Third party project V1.0
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Who to Vote for where
Illinois - Safe state - Only third party in 2004 is Libertarian - Third Party Project recommends voting Libertarian in Illinois.
Our proposed next diary entry
Third party project V1.0
None of these were actually run as diaries.
Third Party Project
As an experment in producing a collaborative "Think Tank" position paper from/for the dKos community I am inviting interested dKos members to the "Third Party Project"(link) over at dKosopedia.
The most controversial topic at dKos at this time (July 2004) is how to break the two-party monopoly in U.S. politics. It is most controversial, of course, because it includes Ralph Nader within its scope. It also includes "third parties", which by itself is controversial.
Is there a way to convert the energy that fuels the controversy into useful political process? Can we use the "Think Tank" model driven by the dKosopedia engine to create a position paper that would serve as an intelligent repository of a highly consensual set of ideas that would address the issues and to which we could refer in discussions?
In other words, instead of beating the same dead horses and reinventing the same wheels, could we determine and "codify" the best "practices" on the subject and so avoid repeat and rehash?
I see the process involving a back and forth between discussions here and increasingly refined conclusions and recommendations over at dKosopedia.
After Kerry will Corporate America forget how bad Bush was? or What can we do to save the Green Party?
ABB killed Nader and "emasculated (/efeminated)" the Green Party. It will likely have put the Democratic party in power in at least the White House in November 2004. As part of the calculus of rolling over and playing dead, the Green Party now can only hope that the Democrats will toss them some IRV bones. It's a hope not likely to be met.
The Green Party has plenty of self-blame to consider. Finding itself in the strongest possible position after the 2000 election as spoiler, they did not seize the opportunity to consciously and concertedly push for IRV. As the incredible horrors of the Bush regime unfolded neither did they threaten to repeat and bargain from a position of strength with the Democrats for the electoral reforms they must have in order to have any chance to improve their place in U.S. politics in the future.
Now that we (the ABB movement) has destroyed the Green Party, what must we now do to save it? I will repeat that question at the end of this post, as it is around that topic which I seek ideas. I do not care to debate the need for third party politics in this country. If that is not a given to you then please proceed to the next diary, you are not welcome here. If you feel that all the changes that need be made in this country can be made within the existing two real parties, then by all means go there and work for those changes. Leave us here to work in parallel with you.
I know too, as well as you, the current futile state of such politics, yet too does that futility not negate the dire need for such politics.
That Nader and the Green Party have been destroyed can be evidenced by the cries of their supporters like Jeffrey St. Clair at places like (CounterPunch http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair07142004.html ). Now if you read that link, be careful not to get sucked into the politics of personalities. How to avoid that pitfall in general, may well be an importatn aspect of our discussion of how to save third parties. Or if not save, how to make third parties a useful political tool.
The dKosopedia Third Party Project is seeking Help.
The dKosopedia <link>Third Party Project</Link> is looking for Third Party Voters or interested traditional voters to help maintain our Who to Vote for Where recommendations.
We need the following information: Your state name; is it safe or battleground; recent polling results; a list of third parties on the ballot in November; your recommendation for whom to vote; your user name as the (or a) person maintaining the state data.
If your state is already there then add your name to the list and work with the other people on the list to maintain the state between now and November.
We assume the following:
- The two party system in the U.S. is broken.
- Third Parties should use the "Safe States" strategy for this election.
- If enough people use the "Safe States" strategy we can make every state a battleground state until we get electoral reforms like IRV or IRV-P, which would eliminate the need for "Safe States" strategies.
If you disagree with our assumptions then this dKos thread is the place to argue with us. If you agree, then go on over to the Third Party Project and sign up.
Current To-Do list
- put some possible dates to be done on this list
- edit and finalize current next diary entry and post it
- invite more users to participate while waiting for first diary posting
- after current next diary entry posted move pyrrho's draft (or some other) to next diary entry and have at editing it.
- establish and maintain some ground rules on how to move this forward
- Get IRV or Approval Voting Instituted
- Selling Points
- Big Parties... don't lose your elections because of Ross Perot or Ralph Nader
- Small Parties... get the time of day
- Get IRV and/or Approval Voting instituted at low levels... county, country seat, within county councils for council appointment votes.
- Move to State Acceptance, State House, State Senate
- Move to Govenors
- Federal Elections
- Selling Points
Third parties can only exist if they are viable and do not harm their natural allies precicely in proportion to how allied they ought to be. IRV and Approval Voting allow for second choices to be approved or ranked (and third and fourth choices, and so on...). This would help the big parties because the urge and energy that fuels third parties is enough to cause major havok in a system split 50/50 as very small margins are of course very vulnerable to candidates pulling very small numbers of voters.
Using such systems as IRV is a tacit request for voters to speak their minds, instead of 5% some "fringe" candidate may get 20% or 30% as all voters are invited to "vote their conscience" rather than make a faustian bargain on a "protest vote".
Approval voting or IRV means third parties become competitors regardless of if they win or not, but merely by showing. Of course this competiton is what the two major parties would like to avoid but an evenly split electorate will generate more examples of small parties damaging the chances of their closer ally. The opportunites for major change occur when a party that remembers this sting gains power again when the pendulum swings their way (possibly moved their by a third party assasin candidate).
Indeed, this is might possibly become a new strategy for mainstream base to to support third party challengers, e.g. the Republican's supporting Ralph Nader, the Democrat's supporting Roy Moore, for the 2004 Election.
Barring those opportunities, the natural approach is to continue to experiment with IRV and Approval voting in local elections in order to become familiar with the system and also to work out any practical kinks. The latter are relatively minimal as each system is very incremental in it's appraoch, keeping the American voting tradition of voting for individuals for executive leaders. But still the subtle differences of these systems really -should- be tried out at lower levels, although there is no real reason IRV or Approval Voting are not ready for national elections within the next few years.
- Collect a group of interested people to start the project.
- The end result of our first statement would be a diary entry.
- Take the comments from the diary and hone the statement, and encourage commenters to join our Think Tank project.
- Repeat the above if needed as often as it is producing useful results.
As the statement gets polished take steps to make it "consensus" dKos opinion/approach to the issue. Turn it into some kind of "official dKos position paper", whatever that could mean.
My draft Statement of Consensual Beliefs
- Third parties are always a doomed effort because of winner-take-all geography based elections.
- Only institution of IRV, Approval voting, and/or proportional repesentation will change that.
- We recommend that all dKos members should vote strategically (meaning vote the third party safe-states strategy)
- All safe-state strategic voters should tell pollsters that they are voting third-party/person to ensure that polling errors work in our favor.
- The dKos community will determine for ourselves which states/races are safe.
I think the basic premise that the two party system flows largely from voting rules is correct. I think a Louisiana-Denver style two round voting system, in which all candidates compete against each other in a first round and the top two have a runoff if no one gets a majority in the first round is more likely to win acceptance than IRV. Why?
1. It requires no new voting machinery and is extremely simple. 2. It continues the existing two round system currently implimented through a primary-general election scheme. 3. It puts third party candidates on equal footing and also allows all voters to participate in decision making on a representative in places where one party is dominant -- a big problem for folks like Republicans in DC or Democrats in Idaho. 4. It is already used in some U.S. jurisdictions. 5. It gives voters a chance to consider their second choices once it has been narrowed down, reducing the need of voters to think as much about the election. 6. It allows retention of single member districts. 7. Its bias is towards popular centrist candidates, not to "fringe" candidates typically associated with third party action, and hence promotes the kind of third parties that have some chance of participating in a governance capacity. 8. It typically requires only legislative chance rather than constitutional change to achieve.
- RobLa 18:07, 7 Aug 2004 (PDT): A variation on this, which meets most of the criteria above, would be an Approval voting primary, with a head-to-head general election. While a standard Louisiana primary constitutes an improvement, it's only a small improvement. Approval voting is a huge improvement. Hopefully, people would be more ammenable to larger changes to the primary system, which often breaks down in local elections.
Perhaps dKos can be of assistance in finding districts that have only one effective political party because the other is disorganized or corrupted. Instead of a Democrat or Republican, a Green or Libertarian might take the #2 place on the ballot.
dKos Diaries of interest
Battleground states discussed where we recommend voting Kerry include: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin.
Non-Battleground states also discussed: Alabama, Oklahoma, Maryland, Texas. Vote third-party.
Also discussed Virginia and New Jersey. No recommendation at this time.
This link is temporary unless the author keeps the data updated.