Saturday :: Apr 8, 2006

The Diebold Brokeback

by pessimist

This morning, King George just might be singing "If I had a Hammer, ..."

While GOP political terrorist al-DeLay continues to sink into the primordial muck from whence he emerged, the once-vaunted loyalty of GOP pols (enforced through fear) is breaking up due to the certainty that their own self-interests will be adversely affected by remaining loyal to Hizz Hindni$$:

GOP Budget Talks Collapse in the House

[T]he fissures between GOP moderates and conservatives once again burst into the open. [I]t showed how difficult governance will be in an election year when endangered rank-and-file members are ready to go their own way to prove their independence from a party mired in weak approval ratings.
[T]he budget deficit is expected to reach about $370 billion this year, near a record high.
Republican conservatives are demanding deeper spending cuts to bring the deficit under control, but GOP moderates say the cuts to domestic programs, especially in education and health care, have gone far enough.

If this keeps up, Alan Greenspan may yet be proven correct!

As The San Francisco Chronicle advises:

"WHEN ALAN GREENSPAN makes predictions, the political establishment listens. So eyebrows raised last month when the former Federal Reserve chairman said we may see the rise of a third party that appeals to America's "center."

Sure, that's easy for a liberal city rag to relate. What of a Red State publication?

The Yankton Daily Press of South Dakota reflected on this topic on Mar 13, 2006, posing the thought that "... the frustration reflected in Greenspan's words ... may be the opportunity for a third party." [Subscription required]

Thus, the necessary prerequisite for a viable third party to emerge in American politcs may have developed: both sides have issues with the existing structure.

Just as there has been no place for fiscal-conservative Democrats to go, there has also been no place for social-issue Republicans. Without a Tom al-DeLay, however, fiscal Democrats were free to side with the Republicans without fear while social Republicans were kept in line. But with 90% of Americans in support of a third party due to ".. the people ... getting fed up with Republican betrayals of the Constitution and fiscal discipline, and Democratic betrayal of their spines", as HammerofTruth blogger Stuart Richards puts it.

But there is still the problem of Diebold, ES&S and Sequoyah controlling voting counts. Unless and until that abomination is abolished from the scene, there is still reason to fear the sort of vote tally manipulation that is the real reason Republicans have power to lose.

There is good news. We have other options.

In Pennsylvania, Kate Michelman (former president of NARAL Pro-Choice America) recently announced the end of her thrid-party campaign for the Senate seat currently infested with Rick Santorumella in order to prevent the Democratic candidate from losing. In analyzing this development, Ryan O'Donnell wrote for

When democracy can't accommodate more than two choices, we have a problem. None of this would have been an issue if instant runoff voting (IRV) were Pennsylvania's voting method.
With IRV, instead of marking an "X" next to one candidate, voters rank them in order of choice. The counting uses voter rankings to simulate a series of runoff elections to determine a winner with a majority of the vote. That means that if voters' first choice were eliminated in the first round, their second choices would still count. No spoilers.
Burlington, Vt., made national headlines recently by using IRV in its mayoral election. The new system met with overwhelming popularity, and the electorate understood it well; 99.9 percent of voters cast valid ballots.

The press eyed the race closely because of the potential for reform statewide, and the election was labeled "flawless."

If mayors can be elected successfully with IRV, surely senators can.

And presidents.

Think of the possibilities! A system of voting which even Red State Christians can understand! They could go ahead and vote for such illuminaries as Judge Roy Moore, the Ten Commandments judge, and still vote for the Republican of their choice, while the rest of Alabama's voters can make sane choices. Thus, the candidate who attracts the most support from voters would win, which is as it should be.

This would weaken the stranglehold the two major parties have on the current electoral scene, but can anyone really argue honestly that this is the best of all possible systems?

The Father of Our Country didn't think so, and upon leaving office to return to private life, warned his nation to avoid the corruption of 'factions'.

Maybe after 210 years, we might finally be able to comply with his wishes.

pessimist :: 9:51 AM :: Comments (5) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!