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Primaries

Discussion in 'Alley of Lingering Sighs' started by T2Bruno, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    It's based upon the electoral college, which is alloted to each state. The larger states, by population, have more votes. The college is how the 2000 election was decided (among other things), and why Al Gore won the general election, but we were still unlucky enough to end up with what we currently have. It was really the first time the system broke down, but at this point it's really beyond fixing, since now both parties can run all kinds of election scams. Even the guys who build the voting machines are now partisan "suspects." These days, if you are an American, you never know what you're getting.
     
    Harbourboy likes this.
  2. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    The primaries and caucuses are how each state arrives at which candidates they will support at the national conventions for each party. At the national conventions each party decides who they will nominate as the official candidate for the general election. So this is just the beginning of the election season which ends in November.
     
  3. Sir Fink Gems: 13/31
    Latest gem: Ziose


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    I'm not the least bit surprised about Obama winning. America isn't nearly as racist as many make it out to be. Obama might make a great president, but I hope he isn't getting votes from white suburban soccer moms hoping to alleviate their white guilt. And, frankly, Obama's not very "black" in the cultural sense. The offspring of a white mother and a Kenyan father, he doesn't have that much in common with your average, working-class black man from the projects of Detroit. He often "blacks it up" when speaking, trying his darndest to sound like Sharpton or something ("Can I get an amen, people!") which strikes me as phony.

    I suspect personality and being genuine -- or at least being really good at faking being genuine -- is what's giving Edwards, Obama, McCain and Huckabee votes. Forget the evangelical thing for a second: Huckabee just comes across as a fairly down to Earth guy you wouldn't mind hanging out on your front porch with having a beer and talking football with. Romney? He's like a Ken doll only more plastic. It's not the Mormon thing so much; it's that he's so fake and just seems to latch on to whatever position he thinks will get him elected. Many say the same thing about Clinton, of course.

    I can't see McCain getting anywhere though. He'll do well in New Hampshire and then it's all downhill. The two big issues (with Republicans at least) are Illegal Immigration and the War in Iraq. McCain lines up with Bush on both issues. A big part of the reason Bush is at 30% is because of where he stands on these two issues. How can McCain have any hope of winning a national election? Just not gonna happen.

    The primaries are a fairly new thing, I think. In the old days, political parties would gather representatives in a hall, debate for a few days, and choose their candidate who would then appear on the ballots in (hopefully) all the states.

    Now, both major parties (Republicans and Democrats) have primary elections in each state over the next few months. It varies by state, but generally if you are a registered Democrat you can, if you wish, show up to vote in the primary when it is held in your state. Same goes for Republicans. Some states allow registered votes who have chosen no party affiliation ("independents") to vote in either primary, if they wish.

    Each party will then send delegates from each state to their respective conventions (in August?) where they will dutifully vote according to the majority of their state's voters. So Iowa's Democrat delegates (delegate?) will vote Obama and the Iowa Republicans will vote Huckabee. Only 49 more states to go before we know who the candidate is from each party. Then comes election day on November 2. Wow. That concludes US Government 101 for the day, class. :p
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 6, 2008
  4. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Oh, so Joe Public is not voting just yet then?
     
  5. mata5 Gems: 3/31
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    American politics are easy. :(
     
  6. Barmy Army

    Barmy Army Simple mind, simple pleasures... Adored Veteran

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    I want that foreign looking fella to do well. The dark guy. I don't know who he is, what he does or what he stands for, but he's got my vote.
     
  7. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Joe Public is not voting for President yet. Joe Public may be voting to determine who the candidate for President for his party is.
     
  8. Rotku

    Rotku I believe I can fly Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Not really easy. Maybe if you grew up with it, but coming from a westminster system, it's not the easist to pick up. I'd recommend taking a quick read through the Essentials of American Government by David McKay if you are wanting to get a basic understanding of the US Fedral System. He's writting from an outsiders perspective, so it makes it more understandable. Although like any 'academic' book, it isn't the easist of reads.

    From my understanding, Yes and No would be the best answer. Caucuses, as was held in Iowa, are reasonably open. While you do have to attend one of the meetings and be registered to the party, they do still draw quite large numbers. The democrats caucus drew nearing 200,000 people, while the republicans were about half their number. So while it isn't completely open for Joe Public, I'm sure if Joe wanted to vote it wouldn't be too hard.
     
  9. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
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    :D Rally, do you have a podcast, radio show, or something like that? If not, is there anything that could entice you to start one?

    Anyway, it seems to me that the matters in the Democratic party might get quite interesting. Perhaps Hillary's support was just weaker than others reckoned, or perhaps she is unpopular in a state like Iowa - God knows she's been the target of quite a lot of criticism - but her position as the obvious frontrunner has been seriously weakened. Obama and, to a lesser degree, Edwards are showing that they have the potential to contest her position - Obama by winning the most votes and Edwards by doing better than Hillary. They haven't yet won, though - at most, I think things have gotten interesting. If Mrs. Clinton can rally after this setback, then perhaps she does have the skills to back up her words. She may have to - the Iowa results seem to imply that her opponents may benefit from wider activization of their party base, yet those unexpected results may exactly motivate the sympathizers of both parties by showing that the frontrunners are not invulnerable.

    On the Republican side, I must say I'm rather impressed by how the results have turned up. While I don't agree with many of the things Mr. Huckabee or Mr. Paul are saying, I'm respected by what I perceive to sincerety in the beliefs they profess. Then again, the current president of the USA has been rather commited to his values, and he's shown that dedication to ideals can sometimes be a liability. Again, it appears that the distance between frontrunners and the second-tier candidates are less than they seemed before. Perhaps Huckabee's victory will boost his support among Christian conservatives despite the endorsements his opponents get from religious leaders. Perhaps not.

    On a broader scale, I wonder if the results are indicative of a reaction against the established politicians of both parties. I suppose there is such a phenomenon, but the results of the caucus have yet to say how widespread it is. I suppose it's way too early to say anything definitive about the campaign, but it does look like an interesting one.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2008
  10. Rotku

    Rotku I believe I can fly Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    How different is Hillary from Bill, policy wise? Of course there's a decade plus difference, but from what I recall when Clinton got in during the early '90s he tried to push through quite a large number of social reforms.
     
  11. The Shaman Gems: 28/31
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    Well, iirc she was supposedly backing some rather inclusive health reform proposal in the 1990s, but it met with a lot of criticism and was dropped. As a senator, I'd say most of her positions tended decisively towards the mainstream or at least the "safe" side. Do you remember how she wanted to limit the sale of GTA 3 after some crimes purportedly linked to the game?

    Apart from that, I also remember Bill Clinton as a moderate on the domestic scene. Actually, given what he did to the budget deficit, I wonder if he wasn't closer to what would be expected of a right-wing politician than a left-wing one.
     
  12. Drew

    Drew Arrogant, contemptible, and obnoxious Adored Veteran

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    Actually, most of your right wing types advocate lowering (or at least not raising) taxes and don't consider maintaining a balanced budget important for some ridiculous reason. Clinton raised taxes (a lot) and, rather than run a deficit, he ran a surplus. His economic policy was decidedly moderate, though, as he also kept a good lid on spending.
     
  13. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    "Supposedly" Shaman? Try googling "health care reform clinton" and read for yourself. Hillary was IN CHARGE of the failed health care reform. She chose to make a committee comprised of attorneys -- no health care professionals were involved (not even the Surgeon General). This did not encourage ANY support from health care profession or the insurance companies. The plan was so complex and difficult to understand that her own party was even opposed to it. Perhaps she learned from her first failure, but I tend to follow the old addage: 'Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.' I don't wish to give her another shot at it. Which is why my current selection of candidates goes:
    1. McCain,
    2. Obama, then
    3. Anyone Hillary runs against.
     
  14. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    That's a point worth expanding on. Bill Clinton formulated a political strategy of "Triangulation." It was different from the old style of politics, in that it was based less on ideology and more on problem solving - with a large political payoff. You cite the budget deficit as an accomplishment of Bill Clinton, and in part, it was. But part of the credit has to go to the Republican Congress as well, which was at that time at least, quite conservative. Also, Bill worked in a tax cut, which was popular with the middle class (and again another big Republican issue); then there was the much touted welfare reform, which greatly diminished the "big government" welfare state, at least for the poor. All these issues in the past had been "key" Repulican issues, and Bill, very cleverly forced the Republicans to be "real" conservatives on the issues, while garnering a lot of political capital for himself as a pay-off.

    But politically, the idea is to envelope the opposition's issues and make them your own, causing the other side to lose the political advantage in the process. Notice, that a lot of Republicans have abandoned some of these key issues in recent years, since there's not much politcal payoff for them. In fact, the balanced budget issue is really now a key Democratic one, and was espeically so in the last 2006 congressional elections.

    In 2000, Al Gore abandoned Triangulation, in favor of returning to more ideological issue-based politics, particuarly embracing more tradional left-wing themes. He had mixed results, winning the general election, but encountering, regional resistances to "left-wing ideology." But it allowed Bush and Rove to formulate a different kind of strategy, which took advantage of regional wedge-based issues, such as abortion and gay-marrigage - themes which were not typically "Republican" at the time. Bush also countered Gore with his phony "compassionate conservatism," to gain some support in the more moderate, populated regions, which were less concerned with Rove's "wedge" issues, especially among middle-class women.

    In 2004, John Kerry made a clumsy attempt at returning to the politics of Triangulation - trying to outdo Bush on the military-security issues. The attempt was diasterous, and no match for the highly-honed strategy of Rove's wedge politics, which had taken on a life of its own, with the issues of gay marriage, abortion, faith-based policies and the up-surge in militarism (as a result of the war on terror) that had gripped large sectors of the American electorate, looming completely out of proportion to the real issues that faced America. Kerry appeared to "flip-flop", instead of triangulate on the issue of national security.

    But Rove's strategy almost completely collapased under its own weight in the Terry Schiavo fiasco, which finally woke-up Americans to just how far these guys were willing to push the "wedge." There was an expected back-lash to Rove and Bush in the 2006 elections, and a large erosion of support for the Iraq War and Bush leading up to the congressional elections. Which takes us to where we are now: An election of "Change" (whatever that means), since it's quite obvious that the Democrats have abandoned "Tranigulation," at least at this moment in time.
     
  15. Rotku

    Rotku I believe I can fly Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    [​IMG] Interesting read, Chandos. Never heard of the term triangulation before. Have seen some cases of it tried here, on a few issues. To me it has always seemed the correct way politics should be handled - I guess it isn't the best way to get votes though.
     
  16. Chandos the Red

    Chandos the Red This Wheel's on Fire

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    Thanks, RotKU. The main thing about Bill Clinton is that his strategy worked for the American people, keeping the economy moving and giving them real benefits. Some examples of those benefits are the increase in the mininum wage and the Family Leave Act. Both of these were good deals for the American workers, while at the same time the Tax Relief Act of 1997, the Free Trade Agreements and the balanced budget helped not only the working-class folks, but employers and business owners as well. That's what I was referring to on the issue of problem-solving as opposed to ideological concerns.

    Bill also "triangulated" on the issue of free trade, defying his own party and moving with Republicans to help business owners. Of course, there are some who now see the agreements as really short-term benefits, since now unfair competition from abroad may be hurting American business owners in the long run. But that's still open for debate.

    I think that Kerry's failed attempt at Triangulation in 2004 still could have benefited the Dems. But again, they always find a way to shoot themselves in the foot. During the national debates Kerry really attacked Bush for "mismanaging" the war; Kerry harped on that theme repeatedly. He hammered on how Bush fired out-spoken generals who claimed that it required more troops to occupy Iraq, and that Bush and Rumsfeld were ignoring the realities of what it took to secure Iraq. Bush, of course, responded that "more troops in Iraq was not the answer." I'm sure everyone remembers this debate. This is perfect Triangulation, claiming that what was needed in Iraq was not less, but an even greater committment.

    Well we just had the much ballyhooed "troop surge" and guess what? It worked. The very idea that the Dems hammered on in 2004 - the issue they triangulated on - is what the situation needed, at least in the short term. But rather than getting behind Bush and saying "see we told you so," they clamored that it would not work - that Iraq was "already lost," as Harry Reed so emotionally proclaimed, earning the Dems in the process, the "Defeatocrats" label, and losing any political capital that could have been gained by the surge.

    Now they are ready to try to sell Obama to the American people. It could be another huge mistake. Here is a guy who enjoys playing at both ends - "Yes I voted against the war in Iraq." But yet he voted FOR every funding request for the war by George Bush. But it gets worse: The guy with the plan to "Change" Washington, also voted to renew the much hated Patriot Act. That's right. I'll go one step further: he reminds me of George Bush, who also vowed to bring "Big Change" to Washington, as an outsider, and "unite" America once again. "I'm a uniter," he proclaimed, "not a divider." Can all of you really have forgotten Bush's mantra in 2000? Instead we had 8 years of incompetence and political Armageddon.

    Do you really think the Republicans are going to let any of this slide? IMO, Obama will be the easiest Dem to beat in the general election. I can hear John McCain now: "Do the American People believe that competence matters in government?" It doesn't have to be multiple choice to figure out the answer to that question considering the last 7 years.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2008
  17. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I think Hillary is the easiest for Republicans to beat. Edwards would win against any Republican (unless he really messes up). IMO, Obama could beat most of the Republican candidates. He has the right background and will carry a huge portion of votes in the major states.
     
  18. Rotku

    Rotku I believe I can fly Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Decided finally to read up on some of the candidates policies. Now apologies in advance for commenting - I'm not from the US so I in many ways this is really none of my business, but I'm going to have my say anyway :p Also I'm not aware of their personalities or histories, just their campaign policies.

    First of all, Huckabee. I really can't see how he'll have much hope in coming through. To me he seems the extreme one on the republican bench. However, there is one area where I do think he passes all the other main candidates with flying colours, in regards to campaign financing. "I think the best system, and to me the most American, is don't create a lot of prohibitions but create full disclosure." Other than that, personally I think his policies are far to extreme really to see him through the primaries.
    [Edit]Oh, should also add that his Foreign policies seem mixed. His view on Iran seems very mature, calling for talks instead of guns, but then looking at his Palestinian-Israel belief all I can do is roll my eyes.[/Edit]

    I would place Edwards in exactly the same boat... just on the opposite side. From where I am sitting, he has some great policies, but then some real questionable ones as well. To be honest, his policies seem that of a dreamer - good in intention but completely unrealistic. Eleminate poverty by 2030? College education for everyone? I would love to see the budget blow out on those, not to mention peoples reactions when the taxes start sky rocketting. It would be nice to see, but will it happen? Doubt it.

    Giuliani seems a curious one. He certainly seems to have his head screwed on. Looking at his domestic policies, there's really a lot of good things that can be said about them - many of which seem to have no similarities to other Republican candidates - whether it be his education policies or the social ones like abortion and civil-union. His foriegn policies however send a shiver down my spine. Why does the name Bush jump to mind while reading them? But I don't know. In the end of the day I get the feeling he might be isolating the voters with the mixed policies - although like I said, I don't live there so that's just guess work.

    McCain I can't see as anyone really special. Just seems a run of the mill politican to me. His one strength, for me, is his economic policies. They seem to be far stronger than the other candidates, however I couldn't find anything on his views on free trade and things like the WTO. His use of education vouchers was the other point I liked. Otherwise I can't really say much good about either his social or foreign policies.

    Obama I'm humming and harring about. He really seems like a populist - aiming nicely for the votes. His policies seem to really have no real consistency. Social policies I tend to agree with him and he does seem fairly consistent in that area. THe only place I really find lacking for him there is education, which seems a load of horse dung. I love what I can find on his views on lobbying - the term double standards creeps slowly into mind. His foreign policies seem to be fairly moderate compared with the other candidatates (not saying that moderate is a good thing). Haven't read enough on his economic policies to really say anything there.

    And finally, Clinton. Mixed thoughts again, but I can see what people mean when they say she's the safe option. Everything seems fairly middle of the road. I can't say I agree with her views on foreign affairs (however, I would imagine that Joe Blogs would), but then she seems a strong supporter of the UN, which gets my thumbs up. Her economic policies are by far the worst so far (given, of course, that I haven't read much about Obama and Edwards economic policies). She seems to be taking a big step back in that regard, reversing a lot of what Reagan managed to (half-) achieve. Socially she seems all good - aiming for that liberal side of things quite nicely, with a few phrases in there to allow her to swing her thoughts if needed.

    So from looking at just their policies, I think a Giuliani vs Clinton race would be one I'd like to see most. Take Giuliani, add Edwards foreign policy and a touch of his idealism, McCain's economic and education side and I think we might have a winner. Unrealistic, maybe, but I'm taking a leaf here out of Edwards book and dreaming of a 'perfect' world ;)

    [Edit I - Added a small bit regarding Huckabee's foreign policy]

    [Edit II - If anyone could point me to any good info about the candidates economic policies, espcially in regards to multilateral relations and free trade, I would love to see]
     
  19. Aikanaro Gems: 31/31
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    So, apparently Hillary's won the New Hampshire vote. Way to kill my optimism...
     
  20. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    How much difference does the President really make anyway? Surely they are not the sole source of power and have to do what their massive team of advisers say?
     
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