The Electoral College and Popular Vote

EDIT: Whoops. Forgot to proofread my work and left in the notes to myself to add the links to support my words.

rxl2yIt seems like the proctologist business is booming because there seems to be a lot of butts that are hurt over the recent United States 2016 Presidential Election. Namely, over its results. The God-Emperor Donald J. Trump, the madman himself, has won the presidential election. That’s right, despite almost every news station, newspaper, news website, celebrities, hell, despite what several popular YouTubers said about Trump being ‘deplorable’, he won. I guess it just goes to show that attempting to no-platform ideas you disagree with doesn’t work forever.

So being the tolerant leftists that they are they stood down and accepted… oh wait. They didn’t. Which is fairly odd because Clinton herself said that Trump was undermining democracy by saying he wouldn’t accept the outcome if he lost. She said this on national television during the third (and I believe the second) presidential debate. Now those of you that watch the full clip will know that Clinton called Trump out on it because he’s a Presidential candidate, but if we are to believe the idea of citizen representatives we have to extend it to all citizens of the United States. So these (presumably) Clinton supporters (or at least a large chunk of them are) are protesting, undermining democracy in the same way their candidate said that which they hate was undermining democracy! Irony and hypocrisy make such a delicious combo. So now they’re protesting, blocking streets, beating up 74-year old men, and damaging property. Now the point of this post isn’t to point out the hypocrisy in people or even the left, I’d be here all day. However, I believe there is something of value to come out of these… protests.

There’s a kink in this victory, the Honorable President-Elect Donald J. Trump may have won the electoral college votes (barring any shenanigans in December), but he LOST the popular vote by about half a million votes (illegal immigrant vote came out this time). So now we run into the fifth case of the person that won the popular vote losing the electoral college vote (again, assuming no elector shenanigans). We’ve had this happen five times in the history of our United States. George Washington was our first president in 1789 and Donald Trump will be our president in 2017. 2017-1789 = 228. But we only have an election every 4 years, so 228/4 = 57. So we’ve had 5 out of 57 elections or 8.7% of elections in which the president did not become the president with the popular vote.

So where are we at today? Well, those same leftists I mentioned earlier are proposing that Clinton should be the president despite losing the Electoral College system vote because she won the popular vote. I cannot agree to this and I’ll tell you why. It’s a simple matter of cities holding the most power.

First, CGP Grey (fantastic YouTuber, highly recommend just watching a playlist of his content) argues against the Electoral College because of a mathematical quirk. In this, he counters the ‘Presidential candidates will only visit densely populated states in a popular vote system’ argument with the swing state condition that we’re in right now. I don’t like his argument here. Right now and for the past several elections, candidates have focused on the swing states. While true, the argue is entirely based on the situation now. That situation can change, and his argument only holds while those swing states remain those swing states. Theoretically any state can become a swing state and I would not be surprised if with some population distribution we could make ALL of them swing states. So I don’t like the ‘swing states exist and presidents ignore all other states’ argument.

Second, CGP Grey (same video above) lists the more pressing problem with Electoral College in that 75% of the country can vote against a candidate and that candidate can still win. This would be a problem if we Americans lived in a true democracy, but we don’t. I think the question here is whether or not we want to accept such a possibility if it were to occur. Is it really fair that 25% of people in the country can decide who leads our nation for the next four years?

Third, CGP Grey has made (another?) follow-up video in which he addresses the concerns that I might have with the Electoral College – trust. Do we really trust the electors to vote as the states requested? It’s illegal in some states to not do so, but are the consequences of not doing so steep enough? The answers to these questions are up to you but I do believe they’re worth talking about.

Now onto my contribution. The reason I brought this up is because all of a sudden people care whether or not the United States President is selected democratically by popular vote or continues to be selected by the Electoral College. More specifically, I wanted to take a look at this:


So this is a list of the most highly populated areas in the United States. The implication being that such a small area of the United States would have great power over the United States. Should the president be elected solely by people that live in what looks like an impossibly tiny faction of the United States? I disagreed, but I wanted to see how far this rabbit hole goes so I went digging.

First, I found the average number of electoral votes per state. We have 538 electoral votes, 50 states and 1 Washington D.C. That’s an average of over 10 electoral votes per state. A state cannot have a fraction of a vote, so let’s round down to 10 electoral votes per person. If you look at every state worth 10 or more electoral votes, it looks like this:


(Don’t focus too much on them being marked for Trump, it’s for visualization purposes only)

10 is the average number of electoral votes, therefore there should be about 25 states here, right? Half of the states should be above the average, half of the states should be below it. There are 21 states here. That’s not too far off, but it’s still only 80% the number of states that it should be. What’s the problem? As you can see, 42% of states control 70% of the electoral college votes. Is this fair? It might be. Let’s look at this list of cities with the most population in the United States.

Of the 50 cities, only 4 are not listed within the states I’ve marked red on the map above. Which means if, assuming you win the most populous cities in the United States under a popular vote system, you control the presidency. But I wonder, how many cities do you need to control to control the presidency? For the 2016 election, there were 146,311,000 registered voters. You only need 50% + 1 vote to win, so you need 73,155,501 votes to win. So how do the cities stack up? Well, if every person in every one of those 50 cities voted for you, you’d have 50,102,395 votes. You wouldn’t have the presidency outright, but you’d be 67% of the way there. The odds of this happening are probably negligible but visiting these areas can still give you impact on surrounding cities, so hopefully that balances things out. Assuming you won every state that had one of these major cities in them, you’d have an electoral map that looked like this:


So this is better in that it includes more of the country, but it’s still 29 states (well, 28 states and D.C.). Most of those states would probably be ignored because they had little to no population. I suspect the midwest as a group would probably be mostly ignored under a popular vote system. So there’s no reason for someone in the Dakotas to bother getting excited about any president because they can disregard the Dakotas completely.

I think the main reason people are opposed to the electoral college is because of the influence a republican vote has in California. Why bother voting republican if you’re in California? It’s loaded with democrats and there’s no way you can topple that might. Because you vote for the votes of your state, you may as well not bother getting out of bed that day. But if you’re in a popular vote system, aha! Now your vote matters even if you’re a republican in California. I don’t like this line of logic. Surely if the republicans made themselves distinguishable in California, they might attract more campaign time for those sweet 55 electoral votes. Maybe after a few cycles of this, republicans can make a swing state of California. But you’ll never be heard if you do not vote.

I think the main press for popular vote by the left is because of their base demographic. Democrats are known for their love of social programs. Where are the people that are on these social programs? They’re in the cities! So the left is confident that in a popular vote system that they’ll have more power. Of those 50 cities, how many were in California? 8. There were 8 cities that account for 9,066,724 votes. These 8 cities in California account for over 10% of the votes needed to win the presidency. And they’re all in one small area. The electoral college allows the states with fewer people to be competitive with the larger states… in theory (swing states are still a thing whether we like it or not).

To be clear, I’m not saying that the current system is perfect, but I do believe that it is better than one based on pure popular vote. I’m not suggesting any alternative method. I’m just asking you to reconsider your outrage when it comes to popular vote and the electoral college. That’ll be it from me, thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt

The Electoral College and Popular Vote

Voter ID Laws (Part 1)

Can we talk about Voter ID laws? Well, it’s my blog so there isn’t much choice on your end. Either read or close the page.

So with the election coming up, we once again run into the issue of voter ID laws. Especially since North Carolina got shut down when it came to implementing their ID laws. Whether or not you agree with the ruling, or you agree with the idea that the intent of North Carolinean legislators was racist won’t have too much bearing on this post. This post is designed with the intent to evaluate the idea of requiring identification to vote. To be clear: the intent of this post is to evaluate the claims made by both sides of the aisle in this issue.

The first question we must ask ourselves is ‘Why would you want to require identification to vote?’ The answer often stated is ‘To prevent voter fraud’. A typical response to this answer will normally be something along the lines of ‘In-person voter fraud happens so infrequently that it does not change anything’. So the argument would then be that it’s a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist yet. Another argument is that it unfairly punishes impoverished (and by extension, minority) communities since members of these communities are the least likely to have a driver’s license (because they don’t have a car). Going one step further, supposing that they are willing to obtain a driver’s license, that the DMV in their area is either closed or open so few hours during that week that even if they did have the money to drop on a license that they would have to take time off of work to do so. So this second argument is mostly about availability of ID on a person. The argument is whether or not the barrier to entry of ID is too high.

In-person Voter Fraud:

I don’t want to spend too much time on the in-person voter fraud (claiming to be someone that you aren’t) because I truly do believe that it happens so infrequently. Going in line to vote twice and pretending to be someone you aren’t the first or the second time seems like such a hassle for one extra vote (I’ll explain the significance shortly). Especially when it’s incredibly easy to verify that you are in fact not the person you are claiming to be. However, it’s a tricky issue to track. The United States has been around for about 200 years, over which we’ve had 100 elections or so. Electronic voting has been around for about 50 years (or about 25% of total elections).

As a computer science person, I find the idea of anonymous, electronic voting very scary for the integrity of my voting system. I find that super-double-extra scary when many voting machines are being run on proprietary code. Only the companies that run the machines really know the ins and outs of the code that runs the machines. A worker can easily rig the election within minutes. We also run into the issue of the ‘voter card’ (an electronic card you insert into the machine while you vote). It has been shown that you can vote 400 times (or more, I would imagine) with  knowledge of the card being used. I assume that the same voting machines are used each year by the state, so with the knowledge of the machinery involved, I don’t think it’s unlikely that a person could tip the scales electronically. One thing that I’d like to note though, is that voter ID laws would only impact this second option. So instead of getting to cast 800 votes or more, you’d only get to cast 400. Of course, such a method is incredibly dangerous not only because the user can get found out easily, but because its usage is inherently its counter. Consider the following situation:

Goldville has 100 citizens. The Red party and the Blue party compete every year for the title of ‘Best Party’ decided by popular vote. Red party has a few members that find a way to cast more votes so they can bump the Red Party votes up a bit. Election day comes, the people vote, and the Red Party wins. But something’s amiss… only 69 people were recorded to have shown up at the polls but 81 votes were cast. Obviously there can be some human error in counting the people that have voted (we see this in caucuses all the time) but that’s a giant margin of error. Therefore, it would not be unreasonable to think that maybe foul play is at work here.

The moral of the story is: if you want to cheat, cheat smart. Tip the scales in your favor, but not so much as to reveal your hand.

‘Okay, so people aren’t voting twice, but what about dead people. I keep hearing this suspicion of dead people voting’. On Ballotpedia that (paraphrased) “as many as 2600 out of 77000 dead people have cast votes from the grave”. This would mean about 3.3% of dead people are casting votes. 2600 people, depending on dispersion should lie well within the margin of error. Of course, I am skeptical of the claim, and since the citation they use is dead, I have no idea what to make of the claim. However, there were a few other articles which claimed that hundreds of people are voting from the grave in California (as discovered by CBS), and that they do it consistently. However, like the 2600 out of 77000, this should lie within the margin of error. Am I saying that we should accept voter fraud if it lies within the margin of error? No, I am not. However, I am saying that if it lies within the margin of error and victories are beyond the margin of error, then they’re probably not swinging the state from red to blue (or vice-versa).

So I find the issue almost negligible, however that’s not to say that sensationalist sites haven’t muddied the waters. Remember, voter fraud is rather difficult to track, and writers for The Washington Post will often phrase things in such a way as to skirt the issues. They may use prosecution statistics to attempt to prove a point. This runs into the same issue that I ran into with my ‘Racist Cops’ post in which not all arrests lead to prosecutions and not all prosecutions lead to convictions. It’s a better place to start with crime statistics than prison populations because you can be in prison for years but an arrest is one and done. Inmate A may have committed the same crime as Inmate B but since Inmate B had a criminal record they received a longer sentence. Both inmates got arrested for the same crime though, so even though the prison population will fluctuate, the arrest numbers are more steady. Getting back to the statistics cited, a prosecution is the final phase of the process, so I personally find it a misleading statistic to use but it’s probably the second best that you could use (short of arrests). How can you definitively say ‘there were 100 fake votes’ short of there being 100 more votes cast than there were people that live in the area?

In short, I don’t think that voter ID laws would solve this problem of someone pretending to be someone that they aren’t. However, as we will see as we move into the next section, they would prevent certain individuals who shouldn’t be voting from voting.

Voting Requirements: ID

So I wanted an example of required ID to vote. I have selected Texas as my example. What identification is required to vote in Texas? I use Vote Texas as my source for obtaining these requirements.

Acceptable ID:

  • Texas driver license issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)
  • Texas Election Identification Certificate issued by DPS
  • Texas personal identification card issued by DPS
  • Texas license to carry a handgun issued by DPS
  • United States military identification card containing the person’s photograph
  • United States citizenship certificate containing the person’s photograph
  • United States passport

Supplementary ID:

If you cannot provide any of the ID stated above, you would be required to sign a form stating why you were unable to bring the ID, and then you would be permitted to vote as long as you had one of these forms of ID:

  • Valid voter registration certificate
  • Certified birth certificate (must be an original)
  • Copy of or original current utility bill
  • Copy of or original bank statement
  • Copy of or original government check
  • Copy of or original paycheck
  • Copy of or original government document with your name and an address (original required if it contains a photograph)

First, let’s look at the Acceptable ID list. One thing you’ll find in common with most everything in the list is that they are all issued by state entities. The Department of Public Safety covers pretty much everything except the last three items which are awarded to you by the Federal government. This consistency is important because there’s an implied state/federal regulatory process which (in theory) would be consistent. This is why I would personally find school ID unacceptable (by itself). Because the requirement to attend a school is not necessarily consistent across the state, nor are you assured to be a United States citizen if you attend a school. The supplementary ID also seems to be rather fair, but may hurt younger, unemployed individuals if they don’t have a voter registration certificate or a birth certificate.

The left will often consider the requirement of ID to be a kind of ‘Poll Tax’. Poll taxes are illegal (by the 24th Amendment). I don’t really like this argument from the left, mainly because I don’t know of any taxes that are optional. So you have the choice to get a driver’s license. You have the choice to get a carry license or a passport. If you fail to get any of these things and you don’t break the law by driving without license and so on, Uncle Sam will not come knocking on your door. Failing to pay taxes doesn’t come with those same outcomes. When I was working in Fairbanks, I was still considered a Pennsylvania resident. So the automation that took taxes out of my paycheck did not apply properly and when tax season came, I owed the state some $500 for taxes that I never paid. If I had failed to pay those, I would likely have received some unpleasant phone calls and some unfriendly visitors (putting it mildly). So in short, I don’t think the requirement to ID and the fact that some forms of ID cost money can in any way be called a ‘Poll Tax’. However, what I think doesn’t really matter, as I believe that some circuit in NC, Texas, or Kansas(?) ruled that it was.

In response to the ‘Poll Tax’ argument, I’ve often heard conservatives refer to some state ID that you can get for free. Surely if the ID is free it is no longer a tax! Well, I did some searching, and it looks like you can obtain some state identification card To receive it in Pennsylvania you need some forms of identification which for the same reasons I take issue with the supplementary ID for Texas (but I’m sure that can be smoothed out) but it also costs $30. Not even close to free. A Google search for a free state photo ID card often brought up Wisconsin sites. I assume Wisconsin has some form of voter ID law and with November fast approaching, the Winsconsinites want to make sure that they can participate in the process. As far as I can see on the page, it is free. I had suspected that it was because of voter ID laws, but since we also seem to have a requirement of state-issued ID in Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania ID was not free, that is not the case. So this “free state ID” argument fails in at least 2% of states, but I would hazard a guess that it fails in a few more. And I refuse to accept this premise of a “free” ID if it isn’t actually free. The ID may be free but the paperwork might not be seems like a poor excuse and a shift of the goalposts. If the entire process isn’t free, then it’s not a free ID.

This post has gotten quite long, so I’m going to split it here. What we’ve seen so far is that it may be unlikely that “free IDs” exist, and that supplementary voter ID may harm younger voters (Perhaps the 18-28 bracket) because they may not necessarily have their name on bills, or they may be unemployed. However, we also make the assertion that requirement to ID is not a tax (despite what the courts have said) because the government does not come knocking on your door if you fail to own a license. We see that if dead people were to vote, their votes are falling well within the margin of error. We see that if someone were to cheat by voting multiple times, it would likely not be by someone pretending to be someone that they’re not. Rather, they would probably take advantage of electronic voting. As such, the requirement to have ID to vote would not prevent voter fraud. However, it may be effective in preventing undocumented individuals from voting, which I think all of us can agree would be a pretty good thing. But is it worth requiring ID? In the next post, we’ll talk about the argument that focuses on DMV availability. 

Artemis Hunt

Voter ID Laws (Part 1)


Oooh boy. I want to ride the clickbait train because you know all 3 of WordPress readers are going to be paying attention to the Democratic Convention that begins on July 25th, 2016. However, I often take about a day to write blog posts (more precisely, it takes me about 3-4 hours) and I want to to get a quickie in for Philadelphia Predictions! So here it is.

First, DWS has to resign. She’s confirmed her resignation already so there isn’t much more to it. This likely hands her post over to her opponent, Tim Canova. An individual that Sanders himself has endorsed. Can we talk about endorsements while we’re here? Sure. Let’s talk about endorsements. Sanders has officially endorsed Democratic Candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton (let me just pad my word count by using her full name and this aside). He has justified such a decision with a promise he made at the start of this entire cycle, in which he said that he will pretty much give up being an independent. Perhaps it’s better to say politically unaffiliated despite Sanders describing himself as a socialist… hmm. Anyway, he’s typically sided with the democrats in Congress, he’s caucused democrat, and probably voted democrat. Granted, democrats don’t own the right to ideals like gay marriage, as libertarians tend to have a similar view on it but with a different implementation. Sanders has promised to remain a democrat after this cycle which is pretty huge considering he switched his party to democratic so he could run for office under the democratic banner. Which to me smacks of using the party to suit his own needs but whatever, it’s not important and I’ve lost track of the original point.

So let me begin anew. Sanders endorsed Clinton saying (paraphrased) “Clinton on her worst day will be better than any republican candidate on their best day”. Which to me sounds like a pretty extreme claim. There’s a ton of dirt on Clinton throughout her political history. I find it difficult to believe that at her worst of times that she will always be better than any republican candidate. Of course, that depends on the candidate the republicans put forth but the blanket statement is what I take issue with. I really only see two viable ways of interpreting the statement. Either Clinton’s worst days aren’t that bad or the republicans are just universally worse. I’d like to believe Sanders meant the former but I truly believe that he actually meant the latter. He seems to take special interest against republicans. It’s like Sanders imagines republicans as British folk with a top hat and a french moustache wearing fingerless gloves. Let’s make the British bad guy eat an apple so he looks like even more of an asshole. Oy vey.

So now we get to the title of this post: #BernieMustDisavow. It’s a trending tag on Twitter (or at least until Twitter takes it down again and makes it no longer autofill again). The premise is that in light of the recent DNC email link showing that the DNC was somewhat conspiring against Sanders, that Sanders must take back his endorsement of Clinton. And it’s here that I make my predictions. The way I see it, there are X outcomes that seem likely.

The first and what I think is the most probable outcome is that Sanders does not disavow. He’ll take the emails like a man and just continue to smile and wave, smile and wave. If anything, he’ll do his damndest to avoid talking to anyone about the emails. Ironically one of his iconic quotes from this cycle is “Everyone’s tired of hearing about your damn emails!” and now it has come back to emails once again. It’s the circle of strife! Why do I believe this. I believe Sanders at this point will do everything in his power to make sure that Donald Trump does not get elected. That’s right, it’s not about getting Clinton elected, but making sure Trump doesn’t get elected. Sanders has voiced his concerns about Trump many times, even taking time to ask whether or not Trump is running for president or dictator during Trump’s speech at RNC Cleveland. Sanders has made it clear that he believes that the Trump campaign has been built on hate and fearmongering. Sanders has made it clear that he believes Trump would be devastating to the country. So disavowing Clinton would probably make Trump more likely to win. I saw an article suggesting that 50% of Sanders voters will not vote Clinton and that’s a sizeable chunk of Sanders voters. That’s around 6 million voters, which is the margin by which Obama won in 2012. (Of course, this is the United States where the parties run everything and the popular vote doesn’t matter).

And I actually find it really sad, because there is no winning situation for Sanders in this case. If he doesn’t disavow, he will be seen as cooperating with a corrupt system. If he does disavow, he makes that which he desires least that much more of a reality. He’s already receiving some backlash about endorsing Clinton in the first place, but if he remains relatively silent on this issue, it will only feed into the minds of the voters that much more. But realistically? This is probably his best move. Sanders has crafted his image quite well and even with the stains that he’ll pick up, he did manage to get some of his agenda put onto the Democratic party platform. So he can take the moral victory (if we’re going to call it that) of helping Clinton win and push the country towards his ideals.

What I see as the second most likely outcome is Sanders doesn’t disavow, for all of the reason stated earlier, but does take the opportunity to talk about a corrupt system within the Democratic party. But he has to word it very carefully. He cannot risk losing voters to third parties, or worse… Trump.

What I see as a third outcome but unlikely is that Sanders does disavow and tries to move towards the protesters that are already congregating in Philly for this convention. He has shut up about it for a while but he has been notorious for using national polls to say that he can beat Trump. He does this to gather the support of superdelegates (despite initially criticizing their involvement in the process). If he could gather enough superdelegates, he could override the pledged delegate totals (and as an extension, the popular vote totals) to get the nomination.

However, this is likely another lose-lose situation. In doing so, he will be overriding ‘the will of the people’ which he seemed rather keen on. Remember, he lost popular vote totals. He lost the pledged delegate totals. On top of that, he criticized superdelegates because he felt that they overrode the will of the people. If he were to convince these superdelegates to his side, he would be complicit in such an action. It would make him a very easy target for the republican party. Granted, Trump is also a bit of an “easy target” so that may not matter much. Still, Sanders would have the nomination and if those polls he cited came to fruition, it would give the Democrats another four years in the white house. With the upsurge of “progressive” candidates, Sanders and his “progressive” party would be off to a good footing to changing the nation.

Fourth, and this is the outcome that I personally want: my perfect storm – the superdelegates actually do it. The party does nominate Bernie Sanders. I honestly think that this is the DNC’s best move. I think that the party can hide behind all of the Clinton scandals and claim that she’s unelectable. Claim that for the interest of the party, that they had no choice but to override the will of the people and select Sanders. The party gets away with washing their hands of Clinton, Sanders doesn’t have to take too much of the fall from the decision, and the party gets the candidate that polls have predicted to win. I think that this is the best move for the party (and the best move to keep H. A. Goodman off suicide watch) because it may reinforce an idea that they’re willing to throw away corrupt candidates in the electorate. On top of that, we wind up getting that fabled Sanders vs. Trump debate that was all the rage earlier (I really wanted to see that). In fact, if you go through my posts, I actually wanted that debate long before it may have been a possibility.

Whatever happens, I’m sure there will be a great shitstorm inside and outside of the convention for me to laugh at. My main concern about the convention is whether or not violence occurs. I’ve criticized the Sanders supporters for this before but they’ve made Sanders out to be a christ figure. There is a cult of personality about Sanders. Whether he dies on the cross or is reborn in three days at this convention, the Sanders supporters outside need to remain calm and not hurt anyone. A violent outbreak at this convention will only hurt your cause no matter which candidate you support. The police in Philly are already requesting backup and taking preventative measures. Please, if you attend this convention, don’t hurt anyone and keep yourself safe. Perhaps buy a gun. Protect yourselves. That’ll be it from me though, thanks for reading.

Artemis Hunt


Debate or Debait?

I guess I better publish this one because I’m running out of time. The debate is tomorrow and the East Coasters I expect to read this are probably going to bed like… now. I’m wary of the upcoming democratic debate in New York. I believe that both Sanders and Clinton should be as well. Ultimately, I feel that the debate will be inconsequential. Why? Let me explain.

Let’s examine Clinton first. Clinton has been hit very hard in these debates and town halls with questions that have no “good” answer. One striking example that I remember is a death penalty question she received a while back (source). For those that do not wish to watch the video, I’ll paraphrase the question. The person asks, “How do you still hold your stance on the death penalty, knowing that there have been many cases of innocent people getting killed for crimes that they did not commit”. She makes it clear in her response that she only approves of it at the federal level for a very select subset of crimes. But she justified her answer. She justified her support of the death penalty,and props to her for standing for her position instead of taking the weasel way out and saying that she’s changed her mind. People seem to get especially touchy at the thought of a death penalty, which makes this a loaded question. You know, that might be a topic for another death. The death penalty debate is rather… interesting. A primary criticism is that you can unjail a person but you can’t undead a person. While true (at this point in time *fingers crossed*) it seems irrelevant because you can’t give the time in prison back either. The individual asking the question had spent 39 years in prison. They missed the prime of their life. I can only hope that whatever compensation they received (if any) made up for their lost time. You can’t undo the psychological damage that they may have sustained either. But we’re getting off topic. The /r/Politics subreddit and their Sanders bias loves to come up with questions which put Clinton into a very difficult moral position (but Sanders can do no wrong). I would not be surprised if some of them get aired. It’s not like Clinton hasn’t given them plenty to work with.

However, none of this is my problem with the debates. Or perhaps they are, but only tangentially. My problem is that these questions seem designed to elucidate some aspect of Clinton’s characters, some aspect of their moral standing. It’s airing dirty laundry. Maybe the public cares about dirty laundry, and that’s why they want these questions asked? Personally, I don’t. If people listen to her policy responses, most of them sound fair, if not moderate. But since debates turn into Benghazi 2: Electric Boogaloo, we don’t get to see that. At least, not as much as we’d like.

Now let’s talk Sanders. Sanders has had a low impact on me since debate 3 or so. Why? Understand that I watch debates online because Alaskan time zone not always conducive to watching these debates and town halls. Sometimes when it comes to Sanders, I can’t remember if I’ve seen this one before. Maybe it’s intentional to get the message across, but Sanders has said the same stump sound bites in every debate. He could walk on, say “We need to get the big money out of politics,” walk off, and the same net work would be done for a much lower cost. With very few exceptions, he will always return to this. Two hour debates (airtime), one hour per candidate, and he can’t get his mind off of big businesses. What I want from Sanders is for him to make this a new debate. Give me, and the other undecided voters a reason to pick you over Clinton that doesn’t go back to banks and big corporations.

If this debate is ultimately another regular debate, it will be a waste of time. Clinton will have to defend herself from a barrage of attacks (none of which center on policy), while Sanders will sit pretty. If this is another repeat debate, it’s no wonder Clinton would object to having it. All of these debates are just attacks on her and Sanders gets no kind of interrogation. If the eye is supposed to be on both candidates, why does only one get scrutinized? It’s just a bait to get Clinton out in the open to attack her once more. It’s unfair. And I think that it’s weird how an “issues based campaign” isn’t objecting to attacks on character rather than attacks on policy. Who cares about the transcripts? The transcripts don’t tell me anything about how you plan to address the Middle East. Okay, the fracking might have some issues, but why must you attack so many jobs at once in the name of the environment? Why is nuclear energy off the table? This is just my take on the possible debate, and I hope it exceeds expectations.

Artemis Hunt

Debate or Debait?

Where’s the Media Bias?

A common complaint I see among Sanders supporters is this ‘media bias’. As if the media is out to get Sanders and shut down their bid for the presidency. I do not believe this to be true (at least, not in the way these people mean it) and in this little blog post, I’m going to tell you exactly why I feel that way.

So first of all, I’m going to begin with the statement that all of this is an opinion. In my opinion, none of the candidates have truly been treated fairly in the media. At least, not in the bulk of the media. There are some media in which I beleive some candidates are being treated more fairly than others but, again, opinion. As far as television networks go, I believe Clinton has been treated fairly if not the nearest so. They are the one that has been consistently and reasonably critiqued by the news networks. The only one. If we regard Sanders, he has gotten plenty of coverage for a runner-up. Some may say more than enough. You can complain about the analysis, but you can’t complain that no networks talk about Sanders. Especially when you spout socialism left and right. That was the first thing they touched upon. I’m not sure, but I suggest that when the Sanders supporters claim that Sanders gets no (television) media coverage, what they’re really saying is that no one in the media agrees with them in that Sanders is going to go all the way. But even if it were true, even if the (television) media bias wanted to shut Sanders down, I have to ask the question: does it really matter?

The government, at the advent of public broadcasting, incentivized stations to broadcast news as a means of maintaining a well-informed populus. They did this by funding the stations under the requirement that these stations broadcast specific programming. These programs include educational programs, local news, supporting the arts, the sorts of things that make our culture, well, our culture. And maybe you disagree as to whether or not they’re fulfilling these needs. Well, I’ve got some news for you. I’ve done a little bit of research on television broadcasting. I didn’t read the entire thing. Most of it seems to apply to permits to construct, maintenance standards, and broadcasting (the waves being broadcast, that is) standards. I focused on the issues regarding what you broadcast. It turns out, that these stations can be fined if they don’t hold up their end of the bargain. They have to renew a license every eight years or so. They do this by proving that their station held up its end of the deal (the whole broadcasting for public interest thing). But nowhere did I see that the broadcasting has to be unbiased (please correct me if I’m wrong and I’ll retract my statements). And that’s actually pretty good news because I don’t think that I’ve yet to see a program that is fully unbiased.

Now let’s remember that running a station costs money. To make money, you need people to be watching your channel. This incentivizes stations to broadcast popular programs. As an unintentional side-effect of this, stations need to broadcast bias. Because the fact of the matter is that people like to be told that they’re right. They like to be justified in their views. Unfortunately, this means that if stations want to reach the most people, they need to broadcast to their audience. They can’t afford to cast open a wide net and hope some people gravitate towards them. Or at least, that would be inefficient. It’s much safer and easier to just form your echo chamber and rail against the gods and have your viewers come with you. Do I like this? No. Not in the least. I agree with the sentiment that these stations should broadcast unbiased news. It SHOULD be fair. It SHOULD be balanced. When it isn’t, it just turns me off from stations. But I am in the minority, I’m an idealist. The fact of the matter is enough people want these echo chambers that the stations aren’t changing their programs.

And to be completely honest, I don’t blame them. This is their business. They’re in this to make money. I would never presume to tell others how to run their business, especially since I have no stock in this business. If you want to make changes in a business, buy stock in them. Perhaps some of you are members of a website or another. Do you realize that every time you log in, every time you enter that space, that you can be removed from it at any time? You have the right to voice any opinion you want on any website. But you need to remember that you are a guest there, and the owner has every right to remove you should they so desire. So when I see people complaining that Sanders isn’t covered enough, I can’t help but wonder if Sanders might have some agenda that is against their self-interest. Broadcasting Sanders in a favourable light can only hurt their business. Why would you demand that someone hurt their own business? So no, even if the stations are Anti-Sanders, even if that claim is substantiated, I’m not sure that it matters. The stations are under no obligation to cover Sanders in the way that you desire. They are under no obligation to broadcast unbiased programs. Hell, every educational program aimed at kids that I can think of eventually has the ‘drugs’ episode and the ‘guns’ episode. And these are topics which are covered in a VERY biased way.

Hold up though. I live in a first-world society. Maybe you do too. We have something called the Internet. Personally, I think that the Internet is a much more efficient, if not also more dangerous information highway. Ideas can spread faster than ever before, even across oceans. The Internet is here, and I fully support our new Google Overlords. And speaking of Google Overlords… maybe you’ve heard of YouTube? It’s a wonderful website full of user-generated content. And people across the world can reach other people across the world with their opinions on this YouTube. And you can hear these opinions at any time, not just at 6PM on Channel 5. Even better! You can pause and rewind broadcasts! You can carefully pull apart something that someone has said, which is a feature not everyone with a TV can abuse. What do we find on YouTube? What sorts of opinions? All sorts. If you want Pro-Sanders media, look no further. The only problem is that you have to slog through so many masses of stuff that it can be hard to find the actual “good” stuff. But like I said at the start, the internet is very messy.

Also, can we briefly mention online pubs? If ever you wanted to find Pro-Sanders media (remember, this is part of the media as well!) you better bring a raincoat because the tsunami comes., Huffington Post, Washington Post, LA Times, all of these pubs feature a fairly heavy Sanders bias. Why, today published an article saying that Wisconsin was a total blowout for Sanders. He won in 99% of counties! Wow! Only they neglected to mention that Sanders only won close to 57% of the popular vote! It’s a total misrepresentation of the race! And this is the same bullshit I see coming from the Pro-Sanders camp daily. They note how Sanders wins states but not delegates. They note how Sanders wins counties and not delegates. The popular vote is the important thing when distributing delegates. Sanders got +9 from Wisconsin, barely denting the lead Clinton has over them (still well over 200+ delegates). God damn, I can’t scroll down their article list without seeing tremendously left-leaning articles. The titles make me sick to my stomach. And it gets even better! Notice how all of the TV stations favor Clinton? Many pubs favor Sanders over Clinton! Why is bias on one media acceptable while bias on the other is unacceptable? Tell me that Sanders supporters. Where is the line drawn for the hypocrisy? It’s sickening. Completely and utterly disgusting.

If we want to talk real anti-candidate bias, we should be talking about Trump. I have yet to find an outlet without bias regarding Trump. Either they’re Hitler (by the way, let’s forget that Sanders is Lenin) they’re racist, they’re some kind of extremist that breeds violence. But such claims are just propaganda. Trump has never directly told his supporters to go out and cause trouble. Granted, some violence is coming from Trump supporters, but that’s not Trump. Trump isn’t inciting this violence. Trump isn’t sending their supporters to disrupt rallies. Trump isn’t sending supporters to disrupt private, peaceful events. I recently came across a video of an experiment (in a very loose sense of the word) of a guy pretending to support Sanders and the same guy pretending to support Trump. As a Sanders supporter, it was all thumbs up, peace, and smiles. No one aggressed him. As a Trump supporter? Lots of violence, and one person even admitted that they were supporting Sanders before attacking this host. Why is Trump met with violence, while Sanders is not? Why does the media seem so intent to destroy Trump? Bias

While Clinton ‘may’ have television under wraps, Sanders has the Internet. One is vastly more powerful than the other. And it seems like the entire left is out to paint Trump a Nazi, a nationalist, a racist, and any other kind of non-white bigot. The left is scared of Trump, the right is scared of Trump. If I were Trump, I would be seriously scared of assassination right now. And I’d like to note, when I make these posts about Trump, I’m not trying to support them. I’m trying to support being fair to them. I’m trying to support being fair to every candidate. Which I don’t see happening at all. So to bring us back to where we started, is there a media bias? Most definitely. But I think if we’re going to begin the discussion about media bias, perhaps we should start with Trump.

Artemis Hunt

Where’s the Media Bias?

Tolerating Trump’s Treatment

Ah, yes, nothing like a good old alliterative title. Buckle up kids, this one is a long one. Let’s talk democracy.

What is democracy? Democracy is often translated as “Rule by the People”. The concept alone could even be called noble. Who is your ruler? You are your ruler. Who rules you? Everyone rules you. Who do you rule? You rule everyone. The reason it could be called noble is with a basis like this, it lends itself very neatly to the idea of a collective good. You want the best for you and everyone else wants the best for them so you meet in the middle and get the best for most. There’s nothing wrong with this. Especially when you consider perfect to be the enemy of the good. The more time you diddle away on trying to make things perfect, the longer people suffer from the problem you are trying to fix. So the best way to fix the problem is to quickly get a fair compromise and fix the problem. It does have one major drawback – it can be slow. This is where autocratic systems take an advantage. A monarch, a dictator, these people can enact changes quickly. The problem then becomes, they can enact changes quickly, (possibly) without thinking of the consequences too clearly. So which is better? Neither is directly better than the other, they each have their own drawbacks. I suppose if I had to pick one to live under, I would choose democracy. Democracy is harder to effectively topple. With a monarch or a dictator, you kill one person you start a war or you create a power vacuum. With democracy, people can be replaced and it’s harder to convince a lot of people to go to war for killing someone than it is to convince next in line, vice chief or whatever to go to war for killing the monarch or the dictator or whatever. Stability is strength, but I am a Taurus so I’m biased there. But that is the justification for my choice. Democracy in the United States? Sucks but it is what it is. The United States has some 300 million citizens. If you waited for 300 million votes on every piece of legislature to come through, you’d be waiting lifetimes and how many people do you think would treat it as the Terms and Conditions of literally any game or website they sign up for? This is dangerous business. So we elect representatives which then vote on the policies (hopefully after researching them) which should represent the will of the people that they were elected by. Good? Good.

Now let’s talk about what you probably came here to see: Donald Trump. Personally, I feel that Donald Trump has been treated rather unfairly. Most recently when he was asked to disavow the support of a KKK member. What? Why? My guess, is because the KKK are notorious white supremacists and that’s not what we want in the Oval Office. But that’s… that’s not what’s going into the Oval Office. Is Donald Trump a white supremacist? Not based on anything that I’ve seen. On top of that, the KKK is ALL AMERICAN. Literally, they were founded in the United States. They were active in the United States. They have been part of our nation since their inception. They are part of the electorate, why should they not get a say in the policy? Note in the above description of democracy, it doesn’t matter who you are or what you believe, you still get to have a say. So I think Trump has done the KKK, the United States, and democracy a disservice in the way he apologized for having KKK support. And there’s my problem. You shouldn’t have to apologize for votes that you have earned just because the people that gave them to you hold unpopular opinions. Especially when it’s clear that they’re not giving Trump major donations, it’s not like they’ll influence Trump’s decisions. And that’s why I view this denouncement as a major weakness in Trump’s campaign. I don’t know if a campaign manager had them say it or if Trump decided to say it to get away from this topic which would have dogged him until November but I believe that it was a mistake.

I also have a problem with it in concept. I assume that the KKK have voted in past elections. Probably on the conservative side. Why aren’t we checking to make sure all candidates are free of KKK support? No seriously, what is this. I recognize that candidates should have some judgement based on those that they represent but the president of United States would represent the United States. Are there bigots in the United States? Loads. But we still agree that Obama is an okay guy. We don’t believe Obama to be racist (or at least I don’t) so why are we not equating Obama to any racists that may have supported him? And I suspect that there is reason to suspect a racist vote was involved in 2008. Obama got 95% of the black vote! Would Obama have won if not for the Black vote? Maybe. But if the numbers switched a little bit, that could have easily been a McCain presidency in 2008. If you vote for someone because they are black, it is just as racist as voting against someone because they are black.

I don’t believe that the media has been very fair in representing Trump. And isn’t that the point of the media? To inspect fairly and inform? Has our media turned into an editorial machine? That’s what blogs are for (especially this blog). I don’t believe that my liberal friends on Facebook have been fair in representing Trump. People are quick to cry racist. They’re quick to cry sexist. They’re quick to cry xenophobe. They’re quick to quote those Hitler speech segments which when attributed to Trump people would support. But they all miss the mark so much that it’s insane.

Let’s first address the Hitler thing. Recognize that Hitler inherited a weakened Germany that was still paying off their WWI dues. On top of that, Hitler largely got power in Germany quite fairly. The people wanted Hitler, especially the working class. Nazi is, after all, short for the National Socialist Party. The people were upset about their economy. So Hitler’s speeches (and I love this because in that video, with few exceptions, they targeted the points which show discontent about the economy) were and possibly are applicable to the United States today. Shift some dialogue around, I don’t imagine it would be difficult to make up to date Hitler speeches that could easily be attributed to not only Trump but Sanders. But without reading Lenin’s speeches, I suspect that Lenin would be a better historic individual to compare to Sanders. Perhaps I’ll get on that when I get some real free time between school, Game of Thrones (I’m reading them) and JRPGs.

Now let’s talk racist. That seems rather odd. Alright, so let’s put this into perspective. Remember how our democracy works in the United States. We elect representatives which… well… represent us and our desires and our needs. Let’s also make the (reasonable) assumption that all voters are looking out for themselves the most. If Trump’s policies are racist, would that not mean that his support among minorities would be very low? Then why is Trump raking in 40% black vote and 45% hispanic vote? Can someone tell me that? Because I can only think of 2 solutions. Either Trump isn’t racist, and his policies do benefit minorities, or minority voters are too dumb to vote for their self-interest. I’m inclined to believe the first, but you can take your pick.

Let’s talk xenophobe. Most of the criticism seems to stem from two source. The first is this wall that Trump wants to build (and have Mexico pay for it!). This also seems to be the focus of racist calls? But I don’t see the problem with a wall. What’s the problem with a wall to keep out illegal immigrants? Why even have passports if you don’t care who walks across your borders? Do you leave your house unlocked because you don’t care who enters your house when you’re asleep? The second is the criticism on Muslim migrants entering the country. Let me pose it to you like this then. Falling back to that house example, let’s suppose your house once got robbed, and you know it was done by a particular gang, let’s say the “Bear Brothers”. Now you find that the Bear Brother gang is undergoing some turmoil and one or two members wants to live with you. Knowing the history of where they come from, and what they have done, is it really that unreasonable to ask for a bit of a pause to make sure that if any were to enter your home that they would not harm your family? Is it too much to ask for that little bit of peace of mind? I don’t believe so. Especially when you consider the migrant crisis that has plagued Europe for months. Paris attacks, Cologne attacks, Swedish rape epidemic, perhaps migrants aren’t the root cause of these, but you can’t deny the increase in severity and the timing of these attacks. (I also note that my liberal friends and the media haven’t really brought them up too much now that the dust has settled. Perhaps they looked across the pond and saw what could have been us?)

And I’m not saying that I’m a Trump supporter. I’m still weighing my options. But I wanted to address these criticisms as being unfair or unsubstantiated. Are there problems with Trump? Certainly. Will these problems ever get aired out fully? I’m not sure. The liberal media and the liberal masses are so quick to resort to name calling (Make Donald Drumpf again? Really?) and these are the messages that stick that it’s hard to get some actual policy criticism discussed. And I’m worried Because I feel like a Sanders nomination is the only way we’ll get that on the grand stage of presidential debates. If Clinton were to get the nomination, I believe that we would only get mudslinging on both sides and the electorate would decide the president based on who has the worst smelling dirty laundry.

Let’s wrap this up by bringing it back to democracy. If people want to vote for their candidate based on policy, skin colour, hair colour, dirty laundry, accent, anything really, I don’t mind. It’s your vote, and you’re free to spend it however you like. And I believe that part of respecting your vote is respecting how others spend their votes. And if we go back to that assumption that everyone votes out of self-interest, if Trump were to win the presidency, I believe it would be the will of the United States citizens. As such, we should respect a Trump presidency. And this is kind of why I am worried. There a lot of infighting on the democratic side between Sanders and Clinton. With the Sanders supports most notably being… ehhh… mental gymnists. And I’m legitimately concerned as to how Sanders supporters will react if Clinton were to get the nomination (despite Sanders, bless his heart, openly saying that he would not run third party because of the spoiler effect, to help get progressive policies in through Clinton) that the Sanders supporter would riot in the streets. They’re already crying foul democracy in the primaries (and I will admit, that Clinton ralley right outside the voting centre was rather sketchy) I can only imagine what they would cry if Sanders were to get beaten by Trump (which I find likely). What I want these people to realize is that this is democracy. This is how it works. You did not have a majority. That does not mean that you have no say in how the country is run, nor does it mean that your vote did not matter. It just means that you were beaten. It means that more people disagreed with you than agreed with you. And if it’s the job of our representatives to please the greatest number of people, can we truly blame them for supporting those that disagree with you? So I’ll leave you with a quote, by me this time (whether or not others have said it I do not know).

“The only danger in Trump getting elected is democracy working as intended.” – Artemis Hunt

Artemis Hunt

Tolerating Trump’s Treatment

Sanders Supporters should be in the Olympics

Okay, I should be about done with Sanders posts for a while after this one (hopefully). But Sanders supporters are totally Olympic material. Seriously, they are so amazing at mental gymnastics. So I got into a debate regarding this image this morning on Facebook. Doesn’t look that bad for the Berners, right? Well, it shouldn’t… because of how the information is represented. But something felt suspicious to me, so I did some math. The math shows that Clinton has 40% more delegates than Sanders. Now at the time of writing there are about 25 states left for the democratic primaries, so it’s not impossible to catch up for Sanders. But let’s not be unrealistic, how about we look at it in another way? Let’s compare this to something we are all familiar with – perhaps school? Suppose that you and a friend are competing for the best GPA in the class. About half the term is over and you have an average of 70% over all your assignments. Your friend? They have a 100% on every assignment. This is the battle Sanders now faces. Again, that’s not to say they can’t do it. Perhaps all of Clinton’s easy assignments have been done and now they have to struggle for every point while Sanders gets the easy road. Who knows? Only the voters, I suppose.

To be honest, that’s not really my problem with the image. I mean, it’s one of my problems with the image, but my problem with the image is in how intentionally misleading it is. I wondered where the source was so I went to my first source for delegate counts – And sure enough, when you go to the delegate counter you see that “Available Delegates: 2308” right there on the cover. There’s one big, big, problem with that. Some might even say it’s a YUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE problem. See, the Politico delegate counter INCLUDES superdelegates. And normally I wouldn’t have a problem with that. But if you look at the delegate counters for Clinton and Sanders, you’ll notice that the totals marked COMPLETELY DISREGARD superdelegates. Which puts me in an uncomfortable position. Why are the superdelegates counted for the available delegates but not for Sanders or Clinton? My suspicion is that the author supports Sanders and wants to intentionally misrepresent the race to make it look like Sanders still has a fighting chance. Okay, okay, maybe I’m being a little unfair. There are only about 200 remaining superdelegates, but it really bothers me when information is manipulated to make it seem like it’s something else. So to ease my conscience (about the graph at least) here’s the correct graph. Untitled 1_html_m4ffd0ea6

But wait, there’s more! I personally feel like it’s a bit easier to get a concept of the scale if it’s a pie graph. Why the hell the author used a bar chart is beyond me but here you go.

Untitled 2_html_3c29b9bb

As you can see, there’s a little over 50% of the delegates remaining up for grabs (not immediately apparent from the bar graph). It also gives you a bit better idea of how the delegates are allocated right now with about 30% going to Clinton and about 20% going to Sanders. Which is why I often agree that the race isn’t over for Sanders; but it’s only getting worse. Sanders has to win states by some impressive margins if he wants to win this race. Especially big states. To date they have lost the big states by wide margins and won small states by big margins. This is not feasible when you do the delegate math.

No, seriously, what is this shit. I get that it’s The Onion and it’s supposed to be satirical but damned if it doesn’t cut it close to reality in this case. It seems with every loss the Sanders supporters come up with more excuses and suggest that Sanders was inevitably going to lose these states. WHICH IS ITS OWN PROBLEM. This also brings me to my last point for this blog post:

They seem so insistent that Sanders is inevitable and would rather blame the media instead of own up to the fact that Sanders is losing and losing bad. First, I’d like to say that I don’t believe that either Cruz or Sanders should drop out yet. But let me quickly address the problems with the image alone: it’s comparing apples to oranges. Most of the democratic primaries are proportional delegate allocation. That means if the state has 10 delegates and you get 60% of the vote, you get 6 of the 10 delegates. So even if you lose 5 of these states 60/40, you’re only trailing by 10 delegates (a whole state’s worth). Which for this example, isn’t that bad because you can make that up in 3 landslide victories no big deal. Let’s contrast this to the republican primaries, in which most of the states are winner take all. This means if you win by one vote, you get all 10 delegates. So while Cruz is behind, every state he wins, no matter how close the vote, will give them a spurt of delegates while denying their opponents delegates. Kasich is pretty much down to a brokered convention hopeful and probably should drop out. Sorry Kasich. So it doesn’t matter if Sanders wins a state because most of their wins are either close or in small states. So to sum up the difference – A Cruz win, no matter how small, propels Cruz forward while setting his opponents behind. A Sanders win, if small, does effectively nothing. Sanders HAS TO WIN BY WIDE MARGINS TO HAVE A SHOT AT THE NOMINATION.

Returning to the point regarding media, this seems to have been their argument from the very beginning. That ‘once the message got out there’ people would flock to Sanders because they hold the best interests of the people at heart. Whether or not Sanders has the best interests of the people at heart is a debate I’m not willing to engage in. But we’re halfway into the primary race. If Sanders hasn’t gotten his message out by now, they’re a failure as a politician. I get it, politics is slow. But if elected you’ll have four years to do what you need to do Sanders. It has been 6 months and you’re trailing Clinton by 300 delegates. This is almost four times the record. Pick up the pace or get left in the dust. Another way Sanders supporters blame the media is in them giving Sanders little coverage. One example was last Tuesday(?) Maybe it was Saturday. I can’t remember. (I’m on Spring Break so all of my days kind of blur together. I’m going to have to actually start my midterm before Sunday though…) Five states voted, Sanders won one… barely. And the Berners were so upset because the media didn’t cover it enough? They said Sanders made history and they did. Sanders made history – by proving a poll to be inaccurate. Polls can be wrong, they’re just tools to make predictions. Clinton on the other hand won four states. 80% of the states up for grabs, Clinton won. Yet the Berners are upset that the media won’t proportionately cover the candidate that they support? Get out of here.

So what’s the take-away from all this? Why did you read the ramblings of this particular individual? I suppose I was just ranting. My problem is I don’t need fancy mathematics or excuses to tell me how a candidate is doing well. I don’t need to do the doublethink to justify a candidate’s chances. And quite frankly, I believe that at the very least, a loud portion of Sanders supporters are executing just that. They require the use of doublethink which to people like me just looks… desperate. Look, I’m not anti-Sanders. I’m not anti-anyone really. I disagree with Sanders on several points. I disagree with Clinton on several points. I disagree with Trump and Cruz on several points. Since we’re in a two party system, when I vote I have to vote for whom I disagree with least instead of whom I agree with most. Which is unfortunate, but it’s just a consequence of our system. Anyway, that’s all from me.

Artemis Hunt

Sanders Supporters should be in the Olympics

Make Sanders President

I am sure that many of my readers regularly use social media sites. (How else did you find this blog?) And I strongly suspect based on the tags I used and the title that many of my readers are somewhat up to date on the current primary process. With these two combined, I now present to you the title: Make Sanders President.

Maybe it’s because I went to a liberal arts college that I wound up with several friends that would likely call themselves liberal or progressive. With the attitude of ‘loud’ individuals on the progressive left giving the progressive left the nickname ‘the regressive left’, I hesitate to identify as progressive though as a libertarian I do share their ideals somewhat. Senator Sanders however, seems to have roped these guys in hook, line, and sinker. And that’s not a bad thing! It’s perfectly acceptable for you to support a candidate for whatever reason you like. Even if it’s not one most people agree with. If you support Clinton because you want to help put the first woman in the White House, that’s perfectly valid. I don’t agree with the rationale, but it’s your choice. If you want to support Trump because you support the building of a wall (a beautiful wall, and Mexico will pay for it!) then that’s valid too. You could support Cruz because you did a ritual sacrifice when you were four years old (or witnessed one) and Cruz resonates with you because of it somehow and that too, would be perfectly valid. Whether or not someone agrees with your reasons for supporting a candidate does not make your reasons any less valid. It is the burden of the candidates to convince you to make them your vote. Votes must be earned. The fact that the criterion to get the vote of a particular individual vary wildly and some might be easier to reach than others does not make their vote any less important… (unless you happen to look at the way the United States presidential voting system REALLY works and then you realize that some votes actually do matter more. But that’s a rant for another day).

So why am I going through all this? What’s the point of this preamble? Well if you’ve got a Facebook feed that’s anything like mine, you’ve probably got a bunch of meme images of either Trump or Sanders. I’d like to focus on Sanders because of the mentality that seems to be prevalent within the Sanders supporters. The core idea seems to be some sort of rage against the machine or something. Granted, Sanders is calling for a ‘political revolution’, and those that support him would probably support this political revolution. But it seems a bit crazy with how far these individuals will go to defend Sanders’s victory, or rather, they seem to be convinced that Sanders is the inevitable winner. So my title comes from my sarcastic remark:

Why don’t we just make Sanders President already?

Because it really seems like according to these supporters that it’s inevitable, we’re just wasting our time with the primaries. They’re so quick to whine about ‘superdelegates’ and how they promote a false image of the race. The argument is there for that, I can understand why they would believe that superdelegate counts are misrepresentative and they can change their votes at any time. So I agree that they shouldn’t really have much weight placed on them. But when you look at pledged delegates, you can’t deny the numbers. Clinton has 766 pledged delegates. Sanders has 551 pledged delegates. Let’s do some math here, and Clinton has 40% more delegates than Sanders. The largest comeback in history was from about 80 pledged delegates. A Sanders upset would literally triple that. I’m not saying that it can’t happen, I’m say it’s unlikely.

Another thing these Sanders supporters seem to forget, along with common sense, is how delegates are won. With proportional delegate awarding, Clinton can literally tie Sanders in every state remaining and win. In fact, she could LOSE every remaining state and still win the nomination because of proportional delegate awarding. To reiterate the core point here, you win DELEGATES, not STATES. So what if Sanders beats Clinton by a hair in Michigan? He got stomped in Mississippi and gets a net loss of about 20 delegates from that exchange. I am not neglecting the… impact of Sanders winning Michigan. He was expected to lose. He didn’t. But if you want to make that the ‘rallying cry’ then I’ll remind you that by the same logic, Clinton supporters could ‘beat the prediction’ on the states that Sanders is expected to win. If you want to follow predictions and use them as tools, that’s fine. That’s what predictions are for. However, do not try to use predictions as justification for your cause. At the end of the day, they’re speculation and all that matters are the results.

I get that people support Sanders, that’s fine. What’s NOT fine is ignoring reality and thinking if ‘we all believe hard enough in the heart of the cards’ that Sanders will pull an upset. And I’m tired of having this argument. Yes, your candidate won this state, I’m happy for you. But it’s not enough. He may have won your heart, but he’s nowhere near winning his race. What you need to do if you want Sanders to win is to reach out to those that aren’t already on Sanders side. You need the votes. Faith won’t do it all for you. And the worst part is, even if Sanders somehow goes all the way, do you honestly expect his revolution to happen? He’s going to get blocked every step of the way, potentially worse than Obama was. This is why Sanders is calling for a revolution. Because he can’t do it all by himself. Because he needs the votes in congress to help him. But I don’t suspect that the young voters supporting Sanders who really want to help him out in that way are going to vote for these other candidates that would help Sanders. I suspect that they don’t even know who they are!

So that was just my rant. This one is just a sarcastic response to the blindness of Sanders supporters. But you are my friends, and I still love you and that you can be so passionate about something. I just wish that I didn’t get into so many arguments with you that boil down to me stating facts and numbers and you stating hopes and dreams. You can pray for success all you want, real success is achieved by those who listen to truth and use reason.

Artemis Hunt

Make Sanders President

Appeal of the Masses

In Senator Sanders’ campaign for the presidency, he has often brought up climate crisis. He said something like 97% or 98% of scientists agree that climate crisis is a serious issue. Seth McFarlane endorsed Sanders shortly after the first debate and cited Sanders’ recognition of climate crisis as a primary reason for endorsing him. In democratic debates, it has been brought up several times that while the GOP still argues about how to deny climate crisis, that it’s “up to the democrats” to figure out how they plan to “sort this crisis out”.

I support the democratic process and I fully believe that an individual is free to support whomever they like for whatever reason they like. All reasons are valid. If you would like to support Trump because you think he’s a cool dude, that’s okay. If you would like to support Rubio for his winning smile and ever optimistic outlook? Go nuts. If you want to support Hillary because she’s a female, that’s okay. This is democracy. Others may not agree with your reasoning, which is perfectly fine as well. It is your responsibility and the responsibility of those you support to convince the public that they are the hope of the people. That’s not what this blog post is about.

This blog post is about Senator Sanders’ justification of the issue of climate crisis. The statistic that 97% or 98% of scientists agree that it is happening and it is now. Understand that I am a graduate physics student, beginning my journey into the world of publication. Understand that I am one who believes in the scientific method. And if you understand these two things, you should understand why I have a problem with this justification.

What we’re running into here is a case of appeal to authority and appeal to the masses. Primarily the appeal of the masses issue. What needs to be stated is that regardless of whether or not climate crisis is happening, it does not matter how many people believe it is happening. It does not matter how many “decorated” people believe that it is happening. The validity of a theory comes from repeated experimentation and its ability to make predictions.

Side Note: Scientists are only now really getting into climate change as an issue. Climate change is also an unfortunate issue because of how frequently the data in experiments has been misrepresented.

And this isn’t a new issue. Today, on the issue of dark matter vs. MOND (MOdified Newtonian Dynamics) there are scientists, Ph.D. wielding scientists that suggest that an examination into anything other than the dark matter particle as an explanation for galactic rotation curves is a waste of time. And then snarkily adding, “Let them waste them their time, that’s more opportunity for me” is an insult to the scientific process. Barely 100 years ago, Albert Einstein published his General Theory of Relativity. This theory has been tested extensively and it was used to make a prediction of the existence of black holes. The existence of which has been verified. This is a solid theory in comparison to what we call Newtonian Physics or Classical Physics in which if you had suggested to be incomplete or incorrect 150 years ago, and you wanted a career in science, you could be laughed out of the community. Maxwell Boltzmann was a scientist that strongly put for the idea of molecules. His ideas were not welcomed within the scientific community. He takes his family on vacation and commits suicide. By the way, a few years later, it turns out that there’s actually a lot of evidence for the existence of molecules. What I’m trying to get at here is that it’s a logical fallacy to accept something because “someone in authority” has said it, or because “several people in authority” say it. At best it opens up a debate. At worst, it can drive people to suicide.

So Sanders, to you I say this. I don’t mind you saying that 97% or 98% of scientists agree on a topic. Truly, I don’t. But it would be disingenuous to the art of logic and argument to cite that as the pure foundation to your claim. The argument is still going on; Today’s 98% can be tomorrow’s 9%-8%. Stick to the facts.

Artemis Hunt

Appeal of the Masses