commented on Gary Johnson Is a Moron (And If You Vote For Him, You Are Too)
@42 In terms of effects on the outcomes, no, protest votes usually don't have any effect one way or the other, other than to register the effect of the protest.
Washington is so far out of reach for Trump that the only way he wins the state is if the whole country breaks for him in a massive way. Which isn't going to happen.
You would need third parties polling in the double digits with almost all of their support coming from disaffected Democrats for third parties to brace a shot at tipping the election for Trump.
To put it another way, if that many Democrats desert Clinton, I would submit that the blame for that would be absolutely Clinton's fault.
But that's not going to happen.
This election will be lost or won where they always are. In battleground states, of which Washington is not one.
My point is that votes in non-battleground states simply are not worth as much. The proof is the resources the major parties fail to deploy there. That means that hectoring third party and other protest voters is pointless.
No, it's worse than that, because whatever else they may be, third party voters are politically engaged and available as allies on a host of other issues. Unless you piss them off by being hectoring and dismissive.
Like I said, if you live in Florida, then yeah...don't vote third party, vote lesser of two evils. Most Americans aren't in that position though, including the majority of the Stranger's readers.
commented on Gary Johnson Is a Moron (And If You Vote For Him, You Are Too)
If we elected the president based on a straight up popular vote, then you can make a pretty solid case for sticking with the D or R to deny the election to the candidate you hate more.
Nate Silver currently has Clinton up by 10 points, with a 90% chance of taking Washington. If Clinton loses Washington, she loses, period. Washington will not be the so-called tipping-point state.
So with all that in mind, I think Washington voters who are so inclined do have the luxury of ignoring strategic concerns.
I don't even have to refer you to Silver to tell you that neither Johnson nor Stein have a prayer of ending up in the White House.
So with all that in mind, why might a Sanders supporter vote third party? Well, a vote for Stein is fairly easily justified on the basis of (1) similarity of values and agenda and (2) protest against the Democratic centrists who run the party. The drawback is that Stein is not going to win more than about maybe 2-3% of the vote. That's not a very strong rebuke.
If, however, you are deeply unhappy with the status quo, and, nevertheless, you are deeply horrified by Trump, you can signal that by voting for Johnson, who will come in third. You can do that knowing full well that his agenda will not be instituted. Which means that his actual policies are less important.
Now it's quite possible, probable even, that Johnson's numbers will fall back into Stein territory. Interest in third parties tends to peak right about now then fall back as people decide not to "waste" their vote. Still, if you want to make a protest, Johnson's probably your guy.
I've done this in congressional elections before. It's not unusual for me to live in a district that's so heavily Democratic that the Republicans don't even run a candidate. I'll vote for the third party simply as a protest against gerrymandered one-party districts.
Obviously, if you live in a swing state, especially a potential tipping-point state like Colorado or Florida, then your calculus is much different and a vote for Clinton is far more important.
commented on This Should Get All the Genius Awards
@13, @16, I think @18's point is justifiable if your morality does not allow you to endorse any sort of deliberate government violence (say if you were a Quaker or some such).
Voting for Trump endorses violence because duh.
But Democrats don't exactly have clean hands here either. Take a look at what the Saudis are doing in Yemen right now with or active (and not-Congressionally sanctioned) support. Massive deliberate targeting of non-combatant civilians. Deliberate destruction of health care infrastructure. Mass starvation. And President Obama is backing the Saudis pretty strongly.
Now, you could make the argument that Obama needs to do this in order to keep the Saudis in line for the sake of the Iran nuclear deal, which is the greater good. But that's cold comfort to anyone trying to survive in Yemen,
There's nothing to really indicate that Clinton would act any differently from Obama. My impression is, if anything, she'd be less restrained.
So if violence really is your A-#1 issue, the two third parties really seem your best bet. Either the libertarians and their Swiss-style "Armed Neutrality" model or the Greens with unilateral disarmament model.
commented on Savage Love Letter of the Day: Daddy Issues
To DAD (if you're reading), I'm actually kind of struggling with this issue from the opposite perspective. When I was younger, I was always attracted to men who were older than I was, generally speaking, in their 30s and 40s; that's still my sweet spot BTW, so perhaps this is a problem you will age out of.
I think it is harder for relationships between those with sharply divergent ages to be equal. In general, you're going to bring different agendas to the table (do we go out and hit the clubs or stay in and watch Netflix?). Your partner will most likely earn rather more than you and own more in the way of assets. These things can cause real problems, especially when male pride and ego get involved.
There is some wiggle room there: I find the "half-your-age-plus-seven" rule to be a good general rule to decide if your partner can function as an equal age-wise. So if you're 25, you can date someone as old as 36 or so without it seeming unusual.
A large part of this discomfort on my part comes from the pretty overt appeals to incest in the related dad/son scene. I find any scene that is OK-enough with incest (possibly including child molestation) to re-enact it to be pushing some really serious moral boundaries way too far.
My other big concern with this sort of thing is that I have seen some relationships of this type play out in other unhealthy ways, especially ones where the older guy has basically started supporting his boy-toy in what I would call the "Anna-Nicole Smith" relationship model (you youngsters can Google her right after you get off my damn lawn). Relationships like that are often particularly destructive to the younger member (although you do see older men becoming financially ruined as a result sometimes too).
So yes, there's lots of reasons to be wary. You don't want a creep. You don't want a sugar daddy. And a lot of the 40- or 50-something guys out there chasing men in their 20s are pretty creepy.
But on the other hand, I have seen these relationships work out really well too. Not often, but it does happen. My observation is that it really takes a very great deal of maturity, communication and empathy on the part of both partners. You both need to understand that you're in different places in a lot of different ways. That will mean a lot of flexibility and willingness to sacrifice some things in order to meet your partner half-way.
commented on NCAA Pulls Championships from North Carolina After Anti-Gay Laws
I know the parts of the bill affecting transgendered people has been getting the lion's share of the attention, so I really appreciate the effort to keep other parts of the law in the public view.
This sort of law is a perfect example of how Republican commitments to devolution of powers and local control are merely a sham meant to centralize power in those levels of government where Republicans tend to be most successful.
The whole argument is that political decisions should always be made at the lowest level practicable, because the more local the government is, the more reflective of its community it will be (in the way that the political culture in Seattle is light years from the political culture in Walla Walla). This was the argument that was deployed against federal involvement in the enforcement of civil rights.
Well, surprise! It turns out that local government really isn't the best place to reflect community values, if those values don't happen to serve your agenda.
The shame of it is, because of all of the attention being paid to the parts of the bill affecting transgendered people, the situation the left is creating is one where the NC legislature will feel compelled to cave, not by repealing the entire bill, but only by repealing or amending the part to do with restroom access and the like.
Which means that the minimum wage and anti-discrimination restrictions will probably stand.
I'm not saying that the transgender elements aren't important, because they are. But ultimately, they only affect a handful of people. Meanwhile, there are a ton of workers out there who will be severely affected by the other parts of the bill. And I've got a feeling they're really going to be the ones that we all, both left and right, throw under the bus in the name of compromise.
It's great that the NCAA and all these corporations are willing to stick up for the transgendered. Now lets make them stand up for everyone else too. And major kudos to you guys for continuing to do just that.
commented on Phyllis Schlafly
@15 Has it.
The irony of her life was that, whatever she may have said about feminism, she, herself, lived a feminist life. Educated, a lawyer, an activist, a politician, an author, not to mention wife and mother of six. Change her politics and she would have been an icon.
commented on NPR Believes in Miracles
I won't get into the whole theism vs. atheism thing mostly because I'm not a 21 year old college kid with a bag of pot handy.
What I will observe is that human beings seem to have a fairly deep impulse towards religion and spirituality. I'd hazard a guess that even the most committed atheist will feel the stirrings of something when coming to a particular spot in the mountains or a clearing or a spring or something. Likewise, we love our rituals. Just as Dan said, even if you don't believe in it, for someone raised Catholic, there's something comforting about the rhythm of the liturgy.
People believe in this stuff because they want to. Some of them on a really deep level. It's hardwired into humanity. You could, as some do, take that itself for a sign of the presence of a creator. But even if you don't, it's still there.
Eighty years of Soviet atheism and the Russian Orthodox church is still there, even growing. Millennia of hardship and slaughter and diaspora and Judaism, truly the religion that will not die, is still going strong.
So the whole "is there or isn't there?" argument is kinda beside the point. People are going to proceed on the basis that there is. Might as well get used to it.