Beyond Labels

A 360° Discussion of Foreign, National and Local Policy Issues

Links from discussion 4/25

Sports commentators divide their duties: one calls the play-by-play, the other it the color commentator. This is my color commentary,

From earlier discussion on prediction markets for climate change, I had said that the cost of money was such that the market would not work. I was wrong. Long bets changes that dynamic. They take public bets on predictions. The rules include:

Minimum period of Predictions and Bets is 2 years; There is no maximum period.

The subject of the Prediction or Bet must be societally or scientifically important

One of the interesting bets was a ten year, $1,000,000 bet made in by Warren Buffet on the one hand, and a hedge fund on the other.

“Over a ten-year period commencing on January 1, 2008, and ending on December 31, 2017, the S&P 500 will outperform a portfolio of funds of hedge funds, when performance is measured on a basis net of fees, costs and expenses.”

Mandatory voting in Australia, from the electoral commission:

Electors who fail to vote at a State election and do not provide a valid and sufficient reason for such failure, will be fined. The penalty for first time offenders is $20, and this increases to $50 if you have previously paid a penalty or been convicted of this offence

Article by E.J. Dione about voting (re Trump)

No wonder that after the Nevada results were known, Trump offered one of the most memorable sound bites of the campaign: “I love the poorly educated.

Maine Bear Bating ballot initiative on Wikipedia says.

My contribution to electoral humor: Donald Trump running for pope.

Primary results in New York, graphically from NY Times.

Hillary Clinton gets a large donation from one of the Walton family.

Money and elections. “Big money can’t buy elections – influence is something else

More analysis. (Source data.)

Since 2000, the average winner in contests for open House seats has outspent the average loser by at least $310,000, according to figures compiled by the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute. In races for open Senate seats, winners outspent losers, on average, in every year except 2002.

Popular election of US Senators was the result of the 17th Amendment, in 1914.


After the 1968 Democratic National Convention, the Democratic Party made changes in its delegate selection process, based on the work of the McGovern-Fraser Commission. The purpose of the changes was to make the composition of the convention less subject to control by party leaders and more responsive to the votes cast during the campaign for the nomination. Some Democrats believed that these changes had unduly diminished the role of party leaders and elected officials, weakening the Democratic tickets of George McGovern and Jimmy Carter.

John Adams on “faction” from here:

There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.

Argument against parties from Federalist 10.

George Wallace ran as candidate of “American Independent Party”

Party split of votes in Germany, 2013. Only five parties gained seats:

Christian Democratic Union (CDU)[a] 16,233,642 37.2 Increase5.2 191 Increase18 14,921,877 34.1 Increase6.9 64 Increase43 255 Increase61 40.5
Social Democratic Party (SPD) 12,843,458 29.4 Increase1.5 58 Decrease6 11,252,215 25.7 Increase2.7 135 Increase53 193 Increase47 30.5
The Left (DIE LINKE) 3,585,178 8.2 Decrease2.9 4 Decrease12 3,755,699 8.6 Decrease3.3 60 ±0 64 Decrease12 10.2
Alliance ’90/The Greens (GRÜNE) 3,180,299 7.3 Decrease1.9 1 ±0 3,694,057 8.4 Decrease2.3 62 Decrease5 63 Decrease5 10.0
Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU)[a] 3,544,079 8.1 Increase0.7 45 ±0 3,243,569 7.4 Increase0.9 11 Increase11 56 Increase11 8.9

Shirley Chisolm. Among other things, first woman to run as a Democrat for President. In 1972. Margaret Chase Smith the first Republicans, in 1968.

First woman to run for President: Victoria Woodhull.

How do electors get chosen: from

There is no Constitutional provision or Federal law that requires Electors to vote according to the results of the popular vote in their States. Some States, however, require Electors to cast their votes according to the popular vote. These pledges fall into two categories—Electors bound by State law and those bound by pledges to political parties.

The U.S. Supreme Court has held that the Constitution does not require that Electors be completely free to act as they choose and therefore, political parties may extract pledges from electors to vote for the parties’ nominees. Some State laws provide that so-called “faithless Electors”; may be subject to fines or may be disqualified for casting an invalid vote and be replaced by a substitute elector. The Supreme Court has not specifically ruled on the question of whether pledges and penalties for failure to vote as pledged may be enforced under the Constitution. No Elector has ever been prosecuted for failing to vote as pledged.

Today, it is rare for Electors to disregard the popular vote by casting their electoral vote for someone other than their party’s candidate. Electors generally hold a leadership position in their party or were chosen to recognize years of loyal service to the party. Throughout our history as a nation, more than 99 percent of Electors have voted as pledged.

Faithless electors, there have been 187 so far.

42,000 signed petition for open carry at Republican convention.

It’s possible that the petition began as a prank, judging by the Twitter account allegedly run by the petition’s creator, who describes him or herself as “speaking truth to stupid.” Said troll seems to enjoy retweeting people who support the poll, if only to participate in the trolling itself.

But guns will be permitted at the Republican convention in Texas, according to this.

Genetic correlation to violent behavior from this:

Average Number of Violent Crimes Committed
Annually in the United States

Offense                With the genes   Without the genes

Aggravated assault        3,419,000                    435,000

Homicide                                   14,196                         1,468

Armed robbery                 2,051,000                    157,000

Sexual assault                       442,000                        10,000

Gun laws in Tombstone Arizona.

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