Third Party & Independents Archives

Americans Stuck In Political Stupor

The latest bipartisan George Washington University Battleground Poll rightfully received media attention because of its depressing data. There is historic political pessimism and cynicism. But something is more troubling than the data on the dire views of Americans about their elected representatives and government.

It is that 72 percent of voters still believe that voting gives them some say about how the government runs things. Unbelievable! Such confidence in a system that has failed them.

Despite untrustworthy elected officials and a dysfunctional government that takes care of the Upper Class more than everyone else, Americans retain still believe in their democracy. This logical absurdity – or delusional state – is best explained by avoidance of the pain of cognitive dissonance. Americans resist the reality that they are living in a sham representative democracy where the rule of law is a growing fiction.

It should be noted (but was not in the media coverage) that 75 percent of the likely voters were 45 or older, with a third retired. That makes the results even more unsettling. They should know better than to keep believing they can vote the nation into a better condition. Self-identified Republicans were 41 percent, Democrats 42 percent, and Independents 15 percent.

Consider these reasons for giving up on voting and elections under the grip of the two major parties: Some 53 percent have an unfavorable view of politicians, with 55 percent believing that most elected officials are untrustworthy. A majority of 52 percent disapproves of the performance of the Democrats in Congress and 61 percent disapprove of Republicans there. An incredible 93 percent feels that lawmakers in Washington put partisan politics first compared with citizens. But the biggest shift in voter opinion is that 71percent think their own Member of Congress puts partisan politics first compared with them, with 63 percent feeling strongly that way.

For the big picture: Seventy-percent are now convinced that the country is off on the wrong track – and 58 percent feel strongly that way. This is the worst score recorded in the history of the Battleground survey. Democrats are universally agreed about this point, but so are 71 percent of Independents and 49 percent of Republicans.

A plurality of 38 percent believes their children will be worse off in the future and only a third said they "think their own children will be better off than they are right now -- a drop of 7 points since January." Pessimism is worst among white Americans: Only 29 percent believe that their children will be better off; 38 percent believe their children will be worse off.

Dan Balz of the Washington Post summed up: “the American people have entered this campaign with a wholly cynical view of the political process.”

One trick of the political status quo establishment to keep many Americans (but still less than about half of all eligible voters) believing in voting is advertising. Consider the current crowded presidential primary season. The mass media constantly work to play up the races among Democratic and Republican contenders. Why not? They make a ton of money from all the money spent on campaign advertising. Televised debates and endless state and national poll data are entertainment that fuel fake competition. It is sheer manipulation of the electorate – to keep them interested in the election and, worse, to keep them believing that it really matters who wins in each party.

In the end, greedy and arrogant power elites will ensure that only a “safe” candidate will be chosen so that the two-party duopoly loses no power and no presidency rocks the political boat or harms corporate America. Having so many contenders in the primary season is a farce. The eventual Democratic ticket will be Clinton and Obama. Period. End of story. It is the lowest risk, smartest political strategy. On the Republican side there is more uncertainty, but the likely ticket will be Giuliani and Thompson.

The true wildcard is whether Michael Bloomberg enters the race as a third party candidate. I am rooting for this. Objective statistical analysis of the American electorate shows that the level of public discontent with Democrats and Republicans is so high that a lavishly funded campaign by Bloomberg can make history. Take independents, turned-off Democrats and Republicans, and the huge numbers of eligible voters that do not usually vote. Bang! You have more than enough votes to make Bloomberg president. By choosing a well known but political maverick that the public trusts as a running mate, he can win. It is exactly the kind of shake-up our political system desperately needs.

Americans must awake from their political stupor and stop letting themselves be victimized and manipulated by the media/political/financial elites running and ruining our nation.

Posted by Joel S. Hirschhorn at July 30, 2007 9:21 AM
Comments
Comment #227843

Where’s the link to the poll you cite?

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 30, 2007 10:05 AM
Comment #227844

Joel, your logic is less than it should be. You said: “It is that 72 percent of voters still believe that voting gives them some say about how the government runs things. Unbelievable! Such confidence in a system that has failed them.”

72% believing their vote gives them some say about how government is run, is perfectly logical and consistent. They voted in Nov. 2006, and many efforts by Congress have done a 180 turn from the previous Congress. Their vote DID IN FACT alter how their government is acting.

Now if the poll had asked whether they believe their vote will change the infrastructure of government such that it becomes significantly more accountable, responsible, and transparent, I think the result would have been at or below 30%.

It is important to observe published political poll results in terms of the questions asked. The questions can and usually do predetermine the poll results.

It is possible to create poll questions that are bias neutral, but, these types of polls on politics are usually purchased for private consumption, not publicly published, as they are purchased by particular campaigns to ACTUALLY measure what is really happening, and the results tend not to favor the campaign or its direction.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 30, 2007 10:17 AM
Comment #227851

Joel,

You mock the fact that “72 percent of voters still believe that voting gives them some say about how the government runs things” at the beginning of your article, as if votes do not count, and yet you advocate voting for a third party candidate at the end. To me, those two items are in direct conflict with one another. Heck… Ross Perot was a billionaire third party candidate with moderate views and a lot of advertising, and he didn’t win a state. Why will Bloomberg be different?

Also, everyone is saying how the Dems’ ticket will be Clinton/Obama… folks, you read it here first… wrong! I can absolutely gaurantee Clinton and Obama will not be on the same ticket, for many reasons:

1. The winner of the nomination does not generally pick the second place finisher. There is too much bad blood between the two (has anyone read about the shots Obama and Clinton have fired at each other) for the public to so quickly think that they agree on everything all of the sudden.

2. The potential for two firsts on the same ticket… a woman AND an African-American? Far too risky… what other course of action would there be for white males like me but to vote for the old white guys on the Reps ticket? (Uummm… that was a joke, by the way.)

3. Illinois is already pretty firmly a blue state. Billary wouldn’t need the extra votes from Chicago that Obama could bring her. The extra votes in the red mountain-west from a popular New Mexico governor might make more electoral sense (although, admitedly, this would interfere with number 2 above).

4. Two sitting senators on the same ticket… recent history shows that Americans prefer governors over senators when it comes to choosing a president (Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Bush II). There are a few reasons for this… governors have legitimate executive experience. They know what it is like to run a state. Also, as governor, they are generally not in the national spotlight like a senator, and therefore there is less chance for egg-on-the-face syndrome. There’s a pretty popular governor from New Mexico that could add some executive experience to the Dems ticket in ‘08… but again, this would go against number 2 above.

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at July 30, 2007 11:35 AM
Comment #227853

Doug, I agree with your assessment that an Obama/Clinton ticket is not likely, but, for a very different reason.

Neither would allow a VP position to impair their own run for President after 2008’s election. A VP role has been an albatross around a candidate’s neck in the past.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 30, 2007 11:52 AM
Comment #227858

David… I disagree. Why wouldn’t Obama want eight years of national executive experience as the VP before launching another bid in 2016 when he is in his early 50’s and the prime of his political life? With the exception of the winner being the sitting incumbent, there has been no better position in history from which to launch a successful presidential campaign than that of the sitting VP. Couple that with Obama’s youth and the fact that he can afford to wait 8 years and… well… of course he would want to be the VP.

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at July 30, 2007 12:10 PM
Comment #227866

Name a VP that got elected President without having to go back nearly a century.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 30, 2007 3:55 PM
Comment #227873

Actually, I just re-read my post and it came out wrong… my initial point meant to be that sitting VP’s have a better shot of getting their party’s nomination, which is the first, and possibly hardest, step in securing the presidency. There are plenty of those from which to choose…

But, since you asked… George HW Bush.

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at July 30, 2007 4:24 PM
Comment #227878

“72 percent of voters still believe that voting gives them some say about how the government runs things. Unbelievable! Such confidence in a system that has failed them.”

It’s likely that California voters are now worried whether their votes mean anything after this recent news:


Most vote machines lose test to hackers

State-sanctioned teams of computer hackers were able to break through the security of virtually every model of California’s voting machines and change results or take control of some of the systems’ electronic functions, according to a University of California study released Friday.

The researchers “were able to bypass physical and software security in every machine they tested,” said Secretary of State Debra Bowen, who authorized the “top to bottom review” of every voting system certified by the state.


Posted by: Adrienne at July 30, 2007 6:03 PM
Comment #227879

Doug, and Nixon. LBJ and Ford don’t count as elected since they were drafted into office from their VP role.

Now, let’s look at the VP’s who ran for Pres, and lost, Humphrey, Quale, Gore, Mondale, Rockefeller, which takes back to the post WWII era.

Of 7, only 2 succeeded. Doesn’t speak well of the VP’s role being a stepping stone to the Presidency, does it?

George HW, rode the coattails of Reagan, who was a liked president. Nixon was pure endurance, he ran a few times, and an all out marketing advertising and PR against a hated Opposition party candidate of the time, LBJ. So, there are specific circumstances in which it is possible in modern times, but the odds are against it.

As I have just demonstrated, your claim which follows is historically false : “With the exception of the winner being the sitting incumbent, there has been no better position in history from which to launch a successful presidential campaign than that of the sitting VP.”

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 30, 2007 6:06 PM
Comment #227886

David,

Perhaps you did not fully read my last post where I corrected myself to say that the sitting VP has a much better chance of getting his party’s nomination than do other competitors. I agree with your assertion that, historically, sitting VP’s have not fared well in the general election. In fact, of the list you mentioned above, I would actually remove Nixon as he was not the sitting VP at his time of ascension to the presidency. Again, my point is, and was originally (although admitedly not clear), that sitting VP’s have the best chance of anyone in the field to secure his party’s nomination, which is historically, rather accurate.

But, that said… let’s speculate, shall we?

Both Nixon and Gore could have won their bids for the presidency but for a few, seemingly minor, blunders that were the difference in two very close races (60 and 00). Nixon wasn’t ready for televised appearences like Kenneday was, and when he did appear on TV he looked unpolished, whereas most who listened on the radio agreed that he was the bst candidate. Simply a case of a candidate letting the modern world pass him by.

Gore made the decision to stretch truths which were later discovered. That, combined with his constant sighing in the first debate when GW was speaking, probably costs him the 565 or so votes in Florida he needed. Not to mention the guy couldn’t even carry his own state of Tennessee… I may be over simplifying, but it seems to me that if you can’t even carry your own home state, you don’t deserve to be president… heck, even Mondale carried Minnesota. Either way, he lost a very close election because of his own blunders.

But, you are correct, they both lost, regardless of the cirsumstances, just like HW won, regardless of the circumstances.

My main point, again, stays true, that sitting VP’s have a leg up on the copmpetition for their party’s nomination. But, let’s do some more speculating…

Should Obama (and we both agree he won’t… but let’s have some fun anyway) be offered and take the chance to run as VP, I think his odds would be much better. Right now the only two things holding him back, in my opinion, are his inexperience and his skin color… you and I have debated about his skin color already, anyway… after 8 years of sitting in the Vice Presidency, I think both of these concerns would go away. He would obviously gain the necessary experience with the 2nd highest office in the land, and I think that 8 years of having him so forefront in the public eye would diminish much of the fear about having a black man as president. So, those two achilles heels go away.

Now, look at the list of VPs that ran for president… Nixon (grouch), Mondale (tired old white hair), Quayle (mis-spelled potato), and Gore (too stiff and a compulsive liar)… All of these guys had the combined personality of a potatoe (spelling intended). Obama is someone the public can get behind. He’s actually exciting to listen to… he has energy… he represents a certain freshness that, in my opinion, no other candidate has. Couple his dynamic personality with 8 years of experience as the VP… and I think we would have a winner.

So… just to summarize… My claim is not that sitting VP’s have a better chance of winning the presidency… just that they have a better chance of securing their party’s nomination. We both agree that Obama will not be the VP candidate… and if he were, I truly think that, provided Hillary didn’t mess up too bad, Obama would have a brilliant chance of running and winning… I fully understand it is pure speculation, but it is quite conceivable.

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at July 30, 2007 6:49 PM
Comment #227916

The VP IS by a very wide margin the best stepping stone of all to Presidency. I’m surprised that this is even being debated.

Of course it’s not a sure thing (what is?), but you don’t have to crunch the numbers to figure out that a much higher percentage of Vice Presidents become Presidents than do Governors or members of Congress. David points out that the “odds are against” VPs, and that’s no doubt correct. The odds of becoming President are against everybody. But what role gives you better odds than being VP?

Of 7, only 2 succeeded? Fine, but that’s still over 25% percent. Compare that to the success rate of governors and Congressmen. While it’s true that “some governor” has prevailed more in recent years, governors as a whole have a vastly lower success rate than VPs. For every governor who wins the presidency, there are 49 who don’t. And even if you count all those who actually run, you won’t find anything close to 25% prevailing.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at July 30, 2007 11:14 PM
Comment #227922

Loyal Opp, my guess is former Congress persons have approximately an equal record of electability in recent history, back to Post WWII, but, I would have to research it, to state it is a fact.

Which begs the question, have you researched your statement? Why do I not think so?

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 31, 2007 12:17 AM
Comment #227950

I could probably write 1000 words of deep analysis explaining why I predict a Clinton/Obama ticket, but I just don’t have the energy, nor do I think any objective analysis can change the minds of most people. But I strongly look forward to the Dems convention and its outcome so that we all can think back and write about our earlier views!!

Posted by: Joel S. Hirschhorn at July 31, 2007 11:20 AM
Comment #227965

Joel… deal! In fact, since I live in Nevada, a state where odds and betting and the likes are not only legal but are encouraged… let’s make a gentlemen’s bet (for all the federal regulators monitoring this site, that means no moneys are involved)… I think it will be Clinton/Richardson, but if we narrow it down that much we might both be wrong… so… how about this…

I am predicting Billary will choose a running mate from west of the Mississippi, as I believe she will look for some help to convert some of those battleground, red-leaning states in the west. Since Obama is from Illinois, he is from East of the mighty River, so you can take the eastern half of the US…

Here’s the bet… the loser will have to write an entire article, in this independent column, on why Clinton’s choice for a running mate was a good one… what d’ya say? Let’s have some fun…

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at July 31, 2007 2:05 PM
Comment #227991


In Violation of Federal Law, Ohio’s 2004 Presidential Election Records Are Destroyed or Missing

In 56 of Ohio’s 88 counties, ballots and election records from 2004 have been “accidentally” destroyed, despite a federal order to preserve them — it was crucial evidence which would have revealed whether the election was stolen.
Posted by: Adrienne at July 31, 2007 8:19 PM
Comment #228139

Adrienne, not surprising. What will be surprising is if anyone is held accountable for violating that federal order. “I don’t recall” and “I wasn’t aware” will be the standard replies. Works in D.C.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 2, 2007 1:13 AM
Comment #228365

Good News for California!

State curtails e-voting
L.A. system decertified; restrictions on two others

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, bowing to fears of computer fraud, Friday decertified Los Angeles County’s electronic voting system and sharply curtailed the use of two other machines that California counties had hoped to use to conduct the February 2008 presidential primary.

She said she would allow unlimited use of one system, Hart InterCivic, as long as security and auditing safeguards are implemented.

But in the case of two major companies — Diebold Election Systems and Sequoia Voting Systems — Bowen said she would allow just one machine per polling place, apparently to provide an accessible option for disabled voters.

Electronic voting critics had unsuccessfully lobbied Bowen’s predecessor to stop the machines’ use in California. More than three dozen California counties have invested millions of dollars in the technology and some will be forced to replace many machines by February under Bowen’s order.

“I reject the notion that I should not require changes in security simply because counties already own (the machines),” Bowen said.

Good goin’, Ms. Bowen! :^)

Posted by: Adrienne at August 4, 2007 6:42 PM
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