Posts Tagged ‘elections’

Chris wondered:
You voted third party? What made Jimmy Carter unattractive?

Hey, I was young and foolish and headstrong. In 1976, I wanted to vote for Eugene McCarthy in the Democratic presidential primary. Remember him, the guy who challenged President Lyndon Johnson in the 1968 New Hampshire primary and received 43% of the vote, which prompted LBJ not to seek reelection?

But the Carter forces in New York State got Clean Gene knocked off the ballot. I had no idea how or why at the time, but I now wonder if it was because, as the Wikipedia states, he had quit the Democratic party. In any case, that anti-democratic behavior really ticked me off.

In the race between President Gerald Ford and the peanut farmer from Georgia, I opted to vote for McCarthy; I don’t think he was on the ballot in my state, though he was in about 2/3s of the others, so I wrote him in.

I rather liked Jimmy Carter as President early on. He was saying enough of the right things for me, especially when he talked about conserving energy. Sitting in the White House wearing a sweater, he called the energy crisis the Moral Equivalent Of War. But it wasn’t what the country, already feeling down after Watergate and Vietnam, wanted to hear; his plan was ridiculed as MEOW.

Still, it was the Iran hostage crisis that began on November 4, 1979, that did him in. Maybe not immediately. But as the news networks started delaying their late-night programming in favor of 15 minutes of news from Tehran – DAY 42, DAY 108, DAY 159 – it made him appear weak, and the failed rescue mission even more so.

When Senator Edward Kennedy and California governor Jerry Brown challenged him in the primaries, this just codified that feeling that Jimmy Carter was ineffectual. I worried about Teddy running, fearing that if he had won, he would die in office, like Presidents elected in years ending with zero, going back to 1840, and the fact that all of his brothers (Joe, Jack, Bobby) had died violently. Despite that, and despite Chappaquiddick, I’m pretty sure I voted for him.

Of course, a battered Carter prevailed at the Democratic convention and faced the Republican, Ronald Reagan, who I disliked intensely from when he was governor of California. He was also challenged by Congressman John Anderson of Illinois. But I didn’t vote for ANY of them.

I figured that if I were going to throw away my vote, I had to REALLY toss it. I had read the 1971 book The Closing Circle by Barry Commoner, where he “suggested that the American economy should be restructured to conform to the unbending laws of ecology.” I voted for him – he was on the ballot in New York – and he came in fifth nationally, behind the Libertarian.

So it wasn’t that I disliked Jimmy Carter, or thought he was terrible. It was that he didn’t excite me, inspire me. I also figured that if Reagan were to get elected, the Democratic Congress would keep him in check. HA!

Of course, in hindsight James Earl Carter wasn’t THAT bad a President. And he is is, by far, the best ex-President ever.

John Bayard Anderson

John Anderson, a moderate Republican congressman back in the day when there still were moderate Republicans, ran for President in 1980 against the incumbent, Jimmy Carter, the Democrat, and the Republican standard-bearer, Ronald Reagan. Of course, the former actor and California governor beat the former peanut farmer and Georgia governor by over 8.4 million votes cast.

Reagan also won an absolute majority of the voters (50.75%) to 41.01% for Carter. Anderson, who died recently, received 6.61% of the ballots. And 1.63% of the people, including, BTW, me, voted for someone else. So those who oppose the Electoral College – the system where all electoral votes go to each state winner – should be satisfied with the results, right?

But under the EC rules, was John Anderson really a spoiler, as some have suggested? 270 electoral votes are needed to be elected.

States won by Carter: DC-3, GA-12, HI-4, MD-10, MN-10, RI-4, WV-6 = 49 electoral votes.

States won by Reagan with more than 50% of the vote: AK-3, AZ-6, CA-45, CO-7, FL-17, ID-4, IN-13, IA-8, IA-8, KS-7, LA-10, MO-12, MT-4, NE-5, NV-3, NH-4, NJ-17, NM-4, ND-3, OH-25, OK-8, SD-4, TX-26, UT-4, VA-12, WY-3 = 263 electoral votes.

So if you add the states where the difference between Reagan votes and Carter votes is greater than the Anderson votes, the Republican easily hits 270. In Alabama, for instance, Reagan bat Carter 48.75% to 47.45%, a difference of only 1.3%. But Anderson only managed to scrape up 1.23% of the votes, with others garnering 2.57%. 9 electoral votes to the Republican anyway.

Anderson did very well in the Pacific Northwest, getting 9.51% of the vote in Oregon and 10.62% in Washington. Yet the difference between Reagan and Carter was 9.66% and 12.34% respectively, meaning those 6 and 9 electoral votes were destined for the GOP column.

Even Illinois, Anderson’s home state, fell into that column. Reagan, who grew up in the Land of Lincoln, got 49.65% of the vote compared with Carter’s 41.72%. Anderson’s 7.3% is less than the 7.93% of the major party candidates. 26 electoral votes solid for the Gipper.

This is not to say Anderson wasn’t a spoiler in some states. In New York, Reagan beat Carter by 2.67% but Anderson got 7.54% of the votes. AR, CT, DE, KY, ME, MA, MI, MS, NC, TN, VT, and WI theoretically COULD have gone to Carter if it weren’t for Anderson. It would not have mattered to the outcome.

Skelos, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Silver

With all the attention on the potential Constitutional Convention on the ballot November 7, I was only dimly aware of the other two propositions that New Yorkers must consider. OK, SHOULD consider, since they’re on the flip side of he ballot.

The proposed amendment… would allow a court to reduce or revoke the pension of a public officer who is convicted of a felony that has a direct and actual relationship to the performance of the public officer’s duties.

The number of corrupt government officials is arguably higher in the Empire State than any other. I assume some judge would decide whether, and how, the crime relates to their official duties.

The problem in this state is that those convictions can be overturned, as they were, just in the past four months, in the cases of former Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver and former Senate majority leader Dean Skelos. If this proposal had been in place, the pensions of the pols whose convictions were vacated could, and I suppose should, be reinstated.

Still, I support this amendment as a step in the right direction.

The proposed amendment will create a land account with up to 250 acres of forest preserve land eligible for use by towns, villages, and counties that have no viable alternative to using forest preserve land to address specific public health and safety concerns; as a substitute for the land removed from the forest preserve, another 250 acres of land, subject to legislative approval, will be added to the forest preserve. The proposed amendment also will allow bicycle trails and certain public utility lines to be located within the width of highways that traverse the forest preserve while minimizing removal of trees and vegetation.

This is largely a land swap, with the State acquiring the same amount of land, “subject to approval by the Legislature, to incorporate into the forest preserve to replace the land placed in the health and safety land account.” This has a lot of precedent, and I’m willing to support this.

I’ve already noted my opposition to the “convention to revise the Constitution and amend the same.” Interestingly, if it were to pass, I’d want to run as a delegate if I thought I had a scintilla of a chance of winning.

The propositions are the most interesting items on the ballot because the candidate races were all but settled in the primaries, at least in the city of Albany. The one surprise for me was that Bryan Jimenez is the Green Party candidate for mayor. After the election, Dan Plaat had a 17-15 lead from the machines, but Jimenez got some absentee or other paper ballot votes.

This is unconfirmed rumor, but I was told by someone in the know that the Greens wanted a primary so they could show up on the stage with the Democrats at candidate talks, not ignored like other minor party candidates.

Ginnie Farrell, my candidate for the Albany common council

Primary voting day in the state of New York is usually on the second Tuesday of September. That is unless it lands on September 11, in which case it is moved to Thursday, September 13, the theory being that 9/11 is a time to be set aside.

But what should be more appropriate than to exercise the franchise? 11 September 2001 was primary day, ultimately postponed. I think we ought to take it back, not “let the terrorists win,” as it it were.

Once again I get to kvetch about the dual standard of voting in New York State. In New York City, Long Island, some other downstate counties and in Erie County (Buffalo) the polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., the longest period in the country. But in the rest of the state, the polls are only open from noon to 9 p.m., the shortest time in the country, as of 2016, when I last paid attention to such things nationally.

This year is less problematic than next year, when the statewide races, such as governor, attorney general and comptroller are on the ballot, giving voters downstate a significant advantage. But I hate it EVERY year. In November, I always vote before 6:15 a.m. When the school/library polls open at 7 a.m. each May, I’m one of the first in line.

When the polls don’t open until midday, I have to wait until after work to cast my ballot. And with very competitive races on the Democratic side – the only side that matters, unfortunately, in a one-party city – there may be long lines. I get to vote for county coroner, and citywide races for mayor, judge and president of the common council, plus a race for my common council member.

Or so I hope there are lines. I see on Facebook a lot of comments each primary day about the turnout, and some voter response HAS been historically low. In the recent primary race of the Dans for county executive, the Democratic turnout was well under 25%. I theorized at the time that it was because no one knew what the county executive actually did.

I told my friend Dan (different Dan) that I would use his article about the mayoral election to justify my lawn sign for the incumbent.

This November, I will vote for Ben Sturges for coroner. He’s on the ballot tomorrow on the Democratic line. But even if he loses that party designation, he’ll still be on the ballot as the Working Families Party designee. And if you didn’t find that too complicated, you must be from New York.

Scott Ritter, 2006

ITEM: Mark Evanier wrote:

“Once upon a time, weapons inspector Scott Ritter warned us that Saddam Hussein did not possess Weapons of Mass Destruction and we should not go to war there on the belief that he did. Ritter was widely denounced as foolish and gullible, and his warnings were ignored.

He is now warning that Trump’s claims of chemical weapons in Syria are a lie that could be used to justify another war build on a false premise. Maybe someone oughta at least consider that this man could be right again.”

There are people who will dismiss what Scott Ritter says, based on issues having nothing to do with his expertise. But I heard him speak in June 2002 at an Albany United Methodist Society dinner. He said what was going to happen in the lead-up to the Iraq war in March 2003, and he was 100% correct.

ITEM: States refuse Trump commission request for U.S. voter data, as well they should. But it was the conservative Red State who writes that it is “simply another conspiracy theory that he’s bound and determined to use his office to pursue.”

ITEM: One of my good buds blasted NBC for the Megyn Kelly interview with the vile Alex Jones, “almost certainly the most prolific conspiracy theorist in contemporary America,” calling it “noxious behavior in service of the dollar.” And I didn’t see it that way at all.

I thought she pressed him on his bs. I’m not sure whether she “vivisected the bloated conspiracy hog”, but she gave it a go.

Does Alex Jones merit an interview? I like to know the enemy, so I say yes. And perhaps only Kelly, among the MSM folk, could have gotten it, a “Nixon goes to China” scenario.

Part of the problem was the tease from the previous week, which gave some the impression that the former FOX “News” personality was going to be buddy-buddy with this schmuck. I understand that, as a result of the backlash before the piece even aired, NBC re-edited it to be “tougher.”

ITEM: When a certain orange person said, “Comey better hope there are no tapes,” and then said there were no tapes, that is not a lie. (Unless there ARE tapes, in which case…) It was merely him saying words. It was an empty threat that, by itself, won’t reach the level of obstruction of justice.

The man should be held accountable for every ACTUAL falsehood he’s perpetrated, and they are SO many. But let’s pick the real prevarications.

ITEM: I was SO oversaturated with email, from both sides, regarding the expensive House race in Georgia’s 6th CD. And as If Jon Ossoff Wins… or Loses notes, the response to the outcome was predictable.

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