12/03/2016: So... WHO spent the most $ (2 to 1)? WHO was elected anyway? Do I have to say it? ITYS
And, to be fair, I figured that the election was probably in the bag for Clinton, anyway, regardless of funding, but the funding issue clearly did not make a difference. Trump could probably have spent a lot less and Hillary a lot more without changing the results. So, will all the experts who rake in the big bucks to help poor hapless politicians try to buy the vote now close up shop and slink back under their rocks? I don't think so.
The campaign financing may not make much difference in terms of the actual election, but it has a profound selection effect upon the fortunes of said experts. They - not the candidates - should be looking for someone to hire to promote their own fortunes and shut up people like me who prefer verifiable facts, such as campaign outcomes, which is what they are already doing, BTW, now that the issue should be under some real scrutiny. The real issue is not now to turn dollars into votes, which we already know is probably a seriously flawed model, but rather how to sell the $forVote ($4V) meme to future candidates and their feckless campaigns and somehow suck all the wind out of the realist position.
Failing to buy votes with campaign financing, just what will the next paradigm be? Maybe power block analysis?
Check this out: http://www.kurzweilai.net/this-simple-optoelectronic-computer-could-one-day-outperform-supercomputers-for-complex-problems
The above link demos a new type of computer that can handle the really tough problems, such as the traveler's routing problem, which may have some direct parallels with political campaigns... Should Trump have put more funding or attention into groups like the evangelicals, who went for him at the 85% mark in many areas? Maybe there were other niche markets that either Hillary or Trump should have said hello to. Corresponding to Trump's capture of the evangelicals was Hillary's loss of the black vote. I.e., the Democrat's marketing was lousy - "We're the winners; Trump is a silly buffoon who we can ignore; End of story"... NOT
Insulting and ignoring your own base is not going to win you anything.
Perhaps if Hillary had hired StarDock to model outcomes vs. input? There's a lady here in Santa Ana who has her own apparently fairly successful system for controlling local politics. It involves mapping the power structure of every significant local group and the links - potential and real. A company like StarDock could possibly put together a deal with an expert with on the ground knowledge and experience to offer election advice to candidates or groups pushing referendums, modeling in advance the impact of various campaign events. Just a thought.
Will it make any difference the next time around - assuming that there are any more elections, of course?
March 24, 2016: Recently heard another NPR interview, this time with a pollster/researcher who discussed how amazingly fleeting the political ads impact actually is - like it lasts for about one day and then the potential voter has generally returned to their original opinion. So, what is driving the "military/electoral" multi-billion dollar industry? Turns out that it is driven by the ad men selling the useless ads to the candidates... Totally uselessly.* http://www.wnyc.org/story/election-industrial-complex/
*... totally uselessly ... except for one derivative factor that could be VERY useful. Namely, these politicians will be making decisions regarding war and peace and billion dollar procurements and transfers of our collective and personal wealth. If they are naïve enough to pay the big bucks to the admen, how can we expect better later, after they are elected? So, if people know about this, then they should logically count the useless ad time as a negative against that candidate, right?
So, if you want to really change things, vote against the ad-ridden candidates with their demonstrably poor judgment and point your friends to this blog. (I'm Phil Osborn, and I approve this statement.) Just out of pure curiosity, as well, if you really don't approve of any of the existing candidates for pres, please feel free to write me in. Let's see how viral this goes... JoeUser takes on the world! Could we do a WORSE job?
For a sample of what I will try to deliver, if elected, please see my blog on a Solution to Poverty: http://philosborn.joeuser.com/article/450215/A_General_Solution_to_Poverty
(Start of original blog) I was listening to a discussion on NPR between Tavis Smiley and Larry Lessig*, who was trying to turn the talk to his pet presidential candidate position, namely getting the money out of politics, on the grounds, obviously, that big money was buying elections. Sure... Everyone knows that, and up 'til a couple weeds ago I was one of the convinced. Now, as a libertarian, the problem for me of course was that nobody had any answers that weren't worse than the disease. Public (state) funding??? As in fox guard chickens - right?
* (Lessig has since dropped out of the race. The OC Register's Teresa Walker did a huge spread on all the 3rd or non-party candidates this past Tuesday. Over 1,000 to date. Turns out that you can register as a presidential candidate almost for free. If you get serious, expect to file your statement of net worth, listing all your assets. There may be other minor hurdles. The rules and downloads are all available at the FEC site, although it's poorly organized and glitchy. I called Teresa about her article and she tried to find a deadline for candidate registration at the FEC site with no success. Wouldn't you think that with all the hype about voting, they would at least get the primary source of info working?)
But then, a few weeks back, I finally got around to reading "Freakonomics," which had sat precariously on some meager horizontal surface or other in my man cave for years, while I thought it was another silly pop-culture, "new economics," the.internet.will.solve.everything, bargain at free from the dumpster. Boy, was I wrong!
Like the expose of how Superman destroyed the KKK - no, for real! Actual history. And it was hilarious, like so many of the straight economic analyses in this treasure.
But in the intro - pages 9~11 in the hardbound - the authors, not yet rolling out their big analytic guns - e.g., to show how Rowe vs. Wade was responsible (provably) for most of the decline in crime for the past several decades, take on the issue of money corrupting elections, just as a little taster.
Turns out that there is provably NO significant connection between the money spent by one candidate over another and who finally gets elected. Analyzing thousands of elections and their financing, the authors were able to prove that the reality is that the same factors that caused candidates to win were also what caused people to give them money for their campaigns. The money barely mattered at all in the outcome.
The proof came from analyzing things like consecutive runs by the same candidate, in which sometimes the financing went from teeny to HUGE or vice versa, and there was almost no impact on the votes either way.
Now. I'm sure that this will drive some of you nuts to contemplate, whereas, as a libertarian, I have no problem with it. And, if this info were nearly as widely promulgated as the myth of campaign buying, well, there goes the entire rationale for public campaign financing. At least, the ostensive rationale, not the "que bono" for those who could make a career off the public finance trough.
(And, please note that the impact of lobbyist money on incumbents' behavior - as in pork - was not discussed, and my inclination is with the position that there is a much larger tie-in than to actual elections. I.e., it appears that politicians, once elected, act as though the lobbyist money is essential, even if this is generally not the case at all. Or, maybe its just too stressful to contemplate a Jacksonian-style office that opened its doors wide to all comers and invited constituents to $25 dinners, instead of $2500.)
However, for me, this also spells a very positive word: ISSUES. What if this is really true, that the money doesn't work? Well, then we don't have that excuse to avoid actually communicating with the people we disagree with, talking about facts and principles and demanding the same in return.
We used to have that kind of politics - read some of the campaign debates between Lincoln and Douglas, or the polemics of Robert Ingersol, or the best-selling "Progress and Poverty." But somehow we became disinclined to reason together, possibly on the money issue, but in general based on some claim - such as Marx's claim of class determinism - that communication was impossible.
Some superior class - proletariat or academic - was necessary to bypass this bottleneck of failed democracy. So let's have a pre-election, such as the bogus Board election at KPFK, where prospective candidates of all stripes meet and conspire to sign each other's nomination petitions, so that one has to wonder just how many actual legit candidates would remain if they had to actually garner real support. No wonder they couldn't make a quorum for their last election (and may not be able to this time, either).
So it goes, in the more popular schemes to create a self-sustaining power oligarchy - we'll provide public money, but only to "legitimate candidates" who have the right number of pre-election supporters. And who gets media access? What privileged class do you belong to, brother?
I'm tempted here to introduce something that has irked me since I came to California in '76. Maybe I should save it for a separate blog, but I will try a trial run, I think. I emailed an early version of this blog around to several people who I thought might be interested and got a positive response from everyone except one, who took the time to emit a tirade of what he clearly thought to be cogent denunciation. This could have been useful and praiseworthy, as he is a very intelligent man, with many published works of note. And good solid critique is generally to be treasured. The problem was that his response had nothing to do with my blog. As in:
Me: "The sky is blue"
Mr. X: "HOW DARE YOU IMPUNE THE INTEGRITY OF THE INTERGALACTIC ALLIANCE!?"
On the assumption that wires were crossed somewhere - perhaps he was responding to another email and didn't realize he had just responded to me - perhaps he was drunk - perhaps he was being coerced at gun point... So, I responded and he responded with even more disconnect, accusing me of not bothering to read his original response and finally cutting off future correspondence.
So, what does this remind me of? How about all the times that I told the truth - or thought I did, anyway - and got slapped down for it. Eg., some of my readers may recall a time when the internet was assumed to be invulnerable to such things as censorship... As in John Gilmore's famous quote: "The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it" To which I replied at ICANN - and was roundly castigated for my response:
The first instance I can personally recall of this sort of thing, however, came in 1958, when our elementary teacher arrived for school's start fresh from a crash course in "science" ( in response to the Sputnik ) and insisted that we draw pictures of rocket ships, based on a Disney special on the future and space, which we were all supposed to watch. I watched it and I don't recall whether the cartoon rockets had suction cups on their tailfins, but our teacher was adamant that we HAD to include them, or else our rocket would fall off the moon, due to lack of atmosphere, which causes gravity... She also declared that the stars shown by reflective light from the sun, unlike the planets, which glowed on their own, and that rockets didn't work in space, because there was no air to push on.
I refused to put suction cups on my rocket, and got my only failing mark in all my scholastic years for my efforts on behalf of the truth. She also refused to open the damned encyclopedia to see the artist's depiction of asteroids, insisting that there were NINE planets and that was IT, by Jove! I had been reading adult sf for several years by that point, and knew from the Heinlein and Asimov juvies all about the mechanics and basic physics of rockets as well what constituted our solar system. In fact, throughout most of my elementary education, the average kid in my home-room class often knew a lot more about whatever the subject matter than did the teacher, which caused a lot of those kids to give up and drop out, just surviving day to day, after being slapped down too many times for following their passions.
What's scary is not the particulars of some nasty teacher, but the fact that this is what the system was designed to do - and it was succeeding - in rolling out assembly-line people, perfectly in line with Dewey's design for a modern "Progressive Education," whose purpose was to kill those passions while the kid was still young and weak. Raise your hand now to go to the bathroom, and, a few years later, to swear to obey orders to kill other people.
More to come...