Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Watching The US Election

Some questions that I had milling around my brain as i watched the aftermath of the American elections.

Why were people queueing up for hours to vote? Why are there just not more polling stations?

I seem to remember pondering this last time, but why is it when viewing the map of how the individual states voted, the left and right flank of America is almost always blue with a thick red stripe of Republic voting states running straight down the middle? My initial thought is that the states in the centre have less population, therefore less social interaction outside of their own and therefore no rubbing along with other people and different cultures and perspectives that happens in the more densely populated side states. A version of the single child syndrome if you like. Only a guess, nobody seems to have a definitive answer.

Has it been noticed by anyone else that in the past few years the diabolical Saddam regime has been removed from Iraq, the oppressive Taliban has been removed from power in Afghanistan but it is the change of regime in America that has prompted the greatest celebrations globally out of the three?

Isn't it a bad idea to leave the outgoing men in power for 77 days after an election, knowing that their party is not in office for the next 4 years and therefore free to cause mischief and generally lay booby traps for the incoming administration?

33 comments:

Kvatch said...

...but it is the change of regime in America that has prompted the greatest celebrations globally out of the three?

Now there is the most delicious irony I've yet heard regarding the election. May I quote you on that?

Noah "Nog" M. said...

Lucy,
I always get a kick out of explaining American political institutions to Europeans, especially Brits. Your founders (if your nation was founded before time immemorial) didn't write about things like "the tyranny of the majority faction", "states' rights", "God-given rights", and "an Empire of Freedom".


-The Midlands states (The Dakotas, Nebraska, Montana) are more rural and hence naturally more conservative. They are also more solidly white and, from a historical perspective, tend to have a lot of Southern ancestry and roots.
The West coast has lots of rural areas as well but they're more coastal and you're right to assume that there's more immigration and typical urban things going on.

Also, the new President and Congress used to not take office until March and it got moved up to January in the 20th amendment in 1933. So it's better than it used to be.
The reasoning for the lag time was the long travel times. In England going from the tip of Scotland to London might not have been an issue in 1800 or 1900, but getting from Montana or California to DC quickly didn't used to be an easy feat.

-The more I learn the more wisdom I find in the American Constitution and many of the key peculiarities of our political system. Notice that Representatives go up every 2 years, Senators every 6 with a third every 2, and the President and Vice President every 4. I used to wonder "what's with the 6 years?". Well, It so happens that the parties of second term presidents almost always get butchered in midterms. The last time they didn't lose seats was 1998 under Clinton when the Republicans already had the Senate 55-45; the time before that was 1822.
So it is safe to say that almost all of these Senators you see winning red states will lose them back in 2014. Notice that the Republicans lost a lot of seats in 2006 in the Senate that they won in 2000 when Bush first got elected.
Just one ingenious way our Constitution keeps one side from getting too much power.

Nog

Anonymous said...

Lucy,

I'm so glad you and the rest of the world are happy - it was a major motive when I voted... yeah.

Concerning you rather condenscending remarks about people in the middle of America.

Well, people in small rural areas actually know each other by name; therefore, they help each other more than people in the stuck-up cities, and don't see a need for government to solve every problem.

I live in one of those backward areas and have acquaintenances in my town that are from India (namaste!), China (the red one - ne ha ma!), Hondurous, Mexico, Panama, Germany (lots of them), France, and a couple from the U.K. (Wales to be specific). We had a Russian, but I haven't see him in a while... Actually we have a lot of Japanese tourists which is kinda odd. Then there are the occasional Californians - they are the strangest by far!

Q from Hickville

David G said...

"Just one ingenious way our Constitution keeps one side from getting too much power," claims Eggnog.

I wasn't going to bother to comment on this incredible claim but it's too ridiculous to let pass.

The world has just suffered eight years of Bush the warmonger. Millions of people are dead as a result. The American people have suffered eight years of a virtual dictatorship, one which spies on its people, takes away their rights, uses torture and rendition, locks people up in cages without charge or trial, advances the greedy ambitions of corporations and religious fanatics, etc, etc.

Yes, during the Bush regime, it was certainly great to see how the 'Hallowed' American Constitution kept one side from getting too much power!

What asinine nonsense!

effay said...

ingenious power Eggnog incredible claim ridiculous suffered Bush warmonger Millions dead American suffered virtual dictatorship spies rights torture rendition cages trial greedy ambitions corporations fanatics Bush regime Hallowed American power asinine nonsense!

The poeticized version.

effay said...

Now make your favorite sentence. It's like the pa.lindro.me but for david g.

effay said...

And Eggnog...seriously?

Lucy said...

Feel free to quote away Kvatch.

Thank you nog for patiently explaining some of the things that had this foreigner wondering about some of the details of your elections.

Thank you for easily taking umbrage Q. I based my guess on your central states on the thinking of the rural folk here in the UK. They usually throw turnips and Wurzles CD's at me when i visit.

Anonymous said...

Why were people queueing up for hours to vote? Why are there just not more polling stations?

I found that amazing too. We have our election tomorrow, and you would never get people waiting for hours - they just would not be bothered.

Lucy said...

They turf the kids out of school here and use church halls and pretty much anywhere they can set up a booth. I have never queued to vote in my life, i did it in my lunch break last time and still had time to stop off at Starbucks for a mocha.

Steve Lockwood said...

If I was an American who has been subjected to months and months of campaigning (it's dominated the news over here seemingly for ever) I would be a bit disappointed if I just walked up, ticked a box and walked out. Imagine the feeling of anti-climax - "is that it?" I would be thinking.

It seems perfectly fitting that the act of voting should, itself, take on an epic quality, involving voters in heroic acts of queueing.

"Regime change" - you should copyright that! I bet Ian Hislop steals it to use on the News Quiz. (A satirical TV comedy/quiz for you non Brits.)

As for the long handover period that actually makes a lot of sense. Politicians are good at being politicians - ie when it comes to running a country with a sophisticated economy and a complex society they are bumbling amateurs (like the rest of us). Putting someone like that in charge of war/finance/transport etc at a moments notice seems like a recipe for disaster. I'm sure George W won't be able to do too much damage in his "lame duck" days.

I'm a great admirer of the American Constitution - though it has its faults, chiefly that it's still possible to elect a dimwit (e.g. Reagan, Bush II) or a maniac (e.g. Bushes I & II).

JodieKash said...

Early voting helped a good deal. About half of the registered voters in CO voted and queues here, most pretty short last Tuesday.

There’s an urban legend that when George W took the White House from Clinton all the "W" keys on the laptops and PCs were removed. That slick Willy.

Don said...

The Clintons were assholes. I hope the Bushes display a little more class when they hand over the house keys.

My voting took almost no time. I think there were three people in line ahead of me. But for those who complain they wouldn't bother, please remember all those folks across the world who either don't get the chance, or when they do will stand in line literally for days. And, like as not, they have dead Americans to thank for it.

"david g" said

The world has just suffered eight years of Bush the warmonger. Millions of people are dead as a result. The American people have suffered eight years of a virtual dictatorship, one which spies on its people, takes away their rights, uses torture and rendition, locks people up in cages without charge or trial, advances the greedy ambitions of corporations and religious fanatics, etc, etc.

Sorry to be rude. I don't know where in the world this clown lives, but

What asinine nonsense!

surely was spoken to a mirror. None of the above is true. Some of it applies to a tiny number of folks suspected of involvement with violent acts against the U.S. This doesn't excuse the Bush regime's behavior. They -- we, if you prefer -- had gone back to that paranoid time of the HUAC. That was a bad idea. But baseless hyperbole like that only discredits you.

Don said...

Oh yeah, this caught my attention:

Has it been noticed by anyone else that in the past few years the diabolical Saddam regime has been removed from Iraq, the oppressive Taliban has been removed from power in Afghanistan but it is the change of regime in America that has prompted the greatest celebrations globally out of the three?

For a moment I thought you were going to note that it was thanks to Americans that "the diabolical Saddam regime has been removed from Iraq, the oppressive Taliban has been removed from power in Afghanistan" and that the global interest in America's regime change is possibly a ghoulish response to years of populist yellow journalism, but oh well. We, at least, knew it was going to happen. The four-year tick-tock will never change, crazy ravings that Bush/Cheney were going to suspend the Constitution notwithstanding. (Remember that? I do.)

David G said...

Lucy, where does this increasing flood of right-wing, fact-denying, irrational American apologists come from?

They seem rather out of place on what I understood was a left-wing blog!

Cody Bones said...

Daniel, we're just here for the soup.

As well as your wit and tolerance.


Cheers

David G said...

The flood began with you, Cody. Then Nog and Effay appeared. Now Don.

All of you try to downplay the serious threat that a right-wing, war-loving, pro-Zionist, imperialist America poses to the world. All of you ignore its many deficiencies and flaws, try to pretend they don't exist or laugh them off.

Fortunately other Americans are not so dishonest. Perhaps now that the Republicans and Neocons have been totally rejected America will move in a new direction, become more peaceful, less greedy and elitist.

Perhaps!

David G said...

P.S. Oh, and by the way, Reuters reports that gun sales across America are up thirty percent.

"In McPherson, Kansas, gun dealer Steve Sechler said demand at a gun show last weekend jumped by more than 50 percent as buyers rushed to stock up on guns including Kalashnikov and AR-15 rifles."

Yeah, all those gun-loving, bible-thumping, white rednecks just love fighting and killing!

Lucy said...

David - The righties are still far outnumbered by the lefties here and i hold out hope that one day they will realise that they have it all wrong and will start hanging Lenin pictures in their front rooms, but then i also hope that Cody will finally realise that i was right about Slash all along and will learn the incredibly tricky Sweet Child O' Mine riff in tribute.

Anonymous said...

David,

I think your words, which tend to be extreme, drive much of the response. It is amazing to me how aggressive and arrogant your messages come across while you are advocating peace and harmony.

Q

David G said...

Q, Americans, some of them, just hate hearing the truth about themselves and their country.

Others, the intelligent and perceptive ones, the ones who voted for Obama, understand why America is the most hated and feared country in the world.

You, like the others mentioned above, are like dinosaurs. You are no longer relevant, no longer belong in this changing world.

Just cling to your bibles, your assault rifles and your elitist, warmongering, greedy Republican ideology and quietly just fade away. Please!

Anonymous said...

david,

see. more of what i was talking about. except you weren't even talking about peace or harmony this time. just personal attacks and more of your extreme rhetoric.

even your extremeism is beginning to become dull.

do you really represent something better? please.

q

ps - i will cling to my bible and my guns. you cling to your eliteism, arrogance, anger, fear, spite, and lack of self-esteem... oh, and be sure to get your free meds checked, they don't seem to be working...

David G said...

Farewell, oh cabal of silly American rednecks and republicans.

I've visited the blogs of those of you who have them and I note you visit with each other and support each other. Talk about the blind leading the blind!

But that does explain why I am always under attack by one or more of you and why I'm outnumbered.

Sorry, Lucy! I'll check your blog every few months to see if the rednecks have gone but they do seem to be very comfortable here.

I'm not!

Cheers.

Cody Bones said...

Lucy, I'm a bassist, so call me Duff. I did love GNR, but I still think Axle is a dope, just like...

Daniel, I don't own a bible or a gun, but I still think your panties are in a bunch


Cheers

Don said...

Such thin skin. Sorry, Lucy, for pissing off your guest. But he lied: He didn't check *my* blog. NO right-wingers visit me so far as I can tell. But I do have a sufferance-deficiency when it comes to fools, I admit it.

Your question is a very interesting one, about red state / blue state distribution. A look at California's electoral map (broken out by county) shows the same trend: Coast-dwellers tend to go blue and the inland people, red. This is not however due to a lack of cultural exposure. Explore inland California and you will find people who have been everywhere, and half of them used to live in coastal cities. They emigrated because they could no longer stomach the urban outlook. Obviously, to an urbane person this can only mean they are stupid. But I can tell that you are not foolish enough to fall for such bigotry. You are genuinely curious and I hope some day you can learn more of the independence and diversity that insular geniuses such as david g. so loudly decry as anachronistic.

Annie said...

don, i was born and raised in this state, have lived in coastal AND inland areas, and can say from experience that hateful hicks do exist. in fact, when we retreated from twain harte for the north coast 7 years ago, it was because of that sad fact. all it took was the 2000 election to force us to face it. it's real-i have lived it. sure, there were other types of people living there, but they were vastly outnumbered by church people judging anyone that did not think like they did. it was an ugly way to live. i was naive to think that i could integrate their world, and be treated as an equal. to them, i wasn't.

i do believe that the radical right wing, god-fearing, gun-toting, homophobic racists are a dying breed. that's why they are so mad now...because evolution is happening to them in a very direct fashion. I can't say i'll miss 'em.

Lucy said...

Don - I mentioned somewhere above that the country v city thing was based on the country v city thing of the UK where the country folk are less likely to come into everyday contact with those of other nationalities and cultures so tend to have different views on anyone 'different'. I was only wondering aloud if that is why the central states in America, which is rural and less densely populated the same as our rural counties, suffers from the same mindset. Whether it is a good or bad thing wasn't mentioned, just mulling over why the difference and if it is the same reasons our rural places tend to vote Conservative.

Don said...

Well, Annie's comment makes me think, cause she's lived in Twain Harte and I haven't. It may be that my exposure to country types is limited, mostly along this corridor that links San Francisco and Tahoe. Also, tho' it may be chauvinistic, I think of Californians of any stripe as more cosmopolitan than their Midwestern counterparts. Whether or not that's true, I'll allow that rural conservatism has similar roots and causes everywhere.

Anonymous said...

annie,

i think part of the problem is the labels you and many others use... i can't imagine anybody but a neo-nazi, skinhead, or kkk'er admitting to being a "radical right wing, god-fearing (though i've never seen a neo-nazi, skinhead, or kkk'er that believed in god) homophobic racist".

- i admit to being god-fearing (excuse me but i thought the USA was founded by people that wanted the freedom to worship...)
- i tote guns (AS ALLOWED BY THE SECOND ADMENMENT!)
- i do not support same sex marriage (while i support the right to be homosexual)
- i do object to using redistribution of wealth to fix "racism"
- i do object to being label by people because i don't agree with them

Q

Annie said...

ah,q. you label 'us' too. remember your callous generalization of janis joplin? same same same. have a nice day!

Anonymous said...

annie,

I did label her. I'm sure it included drug head since she died of an overdose...

I couldn't find the comment though. Do you happen to remember the exact labels I used?

q

Annie said...

so, because she died of a drug overdose, that negates anything positive about her existence? wow. that seems mighty cold hearted, for a god worshiper.

and regarding the precise slander you used in your comment, nope. i don't think it matters that much either.

Anonymous said...

annie,

hmmm, if it is true & provable is it a label? I mean, clearly she used drugs at least once...

when you combine many labels like gun toting (which I do that isn't a label), bible thumping (which I do so that isn't a label) that is one thing, but when you toss in radical, well that is pretty damn subjective. and homophobic and racist, well you have to prove that or it is just a label as well... in fact, if you accuse me of those things and can't prove them it is called slander and potentially subject to civil liability.

whereas me calling Janus Joplin a drughead, well that is a fact...

a damn talented drug head, but a drug head... also she is dead and doesn't have any civil rights anymore...

q