Highest Rated Comments

JHudakBrookings613 karma

Voter ID laws--specifically photo ID laws-- are being enacted in many states throughout the US. the basis for this is to prevent voter fraud. An admirable undertaking as voter fraud can undermine a democracy and has in many nations in the world. The challenge however for this movement is that there is little evidence of in-person voter fraud in the US. If it does occur it more likely occurs through absentee balloting. As a result, the proposed solution does not well-reflect the realities of the problem. What's more, and I dont know how I feel about this from an ethical perspective, but I pose it to you. If photo ID laws stop 100 cases of voter fraud, but also stop 1,000 legal and valid voters from voting, is it worth it? That is a question no one ever poses, but I think its a critical one to ask and for people to give thought to.

JHudakBrookings403 karma

The race is not as close as media are claiming. Justzisguyuknow has it about right. A horserace draws attention and media outlets need that. That said, they're not lying at all. The national polls are tight. The problem is the US President doesn't face a national election. He faces a series of 50 state-level elections that are aggregated. Those polls are not "close" in the sense that the president is ahead in more than enough states to gather 270 electoral voters. However, he is not ahead but overwhelming margins. The movement of 3% of voters in 5-7 states, changes the election dramatically. So, in sum, it's not "nearly tied" but it's not a landslide either.

JHudakBrookings367 karma

As someone trained in statistical analysis and methodology, I think Nate Silver's blog does a very good job. Is it perfect? Of course not. Is any statistical analysis? Absolutely not. That is why statistics offer "estimates" with ranges of precision. That said, Nate takes a common sense approach to building a model that includes key forces that both affect voting and illustrate voting to create probabilities (estimates with ranges of precision) about outcomes. The critique in pointoflaw makes decent arguments, but dramatically overstates poll biases. However, as much as Nate is painted as a dark liberal destined to reelect the president, the market forces will paint his future. If he supplies good product, demand will be there. If he is dramatically off, no one will buy his product (including the NYT). That said, I buy Nate's product as someone who understands statistical analysis. It's honest and done well.

JHudakBrookings342 karma

This I like, and it is a critical question that our Democracy depends heavily on. Beard hygeine and how to do it well. I absolutely have a barber do it. A combination of minor OCD, a non-steady hand, and a wife who puts immense demands on my beard looking just right ensures that I do not dare leave this important task up to an amateur such as myself. BARBERS 2012!!!

JHudakBrookings292 karma

The odds of the Electoral College being dissolved is essentially zero. It is incredibly difficult to amend the US Constitution. The founders made it purposefully so to ensure stability in the institutions of government and the rights provided to individuals and to states, therein.

All the Founders' interests are great, but this is actually a political issue. From time to time, parties build up electoral college firewalls whereby they are able to lock large portions of the electoral college. The Republicans managed this post-1980 and but for Mr. Perot, would have likely continued it well into the 1990s. Republicans (and Republican states would have never done away with it). Now, as demographics change, Democrats are in a very good position in many traditionally red states (VA, NC, etc.) and are moving toward making other states (AZ, and maybe eventually TX) competitive as well. Now they will not want to do away with it. Because it takes a supermajority to amend the constitution, there is likely always a sufficient number of states who enjoy the position the Electoral College puts them in (party control, swing state status, etc.) so as not to allow amendment.