Super Tuesday primaries
scholar - 9-1-2008 at 21:30
The following primaries are held Feb. 5
New York and California have the most delegates.
Will any of the candidates drop out before then? It takes a lot of money to do enough advertizing to be competitive in so many states, and some of
them will be non-competitive (i.e. if it is a candidate's home state, he is likely to win it based on home-state advantage).
Some candidates may stop campaigning, but hold on to the delegates they already have, in case the convention goes to more than one ballot (more likely
for the Republicans than the Democrats).
John_Little - 10-1-2008 at 09:42
I was watching an English TV programme last night about how much people earned. One part of the programme was about a business set up by one woman
where she basically picked up clothes for the rich and charged them £1000 per day for the work - which they paid.
To me, the amount of money spent on elections - particularly in America, is equally offensive and indefensible. The fact that there are so many
candidates who have nothing better to do with their money than squander it on an elaborate election campaign is a damning comment on the western
I note that at least one candidate has bailed out. I couldn't help but wonder how much he had spent so far on getting nowhere.
Having said that, I am finding myself moving towards a Hillary position. Although it would be good to have a Black President, I think there are more
women in the World and its about time they got their share of power.
janet - 10-1-2008 at 10:02
I'd rather vote for a candidate on the grounds of their politics...
I don't for a moment think Clinton will represent "women" as though we were a homogeneous group, or that a black candidate would do the same for
black people, as though they were a homogenous group.
What I'd *really* like is to be in a position where people were seen as people... (with a certain generosity of spirit, in some cases...).
John_Little - 10-1-2008 at 10:17
Fair point, Janet,
But I still think that having a woman president would be a step towards equality of the sexes. Whatever she does.
janet - 10-1-2008 at 10:20
It'd break a glass ceiling, that's for sure!
John_Little - 10-1-2008 at 10:28
But what has happened here since Thatcher? Not a lot really. Mind you, she was only a token man anyway.
janet - 10-1-2008 at 10:55
And there was little in her campaign about "elect a woman!!"
John_Little - 10-1-2008 at 11:08
Sorry Janet, I missed that point the first time. Quite right but my point is that I dont have a vote and dont really know much about what they all
plan*. So in that respect its pretty academic.
But, I do believe that Hilary is using the woman thing more than Margaret did.
*Except that Hillary is a Democrat and from what I gather they are slightly more in line with my personal view of politics.
janet - 10-1-2008 at 11:15
Oh, she certainly is - but then, people are voting directly for her (well, ok, but more directly) than for Mrs Thatcher as she was then.
And believe me, anyone who would be part of any of the UK parties would be far too left wing for either of the two main US parties... :}
John_Little - 10-1-2008 at 11:24
scholar - 10-1-2008 at 12:24
Why would it be offensive?
The money is spent communicating the candidate's qualifications, encouraging people to vote, persuading toward political positions and solutions, and
pointing out problems in the other candidates--all of which are good things. More candidates mean a wider selection, more choices (the Republican
candidates this year have real political differences between them--some cut taxes, while others oppose tax cuts or even raise taxes; some are strongly
against advantages for illegal aliens, others believe that those who have kept most of the laws should be allowed to stay under certain conditions.
Lots of money is required because advertising (especially television) is expensive, and it makes no sense for people to vote for names of people whose
political positions are not known to them. Without advertising, people are less likely to vote. Since many people vote for whomever is the candidate
of the party with whom they most agree, picking the best candidate for that party is important. If the candidate does not agree with all the
positions most in his party hold, that can discourage those in his party from voting--or, if he makes a good enough case, it could mean a change in
the party's direction.
Especially in the case of candidates who use of lot of their own money, I see no reason for them not to spend it as they wish. It shows they really
believe in what they are trying to do.
Good ideas put forward in ads may well be put into practice, whomever wins. Both parties like to adapt the best ideas of the other party and promote
their own version of them.
John_Little - 10-1-2008 at 13:04
Well, firstly because its shows what a sham is the American ethos that anyone can run for President. But what sort of "civilised" country has to
use propagander and psychology to persuade people to vote for them rather than their policies.
But the main offense for me is in the juxtaposition of World Poverty and death from simple diseases and hunger when all that money is being spent on
scholar - 10-1-2008 at 13:21
The advertising is to tell people what policies the candidates are proposing (as well as their qualifications [to show that they are capable enough toget the policies enacted and implemented] and their record [to show that their previous actions have matched their words]). There is also the aspect
of pointing out the weak points in the other candidates, who are not likely to volunteer information about their failures, reversals, or
John_Little - 10-1-2008 at 13:38
Well, what I will concede, Scholar,
Is that the USA is a large country with a complicated electoral system and a lot of people in out of the way places that may need a special effort to
But I'm willing to bet that most of the votes come from high density urban areas where people have access to national newspapers and other broadcast
media that is quite capable at getting the policies across the vast majority of the population.
The truth is, they all spend this money because all the other candidates spend that amount of money and without that money, they will not get
So people are voting for money - not policies.
scholar - 10-1-2008 at 13:43
A good US President is like the rudder on a huge ship. The money spent on an election could buy
some food, and everyone could eat it, and it would be gone. But, a good President can push for tax policies that keep trillions of dollars of
business healthy and growing, and the people hired can earn and pay taxes on more money than was ever spent on the election. Money made by companies
importing and exporting, both domestic and foreign, can employ people in other countries as well and help lift them out of poverty. A President who
could get Congress to pass legislation allowing more US oil drilling could bring down oil prices around the world; a President who could get Congress
to streamline and establish nuclear electric plants could bring down the price of electricity and reduce polution in our country, and save some of the
fuel oil that is now burned for electricity for other use. If American agriculture policy were shaped to enourage raising oil-intense crops (like
castor beans) for bio-deisel, and if the non-bean parts of the plants were processed to make cellulosic ethanol for car fuel, we would need very
little gasoline or crude oil for road vehicles. A President who would implement a health care plan that would use privete-plan competition to drive
down health costs and bring economies of scale to insurance could save billions of dollars of bloated health costs.
John_Little - 10-1-2008 at 13:52
Cant argue with that, Scholar, per se,
But all that could be true and they could still use the money saved on election expenses to feed people as well.
And why is the amount spent on an election campaign the measure of a good President?
scholar - 10-1-2008 at 14:04
candidates pay to run their own commercials, they can say what they wish to say, listing their policies and plans, qualifications, previous
accomplishments, etc., and can criticise their opponents.
When the newspapers and broadcast media cover the candidates, they favor the candidates they like and furn a blind eye to some of the criticisms.
During the last presidential election, CBS TV News ran a story against Bush based on phony evidence that a Democrat fabricated on his computer and
faxed from a Kinko's shop in Texas. The story, had it been true, would have spoken badly of Bush's service in the National Guard. The CBS News
anchor, Dan Rather, was humiliated and required to retire for his role in the fake story. During the same period, a number of people who served in
Vietnam at the same time as John Kerry declared they had witnessed that Kerry's Vietnam actions were not as glorious and commendable as they had been
represented, but none of the networks covered their eye-witness accounts which contradicted Kerry's stories.
In NBC news coverage, the reporter covering the Democrats has declared that he is enthusiastic about Obama. Do you think Senator Clinton will get as
favorable coverage as Obama? Presently, ABC and NBC are both employing former Democrat political operatives in their news departments. Do you think
they will be as favorable to the Republican viewpoint as they will to the party under whom they were formerly employed? (Fox has had a Republican
news anchor, on the other side. Do you think he would be as favorable to the Democrats?)
scholar - 10-1-2008 at 14:15
The money spent is not the measure in a direct sense. (Not y=ax + b, where an increase in x, the
money spent, gives an increase in y, how good the President is.)
But, if the candidate's own accounts of themselves are unknown (because of lack of advertising), then the voters only get what the news outlets want
them to hear. The news outlets favor the candidates they like, and criticise the candidates they don't like. If you don't want the candidates to
advertise, and the news outlets by default put out good news on their candidates and bad news on the ones they don't like, the public won't have a
fair basis to make their votes.
Compared to the good that a good President might do, the money he spends on advertising are less than pennies for dollars.
John_Little - 10-1-2008 at 14:18
Well, quite frankly, that is disgraceful. But does it not make you wonder what has gone wrong with the whole thing? I fully understand your point,
its obvious that the system has denigrated to the point where they have to commit themselves to this extravagant farce or stand no chance in the race.
But maybe Americans ought to take a step back and ask themselves what is going on.
But, I cant change it. I dont suppose anyone could change it over night so you are stuck with what you've got. That doesn't mean its not open for
A quick edit. But what about those people who know they stand no chance of becoming a presidential candidate but still enter the campaign in a big
way. What is they hope to gain?
scholar - 10-1-2008 at 16:15
I don't see how it is disgraceful for a candidate to spend money to let the voters know his ideas, positions, accomplishments, etc. In the
alternative, everyone could just vote for people about whom they know nothing. THAT would be disgraceful. Or, they could suck tax money from the
government teat, and have public financing of their advertising. THAT would be bad, if it were done against the will of the taxpayer (but, taxpayers
are allowed to decide if they want to donate to a fund to subsidize candidates, so it's voluntary). Or, the government could require the
broadcasters to allow free advertising for political candidates--which would hurt them by loss of revenue.
I think advertising funded by the candidates and willing domestic donations to them is the best way to do it. The candidates get to fashion their
message as they wish, and the different media they hire get financial benefit, and the public get to vote on the basis of information that has reached
them (with the voter being allowed to judge for himself whom to believe).
How is that disgraceful?
Please note, it doesn't mean the same people who finance the campaigns don't also support charities. They have the freedom to do both.
scholar - 10-1-2008 at 16:30
There are several reasons they might run:
1--They might wish to influence the outcome. Perot had no real chance to win when he ran, but he took away more votes from Republicans than
Democrats, enabling Bill Clinton to win without a majority of the popular vote.
2--They might wish to influence the political positions of others. Ron Paul is the only Repubican running who believes the US should not fight wars
away from home. He would like to persuade others to that position.
3--It is common for candidates to learn the first time they run, with a chance of doing better later. Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush each lost
the first time they sought the nomination, but they later won it and went on to become President. What they learned on their first attempt helped
them when they tried again later.
4--Some might (however mistakenly) think they they are the best for the job and hope that the voters will suddenly wake up to their abilities. Gov.
Huckabee, who won the Iowa caucuses, was considered a no-real-chance candidate without enough money or a good enough organization--but he nonetheless
beat others who had great advantages in that respect, because people liked what they heard from him.
5--Some do it as part of a whole life of advocacy for certain people or ideas. They go on to make speeches, write books, and appear as guest experts
on TV shows, trying to teach people and get laws passed in agreement with their ideas.
The expense of a real candidacy actually helps discourage people from doing it only for their own egos. If it weren't expensive, we'd probably have
hundreds of candidates every four years.
scholar - 10-1-2008 at 16:33
John, if you wish it were less expensive, I do agree with you. Generally speaking, I wish everything were more efficient and less expensive (food,
fuel, clothing, computers ). It is possible now to use the internet to
spread a candidate's ideas more cheaply (if people are willing to log on and read them). However, many people don't buy newspapers or look up
political info on the net. Broadcast TV commercials reach more people than anything else, and they are fairly expensive.
John_Little - 10-1-2008 at 16:54
Not that bit. The bit about Television companies digging the dirt and spreading false rumours to favour one party over another.
We dont do it that way in the UK.
scholar - 10-1-2008 at 17:24
I'd like to make sure I was clear: Dan Rather has said he was fooled by the fabricated evidence, and I believe him. He still thinks the story was
true, even though there is no evidence supporting it. He so wanted to get Bush that he gladly used a fax of a document (without being in possession
of the original, to be able to judge age by the condition of the paper, whether the purported document would have been typed on that kind of paper,
He is presently sueing CBS because he now says that the anchorman is really more of a figurehead, that the real news research is done by others and he
is just given something to read without control. Anchors in the U.S. are usually happy to let the public think they are the key people in the news
operation. ( I think they usually agree with the research people and the news directors, so that there usually isn't a problem. When there is blame,
I think it's hard to tell who really had the responsibility to intervene and say, "No, we won't broadcast the story.")
Part of the pressure on Dan Rather was that he expected a newspaper to run the story, and he wanted to be first.
scholar - 10-1-2008 at 17:27
P.S. From the time that the document appeared on the internet, I think it was only a matter of minutes before people viewing it said, "Hey, that
doesn't look like something from a military typewriter such as they used in that year. That looks like a Microsoft Word font."
John_Little - 10-1-2008 at 18:00
Mind you, Schollar,
When I say we dont do it like that here, I lie.
I was rushing to get the train home when I typed that and on the way to the station I realised what a plonka I was (plonka is UK or rather Peckham
slang for idiot).
Of course we do. Rupert Murdoch and his cronies in the press do it all the time. What was I talking about?
scholar - 10-1-2008 at 18:21
I think every news outlet filters the news, if only by deciding what to cover, and how much time or space to give it. I don't think some even
realize they do it. Does the BBC do any in-depth reporting on the high salaries or waste at the BBC?
But Dan Rather airing a news story based on a fax of a fake document, that the bloggers spotted as a fake so quickly, was especially bad.
LSemmens - 11-1-2008 at 12:11
Any person. Dan Rather included, who places themselves up for public scrutiny must be absolutely beyond reproach. In this case a news anchor failed to
check his story. The same holds true for our politicians, they, too, must be assured of their facts before they publicise them. To run for public
office in any country requires a special sort of person. Who, in their right mind, would apply for a position with a job description like this:
Salary - less than half an average CEO's
Responsible for a multi trillion dollar budget. On call 24 hours a day, no days off. Must account for every decision made. No privacy for yourself,
and often family too. No ability to hire and fire as necessary. If you want to spend money here, be careful as those over there will also want their
cut. The rest will complain because you've spent the money on necessary infrastructure that does not directly benefit them, yet. Your decisions may
also cost young people their lives. Oh! No security of Tenure and at the end of it all there is no peer review, only a slim chance that the ill
educated masses may choose to vote for you to keep your job for another four years.
Now? Who wants to be a polititian?
John_Little - 11-1-2008 at 13:19
Well, to be fair to the BBC, they are quite good in that respect. In fact some of their presenters can be quite anarchic.
TV in the UK is strictly regulated during election times to stop the type of thing you referred to. But the press seems to get away with murder
regardless of what's happening.
Mind you, I think the TV has more influence.
scholar - 11-1-2008 at 16:20
About the BBC, I'm glad to hear it. I hope that can be maintained. One of the real problems in American network news is a double standard--they go
at their political enemies with great energy, but their political allies get their misdeeds downplayed.
janet - 11-1-2008 at 16:31
While the BBC isn't entirely without its prejudices, it's impartiality is fairly well maintained by the fact that it is publicly accountable...
Redwolf5150 - 11-1-2008 at 18:03
The BBC, like Reuters, the British counterpart to the Associated Press, is well known in the field of journalism for its professionalism and