another debate

Tonight, there will be a debate among the candidates for the Democratic nomination for the US presidency.

Martin O’Malley, former governor of Maryland, has failed to gain traction with voters, so most eyes will be fixed on Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State, New York Senator, and First Lady Hillary Clinton.

Sanders and Clinton are close in the public opinion polls in both Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states to award delegates for the nominating convention.

There is one aspect of the race for the nomination and the general election that I feel is important but that isn’t being discussed much in the press. While Sen. Sanders is running for the Democratic nomination, he is not a Democrat himself. While in Congress, he has caucused with the Democrats, while retaining his status as an Independent.

Among the US electorate, there are more voters who are independent, that is, not registered with any political party, than there are voters who are registered Democrats or Republicans.

In some states, such as my native Massachusetts, independents can decide on the day of the primary which party ballot to vote; in others, such as my current home state New York, only registered members of the party are allowed to vote in that party’s primary.

I am an independent, so ineligible to vote in the primary, which is especially vexing this year as I am a supporter of Senator Sanders, but will not be able to vote for him in the New York primary.

The story that many in the media are missing is the possible impact of independent voters in the race.  In states with open primaries, Senator Sanders may draw significant support from progressive independents, while he may poll more poorly in states with closed primaries where only registered Democrats are allowed to vote.

The interesting thing to study is whether how well Sanders polls versus potential Republican rivals is due to his increased appeal to Independent voters. If so, it is something for the Democrats to keep in mind in choosing a candidate who can appeal to and energize the most voters in the general election.

In the United States, turnout is the most important factor in elections. A candidate who can marshal not only the party that nominated him/her but also the independents is the one who will win the election.
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Author: Joanne Corey

Please come visit my eclectic blog, Top of JC's Mind. You can never be sure what you'll find!

16 thoughts on “another debate”

  1. I realize this may be naive, but I would think it a good thing if Clinton and Sanders ran together. Whoever wins the primary could be the presidential candidate and the other can be the VP candidate. It’s been done before. Wouldn’t that give them a better chance?


    1. It would be a strong ticket ideologically, but I doubt they would do it for practical reasons. With both of them in their 70s, whoever gets the nomination would probably want to choose a somewhat younger running mate. O’Malley would be a possibility, although many think if Sanders gets the nomination, he would choose Elizabeth Warren as a running mate.


  2. the independent vote is what matters now in all the elections.
    I know how you feel,not being able to vote for your candidate in the primary. I would like to be able to support my candidates in the polls, but they’re not in them yet. They haven’t been decided yet.

    I’m libertarian (support freedom and liberty for ALL) and my candidates aren’t EVER allowed in the debates. I think if the public was ever ALLOWED to hear ALL the candidates, we would have a very different outcome in the final vote.

    We almost always have more candidates running for president besides the democrats and republicans, but since the rest of them are never allowed to be heard, the public never learns a thing about them other than the name on the ballot (IF they happen to notice).

    I think some of the other parties have some interesting things to contribute (Green, Libertarian, Socialist, Communist, Constitution, Natural Law- I can’t remember if there were any others last time). I would at least like to hear what they have to say. I would LOVE to hear the debates feature some REAL differences on policy and especially principle, we haven’t had any of that for a long time. I don’t even bother to watch any more, it’s too sad


    1. I have followed the Green Party and have voted for some of their candidates in state-wide elections.

      The closest to libertarian philosophy in the current Republican field is Rand Paul, although I realize he is only libertarian-ish.

      Tonight’s debate is the first I saw almost in its entirety. I can’t cope with more than a few minutes of the Republican debates. It’s nearly impossible to learn anyone’s policy viewpoints.

      I know that the national level debates are difficult to get into for the smaller parties. I think the state level is a better way to get recognition that can build into something bigger over time, although it does depend on the way each state organizes their elections and debates.I do understand your frustration, though.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would vote for Rand if I didn’t have anyone better. I can’t stand watching the debates, they’re just too depressing. With the current crop of candidates, I see NO hope whatsoever. I think we need some new blood in the National debates before there will ever be enough people to make any changes. States are led by the Federal government. Even tho it’s not really supposed to work that way.


        1. Unfortunately, most of the states are so gerrymandered these days that whatever party is in control of a district has little chance of losing, even if the representative is not very good. Last election, my representative to Congress ran unopposed. I wrote my own name in rather than vote for him. He is retiring this year, so maybe we will get a decent choice to vote for.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. thats true, most incumbents get re-elected, no real challenge to them.
            I usually have somebody (other than myself) to vote for.This was Ron Pauls district for years and I always really did think he was excellent. Rand is nowhere near as good as Ron. But if I have no other choices, I’ll suck it up and vote for Rand.
            I’m pretty sure Gary Johnson will be running again, so I won’t have to vote for Rand. I can vote for Gary in good conscience.


              1. At least you have one other option. I think the more people vote for an alternative, the better. ANY alternative! Just to make the point that what we have is NOT working.
                It’s not the individual person either, it’s the fact that they’re in debt to their party and the people who PAID for their election.
                That’s why I’ll probably never vote for a republicrat ever again.


            1. I would much prefer public financing of (much shorter) campaigns than the current big-money mess.

              IN New York State, one of the concrete advantages of voting Green for governor was that the Green Party ballot line got moved to a much higher position, making it more visible to voters.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. I don’t like the idea of public financing. Not unless they strictly limit the amount they can spend. But, we all know how that would go (out the window PDQ!).
                I’d like to see the amount of money they can spend strictly limited anyway. That would tend to level the playing field a little bit and hopefully stop the politicians from selling out to the highest bidder.
                How about if we stop allowing the politicians on TV (except for the debates, and then ONLY if they include ALL candidates- not like now where the republicrats control the debate and only THEIR party is allowed in)? I think that would be enormously helpful! That seems to be where they spend the most money.
                I think the people need to be able to hear ALL the different viewpoints and that is not happening now. The Greens are very rarely allowed to get their views out there in a realistic manner, neither are the Libertarians or any other party.


                1. Any public financing proposal I have seen comes with limits and usually matching dollars for small donors with no large donors allowed.

                  I think the first thing that has to happen is a law or amendment that overturns the Citizens United ruling that opened the floodgates for rich people to give nearly unlimited money to campaigning for candidates or causes.

                  I don’t think there is much that can be done with the debates for the major party nominations, but the general election debate should have all the national candidates involved. Sometimes, there have been more than two candidates in the presidential debates. I remember seeing Ross Perot and Ralph Nader included in the past, but it has been a long time since smaller party candidates have debated in a national forum.


                  1. that was when the League of Women Voters still ran the debates. They quit in disgust when the republicrats refused to play unless they were the ONLY ones allowed in the game!
                    Of course, the nominating debates are within each party, they have every right to play their own game however crooked they want to. They just shouldn’t be able to lock everyone else out of the national debates- between each parties candidates- and that is what they’ve done for years and years now.

                    I don’t have an opinion on Citizens United. I’m tending to support it. I feel like it helps people like me who can only contribute a little bit. I can send my $20 or $50 to a group, like for instance the GOA or the Ocean Conservancy, etc and they can combine my money with thousands of others and finally someone who says the same thing I would say gets HEARD by the politicians. They certainly do NOT pay one bit of attention to just little ol me when I call or write, or even send them what little contribution I can afford.
                    How is it going to be possible to stop the rich from buying influence, even if you stop the little guys like me from being able to band together?
                    And matching $ for small donors? where, exactly does that $ come from and who gets to decide where it goes?


            2. If Citizens United were overturned, organizations can still fund campaigns and do advocacy as they do now. What it would stop is the PACs and SuperPACs that some of the billionaires use to hide how much money they are putting into campaigns. I also object to the concept that money equals speech and that corporations are people. I think that speech is communication and that only a human individual qualifies as a person.

              Matching federal dollars for presidential campaigns come from a special fund that is set aside from income tax dollars. Every year when we file returns, there is a checkbox for $3 to go to that fund. It doesn’t change the amount of tax you pay; you just get to decide whether or not you want money to go to that fund. It can only be used for matching funds if the candidate isn’t taking PAC money, so it hasn’t been used for a long time now. If Bernie Sanders is the Democratic nominee, he could apply for matching funds because he doesn’t take PAC or large donor/corporate support.


              1. I gotcha!
                You think that matching fund would come close to what they’re spending now? I don’t. I guess then they would make that mandatory and increase it so they could spend more money. The libertarian candidates usually qualify to get those matching funds too. They almost always refuse to take them on principle. I say good for them! That kind of thing proves to me that they HAVE principles, unlike the rest of the players up there.

                I agree that corporations are not people. That ruling was ridiculous. It does get pretty twisted and I’m not sure what I would say if I knew all the details. But NOT to make corporations the same as people!

                I think the only way to stop the billionaires buying politicians is to get right back to the extremely limited government we were MEANT to have! IF the politician CAN NOT DO ANYTHING to help the rich guy, then WHY would the rich guy give the politician money? They would be wasting it. I don’t suppose that would go on for long. The minute you give the politician ANY leeway to hand out favors, then there will be some who will buy those favors and ALL politicians WILL eventually be corrupted. That is how we wound up where we are now. With MILLIONS and millions of ‘laws’ on the books. Almost every one of them a result of special favors for one group or another. People always bitch about big business, I agree, they are not really good. But, people fail to understand that they would not BE big business without the help of big government! BIG business uses government to keep out the competition.

                There ALWAYS seems to be a situation with the law of unintended consequences EVERY time they do something!


            3. No, I don’t think that matching funds or public financing of elections would spend as much money on elections as they are now, but that is the point. We need to stop wasting so much money on elections and we need to make the process much shorter as it is in other democracies.

              Right now, our government is more of an oligarchy than a democracy. Big business would exist with far fewer laws than we have now and would roll over individuals even more than they do now, as in the time of the “robber-barons.”

              I don’t think it is possible to have a strictly limited government in a modern society. It was one thing when the population was sparse and the country was small, but we need a lot of infrastructure for transportation and clean water and sewer works and for public safety. The original plan was also for land-owning white men to run everything and I definitely don’t want to go back there.


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