Viggo Mortensen for Kucinich

January 8, 2008 at 4:42 pm 15 comments


Entry filed under: Dennis Kucinich, Kucinich, Viggo Mortensen. Tags: , , , .

Kucinich Campaign Update 1/7/08 A Quick Note on New Hampshire

15 Comments Add your own

  • 1. cerebraljetsam  |  January 8, 2008 at 5:19 pm

    Did you see Leno last night? Ron Paul was on the show and declared that Kucinich is a dear friend of his and his favorite Democratic candidate.

  • 2. anaj  |  January 8, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    A strong support speech. Btw, I have never heard him speak with such a strong American accent (certainly not in Eastern Promises:-)

  • 3. anaj  |  January 8, 2008 at 7:03 pm

    How would I having firt “meet him” as Aragorn:-)

  • 4. anaj  |  January 8, 2008 at 7:04 pm

    ok, my typos embarrass me – how would I, believing that I first “met him” as Aragorn. Thanks for digging this vid up.

  • 5. anaj  |  January 9, 2008 at 10:55 am

    Is there a website that you can recommend where one can get on overview of the results of the primaries? Btw: Are there only two political parties in the US? This is probably a stupid question – but what an odd system where the first elections take place within the party? And is that the only time that you get to vote or will there be another election in the end (for everyone to participate)?

  • 6. anaj  |  January 9, 2008 at 11:00 am

    Found one!

    Does Wyoming only have 20 inhabitants or is it an entirely a Democrat’s state?

  • 7. anaj  |  January 9, 2008 at 11:05 am

    I really don’t get this: If New Hampshire has only half as many inhabitants as Iowa, how come several hundred thousands vote in NH, but barely 150,000 in total voted in Iowa?

  • 8. skunkcabbage  |  January 9, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    @jetsam: I missed Leno. Shame on Ron Paul for appearing on a scab show! I had heard that DK was interested in RP as a running-mate. I get that they’re both “dark-horse” candidates, yadda yadda, but Ron Paul believes that a “welfare state” interferes with personal merit and freedom, whereas Kucinich believes that single-payer healthcare and quality public education are rights. Not to mention the difference in opinion about whether women are competent to choose what to do with their own bodies. I guess the paternal logic is that women aren’t rationally competent to know how to ecercise their “personal freedom.” I like DK, and he and Paul may very well be friends, but I’d never vote for anything with the latter’s name on it.

    @anaj: Wyoming is a sparsely populated state generally considered deeply conservative.

    Democracy in the US is deeply flawed. The primaries we’re witnessing right now are held by the two major parties (Republicans and Democrats) in conjunction with their state organizations. Other parties could very well hold primaries if they wanted, though the bourgeois press would surely ignore them, much as they ignore DK and RP on the other side. Winning a sufficient number of primaries qualifies one to be the candidate in a general presidential election.

    Each state has its own laws about whether one can only vote in the primary of the party for which she is a registered member, or whether as an independent (as in New Hampshire) a person can decide to vote in the primary for either party.

    You can vote for whomever or write-in a candidate
    in the general election, which is where the actual president is elected. That vote is help in November.

    There are other parties in the US, though they tend to be much smaller and states discriminate against them by putting large signature requirements for gaining a spot on the ballot. The Greens have been growing, for example.

    The disparity between New Hampshire and Iowa is that democrats in Iowa don’t actually vote, the caucus. What this means is that they show up at a specific place in each county at a specific time (5:00, I think offhand). They then stand near a representative of the democratic candidate they prefer. If that candidate fails to meet a certain threshold of supporters, other candidate representatives are free to persuade those supporters to join her supporters in the second round. There are only two rounds. This is why Kucinich told his supporters that if they fail to meet the threshold in Iowa, they should caucus for Barack. The whole process takes about two hours and caucus goers have to stay the whole time. So, as you can see, caucusing is considerably more involved than simply voting. That I suspect is why the turnout is lower. It’s not a very fair way to do things because if you have to work during those two hours, you can’t caucus. Babysitting is also an issue.

    Thanks for your questions! It’s nice to be able to feel like there’s some use for my compulsive attention to these things. (I spent 5 hours glued to msnbc last night–clearly, I’m not well).

  • 9. anaj  |  January 9, 2008 at 4:54 pm

    This caucus thing sounds very archaic, very tribal. Does that mean that people who suffer from panic attacks or who cannot leave their houses for whichever reason or who are abroad at the time cannot vote?

    I guess then that in Wyoming only party-members can vote, which would be another explanation for the exceedingly low number.

    And even though it is probably not very likely that a Green president would be elected – the Greens (I had been wondering a while now whether there was such a thing as a Green party in the US) do not even have a primary?

    And who votes for a president in the end: you (i.e. citizens) or some party delegates?

  • 10. skunkcabbage  |  January 9, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    It is very archaic. Sadly, it means exactly that people who can’t make it to the caucus site for whatever reason are excluded.

    As far as I know the greens don’t hold primaries.

    Your last question is a particularly good one. We have an electoral college that assigns a certain number of “votes” to each state based upon population. If a candidate prevails in a state by winning the popular vote (the vote that mere mortals like myself participate in) she wins that states designated number of electoral votes.

    It is entirely possible that more people in sheer numbers will vote for a particular candidate, but that the other candidate will win because she has more electoral votes. We thus distinguish between the popular vote and the gerrymandering of the electoral college. When in doubt, the supreme court throws the election one way or the other as in Bush v. Gore. Occasionally this transparent lack of democracy is questioned.

  • 11. skunkcabbage  |  January 9, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    Let me try to demonstrate this:
    State A has a population of 10,000
    and 2 electoral votes

    State B has a population of 25,000
    and 4 electoral votes.

    State C has a population of 7,000
    and 1 electoral vote.

    State D has a population of 7,000 and
    1 electoral vote.

    Although state B has a larger popular margin by 1,000 votes, the electoral vote is equal at 4.

    Let’s say that states A,C, and D vote for one candidate and B for the other.

    With the electoral college, the supreme court now breaks the tie, despite the fact that the candidate state B preferred won 1,000 more votes than the other candidate.

  • 12. skunkcabbage  |  January 9, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    I’m of course presuming in the above example that the populace of a state votes 100% for one candidate or the other solely for purposes of easy illustration.

  • 13. anaj  |  January 9, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    Ok, I see now how it works. I neglected to research this properly in the Bush vs. Gore/Bush vs. Kerry times, yet find this procedure a bit threatening.

    In the Weimarer republic, i.e. between the 1st and 2nd Worldwar in Germany, all votes counted, which in the end led to the fact that many minority parties had a seat in the parliament, which eventually rendered the parliament defunct. This can, of course not happen in the US American system where you have all or nothing.

    What has been installed in Germany after the second world war is the so called 5% rule: A party has to have at least 5% of votes to get into the parliament. The chancellor is then elected by the parliament – and so far it hasn’t happened that the candidate who spearheaded the campaign of the winning party wasn’t confirmed.

    Now that’s the socalled “secondary vote” – but there’s also a primary vote (all taking place in the same election) with which one votes for what a local representative from the list of direct candidates to enter the parliament (and vote for the chancellor; meaning that a certain amount are direct candidates for the parliament and a certain amount of seats in the parliament are assigned on the basis of the secondary vote).

    The number of seats in the parliament may vary – if more direct candidates have been elected than a party deserves according to secondary vote, additional seats will be created.

    This system has its drawbacks as well – but I#d still say that it is not possible to elect a chancellor if the majority of individuals didn’t give him/her their secondary vote.

  • 14. cerebraljetsam  |  January 9, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    re: ron paul. yes, obviously there should not be a single vote cast for him. he’s a sneaky fucker, though, and VERY popular with young voters, who seem to forget that he’s a republican with all his anti-war and pro-kucinich talk. his campaign is very interesting that way (in a scary manner), because it’s deeply viral, appeals to young voters (see he flood of ron paul stickers at uic) and hides the fact that he is merely the only truly neoliberal of republican candidates.

  • 15. skunkcabbage  |  January 10, 2008 at 3:59 pm

    @anaj: Thanks for explaining the 5% rule. Seems like a sensible system. 5% is a threshold that even our so-called 3rd parties could meet. Americans, I imagine, would balk at the idea of a secondary vote, though. The idea of anyone voting on their behalf would raise hackles. And this despite the fact that the electoral college in many ways is just such a secondary vote.

    @jetsam: I was disturbed when one of my better students last semester started organizing another student for Ron Paul after class. I watched RP in a debate last weekend and he is a sly one. He ties his anti-Iraq war position to a very neo-liberal logic that appeals to all those go-it-alone individuals for the whom the “welfare” state is the greatest obstacle to recognition of their outstanding merit. It’s a childish political economy.

    You’re absolutely right, his campaign is scary and interesting. I can’t go to a party here in PA without some yokel wanting to argue for him.


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