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Author Topic: Don't vote!  (Read 6891 times)

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Offline mj2002Topic starter

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #100 on: April 13, 2014, 01:52:20 PM »
What do you mean by built in majorities? If enough people in those districts vote for the minority party, they will change their political orientation, potentially over time.  That's premise of a democratic republic.
You're not the first to realize this. The solution that the political class have come up with is just to redistrict through gerrymandering and you have a built in majority.

The premise of democracy assumes a level playing field. There is no level playing field. In the voting process, there is no level playing field and especially after the voting process, your voice doesn't matter. Whoever you voted on isn't listening to you, they're spending 6 hours a day calling donors.

Offline mia h

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #101 on: April 13, 2014, 02:21:18 PM »
What do you mean by built in majorities? If enough people in those districts vote for the minority party, they will change their political orientation, potentially over time.  That's premise of a democratic republic.

You can't tell how one person is going to vote, but with enough information you can tell how groups of people are going to vote on average. That's how FiveThirtyEight was able to accurately call the Presidential electoral about a week before a vote was cast.
Say there are 2 groups of voters A & B; in group A 80% of people vote Democrat, in group B 80% vote Republican. If a district is a 50\50 split between groups A & B then it's anyone's guess as to who would win in an election. But if the district was all group A then realistically it would be impossible for a Republican to win the seat, if the Republician candidate got 100% of their supporters out that would still only be 20% of the possible vote. If the Democratic candidate got slightly more that 1 in 4 of their voters to the polls (25% of 80%) they have a comfortable victory.
Obviously the demographics are more complicated than that, but armed with that knowledge it becomes possible to redraw electoral boundaries so that you can predict with 99% accuracy who's going to win the seat before one vote is cast.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gerrymandering_in_the_United_States

Offline Valerian

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #102 on: April 13, 2014, 02:38:20 PM »
You're not the first to realize this. The solution that the political class have come up with is just to redistrict through gerrymandering and you have a built in majority.

The premise of democracy assumes a level playing field. There is no level playing field. In the voting process, there is no level playing field and especially after the voting process, your voice doesn't matter. Whoever you voted on isn't listening to you, they're spending 6 hours a day calling donors.

There's no such thing as a level playing field anywhere.  By that argument, no one should ever participate in anything.

Offline mj2002Topic starter

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #103 on: April 13, 2014, 02:40:51 PM »
There's no such thing as a level playing field anywhere.  By that argument, no one should ever participate in anything.
This is not a black and white issue. You know this as well as everyone else does.

Offline mia h

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #104 on: April 13, 2014, 02:42:27 PM »
There's no such thing as a level playing field anywhere.  By that argument, no one should ever participate in anything.

I don't think anyone is expecting the playing field to be perfectly horizontal, but the field is rigged to be close to vertical then there's a problem.

Offline Valerian

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #105 on: April 13, 2014, 02:49:15 PM »
I'm agreeing that there is a problem.  I'm also trying to point out that this isn't the sort of problem that's just going to go away if you can get enough people to ignore it.  More people need to start actively trying to fix it.

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #106 on: April 13, 2014, 02:51:54 PM »
I'm agreeing that there is a problem.  I'm also trying to point out that this isn't the sort of problem that's just going to go away if you can get enough people to ignore it.  More people need to start actively trying to fix it.
+1

Offline mj2002Topic starter

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #107 on: April 13, 2014, 02:55:02 PM »
I'm agreeing that there is a problem.  I'm also trying to point out that this isn't the sort of problem that's just going to go away if you can get enough people to ignore it.  More people need to start actively trying to fix it.
'Ignoring' the problem is not what is being advocated here.
+1
I'd respond to your previous post, but it's just a straw man argument.

Offline Beguile's Mistress

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Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #108 on: April 13, 2014, 02:57:17 PM »
I'd respond to your previous post, but it's just a straw man argument.

I don't know what you are referring to or what you mean.

Offline mia h

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #109 on: April 13, 2014, 03:12:51 PM »
I'm agreeing that there is a problem.  I'm also trying to point out that this isn't the sort of problem that's just going to go away if you can get enough people to ignore it.  More people need to start actively trying to fix it.
I agree but it also depends on how you try and fix it, if you ignore the problem in the right way then that might be the quickest way to a solution. I know that sounds counter-intuative but what happens if every minority voter in a super-safe seat actively didn't vote? If the majority parties are winning seats with 100% of the vote then it's hard to call that a democratic victory, why give tacit support to a system that is designed to deny you a voice?

Offline Blythe

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #110 on: April 13, 2014, 03:27:18 PM »
I'm agreeing that there is a problem.  I'm also trying to point out that this isn't the sort of problem that's just going to go away if you can get enough people to ignore it.  More people need to start actively trying to fix it.

+1

I agree but it also depends on how you try and fix it, if you ignore the problem in the right way then that might be the quickest way to a solution. I know that sounds counter-intuative but what happens if every minority voter in a super-safe seat actively didn't vote? If the majority parties are winning seats with 100% of the vote then it's hard to call that a democratic victory, why give tacit support to a system that is designed to deny you a voice?

I think that simply "not voting" will not fix the problem. It's not enough to simply not vote. Either a person chooses not to vote and in addition actively works to establish a system that that person believe works, or that person is enabling the current status quo via inaction. Simply ignoring a problem will not fix it. If something is broken, it stays broken until fixed; it does not fix itself by ignoring it long enough. Honestly, there is no "right way" to ignore a problem and expect that problem to be solved.

Valerian is agreeing that there is a problem with the current system, and it looks like Beguile's is as well (if I am wrong, please, both of you give me a thwap and correct me!  :-X). What they are trying to get across is that inaction alone is simply contributing to the corruption problem rather than helping it.

Without proposing and contributing to a viable alternative, simply "not voting" solves nothing.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2014, 03:28:53 PM by Blythe »

Offline mj2002Topic starter

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #111 on: April 13, 2014, 03:29:05 PM »

Without proposing and contributing to a viable alternative, simply "not voting" solves nothing.
I don't understand where this keeps coming from. Who in this entire thread has ever suggested to simply not vote and don't do anything else? If you don't agree with someone's point of view, fine, but why do so many insist on misrepresenting the positions of others? This is just rude. Worse, it detracts from the topic.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2014, 03:35:26 PM by mj2002 »

Offline Blythe

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #112 on: April 13, 2014, 03:46:48 PM »
I don't understand where this keeps coming from. Who in this entire thread has ever suggested to simply not vote and don't do anything else? If you don't agree with someone's point of view, fine, but why do so many insist on misrepresenting the positions of others? This is just rude. Worse, it detracts from the topic.

I'm not saying that anyone suggested only not voting. I'm saying that thus far in this thread for the "not voting" position, I have not seen a viable alternative proposed yet, and it looks like the only thing being advocated is "not voting" thus far.  If I am wrong, I would welcome being corrected in that regard. A few people have proposed alternatives within the current system (such as running for office ones self, for example), but those individuals were not advocating not voting. I'm asking for those who advocate for not voting to propose a viable alternative to the current system.

I agree but it also depends on how you try and fix it, if you ignore the problem in the right way then that might be the quickest way to a solution. I know that sounds counter-intuative but what happens if every minority voter in a super-safe seat actively didn't vote? If the majority parties are winning seats with 100% of the vote then it's hard to call that a democratic victory, why give tacit support to a system that is designed to deny you a voice?

mj2002, this was the statement that caught my interest from mia h, suggesting there was a "right" way to ignore a problem, that doing so was the quickest way to a solution. I was addressing that specifically as well, because it directly advocates inaction with no proposed alternative to the current system. So...no, I do not believe I misrepresented anyone (unless I've misrepresented Beguile's and Valerian, which I acknowledged in my earlier post and asked them to correct me if I have).

Offline mia h

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #113 on: April 13, 2014, 03:59:13 PM »
I think that simply "not voting" will not fix the problem. It's not enough to simply not vote. Either a person chooses not to vote and in addition actively works to establish a system that that person believe works, or that person is enabling the current status quo via inaction. Simply ignoring a problem will not fix it. If something is broken, it stays broken until fixed; it does not fix itself by ignoring it long enough. Honestly, there is no "right way" to ignore a problem and expect that problem to be solved.

Valerian is agreeing that there is a problem with the current system, and it looks like Beguile's is as well (if I am wrong, please, both of you give me a thwap and correct me!  :-X). What they are trying to get across is that inaction alone is simply contributing to the corruption problem rather than helping it.

Without proposing and contributing to a viable alternative, simply "not voting" solves nothing.

Two things, there is a big difference between non-voting through inaction and actively not voting. To get the hypothetical 100% vote for the majority you'd have to persuade the minority to undertake active non-participation.
Secondly the idea that you have to have a ready made alternative is frankly ridiculous, it's straight out of the Book of Management BS, a variant of the "I don't what to hear about problems, I want to hear solutions." Unless you can get people to see that there is a problem then the solutions don't matter, and whatever solution is proposed it won't be perfect but by proposing a solution before the problem is acknowledged just means that the people who are happy with the status quo will find ways to discredit the new system without having to acknowledge that the system is broken. 

Offline Blythe

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #114 on: April 13, 2014, 04:01:59 PM »
it's straight out of the Book of Management BS,

I think I'll be bowing out of this particular thread after reading this.

My apologies to any I've offended, and good luck with your debate.

Offline mj2002Topic starter

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #115 on: April 13, 2014, 04:03:55 PM »
Two things, there is a big difference between non-voting through inaction and actively not voting. To get the hypothetical 100% vote for the majority you'd have to persuade the minority to undertake active non-participation.
Secondly the idea that you have to have a ready made alternative is frankly ridiculous, it's straight out of the Book of Management BS, a variant of the "I don't what to hear about problems, I want to hear solutions." Unless you can get people to see that there is a problem then the solutions don't matter, and whatever solution is proposed it won't be perfect but by proposing a solution before the problem is acknowledged just means that the people who are happy with the status quo will find ways to discredit the new system without having to acknowledge that the system is broken. 
I tried to find the words to say this, but you've done better than I could have. Hear hear.

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #116 on: April 13, 2014, 04:39:08 PM »
I think the reason people are asking for actual solutions is because many people already don't vote, and it has made very little difference.

Only 57.5% of eligible voters in the US voted in the 2012 presidential election, for example.  Life goes on, and the problems persist.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2014, 04:41:57 PM by Valthazar »

Online Callie Del Noire

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #117 on: April 13, 2014, 04:45:00 PM »
I think the reason people are asking for actual solutions is because many people already don't vote, and it has made very little difference.

Only 57.5% of eligible voters in the US voted in the 2012 presidential election, for example.  Life goes on, and the problems persist.


Is that the the 50% of registered voters or all voters? (including eligible to register and haven't). That can make the number even smaller!

Offline Valthazar

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Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #118 on: April 13, 2014, 05:14:26 PM »

Is that the the 50% of registered voters or all voters? (including eligible to register and haven't). That can make the number even smaller!

I looked a bit deeper into it, and I think there is a flaw in that Wikipedia table.  It's based on this data from the Census Bureau.  For example, in 2008, they get 53.1% by dividing (# of votes case for president) by (Resident population of voting age - includes aliens).

I have no idea why resident aliens are included in this fraction, since they are not US citizens?

I found this more accurate table (I think), which shows a 64% voter turnout in 2012.  Still not sure if this is accurate though.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2014, 05:15:34 PM by Valthazar »

Offline Zakharra

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #119 on: April 13, 2014, 06:12:02 PM »
'Ignoring' the problem is not what is being advocated here.

 If you're not willing to participate in the electoral process, to get involved and run and/or vote, to work with the system to change it, then you are ignoring the problem and just bitching about it because you refuse to participate in it.  Unless you advocate armed rebellion, the system has to be changed from the inside.

I agree but it also depends on how you try and fix it, if you ignore the problem in the right way then that might be the quickest way to a solution. I know that sounds counter-intuative but what happens if every minority voter in a super-safe seat actively didn't vote? If the majority parties are winning seats with 100% of the vote then it's hard to call that a democratic victory, why give tacit support to a system that is designed to deny you a voice?

 If no minority group voted, then the majority would be making all the choices because the minorities took themselves out of the process on their own. Can they complain? Yes. Do they have a reason to? No. Why? Because they were stupid enough to not participate. I believe the way the system is set up, it's total votes counted that count. Not a percentage of the eligible voting population. So if only 5% of the population votes, then only 5% get their voice heard, and it would be completely legal under the Constitution.  Sitting around and doing nothing will not fix the problem. It rarely fixes any problems. Only by getting involved, by action will problems be fixed.

Offline Kythia

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Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #120 on: April 13, 2014, 06:27:35 PM »
Took a while to track who came up with the idea it was Anthony Downs in An Economic Theory of Democracy, so I think he hand a clue about opportunity costs. While the costs might have change a little bit since the 1950's the basic point is still correct, the only vote that matters is the single winning vote everything else is a waste of resources.

Yeah, the problem is this is simply not true.  It's a bit of an oversimplification of his point for one, but aside from that the major problem is that it only applies if you think the sole information that comes out of an election is who wins and who doesn't.

It's not.  For example, people have talked at length - in this very thread even - about the messages sent to parties by votes for smaller parties or single issue candidates. 

To give another: a vote is often - and except in single party elections can always be if offered - a chance to change something.  Not voting doesn't send the message that you are unhappy with the status quo, it sends the opposite.  Throughout Arab Spring a few years ago, a major battlefield was about voting and elections.  Staying at home and not voting sends nowhere near the message that forcing yourself to be able to vote in front of international media does.

Offline Valerian

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #121 on: April 13, 2014, 07:44:40 PM »
Two things, there is a big difference between non-voting through inaction and actively not voting. To get the hypothetical 100% vote for the majority you'd have to persuade the minority to undertake active non-participation.
Secondly the idea that you have to have a ready made alternative is frankly ridiculous, it's straight out of the Book of Management BS, a variant of the "I don't what to hear about problems, I want to hear solutions." Unless you can get people to see that there is a problem then the solutions don't matter, and whatever solution is proposed it won't be perfect but by proposing a solution before the problem is acknowledged just means that the people who are happy with the status quo will find ways to discredit the new system without having to acknowledge that the system is broken.
First, speaking as staff, let's try to make sure that all disagreement is civil, please.

Second, speaking as a slightly confused participant in this thread, all you and the OP seem to be saying is that not-voting (or 'actively not voting', or however you want to phrase it) is different and anything different must be better, which I'm not prepared to accept as a given.  This is why you need some sort of solution, suggestion, or general direction to go in, because if all you've got is "Let's do this and see what happens!" you're going to have some trouble getting anyone to take that leap of faith.

Offline MikeandIke

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Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #122 on: April 13, 2014, 10:42:39 PM »
First, speaking as staff, let's try to make sure that all disagreement is civil, please.

Second, speaking as a slightly confused participant in this thread, all you and the OP seem to be saying is that not-voting (or 'actively not voting', or however you want to phrase it) is different and anything different must be better, which I'm not prepared to accept as a given.  This is why you need some sort of solution, suggestion, or general direction to go in, because if all you've got is "Let's do this and see what happens!" you're going to have some trouble getting anyone to take that leap of faith.

I've tried reading as much as I can, as it's an interesting topic. And I think I agree with this the most.

I fail to see HOW anything can be changed by removing yourself from a system. You say voting hasn't affected anything related to climate change (Or insert any topic). But, who says the majority of people actually care about that topic? And care enough to make it a key issue in an election. The point isn't always that one vote will always matter. I think the greater point is that, and this is really key, an INFORMED electorate can create changes that DO matter.

You want me to think climate change matters, make me. Show me. Tell me what I can do to produce the change that you think needs come about. This is where public discourse and debate truly matter. Bring data to light. Open up a debate.
CONVINCE ME!!

Personally, I'll take an informed person who makes it their duty to study the topics and candidates, and then doesn't vote.  Over one who willy-nilly votes. If they choose to overly express themselves other ways, I disagree but more power to them. Likewise, if you want change and say things need to change, I want proof. Prove to me that your way is better. That your ideas are better. If you don't think the populace is hearing the right things, change the discourse. Start with your voice and gather others who agree. Then spread it around to more people to inform them. That, my friends, is the meaning of grass-roots politics.

But, to sit there and say don't vote because the system is broken and not voting will create change makes no sense to me. If I disagree, and I vote, I've just won the election for my side. Therefore, my vote mattered. You lost 0-1. You had a chance to make your voice heard and decided not to.

If you look at what happens after those referendums where parties tell their members not to vote, they usually get screwed in some way. Laws get passed because the officials did NOT vote and had no control or no voice (Iraq currently comes to mind, as does the USSR boycotting the UN Security Council votes). Then, they have a hand behind their back because of their inaction.

I may have skipped some things, but I've yet to read what else should be done? I will never say the current system is perfect. But, right now it's the best we've come up with. Speaking as a US citizen, the fact that my country is over two hundred years old and still kicking with the same sets of laws and constitution is rather remarkable in itself. Now, if you or anyone thinks they have a better system to replace it, I'd love to hear it and put it to a vote. If more people vote for it and I don't, guess what, you win. 

If you don't vote you can't claim that the system is denying you anything. In fact, quite the opposite. You had a chance and chose not to get involved. If a minority group chooses not to vote in an election, and the opposing party wins, you can't just turn around and claim it's illegitimate, or that it's not democratic. They chose not to vote. They were given a choice and decided it would be in their best interests not to vote. So they didn't. Democracy assumes an informed electorate, and indeed thrives on it.

Addition: Oh, and if you're able to get enough people to abstain from voting. Enough people to get whatever point across that you'd like. Why not just have them vote in the first place? You've done all the hard work anyways, why not just vote?
« Last Edit: April 13, 2014, 10:51:16 PM by MikeandIke »

Offline TaintedAndDelish

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #123 on: April 14, 2014, 04:30:10 AM »
So I just watched this video. The guy sounds like he's jacked up on something or is suffering with some serious mental disorder. He has the body of an adult and the wild, impish behaviour of a 15 year old. He said in the first few minutes of this video that he doesn't know much about politics and has never voted because he was too busy getting high - because the political system did not cater to his demographic. Around the end, 6:50 or so, he claims that he doesn't really fully understand how all this would work, but that he just wanted to bring these ideas to people's attention. Also, around 5 minutes in, he had a mini tantrum when questioned about how his ideas would work.

I realize the man is a comedian by trade, but he seems more like a clown to be quite honest. This is NOT the type of person you want running the country. He comes across as someone who would just start pressing buttons and pulling levers without having a clue about what they do.... for the sake of change.

We have a political system that can be changed slowly via voting and other political activities. It's good that things change slowly so that wild cards like this dude can't just jump and in a crash the system like a drunk driver.


Offline mj2002Topic starter

Re: Don't vote!
« Reply #124 on: April 14, 2014, 04:42:16 AM »
We have a political system that can be changed slowly via voting and other political activities. It's good that things change slowly so that wild cards like this dude can't just jump and in a crash the system like a drunk driver.
I don't think its working very well. Some things aren't changing at all. What's being done about inequality, climate change and the fact that corporations have more power in politics than people? This has been going on for 30-40 years. Where's that change then?