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Chris Matthews makes me sad


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#1 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 07 November 2012 - 07:19 AM

http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2012/11/matthews-thirdparty-voters-are-idiots-148639.html

Not sure if anybody saw, but Chris Matthews pretty much called everybody supporting a third party candidate an idiot yesterday. It made me totally depressed knowing a member of the media was so openly against third parties. I understand it as he's fairly strongly democrat, and any strong republican/democrat would have the most interest in putting down third parties, but it just made me so depressed that he would criticize voters' choices like that.

I understand and somewhat agree with his rant against people who don't vote, but the rant against people who choose not to vote for neither of two candidates that have plenty to dislike just made me very sad.

Anyway. I just wanted to vent my frustration with him.

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#2 Gavin Williams   Members   -  Reputation: 776

Posted 07 November 2012 - 09:37 AM

Thank god your elections are over now, as a 'foreigner' it seems like we've been hearing about your election campaigns for the past 2 years. I think it's because you have a multi-staged election process so it just goes on .... and on .... and on ....

#3 slayemin   Members   -  Reputation: 2911

Posted 07 November 2012 - 10:08 AM

Yeah, I'm relieved as well. Now I don't have to hear about it for another 2.5 years.

OP: eh, who cares?

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#4 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 10630

Posted 07 November 2012 - 11:24 AM

Up here in Canada, we didn't hear much about it. Then Mitt Romney looked like he'd win, and then... well then he didn't.

Onto the topic of bipartism; the canadian situation is rather similar, and more importantly that of the province of Quebec.
We have had a strong history of 2 parties for a long time until about 2000. Then, a third party came in, almost coming to power, but quickly relegated to third.
More recently (this year in fact) a third party was announced to take the power while the leading party was to lose lamentably, but it just wasn't meant to be.
The threat Chris Matthews shouts is not delicate, but it is quite real. Voting in a bipartist situation essentially nulls your vote. There are so few occasions where a new party could take over, so very few mistakes a leading party could make that would leave them without support, that in 99.9% of the situations or more, there is no real political reason to vote otherwise.

With that said, I can relate to people trying to voice their opinions through political positionning. For example, if I know party 1 and 2 will get the most votes, counsciously voting for party 3 sets a "warning" for party 1. If their ideology is dissimilar, party 1 will understand that he needs to change its alignment. This will occur during the next elections, when party 1 is scared of party 2 taking over, thus trying to take votes from party 3 to even out.

So while there is no immediate political gain in voting for the third party, and that the third party probably will never go to power, voting off the radar is not without its use. Chris Matthews' comment displays that he is only focused on who wins, and not why.

#5 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 07 November 2012 - 11:45 AM

OP: eh, who cares?

Given the frustration with the two party system in the US, it's fairly upsetting to have a significant member of the main stream media explicitely shunning third party voters. There's always been a bias against it, but there's never really been an active movement against third parties in general.

I tend to think the main stream media is a large part of the problem, and I think it's important to call it out when major mis-steps are made. The, "who cares," attitude doesn't benefit anybody. I appreciate that you aren't from the US, so you may rightfully not care, but, in short, I do.

#6 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 07 November 2012 - 11:48 AM

The threat Chris Matthews shouts is not delicate, but it is quite real. Voting in a bipartist situation essentially nulls your vote. There are so few occasions where a new party could take over, so very few mistakes a leading party could make that would leave them without support, that in 99.9% of the situations or more, there is no real political reason to vote otherwise.

I know the point he is trying to make, but I refuse to vote for the lesser of two candidates I hate relatively equally rather than a party that aligns with most of my beliefs. Does that really make me an idiot? I don't realistically expect my candidate to win, but supporting somebody I don't want to support because I don't want somebody else to win seems more idiotic to me.

#7 swiftcoder   Senior Moderators   -  Reputation: 10367

Posted 07 November 2012 - 12:04 PM

I know the point he is trying to make, but I refuse to vote for the lesser of two candidates I hate relatively equally rather than a party that aligns with most of my beliefs. Does that really make me an idiot? I don't realistically expect my candidate to win, but supporting somebody I don't want to support because I don't want somebody else to win seems more idiotic to me.

If we had some variant of a runoff voting system, you would be all well and good, since your vote would transfer to your next-favourite candidate in the (likely, in your case) event that your preferred candidate did not win. But in the current system, a vote for a 3rd party is not a vote against your least favourite candidate, and that is a very key point.

Keep in mind that in a 2-party system, the delta of an individual vote is 2 (+1 for your candidate, -1 against the opposing candidate). But when you go to a 3-party system, the delta of an individual vote for the least-favoured candidate is only 1 (it remains 2 for either of the leading candidates).

Voting for an unlikely 3rd party is throwing away 50% of your vote. Otherwise known as the "Nader effect".

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#8 Alpha_ProgDes   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4692

Posted 07 November 2012 - 12:14 PM

My only issue is that voting for any 3rd party is considered as throwing away your vote. Look at Ron Paul for instance.
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#9 samoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5034

Posted 07 November 2012 - 12:27 PM

What's the difference anyway? Apart from very, very few people who really believed in what they were doing all politicans, and especially leaders are liars, thieves, and vicious murderers. You can vote for either of them, it's the same thing.
It doesn't matter whether you call them King, Führer, or President. Republicans, democrats, socialists, communists... they all make the same promises, they're the same villains, they all live like feudal kings, they all pay themselves horrifying "salaries", they all make your lives more miserable and they all send young, healthy men to foreign countries to die alone in the dirt for no reason.

George Washington is the single one example that I recall, in any country of the world, of someone who could rightfully claim that he did the job of a leader out of respect for the people, and as a honorary office (which it should really be, too).

Wow, I should stop smoking that stuff...

#10 BCullis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1813

Posted 07 November 2012 - 12:43 PM

Keep in mind that in a 2-party system, the delta of an individual vote is 2 (+1 for your candidate, -1 against the opposing candidate). But when you go to a 3-party system, the delta of an individual vote for the least-favoured candidate is only 1 (it remains 2 for either of the leading candidates).

Voting for an unlikely 3rd party is throwing away 50% of your vote. Otherwise known as the "Nader effect".


I'm sure my statistics/math/politics is lacking something, but why isn't a third-party vote instead a -1 to both primary candidates? Is it naive to consider the vote of each registered voter as a potential gain for each candidate that is removed in the case for each name not chosen? We might as well say that everyone who voted outside the bipartisan menu as good as skipped the polls entirely.

I'm basing this on the idea that each candidate wants my vote, and by giving it to the one I support (in this case a third party), I've made the total for both primaries one vote smaller.

I'm mostly glad that election season is now over, but your reasoning piqued my curiosity.
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#11 swiftcoder   Senior Moderators   -  Reputation: 10367

Posted 07 November 2012 - 01:29 PM

I'm sure my statistics/math/politics is lacking something, but why isn't a third-party vote instead a -1 to both primary candidates? Is it naive to consider the vote of each registered voter as a potential gain for each candidate that is removed in the case for each name not chosen? We might as well say that everyone who voted outside the bipartisan menu as good as skipped the polls entirely.

I'm basing this on the idea that each candidate wants my vote, and by giving it to the one I support (in this case a third party), I've made the total for both primaries one vote smaller.

If you vote for one of the leading candidates, sure, your vote has delta 3 (but the -1 to the trailing candidate is basically irrelevant, because he can't win anyway).

If you vote for the trailing candidate, then from the perspective of the leading candidates, you have effectively zeroed your vote (you haven't given +1 or -1 to either candidate who can potentially be elected).

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#12 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 07 November 2012 - 01:51 PM

If we had some variant of a runoff voting system, you would be all well and good, since your vote would transfer to your next-favourite candidate in the (likely, in your case) event that your preferred candidate did not win. But in the current system, a vote for a 3rd party is not a vote against your least favourite candidate, and that is a very key point.

Keep in mind that in a 2-party system, the delta of an individual vote is 2 (+1 for your candidate, -1 against the opposing candidate). But when you go to a 3-party system, the delta of an individual vote for the least-favoured candidate is only 1 (it remains 2 for either of the leading candidates).

Voting for an unlikely 3rd party is throwing away 50% of your vote. Otherwise known as the "Nader effect".

But going so far as to say one is stupid for doing so is too far. I very conciously know that my vote isn't as effective voting for a third party. I have weighed the consequences. I think it's horribly unfair to consider it idiotic or stupid. The choice to me was rather, vote for one of two candidates who are likely to win that will negatively affect the country or vote for a third party who probably won't win and wants to positively change the country. I don't see why the latter is any stupider; I would much rather vote for a loser that wants to help the world than vote for a winner that is going to hurt it.

#13 swiftcoder   Senior Moderators   -  Reputation: 10367

Posted 07 November 2012 - 02:35 PM

But going so far as to say one is stupid for doing so is too far.

Sure - I personally do not vote at all, as a protest against the broken system.

But he is correct that you are throwing away your vote. Just so long as you throw it away knowingly and intentionally, I don't see a problem with that.

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#14 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 07 November 2012 - 02:54 PM

But he is correct that you are throwing away your vote. Just so long as you throw it away knowingly and intentionally, I don't see a problem with that.

That depends on what the goal of my vote is. The goal of my vote was to hopefully hit 5% popular vote for the libertarians. That goal failed, but I don't think it was an unrealistic or idiotic goal to have.

#15 Michael Tanczos   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 5451

Posted 07 November 2012 - 08:38 PM

If we had some variant of a runoff voting system, you would be all well and good, since your vote would transfer to your next-favourite candidate in the (likely, in your case) event that your preferred candidate did not win. But in the current system, a vote for a 3rd party is not a vote against your least favourite candidate, and that is a very key point.


I would upvote this if we allowed it in the lounge. This is such an awesome point.

#16 Khaiy   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1342

Posted 07 November 2012 - 08:44 PM


But he is correct that you are throwing away your vote. Just so long as you throw it away knowingly and intentionally, I don't see a problem with that.

That depends on what the goal of my vote is. The goal of my vote was to hopefully hit 5% popular vote for the libertarians. That goal failed, but I don't think it was an unrealistic or idiotic goal to have.


It's a fine goal, but an electorally irrelevant one. It indicates a long term objective which is orthogonal to the election itself, and which will have no effect on the outcome of the election or what follows. I wouldn't say that it's a waste of a vote, but I would argue that a vote is a pretty ineffective tool for achieving your ultimate goal (I'm assuming that that would be something along the lines of promoting libertarian participation in politics). If you don't care who wins, that's as good a use of your vote as anything else.

Chris Matthews, as a committed partisan, looks at your vote as a strategic element in choosing between the two candidates in the race that had a shot at winning. A vote either supports his candidate or, by doing anything else, hurts his candidate by at a minimum denying your support. I'm not on board with this frame, but since the point of an election is to pick a winner I'm less open to the argument that a vote isn't a waste because you have a non-election related goal.

#17 Hodgman   Moderators   -  Reputation: 31842

Posted 07 November 2012 - 09:19 PM

I tend to think the main stream media is a large part of the problem, and I think it's important to call it out when major mis-steps are made. The, "who cares," attitude doesn't benefit anybody. I appreciate that you aren't from the US, so you may rightfully not care, but, in short, I do.

American MSM is almost treated as comedy over here. If we got worked up about every idiot on American TV....

On topic though, do you have some form of preferential voting?
In Australia, the minor parties can basically redistribute the "useless" votes that are given to them to their preferred major party. This gives minor parties a lot more power/relevance, because the major parties will have to undergo some form of policy negotiation with them if they want to receive their "preference votes". It also lets the picky voter have a lot more of a say in what their vote means, as they can specifically choose the order of their preferences instead of defaulting to a particular party's preference order.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant-runoff_voting

Edited by Hodgman, 07 November 2012 - 09:31 PM.


#18 Khaiy   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1342

Posted 07 November 2012 - 09:48 PM

On topic though, do you have some form of preferential voting?
In Australia, the minor parties can basically redistribute the "useless" votes that are given to them to their preferred major party. This gives minor parties a lot more power/relevance, because the major parties will have to undergo some form of policy negotiation with them if they want to receive their "preference votes". It also lets the picky voter have a lot more of a say in what their vote means, as they can specifically choose the order of their preferences instead of defaulting to a particular party's preference order.
http://en.wikipedia....t-runoff_voting


Nope. Your vote influences who gets your state's electoral votes, and then that's it-- it's gone.

#19 way2lazy2care   Members   -  Reputation: 782

Posted 07 November 2012 - 10:02 PM



But he is correct that you are throwing away your vote. Just so long as you throw it away knowingly and intentionally, I don't see a problem with that.

That depends on what the goal of my vote is. The goal of my vote was to hopefully hit 5% popular vote for the libertarians. That goal failed, but I don't think it was an unrealistic or idiotic goal to have.


It's a fine goal, but an electorally irrelevant one. It indicates a long term objective which is orthogonal to the election itself, and which will have no effect on the outcome of the election or what follows. I wouldn't say that it's a waste of a vote, but I would argue that a vote is a pretty ineffective tool for achieving your ultimate goal

My goal is to get a third party on the ballot in every state with federal funding. If you have a better tool for achieving said goal than try to get the 5% popular vote required for that I am all ears.

#20 Khaiy   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1342

Posted 07 November 2012 - 10:27 PM

My goal is to get a third party on the ballot in every state with federal funding. If you have a better tool for achieving said goal than try to get the 5% popular vote required for that I am all ears.


I don't. But while your casting that vote is a necessary part of achieving that goal, it's nowhere near sufficient. Activism to get a lot of people to cast similar votes is probably the route I'd go, organized around each specific election. Casting a third party vote without a big organized push seems to me would be as effective in getting to 5% as it is in actually electing the candidate.

Besides, the 5% rule is about being reimbursed, so any third party still needs to have the money in advance to get on the ballot and have a shot at capturing that much of the vote. And it has to keep getting at least that share of the vote every time to keep getting reimbursed. I have a hard time seeing something like this happening without the party being formally established and having a fairly reliable voter base first, which would require organizing in advance of casting votes.




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