Minnesota's in the Middle

All things Minnesota politics

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A case for instant run off voting?

If a candidate for president does not get at least 50% of the Electoral college votes they don't win and congress must cast a vote. Something worth thinking especially in light of the fact that Michael Bloomberg will probably get at least 1 EC vote as Maine splits their votes and Perot was most successful in Maine.

If we aren't satisfied when 50% of the official voters for president can't agree why are we satisfied when 50% of the voters can't agree in other races? At the same time if we are satisfied when 38% or 42% of citizen voters cast a vote for the leading candidate in races for Governor or US Senate why aren't we satisfied with the citizens choice when it comes to president? Whats wrong with consistency?

Start at the bottom?

A strong and to some extent valid criticism of the Independence Party is they seek out the highest office while not having many credible candidates for lower office. The truth is city councils and mayor offices are filled with Independence type people, and it only matters if they get on board should they seek partisan office, but at the state House level the Independence Party needs more.

So how does it happen in light of the fact that it didn't happen even with a governor, or a highly respected candidates for Governor? I think the possibility exists if we can go into an election where everyone knows we will win at least one seat. There are two ways for this to happen one find ourselves at the end of the filing period with no opposition. This of course does no good as the opportunity for other credible candidates to jump in is gone as soon as this information is available. The other possibility is for someone like Tim Penny (oh fine Tim Penny seems to be the only option) to run for State House. While I don't know that he would be a sure thing, he would bring forward enough optimism to get other potential candidates to realize if they win it is probable Penny would win as well, and they actually would have someone to work with.

It's easier for the media, the potential candidates, and the voters to think hey you know this Independence Party might win 2 or 3 seats if they know where the first one will come from. Likewise it's easier for them to see the Independence Party winning 5-8 if they can see where the 2nd and 3rd will come from. So while a Michael Bloomberg presidential campaign will help, and a Tim Penny US Senate campaign would also help, the best thing that could happen for this party in 08' would be for Tim Penny to run for his local state house seat. At that point the Independence City council and mayor members might start to creep up from the bottom and rise towards the top.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Bloomberg versus Perot

With it looking more and more like Michael Bloomberg will enter the presidential race it seems like we should review the success of Ross Perot's run in 1992. If you recall Perot briefly got out of the race, and then explained that he was worried about his Daughters wedding when he reentered the race. Clearly this hurt his momentum not to mention it made many otherwise supporters question if he had the stability to serve as president. Still his results were very good capturing 18.91% of the vote nationwide with 23.96% in Minnesota and a 2nd place finish of 30.44% in Maine. The possibility of Perot winning at least one state had he not dropped out seems to have existed. So the question is can Bloomberg match or exceed Perot's 1992 success?

Lets start by stating that there are about 2% of Americans who will always vote for the strongest new third party candidate be it Ralf Nader or Ross Perot, and that # only grows as the candidate becomes more competitive so we'll call Bloombergs base that he doesn't have to work for 3%. After that he has to win the battle of ideas, convince people he will not spoil the election (come on Democrats give us instant run off voting and you'll never have to worry again) and find and maintain momentum.

Perot while a much stronger small government candidate still saw his success in the more liberal northern states like Minnesota, Oregon, Maine, along with Nevada and outside of his home state of Texas was not at all competitive in the gulf states where he only received 8.72% in Mississippi and 10.09% in Tennessee. So while it seems that things like smoking bans and gun restrictions will make it tough to match Perot's success that might not be as true as those voters have no reason not to stick with the Republican. Bloomberg will be able to match Perot on economic issues where straying Republicans won't care much about smoking and guns. And of course the fiscally wise Democrats along with Independents will be there for the taking.

The biggest key for Bloomberg will be who the other parties put up against him. On the Democrat side he's safe with Hillary Clinton leading the way, while he will need someone other then McCain or Guiliani on the Republican side, best case scenario Fred Thomson. If he gets the right match up then he very well might pick up a few states, and as soon as that possibility becomes clear the media will pick up on it, and last minute Ventura like momentum can happen.

I predicted about a week ago he would finish somewhere around 6%, but the way the media is picking up on him I think he's closer to 10%, winning is a huge long shot but he may be able to do more for the centrist independence movement then Perot did. In Minnesota and New York he has Independence Parties that are ready to endorse him. Unity 08' will also be a resource for organization, but in large part the organized efforts will start out of Bloomberg's campaign and might not show up in full until 2012 much like the Reform Party developing for Perots second campaign.

I have a tough time saying he will hit 30% in any state, but at the same think he can run a better campaign then Perot. So was Perot simply the right candidate at the right time, was Perot a much better candidate then Bloomberg, or is the gap between the Democrat and Republican support ready to explode again?

Michael Bloomberg officially independent

Looks like he's preparing to run for president. The bigger story will be when his probable running mate also becomes an Independent.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Dean Barkley

I'm a little late on this one, but it sounds as if the DFL is seriusly considering staying out of the 6th district race if Dean Barkley would run as an Independence candidate. The DFL hates Michele Bachmann (oddly enough they couldn't care less about gay rights), to the point where they would do just about anything. Barkley is a true fiscal conservitive which seemingly would chase an unenedorsed liberal to run with the DFL lable if this senerio played out, but Barkley would be a very strong candidate even without the DFL suggesting it might be a good idea to vote for him, and hey everyonce in a while you see nobody file for congressional races so if the DFL encourages nobody to file it might just be a 2 way race between Bachmann and Barkley. At that point the race is in Bachmanns favor but only by a small margain.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Does the media want Bloomberg?

I've overlooked the thought that the media might actually decide to push a Michael Bloomberg independent run for president, as it is not typical for the media to push third party candidates. Then I saw him on the cover of Time yesterday and relized what I've known to be typical doesn't necessarily have to be true all the time.

There are a lot of reasons the media would want a strong Bloomberg campaign, not the least of which is revenue. The Networks will be eager to take his money and give him an hour in prime time over airing another lower tier reality show late next summer. Then you have the aspect of something a little more exciting to cover for the Chris Mathews of the world to scream about.

We've seen articles of the timing being right for an independent candidate in 08' here and there. The thought being that the American people are ready for it, and while that may be true the real key would be the media being ready for it.

Mayor Bloomberg stikes me as just another Peter Hutchinson as far as getting the people behind him, he will excite and encourage a lot of people but in the end it will take something more to be competitive or even win. His money will give him a good head start, but that something more is going to have to be the media, after all the media is America's third major party, and maybe this time around they want to win.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Is it hockey season yet?

I like baseball, but when even 5 game winning steaks become meaningless overnight it's just not that fun. Oh well the Wild and Huskies will be back in just a few short months.

Friday, June 15, 2007

How strong (dead) is the Independence Party?

If you simply look at the #'s and history of 3rd party's it's very safe to assume the 2006 elections were the death blow to the Independence Party. The leaders in the Democrat, Republican and Media parties know without a shadow of a doubt that the Independence Party is dead.

So how dead is the Independence Party? So dead that some Schmuck named McBroom who plans on changing his name to Wellstone is the Independence Party's version of Pat Buchanan? So dead that the vampire might be a local legislative candidate? So dead that almost nobody remains active and the party is now being ran out of some guys basement? The answer to all those questions is no, noer, and hell no.

The Independence Party in all behind the scenes aspects is far and away at an all time high. I'm sure a lot of readers of this blog think Tammy Lee's could best help this party by running for US Senate, but the reality is she is probably doing more for this party in fundraising candidate recruitment and communications then any campaign could have done. Peter Hutchinson and his high level staffers are filling the major roles in party leadership, while former party leaders continue to take on their old roles. Fundraising is finally above basic operations levels, and the 2008 elections both locally at the Federal Level and even at the presidential level are true focuses.

There still are areas where this party needs major improvement, it still needs to spread it's wings beyond the metro area, it still has to create and maintain more on the ground activist, and it still has to find a lot of high level candidates, but these are all things that were true the year before and the day after Jesse Ventura was elected.

A strong presidential campaign, even one that falls way short will do huge things for the Independence Party and the 3rd Party movement as a whole nationwide. Peter Hutchinsons 6% and Tammy Lee's 3rd place finish did more for this party then a Jesse Ventura victory. A Michael Bloomberg 6% will do much more then a Peter Hutchinson 6%.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

2008 US Senate predictions

This will be a little tough with no named Independence Party candidate, but what the heck.

Norm Coleman of course will be the Republican Candidate.

In the battle between Franken and Cirisi the Democrats are gonna get caught in a trap as they think Franken can get a few extra votes simply because people knew who he was before he got political, in the mannor people voted for Jesse Ventura. It won't work and the Results come November will be bad, how bad really depends on how much momentum the Independence Party candidate can get.

Moving to the Independence Party there are as of yet no candidates I've said there's a good chance Tim Penny or Jim Gibson would run, but I can't say that thats more then 50-50, so there's just as good of a chance it will be someone else which could be good or could be very bad.

For the sake of making a prediction based on more then just the status of the Party I will use Jim Gibson as the candidate for now, and thus my prediction is

Coleman 55%
Gibson 4%
Franken 40%
Other 1%

Sunday, June 10, 2007

2008 Presidential election predictions

Hey it's one way to add a little content when nothing significant is happening.

First of all where is Unity 08? The idea that they can get a major Democrat and Republican to join their effort is laughable leaving Michael Bloomberg as their only credible option Given his financial resources he really doesn't need unity's extremely small base of activist, but if they don't do anything silly chances are Bloomberg will let them borrow his campaign assuming he does run.

As for the Democrats I see Clinton winning the nomination with Bill Richardson finishing strong and being picked as the VP candidate. I think Edwards will fade fast, and their are enough people out their that won't vote for a guy named Obama that he won't top Hillary no matter how strong of a campaign he runs.

The Republican side is a little bit more difficult to predict as Giuliani currently leads the polls although he doesn't represent the values of the Republican Party leaving things wide open for someone to pass him. McCain like Edwards is running a desperate campaign and will fade fast. Mitt Romney seems to be the best bet, but now with Fred Thomas drawing a lot of support it could be a 3 or 4 way battle that's so close that it will almost come down to luck. That being said I like Romneys chances his VP probably is not listed above and really could come from anywhere.

The Green and Libertarian parties and candidates are making no noise at all, the Constitution Party does have Alan Keyes so they may crack 1% but really the odds of those parties and others combining for even 2% is slim especially given Bloomberg will provide an avenue for protest voters.

So we have Clinton, Romney, and Bloomberg facing off. The real question is how well can Bloomberg do, he has the money to run a great campaign. He kind of strikes me as the kind of guy that will have a lot of good ideas, but will have a tough time selling his ideas the way Ross Perot did, so that leaves him around the 5-10% range I'll call it 6% for now.

So my early prediction

Hillary Clinton 47%
Mitt Romney 46%
Michael Bloomberg 6%
Other 1%

And your next president is Mitt Romney, cause Democrats just don't know how to win the south.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The long shots

Both Mike Gravel and Ron Paul are running borderline libertarian campaigns in parties that would rather not have their point of view included in the debate. Hearing these candidates out is important and ultimately should give us better results come November of 08, but lets remember it's the fault of the media when candidates like this aren't heard regardless of which party they run from. The Democrat and Republican party don't own our political process, we do not have a two party system.

So the question has to be asked is it good for libertarian thinkers or others who represent everything the Republican and Democrat parties are against when they run within one of those two parties? The answer can only be yes if they bring forward long term change within the party (not to be confused with changing the public opinion as a whole to the point that those parties adapt), or if they win the nomination. History tells us there is no chance whatsoever of either of those things happening.

They both are presenting their views in a way that members of the party they are running from will consider voting for them and they should both do decent in the primary process possibly even cracking double digits in most states, but the end result is no greater then sitting on the sidelines or running as a third party candidate.

The media has shaped the process in such a way that we no longer have primaries, or an open exchange of views. They pick 2 or 3 candidates from the Democrat and Republican party that have shown an ability to play the game the way those parties want and give everyone else a token interview or in a debate setting remember every once in a while to give the others a question. When even Bill Richardson is ignored we know our media has failed us. The Ron Paul's and Mike Gravel's of the world do need to create change from within our political systems major party, they need to find a way to change the media. I suppose it could happen as a result of running within the Democrat or Republican parties, but the only way it happens is if they recognize the problem and care enough to do something about it not just to the point where in the future the #8 Democrat or Republican candidates get better treatment, but to the point where endorsed candidates of credible third party candidates as well.

Chances are it won't be Gravel or Paul who make the biggest impact in changing the media this year, it will be your Libertarian, and Green candidate and possibly Mike Bloomberg. Of Course Bloomberg already has the media game down so chances are he won't notice the problem if and when he enters the race.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I love the Stanley Cup

Even in the hands of a bunch of jerks the Stanley Cup celebration is the best moment of the sports year. Intrestingly enough Minnesota Twins MVP 1st baseman Justin Morneau is in attendence to see the Cup skated for the 2nd year in a row. Last year it seemed to inspire him hopefully it has the same effect this year.

Stanley Cup for president!!!

Monday, June 04, 2007

This Broom intends to create McProblems

We've had bigger nutjobs then McBroom try to use the Independence Party ballot line in the past, but a halfway legitimate candidate who campaigned at all for the primary usually comes on top, the most notable exception being Peter Vento who did not campaign at all defeating then Maplewood mayor Bob Cardinal in the 2004 4th congressional district primary. Of course Vento had the same last name and in fact was the son of former congressman Bruce Vento.

According to Minnesota Democrats Exposed McBroom intends to change his last name to Wellstone, creating the exact senerio that Peter Vento created for Bob Cardinal. While there is little doubt any longer that Mcbroom, or Wellstone if he really thinks he's worthy of the name, has no chance of gaining the Independence Party endorsement it won't matter if he takes it to the primary. Even with a high profile widley respected candidate such as Tim Penny the Wellsone name would give McBroom a chance unless the endorsed candidate drives Independence Primary turnout to record levels.

The only good news is if we have to have this nut on the November ballot he would have a fighting chance to hit 5%, although I personally would say that if a guy like this can win your primary for the most significant race of the election cycle, it's pretty clear that you are no longer in any way a major party.

He creates a challange, and although I personally despise the primary process it's time that Independence Party supporters show up to the primary at least proportionally comparable to the a minumum 2% supporters, so there is no good reason we should not see at least 1-25th of the Democrat or Republican primary turnout.

Of course the other way to tackle this issue would be to get 4 or 5 other guys with the Wellstone last name to also run in the primary spliting the hey I've heared of Wellstone vote.

Wouldn't it be great?

If at this stage of the presidential race the debates included members of more then one party? The Democrat debate last night was interesting but they are so scared to say anything to significant as it might make the rest of the party look bad. Wouldn't it be great if you put 3 or 4 candidates from the Democrat and Republican Party as well as any major independent candidates (of which of course there are none at this point)?

I know if I was a Democrat or Republican I would want to see a candidate face the other side directly rather then focusing on the candidate who was able to make his point without alienating me by harshly attacking a candidate I have a lot of respect for.

Of course I'm looking at it mostly from an entertainment value perspective, and someone who will find they actually participating in the Democrat or Republican nomination process might find this to be ideal.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Major Party status, 08?

While the Independence Party earned major party status through the 2010 election cycle with Peter Hutchinson's fairing (assuming the current law remains unchanged) the 2008 election gives the Independence Party a chance to protect the status through the 2012 elections by achieving 5% in either the US Senate or Presidential election.

This is the first US Senate race in a year without a Governors election since Dean Barkley first reached the 5% threshhold in 96, so although the last two US Senate elections suggest it is a long shot, it may in reality be no more difficult then it has been in the past 3 Governor races. The presidential election however may be the easier race to achive as Minnesotans tend to look for a third option more so then anywhere else in the nation. If Mayor Bloomberg enters the race and uses the Independence Party ballot line in Minnesota I think it's safe to say the Independence Party will remain a major party at least until the laws are changed. The real question is would a Bloomberg run be powerful enough to push a Tim Penny or Jim Gibson to a competitive level in the US Senate race.

An actuall candidate?

Well it's a website and it states that James McBroom intends to run for US Senate with the Independence Party. It's a little over the top to take to seriously, but hey who knows what the long term plan is, It's gotten a few peoples attention so who knows, maybe this is a guy who actually has a game plan.

Issue wise McBroom doesn't address social security or the federal budget which might make things difficult given those are core concerns of the Independence Party. In any event if we get a few nuts willing to run it should drive some better candidates to run to protect the parties image. Like I've said before I would not be at all shocked to see Tim Penny or Jim Gibson run. As has been reported earlier Tammy Lee has officially stated she is out although she remains very active and may have a future run down the road.