Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Hubert Humphrey

The Difference Between Socialism and Liberalism in America Today

In the aftermath of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s surprise primary victory the New York Democratic House primary, Americans seem to be curious about socialism:

Of course, dictionary definitions of political terms have never been very helpful. Political ideologies develop, shift, and morph over time, both in their technical meaning and in how they are popularly understood. So today I want to talk about what really distinguishes a 2018 American socialist from their liberal counterpart.

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How the Democratic Party Can Win the South

Since Donald Trump’s election I have increasingly become interested in how the left engages with white America. The left isn’t getting enough white support. Even with over 90% of the African-American vote, alleged pedophile Roy Moore came absurdly close to winning in Alabama. This can’t just be because white Americans are racist, stupid, or evil. There has to be more to it. In the past I’ve identified many things wrong with our approach–we’re too condescending and patronising toward white voters, and too quick to blame and shame them. We don’t spend enough time talking about and emphasizing programs and policies that help all marginalized people, including poor, working, and middle class whites. But today I want to go further and discuss in detail a new way of looking at the South and at middle America more broadly–one that takes these people and their concerns seriously. If we’re willing to tell a different story about the South, or at least acknowledge a different story, and build that acknowledgement into our policy and rhetoric, I think we can make some gains.

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The Limitations of Proportional Representation

About 23% of Americans don’t like both Trump and Clinton. Many of these people are considering third parties, or would like to be considering them but don’t feel they can safely do so because of the American voting system, which makes it very difficult for third parties to win and ensures that people who vote third party get no say in the choice between the two major party nominees. Some¬†people have talked about wanting to switch to proportional representation (PR) to break the stranglehold of the two parties on politics. Under PR,¬†if 8% of the population votes for a Green or a Libertarian, 8% of the legislature is comprised of Greens or Libertarians. If no party is able to put together a majority of votes, parties have to cooperate in coalitions to get things done. PR is in Jill Stein’s platform¬†and some libertarians have expressed enthusiasm for it as well. PR cannot really be applied to the presidential race, because the president can only be one person–he or she cannot be 8% Green.¬†But for presidential races we could employ a ranked ballot system allowing for an instant-runoff. On this system if you voted for Jill Stein your vote could be transferred to Clinton after Stein is eliminated.¬†This may sound intriguing, but PR is not a magic bullet and it can produce some very bad situations that we should consider.

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Does the Republican Establishment Want Clinton to Win?

Last week Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) appeared on Trevor Noah’s¬†Daily Show to explain his endorsement of Ted Cruz, a man for whom Graham has repeatedly expressed contempt:

Graham compared the choice between Trump and Cruz to being shot in the head or poisoned, but hinted that there might be an antidote:

Donald is like being shot in the head. You might find an antidote to poisoning, I don’t know, but maybe there’s time.

This got me thinking–what could the antidote be? I have a theory that it might be Hillary Clinton. Far-fetched? Perhaps, but hear me out.

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