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Archive => Which State? => Topic started by: Solitar on December 07, 2002, 01:59:51 pm

Title: Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: Solitar on December 07, 2002, 01:59:51 pm
INTRODUCTION:

I've tabulated a fair amount of data for each member of all ten state legislatures. The lists are in comma delimited format so you can copy and paste into your own spreadsheet.

They can now be found at:
State Legislature Report for the Free State Project (http://www.freestateproject.org/statelegs.htm)

These lists are details about the state Representatives and Senators the Free Staters will be personally dealing with or running against.  Any incumbent who won with over 60% of the vote will be a tough opponent. Those who won with 80% or were unopposed may be extremely hard to unseat.

New information on New Hampshire -- a change for the worse because the legislature couldn't agree on 400 representative district boundaries, the courts did it for them -- with multi-seat districts. Everyone in a multi-seat House district runs at large and the top vote getters get the available seats. Here is a description:
Quote
Whoever is chosen to serve in the House this year from District 86 will not be serving 3,089 residents — the number of residents that represents the ideal population for a House district obtained by dividing the entire population of the state by 400 — but will serve 21,559 residents, the total population of Portsmouth and Newington combined. The court contends the plan it established protects the concept of one person/one vote, but to our mind it does just the opposite. In addition, the costs involved for a candidate trying to get his or her message out to the residents in 11 or more communities may be prohibitive for someone running for a position that pays $100 a year, plus mileage to Concord. The result may be fewer candidates running in larger districts, and that certainly does not help the democratic process. And, finally, the court's plan further removes the voters in these large multitown districts from their representatives.
http://www.seacoastonline.com/news/rock/r8_2_e1.htm
(though the link is likely now a dead-end)

Overall though, as FreedomRoad concludes below, the best states for access to both chambers of their legislatures are:
Vermont
Wyoming
North Dakota
and I'll add Montana (as much as I'd hate to admit it)

Number of people per representative district using 2002 population figures:
VT & NH have some mult-seat districts and all of SD, ND house districts are 2-seaters.
  3,089  to 43,246   New Hampshire   (some multi-seat districts 400 reps for 1,235,786 people. Detailed breakdown is on page 5 here)
  4,059 to 8,118   Vermont   (some 2-seat districts and 150 reps for 608,827 people)
  8,230   Wyoming   (60 reps for 493,782 people)
  8,443   Maine   (151 reps for 1,274,923 people)
  9,022   Montana   (100 reps for 902,195 people)
13,106   North Dakota   (2-seat districts and 98 reps for 642,200 people)
15,673   Alaska   (40 reps for 626,932 people)
19,112   Delaware   (41 reps for 783,600 people)
21,567  South Dakota   (2-seat districts and 70 reps for 754,844 people)
36,962   Idaho   (2-seat districts and 70 reps for 1,293,653 people)

Number of people per senate district using 2002 population figures:
13,106   North Dakota (49 senators for 642,200 people)
16,460   Wyoming   (30 senators for 493,782 people)
18,044   Montana   (50 senators for 902,195 people)
20,294   Vermont   (30 senators for 608,827 people)
21,567   South Dakota   (35 senators for 754,844 people)
31,346   Alaska   (20 senators for 626,932 people)
36,426   Maine   (35 senators for 1,274,923 people)
36,962   Idaho   (35 senators for 1,293,653 people)
37,314   Delaware   (21 senators for 783,600 people)
51,491   New Hampshire   (24 senators for 1,235,786 people))

FreedomRoad’s Conclusion:
Quote
When both House and Senate district sizes are considered, North Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming [and Montana] have the smallest overall  district sizes.  If you consider Wyoming having term limits and a ballot initiative process, it moves even farther ahead of the rest of  the pack.

When all four factors are considered, Idaho, New Hampshire, and Delaware stand out as being the hardest to access as far as  state legislative assembly is considered. These states are all hit by not having term limits and New Hampshire does not even have a ballot initiative process.
   
It should be no surprise that the least populated states tend to have the smallest districts and the most populated states tend to  have the largest districts.  What is interesting, though, is that Alaska and Delaware have such large district sizes considering their  low populations.

I’ll add the following:

From my experience on a small city council (of only seven members)...  having at least a second person to second a motion and get it on the floor is vital and having a few other legislators to take up the argument and press the issue is also crucial. Thus we would need insiders to lobby the other insiders. Then we would need the another two senators to move and second a motion in the Senate to take up what our people in the House started. Thus Senate district sizes and ease of access to a few seats there is vital.

With a small legislature with large district sizes, getting even one person elected would be tough and getting several would be even harder. If most of the FSP'ers concentrate in only a couple large districts, then getting those additional Senators or Reps may be harder.

New Hampshire at least has some single-seat or two-seat districts which would open the door to getting a small caucus in the legislature but the NH Senate is a tough nut with only 24 seats BUT there are a lot of first term senators who had some house experience. Thus even the Senate is doable after the FSP'ers gain some experience. This may be more doable than tackling long-term ID or WY incumbents though the latter will soon be term limited.

During the course of this research
Diana wrote:
Quote
Joe, I don't know what to make of all the information you posted about the state legislatures (most obvious recent example). You write clearly, it is the information I sometimes don't understand the meaning or significance of.
The legislature detail is for the eventuality where activists move to a specific town and thus to a specific legislator's district. Eventually, if they want to have a majority in that state, they have to go after that legislator's job by defeating that specific legislator. It will be especially hard if that legislator is an entrenched politician or has no term limits. Yes, it does become personal and that is why I posted that personal detail when I could find it. Can at least half of the legislative seats be taken away from the incumbents with a doable campaign? If not, then another state must be considered.

Examples:
Each of those contests boils down to a personal match between an FSP'er and one of those incumbents and at least one other challenger. Will the FSP'ers have the ability to do defeat those opponents? Can an FSP activist and her or his campaign volunteers take the seat away from one of the following. Note that these two examples are not the most difficult opponents either.

Leon Smith, Lawyer from Twin Falls, Idaho who is a 3rd term Republican who ran unopposed.
or
Betty Nuovo, Lawyer from Addison County, Vermont who is a Democrat and incumbent since 1981 and who won a four way race with 30.4% of the vote? (for photo and bio see the pdf file at
http://vermont-elections.org/2003BioSketchWeb.pdf

In other words, if you were running for Betty's seat in the Vermont legislature, could you beat her? If you can't take her seat and those of other similarly entrenched incumbents, could your libertarian compatriots beat at least 76 of the 150 incumbents? If the answer is yes in at least a majority of the legislative seats, then the Free State has a chance there.

Again, using Vermont as an example:
I have posted on the above web page detailed info about the Vermont legislators and the minimum number of FSP Activists which are needed to effect a major change in the Vermont legislature.
It’s not nearly as hopeless as reports made it out to be. Please see the Vermont section of the web page. http://www.freestateproject.org/statelegs.htm

Note the margins are what FSP voters could make up so Republicans or Independents could win. I realize Republicans are not libertarians, but they are not Socialist liberals either and that latter group are why the FSP’ers shy away from Vermont. Yet, Only 700  FSP votes in the districts at the bottom of the Vermont House members list would give Republicans a majority in the House! At least that would be an improvement. The Porcupines could work on the Republicans later -- reminding them of who they owe their success to and why. Hardball politics? You betcha!
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: glen on December 08, 2002, 10:45:38 pm
Hi Joe

Your thread idea is an outstanding example of how the free staters should be approaching the issue of picking a state. There is far too much opinion, guess work and argument for the sake of argument going on in this forum.

Keep up the good work!
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: Mary Lou Seymour (libertymls) on December 21, 2002, 08:03:13 pm
Joe, this is excellent info. I have copied it and posted it on the email list devoted to political analysis, political_analysis@yahoogroups.com.

(As you know, I don't do well with forum technology and prefer email lists:-), if you get other states done i'd appreciate a holler. I'll also talk to the web guys about posting the info on the state reports web pg.

This is invaluable info not only for picking a state but for proceeding once we get there. I think many folks forget that the FSP is a political project, which means we're going to HAVE to learn how to do political analyses, pick winnable districts, count votes, and all the other things the statists do so well and we, as a whole, do so poorly.

Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: Anti-Federalist on December 26, 2002, 12:00:58 pm
Joe, thanks for drawing my attention to this thread - once again you have provided a plethora of pertinent information.

It seems to me that your facts regarding ranking of states by voting age population per state rep., is very revealing, and makes Vermont a very strong first choice, all other things being equal.  As a former New Yorker, I have spent a number of vacations in Vermont, and intuit that the FSP might be warmly received there by some of the population (especially the farmers and small businessmen).  In this regard, we need to come up with convincing arguments for people with different "hot buttons" than ours.  For example, we need to show the environmentalists how FREEDOM can help their cause (e.g., by privatizing the State Parks, they could end up with more control - since it is likely that the Sierra Club or some other organization would be willing to outbid the competition).  Is this sort of planning/propaganda covered by another thread(s) already?

It seems to me that there are plenty of small counties in Vermont where FSPers could live and commute a reasonable distance to work in a larger city (or enjoy the amenities of a larger city, when desired).  Vermont is small enough that it doesn't take that long to get anywhere...  

Now if you could only make VT warmer  8) for those of us who left the North for FL
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: Kelton on December 27, 2002, 01:35:19 am
The Center for Public Integrity has done some very good hard-hitting journalistic analysis entitled, "State Legislators Routinely Weakening Ethics Laws".  It can be found at http://www.public-i.org/50states_01_072400_txt.htm
They have analyzed the decline of state ethics laws by legislative decree concerning conflicts of interest and proper disclosure of such conflicts of interest.

There is a lot of information in this report that may be somewhat spurious when viewed individually, the overall picture created in the analysis may be more useful for us.  The CPI is a little left-of-center as most media organizations are, but the work they have done in this report is quite objective and useful for purposes intended.  Most of the conclusions to be gained from this report may be better discussed over in the discussion called, "Free State Political Strategy
How to proceed once we get to our target state" http://forum.freestateproject.org/index.php?board=20

What is most interesting here is that they targeted the Delaware legislature for recent misdeeds in a special highlight.  They also ranked our ten states' legislatures ethics (according to their criteria) thus:

(in order from best to worst CPI standard of ethics):
Alaska -3rd best, with 95 points
Delaware -# 21, with 70 points
North Dakota #31, with 49.5 points
Maine #33, with 49 points
Montana #36 with 48 points
South Dakota #40, with 47 points
Wyoming #41, with 45 points
New Hampshire #44, with 36 points
Idaho #50, with 1 point
Vermont #50 (tie) with 1 point

It is interesting to note that there seems to be a slight bias in this report by CPI against "citizen legislators" who may own or operate a business while serving in lawmaker capacity, which is typical of leftist-liberals, but their point is well-made that it is unethical to hide that from the public.

The most hideous practice of all that CPI pointed-out may be the case in Rhode island where "In 1998, the Rhode Island Ethics Commission determined that lawmakers were improperly serving in both legislative and executive capacities by creating commissions and then serving on them." The legislature protested the outcome of the finding and went to the State Supreme Court in order to reverse the Ethics Commission decision, and won.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: TedApelt on December 28, 2002, 02:47:32 pm

Each of those contests boils down to a personal match between an FSP'er and one of those incumbents and at least one other challenger. Will the FSP'ers have the ability to do defeat that opponent?
If the answer is yes in at least a majority of the legislative seats, then the Free State has a chance there.

A lot of this would depend on who we could get to run as candidates.  One thing that I haven't heard, and this worries me, is "I live in one of your states, and I would like to run for ______.  This is why I think I can do it if I had enough help."

If ANYONE, FSP member or not, lives in one of the 10 states on our list, and you think that you would make a good candidate, PLEASE post here.  Tell us why you think you would win, and how much money and volunteer effort it would take.

Please include an analysis of who you are running against, and why they can be defeated.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: Zxcv on December 28, 2002, 09:30:54 pm
I wonder if FSPers ought to run. It will look pretty presumptuous for recent immigrants to want to run for office. I doubt folks in Wyoming will take to carpetbaggers like New York State does.  ;)

At least for a while (until we've acclimated politically), we should try to recruit locals to run for us. If we really can deliver a substantial number of  campaign workers, we will have something to bargain with. And if we can ensure no other candidate will enter the race to split the liberty vote, we'll REALLY have something.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: JasonPSorens on December 31, 2002, 01:00:51 pm
As soon as all the data on all the states are available, I will put them all into a single file on the website.

Joe, with your permission I'll add you to the Research Committee.  You may be able to find some people there to help you on the remaining states.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: thewaka on December 31, 2002, 03:02:00 pm
Mainly because of all the current discussion of how much better DE is than any other state under consideration, I have started some research on residency requirements for statewide and other not-so-local elected positions. Is any research already done or being done on this? I don't want to duplicate efforts and think this information is really important.

Diana
Title: Analysis of state legislature control
Post by: TedApelt on January 05, 2003, 08:46:55 pm
   state house   state senate   Closeness
State   D   R   D   R
AK   32.5   67.5   40   55   0.59
DE   29.3   70.7   61.9   38.1   0.84
ID   22.9   77.1   20   80   0.27
ME   53   44.4   51.4   48.6   0.89
MT   47   53   42   58   0.80
ND   29.8   70.2   34   66   0.47
NH   29.8   70.2   25   75   0.38
SD   30   70   25.7   71.4   0.39
VT   46.7   48.7   63.3   36.7   0.78
WY   25   75   33.3   67.7   0.41

Figures are percentages.  If they don't add up to 100%, (other than rounding), it is because of legislators who are not in either party.

"Closeness" is an attempt to measure how close one party or the other is to controlling both chambers.  It is calculated by adding together the "R" percentages, adding together the "D" percentages, then dividing the smaller by the larger.  Perfect "closeness" would be 1.00, which would mean that both parties are of equal strength.  This would be ideal for us.  Worst case "closeness" would be 0, which means that one party has 100% in both chambers, and would therefore have little or no use for us, and the other party would have no power, and therefore we would have little or no use for them.


Of special interest:

ME -The most balanced state.

ID -The most unbalanced state.

ME, MT - Close in both chambers

VT - The only state in which no party controls the house.  Also has the highest Independent percentage in the house  (4.7%) in all 50 states.

VT, DE -  Leans one way in the house, and the other way in the senate.

SD - Has the highest Independent percentage in the senate (2.9%) in all 50 states.

NH - Closest in the 2000 Presidential vote, but is still very unbalanced in the state legislature.



Title: Re:Analysis of state legislature control
Post by: Zxcv on January 06, 2003, 02:11:12 am
I'm not sure I buy the argument that "closeness" is an advantage.

Yes, when they are close, the party we use for a vehicle will need our help, and we should have some leverage with them.

On the other hand, when parties are close they tend to go as centrist as possible, trying to steal that last vote from the other party. R's start to act like D's and vice-versa. If we take as a given we are going to work with the R's (I know it's not a given, actually) then I'm not sure I'd be happy in such a centrist environment. Principles tend to get compromised even more than normally.

My personal experience is that when R's are chasing that last vote, it's not the things we don't like about R's that they drop, but the things that we do like. That is, instead of easing up on the drug war, they jump on the gun control bandwagon, or raise taxes! That's not good.

So anyway, it's not as clear-cut that an even balance between parties would be to our advantage, as it first appears.

Just a note about VT. It obviously presents a special case, because the D's have 63% of the House. Are we going to have to use the D's in that state? That would be interesting, considering how they are so beholden to the public employee unions and NEA...
Title: Re:Analysis of state legislature control
Post by: JasonPSorens on January 06, 2003, 10:43:00 am
I used to think closeness was an advantage, but now I'm not so sure.  Closeness increases the leverage of the Libertarian Party, but also increases the possibility that the LP will act as "spoilers."  In a one-party state like Idaho, working within the Republican party would be a given from the beginning.  We could take over Republican caucuses and achieve influence that way, rather than running competing candidates in general elections.  Put another way, a lack of closeness removes 1 barrier we would otherwise have: winning the general election.  All we have to do is win the primary or caucus, then sail to victory in the general election on the strength of our party affiliation.
Title: Re:Analysis of state legislature control
Post by: TedApelt on January 06, 2003, 11:02:33 am
I used to think closeness was an advantage, but now I'm not so sure.  Closeness increases the leverage of the Libertarian Party, but also increases the possibility that the LP will act as "spoilers."  In a one-party state like Idaho, working within the Republican party would be a given from the beginning.  We could take over Republican caucuses and achieve influence that way, rather than running competing candidates in general elections.  Put another way, a lack of closeness removes 1 barrier we would otherwise have: winning the general election.  All we have to do is win the primary or caucus, then sail to victory in the general election on the strength of our party affiliation.
The only problem with that is that if one party or the other is too powerful, you won't win the primary unless you follow the party line on things.  Nobody will care how well you can reach out to the other side.

Title: Re:Analysis of state legislature control
Post by: JasonPSorens on January 06, 2003, 11:23:53 am
That's a fair point, but from reports most state parties are fairly open & undisciplined; that is, they don't force policy positions on their candidates.  After all, the Christian Right was able to take over the Republican party by working at the local level.
Title: Re:Analysis of state legislature control
Post by: freedomroad on January 07, 2003, 07:44:53 am
I used to think closeness was an advantage, but now I'm not so sure.  Closeness increases the leverage of the Libertarian Party, but also increases the possibility that the LP will act as "spoilers."  In a one-party state like Idaho, working within the Republican party would be a given from the beginning.  We could take over Republican caucuses and achieve influence that way, rather than running competing candidates in general elections.  Put another way, a lack of closeness removes 1 barrier we would otherwise have: winning the general election.  All we have to do is win the primary or caucus, then sail to victory in the general election on the strength of our party affiliation.
The only problem with that is that if one party or the other is too powerful, you won't win the primary unless you follow the party line on things.  Nobody will care how well you can reach out to the other side.



Good point.  So, it will help to pick a state that is already freedom loving based on its laws.  WY, SD, and AK are the most free states in the country according to my research.

Another important consideration is population.  The lower the population the better when you consider the working with the 'party of small government" Republicans.  WY, AK, ND, and VT are the low population states.  ND and VT tend to elect D to man of the highest offices.  While WY and AK tend to elect R.  SO, if we worked with the R party.  WY and AK would be are best states.  WY would be better than AK because of its much lower closeness %.  ND might even be as good as AK because its closeness rating % is lower than AK.  Either way, WY would be the best state for this.  The LP could be strengthened, at the same time, in WY.  This would force those of us that joined the R party to move the Republican policies to the libertarian side.  
Title: Re:Analysis of state legislature control
Post by: TedApelt on January 07, 2003, 01:37:14 pm
That's a fair point, but from reports most state parties are fairly open & undisciplined; that is, they don't force policy positions on their candidates.  After all, the Christian Right was able to take over the Republican party by working at the local level.

I think you are missing my point.

Even if they don't force people out of the party, why would they want candidates who want to legalize marijuana, prostitution, gambling, and many other things Republicans don't support?  Why would they vote for these candidates in the primaries?  Because they want to win?  They have already won!  They don't need us for that.

However, if our numbers are just enough to put them over the top, they might be willing to accept all kinds of things they normally would not accept, especially if they saw a very real threat of us joining with the Democrats and causing them to win.
Title: Re:Analysis of state legislature control
Post by: JasonPSorens on January 07, 2003, 01:42:41 pm
I'm not sure primary voters are quite that sophisticated, though party officers may be.  Generally primary voters vote for the candidate they like most, whether or not they think he has a chance of winning at the general election (sometimes shooting themselves in the foot thereby).  That's why party bosses are frequently in favor of "open primaries": they hope independents will vote for moderates who can win in the Republican primary, while those crazy conservatives in the rank & file of the party will elect some wacko. ;)  I think our idea has to be to persuade primary & general election voters both that, say, medical marijuana is a good idea & important issue, & that they should support candidates supporting medical marijuana.
Title: Re:Analysis of state legislature control
Post by: redbeard on January 07, 2003, 06:59:59 pm
Is joining with Democrats in any state at any level really an option? They are shameless socialists at all levels. Making a stand as a new party, though highly risky, would be preferrable to joining a party that stands diametrically opposed to everything we stand for. Joining the Republicans in some states (WY, ID, MT) would work. Joining the Democrats anywhere seems rediculous.
Title: Re:Analysis of state legislature control
Post by: Zxcv on January 07, 2003, 10:36:46 pm
Ted has a good point on this primary business.

In a state like Wyoming, in the primary, the regular conservative R candidate will be putting out mailings saying that the FSP guy supports drug legalization and ending penalties for prostitution (if it's not put in even more lurid terms). He will also say our guy is really a libertarian, not a republican.

These will be hard arguments to fight. I suppose our guy could say his position is not to let violent criminals out of jail to make way for marijuana smokers, but this is really sidestepping the legalization issue. There will be a lot of pressure to deviate from the libertarian party line on these items.

On the other hand, Wyoming just completely reworked their approach to the drug issue:
http://forum.freestateproject.org/index.php?board=5;action=display;threadid=1067
And this was over meth, not mild, harmless old marijuana!

Since they went through a lot of public meetings to reach this point, that seems to be an indication there is more rational thinking on the issue, that they are not so inflexible as we imagine. And they moved off the pure incarceration position all by themselves, without our help! In fact our position might be that we agree with treatment programs and such, we just don't think taxpayers should have to support the program! (Which will be the case after the tobacco money runs out.)

It's funny when you think about it - the state with the greatest gun freedom is socialist-dominated Vermont, while the state with the greatest personal freedoms (gambling, prostitution, etc.) is conservative, western-state Nevada. Maybe we are too ready to pigeon-hole people.

But getting back to Ted's contention, it would make sense to work through some scenarios to see how we would operate in a state like Wyoming, compared to a more even state like Maine. We need to have some plan...
Title: Re:Analysis of state legislature control
Post by: freedomroad on January 08, 2003, 12:28:07 am
Ted has a good point on this primary business.

In a state like Wyoming, in the primary, the regular conservative R candidate will be putting out mailings saying that the FSP guy supports drug legalization and ending penalties for prostitution (if it's not put in even more lurid terms). He will also say our guy is really a libertarian, not a republican.

We will be libertarian Republicans.  There are millions of these people or libertarian-leaning conservative Republicans.  I brother is a libertarian-leaning conservative Republican.  This is not a fringe part of the Western and Southern Republican parties.  This is a real, actual part that has some power.  We will talk with this part of the Republican party.  We will support them in the primaries and they will support us.  We will encourage them to be a little more libertarian and they will encourage us to be a little for conservative.  

We will not talk about full legalization and no regulation of all drugs.  Many libertarians are only for this on principle and against it in practice.  We will want to legalize medical ma., cut taxes, raise the interstate speed limits by 5 mph, loosen gun controls, encourage Christian parents to Home school there children if they wish, and push for term limits.  Small, but useful measures like these are much easier to pass, will have the support of all of the FSP members (many FSP members will be against the complete elimination of a type of tax, zero gun control, full drug legalization, and such), and will still be talking libertarian Republican issues.

Eventually, many Western states will legalize Ma.  The state we pick might be the first state to do this but this will not be an issue, at first.

Some people might not want to move so slowly.  They will kick-start the LP in WY.  If the LP starts getting 6-8% of the vote instead of 2-3% the WY Republican Party will want to take some of the libertarian issues.  We will be in the Republican party to help the WY Republican when it wants to move more libertarians.  This dual party move will make WY (already tied for the most free state in the country) even more free.


Quote

But getting back to Ted's contention, it would make sense to work through some scenarios to see how we would operate in a state like Wyoming, compared to a more even state like Maine. We need to have some plan...

ME will be much harder to gain support in, any way you cut it.  I agree, though, we need a plan, no matter where we move.
Title: Re:Analysis of state legislature control
Post by: cathleeninsc on January 08, 2003, 09:27:29 am
We will want to legalize medical ma., cut taxes, raise the interstate speed limits by 5 mph, loosen gun controls, encourage Christian parents to Home school there children if they wish, and push for term limits.  Small, but useful measures like these are much easier to pass,

Well, I wouldn't move just for that. Those are realistic expectations for most states. I know we can't have the whole shebang, but if that's all we can accomplish by means of the Republican Party, there must be another way.

Cathleen in SC
Title: Re:Analysis of state legislature control
Post by: Caliban on January 08, 2003, 11:01:43 am
1.  I completely agree with Ted's point.  From my own experience, and even more
from the experience of others in different states, I'm convinced that the attitude
of the Republicans is based on how desperate they are for votes.  "Beggars can't
be choosers."

This is also true in other countries that have multi-party systems, e.g. in Israel
the parties in power always need to give huge concessions to the "ultra-Orthodox"
religious party.

To clarify, this will work whether we act as a separate party (presumably the
Libertarian Party) or want to work within the Republican Party.

2.  FWIW, I also strongly support the "Target GOP" strategy that L. Neil Smith
invented.
<http://www.webleyweb.com/tle/le970601-01.html>

IOW, if the Republicans won't play ball, knock 'em out.

"The strategy is simple: identify Republican office holders who won their last election by a margin of five percent or less. Ignore every other position on the ballot. Run Libertarians against these Republican five-percenters, the object being to deny them their five percent and put Democrats in office in their place.
"If the prospect of handing Democrats control, not only of the White House, but of both houses of Congress and many more state legislatures, alarms you, then you haven't been paying attention the last five years: Republicans "gave" us RICO and the War on Drugs; "gave" us the Brady Bill and a ban on semiautomatic weapons; "gave" us a national ID card."

This has the advantage, as Smith points out, of getting the Democrats to
support the LP:

"The best part is that once Democrats and the media catch on that Libertarians are out to destroy the Republican Party, Libertarian candidates will suddenly find themselves invited to all the debates and receiving all the air-time and column inches they could possibly desire. They may even suddenly find campaign contributions a little easier to come by."

3.  So we end up with either a statewide Republican Party that is dominated by, or
at least strongly influenced by, libertarians; or else the state Republican Party
is knocked out and the races are between Democrats and Libertarians.  

Even if the LP only gets 40% of the state legislature, for example, this is an incredible
success by current libertarian standards.  Imagine the publicity!

This sort of thing has happened with other parties, BTW.  For example, in the 1920's
the Farmer-Labor Party replaced the Democrats in Minnesota.  In 1944 the Democrats
and Farmer-Labor Party agreed to merge only because the Democrats accepted the
Farmer-Labor Party's platform, and even today it's called the Democratic-Farmer-Labor
Party.

4.  Finally, I think another and even better measure of "closeness" is the difference
between the two parties in actual votes (instead of percent) cast for the
lower house of the state legislature, or -- and maybe this is best of all -- the
difference in percent of legislature controlled, multiplied by the number of votes in
the last election.

My point is, 4% of the vote in California, New York, or Texas is much bigger and harder
to influence than 4% of the vote in Delaware, Wyoming, or North Dakota.

So I think we want to look at actual vote totals, rather than percent.

5.  How about also looking at the difference in campaign spending between the parties?
Again, actual dollars, not just percent!
Title: Re:Analysis of state legislature control
Post by: redbeard on January 08, 2003, 05:52:47 pm
There are millions of these people or libertarian-leaning conservative Republicans.  This is not a fringe part of the Western and Southern Republican parties.  This is a real, actual part that has some power.
FINALLY!! I'm one of them. As are 90% of my friends and all of my family. Grass roots republicans are far more "libertarian" leaning than folk here seem to think. Wyoming is full of natives who already embrace most goals of the FSP. As long as we don't get hung up on labels they will be on board.

A Republican's view on the drug thing: Herein, it seems a litmus test for a true love of freedom to have to embrace the legalization of drugs. Hard core drug use is a horrible thing and most non-Libertarian freedom lovers (yes, there are millions of us) don't like the thought of legalizing the behaviour of one of the most dangerous segements of society and then turning them loose among our families. You may have to give in on, say, crack and heroin - difficult though that thought may be. We can probably give in on retard food like pot and mushrooms. If we show up in the chosen state and drugs are the first thing on the agenda we can kiss our plans goodbye.

(Spare me the diatribe on why Libertarians support drug legalization. I get it.)
Title: Re:Analysis of state legislature control
Post by: Johnny Liberty on January 08, 2003, 11:38:03 pm
Are libertarian-leaning Republicans going to support:

Legalized gambling?
Legal brothels/massage parlors?
De-criminalizing marijuana?
Nudist resorts?
LGBT resorts and communities?

In my opinion this is a minimal libertarian program, in addition to reduced taxes/flat tax/single tax and de-regulation of the small arms market.
Title: Re:Analysis of state legislature control
Post by: Zxcv on January 09, 2003, 02:52:51 am
Quote
Hard core drug use is a horrible thing and most non-Libertarian freedom lovers (yes, there are millions of us) don't like the thought of legalizing the behaviour of one of the most dangerous segements of society and then turning them loose among our families.

Well, Redbeard, if I can't hit you with my diatribe, what can I do?   ;)

Marijuana ought to be legalized, but I'd settle for a citation when done in public. Other drugs like peyote and so forth as well. Eventually people will get over their irrational fear of "some drugs" and it will be legalized.

Johnny, I'm interested in your priorities, your "minimal" program. Are you suggesting you are a gambling, whore-house visiting pot-smoking nudist who does something called "LGBT"? (And what the hell is that, anyway?)

Maybe knocking taxes down, throwing out building codes and getting kids out of govt. schools might be just a tiny more important...   ;)
Title: Re:Analysis of state legislature control
Post by: redbeard on January 09, 2003, 03:41:30 pm
Our emphisis should be the reduction of government rather than the allowance of every kind of social deviance. I'm saying we should use a more neutral language. "Small government" people understand. "Hookers on the street corner" is a more difficult sell.
Title: Re:Analysis of state legislature control
Post by: Johnny Liberty on January 11, 2003, 03:42:15 pm
Zxcv wrote:
"Johnny, I'm interested in your priorities, your "minimal" program. Are you suggesting you are a gambling, whore-house visiting pot-smoking nudist who does something called "LGBT"? (And what the hell is that, anyway?>Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender<)"

I am suggesting a couple of things:
 
State police resources should not be spent on trying to suprress activities between consenting adults.

Why not put sin taxes on prostitution and gambling and use the money to reduce/eliminate income or general sales taxes? Nevada does this so I don't see why a free state should shy away from it.

Additionally,  a state that is committed to the right to keep and bear arms will attract arms manufacturers and dealers. We should encourage this both on principle (2nd amendment as well as the chosen state constitution), as well as a source of tax revenue from industries that admittedly have can have some negative social side effects.

As far as education, I'd be willing to consider education reform a part of the minimal Libertarian transitional program. I would call for vouchers, reverse indexing the amount to your family income. Vouchers could be used in combination with cash at private, religious or state owned schools. Home schoolers could get a tax credit or cash with some minimal regulations.
Title: Re:Analysis of state legislature control
Post by: Zxcv on January 11, 2003, 04:21:26 pm
I agree with your comment about consenting adults.

I don't mind the notion of replacing one tax with another, although the part about "sin" taxes seems to conflict with your comment on consenting adults. I would certainly be against adding a new tax, that is the tactic statists use.

We certainly should not have any tax on firearms manufacture or use. That is the last thing I'd want to tax. We should be trying to pry off the current federal tax on it, which was originally designed to provide for places and programs to improve hunting, but are now being used in some cases to oppose hunting. In don't understand your comments about negative side effects; do we tax free speech because people look at dirty pictures? The net effect of firearms ownership is overwhelmingly positive.

Vouchers are "just another government program", with all the negative effects thereof. I will do everything I can to oppose their use. If you want to understand the bad effects of vouchers, go to www.sepschool.org and start reading. I'm even nervous about tax credits, but I think they are worth a try if no strings are attached. And there is no earthly reason to regulate homeschoolers in a free state; there are already a few very unfree states that nevertheless do not regulate homeschoolers.
Title: Re:Analysis of state legislature control
Post by: Johnny Liberty on January 11, 2003, 05:36:32 pm
Zxcv wrote:
"In don't understand your comments about negative side effects; do we tax free speech because people look at dirty pictures? The net effect of firearms ownership is overwhelmingly positive."

I think the negative effects include urban gang violence, workplace shootings, etc. I also think this is a price we pay for having an armed people as  (hopefully) a bulwark against tyranny.

My point with taxes is that by replacing income or other broad taxes with taxes on highly profitable "sin" industries that many object to, we can ease the transition to a lower tax state govt., while cutting or shifting law enforcement costs & emphasis and still attract tourists from states where these "vices" remain illegal.

As far as taxing guns, I'm unaware of the controversy surrounding federal gun and/or hunting taxes. Sounds like a gun tax is a bad idea.

I'll look into the school voucher link.

In re: to home schoolers, sure, I'll go with whatever the least restrictive current state law is.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: Solitar on January 13, 2003, 03:21:04 pm
The reason I post these analyses of state legislatures is for FSP proponents of a particular state to really look closely at what they are facing; and for future FSP activists to start strategizing which districts to focus on and how they can tackle those specific districts.

For instance, as I promised in a post above regarding strategies on other states, here are some ideas for Delaware using the data above. Here is a link to detailed district maps in pdf format. Activists walking the streets and knocking on doors will find these to be valuable planning tools -- until they get detailed voter lists. Delaware advocates should download each map of likely target districts, as determined by the above tables, and start planning how they would work that district.
http://www.dscc.com/state_chamber/gov_affairs/District_maps.htm

 In Delaware one strategic step may be to first help Republicans gain control of the state in order to earn the support of at least the grassroots Republicans. The next step would be to elect Free State candidates where possible, but not where they would jeopardize an incumbent Republican (or Democrat if that person is more liberty-minded than the Republican alternative). Always keep an eye on the goal of liberty and not run Free State candidates just for the sake of doing so with a result of throwing the election to a more authoritarian statist.

Each House district has about 8,000 voters. Each Senate District has about 16,000 voters. A one percent margin in these districts is about 80 or 160 voters respectively. To help a Republican in Senate District #08 defeat 5-term Democrat David Sokola who won with 51%, FSP'ers would need to deliver at least 320 more votes to David (the 2% difference between 49% and 51%). (detailed actual vote info is available from Delaware links above or here (http://www.state.de.us/election/gen2002/election.html) ). Since FSP'ers moving into a district would increase the total votes, the absolute margin that would need to be made up would remain the same. If they can turn Democrats to voting Republican it would decrease this number. Do this for each target district.

Note that, though FSP'ers may want the seat for their own candidate, doing so would require over 5,000 votes in just that one district if it is split evenly -- a heckuva lot harder number to deliver than first getting the Democrat replaced by, hopefully, a more liberty-minded Republican.

By 2008 each Senate incumbent would have one more term. We need to use 2002 election margins as at least an estimate. Due to re-apportionment the following will be up again in 2004. To turn the Senate over to Republican control would thus require in 2008:
3,200 votes in District #20, 9-term Democrat George Bunting who won with 60%
2,880 votes in District #14,8-term Democrat James Vaughn who won with 59%
2,560 votes in District #09,2-term Democrat Karen Peterson who won with 58%
   320 votes in District #08,6-term Democrat David Sokola who won with 51%
Figure 5,000 votes to gain the "easiest" three and another 3,000 to gain another for insurance.
FSP'ers might want to deliver 10,000 votes among these four races just to make sure the Democrat incumbents get defeated -- but who knows what the situation will be in 2008 ( it could be worse).
This requirement of10,000 could be cut in half by turning Democrats to vote Republican.
This requirement could be far more than 10,000 if an LP candidate bleeds the Republican.

Then, in order to put Free Staters in the easiest seats, the job gets harder -- requiring tens of thousands more votes -- about 5,330 per Senate District for 11 districts = 59,000 to gain a majority in the Senate. Presumably those same voters would yield a majority in the House and then the Governorship too.

If 20,000 FSP'ers can turn another 20,000 Democrats
or
if 20,000 FSP'ers can recruit 40,000 non-voters to vote Free State
maybe you can do it.
But if Democrats and Republicans gang up on the outside agitators and run only one or the other of a D or R against the Free Stater, then increase the above numbers by 50% to gain only half the seats in each chamber.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: Kelton on January 17, 2003, 01:51:51 pm
Only two states, among our candidates have laws requiring a super-majority of the legislature in order to raise taxes:
Delaware 3/5ths
South Dakota 2/3rds
In Montana, such legislation passed, but the state supreme court struck it down.

http://www.atr.org/graphics/states_supermajority_raise_taxes_large.gif (http://www.atr.org/graphics/states_supermajority_raise_taxes_large.gif)
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: TedApelt on January 20, 2003, 11:25:59 pm
In Delaware one strategic step may be to first help Republicans gain control of the state in order to earn the support of at least the grassroots Republicans. The next step would be to elect Free State candidates where possible, but not where they would jeopardize an incumbent Republican (or Democrat if that person is more liberty-minded than the Republican alternative). Always keep an eye on the goal of liberty and not run Free State candidates just for the sake of doing so with a result of throwing the election to a more authoritarian statist..

Actually, I was thinking in terms of running candidates in primaries, not as third party candidates.  Some of these people might be natives who never ran before because they were afraid that they would not win, others might be people who ran before and lost.

This would also open up to us some of those districts where candidates ran unopposed.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: JasonPSorens on January 22, 2003, 01:26:26 pm
Your analysis is fine as far as it goes, but I wonder, Is putting the Republicans in charge all we want to do? ;)  Jim Jeffords was a typical Vermont Republican after all, and he had a statist voting record even before he went Independent.  What would tell us more about whether the Vermont House & Senate are "doable" is figuring out which Republican candidates are simply RINOs (or populist conservatives hostile to much of our agenda).

P.S. I'll go ahead add the Vermont Senate data to the web page anyway, but I'll hold off on posting the analysis, as it is both far more detailed and far more controversial than the other analyses posted there so far: http://www.freestateproject.org/statelegs.htm .
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: JasonPSorens on January 23, 2003, 04:59:17 pm
Quote
Your analysis is fine as far as it goes, but I wonder, Is putting the Republicans in charge all we want to do?
No, Jason. As I wrote earlier, it is the first step because it is the easiest. It also can make some Republicans and even Democrats "beholden" to the Free Staters -- just like other influential minorities make sure the candidate they help get elected knows that he or she is "their man" or "their woman" and that the support can be withdrawn and put behind somebody else who can deliver more liberty.

Absolutely.  However, in some other states that step is already taken, and all we'd need to do is to set the Republican party straight.  In Vermont we'd have more work to do.  But anyway, I didn't want to argue the pros and cons of VT, just to make the point that your analysis of the state legislature was too positive when put in context, since putting the Republicans over the top would be only a small piece of the puzzle.  (And heck, we may have some libertarian Democrats in the group who would oppose such a strategy - there aren't many, but there are a few out there.)

Quote
My posts about having enough people to get elected ignore a reality about winning a legislative district by 1,100 votes to 1,000 (Vermont) or 5,100 to 5,000 (Idaho, Delaware or multi-seat NH districts). After the win and after the new person and his or her allies start rocking the boat with a bunch of changes, the margin in the next election won't be 100 to the good but may be 1,000 to the bad because the angry folks will come out to vote a backlash. This has happened nationally, at a state level, and locally.

Absolutely!  That's one reason I'm skeptical of thinking of marginal districts as a good thing for us.  These may be marginal districts now, but if we put a guy in there who had a hardcore libertarian agenda, they might quickly become safe seats for the statists.  Safe Republican seats might be best for us, if those Republicans are Ron Paul or Butch Otter types.


Of course, safe districts are likely to have ensconced incumbents who will be difficult to replace without long years of working the party machine.  I see no way around doing some of this in the end.  However, we can also influence state politics by getting incumbents to move gradually our way, without replacing them.  Same politicians, new ideas - after all, they're mostly interested in getting elected.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: JasonPSorens on January 24, 2003, 09:16:06 am
I imagine we don't need winning number of votes or opposition number of votes, so long as we have win percentage and margin of votes at the last election.  For the Senate we'd want to know how long they served in the House (if at all) before being elected ot the Senate - if that information is available.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: Zxcv on January 24, 2003, 01:35:18 pm
Joe, I've kinda lost track of what is going on with this thread, or maybe I don't understand it. But I will try looking through it again...

In the meantime, have you addressed the margin of victory in the primaries? This is important to states dominated by one party.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: Solitar on January 24, 2003, 09:27:11 pm
Zxcv,
I do appreciate the work you have done.
In addtion to we few, we need more activists doing research!

Sure, the primaries are worth looking into also.
But for some of these states, such as Wyoming and now South Dakota, digging up how many terms these people have been in office means digging up the stats for each general election for as far back as these incumbents have been in office or as far back as the Secretary of State has data on the web.
 I've posted the links to the sites where I got it (or ask me for 'em or search google.com for 'em).
If somebody wants to do the primaries in each district in each state
go for it.
Somebody did do some of it for Wyoming and maybe a few others.

In states such as NH and VT that have been posted on the web site.
http://www.freestateproject.org/statelegs.htm
for very little effort or votes, the Free Staters can win a lot of those races at the general election.
Will primaries be easier in the one-party dominant states? Maybe. But maybe not.
I only know what I've researched so far.
Ideally we should narrow this list of candidate states down to about four and really do an indepth analysis of every primary and general election race from local through state and congressional.
But I really shouldn't spend the time to do that since other issues are pressing.
I'd like to dig into the voting records (such as the GOA may have regarding anti-gun stances) of some of these incumbents the Free Staters will be trying to take seats from.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: Solitar on January 25, 2003, 06:19:54 am
Zxcv asked posted this over on another thread.
Quote
Joe wrote:
Quote
Please go look again at the districts in NH and VT that have been posted on the web site.
http://www.freestateproject.org/statelegs.htm
For very little effort or votes, the Free Staters can win a lot of those races at the general election.
I looked. I don't understand stuff like this VT entry:
Party, Win% (seats/field), Hi Dem, Rep, Margin, County-District, Last Name, First Name
R, 22.3% (2 of 6), , , 0, Chit-6-2, Kirker, Linda F.
Are you saying Linda won with 22% of the vote? What is (2 of 6)? What does "Hi Dem" mean? etc.
It is confusing! When you and I have trouble the general reader or voter will have more.  I don't know yet how to put it more simply, yet I'll keep trying to rework the data and the explananations depending on feedback I get here.

Go choose "CHITTENDEN 6-2" at this site
(The 6-2 is the district number and has nothing to do with the coincidence of six people running)
http://www.sec.state.vt.us/results/02ghouse.html
You should get this table
General Election Results '02 For State Representative
District: Chittenden-6-2             Number of seats:  2
CandidatePartyVotes% of Total
Hunt, Peter D. Democratic158225.120%
Kirker, Linda F.Republican140622.330%
Jerman, TimDemocratic126520.090%
Stevens, MatthewRepublican119518.980%
Dunbar, George, Sr.Independent75411.970%
Stetson, JoeProgressive891.410%
Six people ran for two seats.
The top two in percentage and total votes were the winners of those two seats.
Linda did indeed win with only 22.33% of the vote. Yet, because each voter had two votes (but in many cases used only one), she likely had between 40% and 45% of the voters voting for her depending on the actual turnout in that district(a number I've yet to dig out of the VT data). In the Vermont Senate data I actually have a turnout number because I added up the turnout for each town in a district. The 151 House districts may be tedioius to do.
But coming back to that particular race...
For the second Republican to get one of those two seats he would have had to beat Linda or, better, to beat Peter,  the top Democrat but that would only have pushed Linda out of the the top two slots.
To defeat both Democrats, both Linda and Matthew would have to beat the top Democrat.

Zxcv also wrote:
Quote
Joe wrote:
Quote
And the chances of getting elected to a legislature in significant numbers or percentages is a lot better in VT, NH, and maybe ME (when Amanda gets that state done) than in some of these die hard Republican western states.
I guess I don't understand this assertion. Maybe you can explain it to me. Are you suggesting that because a guy has little competition in the general, that means he is going to have little in the primary? My personal experience is to the contrary. Mark Hatfield was Oregon's entrenched US Senator for many years, yet he was scared out of the primary because he had become so liberal and finally a serious challenger came up to contest the seat. He knew he was going to lose the first primary race he had had for years. So he just quit and took his pension.
Besides, WY, SD, MT and ME are the only states with term limits. It's an awful lot easier to run for an open seat, than one with an entrenched opponent, no matter whether you are talking primary or general. So this feature alone puts these 4 states on the top in terms of electability of FSP candidates.
What I mean is that in entrenched party machines in some states, getting just the primary nomination may be tougher than getting both  the primary nomination and winning the general election in states where a person could win  in a large field or what amounts to a six-way race for two seats. Shucks, even an independent or libertarian could win if they picked the right districts and if they seriously went after the vote or had a bunch of their people living in the district.

Or maybe single seat districts would be better because they do bring a representative closer to the constitutents -- as the New Hampshire editorial noted above. But that would take more work on redistricting which can be very difficult. The NH legislature never did get it done so the court did it for them.

The primary race data is important.
Maybe somebody else wants to use the links I posted in order to dig out the primary race data.
         
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: Zxcv on January 25, 2003, 01:17:36 pm
OK, Joe, your explanation here finally did the trick. It still makes my head hurt to think how NH/VT voters elect their reps, though! So does this mean they just don't have primaries at all? It's just a free-for-all for the one or two seats in a district?

Doesn't this method (sort of an "at-large" in miniature) make for very large districts? That would add to the difficulty, of course. You'd have to appeal to an awful lot of people. Or find some method of zeroing in on the ones likely to be sympathetic to your views.

Maybe this is why the socialists ended up in VT, eh? Could be someone looked at their voting method and said, "that's a place where we can get some representation in the state house". I agree with you, VT looks like the easiest place to get some representation, if we were judicious about what districts we concentrated in. At least at this point, it looks that way.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: JasonPSorens on January 29, 2003, 11:07:49 am
I've added the South Dakota data to the website, as well as the sources for the NH data.

http://www.freestateproject.org/statelegs.htm
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: JasonPSorens on February 07, 2003, 10:40:58 pm
Updated with NH & ME info:

http://www.freestateproject.org/statelegs.htm
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: Robert H. on February 12, 2003, 03:00:01 am
A high concentration of multi-termers there in the Montana House...

Term limits could really shake things up there before too long.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: Zxcv on February 15, 2003, 09:02:35 pm
Quote
The level of education, experience, and connections these Senators have is awesome or intimidating.  Note especially the family interconnections of State Senators, Governors, and US Senators.

Your comment here makes me think, "Hey, isn't that the way it's supposed to be? The Senate was supposed to be the chamber of Wise Ones, less inclined to the uproars of the House."

Maybe term limits should be applied to the House only.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: Solitar on February 15, 2003, 11:57:18 pm
Zxcv,

Thank you for the reminder of what I had read by David Hume.  He had written A Treatise of Human Nature and other invaluable items before he died in 1776. Undoubtedly Jefferson, Madison, Adams, et al had read Hume's writings because he had proposed a balanced system of government
Monarchy, Aristocracy, and Democracy with each having a veto over the others.
Our nation was so devised with a Presidency, Senate, and House (the latter, being Republican in nature, was just one step shy of the full Democracy).

Thus you are correct.
The Senate, in the original intent, was supposed to be an aristocracy!
In the US it has become an ungainly hybrid and, with popular election, not what the founders intended.

Unfortunately a full-fledged version of the intended Senate won't get pass the US Supreme Court because any attempt to return it to the original version violates the "Equal Protection Clause" and the amendment to elect senators by popular vote rather than appointment.  The latter, at a Congressional level was appointment by the state; at a State level it was appointment by the counties. Wyoming's Constitution still reads that each "county" should have its own Senator (even though changes have hence nullified that provision).

Is there a way to returning to the above intent without getting it vetoed by as against the US Constitution (and to those lurkers and others who jump to a conclusion --  secession is not feasible).

Zxcv and ALL,
The legislative tabulations for all ten states are now done. They are on the web page.
State Legislature Report for the Free State Project (http://www.freestateproject.org/statelegs.htm)

If anyone wants source spreadsheets on any state, just let me know. Perhaps, if there is enough demand, I could polish them up and Jason could put them up on the website. If other data is wanted on any legislature, please post an item here about it and maybe I have it. But, then again, stuff like occupations, birth states, years of residency, etc. were not easily available in each state. For some states that would require web searches for each and every legislator rather than finding all the bio info at one site such as Alaska and a few others have done.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: Solitar on February 16, 2003, 01:37:38 am
Maybe it wasn't Hume who suggested a balance of Monarchy, Aristocracy, and Democracy.
I've been reading from Aristotle and John Stuart Mill as well recently and I'm not sure which had the most recent reading of that idea. Aristotle originated the concept, but I'm sure one of the others re-published it.

Jason,
Your the political science doctoral student...
To whom is the above to be attributed to, or is it all three, or others too?
Title: Re:Analysis of VERMONT House of Representatives
Post by: robmayn on February 17, 2003, 03:26:31 pm
It’s not nearly as hopeless as reports made it out to be.
Note the margins are what FSP voters could make up so Republicans or Independents could win. I realize Republicans are not libertarians, but they are not Liberals which cause FSP’ers shy away from Vermont. Yet, the total margins to defeat thirty  Democrats is only 6,000 votes (add up from bottom of the list). Only 700  FSP votes in the districts at the bottom of this list would give Republicans a majority in the House

Joe,

As a native Vermonter, who has been active in the fight to "Take Back Vermont", I wish to commend your analysis.
The 2002 election was a substantial step backwards, from the 2000 elections, for the forces of freedom in Vermont.  There are a couple of reasons why this is the case.  First, in 2000, the left (including a SUBSTANTIAL ammount of out of state money) targeted conservative/libertarian Gubernatorial candidate Ruth Dwyer.  This allowed a large number of "Take Back Vermont" activists to get elected as Reps.  In the 2002 elections, the left targeted the legislative races.  There was a MUCH smaller turnout in 2002 than there was in 2000.  The candidates on the left still got the same ammount of votes they did in 2000.  In sum, our people stayed home and their people turned out.
The analysis you did on what it would take to reverse this, was already done by some local groups here.  We have concluded that it is doable, adding an army of 20,000 activists to turn the tables would make it all the more so.  

As Jason metioned, there is a BIG problem with the Vermont GOP and its RINOS.  This is NOT the Texas GOP.  Still, there is a section of the Vermont GOP that greatly respects Neil Randall and there is a plan to flood the September caucuses with "Take Back Vermont" types, so that the RINOS do not continue to hold sway.  (Some of this was done in the 2001 caucuses, but the effort was not well co-ordinated)  

As a former LPer and current libertarian independent, I have not decided whether to accept the invitation to join in a GOP takeover.

Regards,
Robert Maynard
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: JasonPSorens on February 17, 2003, 10:41:20 pm
Maybe it wasn't Hume who suggested a balance of Monarchy, Aristocracy, and Democracy.
I've been reading from Aristotle and John Stuart Mill as well recently and I'm not sure which had the most recent reading of that idea. Aristotle originated the concept, but I'm sure one of the others re-published it.

Jason,
Your the political science doctoral student...
To whom is the above to be attributed to, or is it all three, or others too?

Aristotle was definitely the originator; I think perhaps Montesquieu was the modern exponent.  Definitely not Mill, and probably not Hume.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: exitus on March 10, 2003, 05:14:16 pm
http://www.equalitystate.org/ESPC%20Website%20Generic%20Pages/reports/questionnaire/results.html (http://www.equalitystate.org/ESPC%20Website%20Generic%20Pages/reports/questionnaire/results.html)
This is the results of surveys completed by legislators from the Equality State Policy Center that issued a 10- question survey in the state of Wyoming.

Here is some background :
http://www.equalitystate.org/ESPC%20Website%20Generic%20Pages/reports/questionnaire/intro.html (http://www.equalitystate.org/ESPC%20Website%20Generic%20Pages/reports/questionnaire/intro.html)
 
Any Wyoming fans (or WY haters) wish to tabulate relevant results of all these questions and tell us a little bit more about the politics in Wyoming?
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: freedomroad on March 11, 2003, 01:52:58 am
http://www.equalitystate.org/ESPC%20Website%20Generic%20Pages/reports/questionnaire/results.html (http://www.equalitystate.org/ESPC%20Website%20Generic%20Pages/reports/questionnaire/results.html)
This is the results of surveys completed by legislators from the Equality State Policy Center that issued a 10- question survey in the state of Wyoming.

Here is some background :
http://www.equalitystate.org/ESPC%20Website%20Generic%20Pages/reports/questionnaire/intro.html (http://www.equalitystate.org/ESPC%20Website%20Generic%20Pages/reports/questionnaire/intro.html)
 
Any Wyoming fans (or WY haters) wish to tabulate relevant results of all these questions and tell us a little bit more about the politics in Wyoming?

Only questions 1,2, and 9a are useful questions.  The other 7 are a bunch of meaningless crap.  

Question 1 is about filing pre-election campaign finance reports.  Wyoming is the only state that does not make people do this.  This question is, do you want to change this, around 60% of the people said yes while the rest said not sure, no, or did not answer.  So, that is a loss for us but it really does very little to hurt us, only makes Wyoming like all other states.  Question 2 is something similar but the results are much more yes.  Again, this does not really hurt us.  

Question 9a is about putting the results of mineral tax audits not just in the hands of a few powerful people but in the hands of the legislature.  We should be for this and most people voted yes.  

Really, there was little substance in the questions and the few meaningful questions evened each other out in a wash.

This Equality State Policy Center is not a libertarian group.

There are, it seems, two Libertarian members of the House.  One of them voted good on the issues and the other asked this his votes not be posted on the internet and said contact him if you are from Wyoming and he will tell you.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: Zxcv on March 11, 2003, 11:35:27 am
Quote
From my experience on a small city council (of only seven members)...  having at least a second person to second a motion and get it on the floor is vital and having a few other legislators to take up the argument and press the issue is also crucial. Thus we would need insiders to lobby the other insiders. Then we would need the another two senators to move and second a motion in the Senate to take up what our people in the House started. Thus Senate district sizes and ease of access to a few seats there is vital.

With a small legislature with large district sizes, getting even one person elected would be tough and getting several would be even harder.
It's even worse when you consider that most work in legislatures is done in committees. How hard is it to ensure we have two members in each of the important committees? And not only that; how our members come to office makes a big difference. Would elected LP members get any but the most trivial committee assignments?

I think we've got a long row to hoe, folks...

As to that survey, yes, this is a leftist think tank. We need to get our own think tank and get our own surveys published. Even the campaign finance stuff is questionable; such laws start out pretty innocent but often morph into tools to discourage participation in politics by anyone but the pros. I know; as a treasurer in several campaigns I've dealt with these laws enough.

As to term limits, I'd be a lot more impressed with term limit laws that have actually started throwing powerful legislators out of office. These laws often get dumped by courts or legislatures before they get a chance to operate. I'd be particularly suspicious of such laws in states where one party doesn't have to worry much about competition from another <sigh> because the legislature has little fear in overturning term limits. Thus, although they are useful laws for us, I don't hold them as being crucial.  >:(
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: Zxcv on March 24, 2003, 12:22:55 am
Joe, this thread in particular is pretty mind-boggling, and hard to get a real feel for what the numbers are showing us. As the individual closest to this work (i.e., who's done all of it  ;) ), can you rate the states as to several different measures of accessibility? I can think of perhaps 3 measures:

1) Rate all 10 states in ease of getting at least a single FSP-endorsed candidate elected.

2) Rate states in ease of getting a solid minority elected in at least one house, such that we have "significant" (whatever that means) effect on state policy.

3) Rate states in ease of getting a majority in at least one house.

Or, maybe you can think of better measures. I don't know how much effort you want to put into this, but if I even had a top of your head guess from you in these, it might help put the data in context. Make it easier to digest...
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: exitus on March 24, 2003, 10:43:03 am
. . .
What really is important, though, is if a state has long been dominated by one party, that party will be extremely difficult to dislodge -- especially if it is the Democrats; yet the Republicans will also be very hard to push aside from outside. They will have to be converted from inside.
I've always felt that 20,000 activists stood little chance of getting a third- party in statewide power in any state.  I think it is this conversion from the outside that is going to have to be our main play.

After all, the socialist party had very little influence early in the last century but they somehow got the Democrats to adopt every single plank from their platform (with the Republicans trailing not too far behind).  Eugene Debs, the Socialist ran for president five times with little success, but he paved the political path for FDR to do just about everything the Socialist party had ever wanted.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: JasonPSorens on March 24, 2003, 11:22:49 am
Whether we can achieve a majority in a state legislature has to do with the intersection of state size (population) and political culture, so there will be widely divergent opinions on that.  What the legislative report does help us assess is the chances of getting a significant foothold in each house of the state legislature.  I have divided 2002 population by number of electoral districts (House & Senate) for all the candidate states to get a single figure for each state in terms of accessibility (no messing around with ranges).  Here are the rankings:

House

1. Vermont - 5,609
2. Wyoming - 8,317
3. Maine - 8,570
4. Montana - 9,090
5. North Dakota - 13,489
6. New Hampshire - 14,489
7. Alaska - 16,100
8. Delaware - 19,683
9. South Dakota - 21,743
10. Idaho - 38,314

Senate

1. North Dakota - 13,489
2. Wyoming - 16,634
3. Montana - 18,180
4. South Dakota - 21,743
5. Alaska - 32,200
6. Maine - 37,000
7. Idaho - 38,314
8. Delaware - 38,429
9. Vermont - 47,462
10. New Hampshire - 53,125
If we average the two rankings, then we can develop a final ranking as follows for access to the state legislature, purely in terms of district size (not taking into account term limits, fusion voting, and so on):

1. Wyoming (avg rank: 2.0)
2. North Dakota (3.0)
3. Montana (3.5)
4. Maine (4.5)
5. Vermont (5.0)
6. Alaska (6.0)
7. South Dakota (6.5)
8. New Hampshire, Delaware (8.0)
10. Idaho (8.5)

Since Wyoming has term limits as well as fusion voting, it seems that overall Wyoming sports the best access to the state legislature for third parties/independents/maverick factions.

Joe - is it all right if I post the above analysis in your state legislatures report?  It is otherwise complete and ready to be announced on the website.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: exitus on March 24, 2003, 12:26:48 pm
This is Tim Raty's quote from the previous page,
Quote
However, simply that fact that a District has a large Ratio of People per Representation, does not constitue that it is at a disadvantage. Idaho only has 70 seats, in which case you will need to win 36 seats (or 12 Districts) to win control of the Legislature (in a two way race). This being the case, you only need 44,352 votes. New Hampshire, you need to win 201 Seats in a two party race, constituting 495,465 in the whole, using Idaho's scale, 165,155.

Please help me understand the math of this whole idea, and how Tim's comments came out as a negative.  If there are  70 representatives in Idaho for 1,293,653 people, there are still 18,481 people per representative, not 38,314.  If there were 35 two-seat districts where winner-takes-all, yes this would be the case, but this clearly is not the case as there are different parties represented across each district as this 2000 survey shows:
Idaho State Legislature General Election Survey Results (http://www.usa4id.com/2000%20ID%20Legislative%20Survey%20Results.htm)

Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: JasonPSorens on March 24, 2003, 01:37:48 pm
Yes, they are all 2-seat districts.  I imagine some voters split the ticket because they like the candidate from another party.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: Joe on March 24, 2003, 02:09:20 pm
Each district does have double what one would expect by dividing the 2002 estimated population of 1,341,131 by 70 representatives. Thus it is not 19,159 per representative but 38,318 per representative. Each representative must campaign to the entire district of 38 thousand people and, if they’re elected, be responsive to all 38 thousand. From my viewpoint, it would be better all around if representative districts were smaller -- one seat per district.

This is like in this county where we have three county commissioner districts. Each commissioner must be from a specific district yet must campaign to the entire county. The ballot may show two races for two districts with two or three people running for each district. Our city council wards are set up with two councilmembers per ward and each runs “at large” in the ward. Usually the 4-year terms are staggered with one seat up every two years but if we have a resignation then we elect two in one year -- separate races for each seat even though each candidate has to campaign to the entire ward.

This is very similar to Idaho’s legislative districts where you have separate races for “Seat A” and a “Seat B” but all the candidates must campaign to the entire district. Each and every voter in the district gets to vote for both “Seat A” and a “Seat B”.

See this sample ballot for Distict 29 in Bannock county
http://www.co.bannock.id.us/gnballot.pdf

The statewide turnout was 44% of voting age population of 945,000 which itself is about 70% of the population. This yields about 11,800 for an ideal district of 38,318. In District 29 for instance, the State Rep A race had 6,565 for Anderson and 6,538 for Jensen; and the State Rep B race had 6,900 for Martinez and 6,184 for Tilton. That’s about 13,000 votes in each race. If each seat had its own district, then the vote for each rep would have been half that of the senate race.

Historical turnout as percent of registered and voting age population.
http://www.idsos.state.id.us/elect/voterreg/vtrrghst.htm

Election results at
http://www.idsos.state.id.us/ELECT/results/2002/general/tot_leg.htm
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: George Reich on March 24, 2003, 03:05:09 pm
I have divided 2002 population by number of electoral districts (House & Senate) for all the candidate states to get a single figure for each state in terms of accessibility (no messing around with ranges).  Here are the rankings:

House

1. Vermont - 5,609
2. Wyoming - 8,317
3. Maine - 8,570
4. Montana - 9,090
5. North Dakota - 13,489
6. New Hampshire - 14,489
7. Alaska - 16,100
8. Delaware - 19,683
9. South Dakota - 21,743
10. Idaho - 38,314

Averaging New Hampshire's district sizes does not give an accurate picture of the accessibility of its house. Many NH legislators were elected from small districts in 2002. About 100 representatives won office with fewer than 2000 votes each and some won with fewer than 1000 votes. Representative Donald Philbrick won office with 721 votes.

Porcupines could have easily won seats in some of the large districts as well. In these districts, the major parties were not always able to field enough candidates for all of the available spots. This happened in NH's largest district (District #67). In this district, Republicans who were strong on the "no income tax" issue beat all of their Democrat opponents with ease. But four seats in this district went to Democrats by default -  Republican candidates could not be found to run for them. Porcupines could have easily won all four of these seats by running as Republicans (or as Libertarian + Republican fusion candidates) and taking a strong stand against an income tax.

20,000 porcupines will undoubtedly send a good-sized caucus of libertarians to the NH house in short order. Once the 37% of NH voters who are registered as independents take notice of this, libertarian candidates for other offices will become serious contenders.

 ;)

Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: Zxcv on March 25, 2003, 11:24:35 am
Quote
Whether we can achieve a majority in a state legislature has to do with the intersection of state size (population) and political culture, so there will be widely divergent opinions on that.  What the legislative report does help us assess is the chances of getting a significant foothold in each house of the state legislature.

I am still having trouble getting a handle on the significance you guys are placing on district sizes.

Yes, if the task is getting one seat in the House, then VT is better than ID. But if the task is getting 50% of the seats, or 20% to have influence, or any other given percentage, then the district size is irrelevant. The difference between VT and ID in that case would depend as you say strictly on the population difference and political culture. VT and ID access would not change relative to each other, even if they swapped district sizes.

So, unless someone will straighten me out here, I will have to consider district sizes to be one of the less relevant things we are considering, almost not worth worrying about at all. Of course, if you are thinking of using the LP as the vehicle for the FSP, and think in typical LP terms of success, then being able to get one seat may be more important to you.  ::)
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: exitus on March 25, 2003, 02:20:30 pm
After some more thought,  I tend to defer to Zxcv's argument a bit more on this point:  every other factor is secondary to the measure of culture and population.  The disposition of the population is the absolute most important thing that we could ever hope to measure in determining success.

In the end, success will only come about through having a majority of voters supporting the actions of those liberty-supporting politicians in power, whether it is 3,000 voters in each of 400 districts or 40,000 voters for each of 30 districts, it doesn't matter if the aim is to produce a culture shift towards liberty, working at the grass-roots level.
   
While I see the obvious advantage of having a huge house of reps, as in New Hampshire, to keep the power more "in the hands of the people"   I also see having to fight 425 battles with a band of thinly dispersed, mostly-amateur activists quite a chore too.

Even if we somehow got a whole libertarian legislature in place to shred the bad laws that stifle liberty, but got them in through some surprise strategy, the back- door, so to speak, they will merely become one-hit-wonders to the statist media and the history books, and quickly replaced the next term by statists who will gladly secure the bonds of tyrranny with thick cords so it will never happen again, and that is if they are lucky to have some support, impeachments and recall elections would be more likely, the kind of reforms we seek . . .
  If, on the other hand, we got in through the back door, so to speak, into the minds and hearts of the people first, while slowly gaining some legislative victories, freedom will be secured.  That is what happened around the time of Thomas Paine and his Common Sense, you couldn't have tried hard enough to extinguish the flames of revolution of where the citizenry was reading his book.  That's what I see as being the force for change.

Just in the past year, just through personal contacts, I have managed to get about three people who have changed their minds and acknowledged to me that they have re-thought their politics and have started agreeing with the libertarian concept of liberty, this is at least among those that I known of, I have seriously spoken about political concepts with perhaps twenty or thirty people in the past year through face-to-face contact,  and that is without running for office, or even participating in a single campaign.  I have mostly worked on the level of being neighborly and talking to people here at my apartment building every chance I get, at the dentist office, while waiting in line at the store and also by subtly slipping-in a few concepts of political liberty while teaching my non-political Sunday school lessons at church.  That is all in addition to anything I do online,  or expressing my views to the local newspaper, or through bumper-stickers, etc.   Now, if there were 1000 other people in this city of 500,000 doing the same thing every year as me, you would start to see a dramatic change in government within only a couple of years as people would start awakening to the cause and taking bigger steps to seek out liberty and act and vote that way.  It was through a few simple conversations with a libertarian friend that brought me around from being a statist- right wing authoritarian- conservative to the libertarian activist I am today.

I have an optimistic opinion of people in general, just not much  confidence that the liberty movement will find its source of strength in anything political, not that things political are not very important too, because they are, they are just secondary, just like Analysis of State Legislatures is indeed important, but secondary to analysis of where to find 'good soil' to plant our 'seeds of liberty' in the minds and hearts of the populace.

If you read this far in this message, I'm flattered.  I'll try to be more brief in the future, I'm just in a contemplative mood this morning (it's still morning here in California).  
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: George Reich on March 25, 2003, 03:26:41 pm
Take it from one who has walked city wards and tried to get to what he could get to in a county of about seven thousand people for a county commissioner race. Trying to personally campaign to a district of several thousand is a daunting task. If I faced the prospect of campaigning to a state representative district of 20,000 or 30,000 or 40,000 like Idaho and Delaware have I'd have to quit my job and campaign full time -- and I still would not have enough time.

Our local state reps have done it full time in order to win and keep winning. I've had local activists refuse to run for school board or county seats because of the time it would take to cover even this small county of 7,000 to 8,000. As the districts get larger, politicians have to get more "professional" or "careerist" in order to devote the time necessary; OR they sell out to monied interests so they can afford the mass media expenditures.

Not only are many of New Hampshire's districts small in population, but they are also small in physical area. Regular people (who are not career politicians) win seats in the New Hampshire house because it is practical for them to get out and meet enough of their neighbors to win an election. In some cases an entire district can be canvassed on foot.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: George Reich on March 25, 2003, 08:02:38 pm
Let's look at the numbers that Exitus uses as an example above.  That's three converts out of twenty or thirty whom he has seriously worked on in a year. I'm betting those twenty or thirty were the easiest converts out of two or three times that many potential voters.  If an activist as serious as Exitus can convert three per year out of a pool of sixty, he needs ten years to get a majority on Liberty's side. Okay, each year the conversions will become harder because the easiest ones were won over early. So maybe he needs a second activist to work on those that he, for various reasons, can't convince. Maybe a couple of activists working on sixty potential voters can, between their combined efforts and different tactics, win over a solid majority to Liberty in ten years. That's thirty potential voters per activist. Twenty thousand activists may thus win over a majority of six hundred thousand potential voters IF each activist is at least as good as Exitus. Will a Free State of a 1,000,000 people and 700,000 potential voters have 20,000 activists as good Exitus?

I wonder if 20,000 activists as good as Exitus are what is really needed. I think "convincing" people and simply getting out to meet them are two different things which are both important. Maybe small districts (in both numbers and geographically) and dedicated candidates are what we need. Here is an anecdote of what happened here in my NH house district. I live in the City of Dover in District  69. This district is geographically very small but due to its high population density has has about 9000 people and sends three representatives to Concord. No activists came knocking on my door, but one of the candidates did. She had no entourage with her and simply introduced herself as Phyllis Woods who was running for the New Hampshire house. I knew of her already and I chatted with her for a minute or two. None of the other 5 candidates for the three seats ever made it do my door. Interestingly, Phyllis not only won reelection but had the highest vote total in the district. I would have voted for her anyway (because I know of her voting record in the house), but I wonder how many other votes she won by simply making the effort to meet her constituents.

Phyllis won with 1516 votes and the next two vote-getters were William Knowles with 1347 votes and Roland Hofemann with 1268 votes. The interesting part is that this district is extremely Democratic and Phyllis is a staunch Republican. Yet she keeps getting reelected because she is willing to go out and talk to her constituents.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: exitus on March 25, 2003, 10:14:58 pm
Thanks for all of the kind words.
Libertarian40, what you are saying is that if politicians can reach out to as many people as possible, at their doorsteps, they will have the best chance of success because personal contact is so effective, like in my personal reference above.  New Hampshire offers a lot of very small house districts with small areas, making the chance of getting a good-sized number of some of our libertarian types in office more feasible.  This is demonstrated by the fact that the New Hampshire election system is best able to get some of their people in office, through the much- touted stat, "How about highest # of elected Libertarians?  (http://www.lpnh.org/poptips/elected.htm)"  So no doubt, personal contact is very important in getting people elected.

Another New Hampshire fan around here, Powerchuter, made the statement once that we all need to stay out of the big Western States because we all need to be in a "smaller cage" where we can mix it up a little more.  I countered with some stats on how in several states, such as Alaska and Wyoming, most of the people in the whole state live in just a few cities, making so that personal contact with huge numbers of an office's constituency possible right in one city, of course, this would leave out another part out in the rural areas that probably always gets left-out of the whole campaign process, but it demonstrates that this personal contact is still very possible out in the 'big sky conference' states.

Here is some bad news I found about New Hampshire, http://www.concordmonitor.com/stories/front2002/soltani_sidebar_2002.shtml (http://www.concordmonitor.com/stories/front2002/soltani_sidebar_2002.shtml), a story of a candidate who was  essentially shut-out of running for the house again because of re-districting.  Of course, this also validates Joe's point about how he has a chance of winning in a small district in Colorado, because of the use of the powerful tool of personal campaigning, and if the district was too far out of reach, it would take a lot of money to make-up for what personal campaigning by the candidate could do.

But once again, which is better? Having 36 of our guys in a 70- member house, or having 214 of our guys in a 426 member house? It all depends upon how much support they have from their constituency to act, personally, I would rather be one of those 214 guys holding less power and responsibility when our enemies combine and support starts dwindling, than one of those 36 guys with much more power and attention upon me in the same position, but eventually, we are going to have to have the support of the majority of the people in the state behind us when we start turning the state around towards that which makes the weak tremble, and that is liberty, self-government and personal responsibility.  Even though some states have a noticeable edge in certain areas, eventually, I would hope that we are all looking forward to placing not only a majority of freedom lovers in the house, but in the senate too, something which New Hampshire falls short of the rest of the states in, and then there are people in Federal offices; Congressmen and congresswomen, Senators and then pf course is that one statewide office that could make all the difference towards the creation of a free state, and that is having a governor on our side for liberty, and there's really only one of those in each of our states, (I know New Hampshire does have a unique secondary office there too), but each of our states really only has one governor.  That has got to be one gutsy man or woman who is going to be willing to stand behind some of our goals.  I would rather that governor have only 25% of Wyoming's population crying for his ouster than 25% of New Hampshire's!

OK I said I was going to try to be brief, and look at me, back at it again.  I hope all these points make sense.  .  .  

_________________

Oh, and by the way, in relation to my numbers about my casual efforts here in California.  I can't wait to get talking with noticeably more liberty- friendly people, like in Idaho, New Hampshire, Wyoming . . . then think of the synergy of our neighbors meeting several of us every week, all while actual political success is happening.  I would dare say I am going to be bringing in at least 10-20 people a year through casual contacts once we all move to the same state and get this ball rolling. . .
 
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: Zxcv on March 25, 2003, 11:34:16 pm
Thank you, Joe, for patiently going over this again (I know you've hit us with this before; I guess some things don't stick in my old brain so well). And I should know it too, because I've gone door-to-door before. But I was never the actual candidate, trying to hit every voter in the district. And you are right, personal contact with the voter is a very good way to get elected. So it is pretty important, after all.

Hmmm, I wonder if I should put district sizes in the big spreadsheet? You've done all the work, it will be easy. Except there is this issue with states that have different-sized districts, not sure how to handle that.

Exitus, I agree with you as well. We have to work the cultural end of things, too. I'm not as pessimistic as Joe on this point. We are not just getting the "low-hanging fruit", to have more difficulty later. People are not static in their belief. If you look at "memetics" (I think that's what they call it, about the spread of ideas), things are much more fluid. Early in the 20th century there was a huge swing toward "progressivism" (a pretty word for statism); now over the last 20 years or so we've seen cultural progress toward freedom although that is not yet reflected very much in government. But that will happen too if the swing continues (e.g., a lot of people are giving up on government schools).
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: stpeter on March 25, 2003, 11:36:30 pm
Joe, I just want to thank you for your continued dose of realism. People can speculate all they want, but you've truly and literally walked the talk.

As to East vs. West, I grew up in Maine and have lived in NY, NJ, PA, VA, GA, and CO. Most people in WY live in towns like Cody or Casper, anywhere from 5k to 50k people. They're fairly compact and good for campaigning, or so it seems to me from travelling through WY quite a bit. I don't see anything in WY that would prevent pounding the pavement in the way Joe describes. And certainly any putative downsides of WY-style population concentrations are far outweighed by the fact that WY has the smallest population and the best average ratio of citizens to representatives. Hey, I like NH a lot, it's a great place. It's just not going to make the best Free State (at least not the first time around...).
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: Robert H. on March 26, 2003, 03:37:35 am
I don't see anything in WY that would prevent pounding the pavement in the way Joe describes. And certainly any putative downsides of WY-style population concentrations are far outweighed by the fact that WY has the smallest population and the best average ratio of citizens to representatives.

An added advantage of fewer general population centers (as long as they are not too overly huge - like Anchorage) is that more of us would be voting and otherwise supporting one another to a greater degree in the same elections.  Not only would the candidates themselves have a simpler time of reaching the electorate, but those of us trying to support them would be able to campaign for them with greater credibility; as locals, not outsiders.

Thus, we could use our combined numbers to maximum effect right down to the lower level elections since more of us would be located within the same districts.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: craft_6 on March 26, 2003, 10:15:10 am
An added advantage of fewer general population centers (as long as they are not too overly huge - like Anchorage) is that more of us would be voting and otherwise supporting one another to a greater degree in the same elections.  Not only would the candidates themselves have a simpler time of reaching the electorate, but those of us trying to support them would be able to campaign for them with greater credibility; as locals, not outsiders.

Thus, we could use our combined numbers to maximum effect right down to the lower level elections since more of us would be located within the same districts.

Despite their other advantages, the large western states such as Alaska, Wyoming, and Idaho would seem to be at a disadvantage when it comes to campaigning, as compared to small eastern states like Vermont, Delaware, or New Hampshire.  

Even with the less evenly distributed populations in the western states, the chances of drawing campaign support from the entire population of 20,000 FSPers would be remote.  In a smaller state, FSPers from throughout the state could help campaign in a single targeted district at the same time, offsetting the advantages of better-financed opposition candidates.  In the larger states, only local FSPers could be counted on to help in a given district, and it would be harder to focus resources on one district at a time.

I still think the western states are more liberty-oriented to begin with, which could offset this disadvantage, however.

I also think we shouldn't make Anchorage out to be some northern version of Washington, D.C., or New York -- it's a small city.  Of the western states, Alaska would seem to offer the best concentration of activists for campaigning, since the majority of FSPers would probably locate in or near Anchorage.  
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: Zxcv on March 26, 2003, 12:37:07 pm
Quote
Even with the less evenly distributed populations in the western states, the chances of drawing campaign support from the entire population of 20,000 FSPers would be remote.  In a smaller state, FSPers from throughout the state could help campaign in a single targeted district at the same time, offsetting the advantages of better-financed opposition candidates.
When I think of the campaign work I've done, this advantage of small states seems like a pretty small advantage!

Consider:
1) Campaign contributions can come from anywhere, even outside the state. State physical size matters not at all.
2) Database work for the campaign, with the internet, also means size is about meaningless. Really all you need anyway is a home PC and some computer-literate person to deal with this.
3) Filing campaign reports - distance to the state capital used to matter, but lately this is done over the internet too, and anyway it's typically done only 5 or 6 times in a campaign.
4) Door-to-door work - this is best done by the candidate herself, with perhaps one other worker handling the other side of the street. Physical size of the state does not matter. If the door-to-door work is for a local ballot measure, yes, what you say applies somewhat - but is it really that much harder finding workers within a small city, than within many smaller nearby towns? For state ballot measures, again, state physical size does not matter much; every worker goes door-to-door in their own area.

Most campaign volunteers, let's face it, work on campaigns for candidates in their district, not for someone 20 miles over in the next town.

I simply cannot buy this physical size difficulty, for anything other than statewide races (and that only in such areas as distribution of campaign material), or states that are largely rural in population (none of our states apply). Yes, there are a few small things that work better in one configuration of state or another, but it's really hard to say how that plays out. For example, if you were running for an at-large seat in the county commission, and you had the choice of a county with a single prominent city in the county seat, or multiple smaller towns, which would you prefer to campaign in?
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: Robert H. on March 27, 2003, 03:15:19 am
In a smaller state, FSPers from throughout the state could help campaign in a single targeted district at the same time, offsetting the advantages of better-financed opposition candidates.

They could certainly do this to some extent, but I would question to what degree those from outlying districts would be able to campaign on behalf of others.  Opposition forces could use that to make forceful arguments about local FSP candidates "bringing in outside special interests."

Quote
In the larger states, only local FSPers could be counted on to help in a given district, and it would be harder to focus resources on one district at a time.

The good thing here is that, due to the "population" pockets found in the western states, it is likely that a larger number of porcupines would be local to one another.

Quote
I also think we shouldn't make Anchorage out to be some northern version of Washington, D.C., or New York -- it's a small city.  Of the western states, Alaska would seem to offer the best concentration of activists for campaigning, since the majority of FSPers would probably locate in or near Anchorage.  

True.  Anchorage is actually small in relation to what most people think of as a "city," and most FSPer's would undoubtedly live in or near it (I'd speculate around 80% - 16,000).  I just used Anchorage in a "large" sense here as it seems to have a smaller number of seats available among a larger voting population.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: craft_6 on March 28, 2003, 10:14:01 am
I simply cannot buy this physical size difficulty, for anything other than statewide races (and that only in such areas as distribution of campaign material), or states that are largely rural in population (none of our states apply). Yes, there are a few small things that work better in one configuration of state or another, but it's really hard to say how that plays out.

I don't have any personal campaign experience (yet), so I would defer to those who do, but one advantage of a geographically smaller state seems obvious to me:

If a single district, or small number of districts, is targeted, FSPers from throughout the state could undertake a campaign literature saturation strategy.  For example, if a state has 20 districts, target two of them and have (potentially) 10,000 activists visit each and hand out a two-page position paper for the FSP candidate.  This would directly bypass the biased local paper most citizens don't read anyway.  A website address with more in-depth explanations and supporting data could be included.

Would people from 20 or 30 miles away be viewed as outsiders?  If you wake up and find a campaign brochure on your door, you wouldn't know who left it there anyway.  Many people don't want to be hassled by door-to-door politicians or political activists, but they will usually at least look at something on their door before tossing it out.

Could a literature saturation strategy like this work?  In my 3 decades plus of life, I've never seen anyone try it.  I've never even received a single personal visit from a candidate for any office, or a single political flyer of any kind.  Of course, I have received numerous mailings from entrenched politicians who have the franking privilege.

FSP activists could take the message of liberty directly to the voters, bypassing the media, if they are able to concentrate their forces in one area.




Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: Zxcv on March 28, 2003, 11:06:50 am
Yes, you've come up with a good example. The problem with this example, is that campaigns and elections don't happen in isolation. While the guy you are targeting is running, there is another guy in your own district who has one vote in the legislature just like the targeted guy has. So most people in the various districts will be working on the campaigns in their own districts. The FSP-successor organization will be making more than two or three endorsements.

But yes, there may be special cases, even in the context of a general election. For example we may have a candidate who promised us he'd vote a particular way on an issue, then turned around and screwed us (this has happened to NRA a couple of times - a candidate takes a pile of money from them to get elected, and then works against them on every vote). In those cases we would want to allocate as many people as we could to get this person out. Certainly not 10,000, but maybe 500 extra workers which would be a lot. Then, what you say applies.

However, one extra point. It is not distance that matters, but time. And quality of time spent. I'd rather spend one hour driving fast across a beautiful western landscape, than 50 minutes trying to get across Wilmington during rush hour.   ;)
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: George Reich on March 28, 2003, 11:28:03 am
Could a literature saturation strategy like this work?  In my 3 decades plus of life, I've never seen anyone try it.  I've never even received a single personal visit from a candidate for any office, or a single political flyer of any kind.  Of course, I have received numerous mailings from entrenched politicians who have the franking privilege.

This is most interesting to me. You've never had a candidate knock on your door?? If you don't mind saying, craft_6,  which state do you live in?
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: craft_6 on March 28, 2003, 12:13:26 pm
This is most interesting to me. You've never had a candidate knock on your door?? If you don't mind saying, craft_6,  which state do you live in?

I have lived in six different states.  Political campaigns have appeared to me, a relatively well-informed voter, as consisting largely of yard signs (Vote for Joe!), 10-second radio and TV ads (largely smearing the main opponent), and glossy mailings from career politicians, trying to prove they've accomplished something with all the money they take from us in taxes.

I think a true grassroots political movement could reach people much more effectively than anything I've personally seen so far.  Some of the ballot initiative drives in states I have lived in seem to consist largely of having volunteers or minimum-wage activists hassling shoppers for petition signatures in shopping malls.

Whoever is trying to reach me, they are not succeeding.  Perhaps this is due to living mostly in apartments, or out in the country, but I have lived in suburban houses as well.

Political discourse in this country seems largely to be at an infantile and negative level.  Voters (and many non-voters) might respond to a polite and slightly more intellectual personal campaign, including direct delivery of position papers.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: George Reich on March 28, 2003, 02:06:23 pm
This is most interesting to me. You've never had a candidate knock on your door?? If you don't mind saying, craft_6,  which state do you live in?

I have lived in six different states.  Political campaigns have appeared to me, a relatively well-informed voter, as consisting largely of yard signs (Vote for Joe!), 10-second radio and TV ads (largely smearing the main opponent), and glossy mailings from career politicians, trying to prove they've accomplished something with all the money they take from us in taxes.

I think a true grassroots political movement could reach people much more effectively than anything I've personally seen so far.  Some of the ballot initiative drives in states I have lived in seem to consist largely of having volunteers or minimum-wage activists hassling shoppers for petition signatures in shopping malls.

Whoever is trying to reach me, they are not succeeding.  Perhaps this is due to living mostly in apartments, or out in the country, but I have lived in suburban houses as well.

Political discourse in this country seems largely to be at an infantile and negative level.  Voters (and many non-voters) might respond to a polite and slightly more intellectual personal campaign, including direct delivery of position papers.

I think I am beginning to understand why voter turnout is higher in New Hampshire than in other states.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: stpeter on March 29, 2003, 09:26:02 pm
I think I am beginning to understand why voter turnout is higher in New Hampshire than in other states.
Why is that? My perception of Western states is that (at least in Presidential elections) there is a feeling that the race has been decided by the time they go to the polls, so why bother? Or maybe they've realized the general futility of political action. :-) There are probably many reasons why voter turnout is higher in some places than in others -- perhaps Jason could shed light on this given his academic research...
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: George Reich on March 29, 2003, 10:08:30 pm
I think I am beginning to understand why voter turnout is higher in New Hampshire than in other states.
Why is that? My perception of Western states is that (at least in Presidential elections) there is a feeling that the race has been decided by the time they go to the polls, so why bother? Or maybe they've realized the general futility of political action. :-) There are probably many reasons why voter turnout is higher in some places than in others -- perhaps Jason could shed light on this given his academic research...

craft_6 wrote that he has lived in six different states and has never had a candidate knock on his door. In NH, candidates do knock on your door. I guess I was figuring that would make people tend to turn out more...

I'm sure there are many other reasons, too, though. Turnout was sky-high here in 2002 because the Democratic gubernatorial candidate proposed introducing an income tax. That really got people riled up and about 60,000 more than expected turned out. (He absolutely ruined the NH Democratic party with this foolish position). Also in NH, you are likely to live near and know the candidates for your state representative(s) - maybe that is a factor in turnout, too.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: stpeter on March 29, 2003, 11:04:55 pm
craft_6 wrote that he has lived in six different states and has never had a candidate knock on his door. In NH, candidates do knock on your door. I guess I was figuring that would make people tend to turn out more...
Happens all the time here in Denver -- mostly for City Council elections.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: George Reich on March 30, 2003, 07:40:21 pm
Happens all the time here in Denver -- mostly for City Council elections.

And how is the turnout?
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: Robert H. on April 01, 2003, 02:30:31 am
Being from northern Virginia, where there are a lot of lobbying groups and political types in general, I've seen the usual deluge of signage that Exitus refers to (and TV and radio ads like they're going out of style), but very little in the way of candidates actually coming around to homes.

Some of them have targeted other public places though, including supermarkets where they'll stand out front and hand out their literature and greet people.  The last such instance I noted was a guy who was running for a school board seat standing out front of a Giant in Burke.  He had also brought along the current, retiring school board officer whom he intended to replace, which I thought was a fairly clever approach.

Living here in South Carolina for almost two years now, we've had one state representative candidate drop by our house along with his young son.  But most events where I've met politicians were the sort where I planned to be there myself as opposed to their coming around to where I was.

Living so close to the capital for so long did give me a chance to see national politics fairly close up on a few occasions though: House and Senate sessions, Presidential inaugurations and such.  
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: exitus on April 01, 2003, 10:19:47 pm
I think in all of this discussion of access to the state legislatures, we have missed one important role activists fulfill:


We know we will be fighting an uphill battle trying to get some of our kind of leaders in power, let alone a majority in our chosen state, and we wonder about many questions related to this such as access to the offices, electibility, voter apathy, and so forth.  It seems a dangerous prospect trusting too much in politics alone to lead our chosen state to becoming a free state.  

Obviously, we are going to have to capture the minds and hearts of voters towards this end, but it isn't going to happen right away.  .  .

In the mean time, what about those politicians who are 100% electable, even if they don't support our goals, I say they are 100% electable because they are already elected and in power.

If every leader in our state isn't having to refill the paper-tray in their fax machines every day, 20,000 activists aren't doing their job.

If city council meetings aren't packed to capacity everytime there is a meeting, 20,000 activists aren't doing their job.

If phones across the state don't ring continually, 20,000 activists aren't doing their job.

If the local media oulets aren't changing their phone numbers, begging for mercy when they run a bad story, changing the rules about submissions of letters-to-the-editor.   If the opinion page of the local newspapers aren't burning hot with editorials, 20,000 activists aren't doing their job.

If our local candidates aren't broadcasting on local television with money being poured-in from all over the country, and local leaders pleading with their out-of-state contributors to assist them, 20,000 activists aren't doing their jobs.

If we aren't capturing national attention, 20,000 activists aren't doing their job. . .

But not just in fighting, but in supporting. . .

We should be making friends with journalists and news people.  We should be making friends with those politicians who agree with us at least half of the time, we should have plenty of leaders who will anticipate all the good ammunition, encouragement and support we provide them as they seek to make the right choice, even if they are Democrat, Republican, Green, or by-golly Libertarian.


It's going to take a lot more work than that of the candidates for office or even of any political party.

We can work with non-libertarian politicians!!  It is possible.  Most of them like to get re-elected and like to hold on to the power they have.  Most of them are influenced more by opinion polls than by principles, they can bend, they can be bridled, reigned-in if they feel they are being watched, monitored, and popular opinion is shaping another direction.  It is just going to take a lot of work.  We don't necessarily have to have our guys in power to get a lot done.  Concessions can be made if opinion polls point that way.  There are many Republicans are a good measure libertarian on economic issues anyways.
As for the Democrats, there are a lot of well-intentioned among them that hold the line in other ways, they can be influenced for good.

There are many politicians who can be influenced to make the right choices, especially when lobbyied by intelligent, articulate people who are dilligent and enthusiastic, and when there is any perception that they might gain popularity for making the principled choice.

What it comes down to, is that we can ignore party labels, and focus our efforts the most on those lead-weight politicians who oppose freedom and support those who do well, no matter how easy or hard it is going to be for us to get our own members in public office.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: Robert H. on April 02, 2003, 12:38:06 am
Excellent points, Exitus!

When contacting politicians, make it clear that you are a constituent, that you will donate to a cause or candidate that represents your views, that you vote, and that you will encourage as many people as you know to do these same things.  If possible, try to throw in a sentence or two demonstrating that you have some knowledge of this person's history in office and/or the specific issue in general as opposed to just rendering an opinion on the matter.

Appearing knowledgeable, attentive, and willing to back up your actions with deeds is an effective combination for getting a politician's attention.

Especially if there are a whole lot of you.   ;)
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: Joe on July 03, 2003, 03:24:49 pm
Number of people per representative district.
VT & NH have some mult-seat districts and all of SD, ND house districts are 2-seaters.
  3,089  to 42,586   New Hampshire   (some multi-seat districts 400 reps for 1,235,786 people)
  4,059 to 8,118   Vermont   (some 2-seat districts and 150 reps for 608,827 people)
  8,230   Wyoming   (60 reps for 493,782 people)
  8,443   Maine   (151 reps for 1,274,923 people)
  9,022   Montana   (100 reps for 902,195 people)
13,106   North Dakota   (2-seat districts and 98 reps for 642,200 people)
15,673   Alaska   (40 reps for 626,932 people)
19,112   Delaware   (41 reps for 783,600 people)
21,567  South Dakota   (2-seat districts and 70 reps for 754,844 people)
36,962   Idaho   (2-seat districts and 70 reps for 1,293,653 people)
Compare the above with the detail for New Hampshire below.

A lot of debate has been about how big or small (in population) the New Hampshire districts are.
Here are the facts from the NH Supreme Court.
One 14-seat district has 42,586 people.
New Hampshire has the following districts.
  1 with 42,586 people.
  1 with 38,821 people.
  5 with 32,479 to 35,509 people.
  1 with 27,918 people.
  6 with 24,304 to 24,967 people.
  4 with 21,559 to 22,563 people.
  7 with 17,712 to 19,254 people.
  6 with 14,930 to 16,062 people.
14 with 11,846 to 12,797 people.
24 with   8,846 to 9,704 people.
14 with   5,967 to 6,413 people.
  5 with   2,982 to 3,208 people.

Source: New Hampshire House Districts Supreme Court Plan Population Summary Report
http://www.courts.state.nh.us/supreme/opinions/2002/0207/hse2002_sts.pdf
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: JasonPSorens on July 03, 2003, 03:49:04 pm
In NH, perhaps median district size is more important than mean district size.  Median district size in NH, according to the above figures, is 12,356 people, lower than the mean district size of 14,043.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: Michelle on July 03, 2003, 03:53:44 pm
Please enlighten me. Exactly what is it that you don't understand here, Joe:

Wow, I was beginning to think NH had the smallest.

New Hampshire does have the nation's smallest districts, with 3089 residents per.  Keith Carlsen chooses to use average district size, for reasons of his own.  

Many districts are multi-member, with most having three or four members, and one large one having fourteen.  

What I find it difficult to explain is that these multi-member districts are even easier to win than the single-member districts!  The two large parties are often unable to find enough people to run for all the seats, and fusion allows for cross nomination.  Allow me to demonstrate:

Say you've got a district with six seats.  The Republicans and the Democrats each put up four candidates.  

Say you are running as a Libertarian.  On primary day you find TEN  people who are willing to write in your name.  All it takes is ten.  You say, "Listen, sir, you're going to have six votes in the booth, and only four people from your party to vote for.  Would you mind using one of your extra votes to write in my name?"

If ten Republicans do this, you appear on the general ballot as a "Libertarian-Republican."  If ten Democrats do this, as well, you appear as a "Libertarian-Republican-Democrat."  

It's that easy in New Hampshire.

Of the 59 people who tried to win using this method in NH last year, all 59 won office.  

Don't beleive me?  Go to the NH General Court website and look at the list of members.  You'll see 59 "Republican-Democrats" and "Democrat-Republicans."

The single-member districts in NH will be the hard ones.

People - PLEASE read this. It is absolutely critical and Keith just explained it in very simple terms. We can WIN in New Hampshire. We know how to do it. This strategy has been used successfully in the past. Just ask Don Gorman as those who came to Escape 2 NH did.

Not only can we win in New Hampshire, we can begin doing it IMMEDIATELY. In New Hampshire the FSP will hit the ground running, see success in short order, and generate even more enthusiasm and energy to achieve future wins.

Can ANY other state say this? If they can, they certainly haven't made it clear to me. How long will the enthusiasm of the members be sustained as we struggle to gain a foothold in another state? No, it won't be easy anywhere, but in New Hampshire we have a plan and proven strategy to begin winning immediately - to sustain and build on all of this energy that we've all got now. Our election laws, our small districts, our nonpartisan local elections, our inexpensive campaigns, even our multi-seat districts that some of you like to pretend are a liability - they all give us the ability to win in New Hampshire.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: jgmaynard on July 03, 2003, 04:27:47 pm
Every system is different. Comparing systems on state rep districts without taking the differing systems into account would be comparing apples and oranges.

There's a better way I can see that would eliminate these differences:

Last elections lowest # of votes to win a state house seat, and max # to win a statehouse seat.

That will let us know the real numbers that we would have to realistically hit in order to win seats.

It would also be useful to do this for min/max costs per win. But that info would be pretty tough to get.

JM
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: JasonPSorens on July 03, 2003, 04:40:53 pm
There's a better way I can see that would eliminate these differences:

Last elections lowest # of votes to win a state house seat, and max # to win a statehouse seat.


Well, you never want to base a statistical indicator on outliers, but the principle there sounds good.  I would recommend something like this: average number of votes needed to win in the all lowest-votes-needed elections at least 1 standard deviation below the median contested by both a Republican and Democrat in 2002, and average number of votes needed to win in all highest-votes-needed elections at least 1 standard deviation above the median contested by both a Republican and Democrat in 2002 - for both state house and state senate.  That will give a range of values suitable for judging relative ease of getting a foothold in the state house and senate of all states.
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: jgmaynard on July 04, 2003, 07:11:47 pm
If you can find the min and max winning #'s, that would be an interesting thinng to look at... The min would represent roughly what it would take to win one seat (ideally) and the max, an indication of what it would take to acheive dominance.

<Darth Vader voice>"Your Democratic phone tree is no match against the power of the FSP...." :D

JM
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: freedomroad on July 07, 2003, 03:12:43 am
I new thread that deals with this issue has been started.

http://forum.freestateproject.org/index.php?board=5;action=display;threadid=2271
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: Hank on September 01, 2003, 12:43:27 pm
In spite of numbers showing conclusively that WY is easier to win a majority in, the NH contingent keeps bringing up smoke like "fusion".

What happens if the D's and R's get mobilized in the face of a libertarian takeover and have both a D and R for each and every NH House seat? What if they have more than enough in every district? What if they have 16 D's and 16 R's running for 14 seats in NH's largest district.  How does fusion work then?  Which candidates get credited with a  "straight" ticket vote when there are enough D's or R's for every seat?  Can a person even get on the ballot then as a D+R or R+D or L+R or L+D?? ???
Title: Re:Analysis of State Legislatures
Post by: jgmaynard on September 01, 2003, 12:55:38 pm
What happens if the D's and R's get mobilized in the face of a libertarian takeover and have both a D and R for each and every NH House seat?

I thought you didn't want to work within the LP? Come on, Mxyzptlk, you're not doing a very good Hank imitation... ;) You're even contradicting his posts from this morning.  :P

Quote
What if they have more than enough in every district? What if they have 16 D's and 16 R's running for 14 seats in NH's largest district.

If EITHER party had the ability to run a full slate, they would already be doing it.

Quote
How does fusion work then?  Which candidates get credited with a  "straight" ticket vote when there are enough D's or R's for every seat?  Can a person even get on the ballot then as a D+R or R+D or L+R or L+D?? ???

Yes, you can still get on the ballot, in any of those combonations, but then you would have to make enough of a write-in campaign in the primary to beat the lowest person.
With thousands of new activists, and all the assistance the LPNH is offering, and will be offering it's candidates, that should be quite possible.

And you don't NEED to win a majority, because not everyone will be allied against you. More thoughts on this are at http://www.freestatenh.com/SAQ.html#leg

JM
Title: Re:Analysis of state legislature control
Post by: Hank on September 01, 2003, 12:58:53 pm
There are advantages to having one party being an "assumed winner".
By winning the primary in that party, the rest of the way is a slam dunk (usually).