Tag Archives: election

McMarginalized

you know that thing people sometimes say, when they’re trying not to sound racist or bigoted, that only makes them sound vaguely racist/bigoted as well as kind of hokey and old-fashioned… they say something like:

I don’t care if you’re white, black, yellow, orange, purple, whatever…

because sure, there are yellow people.  and when they refer to the Orange, I can give them the benefit of the doubt and hope that they’re referring to the faketan set.  but then they have to say Purple, and we all know there are no purple people.  not on this planet anyway.

so I heard a soundbite from McCain this morning, where he encouraged everyone to get out and vote:

“Republicans, Democrats, libertarians… vegetarians — whatever!”

right, because libertarians are about as viable as a constituency as vegetarians.

probability that I’d vote for McCain —
yesterday:  20%
as of this morning:  0%

[update:  turns out he’s used this phrase more than once, going back as far as the 2000 campaign.  but I was shocked, SHOCKED, when I heard it this morning…]

[update2:  the old fart is back on SNL tonight on their Election special… doesn’t he know that won’t get him any votes?  doesn’t he realize they’re making fun of him every second he’s on their show, behind his back, without him seeming to realize it?  it’s agonizing — almost worth a sympathy vote– NO NO, he’s not suckering me into a sympathy vote…]

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voter fraud vs. voter suppression

To here the news lately, you’d think we live in some third-world dictatorship, unable to administer a fair election.

The press keeps touting the fact that we are due for the greatest voter turnout of all time.  One group, which tends to be Republican and/or conservative, spin tales of fraudulent voter registration rolls — of elections being stolen by the likes of Mickey Mouse and Yo Momma, or possibly of immigrants that are ineligible to vote, or possibly by people voting several times under different identities.  Another group is sounding the alarm against voter suppression, citing that names are already being removed from rolls or are being allocated provisional ballots that can be suppressed for all kinds of minor reasons…  of course that groups tends to be Democrat/liberal.

First things first — I don’t think voter turnout is going to be all that great.  “The youth” that everyone thinks is so energized about this election; isn’t that the same “youth” that was going to turn the tide in 2000?  and 2004?  I know, technically it’s not the same youth, as those youth are no longer young (prematurely middle-aged by the inability to get a home mortgage in these crazy times).  But seriously, “the youth vote” always seems to find something better to do November 4th, so don’t count on them.

The big chunk of ‘undecided’ voters are equally unlikely to make a difference; a Pew study I heard about on NPR this afternoon demonstrated that almost half of those ‘undecided’ in days leading up to the election just end up not voting.  No reason to think that will be any different this year; and frankly, do we really want people going into the polling stations thinking “eeiny, meeny, miney, mo…?”  Stay home, undecided voter.

Of course, now that the media has convinced us it will be an unprecedented turnout, when numbers are below expectations they can easily reason that huge numbers of votes have “been suppressed”.  If Obama doesn’t win, or it’s close, you’ll hear this before the end of election night.  No, it’s not a card the Republicans can play.

The Republican card is voter fraud, and it’s decidedly more difficult to play with a straight face.  Sure, it’s possible that people could vote multiple times in different precincts with easy-to-obtain fake IDs.  But it’s a lot more difficult logistically to make this happen than it is to make a few thousand votes disappear from a Diebold machine.

Both sides can argue breathlessly that their ideological constituents are being wronged here, but it makes me wonder which is the greater transgression?  Is there a corollary of Blackstone’s formulation?

“Better that ten illegitimate persons cast votes than one legitimate citizen have there vote cast asunder” ?

“Better than ten legitimate votes be withdrawn than to have the will of the people thwarted by a single illegitimate vote” ?

Neither one sounds right; either way, here’s my prediction — voter fraud/suppression will be in the secondary headlines on November 5th.

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“invest in college affordability”

this was something Obama said in the debates tonight, but I have no idea what it might possibly mean.

how do you invest in college “affordability”?  invest in technology that makes delivery of higher educational ‘services’ more affordable?  or are they just talking about cutting the cost of college through some subsidies/loan-programs?

college has never been so accessible to so many people — by definition, that’s affordability.  look at the numbers of people attending college year over year for the past 10 years — I bet it’s never gone down.  those people are all funded by something that is making it affordable enough to not skip and jump straight into the labor force…

I joked about this with several MBA students last week at an alumni event I attended; I said, “oh yeah, you guys have it so hard,” — and they all laughed back.  it was nervous laughter, because they’re unsure if the investment in this Masters degree will pay off for them when the Wall Street jobs they aspired to are being cut back, but they know they’re investing in their futures and that’s a good bet.

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pictures say thousands of words

the graphs are the price of futures contracts for each candidate for their respective party nomination.  the basics of these futures is that they pay out $100 if the candidate wins and $0 if they lose.  so it would have been sweet to buy on Obama’s dip (below $25) back in October ’07 and have it pay 4-to-1; shorting Clinton at the same time also would have paid off handsomely.

while there are shortcomings in these futures markets, they represent real people staking real money on the results — so they have more riding on them than an opinion given to a pollster.  and they represent something much more important than the current polls (which have Clinton and Obama virtually tied) — they represent the lead that Obama has and the virtual impossibility of Clinton to overcome it.  she can beat him 51% to 49% in every state from here to the end, and she still won’t overtake him on pledged delegates.  that might put her ahead in the overall popular vote, but well, that’s a topic for another post…

[images, futures quotes, charts: intrade]

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