Gongol.com Archives: October 2012
Brian Gongol

October 11, 2012

The United States of America Tonight's Vice Presidential debate features the largest age gap ever

The United States of America Why is there no Libertarian in the Presidential debates?
It's quite simple: America's electoral system is based on who can get the most votes, period -- not assigning representation in proportion to the total vote. The "first past the post" method means that our political factions have to assemble their coalitions before election day, not after. To get what you want in American politics, you have to choose a party to influence, establish a foothold there, and then get that party to victory on election day -- accepting the fact that, along the way, you're going to have to compromise with others within your own party in order to get their support so that you can win the election. More than anything, it's actually a system that will tend towards moderation (even if that seems out of place today), since the largest number of votes to be obtained is generally in the middle of the political spectrum -- so neither party can win in the natural duopoly by being particularly radical. But it has also tended to reward those who show up with something they want -- which is why many party activists sound a whole lot more "out there" than the average voter, and hence why all of the talking heads refer to how candidates have to run to the right or left in order to get the party nomination, then back to the center to win the election. We will only see a third party become a major force in America if and when one or both of the parties completely abandon the "big tent" philosophy in the name of purity (which could happen), or if a third party executes a brilliant campaign of starting at the very local level (city and county elections) and establishes a record strong enough to win state-level elections before going national. It's just not going to happen any other way. If Ross Perot couldn't get the Reform Party off the ground as one of the 20 richest people in America, and if Teddy Roosevelt couldn't do it as a wildly popular former President, it's not going to happen today just because the Green Party or Libertarian Party wants it. They either need to start winning elections on the local scale and prove that they're better in actual practice than the Republicans and Democrats, or they have to accept their place as interest groups within the two major parties. It just isn't going to happen any other way.

Threats and Hazards CBS News reporter Lara Logan says things in the Middle East are much, much worse than we think

Threats and Hazards An employee of the US embassy to Yemen has been assassinated

The United States of America So that's what's on those American flag pins
There's been something noticeably odd about the flag pins that Mitt Romney has been wearing for some time. Turns out, it's a Secret Service thing.

Broadcasting Transforming the WHO-TV news studio
A fun little time-lapse recording

Iowa Sioux City wants to become a little Hard Rock

Business and Finance What's the future of Jewel stores in Chicagoland?