August 18, 2000
9:37 AM   Subscribe

Last week, Bush was up by 16 points. Today, Gore is up by 3. Who are all of these “swing” voters that can't make up their minds in the face of clear differences between the candidates?
posted by quirked (19 comments total)
Hooray -- I win the pool.

Polls remind me of a misplaced criticism of the Impeachment Trial by some yahoo I met on the bus. He said, in essence, that Clinton would be acquitted, but only unfairly, because his lawyers "got to go last."

Let's hope the marginally less dangerous moron gets to go last in November.

posted by rschram at 9:49 AM on August 18, 2000

Where are they getting the Opposes abortion except in cases of rape, incest or to save a woman's life. for George W. Bush?

Last I heard, during the South Carolina primary, Bush said he was against abortion is all cases. Did he make a contrary statement after that? (not a rhetorical question, genuinely curious)
posted by alana at 10:17 AM on August 18, 2000

"Although they differ on some policies and sometimes wear different colored power ties, we're confident that both candidates are deeply committed to economic inequality. They bring their hard-won personal experience making millions in a business subsidized by taxpayers (Bush: oil & gas, baseball stadiums; Gore: agribusiness) to national economic policy. Both oppose raising the minimum wage to match the cost of living. Both will continue taxpayer subsidies of generous CEO salaries, as well as taxing earnings from the stock market at a lower rate than income from actual work. Gore might be a Democrat, but he's still a plutocrat. Vote for Bush or Gore--Because Inequality Is Not Growing Fast Enough."
posted by sudama at 11:28 AM on August 18, 2000

I'm sorry, I can't answer any of these questions. I'm still shaking my head wondering how any group of people could willingly put forth George "Dorkus Malorkus" Bush as a viable candidate and keep a straight face.

The man is a BLEEDING IDIOT. It's not a question of issues or anything: he's just dumb.

Canada. There's always Canada.
posted by solistrato at 11:56 AM on August 18, 2000

i think Heisenberg would love polls - they're uncertain and affect the object/subject that is being measured - we sure can('t) trust them.

by the by : why do you think, solistrato, that G.W. is a "bleeding idiot." reasons?
posted by alethe at 1:48 PM on August 18, 2000

I don't know sudama, the last time I looked at the tax code, it looks pretty shitty for me, but a lot worse for someone who is a millionaire. What's with all the class envy in this country?
posted by Popstar at 2:34 PM on August 18, 2000

My bad.. I meant solistrato.
posted by Popstar at 2:47 PM on August 18, 2000

the last time I looked at the tax code, it looks pretty shitty for me, but a lot worse for someone who is a millionaire.

If only appearance matched reality, eh?

posted by Mars Saxman at 3:01 PM on August 18, 2000

Canada. There's always Canada.

Oh no! Don't even mention that place. Don't you know why all the trees in the United States lean north?
posted by daveadams at 3:05 PM on August 18, 2000

Where did the idea that minimum wage should be equal to a livable wage come from? That has always amused me to no end.
posted by Mick at 5:30 PM on August 18, 2000

I don't know sudama, the last time I looked at the tax code, it looks pretty shitty for me, but a lot worse for someone who is a millionaire.

"Shitty" or not, the tax code is no match for the rapaciousness of the richest Americans:

"Since the mid-1970s, the most fortunate one percent of households have doubled their share of the national wealth. They now hold more wealth than the bottom 95 percent of the population." --

And why did this happen? Partly because of the increasing political power of corporations, facilitated by a corrupt campaign finance system. Corporations are thuggish welfare recipients, misusing public funds to increase profits, hence share prices, hence the net worth of wealthy shareholders.

The only difference between Bush and Gore is that Gore isn't going to win. A vote for Nader is a vote against the moral bankruptcy of the Republicrats.

What's with all the class envy in this country?

It's not about "envy" and it's not just about this country. It's about the global imposition of unethical American business practices on the "developing" world -- causing physical injury the people and environment there -- and the repercussions of this imposition on the lives of the poor in Western countries. It will only get worse unless we do something about it.
posted by johnb at 5:47 PM on August 18, 2000

Yes, we should leave the "developing" world to their time-tested indigenous unethical business practices.

Just for the sake of argument: when we're talking about "the rich," that class that gets all the cake and never has to pay the tab, exactly how much does one have to earn before you're considered Rich? A few years ago I interviewed our local police chief, who was an old-line East Coast Dem; he said that "the rich" were a family of four making $100K, and they should be taxed at a rate of 50%. Agree? Disagree? More? Less? These sorts of conversations are helpful when people can agree on the terms.
posted by lileks at 6:55 PM on August 18, 2000

I'm not sure we need to strictly define who counts as "a rich person". My point was not about particular people, but about the financial structure of the political system. Right now things are structured to allow for a tremendous amount of corporate influence over the political process, at the expense of public interest. It's on autopilot: the incentives are just set up that way.

So who is benefiting from this system? Large shareholders, for the most part. Roughly, the magnitude of benefit is proportional to how close you are to the top in terms of net worth. If you have more than, say, $1,000,000 in investable assets, then you can expect to do quite well under the present system. If you have more than a $billion, expect to do exceedingly well. And so on. (The exact numbers are here)

Yet despite talk of a "boom", the bottom 60% of Americans have actually experienced a net decline in real income over the last two decades. Sure, the net worth of the top 1% today is 150% of what it was in 1983, but the net worth of the bottom 40% is now only 25% of what it was then. That's a pretty big gap. It gets much worse when you look at the third world.
posted by johnb at 8:54 PM on August 18, 2000

Oh, we certainly do need to define what a "rich person" is. When a politician who lives in the District of Columbia starts pounding the table and excoriating "the rich," and he means a two-income two-kid family making 70K gross, I know that pol is either a naked liar, or he's hopped up on goofballs. This sort of cad will propose tax hikes to ameliorate these disparities, and since they only hit "the rich," anyone who complains is branded a tool of spats-clad top-hatted plutocrats who beat the poor with diamond-tipped walking sticks. When in fact a family in DC making 70K gross has, after taxes, mortgage payments, food, clothing, transporation and bribes, about fifty cents left over.

Anyway. What's the solution here? Forced redistribution of corporate profits? Nationalizing everything? Laissez-faire? Prayer? Feverish waves of ecstatic Bolshevism? What?

posted by lileks at 10:26 PM on August 18, 2000

When in fact a family in DC making 70K gross has, after taxes, mortgage payments, food, clothing, transporation and bribes, about fifty cents left over.

So what do you think a family making $10,300 has?
posted by sudama at 11:04 PM on August 18, 2000

A sorry excuse for a job? What kind of schmuck can't make more than minimum wage?

I'm sorry but I'm sick of hearing how the poor can't succeed. All it takes is effort. The only thing that can hold someone back is their own mistakes and self pitty.
posted by Mick at 8:59 AM on August 19, 2000

Mick, telling a starving Sudanese girl that "You can grow up to be just like Bill Gates, if you try!" -- although perhaps a nice gesture -- is not going to be very helpful. Things like adequate nutrition, sanitation, education etc have proved to be much more effective. American intervention -- profit-driven and illegal -- has only proved to be a hindrance to the realization of these things.

I do think your advice would help if it were directed at the US Government, rather than poor children. "Uncle Sam, you can adhere to international law, if you try!" LOL.
posted by johnb at 11:53 AM on August 19, 2000

What's the solution here?

Here are some positive first steps, in my opinion:
1. Enforce the law.
2. Clean up the campaign finance system by banning advertising for particular candidates.
3. During the two months before elections, allow each candidate free air time to discuss his or her understanding of the issues. (This would also be a way for the media companies to pay back a small fraction of the massive government give-away of the "public" airwaves.)

Obviously these aren't original proposals. For example, Gore Vidal has been advocating exactly the same thing for years. "This is what civilized countries do."
posted by johnb at 12:14 PM on August 19, 2000

I was refering to the poor in the US and the minimum wage here in the US as well.

Corruption in third world countries (while possibly attributed to the US dollar) would be most effectivly cleaned up by local actions. Therefor if those poor third world countries would only try then they too could improve their conditions.
posted by Mick at 2:15 PM on August 19, 2000

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