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Author, Teacher, Screenwriter


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

VOTE!

If you are a resident of a Super Tuesday state, don't miss this chance. Whether to help guide our nation, or to be a part of history...this is one for the books. I seriously doubt there has been a more important election cycle in my lifetime--and that's before you add Barack and Hillary to the equation. Arguably, historians might look back on this election as being one of the three most important EVER. And in a very real sense, this is the first election of the 21st Century--and the world is watching, wondering what the next hours and days will say about the American character. Whatever you believe, whoever you support, make this day count. We are all in this together.
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And the question of the day is: what do YOU think were the most important elections in American history?

7 comments:

Mike Ralls said...

I don't think this election is in even the top 10, but as far as I can tell I'm one of the rare people who think that both the Clinton and the Bush years were rather good ones for this country, when compared with most other 16 year periods. I think people are comparing 1992 - 2008 to some golden platonic ideal instead of, 1976 - 1992, 1960 - 1976, 1944 - 1960, etc etc. In each of those time periods there was way worse things effecting the average American than the last 16 years.

In terms of most important elections in this country, I define that in terms that if the country would have elected some other guy, it would greatly have changed the country for the worse or for the better. A lot of alternate Presidents wouldn't have done much that was radically different from their counterparts, IMO, the ones who would have been radically different are:

1860: If a Republican is not elected than there is no Civil War that year. Period. Even a delayed Civil War gives us HUGE changes. Huge. And if some compromise is worked out by 1864 or 1868? A US without a Civil War would be radically different (My guess is Slavery would be outlawed sometime in the 1910's without a Civil War, that is when there would be enough Free States to pass a constitutional amendment over the slave states veto).


1932: I don't see any way that the Republicans could have won, but it could have very easily have been someone else other than FDR who did. If John Nance Garner (FDR's VP and a very old conservative Southern Good Old Boy) had got the top spot we likely would have seen a less well run New Deal, but the biggest change would have been having an Isolationist in the White House. If FDR wasn't around to push for financial support of Britain, and we had someone pulling against it instead, it's entirely possible that the British would have been in dire enough straights by late '40 or early '41 that they could have made a negotiated peace with Hitler. World change there.

1896: William Jennings Bryan was going to take the US on the Silver Standard. It probably would have been very bad for the nation financially. He likely would have fought the Spanish-American War, but he would have given the Philippines its independence from the get go. Our relations with Asia would be very different in that case and the example of a Asian colony gaining independence in the 19th century would have effected de-colonization quite a bit.

1828: Andrew Jackson's vetoing the National Bank of America's re-charter by Congress in 1832 and by withdrawing U.S. funds from it in 1833 killed it, and really hurt the US economy for the next 100 years. John Quincy Adams wouldn't have done that and if it was re-charted in 1832 for 20 years and it would have gained enough momentum by 1852 that it's unlikely anyone would have killed it after that. The US would have had a sound banking system instead of the frequent panics (Think the scene at the bank in "It's a Wonderful Life") for a century early. Big change to the average citizen.

Anonymous said...

From 1901-2000, the 20th century --

1940, 1980, 2000.

("Important" doesn't mean "the candidates were great" or "the outcome was obviously good"; hence, 2000.)

For the overall history of the U.S.? Gosh. 1860, for sure. Otherwise, I'd tend to agree with Mike Ralls.


--Erich Schwarz

Mike Ralls said...

Regarding today's vote, I found this very interesting;

http://www.openleft.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=3633

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* With Michigan and Florida removed from the equation, 2,025 delegates are required to win the nomination, and there are 3,253 pledged delegates.
* To date, four states with a combined 137 pledged delegates have held nominating contests.
* Currently, Barack Obama is projected with 63 pledged delegates, and Hillary Clinton is projected with 48 (source).
* On Super Tuesday, 22 states and a couple territories with a combined 1,688 pledged delegates will hold nominating contests.

From this point, quick math shows that after Super Tuesday, only 1,428 pledged delegates will still be available. Now, here is where the problem shows up. According to current polling averages, the largest possible victory for either candidate on Super Tuesday will be Clinton 889 pledged delegates, to 799 pledged delegates for Obama. (In all likelihood, the winning margin will be lower than this, but using these numbers helps emphasize the seriousness of the situation.) As such, the largest possible pledged delegate margin Clinton can have after Super Tuesday is 937 to 862. (While it is possible Obama will lead in pledged delegates after Super Tuesday, it does not currently seem possible for Obama to have a larger lead than 75). That leaves Clinton 1,088 pledged delegates from clinching the nomination, with only 1,428 pledged delegates remaining. Thus, in order to win the nomination without the aid of super delegates, in her best-case scenario after Super Tuesday, Clinton would need to win 76.2% of all remaining pledged delegates. Given our proportional delegate system, there is simply no way that is going to happen unless Obama drops out.

So, there you have it. Unless either Obama or Clinton drops out before the convention, there is simply no way that the nominee can be determined without the super delegates.

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Anyone ever see the episode of the West Wing were the primary went all the way to the convention? ;) I think that's unlikely, but who
knows?

As an Oregonian I'd be psyched because for the first time
my primary vote would actually matter (Oregon votes on May 20th, two and a half weeks before Puerto Rico), but other than me, what would be the effect of it going all the way to the convention?

How would the first modern convention that mattered likely go?

Would the Democrats change their rules after it? Ditch the super-
delegates?

If McCain becomes the front runner, how would he run against an unpicked Democrat between now and August?

Would Super Tuesday become Super-Super-Tuesday in 2012 with
_everybody_ but the front runners running?

It could all get very interesting.

Brian Dunbar said...

what do YOU think were the most important elections in American history?

The first one: it established an orderly process and set precedent.

After that the rest were filling in details.

Mike Ralls said...

>The first one: it established an orderly process and set precedent.

After that the rest were filling in details.<

I would argue against that because Washington essentially ran unopposed in 1789 and 1792. 1796 (Adams vs Jefferson, with a bunch of small fry) was the first real election in which we had two opposing candidates. In terms of historical presidence, 1800 was the probably more important than the three elections that preceded it because it had a sitting US president peacefully and voluntarily giving up power to a rival who defeated him in the election. Plenty of countries had people willing to abide by elections as long as they won them, and then trying to keep power after losing them.

Brian Dunbar said...

1800 was the probably more important than the three elections that preceded it because it had a sitting US president peacefully and voluntarily giving up power to a rival who defeated him in the election.

Point to the man in the funny hat.

Paul Gibbons said...

Sorry, Mike, but I just can't let this one go:

"1828: Andrew Jackson's vetoing the National Bank of America's re-charter by Congress in 1832 and by withdrawing U.S. funds from it in 1833 killed it, and really hurt the US economy for the next 100 years. John Quincy Adams wouldn't have done that and if it was re-charted in 1832 for 20 years and it would have gained enough momentum by 1852 that it's unlikely anyone would have killed it after that. The US would have had a sound banking system instead of the frequent panics (Think the scene at the bank in "It's a Wonderful Life") for a century early."

Your post is articulate and shows a familiarity with a good bit of history. However, statements such as "really hurt the US economy for the next 100 years" and "The US would have had a sound banking system" need a little more support than mere assertion. I realize that this is the 'conventional wisdom' put forth in the part of the popular culture that even cares about such things, but as we begin to make choices for our future it is vital to be able to point to the evidence to back up the opinions we hold. Political issues tend to become complicated as people who have something to gain at another's expense but don't want to actually give that as the reason, come up with fog and gas to obscure simple truths like 'thou shall not steal'.

This short article:

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig7/beane2.html

in less that 1350 words gives a clearer picture of the concept of 'central banking' than most I have read. If you're looking for a longer article with references to the Jackson administration you can look here:

http://www.lewrockwell.com/paul/paul124.html

a quote:
"A fiat monetary system allows power and influence to fall into the hands of those who control the creation of new money, and to those who get to use the money or credit early in its circulation. The insidious and eventual cost falls on unidentified victims who are usually oblivious to the cause of their plight. This system of legalized plunder (though not constitutional) allows one group to benefit at the expense of another. An actual transfer of wealth goes from the poor and the middle class to those in privileged financial positions."

Now you might accuse Dr. Paul of making his own 'mere assertions' but I would invite you first to actually refute any of the material facts in the former article before going forth in your support of the 'status quo'.

Finally, to address the question Steven originally posed, I agree with you about the 'war of Northern aggression'; slavery would have ended as it did in Britain without a war and the other major issue, taxes, would have had to be solved more peacefully.