Sunday, April 29, 2012

A thought for independents, libertarians, and Castle Republicans in Delaware in Election 2012 . . . .

Mitt Romney cannot win Delaware's three electoral votes.

So maybe it's time to think about a more creative way to waste your vote . . . .

It's pretty simple math:

2008:  Obama 62% McCain 37%

2004:  Kerry 53% Bush 46%

2000:  Gore 55% Bush 42%

1996:  Clinton 52% Dole 37% Perot 11%

1992:  Clinton 42% Bush 36% Perot 22%

The very best that a GOP Presidential candidate has done in Delaware over the past five elections is to get within 6%--and that hasn't been done since 1992.  Pretty much every organization doing predictions places Delaware in the "safe" column for President Obama.

Not the least reason for expecting the President to capture at least 58-60% of the vote again this year is the state of dissarray in the Delaware GOP.

As kavips recently put it, in Delaware if you want your vote to count toward the Electoral College results, you need to switch your registration to Democrat.

On the other hand, the strong Perot finishes in 1992 and 1996 suggests that at least in the past there have been a lot of folks willing to desert the two major parties, at least for a protest vote.

Which brings me to Gary Johnson, the presumptive Libertarian candidate for President, and the opportunity to put a dent in the two-party system.

I know all the Nader-type arguments (he cost Gore Florida and therefore the election), but they aren't in play here.  There is literally nothing that the Delaware GOP could do this year to put this state into play for Mitt Romney, given that only 16% of registered Republicans turned out to vote in the recent primary.

So now would be a great time for all the Moderate Republicans, Libertarians, and Progressive Democrats to contemplate a vote that might make sense, not in electing a President, but in nudging the two-party system a little closer to functionality if not reform.


Vote for Gary Johnson.  The two-term former Governor of New Mexico is not, I will admit, the most charismatic of political leaders we have ever seen, but he is actually a pretty good amalgam of the types of positions that many people actually hold yet cannot find a candidate to represent them.

His foreign policy views capture, quite honestly, the ambivalence that most Americans feel toward the rest of the world, and toward military interventionism.  He'd like to take the Defense budget back to 2003 levels, get out of Afghanistan, pull most of our troops out of Europe, and prefers diplomacy over saber-rattling with Iran.  On the other hand, he's not blanket against military interventionism (supporting operations against Joseph Kony, and agreeing he'd continue the drone war against Al Qaeda in Pakistan and Yemen even though there are collateral costs), would leave bases behind in Afghanistan if possible, believes the US must maintain a military presence in the Middle East for strategic purposes, and allows for the possibility of humanitarian intervention.

Thomas Mullen called these views "disastrous," and the Daily Caller ridiculed them as "strange," but the reality is that Johnson talks about world affairs with more nuance and less saber-rattling than either Obama or Romney these days.

Fiscally, Johnson is a conservative, but not the to point of extremes.  Observes Mullen (who clearly isn't happy that Johnson didn't promise to slash all government agencies not thought of in 1787):

Gary Johnson has stated that he believes that all government policies should be formulated using a “cost-benefit analysis" . . . What are we spending our money on and what are we getting in return? 
Even his critics admit that he left New Mexico with a surplus, and that his administration was far less corrupt, and fare less bloated than the Bill Richardson regime that followed him.

As for his other views, Johnson is an interesting, eclectic mix:  he's pro-marijuana legalization, pro-abortion rights, pro-gay marriage, pro gun rights, and generally mirrors the concerns of the woman who said,

"I want the Democrats out of my pocketbook and the Republicans out of my bedroom."
The only third-party candidates to get into double-digits nationwide during my lifetime have been Ross Perot (19% in 1992; only 8% in 1996) and George Wallace (14% in 1968 and the only third-party candidate in my life to win any electoral votes).

I don't think Johnson has the slightest chance of garnering those numbers on election day, but I do think it is conceivable that he could break double figures in some states that are "safe" or "lean" Obama, including Delaware, Maryland, and New Mexico (where some early polls now show him at 15%).

In this case a Johnson "protest" vote would not be a vote in protest of President Obama and Governor Romney, but a vote of protest against a system that only gives us two choices, both of them often quite flawed.

Yeah, I know, it'll never happen.  But it is worth thinking about.


toto said...

Independents, libertarians, and Castle Republicans in Delaware, if you want your vote to count, support the National Popular Vote bill.

Presidential elections don't have to be this way.

The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. There would no longer be a handful of 'battleground' states where voters and policies are more important than those of the voters in more than 3/4ths of the states, like Delaware, that now are just 'spectators' and ignored after the primaries.

When the bill is enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes– enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538), all the electoral votes from the enacting states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC.

The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for President. Historically, virtually all of the major changes in the method of electing the President, including ending the requirement that only men who owned substantial property could vote and 48 current state-by-state winner-take-all laws, have come about by state legislative action.

In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state's electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong among Republicans, Democrats, and Independent voters, as well as every demographic group in virtually every state surveyed in recent polls in closely divided Battleground states: CO – 68%, FL – 78%, IA 75%, MI – 73%, MO – 70%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM– 76%, NC – 74%, OH – 70%, PA – 78%, VA – 74%, and WI – 71%; in Small states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE – 75%, ID – 77%, ME – 77%, MT – 72%, NE 74%, NH – 69%, NV – 72%, NM – 76%, OK – 81%, RI – 74%, SD – 71%, UT – 70%, VT – 75%, WV – 81%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and Border states: AR – 80%,, KY- 80%, MS – 77%, MO – 70%, NC – 74%, OK – 81%, SC – 71%, TN – 83%, VA – 74%, and WV – 81%; and in other states polled: CA – 70%, CT – 74%, MA – 73%, MN – 75%, NY – 79%, OR – 76%, and WA – 77%. Americans believe that the candidate who receives the most votes should win.

The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers in 21 states. On June 7, 2011, the Delaware House of Representatives approved the National Popular Vote bill. The bill has been enacted by 9 jurisdictions possessing 132 electoral votes - 49% of the 270 necessary to go into effect.

Follow National Popular Vote on Facebook via NationalPopularVoteInc

tom said...

"George Wallace (14% in 1968 and the only third-party candidate in my life to win any electoral votes)"

Not true. The Libertarian ticket of John Hospers & Tonie Nathan received one Electoral vote in 1972.

tom said...

Delaware and other small states would be very foolish to adopt NPV. We currently have three times as much influence in Presidential elections as we would under NPV.