This map was created by Patrick Ruffini to track the geographical spread of Ron Paul support on a “donor per capita” basis. Ruffini explains at techPresident.1
Meanwhile, in other news about ‘minor’ candidates (and I mean that as a compliment, given what the majors have been up to, though as I allude to in the footnotes, a couple of the minors have been up to some not-so-good things themselves)…
He was the leading nativist/Know-Nothing running in the Republican primary, though he did note in one of the so-called debates that he could perhaps claim credit for making the field more nativist. He remarked that some his intraparty rivals were trying to “out Tancredo Tancredo.”
As I said in a comment at PoliBlog (the item in the main text above):
I loathe Tom Tancredo and everything he stands for. Yet I am sorry to see him leave the race. I tend to think more candidates (better yet, more parties) are better than fewer. (Sure, there could be an upper limit, but it would well north of where we are.) And when candidates drop out before a single vote has been cast, democracy is weakened.
As a member of Congress–she was defeated for the Democratic nomination in the 2006 primary–she championed electoral reform. She is also the only Green pre-candidate so far that I am aware of with national electoral experience. On the other hand, she has her fair share of baggage in terms of past remarks and associations. Not the same as those of some of Paul’s current contributors (see the OTB link in the first footnote), but just as extreme and ugly. This is the sort of thing that, unfortunately, happens to alternative candidates and parties under our restrictive electoral system and ballot-access and campaign-finance systems. It is hard to be anything but “fringe” when the campaign vehicles in question have no realistic chance of access to representation. [↩]
How horrible. Kucinich is my favorite Democratic candidate, thought that is saying little. (If only others in the field would–and could–out Kucinich Kucinich!) I also like Mike Gravel and, on some issues, Bill Richardson.
I recently learned that Kucinich was in Fallbrook as part of a panel to look into the local response to the wildfires in October. Interesting, in that the only other members of this panel were Representatives Darrell Issa and Brian Bilbray, both local and both Republicans–not the company I normally would expect the left-libertarian anti-war Democrat from Ohio to keep. [↩]
The president is elected by plurality. Elections for the unicameral National Assembly will be on 22 March (by MMM), or about one month after the president elected today will be sworn in.
Notwithstanding the existence of an office of “premier,” South Korea is a pure presidential system, as the “premier,” once confirmed by the legislature, serves only at the president’s pleasure.
Update: Lee won 50.3% with a “huge lead,” says Radio NZ. In an item two minutes newer than the RNZ report, IHT says 48.7%, with “his nearest rival, Chung Dong-young, a candidate allied with Roh [the incumbent], coming in with only 26.1 percent.” In any event, because it is a plurality system, these differences in reported vote shares for Lee are inconsequential.
Also from the IHT: “The turnout, 62.9 percent, was a record low.”
Hamas beat Fatah by about 44% to 41% in the party-list vote at the January, 2006, elections. The electoral system turned that narrow plurality into an approximately three-fifths majority in the legislature.1
A recent poll, however, says:
If new legislative elections were to be held today, Hamas would receive 31percent of the vote, while Fatah would capture 49 percent.
The theme of the article in Haaretz, from which I quoted, is that this is “stable” support. While that may be true relative to a poll cited from September, surely the bigger story should be what a large decline this “stability” represents, from the actual legislative election.
Alas, poll respondents are probably also right about something else:
About two-thirds of those surveyed said chances for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the next five years are slim or non-existent, compared with 70 percent who said they felt that way in June.
That result is thus a bit less stable, and perhaps headed the right way,2 but still very (and realistically) pessimistic.
The was conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (see press release).
See the linked item under “Preserved Fruit” on the left sidebar for much more. [↩]
But there is still more. The two have cooperated on climate-change initiatives in the Senate since at least as far back as 2003. So they share some domestic and non-security policy goals as well as being perhaps the most stridently imperialist and militarist in their respective parties (assuming we can still call Lieberman a Democrat, based on the party he caucuses with, if nothing else).
But the bigger question is whether this endorsement can help McCain. New Hampshire, where McCain nearly shook up the GOP race with his win in 2000, allows independents to vote in either party’s primary. The 2008 political dynamic seems one highly unfavorable to independents voting in the Republican primary. Independents this year would seem to be much more likely to vote in the Democratic primary, yet with polls showing Hillary Clinton still ahead there almost 2:1, there seems little evidence of that thus far.1
Given the current state of the GOP field, I don’t rule out the nomination of McCain, though I still think it is unlikely (Steven’s post, linked above, gives the litany of reasons why, even if only by default, it could happen; see also the recent “Lexington” column in The Economist).
Another aspect that is worth noting in this endorsement is Lieberman’s own future. Whatever Lieberman may have said about 2008 previously, he was re-elected in 2006 with an electoral coalition that was much more Republican than it was Democratic. If he has any hope of continuing a career in the Senate after this term (and my guess, actually, is that he does not), it won’t be as a Democrat. He has to appeal to the constituency he actually represents. And that is independents and (moderate) Republicans. And McCain remains, other than Ron Paul, the most “independent” of the GOP nomination-seekers. No matter how much McCain may be within the mainstream of his party on most issues (something that, by the way, can also be said about Lieberman and Democrats), John McCain has staked out so many visible positions in recent years against his party’s core dogmas (as, again, has Lieberman in his) that he still has the reputation for independence that is presumably crucial for any Republican to win the general election.
In the event McCain gets the nomination, could Lieberman be fishing for the running-mate slot, or some position in a potential McCain administration? It has been a long time since someone not from the presidential nominee’s party obtained the vice-presidential nomination, though John Kerry reportedly offered his number two slot to McCain in 2004 (and that flirtation may even have been at McCain’s initiative). I will not say that I consider a McCain-Lieberman ticket likely. But it might be the Republicans’ best hope. More to the point, McCain and Lieberman do appear to need each other politically at this moment in their political careers.
Full disclosure here: I hopped on the McCain bandwagon in 2000 and have no regrets about it in the context of that campaign. He remains one of my two favorite Republicans in the field, along with Ron Paul, though that is not saying much. I could never, in today’s context, support an ardent and passionate imperialist (McCain) or an ardent and passionate privatizer even if he is an outspoken anti-imperialist (Paul). Not after the orgy of war, occupation, and sellouts to big business of the Bush years. But they remain intriguing candidates that I hope to see do better than their polling numbers. Moreover, a 2008 general-election campaign in which McCain were to be the GOP nominee, Paul were to run as an independent or Libertarian, and the Green Party were to nominate Cynthia McKinney, while the Christianists, upset over the GOP choosing someone who once called their own leadership “agents of intolerance,” ran their own candidate, would be a race for the ages! At the very least, it would increase receptiveness to arguments for electoral reform!
I say this assuming that independents would be more likely to favor someone other than Clinton–perhaps Barack Obama. And I also say this without knowing whether polls a few weeks ahead of the 2000 NH primary detected the surge of independents for McCain. Maybe there is a surge still to come, or not being detected. And if Obama did “win” in Iowa, even on the order of 30-29, maybe it would set up the independents participating in the Democratic primary that I would expect. Nonetheless, an Obama (or other Democrat) surge so late seems somewhat remote to me, and it needs to remain remote for McCain to have much of a chance. [↩]
No, I have not appointed myself spokesperson for the planet. But I agree with John Quiggin (a political social scientist and also an Australian) at Crooked Timber, as well as at his own blog, that the recent government change in Australia was significant to producing a better-than-expected deal in Bali.
Until his [i.e. new Labor PM Kevin Rudd's] election, Australia, as the only other significant country not to ratify Kyoto, was Bushâ€™s most important supporter. After the switch, Australia was able to pursue a negotiating strategy which sometimes seemed to accommodating to the US, but ultimately produced an excellent outcome.
Of course, there are also some losers, who did all they could to stop this happening, and failed. But they know who they are, and thereâ€™s no need to dwell on them today.
The linked posts (especially the one at C.T.) also have very interesting comment threads. Contributions in light of the discussions there are very much welcome here.
Green Party candidates tend not to win races in national or state/provincial legislative races conducted by plurality. The type of constituency Green parties cultivate is systematically under-represented by an electoral system that privileges regional concentration as the only way a smaller party (measured by jurisdiction-wide votes) can win representation. Nonetheless, even Greens are bound to have some local concentration, as a few near misses in recent Canadian elections discussed here previously have suggested. It seems it would be only a matter of time before some Green candidates begin to break through in FPTP jurisdictions, given the greater salience recently of the party’s signature issues.
In the UK, a recent local council by-election suggests growth within the range that would be needed to win a seat in the next general election. The seat in question is in Brighton, and bears watching.
The Padres have traded for one of my favorite ballplayers. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Jim Edmonds has shown no sign these last two seasons of the peak performance that made his Hall of Fame case seem reasonable as recently as spring, 2006.
If he has anything left, this will be fun to watch (well, if I were able to watch Padres games other than the few I manage to attend, that is). But if he is as washed up as I think he is, then it will be very painful to watch Jim E.–both as a hitter and a fielder–in that vast ballpark.
By way of a couple of blogs I checked at lunch time, I see it has been a very good week in the New Jersey legislature.
NJ Assembly passes National Popular Vote (see TDP)
NJ To End Pointless Expensive Boondoggle (abolishing the death penalty; see LGM).
Democracy and human rights, all in the same week! (The NPV measure has not yet been voted in the NJ Senate. The death penalty measure has cleared both houses and the governor has said he will sign it.)
Australian Rules football is on the short list of really cool games. Next year it will show its potential for peacemaking
Israelis and Palestinians will be fighting on the same side next summer. A joint Israeli-Palestinian team will compete in the 2008 world championship of Australian Rules football. [Source: Washington Jewish Week, 12 December.]
Switzerland, where four political parties have divided up a consensual executive amongst themselves by a fixed quota from 1959 till 2003, and with only one minor adjustment in that latter year, has seen some high drama and “dissensus” this week.
As noted in The Independent, Christoph Blocher of the nationalist Swiss Peoples party (SVP) was ousted from the cabinet by a deal struck by the other parties as the Executive Council was being bargained. The SVP won the plurality of the votes in the recent parliamentary elections, with 29%. So, given Switzerland’s consensus model, it is highly unusual that its leader would not be granted a seat, along with one party colleague on the 7-member Council.
But following a late-night plotting session, the SVP’s rivals yesterday proposed a more moderate SVP politician Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf to run against Mr Blocher [in the formal vote taken in parliament].
Widmer-Schlumpf will remain in the Council, but the IHT reports that “the party promptly withdrew its support from her and another Federal Council member from her party, Samuel Schmid, leaving two of the cabinet’s seven members without a parliamentary base.”
Switzerland, unique in Europe1, does not have a cabinet dependent on parliamentary confidence. Rather, the parliament elects the Executive Council to a fixed term. Thus the Swiss form of government is neither parliamentary nor presidential (nor semi-presidential).
This is certainly a new phase in Swiss politics, and a highly significant one for comparative politics, given the centrality of the Swiss “Magic Formula” of power sharing to the literature on consociational democracy.
And, just to continue the Swiss status as being “unusual” among the democracies, it will now be one of the very rare cases in which the largest party in parliament will be in opposition2. Something to watch…
The ‘Ice Cream’ (a.k.a. ‘Java Blue’) banana clump is very much back in business, after having been devastated by the freeze almost 11 months ago.
Look closely and you can see at least four sets of fruit and their blossoms. Each of these fruit-bearing stalks bloomed after the freeze, and while some of the bigger stalks lived through the freeze, there was no green foliage on this clump for a while after that setback.
A good long and warm summer sure has made a difference. And this is one of the very best bananas. If only we can avoid another cold spell, we are going to have a lot of fruit in the next month or two.
The photo below shows what this clump looked like on 16 January, the day after the first of five nights of freezing temperatures. (It looked a lot worse a week later.) The ‘Ice Cream’ is the clump to the left. On the right is the ‘Goldfinger,’ off which I just harvested the first post-freeze fruit Monday.
Just in from of the ‘Ice Cream’ clump in this photo is the ‘Bombay’ mango, which looks sort of OK here, but did not make it. Looking back at the first photo above, that empty circle of chicken wire in the shadows to the right of the banana clump is where the mango used to stand. Only a shoot off the rootstock (the aptly named ‘Turpentine’) now grows where the tree formerly stood. On the other hand, compare the avocado trees in the two photos. Now you would hardly know they ever had been harmed.
The 2008 Democratic presidential primary in California will be conducted on a two-tier semi-proportional basis. As described in the California Progress Report, 241 delegates will be allocated in California’s US House districts and 81 statewide. A threshold of 15% applies in each tier. The district magnitude at the district level will range from 3 to 6, “based on a formula of total population and the average for Democratic candidates in the last two presidential elections.”
With a high threshold in the statewide tier and low magnitude in the district tier,1 this system is not meaningfully “proportional,” but it has the potential to allow a candidate with well under 15% statewide but with local concentration of support to win some delegates. Of course, it is hard to say whether any such candidate exists (Richardson in some Latino-majority areas?, Kucinich in San Francisco or the North Coast?), because when was the last time you saw a presidential pre-candidate preference poll conducted at the level of congressional districts?
The CPR comments:
A candidate can very well win the state as a whole and not win a majority of delegates.
Well, duh. It is not a [plurality] winner-take-all system. However, if a candidate had a majority of the statewide vote, she (or, less likely in 2008, he) would surely win a majority of the delegates. And the candidate with the plurality is sure to be significantly over-represented–very likely with a majority–unless the result in statewide votes is very close, or there is a significant regional variation.2 Neither of which is likely.
For all its flaws–and the Democrats’ system has many–this is vastly better than what the Republicans will use in this state for their 2008 presidential primary: District-level block plurality, with no variation in magnitude. The absence of magnitude variation means that House districts with few Republican voters are vastly over-represented. The winner-take-all rule means that voters have strong incentive to vote strategically, yet they will have little information on which to base such strategy. Unlike in the Democratic primary, your candidate, if not the plurality winner, will win no delegates from your vote. So, California GOP voters, do you know who of Romney, Giuliani, Huckabee (etc.) might be in serious contention to win the plurality in your House district, or to be most likely to surpass the potential leading candidate you least like? I did not think so.
The CPR conveniently put up a link to the Democratic candidates’ campaign offices. Many of these candidates could get some district-level delegates, even if (as I suspect is likely) only two (or at most three) win any of the 81 statewide delegates. (California field offices are listed, however, only for Clinton and Obama.)
With such low magnitudes, the 15% district threshold is not likely to be operative, though if a 6-seat district were quite fragmented in its candidate preference, it could come into play. [↩]
For example, if the statewide leader racks up huge majorities in big urban areas with 6-seat districts (some of which should have more than 6 seats if the magnitude allocation strictly followed Democratic voter populations), but falls below 15% in many other districts, while the second candidate statewide wins one or two delegates even in the leader’s strongholds, while beating the leading candidate in most of the three-seaters. It is hard to imagine such a scenario materializing, interesting though it would be. [↩]
LK Advani was announced Monday as the candidate for Prime Minister if his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were to win sufficient seats at the next election to form a government. Elections are not due till 2009, but there is much speculation that they could come early. The current minority Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance has been in an ongoing tussle with the Left parties, who support the UPA from outside cabinet, over the pending US-India nuclear agreement.
The announcement of Advani is hardly a surprise, as he has been the leader of the official Opposition in the Lok Sabha (lower house of parliament) for some time. However, till now, the formal chair of the party has remained Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Vajpayee was Prime Minister of the BJP-led minority governments for two weeks in 1996 and again in 1998-99, as well as of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance majority government that served a full term (1999 to 2004). (The current Congress-led government resulted from the 2004 elections.)
What is most interesting about the announcement is its timing: just as assembly elections in the important state of Gujarat are getting underway. Gujarat is one of the BJP’s strongholds. The party currently has a two thirds majority there, and the election is now looking like it could be close, aided by coordination among opposition parties:
â€œThe index of opposition unity is high,â€ said a Left leader referring to a proper seat sharing deal between the UPA members, a contrast from 2002 when the Congress and Sharad Pawarâ€™s NCP fought separately. [The NCP is now a constituent party of the UPA in the central cabinet.]
There had been speculation that if the BJP were to perform well in Gujarat, its Chief Minister (state premier), Narendra Modi, might have mounted a challenge to Advani for national leadership. Internal divisions in the state’s party will probably prevent a strong showing. The federal party’s announcement could be partly an attempt at preemption of Modi’s national ambitions, but also, an effort to reassure Modi’s intra-party rivals. Advani, who turned 80 last month, represents a Lok Sabha district in Gujarat.
Like most state, as well as federal, elections in India, polling takes place over several stages. That is, not all districts vote on the same day. The first stage of the Gujarat elections is 11 December, and the second and final stage will be 16 December. Votes will be counted on 23 December.
Another state with a close BJP-Congress race, Himachal Pradesh, is also voting: The first stage was 21 November and the final stage will be 19 December.
The snowfall got pretty low overnight. I can’t remember the last time I saw snow this low.
This view is from the highest point of the finca, just past the final stop on the Ladera Frutal Incline Railway. The view is to the northeast, towards the Palomar Divide. In the foreground are the massive avocado groves on the other side a narrow canyon, and just west of Interstate 15.
These mountains are about 15 miles away, though on a clear day like today, the sure look closer. Parts of the lower elevations on this snow-dusted ridge burned in the Poomacha Fire during the wildfires of late October.
Update: Next time the ridge was visible, on 15 December, the snow appeared to be gone already. That did not take long.
If by my laws you walk, and my commands you keep, and observe them,
then I will give-forth your rains in their set-time,
so that the earth gives-forth its yield
and the trees of the field give-forth their fruit.
--Vayikra 26: 3-4