Sunday, July 31, 2016

Quickie: US 2030

A slight bump in readership due to a recommendation. As such, a bonus post.

In short, there is a change going on within US Politics. Parties and politics itself is transitioning from the "old right" and "old left" to the "new right" and "new left". This is similar to the change that we saw 100 years ago when the Liberal/Tory split became a Socialist/Conservative split.

In this election, Bernie Sanders is from the "old left" while Donald Trump is from the "new right". This is why the two candidates have some overlap on issues like TPP.

The change is also a demographic one. More and more poorer voters are switching from old left to new right. Go here and change the non-college educated white fore from 62%R to 72%R to see the threat that Donald Trump poses.

These are the sort of changes in base demographics that stick with a party. This is also a reflection of changes that have been occurring for quite some time now.

As such, in 2030 this is what the "default starting map" will look like:

As you can see, many current "blue states" are now "red states" or are neutral; while important "red states" like Texas, are now battlegrounds which will lean blue. Take note that by the time 2030 rolls around, the number of votes each state casts will have changed.

Wisconsin and North Carolina are the two canaries in the coal mine that will signal this major change, and we have already seen Obama win the latter in 2008.

All in all it promises to be an interesting time as politics transitions from the old to the new, not just in the US, but worldwide.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Election Day Projection - USA

This is an e-day projection.

That means it takes into account the changes I expect to happen between now and election day.

It's also a binary projection in that I only show the people I expect to win and not any win margins or error margins.

As of today it's 100 days away from the election.

Next update will be on Labour Day.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Electoral Reform Possibilities

Though I'm not making videos just now, I would like to look at some possibilities for electoral reform beyond the simple basic 5 ideas.

Running Mates
One idea I like that is used in Montreal is the idea that some candidates have, for lack of a better term, running mates in their ridings. Dennis Coderre ran in the seat of Ovide-Clermont, but because he became Mayor (the Mayor has his own seat) his "co-candidate", Jean-Marc Gibeau, became the councillor for that seat.

This idea would see EVERY member of Parliament have a running mate. If the member resigns or passes away in office, the running mate would then be appointed to fill out the remainder of the term, should they accept. This is important too as it enables some of the below ideas to become possible.

Leader seats
This idea would be to allow leaders of parties that are "big enough" to not represent any particular riding, but rather, to have a seat of their own by virtue of them being a party leader. This would likely be tied to party status at 12 seats. PEI is debating this in their own electoral reform. Running mates, as outlined above, would allow for leaders to still retain a seat in Parliament even if they don't reach party status.

Bonus seats
One of the biggest concerns voters have is that PR would lead to endless minority governments. Countries like Italy and Greece give away bonus seats to allay this fear. In Italy it's very heavy handed; whichever party wins, even by 1 vote, so long as it gets over 40% of the vote, gets 54% of all available seats. In Greece, they get 50 extra seats. You can read more about it here. This sort of idea might be popular in Canada.
The idea then would be that each government would get 40 "Cabinet Seats". These MPs would be removed from their ridings, and their running mates would take those spots, and the members of Cabinet would need to come from those 40. Additionally, the cabinet would stop being part of the caucus of the governing party; though the governing party could still meet with cabinet in it's caucus room.
This would effectively make cabinet separate from the governing party. While it would encourage majorities, it would also encourage parties to more easily revolt against their own cabinets, and as such, hopefully, increase accountability.

Direct Election of PM
In a system based on Proportional Representation, where minority governments are all but guaranteed, another idea might be to directly elect the Prime Minister. Israel tinkered with this for a few elections before abandoning it. In this system, Parliament would look share the proportionality of votes cast by voters, but government would be formed by the winner of the direct election, not necessarily the winner of the most seats.

The systems below are unlikely to ever take shape in reality, but are interesting to look at nonetheless.

Optional Vetos
Know who you don't want to win, but unsure who, of the remainder, you do want to win? A Veto system would allow a voter to cast a negative ballot against a candidate rather than a ballot for a candidate.

100 votes
Also known as range voting, each voter would be given 100 "ballots" to distribute among the candidates however they wish. It's possible, in these systems, to allow a voter to rank someone negatively.

Dollar Votes
Here's one from a dystopian future; each voter would "buy" votes from the government, 1 per dollar, and whichever candidate receives the most votes wins.

Here's one that might cause a dystopian future; each voter casts a ballot like normal, but when it's time to count the ballots, only one is randomly pulled out of the ballot box for each riding, and whomever has won on that single ballot becomes the MP.

Delay to videos

I'm delaying the videos planned for this week for a few reasons; one of which is readership remains low; which is not surprising as it's the summer holidays from politics.

Tomorrow will be 100 days from the US election and I will make a projection update for the US election.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Quickie: The Last Time

The Last Time (TLT) a living President of the United States handed the keys to the White House to a new President of the United States was in 2009.

TLT a 2 term president followed a 2 term president who himself followed a 2 term president was 2009. This is "3 deep".

TLT, before this time, we went "3 deep" was in the 1800s, with Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe. We've never been 4 deep.

TLT a Democrat was succeeded in the White House by a Democrat was in 1963 when Kennedy died.

TLT a living Democrat handed the keys to the White House to another Democrat was 1857. The only other time this happened was in 1837.

TLT 3 consecutive president terms were held by Democrats ended in 1953. The only time there were 4 or more was during WW2.

TLT someone became president without holding elected office elsewhere was 1953, with Eisenhower, who had been a General

TLT someone did the above but also was not a General was 1929, with Hoover, who had been in Cabinet.

TLT someone did the above, but did not hold a 'government position' (IE Cabinet, or General) was never.

TLT a woman became president was never.

TLT both major candidates were from the same state was in 1944. That state was New York.

TLT both VP candidates were governors was 1968

TLT there was a Donald, or a Hillary, or a Mike/Michael, or a Tim/Timothy as either President or Vice President, was never.

TLT a President regularly wore a wig was 1825, when Monroe stepped out of office stepped out of office.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Coming this week; modular videos

I've been mulling over how exactly to do the kind of videos I want for this blog; I've decided to best way to go about it is the idea I've had for many years, when I wanted to do a series of videos explaining politics in Canada; modular videos.

As such, there will be between 6 and 8 videos released covering the topic of electoral reform in Canada, and these videos will all come out this week, before friday.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Western Canada is really far North

A quick update today. I am taking a bit of a 'summer break' from politics in general, as usual, and will return to more regular posting later on in the summer.

I've done some math that I've always wanted to do based around the 49th parallel. It's something that isn't mentioned much, but "Western Canada" is really far north. Take a look at the map:

The 49th parallel, or "the line" mentioned, can be seen to cut off nearly all the population centres in Canada outside the West. Toronto, Montreal, Halifax, are all far south of this line.

Nipigon is just north of this line. Larger centres in Ontario north of the line include Cochrane and Kapukasing. Timmins is south of the line.

Also south of the line is Val-D'or. Chibougamu is north of the line, as is Baie-Comeau. Murdochville is just south of the line, but all of Ile d'Anticosti is north.

Corner Brook, Grand-Falls Windsor, and Gander are all just slightly south of the line, so slightly that it would not surprise me if a few houses from each manage to find themselves north of the line; while the main population centres are not.

To quickly estimate populations I like using election maps. Each riding is (supposed to be) roughly the same size.
In NL, 5 Island ridings are totally north of this line, while 5 cross this line. Of those that cross, all 5 have their main population centres south of the line, most significantly so, so I will consider this "6 ridings north of the line on the Island".

Labrador has about 27,000 people (I'm rounding up) meaning about 500K people on the Island of Newfoundland. 6 of the 36 ridings on the Island are north of the line, meaning about 16.7% of the population is north of the line, or, 84K people (rounding up again) for a total of 111,000 people in NL north of this line.

Quebec only has about 3 provincial ridings that have any real chunk of population north of the line. 3 out of 125 is 2.4%, and multiplying that by the provincial population, you get around 200K people, more than I expected.

Ontario has three provincial ridings that each have about 40% of their populations above the line, so I'm going to round that to 1, and do the same math above to get, again, under but near 200K people.

As such, as a upper bound, we have 500K people from outside Western Canada who live north of the 49th parallel. This isn't even half the population of Saskatchewan.

So. Of the 10.9 million that live north of this line, 10.3 million live in Western Canada, 500K in the rest of the provinces (north of the line) and 100K in the Territories. This, of course, means 24.3M Canadians, at least, live south of this line.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Quickie: Australia Election Results (counting ongoing)

Just a very short update; the lower house currently looks like this:

2 LNP seats and 3 ALP seats are still undecided and could change as counting continues.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Quick Update

I'm following politics from all over the world; so a few pointers

- UK Tory election between two females, Leadsom is rather right-wing, so May is likely to win.
- Turnbull is likely to be able to cobble a majority by working with some minor parties.
- Clinton holds a very wide lead over Trump.

I'll do a more detailed post over the weekend.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Quickie: Another video planned

Just a heads up that I'll be trying another video shortly (within the coming week).

My previous attempts saw me prioritize visuals, whereas I plan to do the opposite this time. One possibility is "podcast style" videos with no visuals whatsoever. I'll try to figure out what works best.