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Third Party Debates Moderated by Larry King: Discuss 221

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the now-that's-entertainment dept.
Since the two big guys got their three debates covered, and the last third party debate kind of fizzled due to technical difficulties, we invite you to discuss the third party debate happening at 9 p.m. EDT tonight. Candidates from the Green, Libertarian, Constitution, and Justice parties will be debating in the same room with Larry King moderating. It would appear that C-SPAN is rebroadcasting it, so you catch it using rtmpdump if you happen to not use Flash. Since third party politicians are still politicians, remember to print out some Logical Fallacy Bingo. Topics for the debate include climate change, the drug war, and civil liberties. Update: 10/24 02:32 GMT by U L : It turns out there will be a final third party debate next Tuesday on foreign policy between two of the candidates. To determine who will be in the debate Free and Equal is holding an IRV vote until 10:30 p.m. EDT October 24.
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Third Party Debates Moderated by Larry King: Discuss

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  • by markdavis (642305) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:37PM (#41746925)

    It is so incredibly sad that we don't have some type of IRV (Instant Runoff Voting). If we wanted real change, this is the only way to get it because it is the only way to have a real possibility of electing someone other than a Republicrat (or a Demolican).

    Imagine a system where your vote actually counted, no matter who you vote for... I guess I can dream.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant-runoff_voting [wikipedia.org]
    http://www.fairvote.org/instant-runoff-voting [fairvote.org]
    http://www.instantrunoff.com/ [instantrunoff.com]

    • If we wanted real change,

      The system we have today fights against meaningful change...

    • by Relic of the Future (118669) <dales@digitaFREEBSDlfreaks.org minus bsd> on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @09:04PM (#41747077)
      Not the only way, or even the best way. IRV still has spoilers, and so still tends toward two-party domination (just ask Australia.) If you want a system where more than two parties can actually compete, better to go with approval voting or score voting.

      http://www.electology.org/approval-voting [electology.org]

      • Approval voting on the first part and then a runoff voting between the top two candidates would be ideal, IMHO. Narrowing down allows for more focused debate and as a sort of check. Given the importance of selecting a president, I'd say it's warranted.

      • by artor3 (1344997) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @01:27AM (#41748811)

        All voting systems, in which more than two choices are present, suffer from spoilers and strategic voting. It is mathematically provable [wikipedia.org]. In approval voting, for example, if candidates A, B, and C are running and are all very close, and I really like A, sorta like B, and hate C, should I vote for B? If I do, I risk B beating A, but if I don't, I risk C beating B with A in third.

        That being said, almost anything would be better than our current system, but good luck changing it.

        One thing that might actually be attainable would be proportional representation with regard to House elections. Most states are gerrymandered to hell and back. Why not use proportional voting for those elections? It could be done at the state level for a few states that are more open to change, and could probably garner support from the current out-party (to get away from the problem of gerrymandering). Plus state level politicians are easier to affect with grass roots movements. It would let us get some 3rd party candidates into Congress, who could then push for further reform. The Senate would block it for many years, of course, but if we had a few dozen 3rd party representatives in the House, it could open more people up to third parties.

      • by Lord Bitman (95493) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @06:05AM (#41750011) Homepage

        The problem with "approval" voting is that it asks me which candidate I approve of.
        Looking down the list of all candidates, no matter the party, I don't see one that I approve of.

    • by nzac (1822298) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @09:23PM (#41747237)

      IRV is not that different to the current system in the US. You need a proportional [wikipedia.org] system, which allows other parties to get to at least have some representation and everyone’s vote count (except for those lost in rounding).

      PR has its problems but most of those already are present in the US system anyway. What kind of backwards system allows only voters in the small number of "swing states" to have a vote that actually ends up mattering in deciding you president.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Does proportional mean I am effectively voting for a party rather than an individual? That seems like a pretty significant downside.

        • Mod parent up.

          There are plus and minus with America's first past the post system. What I like about it is that I get a clear chocie between 2 moderate people. I don't have to worry what type of deals they will cut to get into a political coalition - I have less to worry about political hacks cutting inside deals. I am voting for an individual.

          That being said, I am sadden by the recent trend of extreme left / right people hijacking the primaries.

          Which means I am looking at WA top 2 primary voting system, whe

          • by Xest (935314) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @05:26AM (#41749831)

            "There are plus and minus with America's first past the post system. What I like about it is that I get a clear chocie between 2 moderate people. I don't have to worry what type of deals they will cut to get into a political coalition - I have less to worry about political hacks cutting inside deals. I am voting for an individual."

            This is the same FUD argument that was used in the UK, but the problem is it's exactly that - FUD.

            By voting for an individual, particularly under first past the post, you're basically saying the largest minority gets an effective 100% of that power pool. So if you have 3 candidates, one gets 35%, another gets 33%, and another 32% then the one getting 35% wins effective 100% of that power meaning he can push his agenda without any kind of care or concern for what the 65% of people who didn't vote for him want. This is exactly the problem we have in the UK with our First Past the Post system and the problem scales from both the individual MP to the whole government. Meaning the whole government can get in with sometimes as little as 30% of popular support and yet gain 100% of power in the face of the 70% of the population who didn't want them.

            Proportional representation means that the individual representative has to work to try and ensure they follow a set of policies that is good enough for at least half of their electorate forcing them to be much more representative of the electorate. At a government level this may well mean coalitions, but that ultimately means those backroom deals you talk about are moderating principles that ensure laws are past that at least somewhat please half the population, rather than serve minorities and often self-interests.

            In the UK for example we got our first coalition in a long time and whilst it's not been particularly rosy it's been far more moderate than a purely Conservative government would've been - for example whilst the Lib Dems allowed tuition fee increases to go through, they were only £9,000 whilst the Conservatives wanted £12,000 fees. Similarly the NHS changes whilst not pleasant are still much more moderate than a purely Tory government wanted. In other words, the coalition has had a moderating influence and it's the same elsewhere where there is proportional representation.

            You only have to look at Canada to see the problem - when they had a minority Conservative government things weren't great, but now Harper has a majority the country has gone massively downhill in no time at all in terms of the quality of it's law making, with the wingnuts crawling out the woodworking and recommending/passing some really awful bills.

          • by nzac (1822298)

            There are systems like STV where you are still voting/ranking individuals but if your happy with the candidates that make it though R or D selections then you are probably happy with the current system.

            The WA system seems weird and to enforce a two party state. can you have a liberal indepent win the other primary as a RINO and then have a final election.

            • It is not a weird thing to keep two parties in power. It is a run off method, so it shares some characteristics of the IRV. There is a better chance that an independent will win then FPP, so less likely to enforce the 2 party system.

              Heck, there is even a chance that 2 people from the same party will be running against each other – and I like that idea. I am a moderate Republican who lives in a congressional district which is deep blue and where the Democratic primaries are controlled by the hard left.

          • What I like about it is that I get a clear chocie between 2 moderate people

            For you maybe, unfortunately the rest of us are generally stuck with two unlikeable characters, and end up having to vote holding our nose knowing that the person we vote for, at least, will be "moderated" by his or her party.

            I'm kinda fortunate in that there's a moderate Democrat in my local race. Unfortunately the Republican in my race is Allen West, and he's going to win barring some miracle.

            I'd much rather vote for a party.

      • by skine (1524819)

        You seem to be mixing two very different situations.

        You can't have a proportional system when voting for one person, for president.

        Also, you can't have a proportional system when voting for two people per state, for the Senate.

        Perhaps a proportional system might work in the House, but even then, I think that IRV would work well. The bigger issue there is that the number of Representatives was capped at 435 in 1911. So while each Rep in 1789 represented around 30,000 people, a Rep in 2012 represents around 7

        • by nzac (1822298)

          Yeah i know i did, i was meaning a general change for US to create some change or allow other parties some influence. Its all hypothetical anyway not like it will change too much tradition and no incentive for the current politicians. The main problem is the stupid EC system for electing presidents that needs to go first and even a national FPP system would work.

          There no point to IRV if there are still two only parties, IRV still converges to two parties just like FFP they just you need make sure your candi

          • by skine (1524819)

            Don't get me wrong. I like the idea of a proportional system.

            However, I disagree that IRV is pointless if there are only two parties. There are already more than two parties, as is the basis of this entire thread. IRV simply makes is easier for "third parties" to get elected.

            But in my last point, I think that it is incredibly important to not only specify the minimum population of a congressional district (which is at least 30,000), but to specify a maximum population as well. This, to a certain degree, wou

        • But, IIRC, you are NOT going to vote for the president.

          You are going to vote to decide for which presidential candidate your state is going to vote (I think it is called "electoral college".

          Unless there is one of such votes in that electoral college, then you can use a proportional system without much problem (of course, there is always a little issue with rounding, but that is unavoidable). Or, alternatively, just elect the president by popular vote.

      • by Shakrai (717556) *

        What kind of backwards system allows only voters in the small number of "swing states" to have a vote that actually ends up mattering in deciding you president.

        The United States is a Republic, a collection of 50 individual and fully sovereign states. Each state is entitled to a number of votes in the electoral collage, roughly based on their population. You may think it would be preferable to base the election of POTUS on the popular vote alone, but that would ultimately undermine the very theory of the United States. Do you also regard it as "backwards" that Pennsylvania (population: 12.7 million) has the same number of US Senators as Vermont (population: 630k

    • Another IRV-type (I think) system I've been curious about is called "fractional voting". It seems relatively obscure and apparently is not described on Wikipedia. I hope to study it more eventually, although I'd prefer if someone more knowledgeable about voting systems could provide an opinion. Two links are: Fractional Voting for Presidential and Job Candidates [recruiter.com] and Arrow's paradox and the fractional voting system [e-atheneum.net] (PDF)
    • YOUR vote doesn't count. Only those of the electoral college count. You don't have a democracy.
    • Instant runoff is an improvement over first past the post. But I seem to remember reading approval is an improvement over instant runoff: easier to count, less modification needed to voting machines, and less subject to gaming the vote.
    • People who are for IRV in the US have no idea how different US elections are from foreign elections.

      In most countries you only vote for one or two offices at a time. If it's two offices then they're either two houses of the same Parliament (Australia is an example) or two sets of seats for the lower House (the Bundestag in Germany, for example, is divided between Party List seats and individual seats). Everyone who goes to your polling place gets the same ballot, and each race is on a separate sheet of pape

    • by ceoyoyo (59147)

      Only a few percent of the popular vote in the US is for anyone other than the Republicans and Democrats. No fancy electoral system resembling any kind of democracy is going to solve your problems for you.

      • There are lots of people who will vote for a Democrat or for a Republican because they are afraid that voting for a third party will just waste their vote and give a victory to the greater of the two evils (Democrat or Republican). If they were able to vote in an IRV system they would be able to vote for their third party candidate without serious worries about giving a victory to the party they are most opposed to.

        This might just mean third parties get 10% instead of 4% which will end up making no real
        • As soon as the major parties notice they are losing votes to third parties they will start changing their habits. Sure it could mean that "the other party" wins this election, but the losing party will most certainly be analyzing why it lost.

          I don't see very many situations where people in power would vote to change a law in a way that it gives them less chance to reach their position, and even less when it means parties would do so. We have our own set of problems here in Finland even though our choice i

        • by ceoyoyo (59147)

          Opinion polling puts the third party candidates at around 1-3% each, which puts zero well within the margin of error. Gallup in September put each of the third party candidates tied at 1%, +- 2%, in a poll of registered voters.

          • The wording of the Gallop poll doesn't dodge the issue of people voting out of fear of letting the greater evil win. It asks who they are most likely to vote for, not who they would you like to see win. It is an important distinction.

            Supposing that all of these candidates were on the ballot in your state, which one would you be most likely to vote for.

            I can't speak for the other opinion polls (not sure exactly which you are referring to) but they may have similar issues with the way they ask the question. This doesn't mean changing the question would result in a huge difference but we won't know until we ask the question.

    • It isn't magic, it won't happen if people just wish or complain hard enough. We'd need to amend the Constitution. It prescribes how presidential elections will be done. That would most likely start with congress. The states can start an amendment process directly but it has never happened.

      So if you want it, it is the kind of thing to start working on. Get on your congress people, start making others aware. It'll be a long time in coming, since it takes 66% of both houses of congress and 75% of the states. S

      • by sumdumass (711423)

        No one will ever seriously vote for a third party candidate in large enough volume that they actually have a possibility to become president. This is because everyone who isn't dreaming of some utopia knows full well that a president has very little real power to create change other then influencing party members in congress. No third party is serious about getting members in congress or even at local positions.

        The main parties will continue to run their top of the line scum candidates that make used car sa

  • by jellomizer (103300) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @08:57PM (#41747033)

    Why not the Modern Whig Party? You know the group that is actually on a platform of being moderate.

    • Probably because they're on the ballot in ZERO states, putting them behind at least FORTY other groups. (The four in this debate are on the ballot in enough states to theoretically get over 200 electoral votes each (they'll get zero, but the Whigs, from all appearances, didn't even try.)
  • by jfengel (409917) on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @09:06PM (#41747099) Homepage Journal

    Here is Rasmussen's list of things that the voters care about:

    Economy
    Health Care
    Gov't Ethics and Corruption
    Taxes
    Energy Policy
    Education
    Social Security
    Immigration
    National Security/War on Terror
    Afghanistan

    Or a similar list from NBC/WSJ [pollingreport.com]:

    "Climate change, the drug war, and civil liberties" are not on either list. The mainstream candidates don't care about them because the voters don't care about them.

    It's of no use getting wrapped up in our Slashdot bubble and insist that the things that are important to us must be the top priorities of the nation. A President has to be picked by half the country (or a bit less). We can rant and rave all we want that their priorities are wrong, but all that gets us is the joy of ranting and raving.

    Democracy sucks, but less than the other options. We're stuck here in a country that cares more about Afghanistan than about getting their junk groped at the airport. Unless they're service members, or their family, the odds are that the latter affects them more. But it's no use telling me that. Tell them.

    I suppose this debate is going to try to do that, and maybe it'll change something. But it's not going to suddenly propel a minority issue into a game-changer.

    • Climate change is part of energy policy, government ethics and corruption are inextricably tied to abuse of civil liberties (corrupt governments oppress), and the war on drugs is probably part of national security (I mean, given the whole "open warfare between cartels in mexico" and "central america").

      • by khallow (566160)

        Climate change is part of energy policy

        I guess we would use a little more electricity with global warming. I'm not seeing the grouping otherwise.

        government ethics and corruption are inextricably tied to abuse of civil liberties (corrupt governments oppress),

        It doesn't even make sense to speak of government ethics, if such abuses are allowed to fester.

        the war on drugs is probably part of national security (I mean, given the whole "open warfare between cartels in mexico" and "central america")

        More as blowback which the US public and government seems to have successfully ignored for some time.

        There does seem a reasonable connection, but I imagine it's a case of compartmentalization. We're concerned about what we think about and don't connect that to related affairs. I imagine there are a few peop

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        No, the war on drugs is part of the economic policy. The policy is, money by any means necessary. We've got to keep those privatised prisons full if certain evil people are going to get their third yacht and their chinese sex slave.

    • by alexgieg (948359)

      Democracy sucks, but less than the other options.

      Every system has advantages and disadvantages. For example, democracy has the theoretical advantage of allowing change to happen without wars, but this only works as long as the popular parties don't cartelize. Once they do, it becomes a kind of aristocracy, but without the vantages an actual aristocracy provides, such as the long run personal involvement a noble has on policies and their outcomes, so you end up stuck with the worst of both worlds rather than the best of either.

    • by harks (534599) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @08:22AM (#41750669)
      From the NBC/WSJ link you posted, this is the poll question they asked:

      "There are many important issues in this presidential campaign. When it comes to deciding for whom you will vote for president, which one of the following is the single most important issue in deciding for whom you will vote? The economy. Social issues and values. Social Security and Medicare. Health care. The federal deficit. Foreign policy and the Middle East. Terrorism." If "all": "Well, if you had to choose the most important issue, which would you choose?"

      Climate change, the drug war, and civil liberties aren't even options in the poll! You can't use a poll that doesn't allow these options to conclude that people don't care about these options.
  • Top Two System (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Unknown Lamer (78415) Works for Slashdot <clinton@NOSPAM.unknownlamer.org> on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @09:22PM (#41747223) Homepage Journal

    I didn't realize there was a national move toward top two primaries [wa.gov], closing the election process even more... well, at least these four folks can agree to oppose that.

    Also, they are behaving a lot better so far than Obama/Romney did. Maybe it's because of Zombie Larry King.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by NicBenjamin (2124018)

      I didn't realize there was a national move toward top two primaries [wa.gov], closing the election process even more... well, at least these four folks can agree to oppose that.

      Also, they are behaving a lot better so far than Obama/Romney did. Maybe it's because of Zombie Larry King.

      The 3rd party's opposition to top two primaries is actually a major reason I can't take them seriously.

      With one very simple tweak this would be the best thing ever to happen to those parties. If there was only one guy from every party on the ballot then in most GOP Districts the Libertarians would come in second, which means that if there was an October Surprise for any Republican they actually win an election. Same with the Greens and the Dems. And every year somebody screws up.

      But these chuckle-heads don'

  • by Unknown Lamer (78415) Works for Slashdot <clinton@NOSPAM.unknownlamer.org> on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @09:40PM (#41747367) Homepage Journal

    The verdict is in: everyone but Virgil Goode wants to end the drug war. The libertarian dude admitted to inhaling even, totally disqualified from office. Jill Stein is using science, woah.

    • by Greyfox (87712)
      Didn't Obama and Clinton admit to inhaling? Well OK Clinton didn't, but he still admitted to possession, which would still have been a felony if he'd been caught. I forget if Shrub admitted to anything or not. How hypocritical is our "war on drugs" when holders of the highest office in the land admit that had they been caught, they would not be able to serve in that office, or even vote for it in most states? I think the take-away here is "Don't get caught!"

      But we gotta keep that drug war rolling, it's th

      • by sumdumass (711423)

        I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but possession of Marijuana- even smoking it, is not a felony unless it is over a certain amount.

  • by Unknown Lamer (78415) Works for Slashdot <clinton@NOSPAM.unknownlamer.org> on Tuesday October 23, 2012 @10:10PM (#41747575) Homepage Journal

    Hey, finally Virgil Goode agreed with everyone: NDAA is terrible and needs to be repealed.

  • Seriously, I thought he was dead. Or was that just his suspenders?
  • After watching the rest of the presidential debates I didn't know who to vote for because I didn't like either candidate. After watching the Third Party debate tonight, I don't know who to vote for because I liked all the candidates.

  • by barefoot_professor (2655607) on Wednesday October 24, 2012 @12:15AM (#41748481)

    I do not understand why people think that voting for a third party is throwing away your vote. I don't understand why third party candidates don't point out that even if they do not get enough electoral voters to win, that if they get enough electoral voters to swing the vote they could make a huge difference.

    With the way the electoral college is set up if Obama wins 250 electors, Romney wins 249 electors, and Johnson wins 39 electors, guess what? Johnson's not going to win, but he could ask his electors to cast their votes for one of the other two guys. That's quite a bit of power and influence. Not a bad method of actually representing the will of the people either. Of course the problem here is that with the exception of Maine and Nebraska the electors in other states are picked in a winner-take-all fashion. Also, about half of the states impose some minor penalty for electors voting for anyone other than who they were chosen to vote for.

    Personally, I would hate to see election by popular vote. I would hate to see the country being run by someone that only 51% of us chose. I'd much rather see the country run by the guy that 40% of chose and who had to make concessions to the guy that the other 20% of us voted for. It really is a much better representation of a larger portion of the population. but I guess we haven't really had a representative government for some time now. :P

    • by sumdumass (711423)

      I do not understand why people think that voting for a third party is throwing away your vote. I don't understand why third party candidates don't point out that even if they do not get enough electoral voters to win, that if they get enough electoral voters to swing the vote they could make a huge difference.

      Very few states divide their electoral votes. so the third parties wouldn't be getting any electoral votes anyways. Swinging the vote is specifically why people understand that voting third party is a

      • by Bigby (659157)

        A person voting 3rd party is different than a potential voter that stayed at home. The one that votes shows that they will vote. So if a 3rd party candidate takes enough votes from a major party to cause the other major party to win a state, then the losing major party will try to court that 3rd party vote in the next election. So voting for a 3rd party candidate can have more of an affect than a non-voter.

We don't know one millionth of one percent about anything.

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