Monthly Archives: September 2012

Watching the Debates

Current Events Quiz

This week’s quiz is live in MySearchLab.  Good Luck!

Younger Voters in 2012

The Responsible Party Model

According to the responsible party model, political parties have distinct platforms which they should carry out when their members get elected.  To accept this model, you must believe that they are clear ideological and philosophical differences between the parties.  Those distinct parties would accept responsibility related to the government’s performance while they are in charge.  With the Presidential debates upon the American people, both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will attempt to draw distinctions between each other.  Once elected, they, as members of their respective parties, would then take responsibility for the performance of government.

Do you believe that parties adhere to the responsible party model?  Do you believe there are clear distinctions between the parties and the Presidential candidates?  Do you follow the mantra of Huey P. Long, the brash Louisiana politician who had a disdain for the two-party system? His comments can be found in the video below.  What are your thoughts?

What Does A Walker Win Mean For Romney?

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s overwhelming victory in June that staved off a recall attempt by Democrats and their allies initially signaled to national Republicans that the Presidential race was up for grabs and that Mitt Romney had a chance to win the state that voted for Barack Obama in 2008.  Romney made an even further push for Wisconsin by naming Representative Paul Ryan from Janesville, Wisconsin as his Vice-Presidential running mate.  However, as the November election draws near, polls still show the Presidential has the lead in Wisconsin over Romney with only a month and a half before Election Day.

Why hasn’t the Romney campaign been able to turn Wisconsin into a Republican state in the Presidential year?  The answer is quite simple.  At first glance, Walker’s win over Democrat Tom Barrett was a result of a galvanized voter base on the Republican side who supported Walker’s tough stances on issues related to unions and collective bargaining.   Recall elections bring out more grassroots voters.  Those voters are emotionally attached to the election and its outcome.

Presidential elections bring out voters who are emotionally attached to an election outcome but also they bring out those voters who are considered to be low information voters.  Low information voters tend to pay attention to elections within a month of the actual voting day.  They have less of a connection to the candidates who are running for office and the issues being discussed by those candidates.  Low information voters may very well be what President Obama needs to get re-elected.

Also, there are more college students and younger voters available to vote in Wisconsin in cold November than there were in warm month of June.  They, too, will play a role in the outcome.  Tea Party Republicans and grassroots organizers must be able turn out in higher numbers than they did in June in order to give Romney a shot at winning Wisconsin.

There is little data correlating a recall election outcome to a Presidential election, in that there have been very few recall elections at the state level in the United States.  Even so, when Arnold Schwarzenegger won in the recall election Gray Davis in 2003, Democrats still voted for John Kerry in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008 for President.  Even with little data available related to the correlation of recall elections to Presidential elections, it is safe to assume that there will be a different bloc headed to the voting booth which could make a Walker victory a moot issue for the Romney campaign.

What are your thoughts?

Current Events Quiz

This week’s quiz is now live in MySearchLab.

Will You Vote?

Give Me A Way Out

I can remember visiting my grandparents in Parlin, New Jersey for several holidays and occasions each year.  My grandpa and I would sit and watch a television show called, “The Uncle Floyd Show” which was a New Jersey institution in the form of a low-budget comedy-variety program.  The show bounced around, year after year, from low frequency channel to low budget cable channel so many times that my grandpa would tease me and say that “Uncle Floyd” was on “Channel 52 and a Half”.  Inevitably, we would talk up some baseball stories, mainly focusing on who should and shouldn’t be in the Baseball Hall of Fame.  We wouldn’t get into stats too often, but I would question him about the merits of certain ballplayers, like Steve Garvey, for instance, who I thought should be in Hall and who my grandpa thought should not.  Our selections to the Hall were based on straight up and down votes.  Either he’s allowed induction into the Hall or he’s not.

Voting for someone into the Baseball Hall of Fame is not the same as voting for the next President of the United States yet many polling companies typically give the respondent two candidates to choose from.  Either you vote for the Democrat or you vote for the Republican.  There is little middle ground.  In the United States, voters are more likely to consider themselves, Independent, than Democrat or Republican.  Furthermore, there are extremes to both the left and to the right of our two major parties.  You have your Greens, Socialists and the newly formed Justice Party to the left of the Democrats and the Libertarians and Constitution Party supporter to the right of the Republicans.  However, when asked to choose a Presidential preference, many voters are left with one or the other.  Is it going to be Barack Obama or Mitt Romney?  I know we get a chance to say, “I Don’t Know” or “Unsure” or “Other”, but I want my “other” choice to be a specific name.  When I buy a drink from the store, I have a choice of Coke, Pepsi, and other cola brands, such as RC.  The labels never read, “Other Cola”.

Why not list, Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, Virgil Goode, or Rocky Anderson as polling choices?  In Colorado, you could add the name of Roseanne Barr, who is also a third-party candidate for President in some states.  How about adding the Prohibition Party candidate to a poll in Louisiana, the only state where the party qualified this year?

Polls should list all candidates running for President, and for other offices, where applicable.  If it’s a nationwide poll, then all candidates who are running if enough states to qualify for the Electoral College should be listed.   State by state Presidential polls should include all qualified candidates from that state in the survey.  Polls for Gubernatorial, Senate, and House races should also not leave third party or Independent candidates off of their questionnaires.  It is the honest way to go to promote electoral choice in the United States.  Polling companies that offer multiple survey choices only inform the voter more about who is running for a particular office.  There is no harm in doing so.

My grandpa passed away a few years ago.  I miss those baseball discussions with him.  Looking back, it seems that our final decisions on who should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame were pretty rigid.  Making a choice for President in a poll, however, should not have to be as rigid.

What are your thoughts?  Leave a comment below.

Your Political Opinions

The Picking of a Vice-Presidential Nominee



When Paul Ryan was named as the Vice-Presidential nominee by Republican Mitt Romney, I was asked about his impact on the Presidential race.  I said many times that the Ryan pick would finally energize the conservative base of the Republican Party who were skeptical of their nominee in Ryan.  Ryan’s youthful enthusiasm coupled with his wonkish policy appeal was just what the Romney campaign needed.  The bland Romney campaign searched for its voice throughout the primary season and through the early stages of the general campaign.  Ryan would be that shot in the arm.  For a short time, the Ryan pick did help pull even with President Barack Obama in the polls.  That momentum seems to have been lost in the last week, as recent reports from the Romney front have stated that Ryan has been muzzled by his Romney’s staffers.  Romney’s team wants Ryan to speak less on his “bread and butter” topic, the budget, and more on how badly Obama has run the country.  Conservative pundits and grassroots supporters wonder why this is so?  Without Ryan’s budget appeal, the Romney campaign is back to where it started, in search of a voice.  If the purpose of choosing a VP nominee is to galvanize those voters who otherwise would stay home on Election Day, then why stifle any activity from the more energetic individual from the Romney-Ryan ticket?

How much of a factor should a Vice Presidential pick be for a Presidential ticket?  What criteria would you look for when choosing a VP nominee?