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View Full Version : Electoral Fusion: How to empower 3rd parties, by avoiding the "wasted vote"


jAZ
07-11-2007, 11:42 PM
I read about this the other day... VERY cool idea.

I just read today that it was the defacto standard for years until the main parties moved to outlaw the practice at many levels.

The descriptions I've read aren't very clear, so I'll give my example.

Basically, electoral fusion laws would empower 3rd parties by allowing a given candidate to register and run in a given election on multiple paty tickets at one time.

Example:

Ron Paul could run for President as BOTH the Republican Party candidate AND the Libertarian Party candidate.

A ballot might look like this:

[ ] Barack Obama, Democrat
[ ] Ron Paul, Republican
[ ] Ron Paul, Libertarian
[ ] Ralph Nader, Green

When you vote, you pick only one of the above four options. If you like Ron Paul, but you are sick of the Republican party... you can vote Libertarian and still vote Ron Paul.

jAZ
07-11-2007, 11:46 PM
I think elections in NY and CT work this way now. And Mass. had it on the ballot.

Here's an article from Boston.com on the issue.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/politics/candidates/ballotquestions/question2/

Here's the Wikipedia entry....
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electoral_fusion

Cochise
07-12-2007, 12:15 AM
How does this change the 'wasted vote'?

I think most people would say that if they defect from the party they normally choose to a candidate with no realistic chance, the vote is wasted because they have helped the candidate they like the least by subtracting a vote from the other realistic alternative.

It doesn't matter what you write on the ballot, if only two have a real chance and you leave one for a minor party, it's still wasted in that sense of the word.

Silock
07-12-2007, 12:35 AM
I can hear the people of Florida screaming now.

jAZ
07-12-2007, 12:46 AM
How does this change the 'wasted vote'?

I think most people would say that if they defect from the party they normally choose to a candidate with no realistic chance, the vote is wasted because they have helped the candidate they like the least by subtracting a vote from the other realistic alternative.

It doesn't matter what you write on the ballot, if only two have a real chance and you leave one for a minor party, it's still wasted in that sense of the word.
Here's how it helps...

Let's say I'm a Green Party voter at heart, but I know that Hillary is running against Bush in 2008 (pretend). As a green, I'm sick of the corporate democratic party. Hillary has done enough to get the Green Party nomination, so I can vote for her as either a Green or a Dem. I choose Green but I do so without throwing away my vote and thus helping Bush.

The system also allows the candidate to see in a very public way, where their support comes from. And at the same time, those votes that go to Hillary on the Green ticket and give the Green Party a much higher profile than it would otherwise get.

jAZ
07-12-2007, 12:51 AM
Maybe a better example would be the 2000 election.

Were Al Gore to choose to seek both the Green and Dem Party nominations, then Green Party supporters who ended up putting Bush into office by voting Green/Nader would have the same freedom to vote their prefered party while not helping to elect Bush.

jAZ
07-12-2007, 12:55 AM
In my state, I could see McCain running for Senate on both the Libertarian and Republican party tickets. I voted for him on the Republican ticket already, but I'd much prefer doing so on the Libertarian ticket.

ClevelandBronco
07-12-2007, 12:58 AM
Maybe a better example would be the 2000 election.

Were Al Gore to choose to seek both the Green and Dem Party nominations, then Green Party supporters who ended up putting Bush into office by voting Green/Nader would have the same freedom to vote their prefered party while not helping to elect Bush.

That's the whole reason behind it, but you have the wrong election in mind. This is a sales pitch for what could happen in 2012, not what could have happened in 2000. The Greens weren't interested in Gore in 2000. He hadn't packaged himself in phony emerald clothing back then.

jAZ
07-12-2007, 01:12 AM
That's the whole reason behind it, but you have the wrong election in mind. This is a sales pitch for what could happen in 2012, not what could have happened in 2000. The Greens weren't interested in Gore in 2000. He hadn't packaged himself in phony emerald clothing back then.
It's just a hypothetical to illustrate the value.

Kerry 2004 would be a more realistic option, though Nader didn't have much influence in 2004.

IMO any of the major candidates from the Dem/Rep party who also choose to seek the Green/Libertarin party nomination would beat (easily) an off-the-radar candiate like Badnarik or Nader.

trndobrd
07-12-2007, 08:06 AM
If an American goes to the polls and votes his or her conscience, how is the vote "wasted"?

jAZ
07-12-2007, 08:17 AM
If an American goes to the polls and votes his or her conscience, how is the vote "wasted"?
I don't really think there is a need to raise or debate this point.

trndobrd
07-12-2007, 08:23 AM
I don't really think there is a need to raise or debate this point.


Oh. Well in that case, please accept my hearfelt apology for bringing up a relevant subject related to the topic of the thread. As final arbiter of what does and does not need to be raised or debated in D.C. I understand that you are not required to answer for or explain any statements you make.

The mighty jAZ has spoken!

BucEyedPea
07-12-2007, 08:37 AM
I can hear the people of Florida screaming now.
I'm not.

jAZ
07-12-2007, 08:48 AM
Oh. Well in that case, please accept my hearfelt apology for bringing up a relevant subject related to the topic of the thread. As final arbiter of what does and does not need to be raised or debated in D.C. I understand that you are not required to answer for or explain any statements you make.

The mighty jAZ has spoken!
I was trying not to be a dick about it.

We are all fairly sophisticated politicos here in the DC. I think the idealism of your point is self evident. The reality of the nature of 3rd party voting given the current system is the issue.

Suggesting that it's not a "waste" does little to advance the discussion of fixing the problem and is a great candidate for an extended tangetial discussion about something that (more so than even the average DC subject) is purely a matter of opinion, semantics and ultimately has no tangible impact.

FD
07-12-2007, 08:59 AM
I think instant run-off voting is still the best option if this is what youre going for.

Taco John
07-12-2007, 09:04 AM
There's no such thing as a wasted vote. A vote should be a show of support for a candidate, not a vote against a candidate, or a vote for another candidate by proxy of voting against a candidate.

I will never feel like my vote is wasted by voting for a third party.

Cochise
07-12-2007, 09:13 AM
Here's how it helps...

Let's say I'm a Green Party voter at heart, but I know that Hillary is running against Bush in 2008 (pretend). As a green, I'm sick of the corporate democratic party. Hillary has done enough to get the Green Party nomination, so I can vote for her as either a Green or a Dem. I choose Green but I do so without throwing away my vote and thus helping Bush.

The system also allows the candidate to see in a very public way, where their support comes from. And at the same time, those votes that go to Hillary on the Green ticket and give the Green Party a much higher profile than it would otherwise get.

How does this help the 98+% of people who vote for a major party candidate go to a minor candidate without wasting their vote?

A green party voter was going to waste their vote in the first place. And they can already un-waste it the same way.

This doesn't make any sense.

jAZ
07-12-2007, 09:21 AM
How does this help the 98+% of people who vote for a major party candidate go to a minor candidate without wasting their vote?

A green party voter was going to waste their vote in the first place. And they can already un-waste it the same way.

This doesn't make any sense.
Ugh.

If you are a green who is sick of the Dem party platform and corporate agenda... and you simultaneously refuse to allow Bush another 4 years to run the country... you are in a tough spot.

This system woudl free you up to vote Kerry in 2004 as the Green party candidate in 2004... and help him get elected... and help him to be at least a little more accountable to the Green Party platform vs the Dem party platform.

And each person freed up to make that same choice, empowers the Green Party even more.

Simplex3
07-12-2007, 01:01 PM
Ugh.

If you are a green who is sick of the Dem party platform and corporate agenda... and you simultaneously refuse to allow Bush another 4 years to run the country... you are in a tough spot.
IMO in your scenario you just wasted your vote. You voted for someone you don't like in order to not have someone you don't like more. If that's where we're going then the whole damned thing is a waste.

This is why centralized power is f**king stupid. National elections shouldn't be this big a deal.

BucEyedPea
07-12-2007, 01:25 PM
This is why centralized power is f**king stupid. National elections shouldn't be this big a deal.

Oh wow! A forgotten gem. The presidents sphere of activity was intended to be limited. We were never supposed to have this strong an executive branch, making national elections increasingly more important than they should be. It was recognized that it's easier for vested interests to control one man, than a multitude of men that reside in a congress.

Simplex3
07-12-2007, 01:32 PM
Oh wow! A forgotten gem. The presidents sphere of activity was intended to be limited. We were never supposed to have this strong an executive branch, making national elections increasingly more important than they should be. It was recognized that it's easier for vested interests to control one man, than a multitude of men that reside in a congress.
You're about 3 steps short of my point.

The f**king feds were never supposed to have anywhere NEAR this much power. Any branch.

Instead of 300 million people living in one of fifty states that leaned the way they do, we all have to fight for every inch because it's one giant f**king s**t stain.

BucEyedPea
07-12-2007, 02:20 PM
You're about 3 steps short of my point.

The f**king feds were never supposed to have anywhere NEAR this much power. Any branch.

Instead of 300 million people living in one of fifty states that leaned the way they do, we all have to fight for every inch because it's one giant f**king s**t stain.
I'm not three steps short of your point at all. You're short on mine.
I posted the same all over this forum. Just because I choose to expand on the presidential aspect instead doesn't mean I don't hold that point too. And my point still stands.

jAZ
07-12-2007, 02:31 PM
IMO in your scenario you just wasted your vote. You voted for someone you don't like in order to not have someone you don't like more. If that's where we're going then the whole damned thing is a waste.

This is why centralized power is f**king stupid. National elections shouldn't be this big a deal.
No one is forcing you to "vote for someone you don't like". The system gives you the ability to vote for someone you do like, without having to vote for the party you don't like.

Simplex3
07-12-2007, 03:16 PM
No one is forcing you to "vote for someone you don't like". The system gives you the ability to vote for someone you do like, without having to vote for the party you don't like.
LMAO

Every one of your examples REQUIRES that you're voting against another candidate. If that weren't the case then this whole plan is a waste of time. Additionally you're talking about selling all third parties to the Republicans and the Democrats, plain and simple.

My point stands. The feds need to be neutered so that this is all pointless.

jAZ
07-12-2007, 03:42 PM
LMAO

Every one of your examples REQUIRES that you're voting against another candidate. If that weren't the case then this whole plan is a waste of time. Additionally you're talking about selling all third parties to the Republicans and the Democrats, plain and simple.

My point stands. The feds need to be neutered so that this is all pointless.
You neutering federal power (something that I don't dismiss) doesn't change the fact that the 3rd party is locked out. Move the power down to the state, and you move the problem down to the state level.

This system contributes to breaking that lock by eliminating a huge obstacle that blocks 3rd partys from gaining influence.

That you don't wish to acknowledge the reality of the political dynamic of "the lesser of two evils" issue doesn't make it go away.

Taco John
07-12-2007, 03:46 PM
They already have this system. That's why people register under different parties, or as independants.

Simplex3
07-12-2007, 03:56 PM
You neutering federal power (something that I don't dismiss) doesn't change the fact that the 3rd party is locked out. Move the power down to the state, and you move the problem down to the state level.
If the state was the primary governing force there would be many, many parties. There might be one that called itself "Republican" in every state, but they would not hold the same values. NY conservatives and LA conservatives don't believe in the same things, yet they're force to abdicate many of their beliefs in order to not have a Democrat in charge of the federal behemoth.

With a primarily federal system you're saying there are two types of people and all of them in one type hold the same view on all issues. With a primarily state-based system you can have 100 types of people (even if there are only two party names), all of whom are protected by the umbrella of the Constitution.
This system contributes to breaking that lock by eliminating a huge obstacle that blocks 3rd partys from gaining influence.
I don't believe that for a second. This system pushes the corruption out into the third parties.
That you don't wish to acknowledge the reality of the political dynamic of "the lesser of two evils" issue doesn't make it go away.
Oh, I acknowledge it. I think it's impossible to get around as long as things are governed on the federal level.

WilliamTheIrish
07-12-2007, 07:18 PM
There's no such thing as a wasted vote. A vote should be a show of support for a candidate, not a vote against a candidate, or a vote for another candidate by proxy of voting against a candidate.

I will never feel like my vote is wasted by voting for a third party.


Absolutely. I would never have dreamed of voting for the Libertarian candidate before 04. Looking back, that vote was anything but wasted.

It might have seemed wasted to the folks that supported Kerry/Edwards.

jAZ
07-12-2007, 09:22 PM
They already have this system. That's why people register under different parties, or as independants.
No, in fact this system is banned by law.

patteeu
07-13-2007, 06:42 AM
This doesn't make any sense.

I agree. This seems like one of those ideas that some pothead thought was brilliant while he was high.

Why would someone who didn't like either of the major party candidates, suddenly cast a vote for one of them just because they are listed a second time with a minor party affiliation?

jAZ
07-13-2007, 08:57 AM
First of all, this "pothead" idea was how our system operated from our nation's inception by the (pothead?) founding fathers until it was banned by the Republican party (accornding to the Wikipedia entry above... I'm assuming the Democratic Party didn't mind) as it became too effective in stripping power away from the major parties in the late 19th century.

Second, I think you guys are thinking far too much like the guy who savors the lovable-loser role.

Fusion is a tool that proved powerful in ensuring a multi-polar electoral system. The entrenched two-party system of Republicans and Democrats ensured their unrivaled dominance of our political system when fusion was banned in 43 states between (approx) 1870 and 1910.

jAZ
07-13-2007, 09:24 AM
Why would someone who didn't like either of the major party candidates, suddenly cast a vote for one of them just because they are listed a second time with a minor party affiliation?
1) Because you support the party who chose to endorse the candidate, but not the candidate's other party.
2) You realize more people will support (vote for) the Libertarian party if he is the canddiate than would vote for some other joe-blow as the libertarian party candidate.

As an example, Ron Paul running for the House from Texas.

He is about as pure a Libertarian as a canddiate gets on that national scene, but in order to get elected to anything substantial, he needs to be part of the Republican party. While he disagrees with much of the GOP party platform, their entrenched power, resources, visibility, self-identifying voters make it mandatory for him to pick the GOP. Were he to run on the ticket as both... over time, the everage voter will learn to associate their canddiate with something other than the major party. Giving that party greater and greater visibilty. The more visibilty, the more votes next time. The more votes, the more influence the party has on setting th platform for that candidate.

Fusion is a tool that pulls power away from the established parties.

htismaqe
07-13-2007, 11:19 AM
First of all, this "pothead" idea was how our system operated from our nation's inception by the (pothead?) founding fathers until it was banned by the Republican party (accornding to the Wikipedia entry above... I'm assuming the Democratic Party didn't mind) as it became too effective in stripping power away from the major parties in the late 19th century.

Behind every good man there is a woman, and that woman was Martha Washington man, and everyday George would come home, she would have a big fat bowl waiting for him, man when he come in the door, man she was a hip, hip, hip lady, man.

Cochise
07-13-2007, 11:37 AM
Why would someone who didn't like either of the major party candidates, suddenly cast a vote for one of them just because they are listed a second time with a minor party affiliation?

No kidding. The candidate doesn't give a rat's ass which box you mark as long as it's one of theirs.

The ultimate waste of a vote, if you are a Green, would be voting for the Democratic candidate, because you sold out what you really believe in (the Green candidate) and took the hand-to-mouth route.

If you voted for the Green, that's taking a principled stand. If you voted for the Republican, at least it would be a protest vote against whomever the Demcrats nominate. But if you vote for them, that's the ultimate waste, or sellout, however you want to put it. It doesn't matter if you vote for Hillary as a Green or as a Democrat or a Spaghetti Monsterian. Same candidate. She is repping the Democratic party. You're going to get Democrat policies in office.

It just seems like a way to sell out and assuage your conscience at the same time.

jAZ
07-13-2007, 12:16 PM
No kidding. The candidate doesn't give a rat's ass which box you mark as long as it's one of theirs.

The ultimate waste of a vote, if you are a Green, would be voting for the Democratic candidate, because you sold out what you really believe in (the Green candidate) and took the hand-to-mouth route.

If you voted for the Green, that's taking a principled stand. If you voted for the Republican, at least it would be a protest vote against whomever the Demcrats nominate. But if you vote for them, that's the ultimate waste, or sellout, however you want to put it. It doesn't matter if you vote for Hillary as a Green or as a Democrat or a Spaghetti Monsterian. Same candidate. She is repping the Democratic party. You're going to get Democrat policies in office.

It just seems like a way to sell out and assuage your conscience at the same time.
It's a tool for pulling voters away from the Republican and Democratic parties who don't vote Green or Libertarian traditionally, but have values that match the party platform of the Libertarian party.

Something like this would allow al candidate with views like Joe Lieberman to run as a Dem, and work to secure the "Labor Party of CT", the "Conservation Party of CT" and the "NeoCon Party of CT" (or pick another party that might arise).