Andrew Stewart Makes a VotePact

September 15th, 2016 by Sam

Listen in as Andrew Stewart takes one vote away from each Trump and Clinton:

It’s also at Internet Archive page and Podcast page on Media Coop: Beginning is intro. At 1 minute mark, there’s an interview with Sam Husseini, founder of VotePact. At 10:45, there’s a dialogue and negotiation that forms a VotePact: A traditional Democratic voter and a traditional Republican voter both agree to vote for other candidates instead — in this case, one for Jill Stein and one for Gary Johnson. At around 17:45, Andrew gives a great summary:

“And there you have it, for those of you who are on the progressive end of the spectrum, I have just effectively taken away a vote from Donald Trump. And for those of you who loathe the Clintons more than anything else, she has also just lost a voter. Now the choice is in your hands. Go out and talk to people close to you who are disenchanted with their traditional political party. Engage in these sorts of conversations, and begin to take votes, two at a time, away from the duopoly. It might surprise you to learn that, despite their candidates being extremely problematic, their voters are a lot like you. When you build a votepact, consider publicizing it; mail in letters to the editor to your local newspaper explaining your decisions, tell people on social media in pairs about it, and be sure to use the hashtag #votepact to build awareness in those forums. Thank you for listening today.”

 

VotePact: Do It Yourself Voting Reform

September 13th, 2016 by Sam

FairVote just interviewed Sam Husseini about VotePact:

Question: You’ve called your VotePact.org project do-it-yourself ranked choice voting (RCV). What do you mean?

Sam Husseini: Both attempt to solve the same problem. Take this election. There are lots of people who would want to vote for Green Party nominee Dr. Jill Stein or Libertarian Party nominee Gov. Gary Johnson or other candidates, but are not currently planning on doing so. They are set to vote for Donald Trump or Sec. Hillary Clinton because they fear or hate the other.

Q: And this election is sort of an extreme in this respect since Clinton and Trump both have very high negatives.

SH: It’s through the roof. Suffolk University/USA Today found Trump at 61 percent untrustworthy and Clinton 59 percent untrustworthy. Much of the media system is built around this, Fox and MSNBC work constantly to keep the fear and hatred going, to keep the voters the reservations.

Q: And RCV addresses this problem of course by allowing people to rank the candidates 1-2-3-4. So someone could vote Stein, Johnson, Clinton, Trump — or whatever they want.

SH: Right. And what VotePact does is get people to pair up. One person who has Clinton as their lesser evil pairs up with someone who has Trump as theirs. So, instead of both cancelling each other out, one self-loathingly voting for Trump and the other for Clinton, they both vote for other candidates — Johnson, Stein or any other candidate that are their actual favorites. So you’re kind of simulating RCV. [See full interview at FairVote.org.]

FAIR: Media “Opinion” Polls Replicate Bind Voter Already In

September 13th, 2016 by Sam

Janine Jackson at the media watch group FAIR recently noted:

Just recently, the Commission announced that the threshold for inclusion is based on public opinion—that’s to say, public opinion polls. Candidates must get 15 percent in polls conducted by five national organizations the group names. But there again, as journalist and activist Sam Husseini pointed out, the polls themselves have a way of tamping down interest in independent and third-party candidates.

The question they ask is generally a variant of “if the election were held today, for whom would you vote?”—which is subtly, but importantly,  different from asking people open-endedly who they want to be president. As it is, these polls sort of replicate the bind the voter is already in—especially at a time when record high numbers of people call themselves “independents,” and in a race in which many voters’ main reason for supporting one major party candidate is that they are not the other.

Ideas for VotePact: Town Hall Meetings, Dual Videos and more….

September 3rd, 2016 by Sam

Over at caucus99percent, CantStoptheSignal suggests activists with different takes on Bernie Sanders and “Our Revolution” put aside their differences and focus on helping VotePact for the rest of the election season:

This is a magnificent idea, even if it fails to dislodge Hillary Clinton from the throat of the country, where we’re currently choking on her. It brings the people together. It reaffirms bonds of trust across political lines, and in particular reaffirms the fact that we trust each other–the people we know–a hell of a lot more than we trust any of those bastards who are providing us with our current political “choices.” It creates the basis of a movement against the system that produced these rotten choices in the first place. And who knows where a movement like that could go?

So I propose we spread this idea far and wide. My thoughts so far:

1) Town hall-style meetings between us and Republicans who are sick of their own party’s BS and the corruption of the country, as much as we are. … Read the rest of this entry »

Trump Going to Mexico is not the Real Irony. NAFTA Is.

August 31st, 2016 by Sam

Many are shocked that Donald Trump announced he is going to Mexico today. That misses the real ironies here: NAFTA — and how this should be a boon to the Green Party.

First the obvious stuff: Donald Trump is playing to xenophobic sentiments. His “solutions” are in large part twisted or beside the point, for example, U.S. government has largely already built the wall.

One real irony is that Trump is appealing for votes based on trade issues. His criticism of NAFTA rightly resonates with many in the U.S. Lots of workers have lost out because of NAFTA and other so-called “trade deals.” These deals are actually largely investment protection agreements that help the huge corporations and the wealthy in the U.S., Mexico and other countries. That’s people like Trump and people and corporations like those who fund Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, these secretive deals often rook regular folks wherever they live. [Full piece]

Letter in Washington Post: “VotePact Offers Voters a Sensible Alternative”

August 29th, 2016 by Sam

The Washington Post just published this letter about VotePact:

In his Aug. 24 op-ed about Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, “2016’s Ralph Nader,” Dana Milbank described VotePact.org as a group that backs third-party candidates. This simplification was a way of mentioning VotePact without noting the problem VotePact solves — a problem that pundits use to effectively restrict voter choice.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump both have record-high unfavorability ratings among the public. There is a deep hunger for another viable choice, but this is hindered because many voters feel compelled to vote for Ms. Clinton or Mr. Trump simply because they fear or hate the other.

In the face of many obstacles, we suggest a solution for people stuck in fear: Pair up with someone you know and trust from the other side of the two-party divide. That is, instead of you and a friend canceling out each other’s votes, one self-loathingly voting for Ms. Clinton and the other for Mr. Trump, you vote for the third-party candidates you prefer. You both get to vote your preference without helping the candidate you most dislike.

Sam Husseini, Riverdale
The writer is founder of VotePact.org.

How Disenchanted Democrats and Republicans Together Can Break the Two Party Duopoly

August 25th, 2016 by Sam


From The Real News: “How Disenchanted Democrats and Republicans Together Can Break the Two Party Duopoly” 

Selling a Lifetime Subscription to the Politics of Fear

August 24th, 2016 by Sam

The Washington Post — and much of the establishment — wants you to buy a lifetime subscription to the politics of fear.

Dana Milbank, a columnist for the paper, popped up at Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s news conference that focused on climate change. After Stein noted that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have gotten billions in free media, he chimed in: “Dana Milbank with the Washington Post segment of the corporate media. I have a conundrum I want to present to you. I could write about today and others could report here about what an important issue climate change is. And we would publish it or broadcast it. The fact is very few people will read it. They will go read or view stories about Trump’s staff machinations or Clinton’s e-mails. I’m not sure the issue is necessarily a corporate media but what people are demanding. Why is that? What is the way around that if there is one?”

Milbank is pretending to be so concerned about what it is people want. What came to mind for me was John Milton’s aphorism: “They who have put out the people’s eyes reproach them of their blindness.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Votepact Founder Sam Husseini on Black Agenda Report Radio

August 23rd, 2016 by Sam

Glen Ford talks with Sam Husseini about polling, asking the right questions and third party candidates, here.

How Presidential “Non-Opinion” Polls Drive Down Third Party Numbers and Facilitate Debate Exclusion

August 18th, 2016 by Sam

This week, the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates announced what polls it will utilize in excluding candidates from its debates.

The CPD says candidates like the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson and the Green Party’s Jill Stein must get 15 percent in polls conducted by “five national public opinion polling organizations” — ABC/Washington Post, CBS/New York Times, CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, Fox News, and NBC/Wall Street Journal.

Not only — as several have correctly argued — is the 15 percent threshold arbitrary and exclusionary, but these polls don’t actually ask voter preferences at all.

They all ask “If the presidential election were being held today for whom would you vote?” or some minor variation of that.

Who you want or prefer and what you would do in the voting booth may be very different things. These “public opinion polls” don’t actually measure opinion — they are a non-opinion polls. They ask a false hypothetical regarding a future action.

 A better public opinion question would be: “Who do you want to be president” or “Who do you prefer to be president?” or “Who is your first choice to be president?”

Read the rest of this entry »