Fourniercation: One Last Weird Trick

Remember Ron Fournier, former AP DC bureau chief, pom-pom waver for Karl Rove and tire-swinging purveyor of donuts with sprinkles? He left AP for Crain’s Detroit in 2016, but in a weekend column at The Post, Fournier claims to have been drawn back into politics thusly:

For years as a political reporter in Washington, I wrote about the public’s disgust with the U.S. political system and predicted the rise of a third party and outsider presidential candidates. I railed against the Republican-Democratic duopoly and chased the mythical “white knight” who would put country over party — and then put the two major parties out of business.

I was hunting a unicorn when I should have been herding reindeer…

Having left Washington for my hometown of Detroit two years ago, I have been drawn back into politics by the pragmatic elegance of Unite America’s mission. Rather than attempt to start a third party from scratch, the group is targeting states where a small number of elected independents can create disproportionately influential governing coalitions in narrowly divided legislatures.

In an amazing coincidence, Fournier left Crain’s earlier this year to join a Michigan PR firm as president, and that firm represents Unite America:

Ron Fournier, a former reporter, editor and publisher, is president of Truscott Rossman, a Michigan public relations firm. Unite America is a client.

The client must be thrilled that its flack was able to place an advertorial in The Post. Fournier also boasts helping Trump-supporting business clients carve out exceptions to ruinous Trump tariffs, etc.

That’s how the game is played in DC, and few people know that better than Fournier. But it’s a bit rich that Fournier is fronting an organization that declares:

We’re building a movement to elect common-sense, independent candidates to office who can represent We, the People – not the party bosses or special interests.

Sounds like a No Labels-style ratfucking scam to me, and if this campaign succeeds in siphoning off votes from righteously angry people in the midterms, the result will be further entrenchment of corrupt Republicans — and more carte blanche for Trump. That’s the “one weird trick” Republicans have left up their sleeves.






126 replies
  1. 1
    PJ says:

    This is all part of the Russian-style “managed democracy” that Republicans have adapted – create bogus political parties or movements that siphon voters away from legitimate opposition (while also engaging in old-fashioned American vote suppression.)

  2. 2

    “I was hunting a unicorn when I should have been herding reindeer…”

    Fuck, he’s Santa now?

  3. 3
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Sounds like a No Labels-style ratfucking scam to me

    Yup, the Mike Bloomberg-Evan Bayh types who want Republican economic policies without any of that vulgar culture war stuff. Gutting the New Deal– “entitlement reform”– was Fournier’s hobbyhorse whenever he was breathing about Obama’s failure to show “leadership”.

    You can imagine Charles Koch seeing Bloomberg across the room at the Billionaires’ Club and saying under his breath to his brother, ‘I bet we can trick him into running, and spending his own money to do it!”

  4. 4
    germy says:

    David Hogg said he plans to run for Congress when he turns 25.
    http://nymag.com/daily/intelli.....cades.html

  5. 5

    Is Putin picking up the tab for Fournier? It would be irresponsible not to speculate.
    Meanwhile in the Commonwealth, an impressive woman is running as a write-in candidate for the state senate. Its a long story, Rosenberg who held the seat before, had to resign after it was too late file nomination papers. We had a neighborhood meet-the-candidate session on Saturday. Since this is MA, the D primary winner will most likely be the state senator.

    ETA: More about Jo, here.

  6. 6
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Liz Sidoti, Fournier’s deputy at AP, who was actually the woman in the tire swing and passed McCain the be-sprinkled donuts, left the wire service to become chief flack for BP.

  7. 7
    Sherparick says:

    Somebody should send Fournier a dictionary so he can look up the definition of “corrupt” and then a mirror so he can see that is his pictures is next to the dictionary. By the way, was this malpractice by Fred Hiatt or just giving an ol’ pal a reach around by placing his pal in on a prominent spot on the editorial page. “Unite America” is very much corporate America’s back up plan to make sure a “Center-Right,” pro-corporate C-suite, Government controls Congress and most state legislatures even if the Republican Party does fine itself in permanent minority status by going full White Supremacist and rump of Trump cultists. Fournier always regarded the Democrats as corrupt by not “reforming” Social Security and Medicare out of existence in order to “eliminate the deficit.” Fournier and his party love pablum like “independent” or “non-partisan” and “incisive thinker” but does not offer what policy solutions to any question, other than his dislike for Democrats, liberals, and to a lesser extent Republicans. He also shows a profound ignorance, which is gob smacking consider he was covering politics for 40 years, of how legislative and parliamentary bodies work to be cohesive and functioning Governmental entities (because of “reforms” over the last 40 years, both Democrats and Republicans, Congress has become less and less functional or interested in serving the interests of their constituents besides a militant rabble that can be excited by the donor class.

  8. 8
    Elizabelle says:

    Soon as I saw Fournier’s crap ed, I knew it was fodder for Balloon Juice. Well done, Ms. Cracker.

    It is a ratfucking operation. WaPost readers see right through it.

    I am genuinely curious who is funding it.

  9. 9
    Calouste says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: If people were really interested in having a viable third party, you’d think that they would work on actually making a multi party system possible, i.e electoral reform away from first-past-the-post and towards some kind of proportional representation. If that’s not there, it’s either a vanity project, ratfucking, or unemployed campaign consultants scamming the gullible. And usually a combination of the three.

  10. 10
    ruemara says:

    Oh, yes. It is ratfucking. The most critical election of probably the last 80 years, with a treasonous administration & Congress, so these guys come out with yet another third way movement. The Bernie can club got activated last month, now it’s time for the “reasonable people ”. We’re gonna have to tune out a lot of noise this cycle.

  11. 11
    randy khan says:

    If we take him at face value (which is kinder than he deserves), the organization is looking for independent centrist candidates who can win in states where the legislatures are fairly close to being evenly divided. It seems to me that the total number of races that would fit that standard in a year would be in single digits, and probably closer to 0 than to 10. It’s not a reindeer; it’s a unicorn being ridden by the Easter Bunny.

  12. 12
    hueyplong says:

    Huh. I was under the vaguely assuring misimpression Fournier was dead.

    A hard rain brings back forgotten weeds.

  13. 13

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Is Putin picking up the tab for Fournier? It would be irresponsible not to speculate.

    Probably not directly, but I wouldn’t be surprised if whoever is paying Fournier is getting money from Putin or one of Putin’s cronies. Real disclosure rules to shut of the dark money spigot- and real prison time for failing to follow them- ought to be another Democratic priority the next time they manage to take control in Washington.

  14. 14
    khead says:

    I mentioned this in a comment last week, but if Betty (or anyone else here at BJ) would like to make fun of Neil Simon – the douche running for Senate in MD – that would be great too. His entire MO looks like DougJ trolling his Twitter feed.

  15. 15
    Amir Khalid says:

    Is it naivete that makes public figures like Jon Stewart and Fournier lend their support to anti-partisan political movements that don’t go anywhere, is it self-promotion, or is it partisanship under a false flag? And why do I suck at re-stringing guitars?

  16. 16

    It’s hard to believe that so many people who have spent their lives covering politics can’t understand how American politics work. How fucking hard is it to understand that we have a system that naturally brings about two parties? That’s how it works. That’s how it always works. That’s how it always has worked. Shit, if we couldn’t have three parties after 1912, it just isn’t going to happen.

  17. 17
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Whatever happened to Nedra Pickler?

  18. 18
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Amir Khalid: Vanity, the pose of being too sophisticated and thoughtful to belong to any party. It’s a variant of Groucho’s old line: “I would never belong to any club that would have someone else as a member” I think this is especially true of Stewart

  19. 19
    Brachiator says:

    First the Tea Party, now this. The Koch Brothers and their ilk must be worried that the Democrats might actually take back the government.

  20. 20
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Amir Khalid: If you think politics is mostly posturing and sham, you can imagine that there must be a way for a non-politician to get in there and use a mix of reason and common sense to stop doing wrong, weak, compromised things and start doing better and making incremental progress. That accounts for Stewart, Aaron Sorkin, etc. And LOTS OF PEOPLE fall for this. Somehow Trump, of all fucking people, managed to tap into that vein. Before Trump it was people like Bill Bradley and Ross Perot, people whose demeanor and style suggest “I barely give a shit but I can fix your problems, and in fact it’s BECAUSE I barely give a shit THAT I can fix your problems.”

  21. 21
    ruemara says:

    @Amir Khalid: no answer about the guitars but ego for the first question

  22. 22

    @Amir Khalid:
    In Stewart’s case, I think it’s ego, privilege, and very mild racism. He’s liberal in basic desires, but so insulated he can afford to completely fuck over those principles because being buddies with hyper-partisan bigots like O’Reilly is more important to him. His reaction to Obama also deftly demonstrated the kind of bigotry where he’s perfectly comfortable and supportive of minorities as long as they’re inferior to him. I was already annoyed with his ‘all politicians are corrupt and Republicans are merely worse’ schtick, but he was obsessed with blaming Obama for the racist obstruction directed at Obama.

  23. 23
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: I’m not quite as down on Stewart as you seem to have been but I was also struck by his negative reaction to Obama because Obama seems like another person who actually believes in some of that mythology about reconciliation via reasoning together. So maybe Stewart thought that Obama had a chance to do what Stewart wanted someone to do, but failed, which was more objectionable than not trying?

  24. 24

    @Frankensteinbeck: Jon Stewart was not the only one.

    I was already annoyed with his ‘all politicians are corrupt and Republicans are merely worse’ schtick, but he was obsessed with blaming Obama for the racist obstruction directed at Obama.

    You have described 80% of the main stream media and respectable political journalists.

  25. 25
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Amir Khalid: Vanity and naivete probably explain Stewart. For Fournier, I definitely suspect partisanship under a false flag. He knows exactly how all this works.

  26. 26
    cmorenc says:

    Third parties have only been effective in the U.S. when they completely replace one of the two major parties that has so rotted out from the inside that it suffers rapid catastrophic collapse under pressure of events and competition from the upstart (e.g. the Whigs, replaced by the GOP). That’s rare and hasn’t happened since…well, whiggery went buggery over 150 years ago. But when efforts fo found “third way” parties fall short, the result has always been to perversely benefit the major party the “third way” movement’s purpose and platform is most inimical to. Such as when Ross Perot and his “Reform Party” in 1992 wound up helping Democrat Clinton win the presidency by siphoning off far more disgruntled GOP voters than soft Democrats. Or Ralph Nader in 2000. Or Jill Stein and Gary Johnson in 2016.

    What’s more likely to succeed in American politics are movements that capture one of the major parties from the inside. Such as the “tea party” capture of the GOP from the establishment (ok, so it’s strongly arguable that the “tea party” movement was largely an astroturf product of a plutocratic faction of the GOP including the Koch Bros in order to undermine the Obama presidency and momentary Democratic control of congress – the underlying point still stands). Or the extent to which the Sanders faction within (and partly outside) the Democratic party has at minimum, created a strong wind pushing the party in their direction (we can argue to what extent it’s an impeding headwind or an aiding tailwind, but it’s inarguable that the steering current from them is manifesting itself on the democratic party).

    Basic point is: third party movements which attempt to build an alternative outside one of the two major parties have consistently failed to viably do so since the 1850s, and have instead had the perverse effect of siphoning enough votes to help the party they are most inimical to win elections. They’ve done much better by burrowing themselves into dominant positions within one of the two major parties. If the US had a parliamentary system, third parties would be much more viable, but we don’t.

  27. 27

    @Betty Cracker: You are too kind. I lost all respect for JS when he played attack dog and was rude when Nancy Pelosi or Obama were guests on his show but slobbered all over Rumsfeld and John Yoo. Waiting to be told what a good boy he was.

  28. 28
    khead says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Vanity and naivety for some folks. See Jim @ comment #18. Go check out the Simon dude from MD I’m bitching about and see if you can tell me what he represents.

  29. 29
    kindness says:

    There is a good reason most of us don’t have God powers. Reading about Ron Fournier only reinforces that for me. I’d be a force for good but I might be a tad Old Testament on some like Mr. Fournier.

  30. 30

    @Amir Khalid: Most of these people you describe are middle aged wealthy white males, the prime R demographic. Coincidence, I think not.

  31. 31

    @ruemara: How goes your application? All done?

  32. 32
    germy says:

    @cmorenc: Jill Stein is advocating ranked choice voting.

    Over 60% of US believe 2-party system has failed & we need a new party. Stop blaming & shaming independent voters & start fighting for #RankedChoiceVoting, an improved voting system that frees you to VOTE FOR WHAT YOU WANT instead of against what you fear. https://t.co/IWnVwZCoDC— Dr. Jill Stein🌻 (@DrJillStein) August 11, 2018

  33. 33
    charluckles says:

    “Voter frustration is mounting under President Trump, the second-straight anti-establishment candidate whose presidency failed to deliver positive and durable change.”

    WTF!

  34. 34
    Fair Economist says:

    @cmorenc: Third parties have *never* pushed out an existing top two party in the US. Third parties have succeeded only after one of the two major parties has collapsed.

  35. 35
    Marcopolo says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I have no special love for Bill Bradley but why lump him in with this lot? He has always been a Democrat, has never been affiliated with the No Labels, Third Way asshole crowd and has supported D candidates for years, including Obama. If you need a former D senator to piss down on please use Joe Lieberman or Zell Miller but leave Bradley out of it. Sure he challenged Gore for the D Presidential nod in 2000 but that was along policy lines and he strongly supported Gore after losing the nomination.

  36. 36

    @FlipYrWhig:
    I am pretty down on him. That interview was… insane. Just insane. Stewart had no interest in Obama’s actual accomplishments. He had no interest in apportioning any blame at all to Republicans, at a time when it was screamingly obvious they had lost their fucking minds. It was nonstop accusing Obama of being a dishonest failure for not bringing ‘change’ in the form of bipartisan cooperation.

  37. 37

    @germy: I am against anything Jill Stein advocates. Also WTF is the sunflower supposed to mean?

  38. 38
    Matt says:

    @Roger Moore: Given that enforcing even the rules we have now would put most of the GOP in jail, 100% guarantee that they’ll shriek “partisanship!” at any strengthening or enforcement attempts.

    “Centrist” has a new meaning nowadays: “fascist but too chickenshit to admit it”

  39. 39
    germy says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Also WTF is the sunflower supposed to mean

    I have no idea. Who knows at this point?

    Her tweet signals she seems to understand the problem of third party voting in a two-party system. I don’t know enough about ranked choice voting to know if it would help or hurt.

  40. 40
    Aleta says:

    Fresh individually sourced candidates with sustainable policy practices, harvested from regional craft microthinktanks

    Oh the money that’s going to the people who are branding and while they’re at it advertising themselves.

  41. 41

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (formerly Mumphrey, et al.):

    It’s hard to believe that so many people who have spent their lives covering politics can’t understand how American politics work.

    This is a big reason so many of us think their “misunderstanding” is nothing of the kind.

  42. 42
    Josie says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Don’t feel badly. My youngest son, who is a professional that started playing in the third grade, hates to string his own guitars and always tries to find someone else to do it for him.

    Some of his stuff: https://www.youtube.com/user/TreyJonesMusic/videos?view=0

  43. 43
    cmorenc says:

    @germy:

    @cmorenc: Jill Stein is advocating ranked choice voting.

    I agree “ranked choice” would represent a huge improvement in our political system, and would break the total control of it by the current two major parties and alter the US system much closer to a Parliamentary system (though the Presidency would still likely remain the domain of one of the two major parties, unlike pure Parliamentary systems). But that’s exactly why neither of the two major parties will willingly permit ranked voting to pass on a national scale, except maybe within intra-party primaries.

    But until such day happens, the Jill Steins and Gary Johnsons and Ralph Naders act as perverse spoilers, rather than facilitators of actual reform. And so Stein’s advocacy of “ranked voting” amounts to just a mea culpa excuse for being a spoiler in 2016.

  44. 44
    Elizabelle says:

    @charluckles: I know.

    FWIW, reindeer are actually rather progressive animals. The highest status individual is a pregnant female. The herd will defer to their eating first, in times of scarcity. (Learned that at a reindeer museum in Iceland.) So: reindeer are NOT Republicans.

    Cute article, but truth: SANTA’S REINDEER ARE FEMALE (AND PREGNANT), ACCORDING TO SCIENCE

    … reindeer shed their antlers annually — and males and females shed at different points in the year.

    According to Dr. Debbie, veterinarian and regular contributor on Animal Radio … males typically “drop their rack” in November, leaving them without antlers until the following spring.

    Females keep their antlers through the winter until their calves are born in May. This is mainly to help them protect their grazing spots, so they have enough food during pregnancy. And partly because it’s a hard to grow new antlers while their bodies are in the middle of growing new reindeer.

    Which means that on December 25th, if you see eight reindeer with proud antlers pulling a sleigh across the sky, the laws of nature would dictate that you’re watching some pregnant ladies at work.

    When you think about it, it explains so much. Delivering the perfect presents to all the children in the world, in a single night? That would take careful planning, world-class organization, meticulous scheduling skills, superhuman amounts of energy …

    Of course they’re moms. We should have guessed that years ago.

  45. 45
    Amir Khalid says:

    Wouldn’t a change to the rules for deciding election winners require a Constitutional amendment?

  46. 46

    @germy: In the Bay Area ranked choice voting just leads to slightly different intra-party contests. Not sure how it would work in a more usual area.

  47. 47
    kindness says:

    Here we have an article generated by an evil mensche (Ron Fournier) and you choose to use this to beat up on Jon Stewart?

    Some of your priorities are a tad misplaces imho. Keep your eyes on the ball. If this article doesn’t shout exactly that for Democrats…..well there are plenty of folk out there trying to split the Democratic vote. Don’t take the bait.

    Ranked Choice – I hate Ranked Choice. If someone doesn’t win 50% +1 then there should be a run off. Ranked choice is pushed because it is cheaper than holding a new election and I think that isn’t the proper democratic thing to do. Spend the money and let people vote, again.

  48. 48
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Fournier is a cretin. The disgust is as much with offal like him as it is with the politicians themselves.

  49. 49
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Josie:
    I just feel sad when I look at the untidy winding of strings around the tuning posts on Lady and The Girl. They deserve better, to match their beautifully polished frets. (At least I’m good at that.)

  50. 50
    Chyron HR says:

    @germy:

    So until the US has hashtag ranked choice voting, we need to continue voting “against what [we] fear”? Oops!

  51. 51
    cmorenc says:

    @Fair Economist:

    @cmorenc: Third parties have *never* pushed out an existing top two party in the US. Third parties have succeeded only after one of the two major parties has collapsed.

    The main point isn’t the extent to which the Whigs were already fatally rotted out when the GOP was founded – rather it’s the fact that the last time something like this happened in American politics was in the 1850s, over 160 years ago. And the current two major parties are far more deeply structurally entrenched than the parties back pre-Civil War America.

    Expecting a modern third party to effectively topple one of the existing two dominant parties under our current system is hoping for a unicorn to come along to rescue us.

  52. 52
    Amir Khalid says:

    @kindness:
    I thought Stewart’s No Labels wheeze was … quixotic, let’s put it that way.

  53. 53
    low-tech cyclist says:

    For years as a political reporter in Washington, I wrote about the public’s disgust with the U.S. political system and predicted the rise of a third party and outsider presidential candidates.

    Right there, anyone with a clue knows he’s bullshitting, because if he spent “years as a political reporter in Washington,” which he did, you know he has to know the systemic barriers that prevent the rise of viable third parties.

    I railed against the Republican-Democratic duopoly and chased the mythical “white knight” who would put country over party — and then put the two major parties out of business.

    Or maybe he really was that much of an idiot, because his longtime chasing of a “white knight” is basically an admission of long-term stupidity.

    But he might have just asked himself: what has each party been trying to do, and was it stuff that was beneficial to, or harmful to, the country? The Dems got health insurance for millions of people, and made sure that the insurance companies couldn’t say, “pre-existing condition, gotcha!” The GOP did its level best to prevent them. The Dems tried to do something to rein in climate change. The GOP blocked it. The Dems tried to ensure that more people got overtime pay. The GOP killed that. And that’s just for starters.

    So either he’s a GOP shill trying to disguise himself as a centrist, or he’s dumber than even I can give him credit for. Either way, I trust him about as far as I can throw a grand piano.

  54. 54
    West of the Rockies says:

    @Major Major Major Major:

    What’s with Republicans and ]unicorns suddenly? What was the quote about Trump a few weeks back: “A unicorn riding on the back of a unicorn over a rainbow…”

    Seems a curious motif for the GOP to fixate upon.

  55. 55
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @FlipYrWhig: In addition to Marcopolo’s comments in defense of Bill Bradley’s Democratic bona fides, I think the accusation of his “barely giving a shit” about people’s real problems misses pretty much everything about the man. He may have had a technocratic mien, but that was simply the way he approached every problem, back to his basketball career. But he was a standard-issue Democrat.

  56. 56
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @germy: FSB stooge wants wut? Reason alone to reject the idea completely.

  57. 57
    James E Powell says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Like most people here, I think it’s a pose, a desire to be seen as one who is above it all and therefore better than others. I also suspect the network bosses and the advertisers (is there a difference) may require that pose.

    But there’s more to it than that. Only a Democrat or a Democrat-ish strives to be seen this way. Republicans, no matter how cruel and odious the policies, show up and say, I’m a Republican. They never run down their party, they don’t say “the Republicans need to . . . ” They say “we” and they mean it. For about the last 30 years, anyone identifying as a Democrat without apology is deemed “not serious” and maybe unhinged. I have no idea how to change this other than the solution proposed by valued commenter Villago Delenda Est.

    As for changing guitar strings, doing it a couple hundred times is the only thing that worked for me. I got addicted to the feel and sound of new strings. In my gigging days, I changed them every Tuesday night. Nowadays it’s more like once a month. I got more efficient at it and actually started to like doing it.

  58. 58
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Amir Khalid: When Stewart and his writers were good, he was very good, and I doubt the 2010 midterms were really affected by that Rally About Nothing and his execrable, onanistic, hipster-broderist speech about politics being like the Lincoln (?) tunnel, but that was some spectacular bed-shitting

  59. 59
    Nicole says:

    I think Jon Stewart has both racial and gender biases that he does not examine. I adored The Daily Show… until he returned after Jon Oliver had hosted while Stewart was off doing a film. When he came back, I realized how mean he is. After months of Oliver, who was GREAT, when Stewart returned, I could see his white male entitlement. Kind of like getting out of a toxic relationship and looking back at it and realizing everything that was wrong that you didn’t see while you were in it.

    I don’t think he’s a bad human being; I just think he swims in the same misogynistic, racist waters we all do, and sometimes perspective can be really hard.

  60. 60
    joel hanes says:

    @Roger Moore:

    can’t understand how American politics work.

    I think it’s more that they really don’t like the way it works, and is constrained to work, and wish it were not constrained as it is, and think that if they wish really really hard and clap for tinkerbelle and hold tight to their dreams etc. those unpleasant realities will cease to be. Because it *should* be the way they wish it was, right?

    The word “should” often plays a large role in their political opinions. Once you learn to look for it, it becomes a tell.

  61. 61
    Marcopolo says:

    In other news, yesterday my Indivisible St Louis group kicked off our major effort for the November midterms, 100K Stronger Missouri. We’ve now started writing GOTV postcards to be mailed in late October to strong D voters in Missouri who do not have a history of voting in midterm elections. If we can get more of these folks out to the polls it will help D candidates up and down the ballot including McCaskill in her senate re-election bid. Our initial goal is 100K postcards, but as we managed to write 58K for Wesley Bell’s winning County Prosecutor campaign in our Aug 7th primary over a much shorter time frame I imagine there’s a possibility for doubling that. The cool thing about GOTV postcard writing is it is an election activity that folks who hate door-knocking & phone calling can do, an activity that can be done at your house if you have mobility or shyness issues, and on your own schedule (a number of writers yesterday said they liked to write postcards while watching Rachel Maddow & drinking wine :)). On the other hand, if you enjoy the social aspects of campaigning you can come out be a part of a group writing effort–we currently have 3 scheduled times each week.

    Yesterday I was particularly pleased to meet fellow BJ commenter LaPassionata who joined our group for a few hours. That makes one fellow St Louis area BJer I have now met in real life–so SteveinATL if you are reading this maybe next time you’re in St Louis you can have dinner with two of us, not just me.

    I hope everyone is finding positive actions that they can take towards electing the folks we need in office after November. Being active doesn’t ameliorate the crazy badness that is transpiring every day but it does allow one to focus energy and intent on making things better instead of despairing.

  62. 62

    @germy: I have seen this sunflower emoji on many LTT handles. (Leftier than thou)

  63. 63

    @cmorenc:

    Third parties have only been effective in the U.S. when they completely replace one of the two major parties that has so rotted out from the inside that it suffers rapid catastrophic collapse under pressure of events and competition from the upstart (e.g. the Whigs, replaced by the GOP).

    I don’t think that’s completely true. The only time third parties have succeeded in displacing one of the established parties is when the established party collapsed, but in terms of success in getting their policy preferences enacted by being a sufficient threat that the established parties had to co-opt some of their policies to keep them from taking over. The Progressives of the early 20th Century were the most obvious case, but the Farmer-Labor party and even the Socialists managed to push on policy issues that way.

    The obvious thing about those parties is that they were mostly bottom-up rather than top-down. They were able to threaten the major parties by winning locally and pushing to higher and higher office. Something like that could happen today in big cities where the Republicans are all but irrelevant and there’s space for a party to the left of the Democrats. That’s what the Greens would be doing if they were more than a Republican ratfucking operation.

  64. 64
    germy says:

    @Chyron HR:

    So until the US has hashtag ranked choice voting, we need to continue voting “against what [we] fear”? Oops!

    I can’t wait to vote against what I fear. I’m looking forward to it.

    I remember W.C. Fields once said “I never vote for anyone. I always vote against.”

  65. 65
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Amir Khalid: I think it’s an attempt to communicate with the other side, t with Stewart he’s trying to talk the Conservatives down from the ledge and Fournier is looking for more suckers to grift from.

  66. 66
  67. 67
  68. 68
    Mike in NC says:

    Jon Stewart excelled at doing “both sides do it” while also managing to kiss the asses of the likes of Jim DeMint and Dick Armey.

  69. 69
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mike in NC: Which are unforgivable sins. Broderism must be eradicated in all its forms, wherever it appears.

  70. 70

    @Amir Khalid:

    Wouldn’t a change to the rules for deciding election winners require a Constitutional amendment?

    Not necessarily. President, VP, and Senator are the only offices where the voting procedures are spelled out in the Constitution. There’s a vain hope that the Presidential election could be changed by an inter-state compact (states with enough votes to guarantee an Electoral College victory agree to give their electoral votes to the winner of the popular election). Congressional elections are handled at the state level, and it’s legal (though not practiced) for states to have multi-seat districts with whatever kind of election they choose. So in theory any state that wanted could elect all its representatives at large with proportional representation and it would be perfectly legal. Of course the same rules that let states do that if they want it also make it hard to implement it nationwide from the top down.

  71. 71
    Another Scott says:

    @germy: There are so many voting system proposals that I really would want to see a thorough, scientific, paper on the ramifications of each of the major ones before getting behind any particular one.

    E.g. Hertzberg in the New Yorker in 1993:

    […]

    PR [Porportional Representation] as the Preferred Alternative

    Ms. Guinier proposes as an alternative a variation on proportional representation which she calls “proportionate interest representation.” It’s really a modified at-large system. In a citywide election for five council seats, say, each voter would have five votes, which she could distribute among the five candidates any way she likes. If a fifth of the voters opted to “cumulate,” or plump, all their votes for one candidate, they would be able to elect one of the five. Blacks could do this if they chose to, but so could any cohesive group of sufficient size. This system is emphatically not racially based: it allows voters to organize themselves on whatever basis they wish. It has actually been tried in a few jurisdictions — including the proverbially American city of Peoria, Illinois — and has had notable success in all of them.
    Pressed to justify his abandonment of Ms. Guinier, Mr. Clinton said that she had seemed to advocate proportional representation, a position he called “antidemocratic and very difficult to defend.” Antidemocratic? That will come as news to the good people of Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, and Sweden, among other countries. Indeed, most of the electorates of Continental Europe, including those of the liberated East, elect their legislatures under some form of proportional representation; so do the Irish, the Italians, and the Israelis; and so will the New Zealanders, who passed a referendum on the subject in November 1993.

    PR and Democracy
    PR, as its advocates call it, is the very opposite of undemocratic. It not only facilitates minority representation but also virtually guarantees majority rule (the majority most often being a legislative coalition). By contrast, single-member district, winner-take-all systems, like ours and Britain’s, often produce minority governments. The last peacetime British government that represented a majority of the British voters was Stanley Baldwin’s, elected in 1935; and Bill Clinton himself, it should be remembered, owes his job to forty-three percent of the voters.
    While there may be reasons that PR is not suitable for the United States at the national level, lack of democratic purity is not among them. Mr Clinton was right in calling PR “difficult to defend,” but that is because Americans, by and large, are ignorant of the existence, let alone the details, of electoral systems other than their own.
    Thanks to a combination of Presidential weakness, congressional hysteria, public ignorance, and Lani Guinier’s own intellectual adventurousness, the civil-rights division of the Justice Department has been deprived of the services of a formidable lawyer. Ms. Guinier’s ideas are now, in a sadder sense than before, “academic.”

    What’s the actual purpose in changing the voting system? What are the plusses and minuses of doing so?

    If a genuinely repressed group is able to use the system to elect someone to represent their interests, what’s to prevent some “Libertarian” nutjobs from doing so as well?

    The example of Israel is a cautionary tale, IMHO. Having a tiny party (or a collection of tiny parties) hold the government hostage is very, very bad. Look at what the Freedom Caucus has tried to do in the House, also too.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  72. 72
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @germy: The Founding Fathers would have said the same thing pointing to England. The problem is that there is only one President so it’s pretty much down to who supports the president’s policies and who doesn’t.

  73. 73
    Ian says:

    We, the People – not the party bosses or special interests.

    He does realize his little group of ‘independents’ is by definition, a special interest?

    I am sure he cannot be convinced that >1% of state legislators represent we the people.

    Either Fournier is either very, very blind or wilfully ignorant of how basic politics work. Or option C- he knows these things, and gets paid enough money to not care.

  74. 74
    Jamey says:

    If it came down to a vote of Fournier v. terminal cancer, I’d donate heavily to the latter. Yeah, I know… But fuck him.

  75. 75
    Gravenstone says:

    @Major Major Major Major: Seems to me it would typically turn into ‘my candidate ‘ or ‘the other one’, with ‘third party’ coming in a distant… third.

  76. 76
    zhena gogolia says:

    Nobody’s talking about the Kavanaugh memo? Pretty sickening reading.

  77. 77
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Roger Moore:

    That’s what the Greens would be doing if they were more than a Republican ratfucking operation.

    Speaking of that, one of friends ran as a Green for Berkeley city council and the Democrats assumed it was rat fornication to the point they tried bribing him to drop out by offering him a city job. Should have took the Dems up on it because he got less than 2% of the vote or the like lol

  78. 78
    Josie says:

    @Ian:

    After watching Fournier for a number of years, I’m going with option C.

  79. 79
  80. 80
    GxB says:

    I’ll cop to being fiscally conservative, in that I think a healthy dose of side eye has to be doled out when spending tax money. The “fiscal conservatism” we have in the US though is a laughable farce. We hack away at all the good programs, while the flaming obvious cases of grift, waste, and abuse go unabated. Any country that stops investing in the future (i.e. all aspects of childcare, education, basic necessities like Idunno maybe HEALTH CARE) as we have is going nowhere but down.

    So in theory Fournier is fishing for votes like mine but he’ll never get it because his philosophy dictates we all sacrifice for our corporate and social betters (eyeroll) – pardon my French but fuck that shit.

    @Amir Khalid: I’m staring at a couple that are LONG overdue myself. You do have a winder tool right? Highly recommended. If you really wanna start hating on stringing get yourself a guitar with a Floyd Rose – just be sure to get a strong sedative of your choice to go along with any new set of strings – horse tranquilizers may be a good place to start.

  81. 81
    ian says:

    @kindness:
    If someone wins a plurality of voters at 49% does this not count in your eyes? There have been 5 presidential elections in my lifetime that would need a do-over with the 50% threshold.

  82. 82
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Amir Khalid:
    Yes, and the winner-take-all nature of the Electoral College in most states means 3rd party efforts are usually ratfucking operations. Thus, Fournier.

  83. 83
    Jim Parish says:

    @kindness: Unfortunately, plurality-plus-runoff turns to have defects as serious as those of first-past-the-post, or so say the psephologists I’ve read. Ranked choice does not have those defects (though it does have others).

  84. 84
  85. 85
    zhena gogolia says:

    I’m off to lunch now so will miss any discussion of what I just dropped!

  86. 86
    Jim Parish says:

    @Another Scott: The Israeli problem is that the threshold for a party to gain seats is too low. Germany sets the threshold at 5%, I think, and has mostly avoided that problem. (Mostly; they do occasionally have problems assembling a governing coalition.)

  87. 87
    Haroldo says:

    @Another Scott: Likewise Australia in the Senate. It can have both good and bad results, with the minority parties having, on occasion, a lot of sway.

    The House of Reps, is by definition controlled by the majority party (or by a coalition government). The power of minority parties seems do be diluted somewhat in the House (but not always – the conservative coalition is fairly roiled these days). City vs. Country mice bearing fangs.

    Proportional Representation is employed there also.

  88. 88
    Ruckus says:

    @germy:
    Bringing sunlight onto the process.
    See the problem is that it’s all run by cigar smoking white men in back rooms. Someone needs to show how the sausage is really made so the process can change and someone with ideas that only a few think they like can win, Jill herself for example.
    IOW A sunflower only grows in strong light, if we’d just look closely at all of Jill’s ideas in the light of day, we’d be sold.
    I’m not buying it because the only thing she has to sell is pie in the sky.

  89. 89
    GxB says:

    @Brachiator:

    “The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have a democracy, and second, the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it.” – Edward Dowling, 1941

    The more things change…

  90. 90
    frosty says:

    @Amir Khalid: Try slotted headstocks for Restringing Hell.

    Fenders are easy (at least my ‘65 Duodonic was). Cut the string 4-5 cm longer than the post, jam the end straight down the hole in the middle of the post, bend it down and wind.

  91. 91
    Haroldo says:

    @ Haroldo

    Proportional Representation is used to elect the Senate, Preferential Voting is used for the House.

  92. 92
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Of course the same rules that let states do that if they want it also make it hard to implement it nationwide from the top down.

    The last legal bastion of the scoundrels is the Electoral College.

  93. 93
    Doug R says:

    Third parties only work when the third party is actually interested in governing. Canada got national medicare from a minority Liberal government because they had to pass it to keep the New Democrats (Social Democrats) happy and supporting them.
    We had a situation here in British Columbia where the governing “Liberals” (liberal in name only, the big business party) won one less than a majority in the last election. They and the New Democrats both went into the negotiations with the Green Party which held 3 seats. Looks like the greens are more social democrat than big business, because they forced the “Liberals” out of power and now the New Democrats are in with a support agreement from the Greens.
    I know, they keep claiming “It’s not a coalition!” but it mostly works like one.
    Anyway, that’s what happens when you have a Green party that is actually interested in governance.

  94. 94
    cain says:

    I’m disappointed the title wasn’t Cali-fourniercation.

  95. 95
    Haroldo says:

    @Doug R: Yerp. The desire to govern is a key ingredient, one that is all too lacking these days.

  96. 96
    Amir Khalid says:

    @frosty:
    Alas, and also a-lack-a-day. Fender got it right with those vintage tuning posts, but you don’t get’em on the Squier Affinity Tele or the Squier California Strat, which are what I have. They are reserved for vintage reissue series, when they should be standard on all Fender guitars, including Squiers.

  97. 97
    Another Scott says:

    @kindness: Many states in the South have run-off elections. One of the side effects is that it has been very difficult for African Americans (or Latino/Latina Americans) to have elected representation comparable to their share of the population. (The reasoning I’ve heard is that the Whites “come home” to make sure that the Minority candidate doesn’t win.)

    The structure of election systems have lots of consequences. I’d like to see some numbers about the plusses-and-minuses before signing up for any particular major changes.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  98. 98
    Aleta says:

    Putin Reportedly Close to Firing Giuliani

    (Borowitz)

  99. 99
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Marcopolo: @Gin & Tonic: Eh. Bradley is one of the iconic “you can tell how hard I work because I am willing to look unkempt in public” types that I used to fall for when I was young and naive. (Academics do this performance quite a lot too. That’s why “elbow patches” is still a joke.) Remember that phrase “the thinking man’s sex symbol”? It’s mostly a way to prove that you, the thinking man, don’t fall for flash like the un-thinking man does. But as a second-order effect it ends up fetishizing the opposite of flash, like being a curmudgeon or driving a beater. It works all too well on reporters. I think it worked all too well on Jon Stewart over the years too: witness the long man-crush on John McCain. And I don’t think anti-bullshit bullshit is really any better.

  100. 100
    A Ghost To Most says:

    @cain: We are not worthy.

    ::Bows::

  101. 101
    Brachiator says:

    @germy: If Jill Stein advocates ranked choice, it must be bad.

    More seriously, the number two and three candidates in the recent SF mayor’s election tried to use ranked choice to give themselves an advantage over the eventual winner. They urged their supporters to always select these candidates as their top choices.

  102. 102
    danielx says:

    @Elizabelle:

    I was waiting for it myself, and who better than BC?

    My own reaction was something like this: Ron Fournier? Ron Fucking Fournier? Mr. ‘Both Sides’ his very own self? How the hell did he end up in the WaPo editorial pages?

  103. 103
    MattF says:

    I don’t believe that anyone outside the Beltway etiher knows or cares who Fournier is. I very much doubt that he can persuade anyone in the real world to change their votes.

    Bear in mind that ‘changing a vote’ is a hard thing to do in this day and age. How is this supposed to happen? I don’t believe it.

  104. 104
    Marcopolo says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Eh. Bradley is one of the iconic “you can tell how hard I work because I am willing to look unkempt in public” types that I used to fall for when I was young and naive.

    WTF does that even mean? And what does it have to do with his effectiveness as a legislator (and I guarantee you he was more effective as a senator than 90-95% of the folks who’ve held that position) or his bonafides as a Democrat? Should we disparage Sherrod Brown because he often looks unkempt?

    Anyways, the rest of your follow-up comment seems to say a hella lot more about you than actually giving specifics about your problems with Bradley. Perhaps you should re-evaluate your position and realize you were just wrong to talk about him like that in the first place.

  105. 105
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    You can change votes. I’m doing it. But it’s hard work.
    Ron Fournier is a right wing tool who should be ignored. Wouldn’t surprise me if the Russians are sticking a little something in his Christmas stocking this year.
    The republicans will stop at nothing to steal, suppress, etc. democratic votes. Their very lives depend on it.
    Fournier is just another salvo. And a weak one at that.
    There will be others.

  106. 106
    Doug R says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Real disclosure rules to shut of the dark money spigot- and real prison time for failing to follow them- ought to be another Democratic priority the next time they manage to take control in Washington.

    I understand secret donations seeing as organizations like the NAACP rely on membership fees for funding. Perhaps a lower limit of $100 to $1000 for unique anonymous donations, with EVERYTHING higher requiring FULL DOCUMENTATION, no front companies, all spending linked back to the operators and donors.

  107. 107
    Manyakitty says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I bet it’s to show their third-party alignment, but that they’re different from the red rose brigade. Purely my guess, based on nothing but my fevered thoughts.

  108. 108
    Doug R says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    I am against anything Jill Stein advocates. Also WTF is the sunflower supposed to mean?

    Sunflower is sweetest fruit you can grow in Moscow.

  109. 109
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Marcopolo: I didn’t say one fucking thing about “effectiveness as a legislator.” I’m talking about media images and iconography. It’s a gimmick that well-meaning people fall for over and over and over again. And it killed Al Gore and it killed Hillary Clinton, so I’d prefer not to see it happen the next time.

  110. 110
    Marcopolo says:

    @FlipYrWhig: No, you appeared not to realize he was an effective legislator who: 1) actually did care about his constituents; 2) took his work seriously; 3) was always a solid D and never trucked in 3rd ways; and 4) did not present a fashionable appearance. You took a factless dump on Bill Bradley–apparently because of what you conceive of as “his image.” Here is your original comment in full:

    If you think politics is mostly posturing and sham, you can imagine that there must be a way for a non-politician to get in there and use a mix of reason and common sense to stop doing wrong, weak, compromised things and start doing better and making incremental progress. That accounts for Stewart, Aaron Sorkin, etc. And LOTS OF PEOPLE fall for this. Somehow Trump, of all fucking people, managed to tap into that vein. Before Trump it was people like Bill Bradley and Ross Perot, people whose demeanor and style suggest “I barely give a shit but I can fix your problems, and in fact it’s BECAUSE I barely give a shit THAT I can fix your problems.”

    Once again, using Bill Bradley as an example in this context is just wrong. Your recollection of him is wrong. Man up and admit it already.

  111. 111
    TenguPhule says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    I have seen this sunflower emoji on many LTT handles.

    Sunflower seeds are a Russian export.

  112. 112
    FlipYrWhig says:

    No one else cares about this, @Marcopolo, but: You’re misunderstanding the “you” at the beginning. “You” is people like Jon Stewart. People like Jon Stewart get crushes on people like Bill Bradley because Bill Bradley SEEMS serious and practical BECAUSE OF demeanor and style. This is the entire 2000 election campaign in a nutshell, where the media didn’t like Gore because they thought he was too eager to please, and they liked Bradley because he was comfortable in his own skin and whatever else shit they said that always reduced back to that he wore corduroys when he was in the NBA. And they liked John McCain for a similar reason: because he seems not to care what people think of him. And seeming not to care what people think of you is, it turns out, a good way to get people to think highly of you. And people NOT in the media fall for the same act. It’s a stupid act that reinforces the fantasies of people who affect to be exhausted by partisanship and politicians. [Edited slightly after initial posting]

  113. 113

    @FlipYrWhig:OMG, you are so right. This unkempt common man schtick worked well in Indian politics too. The CM (Chief Minister) of Delhi, won because of his outsider credentials and a deliberately craptastic wardrobe of ill fitting frayed sweaters and the like.

  114. 114
  115. 115
    Brachiator says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    And they liked John McCain for a similar reason: because he seems not to care what people think of him

    The thing is, John McCain lost.

    It’s always the media or the ghost of Karl Rove leading voters by the nose. And now we have Trump, who uses the media, beats them at their own game, and then slaps them around and makes them like it.

    But even if this branch of the media were better behaved, you would still have the pure right wing propaganda sites like Fox News and Sinclair, etc, which give frightened voters a place to go where they never need to be troubled by facts or nuance.

    Biased press, often actively supported by the candidates themselves, have been around since the founding of the nation.

    Would a forced return of the fairness doctrine help? What else could be done to help voters wade through the bullshit? Why are most Balloon Juice commenters seemingly immune to much of the media distortion?

    And keep in mind that some people want to be fooled.

  116. 116
    prostratedragon says:

    From The Abominable Dr. Phibes,

    death by unicorn.

  117. 117
    ruemara says:

    @FlipYrWhig: I know people love him but, yes, he is & was bigoted and as much a smug buddy with the conservatives he criticized as any lobbyist. He had a lot of problems with Obama and did some messed up things.

  118. 118
    The Moar You Know says:

    I got an email from these tools, probably because I’ve been a registered “decline to state” voter for quite some time (and if you work for the government in any capacity, well, look at what this admin is doing with clearances and seriously consider registering accordingly – registered Dems could be in a world of shit with their jobs soon) and knew that of course it was a Republican front. Went to the website to confirm. It is. They’re backing some fairly hard right folks here in CA, this is not your normal ratfucking operation.

  119. 119
    Barney says:

    @charluckles: Yeah, that could be the worst example of “bothsidesism” I’ve ever seen. To imagine that Trump is in any way comparable to Obama is just such a blatant con job that you can’t trust anything else he writes.

  120. 120
    Betty Cracker says:

    @driftglass: Deflecto Patronum! :)

  121. 121
    J R in WV says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    You need a little pair of wire snippers to shorten your strings to match the size of your neck. You’re correct in that you only need a few turns of string around the peg to hold the end of the string forever.

  122. 122
    hgc10 says:

    The reindeer that Fournier is hunting are just as mythical as his unicorn. There is no constituency for the middle candidates.

  123. 123
    J R in WV says:

    Fournier is not now, nor has ever been, a journalist. He is a right-wing propagandist who somehow managed to get a job with The AP, one of the most important jobs in journalism in this country, Bureau Chief in Washington, DC. He was then able to distort coverage of national political events and activity nationwide.

    Piano-wire is way too good for the monster in light of the things he has facilitated. He is owned and operated by Koch/Mercer some rich fascists, or just is a fascist himself by nature.

  124. 124

    @FlipYrWhig: It’s good I’m not the only one that has the memory of an elephant.

  125. 125
    Rufus says:

    After getting an thought for some t-shirt designs.

  126. 126
    Maggie says:

    Once you have an idea for some t-shirt designs.

Comments are closed.