Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Don't Read This Post

This post isn't so much about getting people to read my words as much as it is about me having things that I need to say. Needless to say that I'm very upset. I'm upset that this rhetoric worked. I'm upset at what this means about the next 4 years for our country.

Be kind. Stay safe. Take care of yourself. I love you all.

I'm not really interested in having a conversation about which group is to blame for this elections or how people should have seen this coming.

I worry that our reliance on polling and other things to predict the outcome of the election before it even happens is too much. I worry that maybe some people got complacent and didn't vote. I think the failure wasn't so much in the polling but rather in how much of each demographic group was expected to turn up, and that Trump supporters mobilized far more than they were expected to. I was worried for this whole election that the existing models wouldn't work for this election and it seem like my worry was correct, and I'm not happy about it.

I believe in a country that is Of the people, By the people, and For the people. I don't believe that such a government will be perfect because people are not perfect, but I have more faith in it than the alternatives. It's not perfect because there is an implied part of that statement that wasn't written down when this country was being formed that won out yesterday, that some people weren't and aren't considered to be people enough to have their votes valued. But as much as I hate republicans for voter suppression, I don't have much faith that democrats wouldn't try to suppress votes if they felt it would be good for them.

I believe that it is of the utmost importance that everybody vote and that the system we use to vote is incredibly important. I feel like the symptoms of a bad voting system are voter turnout and tactical voting. Everyone should vote and everyone should vote for who aligns the most with their views. Not only do we need to eliminate voter suppression and make voting more accessible for people, we need to make sure that people feel incentivized to vote.

A lot has been said and will continue to be said about the Electoral College. As of right now, it values votes in different states differently, because of how the number of votes in each state is calculated. It also causes candidates to value states differently, because they feel that some states are locked up for a particular party. Many people make choices about whether or not they can vote for a third party based on how "safe" they feel their state is and many people don't turn out to vote because they think that voting in their state is meaningless (that it is "safe" or "locked up" depending upon your perspective), and that's incredibly fucked up and sad. I'm not a fan of Nebraska and Maine's systems either, where there are districts that vote individually because it opens things up to gerrymandering.

But above that, I believe that only being able to vote for one candidate is bad. It leads to a two-party system by discouraging people from voting for third parties and encouraging people to vote for a "viable" candidate.  This means that people aren't able to accurately express their political views. The Center for Election Science advocates strongly for a move to approval voting, where you select all the candidates you would "approve" of winning and each one receives a vote. In this way you can vote for your niche candidate who is closest to your personal view point but you can also vote for a "viable" candidate. I'm also a fan of single-transferable voting, where you rank as many candidates as you want to and your ballot initially is counted for who you ranked as number 1, and then once the votes are in the least popular candidate is eliminated and all votes for them are transferred the the next ranked candidate on the ballot. This elimination and transfer process is repeated until a winner (>50% of remaining ballots) emerges.

Be kind. Stay safe. Take care of yourself. I love you all.