Points By Drew Pritt

Could 2008 See The Rise of JESSE???
October 3, 2007, 12:57 pm
Filed under: National Politics


Anyone who knows me knows that I am a purveyor and collector of political buttons. I always seem to make a little money on the side in designing campaign logos, so I like to look, and sometimes get ideas. Most of the time, each button, seems to tell a story or a tale. The last time I remember seeing campaign signs for a Presidential candidate with the name Jesse was watching Jesse Jackson speak at the 1988 Democratic National Convention. I was a young child and didn’t understand the immiediate significance of the event, that an African-American candidate, had obtained and come so close to taking the Presidential nomination. As my watching of Presidential politics followed, this was followed by the rise four years later, of a larger than life yet erratic Independent Presidential candidate named H. Ross Perot. Thus became my interest in third party candidacies.

So with 2008 looming with so many larger than life candidates for President could there be room for a third party candidate? For a third party to even make a blip they would need someone larger than life. I mean the Democrats have a former First Lady turned U.S. Senator as well as first woman seriously in line to be President battling with an African-American, a Nobel-Prize nominated Hispanic Governor, two distinguished U.S. Senators, a former U.S. Senator and one of the author of the Pentagon Papers, and then an also-ran one term U.S. Senator and Vice Presidential nominee and a peacenik U.S. Congressman. Thats just the Democrats. The Republicans have the Mayor of New York City during 9/11 battling with a U.S. Senator who was a Vietnam War P.O.W. battling a Mormon Republican former Governor of Massachusetts whose father also ran for President and was a Mormon Republican former Governor of Michigan battling a Watergate Counsel turned actor turned U.S. Senator turned actor turned Presidential candidate. You also have a U.S. Senator, a few Congressmen, and a former Republican Governor of Arkansas who has been before his states Ethics Commission almost two dozen times and whose only other discernible trait is that he lost a lot of weight and in true Republican style wrote a book to make money off of it.

Could Hollywood dream up a scenario?

So a third party candidate would have to be larger than life. Arnold Schwarznegger, a liberal Republican actor who married into the very Democratic Kennedy family and became Governor of California can’t run because he was born in Austria and is a naturalized citizen. Mike Bloomberg, who was initially headed to be elected Mayor of New York City on 9/11 can’t run because frankly he’s a billionaire and why would he run? Chuck Hagel, another P.O.W. turned politician, is a U.S. Senator happy playing Hamlet On The Prairie in Nebraska and just swore off politics like a drunk from a bottle. Other names bantied about are former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn of Georgia. But outside of those who observe politics like myself, who know Sam Nunn to be a genius and a true statesman, in Peoria he’s not as well known. If he were to run it would be easier through conventional means.

So who could run? Preferably someone elected as an Independent before.

Enter Jesse Ventura from stage right, no pun intended, or maybe I do philosophically speaking. Ventura is a popular former wrestler who in 1998 shocked the nation to the core by taking the now defunct Reform Party nomination and winning a stunning victory as Governor of Minnesota over the son of a former U.S. Vice President and a popular Mayor who is now a U.S. Senator.

Jesse Ventura is anything other than simple. As Governor his administration was anything other than insignificant. His political appeal is definitely NRA membership holding, WWF-watching, beer drinking, shopping at the local Save-A-Lot populace. When he ran in 1998 he turned out voters who traditionally do not vote with an inconventional campaign that included campaign commercials with are you ready for this…..plastic action figures. He also had signs with neon green and neon orange and black writing. Trust me when I say neon is not a typical color for campaign logos on major statewide campaigns.

Jesse Ventura was born James George Janos. “Don’t vote for politics as usual.” was his slogan. After his election, bumper stickers and T-shirts bearing the slogan “My Governor can beat up your Governor!” appeared in Minnesota and became ubiquitous virtually overnight. He spent considerably less than his opponents (about $600,000), and is widely regarded as one of the first candidates to effectively use the internet, before Howard Dean tried it, as a medium of reaching out to voters in a political campaign. Ventura went on to gain the highest approval rating of any governor in Minnesota history, with some polls ranking his public approval as high as 73 percent in 1999, despite controversial public comments.

He’s also a Vietnam Veteran and get this a United States Navy Seal.

So where is he philosophically and politically. As the late actress Lucille Ball would say, “WELL????????”

As Governor, Ventura publicly supported a unicameral (one-house) legislature, light-rail public transport, property tax reform, gay rights, and is strongly pro-choice. While funding public school education generously, he opposed teachers unions, and did not have a high regard for the public funding of higher-education institutions. In November 2004, an advertisement began airing in California featuring Ventura. In it, Ventura voices his opposition to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s policies regarding Native American casinos. Additionally, Ventura supported the use of medicinal marijuana, advocated a higher role for third parties in national politics, and favored the concept of instant runoff voting. In one of his books, he mentions a visit to a prostitute in Reno, Nevada and he admitted to visiting brothels in the Philippines while serving in the military. Ventura has publicly stated that prostitution should be legal, since it will exist in any case, and legal controls protecting the health of clients are needed. He was even quoted as saying “I voted in hopes to make prostitution legal once, and I’d do it again in a second.” He admitted to trading a belt made of gun cartridge casings in exchange for 10 dollars plus the services of a prostitute in Nevada during his younger days.

One issue of the day that Ventura is strong against is the War in Iraq. Ventura is serving as an advisory board member for a new group called Operation Truth, a nonprofit organization set up “to give voice to troops who served in Iraq.”

As a veteran, Ventura has what we call street cred. to say “The current use of the National Guard is wrong….These are men who did not sign up to go occupy foreign nations.”

Hillary Clinton’s worst nightmare might not be Republican, it might be Jesse Ventura as the Green Party or another Third Party candidate, and then we could be stuck with four to eight more years of God Forbid, ANOTHER REPUBLICAN ADMINISTRATION.

We’ll see…..stay tuned, same station, same bat channel! 


4 Comments so far
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Instant Runoff Voting is a poor voting system, and lives off public myth and misinformation. The truth is that better and simpler methods than IRV exist – and IRV is lethal to third parties, because voting for a non-major-party candidate is statistically more likely to hurt you than help you. The world needs Range Voting or its simplified form of Approval Voting. Here’s why.

Consider this hypothetical election using IRV.

#voters – their vote
10 G > C > P > M
3 C > G > P > M
5 C > P > M > G
6 M > P > C > G
4 P > M > C > G

C is the clear Condorcet (condor-SAY) winner, meaning he is preferred by a landslide majority over all his individual rivals. C is preferred over G, P, and M all by an 18-10 margin.

But… M wins, even though he also has fewer first-place votes (6 voters) than C with 8.


1. P is preferred to M by 22 of the 28 voters, yet he’s the first candidate eliminated.
2. G also has more first-place votes (10) than M’s 6.
3. So M either loses pairwise to, or has fewer first-place votes than (or both) every rival, but still IRV elects M.

The example above was intended to be “realistic,” perhaps somewhat resembling the situation in the (now evolving) 2008 US presidential race with G=”Green”, M=McCain, C=Edwards, and P=Paul. But if you are willing to drop realism and construct artificial election scenarios, then this demonstrates how to construct arbitrarily-severe election examples of this kind: http://rangevoting.org/IRVamp.html#bad

IRV sounds initially appealing, because people picture a weak third party candidate who loses in the first round. The myth is that this takes away the fear of voting for your sincere favorite candidate, and gives third parties a fair chance to grow; but if that candidate or his party ever grows to be a contender, he is statistically more likely to hurt the party closest to his own than to win. It doesn’t matter how unlikely you imagine the above scenario to be – it’s still _more_ likely than the odds “Green” will win. And so third party voters will learn to strategically vote for their favorite major-party candidate, because it will more often be a good strategy than a bad one. You don’t have to buy my math; you can look at decades of IRV usage in Australia’s house, and Ireland’s presidency. Both use IRV, and have been two-party dominated. So much for the myths that IRV allows you to “vote your hopes, not your fears”, and eliminates spoilers. Now you can see why the Libertarian Reform Caucus calls IRV a “bullet in the foot” for third parties, and why Australian political analysts at AustralianPolitics.com say that IRV “promotes a two-party system to the detriment of minor parties and independents.” Ironically, most of the many countries in the world who use a genuine _delayed_ runoff have broken free of duopoly. Yet third parties just worked to help replace that system with IRV in Oakland, CA. This can be chalked up to a result of massive public ignorance, largely perpetuated by groups such as FairVote and the League of Women Voters (http://RangeVoting.org/Irvtalk.html).

Electoral reform advocates (especially third parties!) should be demanding Range Voting – score all the candidates and elect the one with the highest average. Its simplified form, Approval Voting, is probably the most feasible to implement. It simply uses ordinary ballots, but allows us to vote for as many candidates as we like. Consider the benefits:

* More resistant to strategy: As we see above, IRV strategically “forces” voters not to top-rank their sincere favorite; the general strategy with IRV is to top-rank your favorite of the front-runners (typically the major party candidates). But with Range Voting and Approval Voting, this _never_ happens. The worst a voter may do is exaggerate his sincere scores to the max and min scores allowed. But with Range Voting, a vote for your favorite candidate can never hurt you, or the candidate, whereas with IRV it can hurt both. — http://RangeVoting.org/StratHonMix.html

* The previous fact helps to explain why IRV results in two-party duopoly, just like plurality voting. — http://RangeVoting.org/TarrIrv.html

* Spoiler free: Whereas IRV merely _reduces_ spoilers. — http://rangevoting.org/FBCexecSumm.html

* Decreases spoiled ballots: Since voting for more than one candidate is permissible, the number of invalid ballots experimentally goes down with Range and Approval Voting. But IRV typically results in a seven fold increase in spoiled ballots when we started using IRV. — http://rangevoting.org/SPRates.html

* Simpler to use: In 2006, the Center for Range Voting conducted an exit poll experiment in Beaumont, TX. There were 5 gubernatorial candidates, and voters were allowed to rate them 0-10 (or “abstain”). They all seemed to find the process as simple and intuitive. There were no complaints of complexity, or any questions for clarification. And the fact that spoilage rates go down with Range Voting, but up with IRV, shows that there is some objective sense in which RV is simpler. Voters literally make fewer mistakes.

* Simpler to implement/tabulate: A simple one-round summation tells us the results, whereas IRV’s potential for multiple rounds can cause long delays before the final results are determined. A positive side-effect of Range Voting’s simplicity is that it makes the necessary transition to manual counting, and away from voting machines, more feasible. And Range Voting can be conducted on all standard voting machines in the interim. Whereas IRV’s complexity leads most communities implementing it to purchase expensive and fraud-conducive (electronic!) voting machines, the fraudster’s best friend. — http://RangeVoting.org/Complexity.html

* Greater voter satisfaction: Using extensive computer modeling of elections, a Princeton math Ph.D. named Warren D. Smith has shown that these methods lead to better average satisfaction with election results, surpassing the alternatives by a good margin. But IRV turns out to be the second _worst_ of the commonly proposed alternatives. This mean that all voters will benefit from the adoption of either of these superior voting methods, regardless of political stripe. — http://RangeVoting.org/vsi.html

* Reduces the probability of ties: While they are not extremely common, they do happen. IRV statistically increases them, but Range Voting decreases them. — http://RangeVoting.org/TieRisk.html

* In case you’re going to say, “But IRV has more _momentum_ than Range Voting”, you should consider this. — http://RangeVoting.org/IRVsplitExec.html

* In case you wonder why groups like FairVote and the League of Women Voters support IRV, maybe you should consider all the misleading and even patently false claims they’ve made about it. — http://RangeVoting.org/Irvtalk.html

Get the facts at RangeVoting.org and ApprovalVoting.org

And if you’re in the market for a better system of proportional representation (http://RangeVoting.org/PropRep.html) than the antiquated STV system, check out Reweighted Range Voting and Asset Voting.


Clay Shentrup
San Francisco, CA

Comment by Clay Shentrup

Jesse Ventura would be a breath a fresh air for the Presidency of the USA! He certainly was a great governor when I live in MN, and stood up for what he said he’d do as far as campaign promises. He is not a “stuffed shirt” by any means, and can relate to Real People, the bulk of whom are sick and tired of political rhetoric, which is the majority of what we’re hearing. He was excellent for the working people of MN, he could do very similarly for the entire USA!!!

Comment by Mari G

Go sign the petition at http://www.votors4ventura.com!

Comment by Tony Powers

Jesse Ventura’s a more “macho” “bulk” version of Ron Paul who is more of a stamina, “ecto” guy (although it should always be remembered that AHHHHHnold was an “ecto” who got where he did by sheer determination, breaking into the gym on Sundays, etc.).

Precisely because of that, he can win, just as that sheer machismo helped him win even in a state as “nerdy” (Gene McCarthy, Walter Mondale, Paul Wellstone, both Hubert Humphreys, etc.) as Minnesota, just as AHHHHnold’s sheer machismo helped him win in a state as pseudo-intellectual/femme-gay/lesbianation as California, a state which, like Maine, has two female Senators in almost a pre-fabricated way, as in Heather having two mommies and so forth.

For the dumb jocks of our society (read, the McCain miltarist faction of the GOP who will always be the majority, the Jesus-loves-you Huckabee crowd a far second, the country-club preppie Willard Mitt Romney kids a far third, the intellectuals and drama-rama kids analogous to the Ron Paul Revolution an even poorer fourth), “being buff” helps in being taken seriously. Ron Paul’s stamina was awesome, but he was not a true “bulk” man like Ventura, AHHHHnold, or former Maryland Governor Bob Ehrlich.

By the way, folks, did we ever expect our elections would be any better than they were in High School?

Comment by Robert Edward Johnson, Normal, IL

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