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Just now, Starlord said:

He has Twitter, he doesn't need the media.

 

As long as the media reports his tweets, he does not need the media.  🙂

 

Twitter is a small place with a poor reach as far as the nation is concerned - they need the amplification of being reported and talked about.

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I'd like to take this moment to repeat that, in my opinion as an IT and cybersecurity professional, elections should be paper and ink only.  No hackable voting machines, no badly written caucus apps, no easily deleted centralized databases.  Ever.  The mere existence of these opaque technologies can only reduce the perceived legitimacy of any election.

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I don't disagree, though, they seemed to have been arguing for the opposite after 2000.

 

Of course, if we do insist on tech, I think the lesson, maybe have paper copies as a backup plan.

 

I personally liked 200 and before.  Since I took my votes seriously, and double and even triple checked before punching my vote, it was nice to know I had hard data that I voted the way I wanted to.  Since, then there has always been a seed of doubt in my mind.

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Exactly.  Cyber is mysterious and incomprehensible to 99% of the population, making it impossible to convince them of the legitimacy of the vote once it is questioned.  It also lends itself to tampering over the internet.  I expect to see a lot of the latter once the Senate GOP gives themselves free rein tomorrow to seek "foreign assistance" in future elections.

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On 1/14/2020 at 10:10 AM, GM Joe said:

Which is great, because I'm fully in support of this totally Constitutional way to remake the Constitution ;):

https://harvardlawreview.org/2020/01/pack-the-union-a-proposal-to-admit-new-states-for-the-purpose-of-amending-the-constitution-to-ensure-equal-representation/

 

A fun thought exercise, but I do see some practical and theoretical problems with it. I'll break this up into chunks for easier writing and reading.

 

First practical problem: Constitutionality. Someone once said, "The Constitution says what the Supreme Court says it says." (Or words to that effect.) Like, Jim Crow laws were constitutional for decades... until they weren't. The Constitution didn't change; the membership of the Court did. And I don't see the current five Republican justices saying, "Well, darn, they've got us here." So the scheme doesn't become constitutional until there's a Democratic majority on the court as well.

 

So if Dems can capture the House, Senate and White House, they need to pack the Supreme Court before they withdraw the Federal District boundaries and use the District of Columbia territory to make micro-states. But that seems doable.

 

Dean Shomshak

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But there's a deeper difficulty. Assume Dems have made the 127 micro-states, all solidly Democratic, out of Washington, DC neighborhoods. The new micro-states hold 48% of the electoral votes (or thereabouts); they have total control of the Senate; thier single representatives form 29% of the House; their legislatures are sufficient to ratify constitutional amendments with little need for cooperation from any other state. So if they act as a bloc (and why wouldn't they), why do they still need the rest of the Democratic Party?

 

It's a way to make Republicans lose, conclusively. But Dems could find it a Pyrrhic victory as pleasing this new bloc becomes the sum of all policy, and America gains a truly imperial capital.

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EDIT FOR DOUBLE-POST: And if Dems find a Win Button in the Constitution, why use it to reform that Constitution and, incidentally, remove the Win Button? Why not just... win?

 

Well, as I said, because they don't want to make a new master. That can be avoided by making fewer micro-states out of DC territory. Ten states would be too few: The scheme would certainly offenc enough Americans that Republicans could pick up enough

senate seats and electoral votes to counterbalance the new states, and the House is so swingy that 10 locked-in representatives aren't worth squat. Twenty micro-states would be enough, though, to assure Dems permanent control of the Senate. Republicans could reasonably expect to pick up enough formerly-swing states to counter the 60 guaranteed electoral college votes from the micro-states, but there's no way they can flip 20 Senate seats from the other 50 states. The current 100-member Senate hasn't seen either party gain even a 10-seat majority since the 95th Senate (1977-79).

 

It's not quite a Win Button, but Dems might find permanent Senate control a sufficnet hedge against any Republican agends. Including blocking Republicans from attempting their own state-packing scheme.

 

Dean Shomshak

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If Dems pulled off a state-packing scheme sufficient to obtain permanent Senate control and make taking the White House difficult (if not impossible), how do Republicans react?

 

Option 1: Civil war. At this point, politics become so poisonous that it's a rational choice.

 

Option 2: Make the best of a bad situation. Use every trick of voter suppression, gerrymandering and propaganda at their disposal to try taking the House or White House as a way to block Dems. But with a permanently Democratic Supreme Court, they may find these tools being taken away too. Go back to Option 1, or settle for political control of a fraction of the states.

 

Option 3: Abandon their white supremacist and corporate feudalist dogmas to appeal to wider segments of the American public. Probably more difficult even than Option 2.

 

Dean Shomshak

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Going deeper, I also don't agree with the article's premise that democracy -- everyone's vote counting the same, in all cases -- is a desirable end in itself. The Framers took care that strict majority rule would not apply. That is, indeed, one of the reasons for having a Constitution: To prevent majorities of the moment from making self-interested or emotional choices that are damaging in the long run. (In a way, by preventing pure democracy, constitutions give the past and future a vote.) So I don't find the Senate intrinsically unfair.

 

I see democracy as a means to various ends, such as civil rights. If democracy becomes a threat to those goals, block democracy.

 

Dean Shomshak

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Fivethirtyeight sums up the Iowa caucus "results" thusly:

 

Quote

The point is that the lead story around the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses is now — and will forever be — the colossal s--tshow around the failure to release results in a timely fashion.

(...)

The Iowa Democratic Party’s colossal screw-up in reporting results will potentially have direct effects on the outcome of the nomination process. The failure to report results will almost certainly help Biden, assuming that indications that he performed poorly in Iowa are correct, as they won’t get nearly as much media coverage. And they’ll hurt whichever candidate wins the state — most likely Sanders or Buttigieg.
 

 

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Wrapping up: There may still be value in a state-packing scheme: as leverage to force Republicans into abandoning their voter-suppression and gerrymandering schemes, as the price of avoiding some worse loss. It might work like this:

 

Dems somehow manage to pull off the electoral trifecta, however narrowly. They quickly change the Senate's rules to end filibusters, pack the Supreme Court, withdraw the Federal District boundaries, and create 20 or so new micro-states, to be activated right before the next electoral cycle. Then they introduce a package of Constitutional amendments: Abolish the Electoral Collecge, automatic voter registration for all citizens, some provision to prevent gerrymandering, the Senate must confirm or deny judge appointments within a month of the president nominating them, maybe some other reforms (Pick your own.) And also abolishing the micro-states and preventing their future creation, de-packing the court, and otherwise making the state-packing scheme impossible in the future. Set a time limit of the next election. If the House and Senate pass the package and enough states ratify it in time, the micro-states never come into existence. If Republicans agree to the reforms, they likely lose the White House for a decade at least, and they lose state houses controlled through gerrymandered districting, but they are not perpetually locked out from any branch of government. They can try to come back through good policies, pitched persuasively. Dems will gain strong advantages through the wider and more diverse voter base, but they can lose those advantages if they govern badly. The American people win by politicians needing to appeal to them for votes instead of relying on structural advantages. Which is what we all want, right?

 

Dean Shomshak

 

 

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13 hours ago, Old Man said:

I'd like to take this moment to repeat that, in my opinion as an IT and cybersecurity professional, elections should be paper and ink only.  No hackable voting machines, no badly written caucus apps, no easily deleted centralized databases.  Ever.  The mere existence of these opaque technologies can only reduce the perceived legitimacy of any election.

 

13 hours ago, Badger said:

I don't disagree, though, they seemed to have been arguing for the opposite after 2000.

 

Of course, if we do insist on tech, I think the lesson, maybe have paper copies as a backup plan.

 

I personally liked 200 and before.  Since I took my votes seriously, and double and even triple checked before punching my vote, it was nice to know I had hard data that I voted the way I wanted to.  Since, then there has always been a seed of doubt in my mind.

 

13 hours ago, Old Man said:

Exactly.  Cyber is mysterious and incomprehensible to 99% of the population, making it impossible to convince them of the legitimacy of the vote once it is questioned.  It also lends itself to tampering over the internet.  I expect to see a lot of the latter once the Senate GOP gives themselves free rein tomorrow to seek "foreign assistance" in future elections.

 

 

I didn't know you were in cybersecurity Old Man!  :)   I mean 'Old Man' in the best of ways, fellow cybertech.

 

I will also vouch for all of this.  I haven't met a single person in the cybersecurity field who things non-paper voting machines are a good idea.

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3 hours ago, Starlord said:

...but Captain Kirk is from Iowa.  Picard is from a region of France where the people have British accents....

 

In a Futurama episode Fry asks "What do we care about who the President of the World is?  We live in the United States."

 

"Fry, the United States is part of the World."

 

"Wow" Fry says,  "I have been gone a long time.."

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