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SeiKeo
April 3rd, 2011, 08:28 PM
I mean, if there were a choice between, for example, Bush and McCain in 2000 or 2004, McCain would likely have won (especially in 2000). But, if he had stood against Bush in 2000, given the US FPTP system, then the effect would almost certainly have been to hand the election to Gore. Similarly, if the Republicans ran a die-hard KKK member and the Democrats ran an anarchist hippy, then one of them would end up as president (probably, anyway, although in that case a third-party candidate might well take a shot and actually win...), even though the vast majority of the electorate would probably prefer someone in between.

Yeah, but is certainly where a third party would take a run, like the Republicans did in 1860. And the possibility of both parties running radical candidates is a problem with closed primaries that encourage radical candidates early on.


Because at the moment a party can win a majority of the seats with only 30% of the vote (and, potentially, substantially less true support), thereby being able to dictate their rules to the majority which did not vote for them. It doesn't happen in the US, because it's a strict two-party system with large regional divides, but it happens a lot in this country, where we have a substantial third party and smaller constituencies.

Ah, okay.


Well, as it happens he lost the popular vote in 2000, yes, but he could very easily have won it, and my argument would still apply.

If he had won the popular vote he would have won the popular vote, avoiding all the drama and butthurt in that election. Bush wouldn't have been an extremist candidate if he won the popular (not that he really was anyway).


I'm not disputing that it (generally) leads to two large parties, just that they're not always centrist.

Well, in general, they are because they can't try anything too dumb lest the vote swing to the other party.


Yeah, but that doesn't invalidate my basic argument..

No, because that was a problem with America's particular implementation of FPTP, not FPTP itself.

Jase
April 3rd, 2011, 08:30 PM
Uh oh, quote tag nests.

Mike1984
April 3rd, 2011, 08:37 PM
Yeah, but is certainly where a third party would take a run, like the Republicans did in 1860.

Well, that is true, but if you make it a slightly less ridiculous example, then that isn't so clear. And, even so, the third party still might not draw enough votes to win outright, especially if more than one stood. It's possible, in such a situation, that the KKK fanatic could win with only 30% or so of the vote (which is actually achieveable), even more so since their vote is likely to be more focussed.

In fact, that is exactly how Lincoln won the election (although in that case the country was so heavily divided that I don't think anything could have prevented the South seceding in the long-term). He simply got more votes in the North than his Democratic opponent, and basically ignored the South because he knew he didn't stand a chance there. If there had only been one Democratic candidate, then that candidate could have won, but because the South was so different by that point neither Northern candidate was acceptable to them.


And the possibility of both parties running radical candidates is a problem with closed primaries that encourage radical candidates early on.

Exactly. Imagine if you had Palin up against a genuinely left-wing Democrat (as in, not a fake one like Obama). There is a real danger that Palin might actually win.


If he had won the popular vote he would have won the popular vote, avoiding all the drama and butthurt in that election. Bush wouldn't have been an extremist candidate if he won the popular (not that he really was anyway).

I dispute that, actually. Refer back to my KKK example above. All that Bush winning means is that he's closer to the "centre" than his opponent was (or, more likely, that Fox conned enough people into thinking he was...). It doesn't make him not an extremist.


Well, in general, they are because they can't try anything too dumb lest the vote swing to the other party.

Well, that is partially true, but equally if both parties are corrupt or do "dumb" things, then there's no way to remove them because if you vote for a third party you're likely to hand power to the party you like the least of the two remaining ones.


No, because that was a problem with America's particular implementation of FPTP, not FPTP itself.

Bush winning without winning the popular vote was. Bush being even close to winning despite being fairly extreme (even by US standards) was an issue with FPTP itself.

Tobias
April 3rd, 2011, 08:39 PM
....THE HELL IS GOING ON IN THIS THREAD?

Mike1984
April 3rd, 2011, 08:39 PM
Well, we moved the argument from another thread to here....

Tobias
April 3rd, 2011, 08:42 PM
...ah. I see. carry on.

Jase
April 3rd, 2011, 08:43 PM
Vampire politics.

Anyhow, I don't see how Bush winning was a failure of FPTP. It was a "failure" of the congressional electorate. He didn't win cause he had plurality, in fact, that was exactly what he didn't have, it's just that he won more "valuable" states, and thus ignored the fact he had less votes in the ultimate picture.

Mike1984
April 3rd, 2011, 08:45 PM
Anyhow, I don't see how Bush winning was a failure of FPTP. It was a "failure" of the congressional electorate. He didn't win cause he had plurality, in fact, that was exactly what he didn't have, it's just that he won more "valuable" states, and thus ignored the fact he had less votes in the ultimate picture.

It's not, as such. I was just using him as an example of the sort of extremist candidate that FPTP encourages and allows a shot at winning (as opposed to someone like McCain who, whilst less popular with the Republican party, was likely more popular with the electorate as a whole). My KKK/hippy example is a better one, really....

SeiKeo
April 3rd, 2011, 08:46 PM
Well, that is true, but if you make it a slightly less ridiculous example, then that isn't so clear. And, even so, the third party still might not draw enough votes to win outright, especially if more than one stood. It's possible, in such a situation, that the KKK fanatic could win with only 30% or so of the vote (which is actually achieveable), even more so since their vote is likely to be more focussed.

But you aren't going to win with 30%, you'd also need a majority in the House, and if you have a majority in the House, than you are most certainly not a fringe party.


In fact, that is exactly how Lincoln won the election (although in that case the country was so heavily divided that I don't think anything could have prevented the South seceding in the long-term). He simply got more votes in the North than his Democratic opponent, and basically ignored the South because he knew he didn't stand a chance there. If there had only been one Democratic candidate, then that candidate could have won, but because the South was so different by that point neither Northern candidate was acceptable to them.

Hell, a majority of the South didn't put Lincoln on the ballot. And when you have a split of American Civil War degree, no voting system is going to resolve that.

Jase
April 3rd, 2011, 08:48 PM
Is Bush really that extremist though? i mean, for his contemporaries?

I mean, I'm no expert, but I'm tempted to say hindsight's being colored by our ability to see his full 8 years of office.

Also, lol, your quote-fu is weak, Leopard xD

Mike1984
April 3rd, 2011, 08:55 PM
But you aren't going to win with 30%, you'd also need a majority in the House, and if you have a majority in the House, than you are most certainly not a fringe party.

In the US system, yes, but that's because the US is not true FPTP. In a true FPTP system, the person with the largest number of votes wins, regardless of the proportion of the vote they received.

Also, you're mixing up fringe party with fringe candidate. The hypothetical KKK member here would be standing for the Republican party (and, there certainly do exist Republicans, even in Congress, who are almost that extreme, so that's not completely beyond the realms of possibility). So, if they got 30% of the vote, they would have the support of a Republican-dominated Congress.


Hell, a majority of the South didn't put Lincoln on the ballot.

Exactly.


And when you have a split of American Civil War degree, no voting system is going to resolve that.

Well, of course. But, even so, FPTP is the worst system for trying to resolve it, because it simply doesn't bother (and, the US implementation of it is even worse in that respect).


Is Bush really that extremist though? i mean, for his contemporaries?

Well, to me he is, but then I'm not exactly unbiased....


I mean, I'm no expert, but I'm tempted to say hindsight's being colored by our ability to see his full 8 years of office.

Well, that may be true (I don't recall ever thinking he was particularly extreme in 2000), but even so that doesn't change my basic point about FPTP.

Someone like Palin could easily get elected if the Democrats put up a weak enough (or extreme (by US standards, which means "doesn't suck the cock of big business leaders twice a day") enough) candidate, simply because the Republicans who would otherwise reject her would hold their noses and vote for her simply because they felt that the alternative was even worse.

Tobias
April 3rd, 2011, 08:57 PM
10 years ago I would have considered bush pretty right wing, though extremist is perhaps to far, however, given what I have seen from the republican party since obama took office, I consider him to be nearly a moderate.

Mike1984
April 3rd, 2011, 09:02 PM
10 years ago I would have considered bush pretty right wing, though extremist is perhaps to far, however, given what I have seen from the republican party since obama took office, I consider him to be nearly a moderate.

Well, the point is more that he's probably some way to the right of the electorate as a whole (as, probably, is the Republican party itself). He just managed to get elected because, in a FPTP system, the choice is between him and a Democrat, and many people will vote for him despite him being rather right-wing, especially with Fox etc. trying to cover their true position up.

SeiKeo
April 3rd, 2011, 09:29 PM
Exactly. Imagine if you had Palin up against a genuinely left-wing Democrat (as in, not a fake one like Obama). There is a real danger that Palin might actually win.

Or a danger that the Democrat might win, no? ;)


I dispute that, actually. Refer back to my KKK example above. All that Bush winning means is that he's closer to the "centre" than his opponent was (or, more likely, that Fox conned enough people into thinking he was...). It doesn't make him not an extremist.

But doesn't him being closer to the center make him less of an extremist than the other guy?


Well, that is partially true, but equally if both parties are corrupt or do "dumb" things, then there's no way to remove them because if you vote for a third party you're likely to hand power to the party you like the least of the two remaining ones.

But as we in the US just saw, the membership of the party isn't static. New candidates, if there's a popular demand, can enter with new ideas.


In the US system, yes, but that's because the US is not true FPTP. In a true FPTP system, the person with the largest number of votes wins, regardless of the proportion of the vote they received.

Also, you're mixing up fringe party with fringe candidate. The hypothetical KKK member here would be standing for the Republican party (and, there certainly do exist Republicans, even in Congress, who are almost that extreme, so that's not completely beyond the realms of possibility). So, if they got 30% of the vote, they would have the support of a Republican-dominated Congress.

I don't think anybody thinks any kind of pure political idea is a good thing. All pure systems need mitigating factors.

But in that case, you need a majority of state delegations in the house since they vote en bloc in this case. And if you have 26 state delegations voting for you... well, yay democracy.


Well, of course. But, even so, FPTP is the worst system for trying to resolve it, because it simply doesn't bother (and, the US implementation of it is even worse in that respect).

The US actually does have a system to resolve that kind of irresolvable split: it's called succession. If Lincoln had bothered following the Constitution, the issue would have been resolved.

Mike1984
April 3rd, 2011, 09:40 PM
Or a danger that the Democrat might win, no? ;)

Well, that wouldn't bother me personally (in fact, I would consider it a good thing), because I am way to left of the vast majority of people in the US (in fact, I would be to the left of said "extremist", most likely). But, yes, objectively speaking, it applies just as well the other way.


But doesn't him being closer to the center make him less of an extremist than the other guy?

Being less of an extremist than the other guy doesn't mean he's not an extremist....


But as we in the US just saw, the membership of the party isn't static. New candidates, if there's a popular demand, can enter with new ideas.

Only if they can get accepted as candidates, which means that the party itself has to recognise it is corrupt. Admittedly, that's easier in the US than over here (where candidates are appointed by the party rather than in primary elections), but the same still does apply to the US if the party membership is sufficiently different from the electorate as a whole.


I don't think anybody thinks any kind of pure political idea is a good thing. All pure systems need mitigating factors.

Erm, what?

We were discussing the merits of the FPTP system. And, having Congress vote on the president if they get less than 50% of the vote (which isn't actually what happens in any case) doesn't fit with that. Plus, Lincoln won outright with only 30% of the vote, so....

If the US used true FPTP (without the electoral college system), then there is no doubt in my mind that that proviso would be removed pretty damn quick, because the likelihood of the winner not getting 50% of the vote is actually quite high (neither Bush nor Gore did in 2000, IIRC), and having the old Congress select the president in that case would not go down well at all.


But in that case, you need a majority of state delegations in the house since they vote en bloc in this case. And if you have 26 state delegations voting for you... well, yay democracy.

Again, this has nothing to do with actual FPTP (because true FPTP does not have any such proviso), but nevertheless my point still stands that, with only 30% of the vote, such a person could win election in the US, due to the support of their party, even over a more moderate non-official Republican candidate.


The US actually does have a system to resolve that kind of irresolvable split: it's called succession.

Eh? What?


If Lincoln had bothered following the Constitution, the issue would have been resolved.

Yeah, and then a load of people would have been left to be treated as nothing more than property by their abusive masters....

SeiKeo
April 3rd, 2011, 10:12 PM
I think that this comes down to our willingness to trust people. I think, that given a well constructed FPTP system, a truly extreme candidate cannot win an election without the consent of the people; you seem to think otherwise, therefore you prefer some kind of proportional system. I think that the potential participation of fringe groups like modern Nazis, etc. in the everyday political discourse is a greater risk than somebody being elected against the will of the people, and I don't think that we can prove that one system is objectively better than the other because it depends on what we think is worse.

Jase
April 3rd, 2011, 10:22 PM
? Why would a party have to recognize itself as corrupt to let new members in? Don't people just practically become which ever party they please once they start? I never got the impression that the American "parties" had very strict membership rules.

Also:
George W. Bush 271 / 50,456,002
Albert A. Gore 266 / 50,999,897
Ralph Nader 0 / 2,882,955

Mike1984
April 3rd, 2011, 10:26 PM
I think that this comes down to our willingness to trust people. I think, that given a well constructed FPTP system, a truly extreme candidate cannot win an election without the consent of the people; you seem to think otherwise, therefore you prefer some kind of proportional system.

No, it has nothing to do with trusting people. Quite the opposite in fact, because it is you who is not trusting people (by saying "well, what if they elect extremists"). Ultimately, in FPTP the decision on who to elect is as much down to the main political parties as it is to the voters, because if "your" party puts up a candidate you don't like, you are forced to choose between voting for them regardless and risking letting the other party in by voting for a third-party candidate, whereas in a system like AV you can vote for the third-party candidate whilst still putting the candidate for your party above the one for the other party in the ranking, thereby ensuring that, if the third-party candidate can't win, at least your party's candidate will get your vote.

Whilst a truly extreme candidate probably couldn't win regardless, a reasonably extreme one can, simply because people are unwilling to risk letting the opposing party in by voting for a third party. Further, FPTP has other problems. It entrenches the existing parties, regardless of support, because no-one will vote for a third-party that stands against them until they reach a critical threshold and it leads to corruption (because people can't punish it without risking giving power to the other party).


I think that the potential participation of fringe groups like modern Nazis, etc. in the everyday political discourse is a greater risk than somebody being elected against the will of the people, and I don't think that we can prove that one system is objectively better than the other because it depends on what we think is worse.

The thing is, if you refuse to give them a voice, it only heightens their sense of disillusionment with the political process as a whole. And I know this as someone who is in exactly the same situation on the opposite end of the political spectrum. Plus, the more views you allow to be heard, the more likely you are to produce good legislation. Further, PR is more stable in the long term (because the number of seats each party gets does not tend to change as rapidly and, thus, you don't get situations where one party is constantly overturning the legislation made by the other).

Plus, in any case, what you're arguing is simply not true if you're thinking of a single-winner election (e.g. a presidential election). By definition, that cannot be proportional, so the only question is electing the person with the largest amount of support. And, because you can win in FPTP simply because the opposition candidates split the vote, FPTP does a very poor job of achieving that.


? Why would a party have to recognize itself as corrupt to let new members in? Don't people just practically become which ever party they please once they start? I never got the impression that the American "parties" had very strict membership rules.

No, the party would have to recognise that its existing candidates are corrupt in order to elect new ones, as opposed to the electorate as a whole recognising that. And, even with primaries like you have in the US, it's still a lot harder to convince die-hard party members that their party is corrupt than it is to convince the electorate as a whole. If someone thinks that a party is corrupt, their usual response will be to just leave that party, since it's pretty hard to fix such problems on your own....

Jase
April 3rd, 2011, 10:32 PM
This might be my imagination but... isn't it the American people in the first place who decide who is the candidate for their party?

I have this passing sense that in the prelims of each party, people who are registered with the party (at no fee, I think) basically participate in deciding who will run for presidency on a per-party basis?

Unless you mean, you fear that 50% of America registered as Rep or Dem, aren't trust worthy. Which is possible, I suppose, from your view.

I might be wrong. Unfortunately, the Canadian government takes every precaution in making sure its citizens are as ignorant about the USA as possible.

Mike1984
April 3rd, 2011, 10:36 PM
This might be my imagination but... isn't it the American people in the first place who decide who is the candidate for their party?

No, it's the members of each party that decide. That's not necessarily the same thing.


I have this passing sense that in the prelims of each party, people who are registered with the party (at no fee, I think) basically participate in deciding who will run for presidency on a per-party basis?

I believe that that is true, yes. However, that is not part of the FPTP system, strictly speaking. And, further, it only works if the membership of the parties reasonably reflects the nation as a whole, which in general they don't (the Republicans could easily elect Palin, for instance, whereas the country as a whole never would).


Unless you mean, you fear that 50% of America registered as Rep or Dem, aren't trust worthy. Which is possible, I suppose, from your view.

Well, it's not that. If half the country were genuinely registered to each party, it wouldn't be a huge problem. However, there's no requirement to register to one or the other, and in general the more extreme you are the more likely you are to be registered.


I might be wrong. Unfortunately, the Canadian government takes every precaution in making sure its citizens are as ignorant about the USA as possible.

Well, in any case, we're not talking about the US, we're talking about FPTP in general. Even if it works over there, it sure as hell doesn't work over here, because we have more than two parties and the candidates are chosen by the party with little public input.

SeiKeo
April 3rd, 2011, 10:43 PM
Y'know what, I think I'll withdraw from this argument. I honestly haven't studied voting systems enough that I can really make a stand, it just spiraled from that one comment. Mike, you've piqued my interest, and I'll try to look into some alternate systems. Any good texts you recommend?

Mike1984
April 3rd, 2011, 10:43 PM
Y'know what, I think I'll withdraw from this argument. I honestly haven't studied voting systems enough that I can really make a stand, it just spiraled from that one comment.

Fair enough.


Mike, you've piqued my interest, and I'll try to look into some alternate systems. Any good texts you recommend?

Wikipedia :p

I'm not a politics student, my information comes solely from there, and a few other sites. I have one on my desktop computer, actually, that explains it pretty well, but I'm on my laptop at the moment, so....

SeiKeo
April 3rd, 2011, 10:47 PM
What are you a student of, if you don't mind me asking?

Mike1984
April 3rd, 2011, 10:52 PM
What are you a student of, if you don't mind me asking?

Physics (specifically, Cosmology), although I've pretty much finished my PhD now (I've submitted it and done the viva, and I just have to correct it), and I'm now spending a bit of time writing some papers prior to starting a programming job in London.

SeiKeo
April 3rd, 2011, 10:58 PM
Wow, nice.

Mike1984
April 3rd, 2011, 11:05 PM
Thanks.

Jase
April 3rd, 2011, 11:20 PM
Well, it's not that. If half the country were genuinely registered to each party, it wouldn't be a huge problem. However, there's no requirement to register to one or the other, and in general the more extreme you are the more likely you are to be registered.
Well, that's a pretty universal problem with democracy, really, regardless of the system you use. The freedom to not vote is as valid as the freedom to vote, after all.

SeiKeo
April 3rd, 2011, 11:23 PM
Well, that's a pretty universal problem with democracy, really, regardless of the system you use. The freedom to not vote is as valid as the freedom to vote, after all.

Of course, some countries disagree on voting being an option.

Mike1984
April 3rd, 2011, 11:23 PM
Well, that's a pretty universal problem with democracy, really, regardless of the system you use. The freedom to not vote is as valid as the freedom to vote, after all.

Yeah, but it's more than that, because primaries aren't supposed to be truly "democratic". They're simply a way for each party to pick its candidate for the actual election. The party sets the rules and, contrary to what you might believe, it's not solely a case of "whoever gets the most votes wins".


Of course, some countries disagree on voting being an option.

Yeah, but I have to agree with Jase here (I think it's wrong to force people to vote, and it also tends to lead to a lot of lowest-common-denominator politics, in order to appeal to the people who, honestly, couldn't give a shit who they vote for and, thus, can't be bothered to look any more deeply than the preferences of their favourite paper), and in any case that still doesn't apply to primaries.

Jase
April 3rd, 2011, 11:26 PM
Is it really that undemocratic? Cause as far as I'm concerned, if there's a well placed precedent in the way, that's good enough.

Really, as far as I can tell, the most undemocratic part of the process is the selection of vice president, more than anything else. I'm pretty sure that's where McCain lost most of his votes on, after all.

Mike1984
April 3rd, 2011, 11:34 PM
Is it really that undemocratic?

It's not supposed to be democratic. It has a large amount of democracy in it, yes, but in the end it's up to the party to choose the candidate, not the people. The people merely choose from the options presented to them.


Cause as far as I'm concerned, if there's a well placed precedent in the way, that's good enough.

What the hell does "precedent" have to do with democracy?


Really, as far as I can tell, the most undemocratic part of the process is the selection of vice president, more than anything else. I'm pretty sure that's where McCain lost most of his votes on, after all.

Well, if you try to elect the VP seperately you could have someone who simply can't work with the president taking that role (which has happened before, under the original system), so the two have to go together, really. It wasn't just McCain standing for president, it was McCain running for president with Palin as his VP. It's no less democratic to bundle the two together than it is to elect just McCain.

Jase
April 3rd, 2011, 11:41 PM
Well, no, I was just wondering, since my memory was foggy:
Are VP's selected and matched up with candidates before people choose them, or after (before the final vote)?

Mike1984
April 3rd, 2011, 11:53 PM
Well, no, I was just wondering, since my memory was foggy:
Are VP's selected and matched up with candidates before people choose them, or after (before the final vote)?

Erm, what do you mean?

Jase
April 3rd, 2011, 11:57 PM
Well, say, imagine VP's were paired with the candidates before they were put to vote in the prelims.

Do you think McCain would have been as popular a candidate, if the Republicans knew Sarah Palin would be his running mate before voting him to be the Republican candidate?

Just a curious thought. I'm also not sure at what point the decision is made, that is all.

Mike1984
April 4th, 2011, 12:04 AM
Well, say, imagine VP's were paired with the candidates before they were put to vote in the prelims.

Do you think McCain would have been as popular a candidate, if the Republicans knew Sarah Palin would be his running mate before voting him to be the Republican candidate?

Just a curious thought. I'm also not sure at what point the decision is made, that is all.

I believe that the decision isn't made until after the primaries are over (not least because the VP candidate is usually someone who stood in the primaries themselves), although I'm not 100% sure.

Having said that, McCain paired himself with Palin precisely because she was popular with certain elements of the Republican party, so I don't think it would have hindered his chances in the primary.

Jase
April 4th, 2011, 12:18 AM
I dunno, it's sort of a mixed bag decision in my eyes.

While it tempered McCain's apparent "radical" streak with a much more archetypal candidate, the fact that McCain could die and she'd become president really scared off quite a lot of people.

Arguably, a fair number of people don't mind her as VP. But the case of her becoming president is entirely different.

Mike1984
April 4th, 2011, 12:21 AM
Erm, what? Since when is McCain radical and Palin "archtypical"? Palin is a raving lunatic....

Jase
April 4th, 2011, 12:26 AM
McCain had a well known record amongst the Republicans for being "unpredictable". On several issues, he'd have opinions that opposed the agreed norm amongst the Republicans. Radical in this case meant he had the occasional left leanings that would be "scary" to a republican voter.

In trying to counteract that, they tried pairing him with Palin, whose politics at the time reflected the Republican party's usual stance on most stuff, without any real variation. Plus, the novelty of her being a women, which most people agreed didn't actually matter.

Mike1984
April 4th, 2011, 12:30 AM
Well, yeah, that's true, although I wouldn't call Palin "mainstream" even for a Republican. She's definitely to the right of the party. It's just that picking her reassured those people who were worried about McCain, which was (of course) the right of the party.

The rest of what you said is right, though. Palin being VP was, by itself, largely meaningless to most people (because the job isn't that important), but the possibility of her becoming president was downright scary. Plus, of course, it put focus on McCain's age, which is the last thing he needed.

Jase
April 4th, 2011, 12:36 AM
Yeah, lol, poor old guy.

I dunno, I sympathize, cause I'd probably have put McCain through as a candidate, only to drop him once Palin came into the picture.

Not that I can participate in US politics or anything.

Mike1984
April 4th, 2011, 12:38 AM
Well, it was his own fault, in the end. He didn't have to pick Palin.

Certainly, though, I think it cost him quite a lot of votes, even more so given that him dying in office was a very real possibility due to his age.

Jase
April 4th, 2011, 12:39 AM
Really, the biggest tragedy of the US is Arnold cannot run for presidency.

Mike1984
April 4th, 2011, 12:40 AM
No, no, it really isn't....

You only have to look at what the last actor-turned-president "achieved" to see that....

Jase
April 4th, 2011, 12:42 AM
I think it is. He's a good guy, listens to his capable advisers, and ignores the party line whenever he wants, because he doesn't need the party's money.

He's a real candidate with a real political platform.

Though I'll admit to bias. He also has the fiscal conservatism and social liberalism that I generally enjoy.

Mike1984
April 4th, 2011, 12:58 AM
Well, given my allusion to Reagan there, you should probably guess my opinion of him isn't likely to be great. Although, I guess that a socially liberal Republican is better than a socially conservative one....

SeiKeo
April 4th, 2011, 03:14 PM
I believe that the decision isn't made until after the primaries are over (not least because the VP candidate is usually someone who stood in the primaries themselves), although I'm not 100% sure.

Having said that, McCain paired himself with Palin precisely because she was popular with certain elements of the Republican party, so I don't think it would have hindered his chances in the primary.

Usually, VP's are announced once it's clear you're the nominee.

Also, while Palin was probably a bad choice, I don't think a different veep would have saved him. 2008 was a year where the Democrats could have run anyone with a brain that wasn't a Muslim and won, just because Bush was so unpopular.