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Presidential Election Poll


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Poll: Presidential Election/Unscientific Poll (42 member(s) have cast votes)

For those eligible, who are you voting for in November?

  1. Barack Obama (16 votes [39.02%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 39.02%

  2. Mitt Romney (16 votes [39.02%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 39.02%

  3. Other (8 votes [19.51%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 19.51%

  4. Eligible but not voting (1 votes [2.44%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 2.44%

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#81 devilsfan26

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 12:45 AM

This is why range voting would be so much better. You could give Obama a 0, Romney an 85 and Johnson a 90. This way you can express your dislike for Obama and your approval of both Romney and Johnson, and you wouldn't have to worry about "wasting your vote."
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#82 ghdi

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 08:27 AM

...because you love the way Obama handles the economy?

You got kids?


I haven't seen one thing that Romney offers that makes me think he will do a better job than Obama and outside of the economy, I am dead against Mitt Romney in the executive office in literally every single respect. His neocon foreign policy is downright scary. I don't think Obama has done a great job on the economy, but I don't think its even close to how badly your side of the aisle tries to make it. I think he could do a lot more and have been saying that for 2 years. Mitt Romney won't even share his full plan with us, and we're supposed to think he can do a better job? Because he was a venture capitalist or was a supposedly successful 1 term governor? Please.

It's also a substantiated fact that it takes 3-5 years for the majority of economic decisions made by an administration to really hit and be felt by the majority of the country. It's not even a discussion that 8 years of W hurt this country in a very significant way and Obama inherited a huge fvcking mess. It's also a substantiated fact that the Republicans have done anything and everything they can to block many of Obama's ideas with filibusters w/ their goal since DAY ONE of his presidency to get him out (Mitch McConnell held a meeting the day after election day saying they wouldn't work with him and has even admitted as such). Obama has never had a super-majority and has had to deal with GOP filibusters since day 1.

I'm tired of reading about third parties trying to be hammered into our skulls. I do respect where its coming from, don't get me wrong, but Gary Johnson has no chance at winning and no third party candidate will even sniff 3% this cycle. No third party will compete in this country until money is removed from the equation (or someone comes in with a lot of money) and the two major parties don't have a monopoly on the debates. I'd like to see 6 or 7 competitive parties in this country, but the electoral system has to change fundamentally and voting for a 3rd party candidate now will not do that as it didnt do anything in the last 10 cycles. I'm content voting for Obama because he actually has a chance and will keep Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan out. I do think Obama has many faults and has not kept all of his 08 promises, but I don't think Mitt Romney will keep any, since he changes them at the drop of a dime to suit the weather.

And yes, I have a daughter.
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#83 Devils Pride 26

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 09:56 AM

If the economy doesn't turn around, nothing else really matters or stops us from fading from the ranks of super powers. Romney gives us the best chance to turn it around.

I also agree strongly with range voting.
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#84 devilsfan26

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 12:00 PM

No third party will compete in this country until money is removed from the equation (or someone comes in with a lot of money) and the two major parties don't have a monopoly on the debates. I'd like to see 6 or 7 competitive parties in this country, but the electoral system has to change fundamentally and voting for a 3rd party candidate now will not do that as it didnt do anything in the last 10 cycles.

So are you hoping the Democrats decide they want to remove money from the election process and decide to open up the debates and fundamentally change the electoral system? Keep dreaming. The ONLY way we will ever get fair elections is if the third parties and independents garner enough public support that the two major parties would have to take notice and adopt parts of their platform to stay ahead of them. I'm not expecting Johnson or Stein to win this election and change everything, it is a long-term uphill climb and I'm refusing to slow it down by voting for the Democrats or Republicans. I don't care that I'm voting for someone who in all likelihood will lose, I'm voting for someone I can believe in. And if everyone who said they like (insert third party candidate here) but won't vote for them because they won't win actually did vote for them, it would make a big difference.
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"Swim against the tide, don't follow the group, stay away from the majority, seek out the fresh and new, stay away from the poseurs, and don't be a barnacle. Be original, be different, be passionate, be selfless and be free. Be a hockey fan."
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#85 mouse

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 03:18 PM

I don't care that I'm voting for someone who in all likelihood will lose, I'm voting for someone I can believe in. And if everyone who said they like (insert third party candidate here) but won't vote for them because they won't win actually did vote for them, it would make a big difference.


This. I would argue that the biggest problem this country has come election season is apathy, and I would argue that the theater and bullsh!t that the 2 party system creates breeds apathy. People who give a sh!t need to make some kind of statement, whichever one they believe is right. For awhile, my statement was voting democrat because I am liberal and felt that liberals in office are a good thing. More and more, I'm realizing democrats aren't liberal, I respect honest conservatives/libertarians (Johnson) more than democrats, and I'm tired of making excuses for democrats, especially when I still like Obama the person and respect his intelligence, but feel that the country is just as crappy as it was 4 years ago under Bush. Especially when I think many of his failures are a result of the stupidity that the 2 party system breeds. I would like to think that my vote could make a difference of some sort, and ignoring the sheer number of people who vote and the low odds that my vote would swing an election, even if it does, I don't really believe that Obama beating Romney would make the type of difference this country needs. Or any difference, really.
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#86 ghdi

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Posted 14 October 2012 - 08:50 PM

So are you hoping the Democrats decide they want to remove money from the election process and decide to open up the debates and fundamentally change the electoral system? Keep dreaming. The ONLY way we will ever get fair elections is if the third parties and independents garner enough public support that the two major parties would have to take notice and adopt parts of their platform to stay ahead of them. I'm not expecting Johnson or Stein to win this election and change everything, it is a long-term uphill climb and I'm refusing to slow it down by voting for the Democrats or Republicans. I don't care that I'm voting for someone who in all likelihood will lose, I'm voting for someone I can believe in. And if everyone who said they like (insert third party candidate here) but won't vote for them because they won't win actually did vote for them, it would make a big difference.


I understand this. However, there is no third party candidate running this year that will make any sort of noise in the election. The problem is that third party candidates have no way to get their msg across so the uninformed never learn about them. Is it any wonder why a third party candidate hasn't been in a debate in 20 years? Voting for Johnson or Stein now does nothing but help one of the major party candidates get in or stay in. The system isn't going to change by voting for the guy who gets a percentage of the vote below 5. There has to be a universal "coming together" for this sh!t to change.

The system has to be changed from within or, an outsider has to play by their rules (i.e. Perot), which I think is going to be the way a third party gets in. Someone who has a grassroots system (i.e. a more effective Ron Paul) and completely new way of running a campaign that can completely change the game, which neither Johnson or Stein have. Campaign finance laws are still ridiculous and voting third party this year isn't going to change anything. I realize that Obama is flawed just as 99% of all elected officials are. However, I find the current state of the Republican party bar a few individuals I can count on one hand to be even more flawed. I cannot vote for a third party candidate this cycle knowing that they don't stand a chance. If Johnson or Stein had even a semblance of a chance, I'd be more likely to cast my vote for one of them, and I don't feel voting third party in this climate is the correct "protest" of the system this year because of how late in the game it is and how few people know who Johnson and Stein even are. Do you think the GOP or Democrats are even going to think twice if an outsider gets 2%? The protest has to be universal and apply to all levels of national gov't because the same problem exists in house and senate elections. I agree with you that I think Johnson or Stein are perfectly qualified and have ideas that could help this country, but there's no chance in hell of either of them getting in this year and 2-5% isn't changing a damn thing.
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#87 devilsfan26

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 12:47 AM

I understand this. However, there is no third party candidate running this year that will make any sort of noise in the election. The problem is that third party candidates have no way to get their msg across so the uninformed never learn about them. Is it any wonder why a third party candidate hasn't been in a debate in 20 years? Voting for Johnson or Stein now does nothing but help one of the major party candidates get in or stay in. The system isn't going to change by voting for the guy who gets a percentage of the vote below 5. There has to be a universal "coming together" for this sh!t to change.

Like I said it's a long climb, it's not going to happen in one election. Do you understand why there are no third party candidates in the debates? It's not because they don't appeal to people, it's because the Democrats and Republicans run the CPD and since everyone watches the debates they can make themselves the only viable choices by keeping everybody else out and making sure their voices don't get heard by the masses. If you're waiting for the Democrats and Republicans to allow a third party candidate to be in the debates, you're going to be doing a lot of waiting. I'm not going to support this corruption and monopolization of our elections by voting for a Democrat or Republican. I'd rather be part of the solution than part of the problem.

The system has to be changed from within or, an outsider has to play by their rules (i.e. Perot), which I think is going to be the way a third party gets in. Someone who has a grassroots system (i.e. a more effective Ron Paul) and completely new way of running a campaign that can completely change the game, which neither Johnson or Stein have. Campaign finance laws are still ridiculous and voting third party this year isn't going to change anything. I realize that Obama is flawed just as 99% of all elected officials are. However, I find the current state of the Republican party bar a few individuals I can count on one hand to be even more flawed. I cannot vote for a third party candidate this cycle knowing that they don't stand a chance. If Johnson or Stein had even a semblance of a chance, I'd be more likely to cast my vote for one of them, and I don't feel voting third party in this climate is the correct "protest" of the system this year because of how late in the game it is and how few people know who Johnson and Stein even are. Do you think the GOP or Democrats are even going to think twice if an outsider gets 2%? The protest has to be universal and apply to all levels of national gov't because the same problem exists in house and senate elections. I agree with you that I think Johnson or Stein are perfectly qualified and have ideas that could help this country, but there's no chance in hell of either of them getting in this year and 2-5% isn't changing a damn thing.

Are you expecting to just have some magical year where all of a sudden a third party candidate comes out of nowhere and gets 40% of the vote? Even if they get single-digit percentages, it still helps them build the party. Also as mouse alluded to, despite what they want you to think, it is pretty much irrelevant who wins between Romney and Obama. Regardless of which one comes out on top, we are still going to waste trillions on simultaneous pointless wars with drone strikes that kill scores of civilians, we are still going to have the government passing more power-grab laws like the Patriot Act or the indefinite detention clause in the NDAA, they are still going to try to take over the internet with SOPA/PIPA type bills, they are still going to spy on American citizens, they are still going to spend billions on bailing out corporations rather than preventing them from becoming too big to fail, they are still going to let massive corporations that donate to their campaigns get away with paying no taxes, the national debt will continue to skyrocket, the dollar will continue to lose value, virtually nothing will change just as virtually nothing changed between Bush and Obama.

What's even worse is that people choose not to care about the similarities. Democrats seem to barely give a damn about Obama's drone strikes that are terrorizing innocent people, but if Obama were a Republican they would be making a huge issue out of it. There is no accountability because they know their voter base is a bunch of sheep and will continue to support them no matter what they do as long as they can keep convincing them that the other side would be even worse.

All the terrible similarities between the Democrats and Republicans create a more important dichotomy that the country needs to start recognizing. Liberal vs. conservative is not as important as the people currently in power who spend all the money in the world and keep giving the government more and more control vs. the people who are serious about fixing our problems, and the quarrels between Obama supporters and Romney supporters just preserve the status quo as it distracts the country from the real issues. The fact that Obama and Romney are pretty much the same makes it a no-brainer for me to vote third party because it won't matter which one ends up winning anyway.

Edited by devilsfan26, 15 October 2012 - 12:53 AM.

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"Swim against the tide, don't follow the group, stay away from the majority, seek out the fresh and new, stay away from the poseurs, and don't be a barnacle. Be original, be different, be passionate, be selfless and be free. Be a hockey fan."
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#88 Daniel

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 09:26 AM

I understand this. However, there is no third party candidate running this year that will make any sort of noise in the election. The problem is that third party candidates have no way to get their msg across so the uninformed never learn about them. Is it any wonder why a third party candidate hasn't been in a debate in 20 years? Voting for Johnson or Stein now does nothing but help one of the major party candidates get in or stay in. The system isn't going to change by voting for the guy who gets a percentage of the vote below 5. There has to be a universal "coming together" for this sh!t to change.

The system has to be changed from within or, an outsider has to play by their rules (i.e. Perot), which I think is going to be the way a third party gets in. Someone who has a grassroots system (i.e. a more effective Ron Paul) and completely new way of running a campaign that can completely change the game, which neither Johnson or Stein have. Campaign finance laws are still ridiculous and voting third party this year isn't going to change anything. I realize that Obama is flawed just as 99% of all elected officials are. However, I find the current state of the Republican party bar a few individuals I can count on one hand to be even more flawed. I cannot vote for a third party candidate this cycle knowing that they don't stand a chance. If Johnson or Stein had even a semblance of a chance, I'd be more likely to cast my vote for one of them, and I don't feel voting third party in this climate is the correct "protest" of the system this year because of how late in the game it is and how few people know who Johnson and Stein even are. Do you think the GOP or Democrats are even going to think twice if an outsider gets 2%? The protest has to be universal and apply to all levels of national gov't because the same problem exists in house and senate elections. I agree with you that I think Johnson or Stein are perfectly qualified and have ideas that could help this country, but there's no chance in hell of either of them getting in this year and 2-5% isn't changing a damn thing.


The prisoners' dilemma of voting for a third party will always exist, especially in a winner-take-all presidential election, regardless of whether the "system" is changed or if we "take the money out of it."

A justification for voting for a third party would be to give a third-party enough support so it gets into the next presidential debate. (Despite the difficulties, there is a bright-line that a candidate needs to cross before being able to participate). Otherwise, as I've said before, people who support third-parties should support the existence of Super PACs. It's the only way to truly level the playing field, or at least make it more level. (If you think publicly financed elections are the answer, just note that the very people that control that process and write the laws are the very people who have a vested interest in keeping out third-parties). The other way is to support third-party candidates in specific congressional districts.

Really though, there's no conspiracy to keep third-parties out, despite the legal wrangling about ballot access that takes place. With a few exceptions here and there, there's been a two-party system for more than 230 years. People being "sick of it" isn't going to change that. It's just inertia. Doesn't mean you give up if it's something you feel strongly about. I just wouldn't get my hopes up too much.
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#89 mouse

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 04:31 PM

Really though, there's no conspiracy to keep third-parties out, despite the legal wrangling about ballot access that takes place. With a few exceptions here and there, there's been a two-party system for more than 230 years. People being "sick of it" isn't going to change that. It's just inertia. Doesn't mean you give up if it's something you feel strongly about. I just wouldn't get my hopes up too much.


I hope you're wrong and think you're right. The two party system is somewhat effective when the two parties are farther apart and when a candidate with different views has a chance, but that's not what happens here. McCain didn't have a chance to take the republican primary until he moved closer to the base. Ron Paul never had a chance, even though he made noise. It's been awhile since someone with different views even made a run for the democrats (maybe Kucinich, but he's closer to 3rd party as far as ideology and methodology go -- he just wants to get some of his ideas on the table). More and more, inertia breeds apathy, and neither party has a decent chance of making any major changes because they're both ridiculously similar, in bed with the same companies and lobbyists, and too afraid to do anything ballsy because it would hurt the party, or cost him/her reelection, especially because the same few people show up at the polls every time. Too many of the people who really give a sh!t about progress and would prefer a candidate who actually takes risks have stopped showing up at all. This system can only get worse, and I don't see it getting bad enough to actually force change.
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#90 devilsfan26

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Posted 15 October 2012 - 10:58 PM

Really though, there's no conspiracy to keep third-parties out, despite the legal wrangling about ballot access that takes place. With a few exceptions here and there, there's been a two-party system for more than 230 years. People being "sick of it" isn't going to change that. It's just inertia. Doesn't mean you give up if it's something you feel strongly about. I just wouldn't get my hopes up too much.

I think you're kidding yourself if you don't think the Democrats and Republicans actively work to keep third parties out. How do you explain all the frivolous lawsuits the Democrats brought to Nader or the Republicans fighting tooth and nail to kick Johnson off the ballot in Pennsylvania, including bribing his petitioners to say in court that they falsified signatures? Our voting format lends itself to a two party system by creating the third party voter dilemma, but there is certainly enough evidence out there that shows the two major parties do what they can to keep everyone else out.
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#91 devilsfan26

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Posted 16 October 2012 - 07:32 PM

Is that true in New Jersey? I think each state's ballot access laws are different.

Sorry I forgot to look into this. I called the NJ Division of Elections the other day to ask but the person on the phone said she would have someone call me back and they haven't yet. But I did find out that if a third party gets 5% of the popular vote, they qualify for at least $20 million in matching funds for the next presidential election, so there goes ghdi's and Jimmy Leeds's notion of "wasting" your vote.

So when you think about it, a vote for Johnson or Stein is actually more useful than a vote for Obama or Romney because a vote for a third party could help them reach 5% and secure a good chunk of money for the next election and help them gather steam going forward. A vote for Romney or Obama accomplishes absolutely nothing if that person doesn't end up winning your state, and both of them will get so many votes that it is extremely unlikely it will come down to your vote anyway.

Edited by devilsfan26, 16 October 2012 - 07:51 PM.

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#92 ghdi

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 08:06 AM

Sorry I forgot to look into this. I called the NJ Division of Elections the other day to ask but the person on the phone said she would have someone call me back and they haven't yet. But I did find out that if a third party gets 5% of the popular vote, they qualify for at least $20 million in matching funds for the next presidential election, so there goes ghdi's and Jimmy Leeds's notion of "wasting" your vote.

So when you think about it, a vote for Johnson or Stein is actually more useful than a vote for Obama or Romney because a vote for a third party could help them reach 5% and secure a good chunk of money for the next election and help them gather steam going forward. A vote for Romney or Obama accomplishes absolutely nothing if that person doesn't end up winning your state, and both of them will get so many votes that it is extremely unlikely it will come down to your vote anyway.


This post is a mixed bag.

I agree with you in this respect: The Presidential election is a series of separate elections (each state or states like Nebraska and Maine that have split electorals) and is an indirect election. Now, let's assume that the majority of people posting in this thread live in NJ or NY (I know its not the case. I lived in VA in 08.) Mitt Romney has no chance in either NJ or NY. The only thing "we" elect are the "electors". The popular vote doesn't mean anything, which IMO is a farce. So, yes, you're correct that nobody on this forum will likely cast a vote that decides anything since Obama has these states on virtual lockdown. That's why the candidates only focus on the ones that typically tip elections one way or another i.e. Ohio and/or Florida.

The problem is 5% is a helluva # to get to. For the sake of argument lets say the entire forum voted for Johnson and we all lived in New Jersey. It wouldn't help in the slightest. Nader in 2000 got 2%. In 04 he got 0.4%. In 08, he got 0.56%. Gary Johnson will be lucky to get to 2% and Stein won't even sniff half of a percentage point. Heck, Perot got 18% of the popular vote in 1992 yet won no electoral votes. In 2004, 122,267,553

people voted. 2% of that is about 2.4 million. I think turnout will be about 2004 levels this year,

probably higher but not as high as 2008.



Again, my point from earlier still stands, you're preaching to the choir at this point. I do respect where you're coming from and I want more selections in the election and more importantly, I want the method of election changed, but its a trivial argument where we stand at this point. Its not going to happen this year. The only way a 3rd party candidate is going to even get into the ballgame anytime within the next 2-3 election cycles is by fighting fire with fire and by their rules. That means someone coming into it with 100s of millions of dollars so they can do it state by state and have Super PACs on their side unless Citizens United is done away with. 20 million dollars in a presidential election when the #s go up exponentially every cycle is chump change.

I also agree with you completely on your point to Daniel about the major parties trying to keep thirds out. It's 100% fact. They (GOP and Democrats) set the rules on debate access and the rules were changed after Perot simply to make it harder. Its one area where there is definitely "bipartisanship". The one area they can't affect is ballot access, but they sure as hell try to.

I dunno why my formatting is all wonky, and I got tired of trying to fix it lol.

Edited by ghdi, 17 October 2012 - 08:07 AM.

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#93 devilsfan26

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Posted 17 October 2012 - 11:01 PM

This post is a mixed bag.

I agree with you in this respect: The Presidential election is a series of separate elections (each state or states like Nebraska and Maine that have split electorals) and is an indirect election. Now, let's assume that the majority of people posting in this thread live in NJ or NY (I know its not the case. I lived in VA in 08.) Mitt Romney has no chance in either NJ or NY. The only thing "we" elect are the "electors". The popular vote doesn't mean anything, which IMO is a farce. So, yes, you're correct that nobody on this forum will likely cast a vote that decides anything since Obama has these states on virtual lockdown. That's why the candidates only focus on the ones that typically tip elections one way or another i.e. Ohio and/or Florida.

The problem is 5% is a helluva # to get to. For the sake of argument lets say the entire forum voted for Johnson and we all lived in New Jersey. It wouldn't help in the slightest. Nader in 2000 got 2%. In 04 he got 0.4%. In 08, he got 0.56%. Gary Johnson will be lucky to get to 2% and Stein won't even sniff half of a percentage point. Heck, Perot got 18% of the popular vote in 1992 yet won no electoral votes. In 2004, 122,267,553

people voted. 2% of that is about 2.4 million. I think turnout will be about 2004 levels this year,

probably higher but not as high as 2008.



Again, my point from earlier still stands, you're preaching to the choir at this point. I do respect where you're coming from and I want more selections in the election and more importantly, I want the method of election changed, but its a trivial argument where we stand at this point. Its not going to happen this year. The only way a 3rd party candidate is going to even get into the ballgame anytime within the next 2-3 election cycles is by fighting fire with fire and by their rules. That means someone coming into it with 100s of millions of dollars so they can do it state by state and have Super PACs on their side unless Citizens United is done away with. 20 million dollars in a presidential election when the #s go up exponentially every cycle is chump change.

I also agree with you completely on your point to Daniel about the major parties trying to keep thirds out. It's 100% fact. They (GOP and Democrats) set the rules on debate access and the rules were changed after Perot simply to make it harder. Its one area where there is definitely "bipartisanship". The one area they can't affect is ballot access, but they sure as hell try to.

I dunno why my formatting is all wonky, and I got tired of trying to fix it lol.

I agree the Electoral College is a joke, so I'm not voting for a candidate who wants it to continue.

5% is a high number for a third party candidate, but to me that is no reason why I should vote for Romney or Obama instead. I live in New Jersey, which will more than likely go to Obama so it seems we both agree that a vote for a Democrat or a Republican here is pointless.

Third parties and independents have been trying to play by their rules, they don't have a choice. Where do you think they are going to get all that money from? Unless some bazillionaire comes in with enough of his own money to fund an entire campaign, it's just not going to happen. They have a hard time raising that kind of cash because people know they are such a longshot to win anyway and if they don't win they get nothing back for their money. Look how hard it is for people to finally decide to vote for a third party, it's even more difficult a decision to get them to donate large sums of money.

Edited by devilsfan26, 17 October 2012 - 11:03 PM.

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#94 ghdi

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 01:00 AM

I agree the Electoral College is a joke, so I'm not voting for a candidate who wants it to continue.

5% is a high number for a third party candidate, but to me that is no reason why I should vote for Romney or Obama instead. I live in New Jersey, which will more than likely go to Obama so it seems we both agree that a vote for a Democrat or a Republican here is pointless.

Third parties and independents have been trying to play by their rules, they don't have a choice. Where do you think they are going to get all that money from? Unless some bazillionaire comes in with enough of his own money to fund an entire campaign, it's just not going to happen. They have a hard time raising that kind of cash because people know they are such a longshot to win anyway and if they don't win they get nothing back for their money. Look how hard it is for people to finally decide to vote for a third party, it's even more difficult a decision to get them to donate large sums of money.


I'm not saying you shouldn't vote for who you want to vote for. That's no one's place to do so. I just don't think voting third party now is a big deal either way because its not going to change anything and I don't think its an effective protest because of how miniscule the #'s are going to be. If I lived in a swing state, I wouldnt even consider it simply because one side irks me far more than the other.

And yes, that is what its going to take. How do you think Ross Perot was able to compete and get 18%? Its going to take either a very rich person with their own money, or someone who has a historic-level ground game to come in that has been building a coalition for a few years before the election. If I was a third party candidate, I would start now building for 2016. Gary Johnson just tried to get the GOP nomination a year ago and the Green Party is so far under most people's radar that it doesnt even matter. Or, and I think more importantly in every respect, the rules being changed from within. I don't see a third party vote this year being an effective protest, but I understand why someone would do it/consider it. IMO its akin to writing in an actor or cartoon character right now. Someone getting 2% or 3% isn't even going to be mentioned come the day after the election unless its razor-thin and that person is considered a "spoiler" for one of the major party candidates.
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#95 Daniel

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 02:57 PM

I'm not saying you shouldn't vote for who you want to vote for. That's no one's place to do so. I just don't think voting third party now is a big deal either way because its not going to change anything and I don't think its an effective protest because of how miniscule the #'s are going to be. If I lived in a swing state, I wouldnt even consider it simply because one side irks me far more than the other.

And yes, that is what its going to take. How do you think Ross Perot was able to compete and get 18%? Its going to take either a very rich person with their own money, or someone who has a historic-level ground game to come in that has been building a coalition for a few years before the election. If I was a third party candidate, I would start now building for 2016. Gary Johnson just tried to get the GOP nomination a year ago and the Green Party is so far under most people's radar that it doesnt even matter. Or, and I think more importantly in every respect, the rules being changed from within. I don't see a third party vote this year being an effective protest, but I understand why someone would do it/consider it. IMO its akin to writing in an actor or cartoon character right now. Someone getting 2% or 3% isn't even going to be mentioned come the day after the election unless its razor-thin and that person is considered a "spoiler" for one of the major party candidates.


Since I like to bring up counterintuitive arguments, and perhaps because I'm a contrarian by nature, I will argue that the electoral college is the best way for a third-party candidate to get into the presidential election discussion.

First off, let's cut the crap. You can have any campaign finance law you want, get rid of all ballot access laws that bother you, a third-party candidate will never win the popular vote, or even finish in second place to be in some kind of runoff. The First Amendment and 220 years of inertia will always win out. If anything, a popular vote would negate the spoiler effect since, in any runoff, people who voted for the third-party are going to vote for the closest candidate on the ideological spectrum. So for instance, Nader definitely was the spoiler for Gore in 2000, even though Nader got less than 5 percent of the popular vote. If there were a popular vote, which would require a majority winner, which, in turn, would require a runoff, Gore would have won. In other words, the electoral college helped amplify the power that a third-party had over the outcome of the election. The result was a democratic party that at least had to consider shifting its agenda to satisfy the more leftwing part of its base. Even if you believe that this didn't really happen, the fact remains that it would be LESS likely to happen with a straight popular vote.

So what should third-party presidential candidates and their supporters, especially Super PACs, do? My advice would be to put all of their eggs into effecting the outcome of one, maybe two, important battleground states. No, they're not going to actually win that state, but they will be in the national conversation if it swings the election for the Republican or Democrat. It certainly did for Ralph Nader and the Green Party, which, before then, were minor curiosities. Maybe it has a cascade effect where people are talking about them, and they can build off that. In the meantime, maybe it gets a handful of them elected to Congress, where they can sway an important vote, which is a force multiplier.

Under this strategy, a third-party will never win a Presidential election barring some kind of extremely radical shift which would be the result of forces outside of the political arena anyway. However, third-parties would have a voice, or at least it's the best shot at it.
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#96 squishyx

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 03:14 PM

Since I like to bring up counterintuitive arguments, and perhaps because I'm a contrarian by nature, I will argue that the electoral college is the best way for a third-party candidate to get into the presidential election discussion.

First off, let's cut the crap. You can have any campaign finance law you want, get rid of all ballot access laws that bother you, a third-party candidate will never win the popular vote, or even finish in second place to be in some kind of runoff. The First Amendment and 220 years of inertia will always win out. If anything, a popular vote would negate the spoiler effect since, in any runoff, people who voted for the third-party are going to vote for the closest candidate on the ideological spectrum. So for instance, Nader definitely was the spoiler for Gore in 2000, even though Nader got less than 5 percent of the popular vote. If there were a popular vote, which would require a majority winner, which, in turn, would require a runoff, Gore would have won. In other words, the electoral college helped amplify the power that a third-party had over the outcome of the election. The result was a democratic party that at least had to consider shifting its agenda to satisfy the more leftwing part of its base. Even if you believe that this didn't really happen, the fact remains that it would be LESS likely to happen with a straight popular vote.

So what should third-party presidential candidates and their supporters, especially Super PACs, do? My advice would be to put all of their eggs into effecting the outcome of one, maybe two, important battleground states. No, they're not going to actually win that state, but they will be in the national conversation if it swings the election for the Republican or Democrat. It certainly did for Ralph Nader and the Green Party, which, before then, were minor curiosities. Maybe it has a cascade effect where people are talking about them, and they can build off that. In the meantime, maybe it gets a handful of them elected to Congress, where they can sway an important vote, which is a force multiplier.

Under this strategy, a third-party will never win a Presidential election barring some kind of extremely radical shift which would be the result of forces outside of the political arena anyway. However, third-parties would have a voice, or at least it's the best shot at it.

I agree with most of this, I'm not really sure 3rd parties are the answer but the electoral college actually helps them substantially in my view. I would say though that
rather then battle ground states where they are likely to be seen as a spoiler, I think their best bet is to focus on small state or even smaller by trying to pick off an electoral vote from Maine or Nebraska (who aren't winner take all). Say the green party nabs Maine's 2nd district, every political network would have to show a red, blue and green map. That candidates name would show up in the title, there would be articles explaining and talking about the movement, how they won etc. That's the point to build off of. Right or wrong being the spoiler made people angry at Nadar, I don't think it did a lot of the cause.
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#97 SMantzas

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 03:19 PM

Since I like to bring up counterintuitive arguments, and perhaps because I'm a contrarian by nature, I will argue that the electoral college is the best way for a third-party candidate to get into the presidential election discussion.

First off, let's cut the crap. You can have any campaign finance law you want, get rid of all ballot access laws that bother you, a third-party candidate will never win the popular vote, or even finish in second place to be in some kind of runoff. The First Amendment and 220 years of inertia will always win out. If anything, a popular vote would negate the spoiler effect since, in any runoff, people who voted for the third-party are going to vote for the closest candidate on the ideological spectrum. So for instance, Nader definitely was the spoiler for Gore in 2000, even though Nader got less than 5 percent of the popular vote. If there were a popular vote, which would require a majority winner, which, in turn, would require a runoff, Gore would have won. In other words, the electoral college helped amplify the power that a third-party had over the outcome of the election. The result was a democratic party that at least had to consider shifting its agenda to satisfy the more leftwing part of its base. Even if you believe that this didn't really happen, the fact remains that it would be LESS likely to happen with a straight popular vote.

So what should third-party presidential candidates and their supporters, especially Super PACs, do? My advice would be to put all of their eggs into effecting the outcome of one, maybe two, important battleground states. No, they're not going to actually win that state, but they will be in the national conversation if it swings the election for the Republican or Democrat. It certainly did for Ralph Nader and the Green Party, which, before then, were minor curiosities. Maybe it has a cascade effect where people are talking about them, and they can build off that. In the meantime, maybe it gets a handful of them elected to Congress, where they can sway an important vote, which is a force multiplier.

Under this strategy, a third-party will never win a Presidential election barring some kind of extremely radical shift which would be the result of forces outside of the political arena anyway. However, third-parties would have a voice, or at least it's the best shot at it.

The problem with your advice is that no one is going to pump $$$ in a campaign that is doomed from the start. Long term your plan is sound, but I think shortsightedness is a human characteristic that is unflappable
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#98 Daniel

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 03:29 PM

The problem with your advice is that no one is going to pump $$$ in a campaign that is doomed from the start. Long term your plan is sound, but I think shortsightedness is a human characteristic that is unflappable


Don't be so sure of that. All it takes is a few guys with a lot of money who want to make a statement. That's the beauty of Super PACs. True, the two major parties are always going to raise a lot more money. But at some point, there's a diminishing marginal return, especially if a third-party Super PAC is directing all of its efforts at a particular state. There's only so much ad space that's available, and there are only so many cars to put bumper stickers on.
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#99 SMantzas

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 07:15 PM

Don't be so sure of that. All it takes is a few guys with a lot of money who want to make a statement. That's the beauty of Super PACs. True, the two major parties are always going to raise a lot more money. But at some point, there's a diminishing marginal return, especially if a third-party Super PAC is directing all of its efforts at a particular state. There's only so much ad space that's available, and there are only so many cars to put bumper stickers on.

True, but these guys (or gals) have made money through smart business decisions and usually make sound investments. Too me, throwing away tens of millions of dollars to advance the nation sounds like philanthropy.....or martyrdom
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#100 devilsfan26

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 11:47 PM

I'm not saying you shouldn't vote for who you want to vote for. That's no one's place to do so. I just don't think voting third party now is a big deal either way because its not going to change anything and I don't think its an effective protest because of how miniscule the #'s are going to be.

Or, and I think more importantly in every respect, the rules being changed from within. I don't see a third party vote this year being an effective protest, but I understand why someone would do it/consider it. IMO its akin to writing in an actor or cartoon character right now. Someone getting 2% or 3% isn't even going to be mentioned come the day after the election unless its razor-thin and that person is considered a "spoiler" for one of the major party candidates.

Why do you consider voting for a third party a protest? I'm not doing it to protest, I'm voting for who I think would be the best president. Earlier in our discussion it seems we both established that voting for Obama or Romney is not going to change anything either since Obama is almost certainly going to win New Jersey. So if we say voting third party isn't going to make a difference then we just covered everybody and came to the conclusion that at the end of the day it doesn't matter who we vote for, so why not vote for the candidate you believe in the most?

Since I like to bring up counterintuitive arguments, and perhaps because I'm a contrarian by nature, I will argue that the electoral college is the best way for a third-party candidate to get into the presidential election discussion.

First off, let's cut the crap. You can have any campaign finance law you want, get rid of all ballot access laws that bother you, a third-party candidate will never win the popular vote, or even finish in second place to be in some kind of runoff. The First Amendment and 220 years of inertia will always win out. If anything, a popular vote would negate the spoiler effect since, in any runoff, people who voted for the third-party are going to vote for the closest candidate on the ideological spectrum. So for instance, Nader definitely was the spoiler for Gore in 2000, even though Nader got less than 5 percent of the popular vote. If there were a popular vote, which would require a majority winner, which, in turn, would require a runoff, Gore would have won. In other words, the electoral college helped amplify the power that a third-party had over the outcome of the election. The result was a democratic party that at least had to consider shifting its agenda to satisfy the more leftwing part of its base. Even if you believe that this didn't really happen, the fact remains that it would be LESS likely to happen with a straight popular vote.

So what should third-party presidential candidates and their supporters, especially Super PACs, do? My advice would be to put all of their eggs into effecting the outcome of one, maybe two, important battleground states. No, they're not going to actually win that state, but they will be in the national conversation if it swings the election for the Republican or Democrat. It certainly did for Ralph Nader and the Green Party, which, before then, were minor curiosities. Maybe it has a cascade effect where people are talking about them, and they can build off that. In the meantime, maybe it gets a handful of them elected to Congress, where they can sway an important vote, which is a force multiplier.

Under this strategy, a third-party will never win a Presidential election barring some kind of extremely radical shift which would be the result of forces outside of the political arena anyway. However, third-parties would have a voice, or at least it's the best shot at it.

I still completely disagree that changing ballot access laws, election formats, etc. would have no difference on third parties. I almost never hear anyone say they prefer a Democrat or Republican over a third party candidate. Almost all of the time, their reasons for voting for Democrats or Republicans is because the third party candidates "won't win" and they don't want to "waste" their vote. If we had range voting there would be no such thing because they could support third party candidates as well as a major party candidate at the same time, so as long as every candidate had the ability to get their message out there, I don't see any reason why people wouldn't start considering to support them. You disagree with this, but there isn't really any way for us to prove one another wrong so oh well let's move on.

As far as third party strategy, what I would like to see happen is all the third parties and independent unite into one Clean Elections Party whose sole purpose is cleaning up elections. After they enact that kind of legislation they can then split into the Green Party, Libertarian Party, etc. I think with the way it is they are splitting the third party vote even thinner than it already is and it just makes things harder for themselves. I also think they need to work on a decades-long process starting with winning elections at the local level and eventually working their way up to the state level and federal level. It is more likely for them to win local elections, especially in elections where there is normally only one candidate on the ballot, or like what we had in 2009 when Daggett did so well--an unpopular incumbent running against a party that usually doesn't do so well in that state/municipality.

As for the Nader spoiler issue, many people assume that all of Nader's voters would have voted for Gore and that is why he cost him the election. According to exit polls, less than half would have voted for Gore, a pretty sizeable chunk (I think it was something like 30%) would have voted for Bush, and another pretty good chunk would have just stayed home.

Edited by devilsfan26, 18 October 2012 - 11:49 PM.

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