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  1. #1
    mrs disregard's Avatar
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    Thumbs down My Teacher's Comment

    I am on break from my Critical Thinking class right now, and I am amazed at the exchange I just had with her. We were discussing the Iowa Caucus, and she said (paraphrased) that "the Caucasus should be held in New York and California because they have the most people, and would provide a neutral environment for a Caucus. They properly represent America because of their population.." I said, "but those are liberal states.. they are always blue states.. you are forgetting the vast expanse of mid-western states which are nothing like the general population in California or New York, and therefore, California and New York do not represent America on the whole." She says, "But they have the greatest population." To which I reply, "but they are the most liberal states in America! You cannot seriously assert that New York and California represent the typical American." And she ended the conversation abruptly with something to the extent of "okay, anyway.."

    Who was right? I am at least half her age.. so I want to consider her experience as not only a person but a teacher of critical reasoning.

  2. #2
    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    it should be held in a swing state like Ohio or Florida if we wanted a really good image of America!

    Her idea is flawed though!
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  3. #3
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    You are wrong, the most liberal states are Massachusetts and New York. (I'm not actually sure on New York.)


    In actual terms, the teacher's argument is quite iffy, though actually choosing an "average" state isn't really that easy anyway, since all the "even" states have different sorts of economies, lifestyles, etc. that just happen to add up to being swing states. (I have read a suggestion that Oregon should be the first state, since "marketers test strategies in Oregon", or something to that effect, though I'm not sure if the statistics bear this out.)

    Something I'd actually hope for would be to have a string of primaries in several states with different economies, locations, etc. (Say, Ohio, Oregon, Arizona or Colorado, Virginia, New Hampshire), but not release the results until several had been completed, which would give plenty of time for advertising, politicking, etc. in each state, but also would prevent someone from getting a good start just based on one state. This does seem to run into feasibility issues for other reason though.

  4. #4
    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    I don't think you can seriously assert that Iowa is representative of the typical American either.

    I think the whole American electoral process is flawed and bogged down by bureacratic matters like who goes first and the electoral college.

    Other states moved up their caucuses and Iowa moved theirs up even more to be in first in line. It's like a who's got the biggest you know, duck, contest. Other states and voters complain a lot about Iowa's stronghold on the election and the attitude they have of being superior and singularly qualified to determine what's best for the country.

    I think you had a valid critique that CA and NY 'aren't representative' because they are historically blue states (but remember, we elected the Schwarzenizer as our governor) but that critique could and does apply to every state. Population wise, CA and NY are much more representative than Iowa.

    If the election process is ostensibly won by popularity and a 1 for 1 vote, then it makes sense that the most populated states have more influence in the election.

    To me that's more fair than having an otherwise demographically insignificant (elects less than 1% of the electoral college) and overwhelmingly homogenous state determine the flow of the election for the other 49.

    Another alternative is to have the starting primaries switch every election. I don't know how likely this is and I can imagine it would be like choosing a jury -- whoever sits in the juror's box determines the strategy of the lawyers and the outcome.

  5. #5
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    I think Iowa and New Hampshire are pretty good representative states actually. The idea of a representative state being that the people actually have some ability to get to know the candidates. Right now the candidates work like dogs to make sure they meet and talk to as many Iowans as possible. Iowa is a pretty small state comparitively, and the candidates are barely getting any sleep trying to meet them all.

    When you consider all of that, then you realize that very few people would get to meet a candidate if they were campaigning in New York or Florida or some other large state. If the first state was a large state, then the results would actually be less meaningful than our current Iowa results. Currently we can look at Iowa and New Hampshire and say, "these people got to meet the candidates and this is who they picked". Ultimately we get to choose who to vote for regardless of what the first state is, but with Iowa and New Hampshire being early we get the extra advantage of knowing the opinions of people who had the opportunity to meet each of the candidates.
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  6. #6
    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    That is actually the overriding reason given for why those two states should be first. And apparently Iowans take the elections very seriously and have taken it upon themselves to dictate how things go for the rest of the country. I think that's what actually pisses me off. I get really cranky when I think about alleged democratic processes and people start grandstanding. How democratic is it to call 'dibs' on an election?

    Okay, now I'm going to say something that sounds undemocratic:

    Ultimately we get to choose who to vote for regardless of what the first state is, but with Iowa and New Hampshire being early we get the extra advantage of knowing the opinions of people who had the opportunity to meet each of the candidates.
    See that's the thing, I don't CARE what other people think. Have you seen America's voting track record the last two elections? I don't even care to meet a candidate in person. Maybe it's because I was raised in a large state, that being CA and overseas and have never seen a presidential campaigner on the trail in person. Also, my views are generally quite different from the mainstream and America leans (or used to at least) centrist. If it's possible to lean centrist. Or at least, that's what most candidates mold themselves to.

    I decide who I want from their past record. By the time the campaigning starts, that record is pretty much set. All you have left are promises, which again I gauge the likelihood of on their past record.

    While it's true you get to see what other people thought of the candidates, I think that's offset by the fact that the first people to meet the candidates sway the outcome. You see after the first two heats who is trailing and leading in those two states. Afterwards people kind of jump on the bandwagon and may change their votes because the candidate they want seems to have no chance after just those 2 states.

    This is especially true when 2 candidates on the same ballot are close and you are Democratic or Republican and just want to make sure that your party, not your candidate of choice wins. You'll switch your vote to back the leading horse.

    I also think it's a little bit of what came first though. People in other states generally don't expect to ever meet the candidate or see them in person so I'm not sure how switching the earlier caucuses to the larger states would actually affect the election.

    But alright, if it gives Dennis Kucinich a chance, I can be okay with it. This year.

  7. #7
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    An important thing to remember is that primary caucuses aren't the process of choosing the president, they're the process of choosing a candidate.

    "But," you say, "...they are part of the process of choosing a president, because the president is always chosen from among the candidates, doofus!"

    To which I reply "Yes, you're correct, but there's one important difference. General elections are governed by laws, starting with the constitution. Primary elections are governed only by party rules."

    If a political party wants to choose its candidate by picking a name out of a hat, that's the party's business. Party members can accept it, work to change it, or find another party. The caucus system is steeped in tradition and not likely to go away, but truly none of it is fixed by law. The leadership in each party could change the system if they liked.

  8. #8
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CzeCze View Post
    See that's the thing, I don't CARE what other people think.
    If that's true, then the Iowa and New Hampshire decisions should have no effect on you regardless of whether they are first or at the same time as yours. The early caucuses/primaries have no effect upon those who don't care about what others think, but they are a benefit to those that do care what others think. So ultimately they are a benefit.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member INTJMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dana View Post
    I am on break from my Critical Thinking class right now, and I am amazed at the exchange I just had with her. We were discussing the Iowa Caucus, and she said (paraphrased) that "the Caucasus should be held in New York and California because they have the most people, and would provide a neutral environment for a Caucus. They properly represent America because of their population.." I said, "but those are liberal states.. they are always blue states.. you are forgetting the vast expanse of mid-western states which are nothing like the general population in California or New York, and therefore, California and New York do not represent America on the whole." She says, "But they have the greatest population." To which I reply, "but they are the most liberal states in America! You cannot seriously assert that New York and California represent the typical American." And she ended the conversation abruptly with something to the extent of "okay, anyway.."

    Who was right? I am at least half her age.. so I want to consider her experience as not only a person but a teacher of critical reasoning.
    I agree with both of you:
    Iowa better represents the majority of Americans,
    and using states with a larger population might be better.

    You were more right than she was.

  10. #10
    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Liquid_Laser View Post
    If that's true, then the Iowa and New Hampshire decisions should have no effect on you regardless of whether they are first or at the same time as yours. The early caucuses/primaries have no effect upon those who don't care about what others think, but they are a benefit to those that do care what others think. So ultimately they are a benefit.
    Damn you and your logic.

    Hahaha.

    What I mean to say is that while a personal kiss and hug from a pres. candidate wouldn't really sway me (at least, I hope not) my main criticism for the caucus system is how people conflate what is right for those two states with the rest of the country.

    Just because a candidate is not right for voters in Iowa or New Hampshire, doesn't mean the same candidate is not right for voters in California or New Mexico. But again, especially with a 2 party system and partisanship, after those first states act as the self-appointed litmus test -- states behind them will fall in line. No one wants to bet on a losing horse, even though statistically those two states for the caucuses count for what 2% or less of the overall delegates and for the actual election votes I can't imagine it's statistically much more.

    The reason they have that important is solely because of their place in line and not other significant reason. The state isn't more representative, the voters are not more intelligent nor better informed nor better deserving of the privelege of swaying the election for everyone else.

    To me that just baffles my mind. It's just bureacratic and not very in the spirit of democracy.

    I just realized I was conflating up the caucuses and the primaries but the principle is the same. And I think even the parties agree that Iowa and New Hampshire have an disproportionate influence on the presidential selection process. And definitely the other states! Ha.

    Iowa and New Hampshire I don't think they really care what is actually best for voters in other states or the democratic process in America in general, they just like having power. It's pork barreling to the nth degree and I find it disgusting. Especially as its done under false pretenses, if you just want to be an attention whore or whatnot just say so but don't wave around
    the American flag and say it's best for the whole country while you do it.

    And don't get me started on the electoral college. I still don't get it.
    Last edited by CzeCze; 01-06-2008 at 04:32 PM. Reason: I didn't edit because I'm lazy, but DAMN I no speak English good when I first wake up.

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