Category Archives: Opinion Piece

Election 2016 — A Call to Arms


I call it the NOTAP.  The NOTAP is the None Of The Above Party.  And I offer up as NOTAP’s first presidential candidate . . . well, we’ll get to that in a moment.

NOTAP’s primary platform is the ultimate delegitimization of the eventual winner of this year’s U.S. presidential election, and the abject humiliation of a two-party system that foisted these two candidates upon us.  That’s it.  One issue.  One objective.  Everything else at this point is secondary to that one goal.  E-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g, whether we’re talking about abortion, guns, immigration, taxation, whatever; because none of any of those issued means one damned thing to anyone if we continue down this path.

Here’s what you can do:  Research your state’s voting laws.  See what candidates other than the Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton may be on the ballot.  For instance, there are 27 alternate parties on the ballot of several states, and various self-identified “Independent” or “Independence” parties on the ballot of fifteen states.

Here’s a rundown of just a few of the more prominent:  The Libertarian Party is on 33 ballots.  Twenty-one ballots will display the Green Party candidate.  The Constitution Party is on the ballots of thirteen states.  The Reform and the Working Families Party are each on four ballots, and the Progressive Party is on two.  There’s even an American Shopping Party on the ballot in Hawai’i this year, if shopping is your thing, but the candidate on that ballot is running for the U.S. Senate rather than president.  Anyway, you get the idea — there are other choices out there, choices that haven’t a prayer.  Hold your nose and pick one.  Any one.  Just pick.  If you have no alternative, and if your state does not allow a write-in (more on that in a moment), then I suggest you withhold your vote for either of the two other candidates unless either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton truly appeals to you and you feel either of those candidates holds with the issues dearest to your heart.

In states that offer the alternative of a write-in, even if that write-in vote will not be tallied because of arbitrary and punitive regulation, I offer up one other choice, and that would be the self-appointed, first-ever nominee of the NOTAP — R. Doug Wicker.  No, this is not an ego trip.  I do not expect to garner any significant vote tally.  Indeed, if you have any other choice then I implore you to please pick it.

If you agree with this treatise, and if you desire to act based upon its proposals, please forward all this week’s articles to your social networking list.  The time to organize a true and effective protest is rapidly dwindling.

Monday:  Election 2016 — How the Hell Did We Get Here?

Tuesday:  Election 2016 — Why the Hell Did We Get Here?

Wednesday:  Election 2016 — Fixing This System Long Term

Thursday:  Election 2016 — But How Do We Fix This Year’s Mess?

Today:  Friday:  Election — A Call to Arms

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Filed under Opinion Piece, R. Doug Wicker, Social Networking

Election 2016 — But How Do We Fix This Year’s Mess?


The short answer is, we can’t.  Barring a federal indictment, or someone being crushed to death in the tragic collapse of an enormous ego, or other unforeseen and unlikely circumstance, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are this year’s disastrous nominees.  Get used to the idea.  We can’t fix it . . . but we might, just might be able to mitigate the damage regardless of the outcome.

Why we can’t fix things this year:  Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump were right about one thing — the system is rigged, just not in the way they think it is.  It’s already too late to put a credible third-party candidate on the ballot in some states and impossible in many others; and, no, I don’t consider the Libertarian Party’s ticket a credible alternative (but that ticket just might be useful in mitigation, which we’ll get to shortly).

Why is it too late?

The Big Two get their nominees on the November ballot pretty much automatically.  The Big Two have seen to that.  But that’s not all they’ve managed to rig in their favor.  They’ve also made it pretty much impossible for an alternative to get on the ballot to spoil their monopoly.  An “independent” candidate (meaning not affiliated with either the Republican, Democrat, or other “state-recognized” parties) has to jump through innumerable obstacles to get on state ballots.  In order to accomplish that an independent would need to gather an estimated 900,000+ petition signatures in order to make the ballots in all fifty states.  Suppose our independent managed to meet that insurmountable hurdle?  Well, then the next hurdle is arbitrary “deadlines” set at the state level.  For instance, the deadline to submit for inclusion on the November ballot has already passed in several states, including here in Texas.  I find that interesting, considering that technically neither party has yet fielded an official candidate, and won’t until their respective conventions, yet the names Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will be on the ballot of all fifty states despite these “deadlines” having passed.  Finally, the last hurdle is that several states want you to pay for the privilege of putting your name on their November ballot.  It may be easy for a state party to fork over a couple hundred to a thousand bucks to just one state for ballot access for the eventual nominee, but it’s unrealistic for anyone but the extremely wealthy to pay tribute to all the states that charge such a fee.  Outraged yet?  Read on.

What about write-in candidates?  Again, the system is rigged in favor of the Big Two.  Forty-three states allow for write-ins.  Of those, thirty-five of them require advance submission of the write-in, otherwise those votes will not even be tallied regardless of how many votes are cast for that individual.  That’s leads to the ludicrous possibility that a write-in candidate could conceivably garner 51% of the votes in one of those states, yet one of the other two “Big Two” party candidates would “win” all the electoral votes for that state.  Seven states flat-out deny you the basic right to write in the name of someone other than those who appear on those states’ ballots, which usually means you’re limited to two, perhaps three choices as arbitrarily decided by the state (i.e., “The Big Two”).  The states on that wall of shame are Arkansas, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.  Only eight states in the entire country honor their law-abiding, taxpaying citizens enough to allow them true freedom of choice in a presidential election —Alabama, Delaware, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oregon, Vermont, and Wyoming.

Well, if we can’t fix it, how the hell are we going to mitigate it?  With the only tool left to us, and that is to effectively delegitimize the ultimate “winner” in such a way that the he or she becomes a powerless figurehead “leader” until the next election cycle.  In other words, you vote.  You vote for third party candidates, write in someone even if your ballot will not be tallied, you do anything in your very limited power to ensure that the “winner”, be it Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, has far less than anything even remotely smacking of 50% of the vote.  Ideally one would want to see neither of the two front runners get even one third of the popular vote, meaning that a solid two-thirds of the country voted against either individual, but that’s not going to happen.  We all know that going into this, because as I’ve already noted the system is rigged by the Big Two.

No president with a significant and solid majority of the electorate having voted against them can claim any sort of mandate to do anything, whether it be negotiating treaties, attempt to bully sovereign nations into paying for walls we all know are never going to be built, submitting for consideration proposals to the now-cowering legislative branch of government, or attempting to seed ideologues into the federal judiciary and the Supreme Court.  Moderation wins by default.  Extremism loses and begins an inevitable downward spiral into oblivion.

Tomorrow I wrap up with this minor treatise with a call to arms.  It’s time the true patriots take back this country away from the special interests and the Big Two that have become indistinguishable from those special interests.

Monday:  Election 2016 — How the Hell Did We Get Here?

Tuesday:  Election 2016 — Why the Hell Did We Get Here?

Wednesday:  Election 2016 — Fixing This System Long Term

Today:  Election 2016 — But How Do We Fix This Year’s Mess?

Friday:  Friday:  Election — A Call to Arms

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Filed under Opinion Piece, R. Doug Wicker, Social Networking

Election 2016 — Fixing This System Long Term


So how do we fix our broken nominee selection system here in the U.S.?  The most expedient and cost effective solution is to go back to that clichéd “smoke-filled back room” I mentioned in yesterday’s “Decision 2016 — Why the Hell Did We Get Here?”  But that genie is out of the bottle.  We, the people, are not likely to express the desire to relinquish control of candidate selection, even if as I demonstrated yesterday that “control” is an empty illusion.

That leaves reforming what we have.  First, state party officials should be convinced to do away with caucuses if that is the system used in your state.  Next, all primaries should be opened up to participation by all registered voters, be they party members, independents, or self-proclaimed members of the opposition party.  For the selection system to be reformed it must be open to all regardless of affiliation, or lack of it.

The dangers of “Strategic” or “Tactical” voting.  There is a popular right-wing radio host who in 2008 advocated for the reprehensible tactic of “strategic” voting.  He called for members of one party to falsely identify with the opposition party to allow them to participate in that party’s primary and vote for the perceived weakest candidate.  The obvious and not-very-subtle subtext was, “We might not be able to beat the woman, but there’s no way in hell the black guy is ever going to get elected.”  Well, that didn’t work out very well for this waste of oxygen and his followers, now did it.  Nevertheless the danger of this type voting is very real, and can easily tip the scales right back to what we have today — two fatally flawed candidates.  The only difference being that the other side managed to screw up the election rather than the ideologues within the party.

How to combat “Strategic” or “Tactical” voting.  The solution here is pretty simple.  You make the “strategic voters” take public ownership of their votes.  Most people in the U.S. are under the mistaken impression that they are constitutionally guaranteed a secret ballot.  That’s simple not the case.  While most states currently use the “Australian” or “secret” ballot system today, that is a fairly recent phenomenon.  You’ll even notice that I said “most” states.  Technically Washington and Oregon do not use the Australian system because all voting in those states is done by mail, and West Virginia still allows for open balloting.  But, even if the U.S. did have a truly secret ballot system, that would only apply to actually electing someone.  What we’re talking about here is nominating candidates, and there is no expectation or right to a secret ballot in this case.  So, if someone wants to play games, how are they going to feel when their friends keep reminding the unpatriotic, un-American, half-witted “strategic voter” that, “Hey, you voted for that ‘loser’, as you call him, during the last primary, so I don’t want to hear about it.  You have no credibility.  None.”  With internet access and modern databases there is no reason why everyone’s primary vote cannot be made public online.

All this in turn means wresting from state party leaders the rule-making for primaries.  And that in turn means demanding that you be allowed to participate in all primaries funded by you, the taxpayer.  And that means you have to put pressure on your state elected representatives, from your statehouse all the way to your governor.  You have to act.  You have to write letters.  You have to organize petitions, call your friends and relatives, enlist your neighbors, and with today’s social media and internet you can be effective doing all that at the expense of just a couple of hours a week.  But don’t stop at the state level.  Start bugging your U.S. representative and both of your U.S. senators to act nationally to put an end to this farce.

True, a state party might opt to go with a party-financed caucus to get around this initiative, but are many of them really going to choose to leave taxpayer money on the table?  Know any politician who does?  Neither do I.

But this is all talk of a long-term fix.  We need something we can do now, for this election.  And if we can’t fix it then we must at least mitigate this upcoming train wreck.  Find out how tomorrow.

Monday:  Election 2016 — How the Hell Did We Get Here?

Tuesday:  Election 2016 — Why the Hell Did We Get Here?

Today:  Election 2016 — Fixing This System Long Term

Thursday:  Election 2016 — But How Do We Fix This Year’s Mess?

Friday:  Friday:  Election — A Call to Arms

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