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Pre-voting FSP style - Open Knowledge — LiveJournal

Nov. 5th, 2003

01:47 pm - Pre-voting FSP style

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Has any one tried an FSP style political campaign? I'm sure that a lot of Libertarian (or Green, etc.) politicians get the line "I'd vote for you, but I don't want to waste my vote." Rather than asking for their vote, what if a candidate asked them not to vote for him unless he had enough votes to win? For example, suppose I wanted to run for Mayor of Raleigh as a Libertarian, using the FSP style approach. Here's what I imagine I should do:

* Analyze how many votes it would take to win office. One of the features of the FSP that has made it a success so far is that the leaders have established simple tangible goals, i.e. 5000 to vote on the state, 20000 before the move.

* Approach voters and ask them to sign a pledge to vote for me. Tell them I won't run until I have enough pre-votes to win.

* I could also set up milestone targets for fund raising, i.e. I won't ask for N amount in donations until I've reached X number of pledges.

* Once I had signed up sufficient number of pre-votes to win, only then would I actually enter the race.

What are the advantages?

* Rather than blow all of my resources on a single, probably-doomed-to-failure campaign, I could slowly grow my support base until it was large enough that I had a plausible chance of winning.

* Pre-voters don't have to worry about wasting their vote, since I wouldn't actually run until I had a decent chance of winning.

* It would give me a growing mailing list from to solicit volunteers, campaign contributions, organize meetings, etc.

* It could extend over multiple campaign cycles, giving me more time to build a support base, learn how to campaign, etc.

* It would not necessarily have the stench of futility that accompanies so many libertarian campaigns.


What are the disadvantages?

* Voters might forget that they had pledged.

* People might not care to listen or donate if you're not a "real" candidate.

* If it takes too long to reach critical mass, people might get discouraged.

* It might be illegal (violate election/racketeering laws?)

* You wouldn't qualify for matching funds in future elections.

Has anyone tried this approach?

Comments:

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From:crasch
Date:November 5th, 2003 11:48 am (UTC)
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Yes, I understand that presidential candidates receive large amounts of matching funds. However, how much do candidates at the state level receive? My understanding is that the bulk comes from campaign contributions.

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From:jozafiend
Date:November 5th, 2003 11:44 am (UTC)
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It sounds like an interesting idea in asking people for their votes.

But for fundraising, you need funds to keep fundraising, so that would be more difficult, unless you had a very low-cost method of fundraising. If it was grassroots-based with much occuring over the net, that may work well. It's been a long time since I've done any political fundraising or campaigning though. I'd be interested in what others have to say as well.

I know that in raising funds for startups these days, that method has been very effective.
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From:crasch
Date:November 5th, 2003 12:40 pm (UTC)
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Ideally, you'd snowball the fundraising process too. i.e. ask people to pledge $10.00 only if you get pre-votes and $10.00 pledges from 50 other people.
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From:bhv
Date:November 5th, 2003 03:57 pm (UTC)

Pledges and Persuasion

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If a person commits to support you (if enough others will commit to support you) by signing a form and perhaps giving you his or her e-mail address, then that person has taken an important step in the process of becoming a die hard supporter.

It sounds like you've got some great ideas here. Let me know when I need to pledge my support for your first political campaign.

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From:crasch
Date:November 5th, 2003 11:05 pm (UTC)

Re: Pledges and Persuasion

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Yes, you're right. Signing the pledge is merely the camel's nose...:>

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From:twaj
Date:November 5th, 2003 05:38 pm (UTC)
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Some leading celebrities in Russia just called for the unification of all of the right-wing parties, particuluarly Yabloko and the Union of Right Forces. It is tempting to think of Edinaya Rossiya (United Russia) as a Wilsonian 'Progressive' party, this is not the case - Putin is merely a powermonger. He got elected the last time by blowing up some apartment buildings and blaming it on the Chechens. Zhirinovsky deserves his own cartoon, but not the Presidency.
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From:blueadept
Date:November 5th, 2003 10:24 pm (UTC)
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Is that legal? It seems like it might be breaking some racketeering laws (or whatever they call the laws that prohibit buying votes or candidates exerting other sorts of undue influence on voters). Just a thought...

If it isn't illegal, then it's a good idea. But I would still prefer something like IRV or Condorcet elections for government offices. That way people won't feel like they're wasting votes - they'll vote in order of preference and third parties could have more of a chance.
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From:crasch
Date:November 5th, 2003 10:51 pm (UTC)
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Don't know if it's legal or not. I don't see why it would be (although that's not saying much, as there are a lot of laws I think serve no legitimate purpose). However, I don't think it would run afoul of laws against vote-buying, since you're not promising to pay them anything for their vote, and I don't think it would fall under racketeering laws, as you're not threatening violence if they don't vote for you. But I don't know.

And I agree with you that IRV and Condorcet voting would be better, but I don't see it happening anytime soon, so I'm trying to think of things that could be done within the present system. (Although hostility to Condorcet may change as Democrats lose more races due to the Greens, and Republicans lose more races due to the Libertarians. )
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