793 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2020-November-05, 18:34

Nate Silver said:

There are now about 19,000 votes left to count in Georgia, if I’m doing the math right, and Biden needs to win them by 3,600 votes, or 19 percent, in line with a margin of 60-40 or thereabouts.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#16794 User is offline   shyams 

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Posted 2020-November-05, 19:24

It is now certain that Biden will win the Presidency. However, I must say that he could have done himself -- and all Americans + a significant portion of the global population -- A HUGE FAVOUR by working a bit smarter on the Florida electorate and not let a golden opportunity slip away.

This contest would have been over Tuesday night if Florida had gone for the Dems.

I'm not saying it was totally up to Biden (after all it is the electorate that decides) but I am sure that he could have been much smarter in his Florida election strategy; that he wasn't is Biden's fault.
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#16795 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-November-05, 19:46

View Postshyams, on 2020-November-05, 19:24, said:

It is now certain that Biden will win the Presidency. However, I must say that he could have done himself -- and all Americans + a significant portion of the global population -- A HUGE FAVOUR by working a bit smarter on the Florida electorate and not let a golden opportunity slip away.

I have to say I disagree completely. His task was to get to 270, not 300. Florida was only the third most likely path to that, worth devoting resources to but not the main focus. If he had tailored his latino message to Cubans and Venezuelans, the chances are high that he would have done worse with Mexicans and possibly also with some other demographics. My view is that he has, for the most, part run a smart campaign. That is born out by the fact that he has significantly outperformed other Democrat candidates in other races. In fact, I think the biggest obstacle to his winning came not from the Biden campaign but from other Democrats talking about socialism and defunding the police. The Democratic party has to learn that being up in polls is not a license to espouse radical ideals that will upset moderate conservatives. If they had stuck to the message from the top of the ticket, chances are quite good that they would have managed a Senate majority too. That is not Biden's fault though, it is liberals not understanding how their message resonates negatively in other parts of the country.
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#16796 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-November-05, 20:11

Hannity now calling for a "do-over" of the election. I am genuinely irl LOLing.
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#16797 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2020-November-05, 20:12

View PostZelandakh, on 2020-November-05, 17:19, said:

Look up Downs Paradox, Ken. From a game theory perspective, it is the voters that are irrational, not those who stay at home.


Then let's give a cheer for irrationality!

A less flippant response takes us into the meaning of life. The first sentence in the Wikipedia entry for Down's is
"The paradox of voting, also called Downs paradox, is that for a rational, self-interested voter, the costs of voting will normally exceed the expected benefits. Because the chance of exercising the pivotal vote (i.e., in an otherwise tied election) is minuscule compared to any realistic estimate of the private individual benefits of the different possible outcomes, the expected benefits of voting are less than the costs."

Sure, but take away the assumption that all behavior should be guided by self-interest and then the argument goes up in smoke. Moreover. I think that you can even preserve self-interest, or most of it, and still make the argument vanish. When we and others behave responsibly we set an expectation for our environment. Sure, if we set narrow self-interest as the ultimate good, then we should hope all the suckers behave responsibly while we take anything that is not mailed down. A certain orange haired game show host comes to mind. But I like living in a world where, although some care and caution is needed, I do not have to always watch my back. If I vote for the person I think will be best for the country maybe some others will do the same and, beyond that, it might up the odds that if I inadvertently drop my wallet a guy might say "Hey buddy, you dropped something".

So I think it is worthwhile to vote. But of course it is also good to take good care of your kids. And good to do quite a few other things. As Rocky said "We all got gaps".

But the short answer is "Of course I vote, doesn't everyone?" Well, no, not everyone. But us gophers? You betcha.


Ken
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#16798 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-November-05, 20:32

View Postkenberg, on 2020-November-05, 20:12, said:

Then let's give a cheer for irrationality!

Unfortunately it is a firm axiom of game theory that people act rationally. Without this most of the maths behind it would collapse.

View Postkenberg, on 2020-November-05, 20:12, said:

Sure, but take away the assumption that all behavior should be guided by self-interest and then the argument goes up in smoke. Moreover. I think that you can even preserve self-interest, or most of it, and still make the argument vanish. When we and others behave responsibly we set an expectation for our environment. Sure, if we set narrow self-interest as the ultimate good, then we should hope all the suckers behave responsibly while we take anything that is not mailed down. A certain orange haired game show host comes to mind. But I like living in a world where, although some care and caution is needed, I do not have to always watch my back. If I vote for the person I think will be best for the country maybe some others will do the same and, beyond that, it might up the odds that if I inadvertently drop my wallet a guy might say "Hey buddy, you dropped something".

So I think it is worthwhile to vote. But of course it is also good to take good care of your kids. And good to do quite a few other things. As Rocky said "We all got gaps".

But the short answer is "Of course I vote, doesn't everyone?" Well, no, not everyone. But us gophers? You betcha.

In your example, the game theory modelling for someone taking that action would be that they get some reward, perhaps just feeling good about themselves, that offsets the cost of taking the time to tell you about it or the financial rewards of pocketing the wallet themselves. In the same way, if you can get people to accept that "voting is its own reward", or a "civic duty" or whatever, you can create a reward for voting in people's minds. This is essentially how modern democracy works. But in terms of the rewards that people think of for voting - getting the candidate you want - this is minimal compared to the time, effort and thought needed to vote.

So if I lived in California, New York, Washington DC, Massachusetts, Maryland, Oklahoma, Wyoming, West Virginia, etc, would I vote? Almost certainly not. When I was a young I regarded it as an important civic task. These days I think electoral reform, to a proportional system, is more important than any single vote in a FPTP system. And more to the point, I have lived most of my life in constituencies that were clearly one colour or the other. Disenfranchisement does that to you. FPTP is a form of disenfranchisement just as much as voter suppression.
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#16799 User is offline   Zelandakh 

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Posted 2020-November-05, 20:36

Hannity's latest conspiracy theory is that post marks were changed in Michigan on postal ballots. The LOL issue with that? Post dates make no difference in Michigan; if they do not have the ballot in time they cannot count it even if the post mark is for a week before the election. :lol: :lol: :lol:
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#16800 User is offline   PeterAlan 

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Posted 2020-November-05, 20:51

An anecdote from the UK.

The 1970 General Election on 18 June was the first in which 18-year-olds had the vote. My 18th birthday was 3 days earlier, and I was determined to take part (as I have done in every election since).

My grandmother lived with us, and I took her along to the polls. She was then nearly 90 (her birthday, in a happy chance for this thread, was 4th July), and one of the 'lucky' women to be first enfranchised in 1918, the year she was 38 - others had to wait another 10 years. I remember how fortunate I was to be exercising the right that so many had to struggle so hard to achieve.

Decisions are made by those who show up and make a statement; it's trite but true to say that we can't all rely on someone else to do it for us, even in groups of millions.
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