Has America Given Up?

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How Disenfranchised are American Voters?

Utterly Disenfranchised
3
16%
Hope is Dead
2
11%
I'm Leaving the Country
2
11%
Go Blue Team!
2
11%
Go Red Team!
3
16%
I'm Rich, Not My Problem
1
5%
<Incomprehensible Foreign Babble-Talk>
4
21%
Kittens
2
11%
 
Total votes : 19

Re: Has America Given Up?

Postby Army of GOD on Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:19 pm

Given up seems to imply that they won't ever get back into voting. I think it's the shitty candidates that made people not want to vote.
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Re: Has America Given Up?

Postby saxitoxin on Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:15 am

Metsfanmax wrote:
saxitoxin wrote:
Metsfanmax wrote:
saxitoxin wrote:
Metsfanmax wrote:
Dukasaur wrote:When all the choices available are unpalatable, it is perfectly reasonable to say "I won't dignify this corrupt collection of gangsters by participating in their charade."


In what way is the process of voting "dignifying" any of the candidates? The process of voting is dignifying your right to live in a democratic state.


By engaging in the act of voting you have given your consent to be bound by the results of the election and given your individual recognition to the power structure that has organized the election. Punching a ballot is the same as clicking "yes" to the Terms of Service when signing up to Conquer Club.

In a proper system of government, anytime voter turnout is less than 50% a constitutional convention would immediately be called.


I disagree. By the act of living inside the geographical boundaries of the U.S.A. you give your consent to be bound by the results of the election. You can't just freeload off the benefits that are derived from living in a stable society, and cherry pick which parts of the system you think are legitimate.


That's a false dilemma that presupposes you have unrestricted freedom to move outside the geographical boundaries of the USA when it suits you. Your ability to quit the United States and move to Italy depends on whether the Italian government decides to accept your immigration application.


There's a difference between pure anarchists and freeloaders. The former do face a real problem; it is actually pragmatically difficult to leave the geopolitical boundaries of a given state without entering the boundaries of another one. That being said, what I'm talking about isn't in regard to anarchists; it applies to people who believe they are, and desire to be, citizens of the U.S.A. People who desire to be part of the structure that comprises this country automatically give consent to the governmental structure. Whether or not you vote has no bearing on whether you have given consent to the legitimacy of the structure. What I'm saying is you can't legitimately take advantage of such benefits as a police force to maintain order, while at the same time claim the system is illegitimate. Your actions speak louder than your words.

Phatscotty: this is standard social contract theory. It's not a particularly unique or new argument.


The United States is both a nation and a state [AKA a nation-state]. Rejection of the political entity (the state) is not analogous to rejection of the cultural entity (the nation).

Also, one can freely reject the political entity as it's currently constituted while supporting the concept of a political entity. Power only exists through (a) overwhelming force, or, (b) widespread recognition. I can declare myself Emperor of Kansas tomorrow with no effect. If I declare myself Emperor of Kansas and the majority of the Kansas population starts submitting their disputes to my Imperial courts instead of the Kansas courts, etc., I would - in point of fact - be the Emperor of Kansas regardless of any claims the Governor and Legislature had to the contrary.

If someone participates in the political structure created by the Congress and President - elections held on November 6, etc. - they've recognized the legitimacy of their authority. This is why all governments all over the world spend millions of dollars encouraging people to vote and, when that fails, criminalize non-voting (e.g. Australia), and why opposition parties in oligarchies encourage election boycotts. This is a critical ritual affirmation of authority.
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Re: Has America Given Up?

Postby patches70 on Mon Nov 12, 2012 2:55 am

saxitoxin wrote:The United States is both a nation and a state [AKA a nation-state]. Rejection of the political entity (the state) is not analogous to rejection of the cultural entity (the nation).



This is something not many people recognize. This distinction is lost to those who think citizens rejecting the state by not voting are being lazy, apathetic, pessimistic or any number of other excuses. To the people who make the conscious choice not to vote for ethical, moral or other reasons, this distinction between the nation and the state is not lost.


I think if more people truly understood this concept then one could be led to a conclusion about the so called "wasted vote".To vote third party candidates because the voter is dissatisfied with the status quo candidates is often called a wasted vote. But the true wasted vote is the vote that maintains the very people who are the snakes in the grass. In the US that would be the Democrats and the Republicans. A vote for either is the true wasted vote.

Unless, of course, one is satisfied with the way things are, which people are (should be) free to choose.

But I've never understood why people vote "the lesser of two evils" because they don't want to waste their vote. It makes little sense to me, but to each their own I suppose. "They both suck, but I gotta vote for one of them, nobody else even has a chance, right?" Well no shit Sherlock, with that type of thinking it's no wonder we get kicked or stomped depending on what party is doing the "public service". If the two mainstream candidates both suck, then damn, don't vote for either of them.

I'm just musing here is all. As you were I guess, but Saxi is spot on about the nature of voting.

If voting made a difference, it would be illegal
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Re: Has America Given Up?

Postby Funkyterrance on Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:39 am

patches70 wrote:
saxitoxin wrote:The United States is both a nation and a state [AKA a nation-state]. Rejection of the political entity (the state) is not analogous to rejection of the cultural entity (the nation).



This is something not many people recognize. This distinction is lost to those who think citizens rejecting the state by not voting are being lazy, apathetic, pessimistic or any number of other excuses. To the people who make the conscious choice not to vote for ethical, moral or other reasons, this distinction between the nation and the state is not lost.


I think if more people truly understood this concept then one could be led to a conclusion about the so called "wasted vote".To vote third party candidates because the voter is dissatisfied with the status quo candidates is often called a wasted vote. But the true wasted vote is the vote that maintains the very people who are the snakes in the grass. In the US that would be the Democrats and the Republicans. A vote for either is the true wasted vote.

Unless, of course, one is satisfied with the way things are, which people are (should be) free to choose.

But I've never understood why people vote "the lesser of two evils" because they don't want to waste their vote. It makes little sense to me, but to each their own I suppose. "They both suck, but I gotta vote for one of them, nobody else even has a chance, right?" Well no shit Sherlock, with that type of thinking it's no wonder we get kicked or stomped depending on what party is doing the "public service". If the two mainstream candidates both suck, then damn, don't vote for either of them.

I'm just musing here is all. As you were I guess, but Saxi is spot on about the nature of voting.

If voting made a difference, it would be illegal


For the record I don't vote for the lesser of two evils but if you're contemplating not voting and one candidate is most certainly going to win I don't see what's wrong with this option. Not voting for one advances the other. That is, unless so few people vote that the system has to be changed but I don't foresee that happening any time soon.
As far as the cultural entity of the US vs. the political entity, you all must be joking? Let's please not pretend to forget that a huge proportion of Americans don't give a flying fc about either. As I stated earlier, proposing the motives of the majority of non-voters is pure supposition. Or does someone have some figures proving otherwise?

If Hitler were still alive and he and one of the presidential elects were running against each other you can bet your ass that people would go out and vote. Oh, that is except for saxi and patches.
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Re: Has America Given Up?

Postby chang50 on Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:21 am

If voting made a difference, it would be illegal[/quote

This is an unpalatable truth for most people living in so called democracies who are raised to accept the illusion that they have a say in the running of their country.The people who have real power,much more than Presidents and other politicians, never stand for election and cannot be unseated at the ballot box.That is why I have to laugh at the naivety of statements such as when Obama is said to be a Marxist,as if the power brokers in the USA would allow a Marxist President to implement a Marxist programme.
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Re: Has America Given Up?

Postby patches70 on Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:31 am

Funkyterrance wrote:

If Hitler were still alive and he and one of the presidential elects were running against each other you can bet your ass that people would go out and vote. Oh, that is except for saxi and patches.


Yeah, people would vote and thanks to propaganda a lot of em might just vote for Hitler. Lest you forget, Hitler was Time magazine's "Man of the Year" at one point-

Image

Hell of a bit of propaganda, eh? If only people had just known. Except, the signs were all there and a majority of people simply refused to acknowledge those signs, didn't they?

Certainly, there are people who don't vote due to apathy and other less than noble reasons, but if one has moral or ethical reasons for abstaining from a vote, it shouldn't be condemned by those who vote. Plenty of those who vote do so for reasons other than "a careful preponderance of the issues".
I'd think that voting without bothering to take the time to really contemplate why you are voting for said candidate is just as bad, if not worse, than simply not voting because you don't care.


Plato warned that in Democratic processes, that elections always degenerate into a simple popularity contest. That it is not the person best qualified or wisest who wins, but the one who greases the most palms, looks the best, talks the best. That too many will not consider the civic duty and vote according to their own greed instead of what is best for the society. Thus, the whole process becomes corrupted and the society suffers for it. People suffer for it, unless one is the "right" people. In other words, it degenerates into cronyism.
Plato was right.

Just saying is all.

It's a good point Saxi made, if a majority of people get sick of the political process to the point they'd rather not vote, then chances are, there is something seriously wrong with that process. (I don't know if the US is quite at that point yet, but this last Presidential election was a nice display of no real choice at all).
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Re: Has America Given Up?

Postby Metsfanmax on Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:07 am

saxitoxin wrote:If someone participates in the political structure created by the Congress and President - elections held on November 6, etc. - they've recognized the legitimacy of their authority. This is why all governments all over the world spend millions of dollars encouraging people to vote and, when that fails, criminalize non-voting (e.g. Australia), and why opposition parties in oligarchies encourage election boycotts. This is a critical ritual affirmation of authority.


Suppose you turned the argument on its head. Why is it that the act of voting itself recognizes the legitimacy of U.S. government authority? I could in principle reject their authority over me, but nevertheless use the vote that has been granted to me by their laws, because I pragmatically recognize that certain leaders will be better for me than others, even if I do not recognize their authority to rule over me. So I do not think that the act of voting presupposes any claims of legitimacy of the government. It's just the realization of the fact that for better or worse, there is a state operating in this geographical area, and they interact with me even if I do not want to interact with them.
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Re: Has America Given Up?

Postby The Bison King on Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:11 am

See I live in Ohio, so I'm told that my vote actually mattered, and it would appear that if you want to make a difference in the election results you really have no choice but to move here. In fact I suspect in a few elections they won't even bother letting the rest of the states vote. They'll just let Ohioans decide for the rest of the country.

So yeah... given the current electoral college I don't blame most of America for giving up. The sad thing is that I've been looking up election maps of the past and it didn't used to be this way. Most of the states (and people in them) weren't programed to vote the same way every time regardless of the issues and Candidates. Almost all of the states used to be swing states, and third party candidates used to have a much bigger presence in election results.
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Re: Has America Given Up?

Postby _sabotage_ on Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:46 am

The Olympics were in decline too a decade ago. I guess our entertainment values have changed. We weren't as entertained this election and the voting reflects it. It's a game show with shitty prizes and a captive but bored audience.

Both parties support giving trillions to banks, both sides continue to wage war and develop the military at hundreds of billions per year, both sides continue the war on drugs and take away our civil rights. And as long as both sides pursue their singular strategy, a vote just legitimizes their actions. Each year our wealth concentrates further and the population is left with lies, broken promises and a big show to create the illusion of action.

You ask has America given up? I ask, when was it any different?

The guy from Ohio says his vote counts. no, his doesn't either. He can vote for Bush senior knowing that we can read his lips about no more taxes, and then watch his taxes increase like everyone else. We can vote for Obama knowing he smoked weed and is in the pro category and then watch record marijuana related arrests year after year.

We had a greater turnout last go because Obama's rousing speeches of change. Finally something different. It's all the same, the show goes on.
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Re: Has America Given Up?

Postby InkL0sed on Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:57 am

The idea that fewer people are voting nowadays than were decades ago is a myth. The proportion of Americans who vote is still roughly the same as it always has been.
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Re: Has America Given Up?

Postby Dukasaur on Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:00 pm

_sabotage_ wrote:The Olympics were in decline too a decade ago. I guess our entertainment values have changed. We weren't as entertained this election and the voting reflects it. It's a game show with shitty prizes and a captive but bored audience.

Both parties support giving trillions to banks, both sides continue to wage war and develop the military at hundreds of billions per year, both sides continue the war on drugs and take away our civil rights. And as long as both sides pursue their singular strategy, a vote just legitimizes their actions. Each year our wealth concentrates further and the population is left with lies, broken promises and a big show to create the illusion of action.

You ask has America given up? I ask, when was it any different?

The guy from Ohio says his vote counts. no, his doesn't either. He can vote for Bush senior knowing that we can read his lips about no more taxes, and then watch his taxes increase like everyone else. We can vote for Obama knowing he smoked weed and is in the pro category and then watch record marijuana related arrests year after year.

We had a greater turnout last go because Obama's rousing speeches of change. Finally something different. It's all the same, the show goes on.

I was actually thinking of writing something, but this is so perfect.

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Re: Has America Given Up?

Postby AndyDufresne on Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:06 pm

Anyone have the numbers of popular vote going back in the early 1900s, and the percentage of total population the turnout amounted to? It'd be interesting to see a whole chart and look at any trends.

Edit: I found this, but it doesn't specify the turnout in terms of total population percentage, so if someone wants to sleuth it out...do so and post the results here! http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/boop ... s1106.html or http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/elections.php


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Re: Has America Given Up?

Postby saxitoxin on Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:05 pm

metsfanmax wrote:Suppose you turned the argument on its head. Why is it that the act of voting itself recognizes the legitimacy of U.S. government authority? I could in principle reject their authority over me, but nevertheless use the vote that has been granted to me by their laws, because I pragmatically recognize that certain leaders will be better for me than others, even if I do not recognize their authority to rule over me. So I do not think that the act of voting presupposes any claims of legitimacy of the government. It's just the realization of the fact that for better or worse, there is a state operating in this geographical area, and they interact with me even if I do not want to interact with them.


Maybe. That's contrary to the scientific consensus that voting is an irrational act.

Funkyterrance wrote:If Hitler were still alive and he and one of the presidential elects were running against each other you can bet your ass that people would go out and vote. Oh, that is except for saxi and patches.


If society has evolved to a point that Hitler stands a good chance of being elected, it won't matter. If Hitler is able to command 49% popular support, the formality of an election is not going to be an obstacle that keeps him from office. An election is only relevant if people recognize its authority.

    In Tennessee in the 1820s the Governor and Legislature were tired of the Tennessee Supreme Court striking down their laws. So they organized their own Supreme Court and started ignoring the old one. The old court continued meeting and issuing rulings but the Governor and Legislature pretended it didn't exist and started bringing cases to the new court. The fact the old court was the legally constituted court was irrelevant if everyone simply ignored it.
This is one of the few cases in which, if you ignore something, it actually does go away. If enough people ignore the government, the government eventually just ... stops. Even people who advocate for compulsory voting are very clear about the reasons they want it - "Voting confers legitimacy ... as more and more people choose to abstain, elected officials rule with less and less consent."

AndyDufresne wrote:Anyone have the numbers of popular vote going back in the early 1900s, and the percentage of total population the turnout amounted to? It'd be interesting to see a whole chart and look at any trends.


Until 1960 here - http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0781453.html

It was at a high of 63% in 1960, hit a low in 1996 when it dropped below 50%, and crawled back up to 57% in 2008 when you had two novelty candidates on the ballot (Obama and Palin).

This is a more dramatic gap when one considers that, in 1960, you had a 10-hour window to vote. Now most states give you a week or more to vote and some, like Washington and Oregon, just mail you a ballot automatically, folded in between the Valu-Save coupon pack and offers for discount insurance from Geico.
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Re: Has America Given Up?

Postby AndyDufresne on Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:07 pm

saxitoxin wrote:
AndyDufresne wrote:Anyone have the numbers of popular vote going back in the early 1900s, and the percentage of total population the turnout amounted to? It'd be interesting to see a whole chart and look at any trends.


Until 1960 here - http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0781453.html

It was at a high of 63% in 1960, hit a low in 1996 when it dropped below 50%, and crawled back up to 57% in 2008 when you had a novelty candidate on the ballot.

This is a more dramatic gap when one considers that, in 1960, you had a 10-hour window to vote. Now most states give you a week or more to vote and some, like Washington and Oregon, just mail you a ballot automatically.

I think some additional data would be helpful to parse, like income disparity / poverty in say 1960 vs today. While it wouldn't be causation, I wonder is there is correlation. There is probably other data that would be interesting to look at as well.


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Re: Has America Given Up?

Postby Metsfanmax on Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:50 pm

saxitoxin wrote:
metsfanmax wrote:Suppose you turned the argument on its head. Why is it that the act of voting itself recognizes the legitimacy of U.S. government authority? I could in principle reject their authority over me, but nevertheless use the vote that has been granted to me by their laws, because I pragmatically recognize that certain leaders will be better for me than others, even if I do not recognize their authority to rule over me. So I do not think that the act of voting presupposes any claims of legitimacy of the government. It's just the realization of the fact that for better or worse, there is a state operating in this geographical area, and they interact with me even if I do not want to interact with them.


Maybe. That's contrary to the scientific consensus that voting is an irrational act.


Whether the act is rational or not only informs us whether or not the anarchist's choice to help himself is a wise use of his time. After all, there are probably stupid anarchists in addition to smart ones. It says nothing about whether the act itself legitimized the election in any way.

The argument is only meant to illustrate that there's nothing particular illuminating about the act of voting. Whether you vote or don't vote, there will be a leader of the government in question, and whether an individual finds that government to be legitimate is, in principle, independent of how the election turned out (I qualify this because there are still people who threaten to leave the country if their candidate of choice doesn't win, although I bet this is an empty threat for most people). In essence, the existence of a social contract does not turn on whether the individuals bound to that contract participate in the process of selecting functionaries to implement government duties.
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Postby 2dimes on Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:15 pm

Bring in Steve Rogers!
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Re: Has America Given Up?

Postby Funkyterrance on Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:35 pm

saxitoxin wrote:
If society has evolved to a point that Hitler stands a good chance of being elected, it won't matter. If Hitler is able to command 49% popular support, the formality of an election is not going to be an obstacle that keeps him from office. An election is only relevant if people recognize its authority.

    In Tennessee in the 1820s the Governor and Legislature were tired of the Tennessee Supreme Court striking down their laws. So they organized their own Supreme Court and started ignoring the old one. The old court continued meeting and issuing rulings but the Governor and Legislature pretended it didn't exist and started bringing cases to the new court. The fact the old court was the legally constituted court was irrelevant if everyone simply ignored it.
This is one of the few cases in which, if you ignore something, it actually does go away. If enough people ignore the government, the government eventually just ... stops. Even people who advocate for compulsory voting are very clear about the reasons they want it - "Voting confers legitimacy ... as more and more people choose to abstain, elected officials rule with less and less consent."



To be clear, I am not proposing that the current system is the best option. My point is that the "lesser of two evils" vote can be appropriate in the right circumstances. We have ways of knowing to some degree how many people are going to vote. It is then more or less a fact that someone is going to be elected whether you like it or not. There may be a threshold where the number of non-voters requires a restructuring but if the upcoming election is nowhere near this point it seems irrational to not vote for the lesser of the two evils. The best tactic to me seems to answer in polls that you aren't going to vote but if things get hairy, go and vote anyway against the guy you really don't want to be prez. A continuance down this path would surely lead to less voting in the long run anyway.

You've disqualified the Hitler example on the grounds that if Hitler commanded 49% of the vote it would mean that the system was not respected as an authority but you are assuming the reasons for non-voting are other than apathy. If apathy were the reason for low voter turnout after all, why would the number of voters matter? As long as a system is in place and they are relatively comfortable, apathetic citizens don't care by definition. However, they may still fear punishment from the law. If we pare down the Hitler example to a very small voting population it could be actualized. Not Hitler himself obviously but some simulation. So in this theoretical example the voting population is small enough that Hitler is getting those kinds of percentages. In this situation it would be in the best interest of those concerned to get off their asses and vote for the other guy. I don't really think the size of the voting population enters into the validity of the argument but I feel that the pared down example at least proves that the "lesser of two evils" vote can be validated.
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