As a voter in FL during the 2000 election, I still to this day think some serious funny business happened during the election itself, and the recount. Deep in my soul I know GWB did not legitimately win Florida -- there's just no way.
It will be very interesting to see the returns next November. I live in a heavily Republican county (something like 90% of the registered voters here are on the Dark Side) and plan to vote a straight Democrat ticket, if at all possible.
I wonder if the Palm Beach retirees are going to vote resoundingly for Pat Buchannan again? ;)
The whole issue has always sounded like there was funny business going on. I know in general the Florida has a strong Republican population, and maybe he would have won anyway, who knows. But something odd was going on with the recount.
I just think that going to Florida and and talking about the recount as a triumph is insulting to every voter there. I had a chance to talk about it with my best friend who currently lives in Florida, and he had much the same disgusted reaction.
Hugh Downs once said, "This country is a one-party country. Half of it is called Republican and half is called Democrat." Unfortunately, it's American's dedication to the two major parties that is the head of a chain of events that prevents us from having a true democracy:
Step 1: We continue to vote either R or D (depending on where our perceived hatred of the day lies) despite the existance of many other parties with much better ideas.
Step 2: The R's and the D's use (abuse?) their positions in power to work together (yes, really) to build laws at the state and local levels to impede or block third-party access to the ballot. ((This occurs by - A) Requiring significantly more voter signatures to be submitted by third-parties than R's or D's. B) Getting an R or D-aligned judge to invalidate some or all the signatures just before the deadline. C) Both.))
Step 3: R's and D's use (friendly) politically-aligned "organizations" to co-ordinate and run TV and radio debates, blocking from participation most pesky third-party hangers-on that navigated the ballot gauntlet.
Step 4: No one hears about the other parties. Repeat step one.
The end result is what we call the "two party system." PoliSci majors would call it the electoral college. It is in the R's and D's best self-interest to preserve the electoral college and the controls mentioned earlier, as it effectively prevents a true democracy (and, in turn, a third-party filling any major position).
Florida should have shown America that the electoral college is a biased approach to the voting process. Instead, I fear, most of America will continue as they have for the past 80 years - swapping votes between two parties and not ever realizing that neither are getting the job done.
I mean, if you think about why the electoral college was put into place (to hold elections in a timely manner in a day without phones, internet, or an effective postal service), can anyone really claim a good, pratical reason for its existance today?
I would agree, but at the same time there isn't enough time to fix this before the next election, maybe not even the election after that. If I were to start setting up a plan that would put a third party into office I think the earliest aim date would Nov 2012. I truly think it would take that long to really lay the base-work and most likely voter exposure to the general idea in at least one election that we would expect to lose.
Maybe thats the problem, no one lays down the 10 year plan to get a third party elected. My perception is that the decently sized third parties right now work to try and spread their individual message and also get someone serious in the next election. All of the third parties should work together on a common goal simply to have someone else win an election and agree that its okay that the process takes a while. Or rather than working together per say, have an independent group whose only real mission is to get a third party elected which the parties could subscribe to, but not control.
*shrug* I don't know, just ideas since nothing else seems to be working. Until someone else gives me a competent plan which doesn't include throwing my vote on someone who isn't going to win, my mindset is going to be to do anything to get bush out of the office.
If everyone who ever said "I'm not voting for X Party candidate because it's a wasted vote" actually cast that vote, we'd have a lot more minor parties in local and state offices today. I'm tired of that excuse. It's a cop-out. Your vote is your voice. Voting for a candidate that doesn't truely represent your views is akin to lying. Not only that, you are re-affirming the R's and the D's belief that America stands behind them. Yes, the electoral college prevents us from winning, but the vote totals are still reported at the end of the day (and there's no college in local elections).
Long-range plans are in place...and they will work, eventually. Who was the last third-party to to supplant the a major party? The Republicans. It took them 80 years to nudge out the Whigs.
Libertarians have been at it since 1971. The strategy is two-fold: To use the Presidential races to tell the R's and D's we're sick of them and to get Libertarians elected at the local and state levels (get the message out).
(Tool to compare R, D, Green, and Libertarian platforms)
I understand that, but at the same time I'm not willing to deal with another Bush and continue to allow the government to reduce arts spending and keep me out of a job. Sorry, but for my own future some amount of change is more efficient than sending a message that won't really have an effect for years. I understand that doesn't help the cause, but its what I have to do.
My other problem is still that while I want a third party Libertarian is not totally for me, nor is green or really most of them. And they still all work on their own. I was thinking about this after my last post, and I think that the third parties need to get together and have their own election. Have their own big campaign and find out who the majority of people who want a third party would vote for, then throw all the support and funds behind one single third party candidate. If I didn't feel like the third parties were divided and had small (comparatively) followings; if I felt like there was a real organized contingency all standing behind one candidate (even if it isn't their ideal yet) I would vote third party.
Problem is that everyone wants to work toward putting their parties candidate in the presidential office first rather than working together and breaking down the D/R hold on the office. Once that hold is broken, they can work apart as much as together.
Basically I want to see third parties putting aside their exact beliefs (I'm not saying forget about them, just understand that there are a few things that have to come first) and saying, its important to create a system where more than two parties are taken seriously. Once the system is in place, then we can campaign the way we want to.
Right now, whether or not you think its excuses, I'm more worried about the economy, my own job future, arts funding and the fact that during this administration both women's and gay rights have been pushed backwards in many areas, and I just can't take that.