Author's note: I have a small political email list of a few thousands subscribers. What follows are my respnses to excerpts from an email reply that I received from one of them.
On Aug 14, 2016, at 2:00 PM, Jeff ****** wrote:
"I regard any vote for Jill Stein as a vote for Trump. I am also happy to say that -- from what I've seen of the opinion polls -- most Bernie supporters agree"..I have been called a fascist for saying that a vote for Stein is a vote for Trump by the only Stein supporter I know, but to judge from this video this claim of "fascism" has become the standard Green Party line."
Let's break the above statement down, starting with the current status of voting in American and bypassing the petty name calling.
There have always been rigged, crooked, fixed, controlled, bought, corrupt, etc., elections -- and that is, and always has been, true even in the democracy promoting USA. Most of the Founding Fathers were strongly against political parties, for various reasons. Under-regulated political parties promote competition, which invites corruption, distortion of party policies and promotes personalities over issues. The Electoral College is another manufactured device that is designed to subjugate the true will of the people. A couple of additional major methods of vote control are a decentralized national patchwork of rules and regulations for voting and district creation, as well as the gerrymandering of voting districts. In more recent years there have been voter registration manipulations, pointless voter ID requirements, reduction in ballot box distribution, reduced voting access, elimination of exit polling, uncounted ballots, et al. So, those are just a few of the major barriers that currently exits between the unwitting US voters and the reality of actually having their political will being faithfully expressed.
Secure voting took a real nosedive in the 2002 Senate race in Georgia when electronic/computer manipulation of votes came into full fruition. Pre-election polling and previously accurate exit polls didn't match up with the final ballot counts and thus began the Republican campaign to discredit the validity of all exit polls. In spite of multiple studies, reports and even courtroom demonstrations on the incredible unreliability of the various forms of electronic voting systems, this aspect of election fraud was very rarely even mentioned in the Right controlled media. Since the Democrats have historically relied on large voter turnout as one of their most valuable means of winning elections, they don't publicly address the issue of election fraud for fear of disparaging voters and thus lose the higher voter turnout advantage. All indications are that the corrupt realm of computer manipulation of votes has, until this last Democratic Primary, been the exclusive domain of the Republican Party. Now that that Pandora's box of electronic voting control has been practiced by both parties, there is little reason to believe that it will not be a dominate -- but underreported -- feature of the 2016 General Election, with the whole country forced into a state of denial about the entirely corrupt voting process. Historical analysis of voting patterns in the US have narrowed down which states are critical to determining the results of this upcoming election. While election manipulation will be rampant throughout the down-ballot elections in the majority of the states, the Swing States will certainly receive the most attention; a two party election fraud face-off, of sorts. So, the end result will be millions of loyal citizens, many facing Herculean obstacles, will go to their assigned voting polls and cast a useless ballot.
Solutions to the corrupt and abused election process in the US seem to involve reverting back to paper ballots, with NO computer systems allowed in the entire process. Additionally, federal standards that include complete transparency, security, funding, universal access, equalization of media representation and debates, as well as legal enforcement with penalties at all levels of the balloting process, would be essential.
"Green Partiers being great at name-calling but not much else. I regard myself as merely a realist, and one who knows more about constitutional history than Stein fans appear to know. Democracy works best when there are only 2 major political parties. The minute you get a third party attracting a sizable share of the vote, the potential exists for a party with only minority support to come to power."
The powerful and well promoted meme that any attempt to develop a third party will result in the election of the undesired party, has served both political parties well, for several decades. It has been the primary method that political elites have used to maintain party loyalty as well as discourage the more equitable development of a triad of evolutionary political philosophies. Obviously a binary selection process isn't as expansive or progressive as a multi-option system would be.
In the past, the two party systems have been relatively successful in maintaining party loyalty, media control and funding sources. However, with the advent of the Internet and the rise of powerful and rapidly deployed social media outlets, the era of the stalwart two party system is coming to an end. Voters, as we are seeing in this election cycle, are not as easily appeased with a simple duopoly of options.
As support for the two parties dwindles, the largest and least acknowledged voting segment -- the Independents -- expands in size and unrealized power. Most voters don't realize that we essentially already have a three party system and that it is larger than either of the other two parties. In fact, this "third party" is almost as large as the other two parties combined (see pie chart).
Since the pie chart was created in January of 2016, it certainly isn't representative of the impact that Bernie Sanders has had on the voters. What will be interesting to observe is how quickly the members of his nascent Political Revolution will be able to organize themselves and take advantage of the new media to attract the large and expanding number of "Independents" who are unhappy with the offerings of the current two parties.
"That problem is exacerbated when the country has proportional representation, such as existed in Weimar Germany and allowed Hitler to become Chancellor when only a minority of German voters voted for him. Since France, as far as I know, still has proportional representation, it is troubled by many parties and the same potential exists -- though the Fifth Republic is better at controlling this than the Fourth ever was because De Gaulle insisted that the president be elected separately and share power with the premier. Please correct me if I'm wrong about this"
While proportional representational voting has never been attempted in the US, it would have a certain appeal in a politically party-less and expanding technological environment. As demonstrated, maybe billions of times a day, people all over the world are successfully concluding financial transactions through secure servers. It seems feasible, to me, that by using secure government servers all of the voters in the US could safely express their political preferences without the "filters" of political parties, an Electoral College, archaic and inefficient voting precincts, gerrymandering, conventions, etc. I can envision everyone applying to the federal government and receiving a national user ID and password protected voting card, much like a typical credit/debit card. With that in hand, every voter would use an Internet connected computer, either at their home, office or public library, to then logon to the secure government voting servers and access a balloting screen. The onscreen ballots could be individually tailored to include down ballot options and a digital receipt issued upon completion of the process.