Morning Ed: United States {2016.05.04.W}

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Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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  1. Avatar Kazzy
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    What was the basis for your objection to felons voting?Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kazzy
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      I meant by being out in left field that I was loudly in favor of their right to do so before it was a commonly expressed view outside left circles.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Will Truman
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        I do think at some point earlier than that I was against felons being allowed to vote ever. Like in early college or high school. That position wasn’t any more well thought out than “screw criminals” though, and the general sense of things in the 90’s.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Will Truman
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          Got it. I didn’t click through the link so I think I may have misunderstood.

          You — and many others now! — support the right of ex-felons to vote. But you currently do not support the right of felons to vote while in prison and suspect this may put you on “the wrong side of history”. Do I have that right?Report

  2. Avatar Kolohe
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    While I agree ideology is overrated, and branding is important. Political sock’s analysis has some weaknesses-

    a) Obama never made that many votes at all. The first half of the 2/3 of a term he served was in the minority party, and while the Dems had a majority in the 2nd half of his tenure, there was still a GOP prez, and Harry Reid didn’t do the showpiece votes that Boehner and Mitchell have done. And then there was the whole missing work and votes (I wouldn’t say he missed them, Bob) while campaigning. Obama was a partisan, yes, but never a liberal’s liberal. But, again, branding, he didn’t mind if actual liberal’s liberals thought he was. (just like everyone thought he was more anti-war than he ever claimed to be, a thought shared by the Nobel committee)

    b) you can’t compare Obama and Trump until Trump finally wins a real election.

    c) Cruz’s problem was never that he was ugly or has a voice (sometimes) of a asthmatic weasel. Trump is not really handsome (anymore) and his public speaking tics are now legendary. Cruz’s problem is that he lobbed greek fire at the ramparts of the Republican party to get to where he was, and then found himself inside those same weakened fortifications trying to hold back the Trumpalo marauders.

    d) Reagan invented using brand management and image to augment ideology, and overcome its weaknesses in gaining actual power. Notably, he was a minor celebrity at the dawn of celebrity culture.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kolohe
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      Cruz’s problem is that he lobbed greek fire at the ramparts of the Republican party to get to where he was, and then found himself inside those same weakened fortifications trying to hold back the Trumpalo marauders.

      Well put.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Will Truman
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        Yes, exactly. If Trump is an infection his vectors of transmission were the gouges Cruz and his compatriots widened over the last few years.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        to be clear, I lifted a lot of that metaphor from (I think) someone you re-tweeted last night.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kolohe
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          It’s related to a point that I’ve been making for a while (that Trump strolled on in through the door created by Cruz and his ilk), but I couldn’t quite put the words together as well as you did. Maybe because I was trying on Twitter.Report

          • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Will Truman
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            (that Trump strolled on in through the door created by Cruz and his ilk)

            That’s inane. Cruz hasn’t defined the direction and contours of Republican policy on Capitol Hill the last 7 years, McConnell and Boehner have. Cruz was not an elected official at all until 3 years ago. The pissing and moaning over one of our government shutdowns is characteristic of Capitol Hill krill and partisan Democrats in the media. It’s not something Republican voters are demonstrably disarranged about. What happened when Trump entered the race? The campaigns of Messrs. Walker, Perry, Bush, and Huckabee imploded. Cruz proved to be less substitutable than any of these.Report

    • Avatar Mo in reply to Kolohe
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      Also, all of the delegate shenanigans really hurt Cruz’s popularity. You can’t simultaneously brand yourself as the Washington/establishment outsider and then rules lawyer your way using the establishment process.Report

      • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Mo
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        What are you talking about? Cruz is an antagonist of the Capitol Hill nexus. That’s quite distinct from state-level delegate selection rules, a process his people understood much better than Trump’s. Cruz never engaged in any chicanery. One of them was organized and one was not.Report

        • Avatar Mo in reply to Art Deco
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          Explain that distinction to the average primary voter without their eyes glazing over. Cruz saying that he is the fighter of the establishment one day and that he will win the primary by making deals with delegates (who to the average voter seem establishmentish) in smoke filled rooms to get them to vote for him on the second ballot sounds shady to a random, not super politically engaged person. It’s all above board and how the game is played, but to the average voter it feels like subverting their will.Report

          • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Mo
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            I wouldn’t have to explain the distinction because this notion that Cruz following delegate selection rules set by state parties indicates he’s some kind of insider wire-puller has no reality outside your imagination and would hardly occur to any Republican who wasn’t in the tank for Trump. Cruz, Trump, and Kasich face the same set of procedures and selection rules. The rules may be arcane and barnacle-encrusted. They’re only shady because your wish-fulfillment demands they be.Report

            • Avatar Mo in reply to Art Deco
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              And yet his net favorables among started plummeting right around the Colorado conventions, right when he was pushing the strategy hard.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Art Deco
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              Art is exactly right on the party dynamics and procedure. Mo is right on the perception politics.Report

              • Avatar Mo in reply to Will Truman
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                I am not arguing that playing delegate games makes Cruz establishment, I was only arguing the perception. The prior king of delegate games was Ron Paul, who was also far from an establishment figure. The biggest problem was that the Cruz team was bragging about it. He was seen as saying, “I’m so smart and I’ll overturn what voters wanted through playing the obscure rules.” He would have been much better off doing it quietly.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Mo
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                That’s what I meant about you being right about perception politics. While in reality, the support Cruz was drawing to do what he did was not the Washington establishment, it was quickly perceived to be.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Will Truman
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                To say that Cruz strategy re delegates was perfectly correct and by the book is just like saying your gay partner covered as spouse in your employer provided insurance is a perfect stranger to you.

                It’s an accurate reading of the laws and rules, with the intention to reach the opposite objective. And most people will tell you the rules be dammed, the intention was wrongReport

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Kolohe
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      “No, no. Jimmy Stewart for governor, Ronald Reagan for best friend”-allegedly said by Jack Warner after learning that Reagan was running for governor of California.

      Reagan was an adequate but not a great actor compared to other actors of Hollywood’s Golden Age. The studio moguls thought he at least had the potential to be a great secondary actor.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to LeeEsq
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        A generation later, Reagan would have probably launched his career via television, definitely been at least its ‘Hey, It’s That Guy!”, and maybe would have had a Tom Selleck Q level. (he may have even replaced Tom Selleck in the Hollywood ecosystem)Report

    • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Kolohe
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      Cruz’s problem is that he lobbed greek fire at the ramparts of the Republican party to get to where he was, and then found himself inside those same weakened fortifications trying to hold back the Trumpalo marauders.

      This is a meaningless word salad. Cruz has been unclubbable on Capitol Hill. That irritates cretins like Boehner and McConnell and Lindsey Graham, but it doesn’t generate any broader institutional or cultural weaknesses.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Art Deco
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        Whence Trump, then? If Cruz would have made an early peace with the cretins, rather than Trump, we would probably be looking at a reversed delegate count right now.Report

        • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Kolohe
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          ‘Sez who? Had Kasich withdrawn with Rubio, his supporters would have redistributed themselves between the competing candidates. There’s no reason to believe that Trump would not have maintained a plurality in those circumstances.Report

  3. Avatar notme
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    NPR spent quite a bit of time this morning talking about the Trump win and impending doom for the GOP but curiously neglected the Hillary loss in Indiana.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to notme
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      Probably because Trumps win pretty much nails him down for the nomination whereas Hillary’s loss will net her almost the same number of delegates as Bernie and will do nothing to shake the mathematical certainty that she will be the nominee.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to notme
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      There is nothing curious about this. It shows sound journalistic judgment. Trump becoming the presumptive nominee is a major story. Sanders getting more votes than Clinton in Indiana just one day later is a bit of historical trivia.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Richard Hershberger
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        It’s news that Clinton went from a solid lead in pre-election polls, to losing by about that same amount.

        (It’s news that there’s now a marginally greater -albeit still very low – chance of a contested Dem convention than a GOP one!)Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kolohe
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          It’s almost hilarious the extent to which the GOP and Democratic Party have each erred so far in opposite directions:

          Democrats: DWS has had her thumb on the scale the entire to a ridiculous degree. While intellectually defensible, the Democrats are relying on an unpopular superdelegate model that seems more like something the GOP would do. They do this to counterweigh a very proportional system that has made it incredibly difficult for HRC to seal the deal and has elongated the primary season to an undesirable degree.

          Republicans: Pontius Priebus has been nothing but evenhanded and fair the entire cycle, damn what the party actually needs. The WTA’s gave an undesirable plurality-winner airs of inevitability starting relatively early and eliminated everybody but three of its least desirable candidates somewhat early.

          Obviously, one party is in much better shape than the other. Each of these accentuated the party’s internal problems, and the parties’ internal problems were very asymmetrically severe.Report

          • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Will Truman
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            There is a parallel between Clinton’s 2016 run to the nomination and Romney’s 2012 run. Despite X’s near mathematically certainty, the not-X still is winning single contests here and there.Report

          • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Will Truman
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            Given that the race has been over since Super Tuesday, was it really that hard for Clinton to seal the deal?Report

            • Avatar Mo in reply to Autolukos
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              In 2008, the race was largely over before March even hit and Hillary still was winning primaries in May and June.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Mo
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                What are you talking about? HRC won more popular votes than BO, and had only 100 fewer pledged delegates. The superdelegates dragged him across the finish line.Report

              • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Art Deco
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                The Source of All Knowledge disagrees with these delegate numbers, and the Florida and Michigan primary disputes were such a cock up that it is pretty much impossible to talk about popular votes.

                Even taking your numbers, saying that the guy with more pledged delegates was “dragged across the finish line” by the superdelegates doesn’t strike me as a useful analysis.

                FWIW, my recollection is that in March, Nate Silver was making a very convincing demonstration of how it was that Obama had the nomination in the bag. The mainstream media kept the horserace story going months longer, but I was persuaded by Silver’s analysis and pretty much tuned out the horserace coverage.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Richard Hershberger
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                He didn’t have a majority with just pledged delegates. Live with it.

                No, it’s not impossible to talk about popular votes even if there are tabulation problems in Florida and Michigan. North of 90% of the population in the U.S. lives elsewhere. Recall his contention was that BO had it sewn up in March 2008. That’s rubbish.Report

              • Avatar Mo in reply to Art Deco
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                It was not a vote tabulation dispute. Florida and Michigan had their delegates stripped for breaking party rules and then had them restored when the primary was over. Obama didn’t campaign in Florida and pulled his name off the ballot in Michigan.

                Popular votes in primaries are meaningless because some states have caucuses (much smaller overall voting numbers) and others have primaries. Obama did better in caucuses and therefore would have a lower popular vote total.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Mo
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                There are turnout variations as a matter of course.

                The popular vote total isn’t meaningless. It just doesn’t have the meaning you’d like.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Autolukos
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              Because it’s May and she’s still running a primary campaign. The deal isn’t sealed until she stops needing to do things like talk coal in West Virginia.Report

          • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Will Truman
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            the Democrats are relying on an unpopular superdelegate model

            Yes and no. In this particular race, mostly no. Clinton has won more votes than Sanders, and more pledged delegates than Sanders. The notion that she is only winning because of superdelegates is one of those things that in some circles “everyone knows” but which isn’t even remotely true: sort of like Obama’s being a Kenyan-born Muslim.Report

            • I meant they are relying on it in the general sense, not that HRC in particular can’t win without it. The Superdelegate model allows them to go proportional with a degree of confidence that every primary isn’t going to end up a contested one.Report

              • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Will Truman
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                Fair enough, but the propaganda around the race from some parts is about how she is nefariously stealing the election. She is doing this, in the real world, through the dastardly tactic of persuading more people to vote for her than for the other guy.Report

          • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Will Truman
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            that seems more like something the GOP would do.

            Why don’t you explain to me why it ‘seems’ that way when the Democratic Party has had superdelegates for 30-odd years and the Republican Party has never had them? As for period prior to 1972, it’s hard to argue that popular participation was a more intense factor in the Democratic Party than in the Republican Party and the only gross example of party sachems nominating a candidate in defiance of expressed public opinion occurred at the Democratic convention in 1968.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Art Deco
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              It’s been my experience that even though people from all quarters make the argument when it’s convenient, conservatives are more prone to the “We live in a republic and not a democracy” argument. That there is more to how this all works than counting up the votes and letting the people with the most have their way.

              This is less the case now than it used to be, and especially during the current intraparty insurgency, which makes the 30-year history you refer to more interesting.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Will Truman
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                conservatives are more prone to the “We live in a republic and not a democracy” argument.

                Yes, they are, and they have a circumscribed understanding of what that means. Often it’s in defense of maladaptive practices such as bicameralism or the U.S. Senate’s filibuster, but that’s another matter.

                Please note, partisan Democrats have an understanding of proper procedure as follows: anything which gets us what we want. There are scads of law professors and judges whose business is producing a great deal of verbal chaff to obscure that reality.Report

              • Avatar Mo in reply to Will Truman
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                I think you have to look at the party makeup rather than philosophies. Democrats are much more of a mish mash of ideologies and interests where outsiders can catch popular fire within a subsegment that requires moderation of the party to identify someone that is amenable across the party (e.g. the Dixiecrats), while the Republican primaries typically find candidates acceptable across the competing legs of the stool. This year happens to be one where it is the exact opposite.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Mo
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                that he’s a ‘threat’Democrats are much more of a mish mash of ideologies and interests where outsiders can catch popular fire within a subsegment that requires moderation of the party to identify someone that is amenable across the party (e.g. the Dixiecrats)

                They’re nothing of the kind. Within the social nexus that forms around the Democratic Party, there are distinct social roles (e.g. mouthy student protesters v. college administrators, reporter v. press agent), but very little disagreement over policy.

                All but about a half-dozen Southern conservatives had been washed out of the Democratic congressional caucus by 1994 and all but a single digit population of Democrats from the South as we speak are blacks, chicanos, or come from the non-Southern portions of mixed states like Florida and Maryland. Moderately serious Catholics like John LaFalce are thin on the ground as well, numbering no more than a dozen. Pinto Democrats are extinct.Report

            • Avatar notme in reply to Art Deco
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              The DNC establishment instituted the super delegates to stop the rank and file Dems from nominating folks like Mondale and Carter.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to notme
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                They may have had Carter in mind. At the time the superdelegates were instituted (ca. 1981), the idea was to restore the place of elected officials at the convention (it being bruited about in loci like The New Republic that they just were not there after the McGovern commission reforms instituted in 1970). However, Mondale and Kennedy were the prospective establishment candidates and the superdelegates in 1984 were in his corner, not Gary Hart’s (much less Jesse Jackson’s).Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Art Deco
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                Huh? Granted, it’s likely that Ted Kennedy would have done better against Reagan. (Spoiler alert from alternate histories: The Dems lose Georgia, win Mass, and manage to pick up New York and Maine too…and still lose horribly.)

                But the idea that super-delegates are ever going to vote against a *sitting US president* is…not very reasonable.

                The *obvious* reason the super-delegates were created was the total insanity of 1968. Yes, it is indeed possible that the viciousness in 1980 *also* influenced that, or at least made it clear it wouldn’t be a one-time thing.

                But the role of super-delegates, if they had existed at that point, would have been to remove Ted Kennedy from the board, not to give him the election!Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to DavidTC
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                What are you talking about? Mr. Carter had retired when the superdelegates were instituted. The prospective candidates at that time were (among others) Ted Kennedy and Walter Mondale. Kennedy elected not to run in December 1982.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Art Deco
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                Carter had retired when the superdelegates were instituted. The prospective candidates at that time were (among others) Ted Kennedy and Walter Mondale. Kennedy elected not to run in December 1982.

                I know that. I was responding to the idea that super-delegates exist so the Dems wouldn’t get another Carter. I.e., that the DNC wished there were super-delegates, which would have allowed them to stop Carter.

                But this is silly. This requires(1) these hypothetical super-delegates selecting Ted Kennedy over a sitting president in 1980, which, no, they would not have. They would have picked Carter, not Kennedy. I know the idea that the party establishment liked Kennedy over Carter…but there’s a difference between the ‘party establishment’ and super-delegates. As you said, he was pissing off *Congressional* Democrats…but that’s a tiny fraction of super-delegates. Best case scenario, the super-delegates split also.

                I.e., if 1980 really was a major trigger for super-delegates, it was because someone ran a nearly successful and pretty nasty campaign against the sitting Dem president, and then the Democratic president lost the election…and the DNC didn’t want *that* happening again. Not that the DNC didn’t want ‘Carter’ happening again.

                1) Or it requires the alternate idea, which was so weird I immediately discounted it but @mo just mentioned below, was the idea that the super-delegates would have stopped Carter back in 76…which literally would have not been possible, numerically, but whatever. So I don’t understand where that’s coming from, but if *that’s* the claim, that the DNC created super-delegates to stop *76* from happening again, then ignore everything I just said about 80.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to DavidTC
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                Actually, one stated rationale behind superdelegates — and one that had a lot of actual impetus behind it, was the fact that without them you ended up with a lot of delegate spots taken up by party officials.

                The creation of superdelegates was partially an acknowledgement of a simple truth — if you held a certain office or position, you were going to end up holding a delegate slot. A delegate slot that could be taken up by an actual grassroots delegate.

                So they basically took the offices and positions that almost always snagged a delegate spot, made them ‘superdelegates’ and that freed up the delegate positions they had previously occupied.

                Not that having a potential thumb on the scale wasn’t a consideration — but I’d probably say it really wasn’t a major consideration. For the superdelegates to throw their weight around effectively (without ticking off the base and shooting themselves in the foot) required a situation were the regular delegates already agreed with them. Which is why, effectively, the supers just vote primarily for whomever got the pledged delegate count.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Morat20
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                Actually, one stated rationale behind superdelegates — and one that had a lot of actual impetus behind it, was the fact that without them you ended up with a lot of delegate spots taken up by party officials.

                No, the complaint at the time was that the convention was dominated by impractical ‘activists’ of the sort who had gathered around George McGovern.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to DavidTC
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                But this is silly. This requires(1) these hypothetical super-delegates selecting Ted Kennedy over a sitting president in 1980, which, no, they would not have. They would have picked Carter, not Kennedy.

                No, it does not. It does require that the Capitol Hill nexus regard Carter retrospectively as an interloper, which they did. Tip O’Neill had no use for Carter or his camarilla. Neither did Daniel Patrick Moynihan. About the only friend Carter had in the Senate was Edmund Muskie.

                You’ve forgotten that Kennedy ran in 1980 in response to the agitations of a caucus in Congress called “DrafTed”. There was quite a bit of sentiment in the Democratic congressional caucus for dumping Carter.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to DavidTC
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                I.e., if 1980 really was a major trigger for super-delegates, it was because someone ran a nearly successful and pretty nasty campaign against the sitting Dem president, and then the Democratic president lost the election…and the DNC didn’t want *that* happening again. Not that the DNC didn’t want ‘Carter’ happening again.

                1980 wasn’t the trigger. 1972 and 1976 were the triggers.

                Kennedy wasn’t that nasty. Read The New Republic‘s editorials in the fall of 1980 about the campaign. Carter got in his bank shots.

                Kennedy wasn’t helpful to the Carter campaign, but the President had many other problems. He had wretched approval ratings and there were ongoing foreign policy humiliations, and on-and-off recession, and terrible currency erosion. Actually, it wasn’t until the latter half of the year when Ronald Reagan began to pull ahead, and his 10 point plurality was a great surprise to everyone who did not have access to the tracking polls in the last week.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Art Deco
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                1980 wasn’t the trigger. 1972 and 1976 were the triggers.

                Okay. Although I demand you put in 68 there also!

                Although I’m not quite sure how super-delegates could have helped there…but I’m not sure how they could have helped in 76 either! For someone other than Carter to be nominated, there would have to be some actual other *choice* besides Carter, and by the time of the convention, there wasn’t.

                The Democratic party nominations just went completely off the rails in 1968 and stayed off the rails until…I guess 1992. (Well, the 1988 nomination didn’t have that bad a choice among the people who actually made it until the end. The problem there is a lot of very good candidates didn’t run, and the ones that did run got caught on stupid things, except Dukakis…and then he did stupid things during the election.)

                Kennedy wasn’t that nasty. Read The New Republic‘s editorials in the fall of 1980 about the campaign. Carter got in his bank shots.

                Okay. It really doesn’t matter how nasty he was, though. It might have tilted a close race…but that was not a close race, and I agree completely that Carter was essentially going to lose that election to Reagan no matter what. In fact, I think any Democrat was going to lose that election to Reagan no matter what.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to DavidTC
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                The Democratic party nominations just went completely off the rails in 1968 and stayed off the rails until…I guess 1992. (Well, the 1988 nomination didn’t have that bad a choice among the people who actually made it until the end. The problem there is a lot of very good candidates didn’t run, and the ones that did run got caught on stupid things, except Dukakis…and then he did stupid things during the election.)

                There wasn’t much wrong with the nominees. It was the circumstances, for the most part. Humphrey was contending with the results of ill-considered Democratic policies in several spheres (especially urban riots and crime, but also the war, controversies over busing, inflation, &c). McGovern actually was a poor campaigner whose performance undershot what you’d expect given that Nixon was regarded ambivalently by the public and the Administration had made a dog’s breakfast of macroeconomic problems. Carter was contending with the results of a number of bad policy choices, bad luck, and his own personality defects. Mondale proved a more effective candidate than McGovern, but he was facing an incumbent with more than satisfactory approval ratings and a spry pr apparat. Michael Dukakis was more prepared for the office than any Democratic candidate in the last 60-odd years bar, perhaps, Humphrey (and had the integrity that Bilge Clinton lacked). He was not a bad campaigner, either. Trouble was, he and the media were blindsided by a very effective opposition campaign; 1988 is a serious anomaly. There’s been no election like it. As for Clinton, the Democratic Party has been gross and hopeless since he appeared on the scene.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to DavidTC
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                I’d always heard that it was mostly about McGovern (’72) and Carter (’76). Not that Carter himself was considered a problem, but that if someone like Carter gets in, someone like McGovern can get in again, and that’s a problem.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Will Truman
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                No, Carter was considered a problem for a number of reasons, some of them inside baseball. He did not have the sort of people skills applicable to transacting business with legislative bodies and also took away from Democratic members of Congress certain prerogatives, like patronage in the U.S. Attorney’s offices and federal judgeships. Carter’s various priorities were quite incongruent with the mode among Congressional Democrats as well. Aside from that, he did not wear well at all. By 1979, about 3/4 of the public was bloody sick of the man; he has to have been the most demoralizing figure to occupy the office in 80-odd years.Report

              • Avatar Mo in reply to DavidTC
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                It was about Carter in 76, not 80. TPTB did not want Carter in 1976.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Mo
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                I don’t think there was that much objection to Carter himself (they fielded no alternative) but that it (combined with ’72) had lost control of the process.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Mo
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                That makes even less sense. Carter won the nomination by a *landslide* in 76.

                Even with the current levels of super-delegates, the Dem establishment literally would not have had enough to change that, even if the Democratic establishment selecting someone who got almost *ten times* the votes of his competitors would have been a sane thing to do. Which it would not have been.

                And, perhaps just as relevant…Carter, uh, *won* the election in 76. The DNC complaining that the Democratic primary voters nominated someone who *won* the presidency is pretty surreal.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Art Deco
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                You are right it was McGovern not Mondale.Report

        • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Kolohe
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          She pretty much suspended campaigning (she made maybe 3 stops) in Indiana, and IIRC, made basically no ad buys. Sanders dropped 1.5 million in ads on the state.

          Call it internal polling showing it’s wasted money, or moving onto the general election, or whatever, but after the last set of primaries she put in just enough effort into Indiana to not be obviously blowing it off.

          I’d also say there’s probably a noticeable number of voters who stayed home. The race is over, after all. She can keep losing by 10 points the rest of the primary and still end up with a majority of the pledged delegates.

          And no, there won’t be any contested convention. She’ll win on the first ballot….because like I just said, she can lose by ten the rest of the primary and still have 50%+1 of the pledged delegates. The supers have always voted for the pledged delegate winner, no matter what Ted Devine wants to believe. There’s no “contest” when the first ballot produces the win.Report

      • Avatar notme in reply to Richard Hershberger
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        It shows sound journalistic judgment.

        Hardly, I listen to morning edition every day on the way to work and all I hear is a drumbeat of gloom and doom about Trump and the GOP with little about the Dem side. Today’s content was nothing new.Report

        • Avatar Mo in reply to notme
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          says:

          Because, despite what Bernie supporters say, Hillary is the Democratic nominee. Even with his win yesterday, Bernie needs to win a higher percentage of outstanding delegates today than he did 24 hours ago.Report

          • Avatar notme in reply to Mo
            Ignored
            says:

            So that justifies not saying a word about the Dem side?Report

            • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to notme
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              says:

              If a football team manages to score a surprise touchdown while down by 24 with 5 minutes left in the game while the other team is playing prevent defense, you don’t act like they still had a real chance to win in the highlights.Report

              • Avatar Autolukos in reply to Jesse Ewiak
                Ignored
                says:

                That analogy really oversells Indiana; I’d go with a basketball team hitting a midrange jumper down 30.Report

              • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Autolukos
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                says:

                Or a stronger version of Seattle-Carolina last year. Hawks miss a field goal and trot off meekly at halftime down 31-0. Panthers take their foot off the gas, and can’t put it back on when Seattle starts actually playing. But despite a final of 31-24 that makes it look close, Seattle had the ball for exactly two plays when the score difference was less than 10. And on one of those two, they threw a pick-six.Report

            • Avatar switters in reply to notme
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              says:

              Ha. So the republican party has become such a disaster that accurately reporting on it is nothing but proof of the media’s liberal bias. Pass the popcorn, North!!Report

  4. Avatar North
    Ignored
    says:

    So Trump has pretty much put it away. I was gleeful before and am pleased now but I feel pensive about it as well. I still don’t think he has a hope in hell in the general but I’m not going to rest on that for predicting considering I didn’t think he had a hope in hell in the nomination fight. I’m going to stick to the numbers for now.

    I wonder if the GOP will try any shenanigans at the convention? Considering how the voters are going I think it’s extremely unlikely.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to North
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      says:

      Not gonna happen. As Scotto pointed out on Twitter, too many #NeverTrump people failed to make the moral case against Trump. Not just that he was “unelectable” or “not conservative” but that he was genuinely a threat to the country. Which would make changing the rules midstream (a very dramatic step) very hard to justify.Report

      • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        His likely opponent is Hellary. You’re suggesting the #nevertrump characters make the ‘moral’ case to a Republican audience that he’s a ‘threat’ when Hellary is the other candidate? I’m thinking maybe the #nevertrump people know an ineffective sales pitch when they see one.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Art Deco
          Ignored
          says:

          Oh, I know why they made the tactical decision that they did. I don’t think it was strategically wrong. But as a consequence, it undercut any later argument about depriving him the nomination if he got the majority of delegates.Report

          • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Will Truman
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            says:

            What you’re complaint now amounts to is that they’re culpable for not doing something that wasn’t going to work. Okey doke.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Art Deco
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              says:

              Well, the word “failed” is kind of loaded, and “declined” may be more accurate, but either way the route they took stripped them of later justification to wrest the nomination by changing the rules midstream.

              In hindsight, the path they took didn’t work either. I wish a more balanced approach had been taken, but I’m not sure how much of that is strategy and how much is just personal preference.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                the route they took stripped them of later justification to wrest the nomination by changing the rules midstream.

                It doesn’t seem to have occurred to you that they would never have had any justification for post-hoc rules changes. You’re pre-supposing that the Republican elite has the same mentality re Trump and Republican voters that your friends do and that they’d be willing to regard those voters much as school administrators look upon the student council.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Art Deco
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                says:

                It has occurred to me, and I’ve mentioned it previously as a reason that it’s unlikely to happen (and that, should it happen, those that do it should to retire from political life). While I think it could have been justified, it could only have been justified with the belief that Trump is a too likely to be a uniquely existential threat to our country that is worth destroying a political party over. Which, as evidenced by the arguments his opponents did and did not make, not enough people believe. So no justification.

                I use the past tense because I no longer fear the threat is too great because I no longer believe to be so he would have to win. I feared that previously, but do not anymore.Report

  5. Avatar Damon
    Ignored
    says:

    Brand > Ideology. And yall berate me for calling people stupid. “…and we running out of burrito covers..but we got this guy Not Sure”.

    Felons: I’m all for ex cons being able to vote once they’ve served all their time/probation and have had a clear record for say…5-10 years, ie AFTER they’ve demonstrated that they haven’t returned to their criminal ways. I’ll support longer durations to earn voting for harder criminals and less durations for less severe criminals.Report

    • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Damon
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      says:

      I’ll wager the franchise is of almost no interest to convicts. The whole controversy has been ginned up by black politicians as part of their grievance shtick.Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Art Deco
        Ignored
        says:

        I suspect you’re mostly right in your first sentence.

        And, as I hope I can persuasively demonstrate, your second sentence, whether it’s right or wrong, is an illustration of why those currently imprisoned really should have the franchise:

        As long as currently incarcerated people can’t vote, there is an opportunity and corresponding temptation for politicians and/or their supporters in the police and penal system to (strong version) directly target members of an opposing party, or (weak version) identify demographics strongly associated with an opposing party, for surveillance or plain trumped up charges.

        If the disenfranchisement extends to those recently released, or worse anyone ever convicted of some or all crimes, then the suppressive power of that particular corruption of the justice system is greater, and the temptation correspondingly higher.

        To the extent you’re right in your first sentence, that’s probably in indication that this corruption hasn’t taken place to a very great degree in the US.

        But your second sentence is a great illustration of
        1) why there is the potential for it to happen, to the extent it hasn’t already – in the US, both support for the Democratic party, and incarceration rates, are statistically highly connected to minority race.
        2) why, even if it isn’t happening, the safeguard of enfranchising the incarcerated needs to be put in place – because it’s not enough for justice to be done, it must be seen to be done. Even if the injustice isn’t there, there is a plausible appearance of injustice.Report

        • Avatar Art Deco in reply to dragonfrog
          Ignored
          says:

          As we speak, about 1% of the adult population is incarcerated at any one time. A great many are awaiting disposition or in on misdemeanor charges and will face no abiding loss of franchise. Most of the traffic in the criminal court system occurs in metropolitan jurisdictions where the prosecutors tend to be Democrats.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Art Deco
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        says:

        Does it matter that the first time I learned that felons could not vote — in prison or otherwise — I thought it sounded ridiculous? And that I learned of this from a white person? And that it was stated simply as a matter of fact as not as part of a ‘controversy’ or any attempt to ‘gin’ something up?Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kazzy
          Ignored
          says:

          I viewed it mostly as an abstraction. On an intellectual level, what should the position be? When I was in Deseret I lived around a number of ex-cons and got to know them personally, which hardened my position. Partially by getting to know them, but also putting 2+2 together on “felons can’t vote” and “Our criminal code has really defined felony down.”Report

          • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Will Truman
            Ignored
            says:

            Have we ‘defined felony down’ or did legislatures simply remove the discretion of judges to treat felonies with a slap on the wrist?Report

            • Avatar Kim in reply to Art Deco
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              says:

              I’d care so much less about that if the government didn’t have a habit of whistling up criminals at the drop of a hat.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Art Deco
              Ignored
              says:

              It could be a combination in that, in order to prevent judges from giving too-light sentences, more and more crimes were given felonious designation. My impression, though, is that judges can’t unilaterally make a crime a felony or misdemeanor (though prosecutors can via plea deals and deciding what charges to file in the first place), and so it was the legislature that made the crimes felonies.Report

              • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                “Three Strikes” and similar rules (are there any analogous rules? I literally don’t know) which auto-promote misdemeanors to felonies might have some effect as well. I don’t think they’re widespread enough to be a major driver, but contributory.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to El Muneco
                Ignored
                says:

                I thought Three Strikes only applied to existing felonies. I’m not sure by what mechanism it would turn a misdemeanor into a felony (except maybe by spurring prosecutors).Report

              • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                You’re right, I was misremembering. It could still have an effect in that you’re less likely to be able to plead down a third felony, even if it’s something that they normally would do, like shoplifting (which can be charged as either).Report

            • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Art Deco
              Ignored
              says:

              Legislatures can redefine common law misdemeanors as felonies and can designate any new crime as a felony. They also took away the discretion of judges in sentencing.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to LeeEsq
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                says:

                A couple of decades ago, the bipartisan Joint Budget Committee of the Colorado General Assembly ran a bill (which was passed and signed) that required any future bills increasing sentences or creating new offenses to have a fiscal note. Staff would consult with law enforcement agencies, and other states who might have similar laws, and provide an estimate like, “This bill will result in an increase in the prison population of 500 people. At the standard rate, this will increase state spending by $12.5M per year.” Under the rules, the sponsor of the criminal bill now had to add an appropriations clause, and identify where that $12.5M would come from.

                Tougher sentencing bills pretty much disappeared.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Michael Cain
                Ignored
                says:

                Americans fear taxation might lead us to a more humane system.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to LeeEsq
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                says:

                Heh. I think you’re on to something here, Lee.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to LeeEsq
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                says:

                No, Americans know that the gov can always find a way to waste their hard earned money.Report

        • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Kazzy
          Ignored
          says:

          No, it doesn’t matter.Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Art Deco
            Ignored
            says:

            So you form your opinion independently of the facts? Good to know!Report

            • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Kazzy
              Ignored
              says:

              No, I’m just not influenced by your personal history nor do I think it has any bearing on contemporary political disputes.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                Your position is that the entirety of the controversy exists because black politicians ginned it up as part of their grievance shtick. And yet you have at least one person (and possibly two given Will’s process of arriving at his position) who finds the practice of denying felons (all felons, mind you) the right to vote to be “controversial” (or, more accurately, wrong) independent of the efforts of black politicians and with no concern for any individual or group’s supposed grievance shtick.

                Ergo, your position is demonstrably wrong. Yet you hold dear to it, dismissing out of hand “personal histories” while offering no alternate history — personal or otherwise — that substantiates your claim.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Really? You fancy that you know some white dude interested in this issue means that the consequential influence brought to bear on this subject is not where I offered it was?

                How inclined do you think Gov. McAuliffe is to listen to you, as opposed to the pols in his legislature?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t even know who Gov. McAuliffe is. Which further undermines your point that the entirety of this controversy is the result of Black politicians ginning up their grievance shtick. Maybe… just maybe… some segment of the population thinks that disenfranchising voters is wrong independent of this Gov. McAuliffe person.

                But, no, that doesn’t fit your narrative so you dismiss it. You dismiss facts. You are unserious.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                Gov. McAuliffe is the Governor of Virginia. Yes, this is a controversy in Virginia right now.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                So the *WHITE* governor of Virginia giving felons the right to vote constitutes a controversy being ginned up by Black politicians?

                Dude, it’s like you aren’t even trying right now.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kazzy
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                says:

                A move which, according to the OL, has quite a bit of bipartisan support.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                Curious that allowing ex-cons to vote is the controversy.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                You fancy there was no controversy and no efforts by the black caucus in the Virginia legislature because the Governor is white?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                @art-deco

                You fancy there was? Evidence?

                It really isn’t very fun or interesting to continually see you make claims and then act as if the burden is on the other person to disprove them.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                Just last month, the VA gov signed an executive order allowing 200k felons to vote.

                http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/04/22/virginia-governor-enables-200000-felons-vote-november/83394156/Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                While we’re at it, the Sentencing Project has it that 2.4% of the adult population are disenfranchised because of felony convictions. I doubt they’re lowballing the estimate. That does not diminish the size of the electorate much at all. I suspect it’s interesting to Gov. McAuliffe because it might be decisive in a closely divided state (as Virginia has been, now and again).Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Damon
      Ignored
      says:

      You tend libertarian, don’t you? Assuming I’m not misremembering, I find it interesting that you would see things that way.

      Personally, I consider ensuring that specifically those currently incarcerated have the right and practical opportunity to vote, to be one of the most important mechanisms against abuse of the prison system, the most oppressive and intrusive power any state possesses.

      And more so, the greater the prison population is as a percentage of general population, and the greater the demographic disparity between prison pop and gen pop.

      And frankly, @art-deco ‘s comment above is a perfect example of why.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to dragonfrog
        Ignored
        says:

        Yes, libertarian and anarchist. And in one of those worlds, I’d probably have a different opinion, but we don’t live in that type of world. I see no reason why those who have decided to break the law, and by law I’m talking about serious crimes: rape, murder, armed robbery, etc., should be allowed to vote once they are convicted. Otherwise, they are bad actors. Serve your debt to society and then you can vote again. @kazzy I see no difference in voting as in firearm laws. Should we allow violent criminal murderers to possess firearms after leaving prison?Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Damon
          Ignored
          says:

          @damon

          I struggle to see the connection. Firearms cary with them great risk to do direct harm to others. And while I in general support gun access, restricting the access of those who have proven themselves to be violent — and therefore post greater risk when armed — seems perfectly reasonable.

          How is a vote like a gun? Yes, a vote can impact — perhaps even harm — others. But such is the way of democracy.

          Unless the felon was involved in some sort of specific voting scandal such that you cannot trust him in the actual voting booth, why restrict his right?Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Kazzy
            Ignored
            says:

            And your initial comment indicated that they needed to serve an even GREATER debt to society than the one they incurred via the criminal justice system.

            And why do you only limit this to “serious” crimes? Is embezzlement serious? Fraud? Insider trading? Are the folks guilty of those crimes not “bad actors”?Report

          • Avatar Damon in reply to Kazzy
            Ignored
            says:

            Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think felons or those on parole are allowed to do all kinds of things: associated with criminals, possess firearms, commit crimes, have to check in with the parole officers, notify people if leaving the state, etc. How is restricting a parolee or felon’s rights in this regard different than from voting? As I said below, AFTER serving the time/completing parole, etc. I’m all for restoration of voting rights.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Damon
              Ignored
              says:

              Because voting is very different than those things.

              Those things, at least theoretically, are aimed at ensuring public safety. I don’t see how voting serves that purpose.

              For the record, I’d like to see an overhaul of the probation system and ensure that it actually does what I believe it is supposed to do.Report

              • Avatar aaron david in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                “Because voting is very different than those things.”

                Why and how is it different from those things @kazzy? It is a civil right, no more and, certainly, no less. We remove other, and depending on who you ask, equally important civil rights such as fredom of association and movement, from felons and parolees. Now, setting aside the whole issue of firearms being more or less dangerous, it is a civil right that seems to be OK for many on the left to have removed, so to me the question is along the lines of, is protecting yourself and family more or less important than voting? Different calculus, depending entirely on the idiological priors of the one making that calculus.

                I generally believe that if we are taking freedom of movement, association, self-defense, etc. away, than removing voting, for that period, is right along those lines ie, we are removing you from society, along with iths privliges and rights.

                All of which I reguard as reasons to rethink felonies, and what goes into a crime being such.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to aaron david
                Ignored
                says:

                @aaron-david

                For what it is worth, I think that removing so many rights — even from felons — is wrong.Report

            • Avatar pillsy in reply to Damon
              Ignored
              says:

              Right, and the rationale in all those cases is that engaging in those activities would either make them more likely to commit crimes or would facilitate the commission of crimes. It’s really hard to see how either concern would apply to voting.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to pillsy
                Ignored
                says:

                Not really. When you’re on parole, for example, you’re subject to random interrogation, search of home/person, etc. In other words, felons agree to lots of terms to get parole. You give up lots of civil rights to get out early. How is no voting anything different?Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Damon
                Ignored
                says:

                Because severing their access to voting in no way seems connected to their original crime or their capacity to commit future crimes. (Unless said crime was somehow involving voting).

                All those post-release stuff (or probation stuff) is geared at, theoretically, reducing or catching recidivism, or reintegration into society.

                Not allowing them to vote seems strange in that list, because it’s the one thing that doesn’t seem connected to everything else. In fact, especially in those states that never restore voting rights, it works against it — having been a felon, you can never be a full citizen again. And the “voting” part is kind of the core part of democracy. I mean we had wars over that stuff.

                I mean what’s the rationale for forbidding ex-felons to vote? Felons on parole to vote? Felons in jail? What’s it got to do with crime, punishment, and rehabilitation?

                Requiring them to find jobs, complete classes, forbidding firearm ownership, frequent searches — I mean I can construct a cause/effect thing between “crime” and “that”. I can’t figure out how denying them the vote works in any useful way.Report

              • Avatar dexter in reply to Morat20
                Ignored
                says:

                @morat20, “I can’t out how denying them the vote works in any useful way.” It is very useful to stop ex-cons from voting if you are a republican.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Morat20
                Ignored
                says:

                “All those post-release stuff (or probation stuff) is geared at, theoretically, reducing or catching recidivism, or reintegration into society.”

                Yes, and reintegration into society means staying out of trouble. Doing that long enough gets you those rights back…just like voting.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Damon
                Ignored
                says:

                Doing that long enough gets you those rights back…just like voting.

                You ARE aware that there are three states were any felony conviction is a permanent bar towards voting, and at least five that bar it permanently for some felonies but not others?

                But that aside, you ignored the point — all those OTHER restrictions are about protection for society or reducing recidivism. How does not being able to vote do that?

                Should we take their freedom of speech and religion away from them? Force them to house federal employees or soldiers until they learn their lesson?Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Morat20
                Ignored
                says:

                Ready belowReport

              • Avatar nevermoor in reply to Morat20
                Ignored
                says:

                @morat20 While I strongly support re-enfranchisement for ex-cons, let’s not confuse it with a constitutional question.

                Two reasons:
                1. There is no positive constitutional right to vote (indeed, per the constitution most current voters would not have been allowed to vote: women, those who don’t own land, etc.). I think there should be, and hope it is the 28th amendment, but until that time there is no constitutional harm to depriving anyone of the right to vote. To the extent it’s federally illegal, it’s the rules against restricting voting rights (15th amendment, 24th amendment, VRA, etc).

                2. There absolutely can be restrictions on constitutional rights for parolees (even fundamental rights – parolees can be sent back to jail via processes that would clearly violate the rights of a non-convicted person), so it’d be a murky-at-best legal argument even assuming a positive right to vote.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to nevermoor
                Ignored
                says:

                There absolutely can be restrictions on constitutional rights for parolees (even fundamental rights – parolees can be sent back to jail via processes that would clearly violate the rights of a non-convicted person), so it’d be a murky-at-best legal argument even assuming a positive right to vote.

                I’m aware of that (and yes, that voting isn’t constitutionally protected).

                However, that still leads into the question of “why”? While there is no “right” to vote, voting is considered a pretty big thing in citizenship. Every other restriction placed on felons has some compelling state or public interest (at least in theory), but restricting the franchise?

                And that reed gets even thinner when you look at states that have NO restoration of the franchise (and at least a few that technically have it, but not in any way that actually happens) even after parole is complete. If all other restrictions on felons are lifted, why is voting still restricted?Report

              • Avatar nevermoor in reply to Morat20
                Ignored
                says:

                I certainly agree with you on the politics, but at the same time I think we both need to acknowledge the contrary view that led to criminals being specifically exempted in the 14th amendment. There’s a reason people have felt that way.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Morat20
                Ignored
                says:

                While there is no “right” to vote, voting is considered a pretty big thing in citizenship

                Really? Anyone take a poll on that? I’d be curious about the results. How many american citizens consider the “right to vote” as part of being citizens along with say right to bear arms, healthcare, due process, freedom of religion, etc.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Damon
                Ignored
                says:

                Democracy: Voting “not really a big thing”.

                You know better. The whole voting thing is one of the core requirements to BE a democracy, or to be a full fledged citizen in one.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Morat20
                Ignored
                says:

                “Voter turnout in the United States fluctuates in national elections. In recent elections, about 60% of the voting eligible population votes during presidential election years, and about 40% votes during midterm elections.”

                http://www.fairvote.org/

                Seems about 40-60% of the population doesn’t share you opinion.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Damon
                Ignored
                says:

                You seem fixated on polls, so let me ask you this: Would you trust a poll in which a non-random, significant, percentage were barred from participating?

                Would you find it representative of the population?

                Not that it matters — the definition of democracy isn’t (ironically, I know) up for a vote. It is what it is, and it’s literally defined by the act of voting.

                You dancing around it would be like trying to claim a monarchy doesn’t need a monarch.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Morat20
                Ignored
                says:

                You seem fixated on polls, so let me ask you this: Would you trust a poll in which a non-random, significant, percentage were barred from participating?

                Again, per the Sentencing Project, 2.4% of the adult population is excluded (and indubitably a smaller share of those who actually would vote).Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Morat20
                Ignored
                says:

                Like non-naturalized immigrants and fifteen year Olds?Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh come on, Will. You’re smarter than that. This isn’t a high school debate where we’re getting pedant points, it’s a discussion on voting and felons.

                Restricting the franchise from non-citizens is, well, right there in the term “non-citizens”.

                As for 15 year olds — if I said “Consensual sex shouldn’t be a crime” am I going to have to stop and explain how a six year old can’t consent, or can we just all assume no one here is a moron?

                But just in case someone IS: Clearly a newborn can’t vote. It can’t read, it can’t reach the ballot, it’s pudgy fingers can’t pull a lever. It can’t even reach the ballot box, and also it’s an infant. So clearly there will be, between age of “newborn” and “about to die of old age” some arbitrary “Here’s you being a fully fledged citizen of the United States, having become an adult!” moment.

                None of which has a damn thing to do with my point, which is that the ability to vote, to have a say in your government is a cornerstone of democracy — or specific form of government. Our President’s name isn’t chosen out of a hat, nor do our Congressmen inherit their seats.

                The ability to vote is the sort of thing we shouldn’t hold back on a whim.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Morat20
                Ignored
                says:

                I agree with your conclusion on felons. The argument you give, though, goes places I don’t wanna go.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Morat20
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh come on, Will. You’re smarter than that. This isn’t a high school debate where we’re getting pedant points, it’s a discussion on voting and felons.

                As a consequence of her extraordinary longevity, Phyllis Schlafly has had occasion to be the recipient of remarks such as the one above regarding various scenarios she offered (at one point in her life) and to see her allies denounced as unfit for participation in public discussion because they would not endorse things she predicted might come to pass (but which her earlier critics contended were the comical or lurid fruits of her red herring generating imagination).

                That’s this age, Morat. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were employees of the har-de-har public interest bar working on the verbose excuses for judicially imposing adolescent and alien franchise as we speak. We live in the age of Pretentious Conman, JD, and there is not anything too gross or silly to rule out.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Morat20
                Ignored
                says:

                The ability to vote is the sort of thing we shouldn’t hold back on a whim.

                Most folks don’t consider a felony to be something like a mere whim. It’s been a pretty good reason to lose your right to vote and has been for quite some time in this country.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to notme
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes, but most folks are unimportant. The only people whose opinions matter are the one’s Susan Sontag called ‘people with minds’.

                And people with minds fancy rough trade.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Morat20
                Ignored
                says:

                ” It is what it is, and it’s literally defined by the act of voting.”

                No it’s not: “a form of government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised directly by them or by their elected agents under a free electoral system.”

                Note the “or”. You can have democracy without voting, such as consensus building decisions efforts. But regardless, my point was that a lot of people don’t vote and don’t care to do so. I cited a source that bears out that a large minority-small majority don’t vote EVER. They seem to get along quite nicely without having to vote, most likely because they don’t think their voting would make a damn bit of difference. And you know what, generally speaking, they are correct.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Damon
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                says:

                You can have democracy without voting, such as consensus building decisions efforts.

                Oh dear, they don’t vote. They just “form a consensus” somehow. Would that be functionally the same as “voting”? Why yes it would.

                cited a source that bears out that a large minority-small majority don’t vote EVER.

                So the fact that I don’t own, say, property means it’s okay to abolish property rights entirely? I mean I get along great without it.

                There’s a world of difference between choosing not to do something and not being allowed to do something. I stayed indoors today. But I wasn’t incarcerated. And I’m pretty sure that ever sane person would agree those two situations aren’t even remotely the same.

                Step back for a second and think what you’re saying: That the ability to have a say in your government is NOT a hallmark of democratic government, and that choosing NOT to do something is the same as not being ALLOWED to do something. Are those really points you believe?Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Morat20
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                says:

                Functionally equivalent is not THE SAME.

                As for the rest of your comments, that’s not what I’m saying at all. You’re the one that started this whole “voting is important for citizenship”. I simply said that it seems a lot of folk disagree with that idea, since they don’t vote. As for the rest, well, that’s been covered above and below our subthread.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Damon
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                says:

                This is a really weird conversation.

                The question is not ‘How is losing the right to vote different?’. That is looking at it backwards.

                The question is ‘Where did we get the power, as society, to take away someone’s right to vote? How does a convicted felony voting threaten public safety?’

                All *other* civil rights that people convicted for a crime loses are to protect society. They get restrictions on their freedom of movement, their freedom of association, their freedom of gun ownership, etc.

                They do not lose freedom of speech (Except in certain, *very* limited ways) nor do they lose general freedom of religion, although they might run into some practical problems with certain practices. They don’t lose a right to a lawyer, or a right to trial by their peers, or to get married, or to own property, or *any other rights* except the ones that could allow them to pose a danger to other people…

                …except voting.

                All restrictions on the rights of people must be *justifiable*, otherwise, the entire concept of ‘rights’ doesn’t make any sense. We have to have some actual, reality-based reason for the government to say ‘You cannot exercise that right anymore.’, *even if* the person is convicted of a crime.

                We don’t have any such reason to do that for voting.Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to DavidTC
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                says:

                If you define “public safety” as “the re-election of Sheriff Joe Arpaio” then stripping felons of the right to vote is essential to public safety.

                Which is exactly why I think felons should be permitted to vote.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to DavidTC
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                says:

                In my experience, some of it comes down to whether one believes individual voting rights are a right or a privilege that can be revoked. Since it’s not guaranteed by the Constitution (except on the basis of race or gender) some argue that it’s a privilege.

                I do not find that to be a convincing argument here.Report

              • Avatar nevermoor in reply to Will Truman
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                says:

                What’s not convincing about that?

                It’s simply true that the Constitution prohibits certain restrictions on the right to vote but does not guarantee that right to everyone. If it did, states wouldn’t be able to prohibit people from voting for failing to meet arbitrary registration deadlines, or showing up at their old polling place.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to nevermoor
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                says:

                I do not think that @will-truman is saying it’s not true. I think he, and I, are saying ‘That statement is not a convincing argument.’.

                The right to vote is not, despite being one of the two *required* freedoms in a democracy (The other the right to a jury trial.), a right listed in the constitution. Fair enough.

                That said, the idea it’s not a right and thus can be infringed without a good reason is…not a convincing argument.Report

              • Avatar nevermoor in reply to DavidTC
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                says:

                I’m just trying to clear up “can” versus “should”

                It’s undeniable that a citizen’s right to vote can be curtailed because they show up at their precinct on election day, but didn’t pre-register. Or because they moved and didn’t notify the state in time. Or because they actually showed up at the wrong precinct. None of those are “good reasons” under any reasonable constitutional frame.

                I agree with you that citizens’ rights shouldn’t be restricted for silly reasons. We should have a positive right to vote, automatic opt-out registration, and all the other rules to encourage voting we can think of. But that’s my political view, not my view of what the current constitution requires. Which are very different things, and should not be conflated.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to nevermoor
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                says:

                I’m just trying to clear up “can” versus “should”

                Ah, gotcha.

                It’s undeniable that a citizen’s right to vote can be curtailed because they show up at their precinct on election day, but didn’t pre-register. Or because they moved and didn’t notify the state in time. Or because they actually showed up at the wrong precinct. None of those are “good reasons” under any reasonable constitutional frame.

                While I mostly agree with you, you oddly touched upon the one restriction on voting I *do* agree with: Residency.

                I think you should have to live somewhere a certain amount of time before you can vote. In fact, that, plus age, are basically the *only* restriction I agree with on voting. (1)

                So someone moving…well, yes, it would be awesome if they could vote in the races they would have been able to vote in before they moved. I.e., if they’re in the same state but different congressional distract, they should be able to vote for the governor and president and whatnot, even if they didn’t change their registration in time to vote for their new representative. You’d think, with all this idiotic computerized voting we have, that could be done…but nope.

                That said, if everyone was registered to vote, it would be pretty easy for real estate agents and apartment managers and everything to helpfully provide a change of address form for voting registration in all the documents you deal with when doing that. There’s no reason that can’t be mostly ‘automated’, or at least part of the general process, of moving. This form goes to the bank people, this form goes to the real estate people, this form goes to the voter registration people…

                I’m not quite sure why it’s not right now, in fact. Except there’s a lot of idiotic ‘paranoia’ (aka, the Republican whining that ‘The Democrats are making it too easy to registered to vote’) about voter registration stuff, so it’s possible that third parties aren’t allowed to provide such forms.

                1) No, not even citizenship. People who have been lawfully in the country for a specific amount for time, and will continue to lawfully be in the country for some specific amount of time (I.e., you’re not on a six week tourist visa or something stupid like that. I’d say two years minimum.) should be able to vote. They’ll be living under that government also.

                I agree with you that citizens’ rights shouldn’t be restricted for silly reasons. We should have a positive right to vote, automatic opt-out registration, and all the other rules to encourage voting we can think of.

                …not quite sure why people need to be able to opt-out of being registered to vote. If they don’t want to vote, they should just…not vote. (Unless the intent is letting them opt-out of the voter rolls to get out of jury duty, which…doesn’t really make sense to want to allow people.)

                I’m actually of the opinion that we should have mandatory voting…less to actually make people vote, and more to totally dissolve all impediments to voting. If everyone has to vote, we can’t have voter ID laws, or alternately, we have to run around getting everyone voter ID. If everyone has to vote, we cannot have long lines. If everyone has to vote, employers have to give people time off to vote or they have literally become accomplices to a crime. (Or, alternately, employers would push for more absentee voting.)

                I don’t care if everyone *actually* votes or not, I just think the law *demanding* everyone does it would create a lot of pushback (And legal ground to sue) against anyone who tried to interfere with it, and change a bunch of incentives…even if the punishment was just ‘You lose $20 of deductions on your taxes.’Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to DavidTC
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                says:

                I think you can quibble on citizenship, residency, age — but again, these are all restrictions that have logic behind them, and they are all restrictions that can be overcome. One can attain citizenship. One can become a resident of an area. One can turn 18.

                But there are several states where one can’t stop being an “ex-felon” and regain the ability to vote.

                Other than “committed a felony” is there any other situation in which an American citizen is permanently stripped of his vote?

                (Speaking of which, what happens if an ex-felon from Florida moves to Washington state. Can he vote? What if he moves back to Florida later? Does he lose his ability to vote?)Report

              • Avatar nevermoor in reply to DavidTC
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                says:

                Good response.

                I’m not sure what you mean by “live somewhere a certain amount of time” (though I do agree you should only be able to vote in local elections where you live. Durational residency requirements were once a significant issue before the Supreme Court cleaned them up. Dunn v. Blumstein, 405 U.S. 330 (1972). I’d actually be against even 30 days with my amendment, as I don’t like the idea that someone is ineligible to vote anywhere for a month.

                Agree 100% that registering at your new address should be automated.

                I don’t have a personal practical objection to allowing legal permanent residents to vote because, as you say, they’re living/paying taxes here. That said, it’d be an unusual expansion of the franchise and highly controversial.

                Re: opt-out, I’m contrasting it to opt-in. If someone really doesn’t want to be registered to vote (for any reason, however silly) I’m not sure why we would/should compel them.

                Re: compelled voting: I’m always against laws that I don’t think people should have to follow. That said, I think my constitutional amendment plus, say, making federal elections holidays would basically get to where you want to go.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to nevermoor
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                says:

                I’m not sure what you mean by “live somewhere a certain amount of time” (though I do agree you should only be able to vote in local elections where you live. Durational residency requirements were once a significant issue before the Supreme Court cleaned them up. Dunn v. Blumstein, 405 U.S. 330 (1972). I’d actually be against even 30 days with my amendment, as I don’t like the idea that someone is ineligible to vote anywhere for a month.

                Here’s the thing: I halfway agree with that.

                I think, if someone moves, requiring them to live there some amount of time before having a say is reasonable…and I’m talking about a month or so.

                The problem is…they really should be able to vote in *other* elections. Basically, whatever was the subset of their old location and their new location.

                I.e., no one should be unable to vote for the president. But if you happen to change states on, say, October 30 of a year in which both states have a gubernatorial election on Nov 5…well, you just *left* one state, so really don’t have any moral authority to tell *them* who should be in their government, and you’ve been in another state less than a week so do not really understand local politics. So, sadly, you missed anywhere you could vote for governor. (As this outcome is identical to what would have happened if you moved a week later – You living under a governor you didn’t elect for four years – I’m not really worried about it.)

                But you *still* should be able to vote for president. And even more people the smaller amount you move. Change neighborhoods and have the same county and state and school district, but a new state congressional district? You should be able to vote for everything except state congressional rep.

                But, as we seem completely unable to do this (Which is literally one of the only things computerized voting could be better at!), I’d rather just err on the side of letting people vote wherever, and if they missed the filing cutoff for the address change(1), just vote at the old location.

                And maybe we can just have some sort of moral principle that is basically ‘Hey, if you don’t live here anymore, maybe don’t vote for a governor on the way out.’ or ‘If you just moved somewhere, try not to just *guess* at local politics, because there’s probably a lot you don’t know.’

                I actually think we’d be a lot better off if, in addition to more people voting, more people were willing to just leave things *blank* on their ballot. It’s okay if you don’t know anything about any of those people, or have no idea what that referendum is trying to say.

                1) Incidentally…it’s 2016, people. We have something called ‘computers’ now, a recent device that evolved from cell phones to bigger cell phones to tablets to machines that can take up an entire desk. (I think that’s how it happened.) Let us do this all on computers. Filing deadlines should be ‘We are printing the voting lists as of close of business Monday, at which point we turn off the website and you have to to vote in your old location.’ If we really need to do it in person, let us do it online and then show up in person to confirm it…which we can do *when we vote*, duh.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to DavidTC
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                says:

                “We don’t have any such reason to do that for voting.”

                Well, given the number of laws on the books preventing ex cons from voting, I’d say that there indeed were reasons. You may disagree, and I would too in a society more agreeable to my political beliefs, but well, there’s that whole alleged “democracy” problem. Damn populace had decided they don’t want them to have the vote. Stupid voters and representatives.Report

              • Avatar nevermoor in reply to DavidTC
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                says:

                @davidtc

                Not the right legal analysis. Since there is no positive constitutional right to vote, and states control the “time, place, and manner” of voting (Art. 1 Sec. 4), they can restrict that right so long as doing so doesn’t violate principals of equal protection. Felon disenfranchisement doesn’t do that, and is indeed explicitly endorsed by Section 2 of the 14th Amendment.

                So the question isn’t whether states CAN disenfranchise felons, it’s whether they should. Which is a political question, not a fundamental rights question.

                I think states clearly should not, as ex-cons should be allowed to re-integrate into every level of society and as I believe every un-jailed citizen of a certain age should have a positive constitutional right to vote. Letting those serving felony convictions vote is a harder problem (in my view) because I think you’d see practical challenges in small communities with large jails (which is very common in CA) that could lead to absurd results, and I don’t see a principled reason to exempt voting from the general suspension of common freedoms associated with incarceration (other than that I just like voting and think more people should do it).Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to nevermoor
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                says:

                I’d think allowing felons to vote absentee in their home districts, instead of the district where they’re imprisoned, would largely resolve that issue.Report

              • Avatar nevermoor in reply to pillsy
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                says:

                It seems more complicated than that to me, both in implementation and in the risk of coercion (say the warden is a big trump supporter; how do you think he’d do in that jail?), but that would certainly help me support the policy.Report

              • Avatar aaron david in reply to nevermoor
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                says:

                I am going to sign on to everything that @nevermoor says here, as I think he both sums up the situation well, and presents a very workable solution to making this subject work in the real world.Report

              • Avatar nevermoor in reply to aaron david
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                says:

                Thanks!Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Damon
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                says:

                All of those curtailments of civil rights are toward a purpose – the point of them is protection of public safety, not punishment of the parolee.

                A parolee may be required to give up their rights to freedom from arbitrary search, to permit searches for illegal weapons. They may be required to give up their rights to freedom of association, to prevent them associating with previous co-conspirators or gang members.

                They are not required to give up their rights to freedom of religion, or be forced to billet soldiers, because those rights would not ensure public safety.

                The right to vote clearly fits in the second category.Report

              • Avatar aaron david in reply to dragonfrog
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                says:

                “All of those curtailments of civil rights are toward a purpose – the point of them is protection of public safety, not punishment of the parolee.”

                Maybe. Or maybe the whole point of the actions, by a jury of ones peers, is to say “we don’t trust you with the fanchise right now, so we are taking it away. All of it that we can.” In other words, freedom of religeon is in the persons mind, we can have agents of the state hosted in their domicile at anytime (3rd amend. by way of monitor bracletes, cameras etc.) This might or might not have to do with public safety.

                They might simply have to do with the punishment that has been meeted out. This has been chipped away at in cases (notabley freedom of speech, again something that is quite hard to take away.) Don’t know if I am convinced by this line of arguement, but I think the point remains. To just state that it is about just one thing would at least require some proof of that as the one thing.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to aaron david
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                says:

                I think at this point in the discussion we’re getting into theories of punishment more than we’re talking in terms of fundamental rights or constitutional rights. So incarceration (and other punishments that follow a criminal conviction) can be justified on theories of deterrence, retribution, or more likely some portion of the two.

                As far as deterrence is concerned, I can’t imagine anybody out there thinks that the loss of voting rights is going to deter more than an absolutely miniscule number of potential offenders, so we’re just stuck with retribution. On that front, I don’t think there’s any clear external signpost; this largely comes down to whether or not people like their Bible Old Testament or New, and their general feelings about the place of retribution in punishment.

                For myself, though, I am inclined to think that the retributive case is weak. The franchise strikes me as a critical way in which our polity recognizes someone as an autonomous adult capable of making their own choices and identifying their own interests, so the bar for removing it must be quite high. What’s more, a released felon has in theory paid his debt to society; the ledgers are cleared, the scales are even, and he ought to largely start anew as a free man. Continuing to limit someone’s franchise creates very clear symbolism that the ledger is not clear and the released ex-con is not fully free, nor has he been actually accepted back into the community.

                More practically, with the immense scope of our carcereal state and the political nature of it, I find it disturbing to not give this group of people with an extremely significant stake in the scope and nature of our justice system a voice in our collective decision-making about it.Report

              • Avatar aaron david in reply to Don Zeko
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                says:

                In general, I am with you on these issues, as I don’t feel that loosing the franchise is a form of punishment that justice system should loosely bandy about. But, and its a big but, I do feel that if we are going to remove someone from society (in general) than we are removing them from society. In other words, the act of removing from them the parts of the bill of rights that they have gained as citizens of the country are being held in abayance during the time they are “doing the time.” We take away the right to own a gun (2nd amd.) we house you in a place with no ability to say no to an armed presence coming and going at will (variation on the 3rd), we allow search and seziure at any time, etc. We are taking away all of your rights, at least the ones not in your head.

                Some of this may seem to be retributive, but could also fall under the lable of symbolic, so to speak, as if to say “this is what society deems appropriate as a loss for the crime you commited, a felony. This is what society deems necessarily done to be able for you to rejoin.” In other word, it is done not so that the person is redeemed, but so that society sees them as having worked at redemtion.

                We are social animals, and we demand social punishments. Where I differ from most (at least in my eyes) is that we need to think long and hard about what constitutes a need to do this to someone. A felony should be reserved for instances of strong need. Not urinating in public, but rape. Not theft, but armed robbery.Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to aaron david
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                says:

                This is a quibble, nothing more, but I think what you are expressing is very much a retributive theory of punishment. Retribution isn’t vengeance; it’s a just dessert for a violation of the social contract, a balancing of wrong with appropriate punishment. Basically everyone, even total liberal squishes like me, at least partially justifies punishment along those grounds.

                The alternative is deterrence, which in theory is a theory of punishment that would allow pre-emptive punishment, punishment of non-criminals, non-punishment of criminals etc., if you were confident that doing so would reduce overall crime.Report

              • Avatar aaron david in reply to Don Zeko
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                says:

                That is a quibble that I agree with! What I am mostly doing is trying to look at punishment in a much more holistic way than it currently gets looked at, which to me seems more of a revenge method. It leads me to think of what we are actually doing with law breakers in a different light, sometimes more positively, sometimes less.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to aaron david
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                says:

                In other words, the act of removing from them the parts of the bill of rights that they have gained as citizens of the country are being held in abayance during the time they are “doing the time.”

                I am not sure that many people are proposing they can vote *while incarcerated*.

                I do feel that if we are going to remove someone from society (in general) than we are removing them from society

                Except someone on parole is not removed from society.

                *point out the window at them*

                See. Right there, in society.

                We are taking away all of your rights, at least the ones not in your head.

                No we aren’t.

                They still have a right to a lawyer. They still have a right not to testify against themselves. They have all sorts of rights. The rights that are restricted are pretty much solely related to possible criminal activity.

                Moreover, this is moving the goalposts a bit. If we were quibbling over whether people still under control of the justice system (But out on parole) should be able to vote, well, that’s a slightly different discussion. But that’s *not* what people are really complaining about.

                What people are complaining about is felons being disenfranchised *post-sentence*, and either having to do something to ‘recover’ those rights, or not even being able to do that.

                Here is the long and short of it, and this is going to sound like a moral criticism of people who think felons shouldn’t vote, and good, it is:

                There is exactly one reason to argue to deny competent people the right to vote, and that is if you think they will not vote the way you want.

                Everyone, and, yes, I mean everyone, who is able to make informed decisions (The age cutoff is a bit of a over-generalization, but that’s not the issue here.) and lives under our system of government has a right to have a *say* in that system.

                Governments govern by the consent of the governed…the *average* consent, true. But we at least have to *ask* everyone.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to aaron david
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                says:

                I do feel that if we are going to remove someone from society (in general) than we are removing them from society.

                But what about felons who have completed their sentences and their parole? Even their probation? (Mind you, felons can vote in quite a few states. Some can even vote while in jail).

                They are no longer removed from society (except possibly firearms in some cases, but again I can see barring permanently your right to own a firearm if you’ve misused one to a felonious extent, but how does that translate to votes?) — they’ve been fully rehabilitated. Often with every right of every other citizen except voting.

                Should permanent revocation of the franchise be a punishment in a democracy? And especially should it be a punishment when every OTHER aspect (such as being in jail or under probation) has been lifted?Report

              • Avatar aaron david in reply to Morat20
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                says:

                Well, one of the things I deeply believe is that one should get ALL of the franchise back when your parole/imprisonment is over. And that includes firearms and voting. If we cannot do that due to fear or whatever, we need to rethink how long we are putting them away for. Having commited a crime in the past is no excuse for limiting someone in the present, as long as the social level of punishment/rehabilitation is completed. If the shackles are to last indefinatly/forever then we need to think long and hard about how we are presenting this to the people. If someone cannot be trusted with either of these things, maybe they shouldn’t be out in society without a heavy level of supervision. Parole in other words. If we are willing to take them off of that, then we should be willing to fully reinstate them.

                But that is just me and my thoughts on it. Getting either side of the fence to agree to this would be monumentally difficult.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Damon
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                says:

                How is no voting anything different?

                Because striping convicts of the right to vote appears to be a non-solution to a non-problem.

                Also, I really think the argument that because the state already exerts a lot more power over the lives of convicts, they shouldn’t be allowed to vote is downright perverse.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to pillsy
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                says:

                Because striping convicts of the right to vote appears to be a non-solution to a non-problem.

                Did Chesterton’s fence ever occur to you? Or that people who enacted the suffrage restriction had some civic principle in mind, such that people who don’t respect the law are not properly members of the body politic?

                While we’re at it, Virginia’s provisions did have avenues to petition for a restoration of your suffrage. They just do not explicitly contemplate what Gov. McAuliffe did, which was a categorical annulment of the constitutional provision by declaring everyone’s suffrage restored even if they hadn’t petitioned for it.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Art Deco
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                says:

                Did Chesterton’s fence ever occur to you?

                No. Why would it? After all, this…

                Or that people who enacted the suffrage restriction had some civic principle in mind, such that people who don’t respect the law are not properly members of the body politic?

                …is exactly the motivation I was thinking about when I described stripping convicts of the right to vote as a non-solution to a non-problem.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to pillsy
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                says:

                No, what you mean is that you have an understanding of what constitutes a problem and you cannot be bothered to appreciate anyone else’s understanding.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Art Deco
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                says:

                What problem(s) arise from allowing felons (incarcerated, on parole, or cleared of the system) to vote?Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Art Deco
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                says:

                Art Deco:
                No, what you mean is that you have an understanding of what constitutes a problem and you cannot be bothered to appreciate anyone else’s understanding.

                Art Deco:
                I’ll wager the franchise is of almost no interest to convicts.The whole controversy has been ginned up by black politicians as part of their grievance shtick.

                El. Oh. El.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Art Deco
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                says:

                Did Chesterton’s fence ever occur to you?

                The people on ‘keep the fence in place’ side of the issue don’t get to ask the other side ‘Have you asked if there is a good reason for that fence?’ as an argument.

                Dude, it’s *your* side of the argument, you really should *know* the reason for what you’re arguing.

                Chesterton’s fence is something that reformers should ask *themselves*, not something that people opposed to reform should be asking. The people opposed to the reform should be *telling* what the purpose of the law is.

                Of course, usually, when opponents are saying ‘Chesterton’s fence’ instead just *stating* the original reason, is that the original reason is completely stupid.

                Or that people who enacted the suffrage restriction had some civic principle in mind, such that people who don’t respect the law are not properly members of the body politic?

                …for example, asserting that specific people are not properly members of society, so do not get certain rights. That sort of stupid reason.

                These people are…what, exactly? *Improperly* members of society? They’re at a party, and everyone wants them gone? They should *stop* being members of society, but haven’t quite picked up on the hint yet?

                What exactly is hiding behind ‘not properly members of the body politic’?Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to DavidTC
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                says:

                What exactly is hiding behind ‘not properly members of the body politic’?

                Gee, I don’t know, Dave. Maybe the idea that people who commit serious crimes should not be exercising civic responsibilities, because those are for people who manifest good character (or at least not bad character). It’s a sentiment from a different age, but not one difficult to appreciate if you make the effort).Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Art Deco
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                says:

                How are we defining “serious crimes”? Embezzlement? Fraud? Lying under oath?Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Art Deco
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                says:

                Maybe the idea that people who commit serious crimes should not be exercising civic responsibilities, because those are for people who manifest good character (or at least not bad character).

                Turning voting into a ‘civic responsibility’ is quite a slight of hand there.

                It doesn’t *appear* to be any sort of responsibility. Not only do we not require anyone to do it, but we don’t allow people to be rewarded for doing it. Hell, we don’t even let *other people* reward someone for voting. (I don’t mean vote in a specific way, I mean at all. Every few years, various places have try giving out free food or discounts or whatever to people with ‘I voted’ stickers on election day…apparently, that’s not allowed.)

                And of things that are *actually* civic responsibilities, we *require* people of bad character to do them all the time. Like pay taxes, or move their cars during street washing, or get subpoenaed to testify in court.

                Moreover, why on earth would you take a *responsibility* away from someone who has misbehaved? You have to do this job…unless you commit a crime, than you’re off scott-free from that job!

                The only reason to do that was if you thought they would do it *wrong*, as in, some criminal manner. I.e., we don’t let felons be the city comptroller, because of the quite obvious danger of them stealing money. We don’t let felons give out parking tickets, because they might accept bribes instead.

                But the interesting thing about voting is…you can’t do it wrong. (1) People have a right to pick whatever choices they want in the voting booth, and we have no right to judge if they picked correctly or not. (Well, ‘we’, as in people, do, but ‘we’, as in society, don’t.)

                …except that’s what people think, isn’t it? That felons would vote ‘wrong’, and thus that’s a perfectly valid reason for society to deny them the vote.

                It’s a sentiment from a different age, but not one difficult to appreciate if you make the effort.

                Yes, denying people the right to vote because society does not like them and has judge them morally wanting is, indeed, a sentiment from a different age.

                1) I mean, you can *fraudulently* vote, but if a felon was going to do that, they’d presumably not be doing it multiple times under their own name, so denying them the vote would hardly protect against that.

                The sole exception would be, I dunno, people who hack voting machines, in which case we should probably not leave them alone with a voting machine. (We shouldn’t be using damn voting machines at all.) Fair enough, they have to cast their ballot with paper.Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                So are you arguing that voting is not a civic responsibility because it is neither compulsory nor renumeratively rewarded? I’d disagree with that claim.

                Not only do I think voting is a civic responsibility, I’d agree that it’s a responsibility that is discharged through the exercise of a degree of discretion. To the extent that we want our laws and our government to reflect our shared morality, the discharge of that responsibility requires making intelligent, informed, and morally-weighted judgments.

                I can easily see the argument that a felon has demonstrated a failure of making such judgments and therefore cannot be trusted with the franchise and thus indirectly participating in the lawmaking process.

                Mutatis mutandis for jury duty, another civic responsibility, one for which there is both (ostensible) compulsion and (trivial) remunerative reward.

                Mutatis mutandis for the payment of taxes, the calculation and reporting of which, for the most part, is done on a self-evaluative honor system.

                Does this mean I think there ought to be a lifetime ban on exercise of the franchise or service on a jury? No, I think there is ample room for reform here and I think that one who completes a criminal sentence has, in the common nomenclature, paid their debt to society. When debts are paid, accounts are clean and matters reset. So at some point, a restoration of the franchise is probably appropriate. Perhaps within ‘x’ number of years after parole or release with no further crimes committed, upon an application to a court. Maybe ‘x’ is a low number, even.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Burt Likko
                Ignored
                says:

                Not only do I think voting is a civic responsibility, I’d agree that it’s a responsibility that is discharged through the exercise of a degree of discretion. To the extent that we want our laws and our government to reflect our shared morality, the discharge of that responsibility requires making intelligent, informed, and morally-weighted judgments.

                This argument appears to prove far too much.

                After all, voting is just one form of political participation which is necessary for democracy to function correctly; so is advocating one’s case via writing or speech. The latter is, at least arguably, more powerful than voting, and I think it’s every bit as easy to cast it as a civic responsibility. One can argue, just as plausibly, that one ought to discharge that responsibility in a manner that is informed, intelligent and morally weighted.

                Yet do we really want to say that felons should not be able to speak? It’s not even clear to me that the Constitution would be a bar, here.Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to pillsy
                Ignored
                says:

                By that token, should felons not also have the same Second Amendment rights as those among us with no criminal histories?Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Burt Likko
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes and no. If their crime involved the use of a gun, I think you can tack on appropriate restrictions to the original sentence. Likewise, if the crime involved some sort of elections fraud, same deal.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                This is my position as well.Report

              • Avatar pillsy in reply to Burt Likko
                Ignored
                says:

                I’d argue that they shouldn’t, because the fundamental rationale for the restriction on firearm ownership among felons in public safety. They greatly enhance an individual’s capacity for violence, which is really the basis for why we have a right to own them. A person with a gun can cause a great deal of havoc on their own.

                A person with a vote, on the other hand, really can’t do much at all on their own, and what they can do is heavily restrained by the other checks that we have on our government.Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to pillsy
                Ignored
                says:

                This is entirely rational, @pillsy , as is @will-truman ‘s response too. Point is, though, we don’t treat all Constitutional rights as exactly the same as one another: we consider the policies at stake and balance various rights of individuals, essential roles of government (like securing the public safety or providing a republican form of government) against one another to come up with something that works legally and is congruent with our shared norms.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Burt Likko
                Ignored
                says:

                @burt-likko

                Well, I think that is a given. I mean, the entire basis of incarceration is predicated on the idea that certain rights can be denied. How else would we justify imprisoning people?

                But, ideally (at least to me), we would only restrict rights as minimally as possible in order to A) secure public safety (a necessary function of government) and B) “right the wrong”, so to speak.

                So we can garnish wages to make victims of financial fraud whole again. We can segregate members from society at large unless or until they can operate safely and without infringing on the rights of others.

                I struggle to see how disenfranchising folks is anything other than punitive, a function of the government/criminal justice system I disagree with.

                Oh, and it seems to matter (a great deal!) that prisoners are taken into account when determining population counts. Intentionally or not, imprisonment tends to ship poor folks of color out of cities and into more rural areas. This makes the former seem less populated and the latter moreso, which can impact Congressional districts and the like. But then to deny those people the opportunity to vote can really skew things.

                If Rural County X wants to count its large prison population towards its overall prison population so that it can get more representation in the various legislative bodies (while simultaneously diminishing the representation of Urban County Y), it seems like those folks should have the opportunity to actually be represented.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Burt Likko
                Ignored
                says:

                As noted above, one can at least construct an argument around “committing crimes” and “firearm access restrictions”. Whether it’s compelling is a question mark, but again I circle back to this: I can’t really find any reason to deny the franchise based on criminal history, unless it involved somehow hacking the voting booth itself.

                There seems to be no compelling state interest (or even a state interest at all) in denying the vote to felons (most especially those done with their sentences) , and whether or not voting is a right or not, I’d kind of prefer a logical connection somewhere here. A reason for the state to deny the franchise to felons.

                Then again, I default to voting as a critical element of democracy, so I find the idea of restricting the franchise to be pretty upsetting. You’re severing citizens from their own government, making it quite literally “not their government” because they have been officially barred from having the same say in it that “real” citizens get.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to pillsy
                Ignored
                says:

                @pillsy
                Yet do we really want to say that felons should not be able to speak? It’s not even clear to me that the Constitution would be a bar, here.

                It’s worth pointing out that sometimes felons *do* have bars on speaking…in very very very specific ways and manners.

                I.e., someone who has been convicted of a certain type of fraud might be forbidden from representing himself as providing those services *at all*.

                But this is always incredibly specific, and not really that far off from existing laws about fraud and how they intersect with free speech. It’s just, basically, that the burden of proof that the speech is fraudulent is lessened…the state doesn’t have to *prove* you were trying to defraud people when you ran around promising X, because that’s what you did the last couple of times you ran around promising X, and they already proved that in court and ordered you to stop!

                But this, I think, rather proves your point: When people are duly convicted of a crime, their rights can be restricted *in very specific ways that stop them from committing the crime again*…and voting has nothing to do with that.

                Well, except if it does. I think pretty much everyone’s on board with people losing the right to vote if convicted of voter or election fraud.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Burt Likko
                Ignored
                says:

                So are you arguing that voting is not a civic responsibility because it is neither compulsory nor renumeratively rewarded? I’d disagree with that claim.

                Firstly…I don’t think I said anything about being renumeratively rewarded? Things are responsibilities because you ‘have to’ do them…you might be required by law (Like testifying in court against others), or you might be required because it is your job duty (As in, the state hired you), or you might be required by basic societal moral code. (Like calling the police when you see someone being attacked…which is also sometimes a legal requirement, but even when it’s not, it’s something society ‘requires’, as in, there would be a lot of condemnation if someone failed to do that.)

                Voting…appears to be none of those things. We like to sometimes *pretend* it’s the third thing…but it’s not. Something that barely half the population does is clearly not something that society thinks there is a ‘responsibility’ to do.

                Secondly…I was taking issue with the idea that a *right* suddenly, when we want to take away from people, is being called a ‘responsibility’ instead of a right. This is just an attempt to make taking it away sound less serious.

                As I have said before…rights do not actually exist. They are merely a class of rules on ourselves of things we’re made it hard to make laws about, hard to ‘infringe’, and we agree any such infringing laws should only be to *counterbalance* that right with rights that other people might have. And we call those things ‘rights’ to remind ourselves of that special level.

                Any time someone decided to *stop* calling them rights, that is because they *do* want to make laws that do infringe on those things…and *not* to balance it against some other right.

                I can easily see the argument that a felon has demonstrated a failure of making such judgments and therefore cannot be trusted with the franchise and thus indirectly participating in the lawmaking process.

                Right. If the government doesn’t like the voters, they should dissolve the voters and elect new ones.

                So tell me….is there any *lower* bounds on when the government is allowed to decide the voter’s judgement is bad? I mean, obviously there’s due process to the government has to set up and follow, but what behaviors, *exactly*, can the government decide will render you ineligible to participate in the political process?

                Can the government set up where basically *everyone* breaks the laws, and thus the only people who can vote are people who have had their voting rights restored *by the government*? (Please note this is not some hypothetical…this is basically how it works in a lot of places.)

                Does this actually sound like how this should operate, where mere *due process* can take away the right of people to be government by their own consent?

                Does anyone not actually see the problem with allowing the government to select what people are allowed to select the government? Hell, the *briefest* perusal of history shows exactly how well that worked, and why we had to explicitly *disallow* the government from doing that multiple times.Report

              • Avatar nevermoor in reply to DavidTC
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                says:

                Speaking for myself: yes. I see the problem.

                Right now we have strong protections against only a few ways for the government to do this: race, gender, poll taxes. We used to have strong protections against more, but then Shelby County happened.

                So I think it is long past time to add an amendment to the constitution along the lines of: “All Citizens at least 18 years old shall have the right to vote in every election held in their place of residence. Neither the United States nor any State shall introduce any restriction, including restrictions to time, place, manner, that restrict the exercise of this right.” I’d be inclined not to carve out the incarcerated, not to change the law there but to require a balancing between my amendment and the 14th.

                But, of course, I’m unlikely to ever get the constitutional convention I’d like to have.Report

        • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Damon
          Ignored
          says:

          I am much of @kazzy ‘s opinion on this – a released convict’s possession of a firearm presents a real risk that they will do harm. A released convict’s ability to vote poses no such risk.

          I think there should be consequences to a political party that does a bunch of “get tough” posturing. Muslims can vote, so there’s a risk to being too overtly Islamophobic. Gay people can vote, so there’s a risk to being too overtly homophobic. But prisoners can’t vote, so there’s a ready-made scapegoat demographic, perfect for the “tough on crime” politician to rail against consequence free.

          And of course, there’s the temptation to manipulate the justice system so that neighbourhoods that poll poorly for one’s favourite party, or individuals who show up at the wrong political rallies, find themselves targeted for “random” stop and frisk tactics, selective prosecution (Anti-Masonic supporters get charged for simple possession, Tolerationists get possession with intent to traffic etc.)Report

          • Avatar Art Deco in reply to dragonfrog
            Ignored
            says:

            Dragonfrog. Restrictions on felons casting a ballot are antique. It’s not some wedge issue dreamed up by Lee Atwater in 1987. The restrictions are not the result of some recent bit of political gamesmanship. Not everyone thinks like a denizen of James Carville’s war room. People who lose their franchise have done so due to their behavior and consquent to an adjudicatory process and have for generations. You don’t like the law, work to change the law. No need to impugn everyone’s motives in the process.Report

            • Avatar Ghiles in reply to Art Deco
              Ignored
              says:

              Art Deco: “The whole controversy has been ginned up by black politicians as part of their grievance shtick.”

              Art Deco: “No need to impugn everyone’s motives in the process.”

              So when someone agrees with you, it’s because they have the best motives. When someone disagrees with you, it’s because they are ginning up controversy.

              Maybe you should stop criticizing others and start taking a hard look at yourself instead.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Ghiles
                Ignored
                says:

                Strange as it may seem to you, politicians gin up controversy to get what they want.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                And yet you provide zero evidence of politicians (Black or otherwise) ginning up controversy.

                Amazing the loop-de-loops your capable of when so blatently getting called out on your shit.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Kazzy
                Ignored
                says:

                You might read the news every once in a while. This is a signature issue for the NAACP and members of the black caucus in the Virginia legislature have been riding on it.

                There are other constituencies interested. The Brennan Center is pushing it, because they do not care for disenfranchisement any more than they care for any sort of punishment for criminals. (And, of course Democratic Party vote farmers like the idea).Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m not doing your homework. Show evidence that the entire “controversy” is “ginned up” by “Black politicians”.Report

            • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Art Deco
              Ignored
              says:

              I never said it was a new idea. I said it was a bad idea.

              I never said any particular person’s motivations had been corrupted. I said the measure produces perverse incentives, with the potential to corrupt motivations.

              It’s like I said “don’t put the pistol on the bedside table next to the telephone” and you heard “you are plagued by suicidal ideation”Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to dragonfrog
                Ignored
                says:

                I never said any particular person’s motivations had been corrupted. I said the measure produces perverse incentives, with the potential to corrupt motivations.

                The ‘potential’ is nonsense, for reasons already stated. Your proposed remedy will do nothing.Report

            • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Art Deco
              Ignored
              says:

              “You don’t like the law, work to change the law.”

              Unless your opinion that the law needs changing is informed by concrete experience of how the law treats those it convicts. We only want input from those whose beliefs on the justice of the law is from abstract theory.

              You know who shouldn’t have any say in whether homosexuality should be a crime? Those convicted of homosexuality!

              You know who shouldn’t have any say in whether marijuana should be illegal? Those who have been caught possessing marijuana!

              Do you not realize how bad of an idea that is?Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to dragonfrog
                Ignored
                says:

                Any say? No ordinary bloke who votes has much say. Politicians have say. Judges have say (and demand even more say).

                By the way, consensual sodomy in New York was a class B misdemeanor. It wasn’t going to cost you your suffrage. After about 1976, you had to be toting around about 1/2 a lb of weed to trigger a felony possession charge.

                It doesn’t seem to occur to you that people who have to contend with crime in their neighborhoods might have some idea of how the law operates (to the benefit and the detriment of the respectable).Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                By “contend” do you mean, you are employed in the justice system? Or that you are one of the 100% of humans who live in an area where crime takes place?

                As far as my own neighbourhood, just off the top of my head:
                – The grocery store around the corner, a truck parked across the alley from the grocery store, the local library branch, and our neighbour’s truck, have all been targeted by arsonists within the past couple of years.
                – The lady who saw the fire, called the fire department, and then hauled ass to get a van away from the fire because she knew it to be full of propane tanks, works as a street prostitute out of a shack about three blocks from my house.
                – A few years ago I saw someone try to run a lady down with their truck a block from my house, which I gathered from talking to the victim afterward was over some controversy about a small amount of crack.
                – Two of my neighbours, both good and caring people, have had problems on and off with crack use.
                – A couple of months ago I spoke with a lady at the grocery store whose housemate had just been beaten in a home invasion about two blocks from my house. Fortunately she and her children had been out at the time.
                – Two of the city’s recent homicides took place (1) across the street from my daughter’s day home, and (2) out front of the meth distribution building that’s next door but one to the organization where I volunteer every week.
                – There was a cop at my door a few weeks ago, asking if we’d seen anything related to recent thefts from the construction site across the alley.
                – When my friend who lives a block away saw someone trip and hit his head on the driveway and called an ambulance, the cop who showed up arrested him and his neighbour and housemate – because they were three white men standing around an injured aboriginal man, and the cop had just gotten a report of three white men beating an aboriginal man just down the road – which happened to be a totally unconnected incident.
                – As a child, my parents’ house was burgled I think four times.

                So how about you don’t tell me what hasn’t occurred to me?Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to dragonfrog
                Ignored
                says:

                Come to think of it, I can think of one thing that has absolutely no bearing on my experience of crime and safety in my neighbourhood – whether those who committed any of the above crimes chose to vote in any recent elections.Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to dragonfrog
                Ignored
                says:

                (Oh, forgot to mention – in addition to the four burglaries, my parents had their car stolen once from in front of the house, and their tires slashed along with those on every other car on the block)Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to dragonfrog
                Ignored
                says:

                (Oooh oooh another one – literally the first night we slept in our current house, lying in bed with the window open because of the heat, there were cop cars sitting at two intersections visible from the house, and the police helicopter circling overhead for quite some time. Finally it all died down – the squad cars left, the helicopter flew off somewhere else. After five or ten minutes of silence, we heard, from our own back yard “Alright, let’s get out of here!” – and the scuffle as the people who’d been hiding from the cops beside our garage took off. Welcome to the neighbourhood!)Report

              • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Art Deco
                Ignored
                says:

                To get back to your suddenly very specific counters to my examples, because general principles only exist when you agree with them or something – Everett George Klippert was sentenced to life imprisonment for consensual homosexual sex in Canada as recently as 1965.

                His case was held up in support of the 1969 decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada, but he remained behind bars until 1971 for some reason.

                But one thing he was not allowed to do, was participate in the political process that led to that decriminalization in the way most fundamental to citizenship, because prisoners in Canada did not gain the ability to vote until 2004.

                Though, to your very specific argument – how does the weight of marijuana possessed figure into whether one should be able to vote for or against a politician whose platform includes legalizing marijuana?Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Damon
      Ignored
      says:

      @damon

      What is the argument in favor of restricting the voting rights of ex cons? Or, for that matter, convicts?Report

  6. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Because I am That Guy, I’m going to link to an essay that I wrote 6ish years ago saying that the Republicans needed to go through the 12 Steps.

    Hope you like it.

    You ever notice how nobody ever links to their essays from 6ish years ago that talk about how they just know that wearing two or three pairs of multi-colored suspenders at the same time is the next big thing?Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      The pendulum will swing back, that’s for sure.
      And if the Republican party doesn’t understand why it swung back, it’ll swing again.

      There needs to be more of a foundation than “not the Democrats” underneath.

      This was spot on.Report

    • Avatar aaron david in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      “If Obama’s foreign policy becomes a disaster, you paint your party as a solution to that problem. If the economy is a disaster, you talk about that. Even if you really don’t have any solutions. See Obama and Guantanamo Bay. His position on that is… “at least I am not George Bush.” And it worked magnificently. What’s the Obama take on Iraq and Afghanistant? So far, it appears to be, “Hey, at least Dick Cheney isn’t around anymore.” Again, hugely successful.”

      From the comment below what @kolohe quoted, and it might be rather wise to look @jaybird
      Much of the chattering class has wondered if the “Republicans are Broken” including many here! I think this is and has been the wrong question all along. The real question is really Maybe We Have Changed, But Not the Yahoos (FCVOY) Why? Hence the T-party has been moving along quite nicely in picking up states, becoming the new establishment, pushing the old est. out along with its preferences. Democrats are getting squeezed to the outside of the country, loosing how many state positions over the last few years?

      The paradigm has failed. Why?

      I am starting to think that we are believing our own bullshit, while the Yahoo’s aren’t. Hence Bernie and Trump.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to aaron david
        Ignored
        says:

        I am starting to think that we are believing our own bullshit, while the Yahoo’s aren’t. Hence Bernie and Trump.

        I’ve been thinking about The Big Sort a lot, recently.

        Also, in the 1970’s, there were a lot of “birth order” personality books out there. It talked about Oldest Child stuff, discussed the differences between being The Oldest and The Oldest Boy/Girl, Middle Kids, The Youngest Boy/Girl and The Baby Of The Family.

        Now, of course, only crazy religious people and “unwed mothers” have more than 2.3 kids.

        We don’t have middle children in the country anymore.

        Edit: I should have opened with “well said, I think you’re right”.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      But did you predict that they’d fall down the entire staircase at once?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling
        Ignored
        says:

        For a handful of reasons, I saw Obama as a sign of health (and continued health) on the part of the Democratic party.

        That particular take strikes me as having been premature.

        If Trump ends up in the White House (a finish that I still see as more likely than Hillary winning), I suppose I could do some find/replacing on the essay and submit it to the Democrats.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Man, good times. Odd I didn’t get in on that comment thread- I must have been travelling or something.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      (Brief aside: the whole thing about Napoleon pacing back and forth reciting the litany of whose fault it was? Dude. Conservative Twitter is *TOTALLY* doing that right now.)Report

  7. Avatar J_A
    Ignored
    says:

    Thank you for the Fastow link.

    For what is worth

    1. I’m an Enrom alumni. I was an Enron employee at bankruptcy, and one of the few that continued to be employed during the Chapter 11 and onwards into the successor companies, through 2014. A very interesting, and not well known, story on its own.

    2. I always thought the shares were overvalued. Hence I would always ask for my bonus to be cash only (most people asked for shares). We did get some payments as options or shares (401k) matching for instance) where cash was not an option, but on bankruptcy day my portafolio was almost Enron free. To me it as obvious the companywas not worth $80/shareAt its peak i thought it should be worth $50 tops. And I spent my whole tenure waiting for a market correction (that zoomed past my eyes when it came)

    3. What surprised me most when I joined Enron was the almost paranoid emphasis on ethics (I kid you not). This emphasis really became paranoid during the Chapter 11 and in the succesor companies. We were never allowed to forget our original sin. We had to be double squiggly clean because someone would always throw “you are Enron with another name” to our face.

    4. What happened in Enron was really a matter of very few bad apples, really, really, really, pushing the letter of the rules vs the logical interpretation. To my mind, the funniest is a legal opinion from Vinson and Elkinns (which is as guilty as Arthur Andersen or more, in this matter) that ruled that the gay partner of one of the company treasurers, who shared Hs address, and got domestic benefits from Enron, was a total stranger for legal purposes, and should be treated as a non related third party because gay marriage was not legal in Texas. So he took the place of one of Fastow’s aunts (too close) in a special purpose vehicle. Of course, AA signed on this totally legal, totally accurate, interpretation, because REALLY Texas law did not regognize any relationship between gay partners. The guy was a total stranger. The law was satisfied. The financial statements were true and accurate. They always were. Even The Economist magazine acknowledged this at the time.

    5. I never met Fastow. i worked in the building next door (which was actually the nice one – the Enron building was cramped to Indian slum levels, that’s why they were building the second building). But I have friends in Enron that did and none liked him. He was a bully indeed, so I am told.

    6. But surprisingly, I have two acquaintances outside of Enron that knew Fastow socially (they don’t know each other, as far as I know). They both would vouch at the time of the bankruptcy that he is and was a most wonderful person, charitable, humble, religious, friendly. They had only good words about him and were shocked when his Enron person a came to light.

    Apparently this Fastow was there all the time. He just was too smart for his own good. I’m glad he is in the path now.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to J_A
      Ignored
      says:

      I have two acquaintances outside of Enron that knew Fastow socially (they don’t know each other, as far as I know). They both would vouch at the time of the bankruptcy that he is and was a most wonderful person, charitable, humble, religious, friendly. They had only good words about him and were shocked when his Enron person a came to light.

      Many sociopaths can be very charming. I had a boss like that. If you met him socially you would love the guy. But professionally he was the most hated member of the bar in the state. There was much glee when he was disbarred (for good and sufficient actions, that he would likely have gotten away with indefinitely if everyone hadn’t hated him). Years later, I still have conversations with lawyers who, upon learning I worked for him for three years, get this awestruck expression on their face and want to hear about what it was like. I imagine that there are people out there who only know him socially, who are utterly mystified by this.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to J_A
      Ignored
      says:

      I kinda feel like we might need to twist @j_a ‘s arm into writing a (several?) pieces on Enron.

      Also, to somehow differentiate his name from J_R.Report

      • Avatar aaron david in reply to Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        I believe tha jr uses lowercase.Report

      • Avatar J_A in reply to Kazzy
        Ignored
        says:

        Hehe. I can be easily twisted to talk about me.

        I joined Enron (reluctantly, that’s another story) at the peak of its run, in early 2000. I lived the downfall, the bankruptcy and the post bankruptcy. The latter was probably the most interesting part.

        Formally I ended employment in what was still Enron after several name changes in early 2014Report

  8. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Seeing Trump == Hitler tweets is one of those things that I wonder about.

    Has the author read 1920’s, 1930’s, 1940’s history? (Is the author using “Hitler” as a proxy term for “everything bad in a politician”?)
    Was the author familiar with how the last X Republican candidates have been compared to Hitler? (Is the author thinking “Man, I’m go glad that *THIS* particular powder has been kept dry!”?)Report

    • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      I never paid much attention to it because it was obvious hyperbole (and BSDI anyway, and always have done – there are anti-Kennedy posters that use the exact same attacks as anti-Obama websites, including explicit Othering).

      Crying wolf has long been unwise for a reason. So now when you point out something that Trump proposes that has an explicit analogue in late-1920s Germany, first you have to apologize for the Godwin violation, and second someone with their username all in lowercase points out that “they said the same thing about Reagan” even though it isn’t the same thing.Report

  9. Avatar Saul Degraw
    Ignored
    says:

    A good article on the limits of party politics. Trump won using the primary process:

    http://www.vox.com/mischiefs-of-faction/2016/5/4/11585456/trump-party-limitsReport

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