A few weeks ago, I posted “Replacing the jungle primary“, where I outlined a couple of proposals that seemed like plausible replacements for California’s current “top-two” primary system. I assigned both proposals jargon-y names, but I only want to highlight one of them: “Majority Approval Filter (MAF)”. MAF is my preferred option, and has generated the most discussion. I’ve been refining this option over the past few weeks, and I want to discuss the new version with a wider audience.Continue reading “Replacing the jungle primary, December edition”
(originally published November 20, edited November 25; see footnote)
I’m thrilled with the huge win for approval voting in Fargo, North Dakota, where voters overwhelmingly chose approval voting as their voting system for mayoral elections.
I’ve been jealous of Fargo since I learned of that effort. In our primaries here in California, we use a jungle primary to narrow down the field of candidates to the top two in our primary election in June (or rather, our primary in March), and then choose between them in November.
I’ve been mulling over an idea for replacing California’s jungle primary with an approval-based primary. I think with the system I describe below, we can also replace our two-candidate general election with a approval-based system that occasionally offers a third choice, but I also offer an alternative that only replaces the jungle primary.
Back in 1996, I wrote an article for The Perl Journal, which they published in the Volume 1, Issue 3 in Autumn 1996. There are several alternatives available for the article:
- A scan I made of my 1996 article “Perl, Politics, and Pairwise Voting: Perl as the Activist’s Friend” – I used CamScanner to make a quick scan of my paper copy, turned it into a PDF, and uploaded it to Dropbox. Contains the cover of the magazine, plus my 8 page article.
- “Games, Diversions & Perl Culture – Best of the Perl Journal” published by O’Reilly Media – edited by Jon Orwant. I’m honored that my article became a chapter in this book. Jon and the O’Reilly editors cleaned it up and made it look sharp. But they ask that you pay for it. My article is chapter 40.
- A foo.be mirror of the 1996 “Perl, Politics, and Pairwise Voting: Perl as the Activist’s Friend” article – This site appears to be an HTML mirror of The Perl Journal. A couple of corrections for the eskimo.com URLs listed therein:
For years, I’ve wanted to have stable redistribution of this article, and a stable URL that I could refer to. There have been many URLs over the years to refer to this, but nothing too stable. Well, as of right now, there is a stable URL:
….which, as of this writing, just redirects right back to this blog post. That’s probably the URL I’ll redistribute from now on.
I managed to get into some wordy discussions with MikeMC over on Medium. Here’s how it played out from my perspective:
- Oprah Winfrey gives an excellent speech at the Golden Globes (transcript). This causes rampant speculation about Oprah for President 2020.
- A backlash ensues. The backlash includes a lot of crappy discussion on a giant social network that irritates me, so I start writing my thoughts. I leave the draft sitting around a while.
- Just around the time that it’s old news, I finally get around to publishing it on Medium:
- robla (2018-02-14) – “A celebrity would be alright“
- That post got under the skin of a friend of mine, who posted this rebuttal:
- MikeMC (2018-02-18) “A celebrity President would be the perfect acknowledgement of everything wrong with America right now, goddammit.” In this post, MikeMC claims he’s going to offer a rebuttal to end all rebuttals (or as he puts it: “I’m fully gonna (metaphorically) kick him down the stairs in the most brutal fashion for the article he just wrote“
- I now feel up to the challenge to write a rebuttal both to MikeMC and to another author who takes a similar tone. It takes me a while, but I finally publish the silly thing:
- robla (2018-05-01) “Celebrity Democrats: ignore the haters“
- MikeMC feels compelled to offer a rebuttal to my rebuttal:
- MikeMC (2018-06-09) “I won’t swear in this response….“
I don’t think either of us has convinced one another of anything, but still, that’s where we left things. I still think Oprah would be a perfectly acceptable choice by Democrats in 2020. Not my favorite choice, but still, a powerful strategic move. MikeMC still thinks its a terrible idea.
I’m offering this summary only because I have something vaguely related that I’d like to share, and I’d like to refer back to this discussion. I hope you enjoyed this summary.
Last year, in the early buildup to the election (January 2016), I posted an article on Daily Kos titled “What Donald Trump and Jimmy Carter have in common”. At that time, the Republicans hadn’t settled on Trump yet. Only a contrarian (like me) would suggest that Trump might not merely win the primary, but he might even be able to win the general election. That filled me with dread, but took comfort in the conventional wisdom of the day that Trump couldn’t win.
The comparison of Carter to Trump in 2016 still holds true today in 2017. Though that gave me dread in 2016, it gives me hope in 2017. Let’s revisit the topic, because the subsequent election of 1980 holds lessons about 2020 that feel less dreadful IF we learn from history.
- Departed deity that was in charge in the receding party’s glory days
1976 : FDR (Democratic President: 1933–1945)
2016 : Reagan (Republican President: 1981–1989)
- Party with receding wave
1976 : Democrats (New Deal)
2016 : Republicans (supply-side economics)
- Party with rising wave
1976 : Republicans (“government is the problem”)
2016 : Democrats (“we are the 99%”)
- “Obvious” safe choice for party
1976: Gerald Ford (the White House incumbent)
2016: Hillary Clinton (“realist” choice)
- Candidate riding rising wave
1976: Reagan (narrowly lost 1976 nomination)
2016: Sanders (narrowly lost 2016 nomination)
- Unlikely party outsider for receding party
1976: Jimmy Carter
There’s a fantastic discussion of red state politics on the wellRED podcast interview of Sarah Smarsh by the three hosts of the show. At the 46:00 point in the podcast, the group discusses how they all deliberately chose not to lose their respective accents. Smarsh says as part of journalism school, she needed to learn how to make her voice more “neutral” (a.k.a. “General American” as it’s referred to on Wikipedia). For the three guys (Trae Crowder, Drew Morgan and Corey Ryan Forrester), I can understand the handwringing. Listening to them, even though I find myself agreeing with much of what they say, I have to be mindful of potential bias when I hear their accents.
With Smarsh, it’s different. She grew up in Kansas, which is culturally/linguistically not much different from where I grew up (all over the U.S. west), where my mom grew up (midway between Omaha and Kansas City), and where much of my extended family still is (Kansas City area). As my mom would point out, modern newscasters (of the day) treated the Nebraska accent as a “neutral” accent — and many TV celebrities like Johnny Carson and David Letterman benefited from their upbringing in neutral accent territory.
It may be that my western upbringing is the reason why I don’t detect an appreciable accent, but others would. The only regional aspects of my younger accent that I’m aware of dropping is referring to carbonated beverage as “pop” (I say “soda” now) and treating “pen” and “pin” as homophones (not anymore). Given how minor the changes to my speech have been since moving to the west coast (living in either Seattle or San Francisco since 1993), I haven’t considered my accent to have changed much since I was young.
In the past few years, I’ve gotten more comfortable speaking warmly of my humble-ish upbringing. Further more, I’ve happily adopted “y’all” in spite of not growing up using the phrase. Some of my fondest memories of my dad were of his cowboy-culture way of talking, which wasn’t that different than the cattle cop highlighted on Planet Money a few years ago. Whenever something would splash all over the place, Dad frequently said it “splattered like a cow pissing on a rock”. He implored me to be more mindful by telling me to “get your head out of your ass”. He frequently claimed that many politicians were “crookeder than a dog’s hind leg”. I’ve carried some of his cowboy-isms forward, but I don’t have the same cowboy cred that he did. Plus, I’m prouder of the fact that I was occasionally able to beat Mom at Scrabble in her prime, and pretty sure that anyone reading this would have had about as tough of a time doing it as I did, no matter how much of a smartypants you think you are.
Listening to Smarsh talk about the assumptions that people seemed to make about her that she ascribed to her accent, it makes me wonder: am I deaf to her accent because of my similar upbringing? Do I have a “western” or “midwestern” accent that might have caused the kinds of discrimination they discuss in this show? Have I just been luckier than Smarsh, or am I just blind to being treated like I just fell off the turnip truck?
I’ve neglected this blog for a really long time, but it’s not like I haven’t been writing publicly. A few links to my post 2010 writing:
- medium: robla – a lot of my recent writing, which has skewed political. Sign of the times, I guess…
- DailyKos: robla – this has been where I’ve posted most of my political stuff before 2015. I frequently find more readers there, as of this writing.
- Twitter: robla – I’ve ended up putting many political things there too
- reddit: robla – Many comments on a variety of topics
- My time at Wikimedia Foundation
I’m thinking of importing a few choice bits that I’ve written elsewhere, and put them in the history of this blog. One of these days, I may even update <http://robla.net>