Forum    Search    FAQ

Board index » Chat Forums » Political Opinions and Opinionated Posts




Post new topic  Reply to topic  [ 13 posts ] 
 
Author Message
 Post subject: Uncontested Districts
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 6:57 am 
User avatar
Offline
Joined: Sun May 26, 2002 12:00 am
Posts: 2148
Location: Vienna, Austria, EU
There is an other thing i about US politics, i am wondering about since a while.

Occasionally it is mentioned, that there are uncontested districts, where the locally weaker party does not even field a candidate. Did i get that right?

If so, why?

I understand, that they might not want to spend resources on districts, that they have no realistic chance to win, but they could just file candidates and restrict the campaining to a bumber sticker on the candidates car. If nothing else, they test the waters with that. And all they need is some limelight hog or busybody of their party in that district and possibly some fees, that can't be all that much.

Top 
   
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 7:22 am 
Moderator of DOOM!
Moderator of DOOM!
User avatar
Offline
Joined: Thu May 30, 2002 12:00 am
Posts: 14142
Location: Yes.
Mostly because parties can't run, people who live in that particular electoral district do. Who wants to be known as the guy who lost 8 elections in a row in their home town?

Top 
   
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 11:24 am 
User avatar
Offline
Joined: Sun May 26, 2002 12:00 am
Posts: 2148
Location: Vienna, Austria, EU
I can see that for really small districts.

But AFAIK this also happens for national election districts and if i guess thoose have to be relativly large, given there are not so many of them, compared to the size of the US.

So they really don't find anybody who
* Is pissed off enough at not finding a candidate of their party on the ballot, to run
* Is young and wants to annoy the parents
* Wants to tell their drinking buddies that they are a candidate
* Wants to yell "political discrimination" when something does not go their way.
* Is bored since being retired
* Is young and wants to try out the political process
* Is young and figures a national candidacy looks good on a resume (especially if they want to move to a place with a different political color later in their life)
* Is young and has dreams of a later political career (also most likely away from home) and sees that as stepping stone.
* is just plain stubborn

Heck i would guess if a party gets some celebrity to make a phote with every candidate (which should be manageable), you'd get people who file hopeless candidacies for the photo.

And yeah they probably would not stay long, but i would expect others to follow.

And i guess i am not typical with frustration tolerance, but if i were in an uncontested electoral district, i guess i would run, just because i want more then one option on my ballot. I might consider actual campaining to be too boring though.

Top 
   
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2016 2:16 pm 
User avatar
Offline
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2002 12:00 am
Posts: 2571
Website: http://kitoba.com
Location: Televising the revolution
A large part of the reason is that voting districts in the US are typically "gerrymandered", meaning the lines have deliberately been drawn to assure one party a (nearly) permanent advantage. Typically this is done by heaping together as many as possible of the opposing party's likely voters into a single district (no matter how strangely drawn the borders) thus assuring healthy majorities for the home party in all the surrounding districts. This results in a large percentage of districts being effectively unwinnable for the minority party in that district.

There's also a certain base level of expenditure and effort to run at all --signatures to gather, etcetera, so it's not something you just do on a lark after a few drinks. Plus, you open yourself up to vicious personal attacks on your character and record, even if you aren't at all likely to win.

So it's not unheard of for the minority party to be unable to find ANYONE who wants to run.

Top 
   
 Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 1:20 am 
User avatar
Offline
Joined: Tue May 21, 2002 12:00 am
Posts: 11940
Location: The things, they hurt
I think I heard about a few districts where the Democrats did find somebody to run, but they were exactly the type of eccentrically stubborn amateur that arcosh described, and therefore, nobody voted for them.

Top 
   
 Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 11:25 am 
Member of the Fraternal Order of the Emergency Pants
User avatar
Offline
Joined: Mon Feb 18, 2002 12:00 am
Posts: 3098
AOL: drachefly
Location: Philadelphia, PA
What do the Republicans do in the Democratic gerrymanders? There are fewer of them, but they exist.

Top 
   
 Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 6:57 pm 
Moderator of DOOM!
Moderator of DOOM!
User avatar
Offline
Joined: Thu May 30, 2002 12:00 am
Posts: 14142
Location: Yes.
Mostly ignore them. The GOP is even less likely to find someone who wants to take one for the team, so unless there's a rich egomaniac willing to pay the bills and unconcerned about losing then the seat will probably be uncontested. The practical effect is that nothing below Congresscritter will ever be contested in those districts.

Top 
   
 Post Posted: Wed Dec 21, 2016 10:43 pm 
User avatar
Offline
Joined: Tue May 21, 2002 12:00 am
Posts: 11940
Location: The things, they hurt
And because they have such a lockdown, the winning side of the gerrymander gets to their district's minor offices like a never-ending gravy train of incompetence and corruption.

Top 
   
 Post Posted: Thu Dec 22, 2016 1:23 pm 
User avatar
Offline
Joined: Sun May 26, 2002 12:00 am
Posts: 2148
Location: Vienna, Austria, EU
Kea wrote:
I think I heard about a few districts where the Democrats did find somebody to run, but they were exactly the type of eccentrically stubborn amateur that arcosh described, and therefore, nobody voted for them.


I would assume the party would benefit from them, even if they don't win. If one of them suddenly makes 20% rather then 5%, they know that they should take a closer at that district next time. If a change from one amateur to an other (or a comparision between demographically similiar district) shows a shift from 5% to 10% or the other way round, they can analyze the difference between thoose amateurs.

Yes singatures and fees and such don't come for free, but neither do opinion polls, that should give you the same sort of data. And there is always the off chance that the leading candidate gets caught in bed with his daughter.

I can see how personal attacks can be a problem. That further reduces the candidate pool to people with thick skins, determinated crusaders and thoose who like a victim role. For the party they could be overall a bonus though, if their candidate is likeable. Personal attacks on a likeable if eccentric person, should erode your support among thoose, who politically agree with you and know the attacked personally. That will not flip a gerrymandered district, but if there are presidental or senate elections at the same time, they could be influenced.

There are some uncontested elections for mayor and municipial council in Austria too, but thoose are AFAIK all in villages, with 2 or 3 digit number of voters and where everybody knows everybody, so they likely ask around, who volunteers for what position and they probably get less volunteers then positions in the first round of asking. I am still a bit suprised that you get the same for larger entities.

An other thought: If you have gerrymandered uncontested districts, should that not open you up to third party or eccentric lone wolf candidates, that are ideological similiar to you? They might have less organisational structure to help with stuff like signatures, but they could be more dangerous to uncharismatic candidates of the dominant party. After all if the district is safely gerrymandered, the fear of Nadering will not work all that well.

Top 
   
 Post Posted: Sun Dec 25, 2016 12:15 pm 
Moderator of DOOM!
Moderator of DOOM!
User avatar
Offline
Joined: Thu May 30, 2002 12:00 am
Posts: 14142
Location: Yes.
It would be difficult for some loner to run near you but against you; why vote for the generic equivalent when there's a brand name whatever running? They'd basically need to get the other party's base voters to opt for them to have a chance, and if you're going to do that you may as well run on their ticket. It's akin to Bloomberg running as a Republican; it's obviously a flag of convenience, and at least you're ensured that the voters who would choose a can of beans with the right label will vote for you. And if all the stars align, it could even work.

Top 
   
 Post Posted: Sun Dec 25, 2016 3:42 pm 
User avatar
Offline
Joined: Sun May 26, 2002 12:00 am
Posts: 2148
Location: Vienna, Austria, EU
But how many dominant party voters would not consider to vote for a candidate of the other party, no matter who they are and what program they have, but would be happy to vote for the same candidate running as independent?

If i read things right in the US "tribal" party politics are growing stronger (Austria has had the opposite trend), so possibly that might come in the future.

There are occasionally voters, who are displeased about the conduct of their party (or specific representatives), but they are not ready to switch camps over the issue. Or they are more extreme, then their parties official representative, so getting someone who suits them run for the other party is going to be weird.

Top 
   
 Post Posted: Tue Dec 27, 2016 10:09 am 
User avatar
Offline
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2002 12:00 am
Posts: 2571
Website: http://kitoba.com
Location: Televising the revolution
arcosh wrote:
An other thought: If you have gerrymandered uncontested districts, should that not open you up to third party or eccentric lone wolf candidates, that are ideological similiar to you? They might have less organisational structure to help with stuff like signatures, but they could be more dangerous to uncharismatic candidates of the dominant party. After all if the district is safely gerrymandered, the fear of Nadering will not work all that well.


Actually, that's exactly what happened. It's called the "Tea Party," where the mainstream Republican party was taken over by a group of far-right activists, probably because of exactly the dynamic you described. All the Tea Party candidates had to do was to win their local Republican primaries, which they did by firing up the extremists in their base. After that, gerrymandering ensured they would go on to win the general elections. Although technically Republicans, Tea Partiers (such as Ted Cruz) have often been openly hostile to their establishment party-mates.

Arguably, the entire Trump election was the same thing at a grand scale. While gerrymandering isn't an issue in a presidential election, the distribution of votes in the electoral college creates a similar effect where someone like Trump was able to outmaneuver the party establishment by pandering directly to the extremists.

Top 
   
 Post Posted: Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:25 am 
User avatar
Offline
Joined: Sun May 26, 2002 12:00 am
Posts: 2148
Location: Vienna, Austria, EU
I had been thinking about the general election, not the primaries. For whatever party wing came second in the primaries (or a party wing that always comes second or third in the primaries). Basically doing what Evan McMullin (sp?) did.

I guess some who could attempt such a stunt, would not, so they don't hurt their chances in future primaries. But i would expect some, who are less into planning long careers and more into short term attention seeking, and some of thoose might have better chances with general election voters then with primary voters.

Top 
   
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
 
Post new topic  Reply to topic  [ 13 posts ] 

Board index » Chat Forums » Political Opinions and Opinionated Posts


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 1 guest

 
 

 
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to: