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Gio
01 Oct 04,, 23:38
SO SURE of a Kerry victory was New Jersey's Democratic Party that it packed its communications director off to Oregon to do combat there. Millions in donations from the party faithful were sent off to battleground states. The Bush campaign didn't even bother to put anyone on the payroll in New Jersey. They were certain their man would lose.

But suddenly New Jersey may be up for grabs. John Kerry led by 20 points after the Democratic convention, but three recent polls point to a tightening race. A September 21st poll by Quinnipiac University even placed George Bush and Mr Kerry in a dead heat, with 48% support each among likely voters. Ralph Nader had 2%.

If New Jersey swings Republican in November, this would be strange indeed. Al Gore carried it by 16 points in 2000. The governor and both senators are Democrats, and Democrats hold seven of the 13 congressional seats. Moreover, the state's Republicans are a moderate bunch. A new law recognising same-sex domestic partnerships and plans for a huge stem-cell-research centre produced barely a grumble from them. The most recent Republican governor, Christine Todd Whitman, was both pro-choice and an environmentalist.

In some ways, New Jersey is a mere reflection of the national race, where terrorism has trumped the economy as the most important issue. (The state's economy, in any case, is doing well.) The terrorism threat may be more keenly felt here than in any other state (except New York), and this may explain a moderate electorate's sudden craving for Mr Bush.

New Jersey lost nearly 700 citizens in the September 11th terror attacks. The gaping hole along the New York skyline is a constant reminder of the threat. The state attorney-general has just announced a help-line for those still suffering psychologically from the attacks.

The problem for Mr Kerry is that more than half of New Jersey's voters say Mr Bush would do a better job fighting terrorism. The Republican convention in New York, covered in New Jersey as local news, did much to drive home this perception. Mr Bush's Texas swagger and conservative views are anathema to the Wall Street types of North Jersey's leafy suburbs. But their resolve to defeat him withers when they feel their lives—or their livelihoods—may be at stake. In early August, Mr Kerry was ahead by 26 points in North Jersey; that lead has eroded to six points, according to a September 9th Star-Ledger/Eagleton-Rutgers poll. Mr Kerry's advantage among voters in the up-and-coming exurbs of central Jersey has also shrunk. The rural, gun-toting communities of north-eastern New Jersey and the blue-collar, socially-conservative counties in the south were safe Bush territory anyway.

The other factor peculiar to New Jersey's race is Governor Jim McGreevey's shocking resignation and disclosure of a gay affair last month. Political scandal, not sex, undid him: he had made his lover the state's head of homeland security. Also, two of the governor's top fundraisers have just pleaded guilty to corruption charges. The upheaval in state politics may be drowning out Mr Kerry's message.

In the end, the Democrats have a good chance of prevailing on election day: it is hard to see dyed-in-the-wool Democrats opting for Mr Bush once alone in the voting booth. The state's strong unions are good at getting out the vote. Shoring up the defences, John Edwards visited New Jersey this week with a local 9/11 widow at his side. But he also touted a plan to import prescription drugs from Canada. This is not quite the drum to beat in the heart of the nation's pharmaceutical industry.

http://economist.com/World/na/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3247240

Confed999
02 Oct 04,, 01:22
That would be great. Heck, if that happened it may be the end of the Democratic party.

Prodigal Son
04 Oct 04,, 05:05
[/quote]That would be great. Heck, if that happened it may be the end of the Democratic party.[/quote]


Indeed, we would then be living in a one-party state. Those seem to work pretty well....

Confed999
04 Oct 04,, 05:22
Indeed, we would then be living in a one-party state. Those seem to work pretty well....
You don't actually think all the liberals would just start voting Republican do you? I would actually figure it would bring about a change in the current party system.

Prodigal Son
04 Oct 04,, 08:10
You don't actually think all the liberals would just start voting Republican do you? I would actually figure it would bring about a change in the current party system.

CHANGE in the current party system? Very funny. :-) No, really, very funny. The two party system in the US is a direct artifact of our electoral laws. Unless we change the electoral laws and how we allocate seats in the legislature we will always have a two-party system. The democrats will never die -- they'll just keep on ticking like some half-alive 50's movie monster. They may change...but the pary itself will never die.

IF that happens then you'll get GOP domination. GOP is currently controlled by southerners -- that is where the base of the party is now. If you like southern-fried conservatism a la Tom Delay....crony capitaism with an extra helping of legislated morality then pray for the destruction of the democrats.

Anyway...what do you mean by liberal? Dean was called a liberal and he balanced the budget in Vermont.

Gio
04 Oct 04,, 09:36
You sound like you read the Economist article on Texas. :P

Prodigal Son
04 Oct 04,, 17:04
The Economist is hands down the best news weekly in the world. It has no competitors.

But, beyond that, the political-economy of the south is very similar to what you'll find in Latin America...which is why I think their description of Bush's brand of conservative politics is so right on. In both, large rentier classes (mineral extraction, farming, inherited wealth) use the outcomes of imperfect markets to solidify their hold over society. If you look at voting patterns in the South, areas that depend on producing knowledge-intensive goods and services rather than raw materials tend to vote Democrat.

Gio
04 Oct 04,, 17:07
Well, not totally. Atlanta is a business powerhouse in my opinion, its got a load of services firms. And Austin is apprently the fastest growing tech cluster in the nation. But yeah for the most part, the south depends on extraction industries and govt hand outs for survival.

Question: What do you make of Orange County, California? Its economy is services based, knowlage based, etc but it still backs the GOP. Its far from a rural area. Heck, its got 3 million people. Its per capita income is quite high. And compared to Los Angeles County where the coast is especially liberal, the right still wins on the OC coast.

Prodigal Son
04 Oct 04,, 17:57
Well, not totally. Atlanta is a business powerhouse in my opinion, its got a load of services firms. And Austin is apprently the fastest growing tech cluster in the nation. But yeah for the most part, the south depends on extraction industries and govt hand outs for survival.

But the trend generally holds in those high-tech clusters too. The folks in those areas, usually metropolitan, are what David Brook's calls "Bobo's" -- essentially free-market hippies. Their cultural political-economy is vastly different than the rentier wealth of the old South. Indeed, these areas tend to vote Dem or moderate Republican -- they are islands of blue and pink in a sea of Red if you will.



Question: What do you make of Orange County, California? Its economy is services based, knowlage based, etc but it still backs the GOP. Its far from a rural area. Heck, its got 3 million people. Its per capita income is quite high. And compared to Los Angeles County where the coast is especially liberal, the right still wins on the OC coast.

Easy, they vote for the GOP for the same reason Wall Street generally does -- because they gain so much from GOP economic policy that it more than compensates them for any losses the adoption of a conservative social policy would entail. When goods and services are deemed immoral and banned, they don't disappear but are shifted onto the black market. This means the rich don't do without, they simply go underground and pay the additional costs associated with consuming black-market goods and services. OC is just as immoral as any other part of the country -- they can just afford to pay more to hide it and gain so much from GOP economic policy that those costs are relatively trivial.

Abortion is a good example of this. The "rich" (a loaded term of course) didn't allow their daughters to go to back-alley abortionists. They simply paid trusted physicians large amounts of money to quietly "take care of" problem pregnancies. If abortion was made illegal again the same would happen. Similarly, keeping drugs illegal is a non-issue for them. Folks like the Bushs (or the Kennedys) can afford to pay for secure coke, can afford lawyers to help them get out of jail, and, more to the point, are so entrenched in the politcal and economic system that they can call in a large number of favors to help them get out of trouble. They can simply use their wealth and connections to avoid the penalties you or I would face when engaging in the same activities.

Anyway, this deal with the social right is a great one to make for the economic right. The social right's agenda is impossible to put through, largely because of the courts. This means the ecnomic right will never have to pay the bill it owes the social right. Likewise, centrist dems will never have to pay what it owes the far, far left because what they are asking for is equally impossible. These two parts of the two parties are like ill-kept, mangy barking dogs. Whichever party feeds them the least while allowing them to think the next bone given to them will be better after the next election generally wins.

Julie
04 Oct 04,, 20:15
Pfft !. Government hand-outs ...... Bobos.... I resent those remarks. if you want to know about the South and Politics, I suggest you read this site because you people obviously haven't a clue. http://www.georgiapolitics.com

And if you get lost in the site, for some unknown reason, be sure to read this link: http://www.georgiapolitics.com/sprawlhistory.html Also, while in the site, be sure to click on the Articles link. Now, there, you will find the true opinions of Southerners.

Oh, by the way, I'm from deep South Georgia.

Gio
04 Oct 04,, 20:49
Well no offense to the south on a personal level from my part, but they recieve a huge transfer amount of money from the costal states in the way of subsidies for oil and timber industries as well as military bases.
Check out:
http://www.retrovsmetro.org/

ChrisF202
04 Oct 04,, 20:49
That would be great. Heck, if that happened it may be the end of the Democratic party.
Please letit happen :biggrin:

Julie
04 Oct 04,, 22:42
Okay Gio, I read your "Retro vs. Metro" so let's recap it:

"Metro America, with 34 percent of the land mass, has 65 percent of the population, with a density of 151 persons per square mile. Metro America produces the majority of the nation’s tax revenue, but some $200 billion a year of Metro taxes flow to Retro states and support the economic life of its small cities, towns, and rural areas."

Okay, let's see where that $200 billion goes, shall we:


"The current Retro America is geographically defined as an alliance of contiguous regions—the South, its anchor, Retro America is large in geographic expanse but relatively small in population. Its 25 states encompass 66 percent of the land mass and 35 percent of the population, with a population density of 42 persons per square mile. Politically, Retro America, with 35 percent of the population, has 50 U.S. senators—half of the Senate. Retro representatives support subsidies to oil, mining and agriculture."

Okay, from what I gather, the Metro produces more income because the population is tremendously larger. The Retro area is geographically alot larger than populated. Therefore, it seems the subsidies are to aid the Retro in agriculture to help feed the Metro.

Also, "The Republicans have carved out Retro America as their base and are using the dangers of terrorism and permanent war to try to create a new national unity and a new national party."

It seems that subsidies are used for military bases, since Retro are “God, Family, and Flag” folks." In other words, the Southern population are used for fighting and defending America.

In summary, the Metro monies subsidize Retro so Retro can obviously feed and defend (in war) Metro, the basic elements of survival. :biggrin:

Subsidies are not a "hand-out" to the South. It's more like I scratch your back, I scratch yours type of thing.....a new national unity....and/or "you got the money, we got the land and backbone."

Southerners are very hard-working people, and hand-outs just aren't in our vocabulary. If anything is given to us, it is called being "neighborly."

Confed999
05 Oct 04,, 01:08
The two party system in the US is a direct artifact of our electoral laws.
No, the 2 party system is there because most people don't know there are more than 2 parties. All that is truly required for a change, is for people to start voting for the other parties. Check out http://www.militaryaffairsboard.com/showthread.php?t=1604 for a "quiz", it's kinda fun if you're into that stuff, and links to other party websites.

Gio
05 Oct 04,, 05:30
Okay, from what I gather, the Metro produces more income because the population is tremendously larger. The Retro area is geographically alot larger than populated. Therefore, it seems the subsidies are to aid the Retro in agriculture to help feed the Metro.

Its transfer payments, i frankly see it as us paying to stay in the union and dictate social policy. Not totally accurate, the state with the largest farm industry is none other then California. Seems to me subsidies to the south are useless as they don't produce much economic growth and could be used to revitialize urban areas, IE: Tax breaks for technology start-ups.


It seems that subsidies are used for military bases, since Retro are “God, Family, and Flag” folks." In other words, the Southern population are used for fighting and defending America.

Not totally, a huge chunk of the military is made up of inner-city kids trying to escape the ghetto via the provisions still left over from the GI bill.


Subsidies are not a "hand-out" to the South. It's more like I scratch your back, I scratch yours type of thing.....a new national unity....and/or "you got the money, we got the land and backbone."
Except you arn't scarching our backs much by having your legislators deny funds to our communities.

Not that i'm the largest advocate of the welfare state, but if its going to be i want my community to get its fair share.

Prodigal Son
05 Oct 04,, 18:41
Red states are net tax consumers, blue states are net tax contributors.

Agriculture is a great example of the way the blue-state tax payer subsidizes the rural political economy. Something on the order of 80% of subsidies go to the biggest 20% of farm operators. In fact, most "farmers" don't even get the subsidies -- they get passed on to landowners either directly or in the form of higher farmland rents (lots of ag subsidy checks go to Manhattan). It's shameful -- paying de facto welfare to some of the richest people in America.

And please, the idea that ag subsidies are needed to make sure there is enough for everybody to eat doesn't even pass the laugh test.

Prodigal Son
05 Oct 04,, 18:44
Originally Posted by Prodigal Son
The two party system in the US is a direct artifact of our electoral laws.


No, the 2 party system is there because most people don't know there are more than 2 parties. All that is truly required for a change, is for people to start voting for the other parties. Check out http://www.militaryaffairsboard.com...read.php?t=1604 for a "quiz", it's kinda fun if you're into that stuff, and links to other party websites.

:-) Sorry Confed, but its the electoral law. This is as close to a scientific law of politics as there is.

Julie
05 Oct 04,, 19:40
Well, then maybe you think this is laughable....some excerpts from the link Gio posted from Metro v. Retro:

"Petroleum is the single most prosperous portion of the mining industry. Most oil production occurs in Alaska, California, Louisiana, and Texas; consequently, these states are the largest beneficiaries of oil subsidies. " (Chapt. 2, Page 2). CALIFORNIA IS ONE OF THE LARGEST BENEFICIARY OF OIL SUBSIDIES.

"For 15 Retro states versus 9 Metro states, nondurable goods manufacturing represents a higher proportion of GSP than the national average. It's notable that in the Retro states, nondurable goods manufacturing represents a larger economic sector than their extraction industries." THE SOUTH CAN SURVIVE WITHOUT YOUR POLITICAL REPUBLICAN HANDOUTS.

"In 17 Retro states, federal military spending (see Map 2-1) represents a bigger fraction of gross state product, by at least 10 percent, than in the United States as a whole. Only six Metro states (plus Maryland and Virginia) have larger-than-average shares of federal military spending. Similarly, federal civilian spending is a larger share of GSP, by 10 percent or more, in 13 Retro states and in only 4 Metro states. Overall, in 21 of the 25 Retro states, federal military or civilian spending is higher by 10 percent or more as a portion of GSP than the national average, while this is true in only 7 of 23 Metro states, excluding Maryland and Virginia."

"Many of these high-federal-assistance states have reputations for nurturing rugged-individualist cultures --- Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and the Dakotas --- yet these are states whose lifestyles are supported by Metro taxpayers. In these states, politics is anti-government and state taxes are low --- attitudes that can be sustained only by federal government handouts and favors." NOTICE SOUTHERN STATES, I.E. GEORGIA, IS NOT LISTED AS A WELFARE STATE.

The Retro States are "reinforced by economic intimidation, aided by lax state and local industrial regulations and low tax rates that minimize public investment in social services and education. The national Republican leadership has adopted this legacy of elitism and oppression, and now presents it as the ideal society for all of America: a very wealthy management class favored by low taxation on both income and capital, with a heavily taxed middle class and a working class locked in increasing competition with cheap overseas labor. And all the while, Republican apologists accuse the Democrats of elitism. (THAT WOULD BE BUSH) :biggrin:


Just from those few facts cited above, you can see what us Southern States has to offer and what we have to deal with from our Republican Government. So if you got any complaints, VOTE DEMOCRAT, is all I can say!

:biggrin:

Prodigal Son
05 Oct 04,, 20:56
I would be quite happy if the South left. It would require my Texan relatives to get a passport to visit me. :-) Also, less money I have to spend on handouts to weeping hurricane victims.

Using "states" isn't appropriate -- metro vs. retro is a regional thing. Illinois has a metro area -- Chicago and its environs -- while the rest of the state is an agricultural retro area. The point is that metro areas, not necessarily states, are heavily subsidizing retro regions -- small town/rural America at a net loss. The fact that Cali gets a lot of oil and farm subsidies is due to the fact its a big state with lots of retro regions and people.

Julie
05 Oct 04,, 21:37
I would be quite happy if the South left. It would require my Texan relatives to get a passport to visit me. :-) Also, less money I have to spend on handouts to weeping hurricane victims.

Using "states" isn't appropriate -- metro vs. retro is a regional thing. Illinois has a metro area -- Chicago and its environs -- while the rest of the state is an agricultural retro area. The point is that metro areas, not necessarily states, are heavily subsidizing retro regions -- small town/rural America at a net loss. The fact that Cali gets a lot of oil and farm subsidies is due to the fact its a big state with lots of retro regions and people.


Oh, please, give me a break. Georgia, the safe-haven state, had to handle the influx of Floridians and the unfortunate surrounding states that was dealt the blow of the hurricane tracks. It is better for you not to consider coming to the South because you would not survive a day. I am sure Florida would not have been given $12 billion dollars, Johnny on the spot of taxpayers money, had Jeb not been Bush's brother, and at election time when Bush is opting for Florida.

As far as the "big Metro California goes," what decent labor was in California has headed for the hills, or abroad, and the state is left with practically button pushers for a work force. The majority of citizens can't even keep their lights cut on because they don't even know who to pay for their electricity. California can't even handle the revenue they have, or they wouldn't be on the verge of Bankruptcy.

For the South to be so dependent upon the most revenue-producing Region, it is safe to say, that Metro American does pass the laughable test in Retro-America. :biggrin:

Prodigal Son
05 Oct 04,, 21:52
:-)

I would be quite happy to live in the south -- so long as it was in a metro part and as far from a born-again Baptist camp as possible. Folks who mention Jesus at least once is passing conversation scare the hell out of me.

Gio
06 Oct 04,, 00:47
Too hot and humid. I'll take my perfect weather here. :P

Confed999
06 Oct 04,, 01:16
:-) Sorry Confed, but its the electoral law. This is as close to a scientific law of politics as there is.
I don't know what you're talking about. You actually think there are only two parties in the US? There's no law that says there can be only 2 parties.

Prodigal Son
06 Oct 04,, 06:48
Originally Posted by Prodigal Son
:-) Sorry Confed, but its the electoral law. This is as close to a scientific law of politics as there is.


I don't know what you're talking about. You actually think there are only two parties in the US? There's no law that says there can be only 2 parties.

No, of course not. I'm referring to what's known as Duverger's law (Click here for info on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duvergers_Law), It's a social-scientific law/principle that states first-past-the-post electoral systems (single-member-plurality election districts) produce two-party political systems. There are exceptions to the law, of course, but it holds strong in an overwhelming number of instances.

The law goes something like this:

An election district, for Congress say, gets to send one person to the legislature. Any number can run, but to win you have to get a simple plurality (most) of the votes. This creates a dilemma for the voter -- voting for your first choice may actually lead to you worst choice being selected because your second choice failed to get your vote. This is irrational in the long-run and so folks will eventually start voting for their second choice candiate if their first choice consistently gets beaten.

Greens or Libertarians in the US or the Lib-Dems in Britain may actually have a lot of support, but it's spread out and they don't constitute a majority in any one district -- and so they are usually unable to get candidates elected in first-past-the-post systems like in the US and the UK. Even if they are elected they are almost certain to have no power in the legislature because of their limited numbers, so in addition the low probablity of a candidate winning voters also have to put up with the fact that these third parties will be ineffective in pushing through their agenda. It makes no sense to throw your vote away like that election after election.

People aren't stupid -- if they see their votes essentially leading to their least-liked choice consistently being elected they'll either stop voting or switch their vote over to the "lesser of two evils". There may be blips -- look at Ross Perot in the US -- but in countries with our type of electoral system they're just that, blips that may reflect voter anger in a particular year but no long-term threat to an established two party system. Voting for lovable losers just isn't in the long-term interest of the voter.

So...to make a long story short...yes, Libertarians, Con Law party, Greens are all out there, but the way we convert votes into seats makes them unlikely to get elected. Because they are unlikely to get elected they have no power in the political system. Because they have no power in the political system it makes them unlikely they will get elected. It's a vicious circle that is a direct result of our electoral laws.

Confed999
07 Oct 04,, 00:57
But, if one party collapses, another will fill the vacuume. It won't become a 1 party system as you imply.

Prodigal Son
07 Oct 04,, 07:53
But, if one party collapses, another will fill the vacuume. It won't become a 1 party system as you imply.

But you see, the Democrats won't implode -- the party is the oldest political party in the world. What will happen is that who comprises the Democratic party will change much as who comprised the GOP changed in the latter half of the 20th century after it was shut out at the national level between the Depression and 1980. The party will linger on, kept alive by the electoral system, until some new coalition takes up residence under the "big tent" known as the Democratic party, refurbishes it, and begins to win elections again. If that should happen then the GOP would dominate politics in that interim period. The US has had several eras when one party or another dominated national politics while its counterpart restructured itself.

Of course, the GOP has the same problem in terms of its coalition politics. How libertarians and Bible-thumping conservatives get along is beyond me and is basic axis of conflict in the party. Similarly, GOP policy is also a bit of a paradox since it's econ policy eats the very people who have given the party its massive new strength -- small town and rural America.

Julie
07 Oct 04,, 15:06
I thought I was the only one in the south that realized that very important issue.

:biggrin:

Prodigal Son
07 Oct 04,, 20:53
Julie wrote:

I thought I was the only one in the south that realized that very important issue.


You're right -- many southern states are in large parts one-party states controlled by the GOP. That's just as bad as having a state controlled by the Dems -- look at California.

Anyway, I picked up a good book on the Conservative movement in America called "The Right Nation" by two Economist reporters. I really liked it.

In many ways the GOP's current strength is populist in nature...sort of a "peasant's" revolt against those perceived to be big and powerful in America. It's not so much an economic rebellion so much as a "values" rebellion. Traditional America is suffering from future shock -- dramatic change is occuring so quickly and so powerfully that folks there are reacting against it. Economic conservatives and economic libertarians (one wants government handouts for business, the other wants free markets) have hitched themselves to this populist anger and is using it to push through their agenda. If 20th-century American political history had been reversed -- with GOP dominating and the Dems being the outsider party -- then it would be the Dems capitalizing on this populist anger, not Republicans, much as they did at the end of the first period of Republican ascendency in the 1930s.