Monday, July 28, 2008

UNDERVIEWS: THE PROGRESSIVE PUZZLE CONT'D

Interesting comments on matters previously covered in the Review

The two fake opposition parties that monopolize U.S. elections have perfected their stranglehold on elections. Sadly, Sam falls right into the psychological trap they have set for U.S. voters. Consider elections as a multiplayer game, with voters as the players. A "win" would occur if the majority of voters elect a candidate they are satisfied with, that values their concerns over those of well-funded special interests. Polls reveal the majority of voters are dissatisfied with both of the two main candidates. In other words, the majority of game players have already "lost" the game even before the first vote is cast, because they will be unhappy even if their preferred candidate wins the election. The same goes for most nonvoting people in the apathy category, except they have already realized it is a rigged game that they will lose anyway, and simply choose not to play.

Yet there is a winning strategy to the game. Playing the game as dictated by the two main game pieces: voting Democrat or Republican ensures a loss. Not playing ensures a loss. That leaves one other strategy remaining to win: casting a vote for a game piece other than Democrat or Republican.

It is essential to analyze the dysfunctional nature of the monopoly stranglehold in such a manner, in order to discern a wining strategy. Otherwise, it is all too easy to get caught up in one of the emotionalized "hot button" issues (gay marriage, school prayer, intelligent design, flag burning, welfare queens, drugs, porn, abortion, teen sex, commie subversion, terrorist threats, etc., etc.) that never threaten Big Money's bottom line.

Although following such a winning strategy may not result in a win during this or any other election, it is the only strategy that stands a chance of winning from the start. Remember, by playing the game on the terms of the 2-party monopoly, most voters have already lost before the game begins.

The 2-party monopoly on elections is a more complex variant of the Prisoner's Dilemma. The main difference is that right now there exist more choices than Democrat or Republican, so there is no need to remain a prisoner of the 2 corporate-owned parties, unlike the Prisoner's Dilemma, in which only 2 possible courses of action may be taken. - 420

Obama is being cast as the Kennedy of the 21st century. Maybe an apt comparison? Chester Bowles, progressive champion of another era, was seduced by JFK to help win over support of the party's intellectual left in his bid for the 1960 nomination. With the nomination secure, Kennedy moved drastically to the right and marginalized the left from that point forward. Following the Bay of Pigs fiasco, then Undersecretary of State Bowles wrote in his private diary:

"The question which concerns me most about this new Administration is whether it lacks a genuine sense of conviction about what is right and wrong. I realize in posing the question I am raising an extremely serious point. Nevertheless I feel it must be faced. Anyone in public life who has strong convictions about the rights and wrongs of public morality, both domestic and international, has a great advantage in times of strain, since his instincts on what to do are clear and immediate. Lacking such a framework of moral conviction or sense of what is right and what is wrong, he is forced to lean almost entirely upon his mental processes; he adds up the pluses and minuses of any question and comes up with a conclusion. Under normal conditions, when he is not tired of frustrated, this pragmatic approach should successfully bring him out on the right side of the question. What worries me are the conclusions that such an individual may reach when he is tired, angry, frustrated, or emotionally affected. The Cuban fiasco demonstrates how far astray a man as brilliant and well intentioned as Kennedy can go who lacks a basic moral reference point."

Bowles was shortly thereafter forced to leave his position at State. Kennedy, in the meanwhile, began his escalations in a little known portion of Southeast Asia, Viet Nam.

6 Comments:

At July 28, 2008 2:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with the first analysis is that the US uses a simple plurality voting system, which virtually guarantees a 2 party system. If a third party garners enough votes to have an impact, their positions will be adopted by one of the 2 main parties (almost certainly, the party that lost because of many of their voters split off).

So in a simple plurality voting system, the win you envision is a long-term and almost certainly greatly watered down change in one of the parties, at the cost of a short term decisive loss.

The best solution is to change the voting system to one that better reflects voters' real wishes. That means a Constitutional amendment.

Until that happens, the best thing to do is reward legislators who do the right thing (eg, sending Dodd $25 when he stood up on FISA), and be an unholy PITA to your reps when they don't.

Until a year or so ago, most legislators heard only from the right wing, often given their talking points in their Sunday sermons.

 
At July 28, 2008 9:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first analysis explains WHY the current system enables a 2-party monopoly stranglehold on politics, and gives the only winning game strategy possible for breaking out of it. While a Constitutional Amendment changing the voting system to something else, such as independent runoff voting, would also break such a stranglehold, it's naive to think the 2-party monopoly, which represents corporate Amerika, is going to relinquish their stranglehold on power by passing such legislation.

Rewarding politicians monetarily on a per-issue basis is simply not an affordable option for most voters, and is really the root of the problem: wealthier interests already dictate most of the political agenda--those issues that are off the political table even before elections take place. The Constitution was clearly intended to foster representative democracy, not rule by the highest bidder.

 
At July 29, 2008 8:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 9:03: yeah, that's a great excuse. That a few thousand wealthy people outspend many millions of middle class people on campaign contributions is only because it is more important to the wealthy.

What you want is a perfect world without having to invest any effort in it. Peter Pan land.

 
At July 29, 2008 8:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and Anonymous @ 9:03, the first post doesn't even touch why we have a 2 party system. In fact, it ignores the topic entirely.

 
At July 29, 2008 11:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, yeah?
Well, your mother wears army shoes.

 
At August 1, 2008 10:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe that's army boots. If you're going to gratuitously insult people, you could at least do it with the correct cliche.

 

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