Jernalism!

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Thad
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Re: Jernalism!

Postby Thad » Sun Sep 02, 2018 2:41 pm

Friday wrote:There's no right kind of Republican anymore. There's a Conservative who does not associate with a blatantly racist and homophobic and transphobic and warmongering and and and and and and party, maybe.


Since we still don't know who Ducey will be appointing to replace McCain, I've been thinking about this for a bit -- more as a thought experiment than because I think any of these people have any chance of being picked.

Who would I want him to pick? If, say, this had happened after the election and Garcia had won and it was his pick? It would still have to be a Republican, by state law; are there any Republicans I would be okay with?

There are a few Arizona Republicans who I still respect. They're all retired.

Grant Woods is pretty high on the list. He was state AG from 1991 to 1999; before that, he was McCain's chief of staff, back when McCain was a Congressman. The "explainer" booklets we get for ballot props frequently include analyses by Woods; he is intelligent and thoughtful and I find myself agreeing with him more often than not.

Former County Attorney Rick Romley is another Republican I respect. His name's been in the news again recently, in obits for Thomas O'Brien, a former bishop who Romley helped to bring down for covering up sexual abuse. Romley's most recent public position was when the County Board of Supervisors appointed him to return as County Attorney following the resignation of Arpaio crony Andrew Thomas. Romley acted as a check on Arpaio but lost a primary and didn't serve another term.

Jane Dee Hull is okay. She became governor after Fife Symington's resignation. Her tenure was fine; no major controversies or scandals, and the biggest blowback she got was for a subsidy for electric vehicles that was written too broadly, didn't encourage adoption of electric cars, and was mostly used by the very rich to buy golf carts. Which, y'know, not great. But at least she was trying to push alternative-fuel vehicles, as a late-1990s Arizona Republican.

And of course Sandra Day O'Connor is still alive. Clearly she's even less likely to be a senator than everyone else on this list, but if I'm making a list of living Arizona Republicans who I respect, she belongs on it. There were an awful lot of cases where I didn't agree with her, and I think her reputation as a moderate is exaggerated, but Christ, look at the conservatives we've got on the Court now.

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Re: Jernalism!

Postby Thad » Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:39 pm

Okay, I thought of one current officeholder, though he's term-limited out and, come January, he'll be a former officeholder too.

Bob Burns on the Corporation Commission.

I don't know anything about his positions outside the role of commissioner, so I don't know if I'd like him in a legislative role. But as a commissioner, he's the only Republican who isn't in the pocket of the utility companies. So he goes on the "Arizona Republicans I respect" list too.

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Re: Jernalism!

Postby Friday » Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:05 pm

I'm not trying to paint with a brush so broad that I'm saying every single Republican is evil, but the party is, and it's so obviously evil at this point that you really do have to be ignorant, in denial, or in on it to be a part of that shit.

I guess there might be a fourth kind of person, which I can only explain by talking about UNATCO from Deus Ex, so I will, because I never miss a chance to talk about Savag- er, UNATCO.

So in Deus Ex when you (spoilers for an 18 year old game) defect from UNATCO, you convince a bunch of characters to defect with you, except one guy, an old retired military guy (Sam Carter), says he respects your choice but he's staying because if -everyone- good left UNATCO then what would happen to UNATCO? He's going to stay there and try to help make it better from the inside.

Of course, later in the game he defects anyway because he realized that the bad guy was making it impossible to do any good or convince anyone by recruiting a bunch of young guys and brainwashing them.

Hmm.

Anyway I guess some current Republicans might be like that. Where they know the party is literally becoming more and more like, you know, Nazis, but don't want to abandon it in the hopes that they can fix it from the inside.
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Re: Jernalism!

Postby Friday » Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:23 pm

I mean, all this analysis I'm doing is pointless. People are Republicans (or whatever) because they were told to be by their parents and tribalism makes them stick with "their team" pretty much no matter the fuck what. That's not a 100% always true statement, but it's broadly true statistically. The answer to "how can a decent human being actually be part of something so terrible" is very simple: People fucking love teams and will defend theirs to the death with every single self-deception in the book.

ICE imprisoning and raping kids? Democrats made that law.

Mexicans are fleas and rapists? I either agree with that or "it's unfortunate that Trump used that language, but he tells it like it is."

It's not easy to understand because logic and reason don't really play a part. These people aren't using their brains, they're just operating on tribalism. The actual, literal answer to "how can a decent human being actually be part of something so terrible" is "they just don't think about it in those terms."
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Re: Jernalism!

Postby Thad » Sun Sep 02, 2018 9:56 pm

Friday wrote:I mean, all this analysis I'm doing is pointless. People are Republicans (or whatever) because they were told to be by their parents and tribalism makes them stick with "their team" pretty much no matter the fuck what. That's not a 100% always true statement, but it's broadly true statistically.


Yeah, I think I've mentioned this before, but the stereotype that young people are liberal and they become more conservative as they age is basically bullshit.

Boomers didn't start out liberal and then become conservative when they got older. They were always conservative; they only voted against Nixon because they were draft age.

The best predictor of your political alignment isn't your age. It's your parents' political alignment.

The answer to "how can a decent human being actually be part of something so terrible" is very simple: People fucking love teams and will defend theirs to the death with every single self-deception in the book.


This, on the other hand, is a more recent development.

America has always had political polarization, but it used to be based around specific issues, not specific parties. The parties coalescing around particular issues is a relatively recent phenomenon. This plays into a team mentality, as you say.

In the near term, I don't think it's going to be easy to break out of it.

In the long term, younger people seem to be a lot less interested in party affiliation. They -- we? I think we're young enough to still count as "young people" for purposes of this discussion -- lean Democratic by default, but not because we have any particular affection for or trust in the Democratic Party. We don't love Democrats, it's just, you know, they're the ones who aren't affiliated with Nazis and Klansmen.

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Re: Jernalism!

Postby Bal » Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:11 pm

Teams are just an analog for Tribes, and not the fun spinfusor kind of Tribes. There is a part of the human brain that is looking at every other human to constantly reaffirm who is "Us" and who is "Them". "They" are not to be trusted.

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Re: Jernalism!

Postby Mongrel » Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:43 am

Friday wrote:I'm not trying to paint with a brush so broad that I'm saying every single Republican is evil, but the party is, and it's so obviously evil at this point that you really do have to be ignorant, in denial, or in on it to be a part of that shit.

I guess there might be a fourth kind of person, which I can only explain by talking about UNATCO from Deus Ex, so I will, because I never miss a chance to talk about Savag- er, UNATCO.

So in Deus Ex when you (spoilers for an 18 year old game) defect from UNATCO, you convince a bunch of characters to defect with you, except one guy, an old retired military guy (Sam Carter), says he respects your choice but he's staying because if -everyone- good left UNATCO then what would happen to UNATCO? He's going to stay there and try to help make it better from the inside.

Of course, later in the game he defects anyway because he realized that the bad guy was making it impossible to do any good or convince anyone by recruiting a bunch of young guys and brainwashing them.

Hmm.

Anyway I guess some current Republicans might be like that. Where they know the party is literally becoming more and more like, you know, Nazis, but don't want to abandon it in the hopes that they can fix it from the inside.

Also it's worth remembering that America has fossilized into a two party state, which is the exception not the norm, globally. You'll never convince all the Republicans to jump ship, so abandoning the GOP means a party split which will just put Democrats in power until one of the Right wing parties comes out on top.

Which might be just fine, if you're a Democrat, but if these people leaned that far left, they'd already be Democrats. Or defect to the Dems.

In fact, as Thad and others have pointed out, many regions of the US are already a ONE-party state, and the real "election" is the primary.

So abandoning the Republicans isn't as simple as that. Leaving means abandoning a party with an effective political monopoly on large amounts of the US.

That doesn't mean the current Republican party is actually likely to actually be reformed from the inside. It's just that the incentives against breaking away and going independent are really high.
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Re: Jernalism!

Postby Thad » Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:29 am

Mongrel wrote:Also it's worth remembering that America has fossilized into a two party state, which is the exception not the norm, globally.


That's largely down to Duverger's Law: first-past-the-post means it's going to come down to two candidates. (Usually. There are rare instances where you'll see three candidates each polling around 30%.)

As a result, the US has always been a two-party system. The Democrats have been around since Jefferson's day; they were originally opposed by the Federalists, which were eventually replaced by the Whigs, which were eventually replaced by the Republicans.

I think the Republican brand is pretty toxic to most people under 50 (and most nonwhite people of all ages), and that's going to have long-term consequences. But in the short term, I don't see any realignment happening, let alone the party being displaced by some other alternative.

But, as I said, younger voters are less partisan than their elders -- they're partisan by default because Republicans are terrible, but they're not really loyal Democrats. Maybe the tribalism won't last? It's really hard to say what things are going to look like in twenty years. I do think that if the Republican Party is going to survive another generation, it's not going to look much like it does today. But what the fuck do I know? I never thought we'd see anything like Charlottesville in America in my lifetime. (On the other hand, it sure looks like alt-righters aren't lining up to have another Charlottesville anytime soon.)

I'd sure like to see a shift toward ranked-choice voting, which would end the FPTP dilemma. That's something that's going to take a very long time.

There is some effort in that direction in Maine -- have we talked about this? Maine, following its election of Paul LePage with 38% of the vote in a 4-way race, understandably decided that this whole first-past-the-post thing wasn't really working out for them, and passed a resolution switching to ranked-choice voting.

The problem is that it's unconstitutional; the state constitution explicitly allows statewide candidates to win with a plurality, not a majority. So they're going to have to amend the constitution in order to actually put the ranked-choice voting system into practice for statewide offices.

However, there's no such constitutional prohibition on federal offices, so Maine is using ranked-choice voting for those now. (If the Republicans ever attempt to oust Susan Collins in a primary, expect her to run as an independent; she might not win on first ballot, but it's hard for me to envision any scenario where she doesn't win on the second ballot. In a three-way race, she'd be a lot of people's first choice, and everybody else's second choice.)

It's going to be interesting to see how it works out for Maine, which is a pretty unique state but might nonetheless provide a road map other states can follow. But I'm not talking about anything that's going to happen quickly; hell, even Maine hasn't been able to implement it statewide yet. I'd love to see a shift away from FPTP, but expect it to take decades if it happens at all. Attempting to reform gerrymandering is a lot likelier to yield results in the short run (the SCOTUS punted on gerrymandering last session, so there's more to come there, but even assuming the Court determines it's constitutional, nobody really likes gerrymandering except the people who get elected through it; I live in a pretty red state that nonetheless approved independent redistricting through ballot initiative ages ago, and I expect other states to follow suit if their legislatures don't take the initiative). Reforming the electoral college is also something that can't be done quickly or easily but at least is less esoteric and more easily understood than ranked-choice voting. Whether it's possible to implement -- well, by definition it would require Republican states to sign on, and the problem is that I don't see them doing that unless a Democrat loses the popular vote and wins the EC, and I don't see that happening in the foreseeable future because the EC, by its nature, grants disproportional influence to rural states.

You'll never convince all the Republicans to jump ship, so abandoning the GOP means a party split which will just put Democrats in power until one of the Right wing parties comes out on top.


And you saw how quickly they all united behind Trump. Even people who were vocally condemning him during the primary.

In fact, as Thad and others have pointed out, many regions of the US are already a ONE-party state, and the real "election" is the primary.

So abandoning the Republicans isn't as simple as that. Leaving means abandoning a party with an effective political monopoly on large amounts of the US.


But in a lot of places, that monopoly relies on disproportionately high voter turnout among Republican-leaning demographics (read: older, white). Increased turnout among other demographics could break that monopoly, which is what we're hoping for in November. (I wouldn't put money on Democrats winning Tennessee or Texas, but it's pretty amazing that those seats are even in play -- at least, they seem to be.)

This is, of course, exactly why Republicans are doing everything they can to make sure nonwhite voter turnout doesn't increase.

(That and the racism, obviously.)

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Re: Jernalism!

Postby TA » Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:02 am

I feel like we've had this conversation before.

FPTP is garbage and ranked-choice voting is in every way a better system, but it won't do jack shit about the two-party system in the US. Can't dent that without repealing the Twelfth Amendment, because a party that can't run a viable Presidential candidate isn't a party that can hold power, and the Electoral College doesn't tolerate more than two comparably viable Presidential candidates.
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Re: Jernalism!

Postby Mongrel » Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:02 pm

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Whew lordy
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Re: Jernalism!

Postby Thad » Mon Sep 03, 2018 4:36 pm

TA wrote:I feel like we've had this conversation before.

FPTP is garbage and ranked-choice voting is in every way a better system, but it won't do jack shit about the two-party system in the US. Can't dent that without repealing the Twelfth Amendment, because a party that can't run a viable Presidential candidate isn't a party that can hold power, and the Electoral College doesn't tolerate more than two comparably viable Presidential candidates.


I think that depends a lot on the office and the state/district. In addition to Maine (provided they get their constitutional issue straightened out), I could see third parties setting up reasonably-sized niches in Minnesota and Alaska if they implemented ranked-choice systems. I could see Gary Johnson winning back the governor's office in New Mexico as a Libertarian under ranked-choice, but probably not under FPTP.

At the federal level, you're probably right, and not just because of the EC. Congressional rules are written around a two-party system, and that's unlikely to change in the near future, even if we were to wave a magic wand and institute ranked-choice voting for every seat tomorrow. We'd continue to see much the same system we've got now, with independents caucusing with one of the major parties.

I think there are possible conditions where that could change, but I think it would require quite a lot of independents and third-parties to get elected to Congress; it would probably take generations -- and that's generations after implementing ranked-choice voting through most of the country, which is itself somewhere between "decades out" and "never".

As for the EC, I can picture some ways to graft ranked-choice voting onto it without amending the Constitution (states get to decide how their electors cast their votes), but it would be such a complex mechanism and would require so much interstate coordination that a constitutional amendment would probably be more practical.

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Re: Jernalism!

Postby Mongrel » Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:20 pm



*snickering*
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Re: Jernalism!

Postby Büge » Fri Sep 07, 2018 5:34 pm

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Re: Jernalism!

Postby Mongrel » Sat Sep 08, 2018 1:47 pm

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Re: Jernalism!

Postby Mongrel » Sat Sep 15, 2018 2:48 pm

Maggie Wente is an awful old hag the Globe & Mail shamefully keeps around as clickbait.

But I must say her commenting "Don't have a cow, man" about Dougie Ford's attempts to partially suspend civil liberties in order to carry out blatant petty political revenge against Toronto city council during a live election is a new low for shitty boomer hacks (well, up here anyway).

It's so perfectly, perfectly fuckwitted Boomer.
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