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Prime Minister ’15: Phase One (Nominations)

pm2015

Elections are fun. Let’s have one!

Who would we elect to run the country, if given the choice? That’s what we’re hopefully going to find out! We’re going to hold an election. I want to avoid certain kinds of strategic voting like “Who is going to keep the Republican congress in check”, which is why we are going to be electing a prime minister instead of a president. There will be no electoral college, and we’re not going to worry about the current party structures. There are going to be five or six parties that will be determined after this phase, followed by primaries/conventions and a general election with IRV ballots (sort of).

You do not need to be an American citizen to participate, though the more you know about American government, the better.

There will be three phases. This one is the first. Let’s start nominating candidates. In your heart of hearts, who would you like to see as our national leader? Not every nomination will become a candidacy, but I plan to be pretty responsive. You can help your candidate’s case by expressing in a single paragraph why you think they would be a great prime minister (which I may use later during the convention/primary and perhaps general election phase). If you have more than one, go ahead and list them. However, I ask that you put one name in bold or in a line by itself, so it’ll be easier for me to collect them. The only rule here is that they cannot be a current or former president.

Once the nominations are in, I will organize them in to five or six parties. Most likely it’s going to look like: left (“Greens”), center-left party (“Social Democrats”), centrist or crossover party (“National”), conservative party (“Conservative”), and libertarian party (“Liberty”). But I will adapt the parties to fit personnel, if the distribution looks different (though I can’t change the names – or at least the initials – of them).

The second round will be the primaries/conventions. Though the parties don’t exist one, you will defacto join one when you vote in the second round. It will be an open primary and you can vote for any candidate in any party.

The last round will be the election itself. You are not beholden to vote for the nominee of whichever party you voted for in the last one. It will be an Instant Runoff Vote ballot. Since this is a parliamentary system, you are encouraged to vote your conscience and not “strategically” (as votes will help your preferred candidates party in parliamentary allotment), and because of the structure there is no cost of doing so. The way that the final votes will be calculated will not be strictly IRV, however. The short explanation is that it will be done by slate. That is to say that if Party X loses and its votes are redistributed, all of the votes will be redistributed towards whichever remaining party has the most second-spot votes for that candidate. The 2-5th place selections are basically directives to the candidate on who they should coalition with, and who should be prime minister.

An example of what I mean by that is that if Tom, Judy, and Jill vote for Ralph Nader and Tom and Judy put Al Gore down as their second choice and Jill puts John McCain down, all three “secondary” votes will go to Gore’s party, because it means that Nader’s party is going to coalition with Gore’s. Make sense?

I hope I have explained this well, and I will try to clarify if I have not. So… who do you want to be our prime minister?

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151 thoughts on “Prime Minister ’15: Phase One (Nominations)

  1. Bill Gates

    Yes, he created the evil empire, but I think it’s fair to say now that he is a well-intentioned, non-psychopathic human being. His speeches and writing leave me to believe that he is someone who makes decisions based on that evidence. I have no idea what his ideology is, but I see that as a good thing. He has never sought public office, but I again see that as a very good thing. He’s well-meaning, and that is good enough for me. I trust him to try to do the right thing, and I trust him to eventually figure out what the right thing is.

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  2. I’ll be (semi-) serious.

    Liberty Party – Gary Johnson.

    If I get a chance later, I’ll write up why (beyond the obvious – he’s not a Paul).

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    • This isn’t to disagree with your nomination, but I want to propose an alternative too.

      Tyler Cowen

      For the Liberty Party, I nominate Tyler Cowen. He seems to be intellectually honest when he collects and reports information. He seems to be aware of his knowledge limitations and seems to be someone who is likely to seek outside data and experts and sift through them relatively well.

      He has no public service experience, which is the biggest drawback compared to Gary Johnson, but I’m still curious how he’d do.

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        • If Will sticks with his “no writers” policy, then I think Cowen would be disqualified.

          Though now that I think of it some more, do we really want someone who thinks we are heading into an unavoidable Great Stagnation to be in charge anyway?

          On the other hand, maybe that would be a good thing if we are in fact heading toward an unavoidable Great Stagnation.

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  3. The only rule here is that they cannot be a current or former president.

    Tanned, rested, and ready.
    Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus. Caesar Augustus.
    Now, More Than Ever.

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  4. Question: No religious party? Considering the US’s socialcon contingent I would expect there to be one, something like the Christian Democrats or such. Then again perhaps they’d be the dominant component of the conservative party? If so then will they be sharing it with the right wing corporatists?

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    • If there are still first past the post elections and the separation of religion and state, I’m not sure that a religious party could do well even if the United States is a parliamentary republic. Nearly all of their proposals would be unconstitutional and they would have difficulties at the ballot box. Maybe less than under the existing system but still not easy.

      The Christian Democratic Parties in Europe are Catholic in origin. The arouse out of government culture wars directed against Catholics in 19th century Europe. The United States government never waged a culture war against Evangelical Protestants. If a parliamentary United States had a Christian party, it would probably look more like the Afrikaner parties in South Africa during the early and mid-20th century rather than a European Christian Democratic one. It would latter evolve into a white nationalist party.

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    • Dude… I call Mayo the Little Fuhrer… and not just because he has blonde hair and blue eyes. Kid is a tyrant in the making.

      Little Marcus Allen? Now *he* would be a good choice.

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  5. I also will be semi-serious:

    Elizabeth Warren. Obviously in the ‘Green’ party.

    Are we allowed to nominate more than one person? If so, because Vikram nominated Bill Gates (Ugh, really? Looking at the history of Microsoft, Bill Gates is functionally a very lucky con artist. And, yes, he does a lot of charitable giving, but that does not a leader make.), let me be less serious and also nominate a billionaire:

    Elon Musk. Not quite sure what party he goes in. I’d classify him as a ‘techno-libertarian’, from what I understand, so ‘Liberty’?

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  6. Once upon a time, I’d never have made this suggestion. But experience has led me to think that the actual benefits far outweigh the perceived shortcomings, so many of which may well have been misty fiction in the first place.

    I nominate my own current governor, Edmund “Jerry” Brown.

    Notwithstanding the alleged silliness of the “Moonbeam” governorship in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, the Jerry Brown of the 2010’s has proven himself to be (mostly) a skilled, pragmatic technocrat who governs without sacred cows. He cuts budgets when he needs to balance them and spreads the pain around pretty much everywhere to do it, raises taxes when they need to be raised, lets taxes fall when that can be afforded, funds governmental programs even if he doesn’t like them personally, proposes ambitious governmental infrastructure projects, and nominates competent people to fill important subordinate positions within a complex government handling a portfolio of services whose diversity is matched only by the Federal government’s. Far from being a wide-eyed idealist with looney utopian dreams who conservatives take joy in pillorying, he’s become a plain-spoken and somewhat publicly gray technocrat who has educated himself through experience into becoming a subject matter expert in the governmental process itself.

    Especially if we’re nominating a prime minister instead of a President, Brown would be a great choice. Only real problem is that Republicans have a majority in Congress and Brown is a Democrat. But since we’re fragmenting the two large U.S. parties into five or six other parties, I suspect that Brown would wind up in a centrist party or at the head of a centrist coalition in our hypothetical exercise.

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    • I’ve been impressed with the job this version of Gov. Brown has done in a state that has been so often described as “ungovernable”. Although I have to admit that I don’t follow California politics in enough detail so it’s possible that some of the choices I like should be credited to others. Eg, LA going coal-free and San Diego getting smacked down for ignoring mass transit in their transportation plan.

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      • In fairness, Brown did also come into power at the same time that the GOP rump was reduced below the threshold where they retained power to veto tax increases with a minority vote, so Brown was kind of riding the wave from the logjam breaking.

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        • How much of the fiscal recovery was increased tax rates, and how much was revenues from existing rates recovering? Colorado’s revenues have recovered to the point that the state will probably have to start making TABOR refunds, even though state tax rates have remained the same. Colorado’s income tax revenues, like California’s are more dependent on capital gains than most states — the stock market boom has had a significant impact.

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        • At the same time, though, he also sent his big tax increase directly to the voters via referendum, and did the hard work of selling the people of California on a plan to raise their own taxes.

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    • Seconded, even over the grumblings of my fellow liberals.

      Personal anecdote- a friend of mine was coming back from SF, and grabbed a seat on Southwest. He is just settling in when he sees Governor Jerry Brown stride through the cabin and take a seat in the rear near the restroom. Alone. No entourage, just what appeared to be a guy catching a short flight.

      Its not a “common man of the people” story, but a pragmatic guy who just wants to get from one city to another, without a lot of fuss and bother.
      Given that there are plenty of nations smaller than CA, its a refreshing lack of pomp and admirable focus on just getting the job done.

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    • It does seem interesting to justify what kind of party splits gets a contemporary candidate to the PM-ship. Here’s my take on how Brown gets there.

      After splits/mergers/whatever, five parties that count. Two look rather geographic in terms of their core strength, three more broadly national. In order, with percentage of vote in parentheses: (1) a social conservative party (30%), with strength primarily across the South and then up the Great Plains; (2) a centrist party with strength primarily in the West (25%); (3) a liberal party (20%); (4) a fiscal conservative party (15%); (5) a greenish/socialist party (10%). Brown heads up a coalition of centrists, liberals, and socialists for confidence votes, assembles pragmatic majorities on various policy things.

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    • Notwithstanding the alleged silliness of the “Moonbeam” governorship

      You know where that nickname comes from, right? He thought communications satellites would be a good idea. Wotta loony.

      His name is on my college diploma, and I can’t think of anyone else’s I’d rather have. Certainly not his predecessor, who fired a good and conscientious UC chancellor for reasons that were pure demagoguery.

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        • Not in any real sense. He’d do unusual things, like live in an apartment and drive a Plymouth instead of stay in the governor’s mansion and be driven in a limo, which gave him a reputation for being unconventional.

          I remember Brown’s being on Firing Line, arguing with William F. Buckley. Buckley said something like “But my position is supported by all the rules of Aristotelian logic”, and Brown came back with “What about Korzybski and his non-Aristotelian logic?” For once, WFB was speechless.

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    • Technically it’ll be voting for parties in a single district proportional representation system. Round two will be dividing the candidates into parties and electing leaders. Round three will be voting for the parties and their candidates.

      I was originally going to just do fine hypothetical parties, but realized without candidates it would be too abstract. And I didn’t want to have too heavy a hand in the process, so I figured everyone gets to pick the candidates, too.

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  7. James Hansen. By the end of the century, I believe the effects of climate change will overshadow and impact other political issues.

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  8. Well, if we’re going to do this we might as well do it proper…

    [Puts on straw hat, releases balloons, and shouts from a far, darkened corner of the convention hall:]

    The Great State of Tod’s house in Portland, home of overly complicated dinner parties, Oregon Duck boosters, a mean Dark & Stormy, and ribs to die for, proudly nominate Elizabeth Warren to the office of Prime Minister of this Great and God-blessed nation of the United States of America!

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  9. I nominate:

    Elizabeth Warren for the Greens.
    Russ Feingold for the Social Democrats.
    John Kasich for the Conservative party.
    Gary Johnson for the Liberty party.

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      • I’ve been dredging my mind to try and think of a National candidate and I’m getting nowhere.

        Which maybe means it would be John Kasich and the Conservative party candidate would be a nut; since the Social Democrats (in practice, right now) are all the way over into the center-right field of vision, and the Conservatives (in practice, right now) are cheering Donald Freakin’ Trump.

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            • Tom Hanks, National Party. Alfre Woodard has executive experience, having been President twice just in the last couple of years. Morgan Freeman, like Alfre has extensive experience in the top job, but I think the Greens and SDs under Cornel West and Martin Sheen, respectively, have the African American vote sewn up, so the Nationals will go with Tom, unless Meryl consents to give it another go (might be some backroom stuff going on there).

              Helen Mirren for Queen, naturally.

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      • I always thought the European Union should have been made a constitutional monarchy with Otto Hapsburg as Emperor. The Hapsburgs were the closest thing Europe had to a continent wide Imperial family since the fall of the Roman Empire and Hapsburg nostalgia is a thing. If they really had a sense of fun, they could make Rome the capital and renew the Holy Roman Empire.

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    • Since America lacks religious tests for public office, the 1701 Settlement Act would be void here and we might revert to the Jacobean succession. Of which there are multiple claimants, but the one with the best claim seems to be Franz, the Duke of Bavaria.

      Bonus points: family really did resist the Nazis, resulting in the then 11-year-old Franz serving time in a concentration camp.

      Downside: NO KINGS DAMNIT. As nice as this or that king or queen might be and I’m sure many of them are indeed very nice folks, a democratic nation is ill-served by the notion of a hereditary monarch who holds ultimate power.

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      • Some will say constitutional monarchy is by far the best system, and not necessarily undemocratic. Hegel considered it the ideal.

        Perhaps Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu would agree to be our King. In a CM it’s mainly, of course, a formal (but still important) role, and the Zulus do highly diverting ceremonies.

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        • Perhaps not a surprise; a dictator’s government is generally more likely to be efficient and therefore effective at implementing policies than its more republican counterpart. But efficiency does not bestow legitimacy.

          A nation like the UK gets legitimacy in its government to the degree that the role of the monarch in actual politics is minimized. The Queen is carefully apolitical and discharges her role in the government in a ministerial manner, which is only minimally acceptable in my estimation.

          Further, I think you’re viewing history through a skewed lens, one focused on the powerful and wealthy British Empire, which seems to ignore that republican governments throughout history have had many impressive success stories. What non-British constitutional monarchies do you point to as success stories? I can point to many examples of nations that have dispensed with the notion of hereditary rule and enjoyed substantial success at disseminating their culture, durable territorial expansion, military strength, and economic wealth.

          The Greeks as a culture did pretty well, I should think, during their democratic phase and the Romans did quite well during their republican phase, although admittedly it did not survive the growing pains upon acquisition of a politically unified, if federalized, empire. Carthage was governed in a republican fashion, too, and lasted for centuries and began forging their own transmediterranean empire until the Romans swallowed them up bit by bit.

          The oldest republican government in the world, San Marino, has over seventeen hundred years of continuous rule patterned after the style of the Roman republic. Today it is, per capita, one of the wealthiest, most peaceful and crime-free societies on the globe. (Admittedly, it hasn’t done so well from a territorial point of view, having been content throughout its history to hold one incredibly rugged mountain and its hinterlands as the full extent of its physical footprint. But then again, that may be an element of its economic success.)

          Iceland’s democratic form of government has stood for a thousand years; to the extent it has been under the political control of Norway or Denmark, such control has been nominal indeed. There has never been, to my knowledge, a king of just Iceland.

          Venice’s republic was significantly oligarchic and non-democratic but it stood for over a thousand years until it was conquered from outside outright by the Corsican corporal; its real weakness was not its form of government but its reliance on trade from the East as its principal source of money — the opening of circumafrican navigation was its ultimate doom but even so it took three hundred years after that before it grew so week that it could be conquered from without.

          As nation-states go, the United States of America has been a spectacular success in a historically brief period of time, using any index of success one might plausibly identify.

          France has done rather better for itself as a republic than it did when it had a king or an emperor, IMO: under Napoleon there was a brief period of great military success followed by great military failure.

          Brazil cast off its monarch and has been better off for it. So too with Mexico. Yes, both nations have had more than their fair share of problems. But they’ve been better off with elected than appointed or hereditary heads of state.

          Russia overthrew its Tsar and ascended to the status of global superpower rather than a regional player.

          Germany has dispensed with its nobility in every meaningful sense and now stands as the unquestioned first among equals within the EU.

          Japan, Korean, and China are all significantly more industrialized, wealthier, and free under non-monarchial governments than they were before; Japan, as with France, enjoyed a brief period of great military success followed by a terrible reversal during its most recent experiments with vesting the hereditary monarchs with actual power.

          India, sometimes unified and sometimes not, lost its own nobilities and monarchies after the Europeans came, and after it came to be ruled first by the Company and then by the Empire, won its independence as a republic. And as a parliamentary republic with no monarch since 1950, India has prospered and today stands on the threshold of toe-to-toe equal standing with the likes of Russia, China, France, and the UK as a nuclear power sitting atop a massive and robust economy.

          But my objection is not that republican government is “more successful” than monarchial government, though as you can tell, I think there is reason to question that claim. Monarchism in any form is fundamentally illiberal and the United states is at its fundament a liberal nation. (This is small-L, Voltaire-style, classical liberalism of which I write.) Liberalism is, in turn, devoted to the concept that all people are fundamentally equal to one another; no one has a right to rule by accident of birth but rather must demonstrate their abilities to their peers and be selected to hold power, and even then very clearly devoid of any assumption that power — or even ceremonial importance — will be held indefinitely.

          I think this model of government and culture has served its adherents admirably well, overall, particularly since it gained intellectual purchase in the European Enlightenment.

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            • Sure, but I’m not unique in that respect, especially not round these parts of the Intertubes.

              And, when do I get to actually use all of this history that I’ve read? Pretty much, only here on this blog. In real life there isn’t a whole lot of reason to recall the vagaries of the Venetian Republic.

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          • I applaud this submission counselor as it is a lawyerly work of art. I note, for instance, that in you discount the most sprawling and massive example of an effective and liberal constitutional monarchy as being a bad example. Clever but unfair I’d submit. Also the fact that the British monarchy contains a host of legal and symbolic powers that are held mostly inert and out of the reach of appointed or elected politicians is a feature, not a bug. To your request for non-English examples I’ll submit Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain* and Sweden. No small list that and generally well run.

            One does not have to deny that republics have done much to still say that constitutional monarchies have a better track record. Many of the most humane and successful governments in our history occurred under constitutional monarchs.

            Iceland is disqualified, note, since it operated under a monarch for much of her history. An absent and uninvolved one you protest? Absent and uninvolved again is a feature, not a bug, of constitutional monarchs.

            Germany, France and Russia, indeed threw off their monarchs and ascended to global prominence, it cannot be denied. That two of those three also ended up hosting the most horrific and murderous regimes human history has ever recorded is also undeniable and the third was no piker when it came to terror under republicanism.

            I’d also protest also that you are lumping executive or absolute monarchies in with constitutional monarchies which I object is unfair guilt by association.

            Now perhaps it’s my commonwealth background but I really do enjoy that elected officials in constitutional monarchies can’t claim the titular loyalty of the armed forces or the sworn obedience of the citizenry the way the politician heads of states in republics can and do. It may be my libertarian inclinations that suggest that for many symbolic and literal powers sequestration in the hands of a generally inert constitutional monarch is the best place for them to be. Republican governments are by no means a terrible system of government but I think the modern versions of monarchies have much to recommend them.

            *The Spanish monarchy deserves special note considering their integral role in ushering that country gently from the grip of disctatorship to democracy.

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      • The Wittelbachs are too melancholy as a family for the United States even though they have America’s taste for fairy tale architecture. We need a royal family with a greater sense of fun and exuberance or power and arrogance. We need a Hohenzollern.

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        • The natural royal family for the US is the Bushes. GHWB would make a great king, and W is a perfect Prince Hal (Cheney would be an interesting take on Falstaff.) And I’d love to see W, Jeb, and Neil scheme against each other for the succession. (Tentative title: The Weasels in Winter.)

          Best of all, it would make all the Bushes constitutionally ineligible for elected office.

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  10. National Party (and I don’t love the name, but whatever): Michael Bloomberg. He accomplished a lot as mayor of New York, understands the importance of cities, has pretty good ideas on some issues (e.g. guns), and knows how to hire effective people (for instance, Jeanette Sadik-Khan). I doubt I’d actually vote for his party, but he’s far from the worst you could do.

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  11. Liberty Party – Jon Rowe

    And to keep it in the fold:

    Green Party – Chris
    Social Democrats – Saul Degraw
    National party – Dennis Sanders
    Conservative party – CK McLeod

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  12. Social Democrat:
    Nancy Pelosi (campaign motto: “As effective as Thatcher, but Sane!”)

    She’s run her caucus with the requisite iron fist, and avoided all the defection issues that the other side embarrasses itself with. When there’s an opportunity to pass good laws she damn sure makes it happen (ACA). Even when she knows she’s taking a political risk, she’s solid behind her principles (Cap/Trade).

    Most effective politician in the country, who I generally agree with completely. Any country would be lucky to have her.

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  13. If I can nominate candidates for more than one party…

    Russ Feingold for the Social Democrats. Opposed the Patriot Act, opposed the Iraq War, co-sponsor of campaign finance reform, supporter of universal health care, opponent of free trade agreements that hand power to corporations, opponent of the death penalty, and proponent of reigning in the big banks. Also, this, courtesy of Wikipedia:

    Feingold was elected to Congress on a promise not to accept pay raises while in office, and has so far returned over $70,000 in such raises to the U.S. Treasury.

    Glenn Greenwald for the Liberty Party. If there’s a stronger and more active American civil libertarian, anti-war, anti-war-on-drugs voice out there, I haven’t heard it.

    Elizabeth Warren for the Greens. If that’s where everyone else put her politically, I’ll defer to their opinion. Personally, given that she’s a Democrat and not generally regarded as a more fringe Democrat, I’d tend to put her in the centrist party.

    Daniel Larison for the Conversatives. I’m not above trying to stack the deck with anti-war candidates.

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  14. An alternate western governor to Brown, since some people can’t stand the thought of anyone from California doing well.

    John Hickenlooper

    Purple state, balanced budget requirement (plus the TABOR constraints to make things interesting), dealing with population growth rate since 2010 that’s third behind ND and TX. Despite the Democrats’ minority status, served in leadership of both the Western Governors Association and the National Governors Association. Assuming coalitions will be necessary, a cat-herder is the right sort of person. And if we have to argue “job creator” at some point, one of the leaders in the redevelopment of Denver’s LoDo. I believe his quote on the matter is “You had to be crazy to start a business down there.” Ah, to be rich enough (and convincing enough to sell my wife on the idea) to live in LoDo now.

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  15. The dark side of proportional representation in the United States is that we might actually get a white nationalist or at least a not very well hidden white nationalist party like the ones they have in Europe like the Front National or UKIP. It would probably be called the American Party or the American People’s Party or something like that. In lines with what North said about Christian conservatives, it will probably have a relatively heavy Evangelical base and be a slightly less evil version of the Afrikaner Parties of South Africa.

    We might get a more viable Social Democratic Party/Progressive Party in a parliamentary system, possibly led by Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. Incidentally, I think this rather than the Greens would be the left party of the United States.

    The more conservative Democrats would probably form a Moderate Party.

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    • LeeEsq: The dark side of proportional representation in the United States is that we might actually get a white nationalist or at least a not very well hidden white nationalist party like the ones they have in Europe like the Front National or UKIP.

      Why is this so bad? It’s not as if absent a party such people don’t exist. At least that way they’re out in the open rather than subverting some other, more sane, group. Bonus: You have a more clear target for spitballs, rotten fruit, hurled incentives and the like.

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      • The Westminster system used by most English-speaking Democracies typically has two houses. The UK has the House of Lords, And others have Senates that might be appointed or elected.

        That said, the Upper House typically have limited powers that roughly amount to a Veto, and some Westminster-system democracies have simply dispensed with the Upper House altogether.

        Also, it should really be stressed, a Prime Minister is like if the Speaker of the House were chief executive–but also if the people electing their representatives knew that the Speaker of the House was going to be president and voted accordingly–I think that would lead to some very different voting patterns in parts of the US.

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        • Yeah, I was giving the very condensed version.

          Australia is the only English-speaking parliamentary system to have a robust upper house, as far as I know. Germany has an interesting two-house model as well. But usually the power of the upper house if there is one, is limited (either by law or custom.)

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      • Don’t get confused with the actual title of Speaker though. In the Westminster system the Speaker is supposed to be a neutral chair for debates and is chosen by a free vote (where parties take no official position) of all MPs. The PM is a party leader chosen by whichever party has the most seats according to their own internal rules.

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  16. My nominations:

    Greens:

    Bernie Sanders

    Social Democrats:

    Elizabeth Warren
    Sherrod Brown

    Center:

    Hillary Rodham Clinton
    Andrew Cuomo
    Jon Kaisch

    Conservative:

    Cruz

    Libertarian

    Gary Johnson

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  17. OK, lets see, since my earlier shot was in fail land:

    Green – Dennis Kuchinich
    Social Democrats – Bernie Sanders
    Center – Marco Rubio
    National – Scott Walker
    Liberty – Rand Paul

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  18. First Choice: Hillary Clinton; Grandmother Spiderwoman seems an appropriate response to the times. There is nobody more prepared. I’ve grappled with the whiff of corruption that surrounds her, and my most basic response is that anyone playing at that level has a whiff of corruption; As The Donald told us, it’s how the game is played; so I’d questions if sticking that whiff to Hillary without noticing it on anyone else is requiring a form of gender purity; women aren’t supposed to be corrupt.

    Senator Amy Klobuchar would be my second choice; though I’d want to see some evolution in some of her policies; internet, privacy, and free trade in particular and some more foreign-policy experience.

    Third would be my own Independent Senator, Angus King. I trust his values.

    Interesting that both King and Klobuchar serve on the rules committee.

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    • Center:

      1st: Again, Hillary.

      2nd: Susan Collins (Susan is much more a wind-blown position taker than Hillary every thought of being. She’s got to have cast votes over the last fourteen years that have filled her with rage and anguish.)

      3rd: Jim Webb

      Conservative:

      Susan Collins (again,) and I don’t know of any others that I’d be confident wouldn’t openly discriminate against women.

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      • I’d argue that Hilary is pretty centrist (she’s not quite lefty enough for me to put her in the Social Democrats, anyway), but there’s no way she would be a viable candidate *as* a centrist.

        Jim Webb has good name recognition, and he’s probably about the same spot on the spectrum as Hilary, but he has a name as a purple guy.

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        • Hillary is a total socialist on the issue I care about the most (women’s rights, because I see so many resolutions to other problems flowing from respecting women). Not just in the US, but the world over.

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            • That single issue is half the population, careful that you ignore it, because there’s a lot of cultural baggage to predispose you (and all of us) to do just that.

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            • I’m not suggesting anybody ignore it, in no way.

              Indeed, in the current micro-climate the GOP is doing a great job of constantly providing the left with ammo for reinforcing their own image as the leaders in the War on Women.

              But single-issue voting is still a troublesome calculus.

              If I had to choose between Hilary and someone I thought would be less likely to engage in a foreign war, but who would be less ideologically predisposed to support women’s rights (but within a reasonable delta of practical disposition), I’d stick with the less hawkish candidate.

              In the long run, you’re probably right that closer attention to women’s issues solves a lot of problems.

              In the short run, the U.S. military has *way* too much interaction with the rest of the world as it is.

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    • I’m finding it fascinating *where* people are putting people.

      I put Warren in the far-left party because I was trying to view it ‘The spectrum of possible elected officials’, and even I will admit it’s hard to get much further left than her and *electable*. Some people put her in the center-left party, though, and Sanders in the left, which I find a little odd. I suspect the only reason he’s ‘further left’ is that he’s produced campaign material, and if anyone actually bothered to ask Warren about the same stuff, she’d agree with him.

      If she’s center left you end up with the rest of Democrats in the center. (Which I actually think is true in the sense of absolute political positions, but not in the relative ‘divide people up’ sense.)

      aarondavid, meanwhile, put Marco Rubio in the center, and thinks Dennis Kuchinich is further left than Sanders! I think of Kuchinich as ‘exactly marking the left side of conventional Dem wisdom’, and Sanders and Warren as ‘having escaped the corporatism Dem conventional wisdom and are somewhat outside that’.

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      • I put Kuchinich in the “non-electable” category. I wouldn’t call him really leftist per se, he’s heavily left-leaning with a high dash of eccentricity to his orbit.

        Although I’d agree that Marco Rubio isn’t centrist and that Sanders is roughly equivalent to Warren and they’re both solid left of Feingold, who is left of Clinton.

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        • I put Kuchinich in the “non-electable” category.

          Oh, I make no representations of electablity. ;)

          I wouldn’t call him really leftist per se, he’s heavily left-leaning with a high dash of eccentricity to his orbit.

          I don’t know what ‘leftist’ means there…I consider Kuchinich’s policy positions as basically ‘the absolute left of the mainstream Democratic establishment’. Like he’s the gold standard…any *position* to the left of him (like Sanders and Warren have WRT banking) is outside the establishment.

          That said, I wouldn’t nominate him. I’m not even sure if Kuchinich is even a real person, or he’s just a robot wired to the Democratic Party platform.(1)

          Although I’d agree that Marco Rubio isn’t centrist and that Sanders is roughly equivalent to Warren and they’re both solid left of Feingold, who is left of Clinton.

          I’m actually having a lot of trouble figuring out where Clinton is. She’s solidly inside the Dem establishment, but I’m just not sure exactly where. Hopefully the debates will pin this down more.

          However, yeah, Feingold is to the left of her, considering he’s got some ideas that are outside the establishment, while still not being as far as Sanders or Warren. (OTOH, I suspect, like Warren, some of this just might be that no one has *asked* him. If Feingold does not support breaking up the big banks, I’ll eat my hat.)

          1) Yes, yes, he does have some variation, like legalizing drugs. It’s a joke, people.

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  19. Here are my nominations for people who would likely actually be PM in a more parliamentary version of America –

    Far-Left – Jan Schakowsky – Introduced the People’s Budget. Chicago. Woman. Ethnic.

    Center-Left – Nancy Pelosi – As nevermoor pointed out, she’s probably the most effective politician around, actually can get things done, and unlike certain other Speaker’s, can actually work with a diverse caucus.

    Centrist – Harold Ford – Hey, he’s Southern! He’s black! But doesn’t actually line up with the opinions of actual black Southerners, but instead, with the Wall Street types who would run a ‘centrist’ Third Way party like this.

    Center-Right – Mitch McConnell – I know this is going to sound weird, but McConnell just looks like one of those random leaders you see on TV, look him up, and you’re shocked he’s been PM of a country for seven years despite having little charisma. And then a few years later, when he’s actually turfed out, you find out he knows where all the bodies are buried.

    Libertarian – Justin Amash – Current libertarian representative – I see him taking over after Ron Paul has led the party for the previous umpteen zillion years.

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  20. What party would Kevin Carson be considered part of? Because by now, as hostile as I am to anything remotely smacking of the current system, he’d be the closest thing in this question to picking the non-existent “burn it all” option.

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