Tuesday, November 9, 2010

3rd pty political spending punches above its weight

All campaign dollars are not the same. You know how at the end of every candidate's ad there's that bit where he says "I'm X and I approve this ad."

Well, he doesn't need to do that for 3rd party ads. So if they lie he can claim clean hands.

So the 3rd pty ads the Supremes set free--and free to fly in secret--punch far above their weight, mostly because they can hit below the belt, and also because they can pretend to come from citizens' grassroots organizations.

BTW that freedom to spend in secret doesn't apply to union-sponsored ads. Advantage Republicans.

Of course all three left wing billionaires in America are now free to contribute in secret as well. But we all know they're waaaay outnumbered by right wing billionaires. Again, advantage Republican.

And we also know that on average one Republican vote counts for more than one Democrat vote because a preponderance of small states are solidly Republican, and the Electoral College gives them extra votes. For example, one Montanan's vote equals more than three Californians' votes when it comes to electing presidents. Yet again, advantage Republican.

Plus all those small states send exactly the same number of senators the Congress as the large states. Thus the Republican Senate majority from 2000-2006 represented many millions fewer voters than the Democratic Senate minority.

And even when the Republicans are in the minority, the advantage continues, because Senate rules let the minority block the majority in most areas unless the majority can muster a super-majority. That's how they've blocked so many Obama appointees, even nonpartisan ones, in hopes of making his presidency fail--regardless of the cost to effective government for these years.

And yet again, advantage Republican.

The Founding Fathers didn't write the Senate rules, but they did create the Electoral College--though not for any reasons that are true today, except to reflect the compromise needed to get the original 13 colonies to surrender their separate sovereignty to a national government. Nor did political parties even exist when the Founding Fathers launched our country. So perhaps it's just coincidence that the Republican Party, from secret billionaires' contributions to Senate obstructionism, has so much more representation in government than its actual number of voters represent.

And maybe that's why Democrat-controlled states send their tax dollars to Washington, which then sends a disproportionate amount of those monies to Republican states--you know, to the people who so resent having to pay taxes. Every single Blue state is a net donor state, while every single Republican one is a net recipient state.

So I expect the first thing the Party of States' Rights and Lower Taxes to do when the House of Representatives passes to Republican control is to pass a law mandating that each state get no more back from the federal government than its tax dollars can pay for.

If not, I'm afraid I'm going to have to call it the Party of Tax Cheats and Welfare Queens.

Of course they won't, because that would mean paying more than lip service to the principles they espouse--and their ruggedly individualistic, anti-tax, states-rights-loving constituents have no problem with stealing from the Blue states--making them hypocrites as big as the officals they've elected.

Honestly, all I ask of Democrats and Republicans is that both sides live by their principles, even when it doesn't advantage them tactically, and that both fly the Stars and Strips above their party's flag.

Too much to ask?


Anonymous said...

12 of the 13 smallest states (3-4 electoral votes) are almost invariably non-competitive, and ignored, in presidential elections. Six regularly vote Republican (Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, and South Dakota),, and six regularly vote Democratic (Rhode Island, Delaware, Hawaii, Vermont, Maine, and DC) in presidential elections.

n1ck said...

A lot of those states are also ignored because they don't swing one way or the other. DC isn't voting for a Republican, just like Alaska isn't voting for a Democrat.

But beyond that, defending the electoral college is a losing cause. The system allows someone who didn't win the election by voter approval still take office. The fact that a presidential candidate can lose the popular vote and still win the election has to be seen as a huge defect in our system. It isn't anything else.