Where Do the 2012 US Presidential Candidates Stand on the Issues that Should Matter Most?

Democracy

The reason I think democracy is important from an anti-imperialist perspective and from an anti-fascist perspective is that it is hard to get anyone to listen seriously to an argument on any governmental policy (including policies concerning interventionism and torture) if your listeners think there is nothing they can do about policy. There should not only be discussion among US citizens about what the US government should and shouldn’t do, but there should also be a plan (preferably multiple plans) to put desired policies into effect.

Democracy — Improved Voting Systems

The Ideal

The ideal candidate would give frequent lip service (before the election) to the idea of a better voting system at the State and Federal levels than plurality voting.  The ideal candidate and would say that on attaining the presidency, she would use the news exposure afforded by that office to promote improved voting. Perhaps she would propose a constitutional amendment to institute such a voting system for the US House, Senate, and presidency.  Perhaps her party would offer to set up jointly with other parties and pro-democracy organizations and peace and justice organizations, a commission to design shadow elections with a better-than-plurality voting system so that all US netizens could be invited to try the process before it should become legally mandated.

Stein

Eliminate “winner take all” elections in which the “winner” does not have the support of most of the voters, and replace that system with instant runoff voting and proportional representation.

http://www.jillstein.org/issues

Anderson

To date I don’t see much reason to associate him to the concept of better voting systems than plurality.

Johnson and Goode

I don’t see that they mention this.

Democracy — Proportional Representation

Most of the commentary I see about making the US system democratic concentrates on proportional representation more than on improved voting systems (both can work together). However, my feel for the current political climate in the US suggests to me that proportional representation might be a harder sell than better voting systems alone. Moreover, at least for me, it is easier to see how improved voting rather than proportional representation can break the two-party blackmail system that says “you must vote for A because otherwise B will be elected and that would be a disaster” (or the other way around) and is believed. Moreover, I feel leery of the party emphasis that so far as I know is inherent to proportional representation. For all these reasons, I am not at this time trying to evaluate the candidates’ positions on this innovation. However, I invite commentary from readers who disagree. Maybe I can be convinced to treat this differently.

Direct Democracy

I feel that direct democracy will be a very hard sell with US people. I think it could produce wonderful benefits if enacted even partially (as in, for example, channeling an amount of political power equivalent to just one house of Congress). But for the time being, I’m not seeing an easy way to slide this idea in. As with regard to the question of proportional representation, I am open to comments from readers.

Anti-imperialism

Anti-imperialism — US-Palestine Relations

The Ideal

The ideal candidate would call for immediate and unconditional stoppage of US material military support for Zionism.

Stein

Stein promises an even-handed treatment as between the elected administrations representing native Palestinians and the occupying regime. She would provide or withdraw military support to/from any of these factions conditionally on whether she judges that they adhere to international law and respect human rights.  http://www.jillstein.org/first_jewish_presidential_contender_welcomes_russell_tribunal_on_palestine_findings .  Stein’s position differs from that of her party http://mondoweiss.net/2012/10/green-party-presl-candidate-misses-crucial-political-opportunity-by-not-talking-up-democracy-in-israelpalestine.html

Anderson

Like Dr. Stein, Rocky Anderson would continue US military support of  the Zionist regime except when he finds it to be in “flagrant” violation of international law (I suppose he would accept minor or even moderate levels of violation and still ask the US to fund that) or that it abuses human rights.  Anderson wants to promote a two-state solution for Palestine.  http://www.voterocky.org/israel_palestine_conflict

Johnson and Goode

I don’t see that they mention this.

Anti-imperialism — US-Iran Relations

The Ideal

The ideal presidential candidate would call for immediate stoppage of US sanctions, threats, cyberattacks, and any covert actions against Iran, and any attempt to influence the politics internal to Iran by proxy.  No diplomacy or negotiations are necessary, as Iran is not particularly threatening to any country.

The ideal presidential candidate would not suggest that the US has enemies.

For those who find Iran threatening because of enrichment of uranium, I would like to know why they do not concentrate on Brazil, The Netherlands, and Germany, who also enrich, also belong to NPT, and also are theoretically non-nuclear-weapon states under NPT.  Moreover, Germany has a record of aggressive war.  And why are these people not more concerned about “Israel”,  Pakistan, and India, which have not joined the NPT and already have atomic bombs, than about Iran?  And why not more about the US, which is the most heavily atomically (and otherwise) armed country in the world, than about Iran?

Stein

Stein says that the US has enemies and friends among countries in the same region as Iran, that some of the friends and some of the enemies are engaged in human-rights violations, and that the US should have an even-handed policy. http://www.jillstein.org/isidewith_com_interview_with_jill_stein   She says the US cyber-attacks  have been “unhelpful” and points out that they constitute an act of war per US definition.  She says Iran is not threatening the US right now.  She says the US should take unspecified action in order to create a nuclear-free Middle East (in context, this may mean nuclear-weapon-free, but I can’t be sure).

“A hallmark of a Stein administration will be respect for international law and a rejection of the Bush doctrine of preemptive war that Obama and his party have come to embrace.” said Stein.  Stein opposes any US or Israeli attack on Iran.  I don’t find mention one way or the other about sanctions.  Stein complains that the Obama and Bush administrations have not used diplomacy, so I suppose she thinks there is a need for some. http://www.jillstein.org/obama_s_iran_statements

Anderson

Like Stein, Anderson would join Iran in promoting (somehow) a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East.  He would promote also reduction in the nuclear weaponry of Security Council members, India, Pakistan, and other states who have nuclear weapons.  So that clearly includes the US as a security-council member.  Anderson would stop the US sanctions against Iran. http://www.voterocky.org/iran

On balance, I find Anderson’s position preferable to Stein’s on US relations to Iran.  Both of them seem to have too much interventionist flavor, but Anderson less so.

Johnson

Gary Johnson calls Iran belligerent. http://www.garyjohnson2012.com/five-questions-with-johnson

Goode

Virgil Goode doesn’t mention Iran on his web site. Search “site:www.goodeforpresident2012.com Iran”.

Antifascism

Antifascism — Accountability for Torture by US Officials

The Ideal

The ideal presidential candidate would not continue Mr. Obama’s crime of shielding torturers from prosecution.  Instead, she would order the Justice Dept. to investigate allegations of torture by former US officials and follow the evidence where it leads, resulting in prosecutions if warranted by the evidence.

Stein

I have searched and I have not found any place where Stein says anything about accountability for torture.

Anderson

Anderson makes a strong point of accountability.  “The 2012 elections will be a referendum on torture as an instrument of policy.”  Anderson complains that Obama has failed to convince US citizens that torture is wrong, and he takes a dim view of Obama’s failure to investigate torture by US officials.  Anderson rightly describes torture as “barbarous”.   Anderson promises, “I will establish an independent, nonpartisan commission to inquire into past U.S. policies and practices of torture and abuse at all federal government agencies and levels. I will direct the Attorney General to prosecute criminal misconduct where it has occurred.”

Anderson’s position on torture conforms to the ideal I expressed above, and furthermore he is articulate on the reasons and on the broader concern that public opinion in the US is currently shocking in its lack of understanding of how evil torture by their government is.

Johnson

Gary Johnson wants to put an end to US torture, but he does not talk about accountability.

Goode

Virgil Goode does not mention torture on his web site.

Summing Up

Stein stands foursquare for ranked voting and proportional representation.

Anderson would terminate the US sanctions on the people of Iran.

Anderson has a very strong anti-torture position, including accountability.  Stein has said nothing about it except in connection with Bradley Manning.

I found Anderson the best choice.  However, since I live in Virginia, a vote for Anderson from me would not have counted.  Under the circumstances, I voted for my second choice, Stein, whose name was on the ballot.

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2 Responses to Where Do the 2012 US Presidential Candidates Stand on the Issues that Should Matter Most?

  1. You should contact @tzDAK on Twitter or run a search on YouTube for AntiVote or Weighted Net Approval or a search on Twitter for #AntiVote and #WeightedNetApproval for an even better solution.

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