Holding Serve

Published: November 7, 2012

In modern US politics, the rule is the incumbent holds serve if they changed parties when he was first elected. This has been the rule since the widespread use of television in politics. The guy in office has virtually unlimited access to the media and also the national treasury. Unless that person is named James Earl Carter, he has held serve. The flip side are the guy's who tag along with the same party. That would be Johnson and Bush senior. Both were one term wonders.

So yes, here it is. Odds are, the next US president will be a Republican and serve two terms. That is probably a 66% probability. There is a 25% chance that the next guy will be a one term Democrat. Leaving about a 9% chance for a two term Democrat.

The overwhelming sentiment seems to be this, we get sick of whoever is in there. Period. If we don't throw up after 8 years of the same party, 12 has us retching. It was quite easy for me to call this election yesterday. Even though I voted the other way, I knew the sentiment and gave re-election a 90% probability. I didn't even check the news this morning before coming to class. I was that sure of the outcome.

I don't subscribe to television, but it exists and I pass it while on travel at times. I saw the challenger on screen in an airport and in 0.5 seconds I said "this guy is not electable". He was a dead man walking in the modern age. Perhaps 100 years ago he would have had a shot. But not in a celebrity world where on camera projection is what drives the voters. The projection simply said "I'm not the next president". That was correct.

My brother, the media savvy PR guy in DC looked at this and agreed in the end. The media had an unelectable candidate, but to get market share they had to make it look like it was a close race. It is what the media does. It does not change the reality though. The reality is that it was never in doubt. We should just drop these mid term elections when we change parties. Just put the guy in for 8 years and drop the pretense.

But we do need the two party system. One party systems always fail. Always. The socialists and fascists have shown that. If you don't have an opposition party, you get the group think that says your party is always right. Always. Everyone deserves a full belly? Check that is a "right". Make all aliens legal? Why not? If everyone on your block is in your party and shares the same idea then there is no debate. You march off into the sunset and find that all 7 billion people on earth are in your country and being fed by the government. Neither party currently says that, but that is how one sided thinking works. There is never a thought that you might be wrong. That is what the opposition does. They stand up and say you might be wrong.

In Great Britain they have this idea wired into their political system. The ruling party has a cabinet, the opposition has a "shadow cabinet". They are ones who run the numbers on the proposed programs and call BS when the numbers don't add up. They are not the number one country on earth, but I think they on on track to stay around a while thanks in part to this part of their process.

So here in California, I'm clearly part of the opposition. California is a non-entity in national politics of late. Neither party campaigns here because it is a known win for whover the Democrats put forward. But nonetheless, I show up and vote for the opposition. If for no other reason than to let the local ruling party know that there is an opposition inside the borders of the state that they can not completely ignore.

The other thing I do on behalf of Democracy it to vote "no" on every Proposition on the ballot. Same reasoning applies. Somebody with money got the proposition on the ballot. They want to move money from here to there and skim off some for themselves. Or they wants bond measures to build something or other. I doesn't matter what the measure is, I'm against it, because I'm against the whole idea of ballot propositions. What is the point of electing officials to make decisions, then have have the voters make the decision? I'm the "opposition" to the balloting process. I don't line up with the Republicans vs the Democrats, I line up against the political process that relieves the politicians from the hard decisions.

So all that said about the national nonevent, there were a couple interesting state results. Two states legalized recreational marijuana. That was probably the most amazing outcome to the students in my class today. I can say that I have absolutely no opinion on that. But in closing I will end with this tee shirt I saw back east.

"Bacon: It's the gateway meat!"

Any Comments?


Both Sides of the Issue

Published: February 12, 2012

A few graphs about power, technology and autonomy.

Haditha in Pennsylvania

Published: January 22, 2012

Journalism requires certain physical proportions that my family lacks.