Friday, February 19, 2016

Who to Vote For?

     Everyone decries the big money in politics and how politicians are bought and paid for by Wall Street and the Koch brothers. I agree there's a problem here; but I'm not sure what it is. Big money does buy access and advertisements. But without all the brochures, bumper stickers and television ads paid for by special interests, the only political voice you'd ever hear would come from just one source: the media pundits.

     Besides, does money even matter that much? Jeb Bush has all the money. (According to CNBC, Bush has received about $34 million in contributions from Wall Street, Clinton $17 million and Rubio $10 million.) But it's Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders -- love them or hate them -- who have ginned up the most attention and enthusiasm. How did they do it? Through the media. So really, it's not money that rules in politics, it's the media.

     And let's face it, the "mainstream media" (from MSNBC to FOX and everyplace in between) has sold out to big money just as much, or even more than the politicians. They'll do anything for ratings, for the ad dollar. Just look at how they're cashing in on Donald Trump!

     And by the way, if you are interested in the widening gap between rich and poor in this country, don't just blame Wall Street. That's part of the problem, no doubt, but it goes beyond that. Take a look at an article called Rent Seeking Is Too Damn High from the website FiveThirtyEight.

     So does this all say who I'm going to vote for? I'd vote for the candidate who's going to bring us together. But that's not Clinton or Sanders; it's not Trump or Bush.

     Amid all the political sturm und drang, there are recent rumors that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg might get into the presidential race. And whatever happened to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo? I like Governor Cuomo. I like Michael Bloomberg, too, but then I'm from New York, and I don't know how many people share my enthusiasm.

     In the end I might have to swallow hard and vote for . . . well, I don't know. I guess I'm uncommitted, or just confused. But it doesn't bother me that Clinton or anyone else changes their mind, even if I don't always agree. I do not think there's any virtue in never changing your mind. To paraphrase economist John Maynard Keynes: When the facts change, you should change your mind. Or as novelist Hakan Nesser wrote, "It's only cows who never change their opinions."

     However, the New York primary isn't until mid-April. By that time over 30 states will have voted. The candidate will likely already have been selected. So, ultimately, it won't matter who I vote for.

     And in the general election, the Democratic candidate will win New York. The Democrat always wins New York. Just as the Republican always wins Texas. A vote only matters if you live in one of the ten or so swing states that really determine who the next president will be.

     So instead of all these primaries and caucuses, maybe we should have one big super national primary day, everyone voting at the same time. Does that make sense?

     And don't get me started on the electoral college. Four presidential candidates have won the popular vote, but lost the election: Andrew Jackson in 1824 lost to John Quincy Adams (but won outright in 1828); Samuel Tilden in 1876 lost to Rutherford B. Hayes; Grover Cleveland in 1888 lost to Benjamin Harrison (but beat him outright in 1892); and Albert Gore in 2000 lost to George W. Bush.

     Could something like that happen again? Boy oh boy, there would be quite an uproar if it did.

22 comments:

Mac n' Janet said...

I've always thought a national primary makes much more sense than the piecemeal way we do it now.

Cindi said...

I don't like any of the candidates! But I will vote nonetheless. For me there are only two choices: Bernie or The Donald. The choice is do I want capitalism (Trump) or bust up America once and for all and go for socialism (Bernie Sanders). Lots of people are broke out there. If it was done on purpose, which I have a hunch it was, many people will choose socialism because they have no other choice but to have a government care for them. If you still believe a person can pull themselves up from their bootstraps and work hard to become a success, capitalism will win out. But many of our youth today have no idea what it is to work hard, study hard and earn their accomplishments. Personally, I think capitalism is dead. America was the last stronghold in that department. The liberals made sure to destroy and distort it because their main goal is one world order. One global nation. And by golly, I think they've got it!

Gabbygeezer said...

There probably is enough strong states rights sentiment out there to prevent a single, nationwide primary system. However, a step in the right direction might be to severely limit the length of the campaign. That would allow states to keep the control they want, but spare all of us the aggravation of endless election cycles that seem to start all over again the minute any given voting day ends (and sometimes before that).

gigihawaii said...

I'll vote for the candidate that can balance the budget and bring peace to this nation of ours.

Tom Sightings said...

Cindi, I don't think I agree with you, if for no other reason than as troubled as we are (and I don't think we're in as much trouble as a lot of people think), the European socialists are in even more trouble. Dick ... I think that's a great idea: require states to have their primaries on a fairly tight schedule, say in one month. Might save us a lot of angst. And Gigi, I would definitely vote for someone who could bring us peace, if we could only find that person.

DJan said...

I have strong opinions this upcoming election, and I have given money to a candidate but am now totally unsure what the right thing to do is. Right now I'm sticking my head in the sand and waiting to see who rides out the political storms. Nobody is likely to emerge unscathed from this next cycle. :-(

Pudge450 said...

The whole primary thing is absurd in its current form. Do it all within a 1 week period but preferably on one day just like the actual election. Popular vote rules. (What is this super delegate thing about? Ridiculous.). Basically rigging the election. The caucus method in Iowa is a joke. May have made sense in the 1800's. Not in the 21st century.

The delegate method was instituted in the horse and buggy days when delegates were sent to vote representative of their districts.

I find it humorous that we trudge along election after election using the electoral vote and all is fine until it doesn't reflect popular vote. Then all hell breaks loose. We need to fix these problems. Popular vote rules.

Breaks my heart that so many young people don't understand the ramblifications of socialism. They are blinded by the possibility of free college tuition. It will never happen. Margret Thatcher said it right: "The problem with Socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money".

Marco Rubio - my choice. The democrats have no real choice. Trump scares me. Just like a school-yard bully: You made me mad. I don't like you. Your mama is fat and you stink. You lie and I'm telling. Pretty much that childish.

Barbara - said...

Well, first, many European socialist countries are doing fine. I actually have no problem with economic socialism-if I am getting a bang for my buck. The last I looked the ten most competitive economies were the UK, Sweden, Germany (4th most competitive), and the US. Germany is not running out of money, nor is France or China. Chinas economy is huge and it is also socialist (socialism is economic, not a form of government). I do believe that the EU expanded to quickly and has absorbed too many countries-I even think after the wall came down that they should possibly have left two separate countries.

I do not know who I would vote for. I know that I believe the election process is two long, and think that nine months (from Jan to the conventions is plenty of time for campaigning).

My son doesn't want a free education, but it sure would be nice if it was affordable. European colleges are cheap and sometimes free, but they don't have sports teams, or clubs, or dorms or sororities. Just teachers and kids and buildings.

Unfortunately I will never vote for anyone in a party whose platform is to repeal roe v wade and turn bake marriage equality, even though there are other issues that I find attractive on the other side of the aisle. Do we suppose we could convince Paul Ryan to run?

Stephen Hayes said...

Everything will be decided and over by the time we Oregonians get to cast our ballots.

Linda Myers said...

This is the most interesting election of my lifetime. I have made no decision yet other than Not Trump.

I think it would be okay to pay higher taxes but not have to pay for medical coverage, infrastructure or education. Does that make me a socialist?



Anonymous said...

I only have one vote in April for our primary in our state. So, I will participate as usual and then go forward from there until November. I'm still undecided because anything can happen in a 24 hour period, so I'm just riding it out for now.

JudyC said...

Hmmm... Well it all depends. I am an Independent so I consider all the candidates. I would vote for any Republican against Bernie except Trump. If it gets down to Trump and Bernie I guess I would sit it out for the first time ever. I would vote for Hillary over Trump, but otherwise would not vote for Hillary. Don't care for Cruz at all, but would pick him over Bernie or Hillary. I like Rubio but wish he had more experience. I like Kasich but don't think he has a chance. Jeb is barely acceptable but only because Democratic candidates are so bad. What a year!

Pudge450 said...

Judy C. Concerning Marco Rubio's experience....he has much more experience than most realize. He was elected to Florida House of Representatives, where he was a Majority Whip and later the majority Leader of the House. Later he was elected speaker of the Florida House. He left due to term limits, started a law firm, taught at a Florida University and was later elected to the US Senate, where he serves on several committees. Weighs in much more impressive than community organizer. And he has served in the Senate longer than our current president.

JudyC said...

Pudge450. Thanks for all the Rubio info. He is definitely my favorite. And hopefully he could bring the country together.. although that is a tall order.

Olga Hebert said...

i was so distressed by coverage of the run up to Iowa that I decided to ignore the whole mess until after the convention. One of your ads is "Urgent Poll of Florida Conservatives"--Trump or Cruz. Good Lord. So glad I am not a Florida conservative because I cannot even imagine having to make that choice. Worst and worstest.

Tom Sightings said...

Europe does some good things, but if you read my Nov. 29, 2014 post "Europe -- Are You Kidding?" you can see I don't necessarily think we should look to Europe as a model for the U.S. And Linda, I agree on Trump; but you know what the Chinese say about interesting times!

Friko said...

Up to now we over here (Europe, not just the UK) have laughed about Trump; now I am not so sure, slowly but surely I am becoming terrified by the thought that someone like him could actually become one of, if not the most powerful man on the globe.

Anonymous said...

"...but they don't have sports teams, or clubs, or dorms or sororities. Just teachers and kids and buildings."

I hope that that phrase is recognized as a GOOD thing!
Cop Car

Barbara - said...

Linda, I am definitely a socialist at heart. After living in a country where they do it so well, unlike Tom I actually think they are a great economic model, with some moderations for size. and yes, I would pay much higher taxes if I got the bang for my buck that I did there.

Bottom line, good service cost taxpayer money. You can't whine about the roads or about medicare of any dozen of other things and then stand there and raise your fist and say "No, no more taxes so help me".

And thats my soapbox for the day. I would rather pay good money and have good services.

Kathy @ SMART Living 365 said...

Hi Tom! Oh you are a brave one for sure jumping in with this topic at this early date. I'm staying away from it on my blog as a SMART move :-) What is almost as interesting as your post is all the comments. It just shows what a wide range of understandings are out there and what is important to some is not important at all to others. What makes all of this even more interesting is the fact with all this money being spent on the primaries, people still believe what they believe and refuse to believe anything that doesn't fit with their current understanding. In the end, I think I'll do what you suggest. I live in California so my vote really doesn't change the outcome anyway. I plan to vote but I refused to get sucked into the craziness of it all! ~Kathy

Barbara Torris said...

It has occurred to me that I am as interested and worried about the "other" party as I am about my own. See, it is a given that both parties will field a candidate and that one of them will win.

I am hoping that both are great candidates so the American people are not left to their own devices for 4 or 8 years.

b+

Pudge450 said...

For those in favor of Socialism......... Have you noticed what is going on in the socialist country of Venezuela? Not so pretty.