Why Doesn't Joe Biden Have Any Tech Policy Advisors?

from the it's-not-like-they-aren't-around dept

While in Congress and then in the White House, Joe Biden was no friend of the internet. Indeed, while he was a Senator, he was a reliable vote on whatever terrible copyright bill Hollywood pushed for, and then in the White House he was, again, a giant proponent of Hollywood's agenda. He convened a "piracy summit" that was only representatives of legacy industries -- with no one representing internet companies, independent artists who use the internet, or any of the many artist and consumer groups out there. He's also argued that get rid of Section 230 altogether, mainly because he doesn't understand what it does, and he's "never been a fan of Facebook." And, when given the opportunity to push back on Donald Trump's misguided attacks on 230, Biden still argued that he supported "revoking" the law entirely.

When I wrote about his bizarre attack on CDA 230, some people I know in the tech policy world reached out to say that I was being too harsh on Biden for saying he wanted to "revoke" 230, saying that he clearly didn't mean exactly what he explicitly said, and that as he started to get better tech policy advice, they were sure he'd say fewer stupid things about tech policy. This is not a particularly strong vote of confidence (not that the other guy is any better on tech policy). Now, Protocol is reporting that the Biden campaign appears to have no tech policy people on the campaign:

The presumptive Democratic nominee does not have a top adviser focused on tech policy, according to campaign materials and party veterans, including some who have offered informal advice to Biden on tech.

The lack of tech leadership in the campaign marks a contrast with his Democratic predecessors, as well as some of Biden's competitors in the Democratic primary, and reflects a belief that issues like online misinformation, privacy regulation and alleged anticompetitive behavior by tech's giants will not be pivotal to unseating President Trump. To some advocates for reforming the tech industry, though, Biden — whose written policy prescriptions largely avoid venturing into tech — is missing an opportunity to lead in areas that have gained new prominence and urgency.

I'm not convinced that even if he was getting advice on tech policy that it would be good advice (or that he'd take the good advice). But the fact that his campaign doesn't think this is an important issue is both notable and surprising (and a bit disappointing). I certainly don't think that tech policy is something that will drive the electorate one way or the other (unfortunately!), but is is clearly a major issue for the next decade, and ignoring it entirely seems incredibly, ridiculously short-sighted.

"Nobody's talking to Joe Biden about tech policy," said one veteran of several Democratic campaigns, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to talk candidly. "If you look at Biden's inner circle, Obama and Hillary always had people in their inner circle who were native to tech issues, and that hasn't been the case with Biden."

Indeed, Biden's long-term love affair with Hollywood seems to have resulted in a lot less interest from the tech community. Oh, and apparently he's tapped a former top MPAA exec as his deputy campaign manager:

There are still some grudges in the tech industry over Biden's fervent support of SOPA-PIPA, two Hollywood-backed anti-piracy laws that the industry protested in 2012. "Biden has always been viewed as sort of Hollywood's guy on tech and telecom policy," the Democratic campaign veteran said. Biden's deputy campaign manager for communications strategy, Kate Bedingfield, was a former vice president of communications with the Motion Picture Association of America, a trade group that counts Disney, Paramount, Sony, Universal and Warner as members.

"The fact of the matter is, the vice president, when he was in the Senate, was an [intellectual property] guy," Sohn said. "His focus in this area was more on copyright patent trademark than it was on broadband and telecommunications."

The article concludes, somewhat obviously, that the election itself is not going to turn on tech policy, and so if the focus is solely on getting elected in the fall, Biden just might not need tech advisors. But tech policy is going to be super important, and so far Biden has demonstrated a weak grasp on the issues at best (saying he wants to get rid of CDA 230 is simply crazy talk). Given that so much of the emphasis on Biden's campaign the last few months has been that he'd actually bring some competent people into government, the fact that he has no tech policy plan at all is at least a little disturbing -- especially when technology is so key to the economy going forward.

Filed Under: advisors, copyright, joe biden, presidential campaigns, presidential politics, section 230, tech policy


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  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Jun 2020 @ 2:35pm

    Biden has demonstrated a weak grasp on the issues at best

    So he and Trump are on an even playing field, then.

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    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 11 Jun 2020 @ 12:51am

      Re:

      "So he and Trump are on an even playing field, then."

      Debatable.

      Trump has tech advisors - the monopolist libertarians so deep in AT&T's pockets they are on intimate terms with the pocket lint.

      Biden also has tech advisors - Disney, Sony, any other copyright maximalist organization who wants the internet as a whole to go away.

      You've got two flavors of completely unacceptable here.

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  • icon
    Upstream (profile), 10 Jun 2020 @ 2:48pm

    Does this mean that Biden recognizes that he is not up to the task, or will not be up to it for very long?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jun 2020 @ 2:58pm

    Sounds like Hollywoods perfect candidate

    Once Biden is in office he and his Hollywood pals will quickly pass all of the legislation they want. The fact that this will cripple the tech industry and hamstring the consumer is exactly what they want. I wouldn't want my grandmother to be in charge of tech nor do I want Biden to do that either.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Jun 2020 @ 3:29pm

      Re: Sounds like Hollywoods perfect candidate

      Such a convincing argument

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    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 11 Jun 2020 @ 12:48am

      Re: Sounds like Hollywoods perfect candidate

      "I wouldn't want my grandmother to be in charge of tech nor do I want Biden to do that either."

      Good thing that's not what you're getting. If Biden wins he may become president but the administration will essentially be run by Disney and Sony.

      Trump's pals want him to give the incumbent telcos monopoly power and so that's what he's working on. The people writing Biden's legislation want the internet gone.

      Either vote for a write-in and at least have a good conscience about it or send the message that neither party ever needs to change because voters will just keep holding their noses.

      Cut to the sound of democrat and republican talking heads and trolls desperately crying about how voting for "none of the above" means handing the election to Hitler...

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jun 2020 @ 3:25pm

    As long as biden is on the wrong side of online law my vote heads towards some stupid write in so if people want me voting against trump and not for seymour butts...

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2020 @ 12:14am

      Re:

      Even if Biden totally screws the pooch on tech issues he won't be doing it any harder than Trump. Given all of the other things the two candidates stand for Biden is still the lesser of two evils. A vote for a write-in may as well be a vote for Trump.

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      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 11 Jun 2020 @ 12:43am

        Re: Re:

        "Even if Biden totally screws the pooch on tech issues he won't be doing it any harder than Trump."

        Sorry, but no. Trump may be a clown but he's a wild card over which the republicans have little control.

        The legislation coming out of Biden's administration will have been written entirely by Disney's lawyers. The candidates are really Trump, Hollywood, or none of the above.

        And if you vote either for Trump or Disney all you'll be sending is the clear message that both parties need do nothing because voters will perpetually hold their noses and vote for the least stinky alternative.

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        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 11 Jun 2020 @ 1:14am

          The Prisoner's Dillema in the political arena

          And if you vote either for Trump or Disney all you'll be sending is the clear message that both parties need do nothing because voters will perpetually hold their noses and vote for the least stinky alternative.

          And if you vote third party then you'll have left it up to those around you to choose which of the two current parties will take the spot, in the hopes that if enough people vote third party this election then in the next election at least one of the two current parties will care enough to change, paired with the hope that the one you really didn't want(rather than the one you just mostly didn't want) doesn't get into office in part thanks to your protest vote.

          The problem with third party protest votes is that in the US you only get the one, and for them to have a chance to work a large chunk of the voting population has to be willing to essentially throw their votes in the bin for one or more elections, giving up the opportunity to have a meaningful impact on the current election and potentially risking getting the really bad option, which is understandably one hell of a hard sell for most people.

          It's the catch-22 of political reform, in that it would be nice to get better options, and changing from first past the post(among other thing ) would help that, but to get that you have to get better options in office in the first place and have them change the rules so that you can get better options...

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          • icon
            Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 2:34am

            Re: The Prisoner's Dillema in the political arena

            "The problem with third party protest votes is that in the US you only get the one, and for them to have a chance to work a large chunk of the voting population has to be willing to essentially throw their votes in the bin for one or more elections..."

            Yup. The US truly isn't offering the voter any options which aren't bad. You've got the choice between short-term getting wounded and long-term being maimed.

            Because right now?

            Vote for the "democrat" choice and you've fended off the savage barbarian at the gates in lieu for four more years of slow decline.
            There'll be another barbarian at the gates after four years and your other choice will be four more years of slow decline.

            At some point you'll find yourself in a situation even worse than that which the barbarian at the gates offers, but by then it's far too late to do jack shit about it.
            Some people are running comparisons between Trump and Hitler. This is wrong. It's not at that point. Yet.
            Biden, however, makes for a fine Hindenburg.

            "...giving up the opportunity to have a meaningful impact on the current election and potentially risking getting the really bad option..."

            *"Trump voters had one thing correct. They were looking at a gradual continuing decline of political ethics. Their response wasn't too smart when they voted the strongman who promised to...relocate the swamp to his own pockets...but at least they'd realized that the other options guaranteed a continuation of that decline. I hold that neither options on offer is meaningful. In fact, both options are very bad. Voting on a third party has a high risk, almost guaranteed, of benefiting one of the very bad options or the other, but voting for the third party is the only option which has a chance at all of breaking out of that Catch-22.

            "...which is understandably one hell of a hard sell for most people."

            It always is. Your First Past The Post rules of election have screwed you since day one.

            "... it would be nice to get better options, and changing from first past the post(among other thing ) would help that, but to get that you have to get better options in office in the first place..."

            And what I shouldn't need to tell you, as an outsider looking in, is that your odds of getting that better option into office in the first place is exactly zero when you choose to vote for either of the options presented by parties whose entire existence hinges on THAT specific rule never changing.

            The DNC and the GOP alike will fight to the death, in a joint cause, to keep First Past The Post. Any of their candidates will.

            Voting for the third choice is to hope for a miracle, yes, but that is where you are right now. It's like sitting at a poker table where you know the opposition has four aces. With the cards you have on hand the only outcome you get to choose is by how many points you lose. Which will be irrelevant since all your money is already staked.

            Discard all the cards and hope to draw a straight flush. Any other option is just a negotiation for whether you will be screwed right now or your children will get screwed far worse down the line.

            That's how bad you're at right now. And the DNC knows damn well most of you will keep holding your noses and deny the evidence of your lying eyes which is why they've been pushing sleepy, obedient potty-trained Biden who can be relied on to never say no to a session of mutual backscratching.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 18 Jun 2020 @ 6:05am

              Re: Re: The Prisoner's Dillema in the political arena

              If you want to make a real impact, vote in the primaries.
              You potentially have way more then two options there and since fewer people paritcapte in the primaries your vote will have more impact.

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  • identicon
    bobob, 10 Jun 2020 @ 3:27pm

    He doesn't have tech policy advisors because it's difficult to find experts on 8 track tape machines.

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    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 11 Jun 2020 @ 12:39am

      Re:

      Close.

      He doesn't need advisors on much of anything because Biden's built his entire career on doing exactly what he's been told to do by his campaign contributors and his party leadership.
      Take away the people gently leading him by the hand in all things and what you're left with is a creepy old man who falls asleep when complex issues are discussed and when awake can't stop getting touchy-feely with passing women.

      His trainers are getting better though. The confused babbling whenever he received questions he hadn't been prepped for has lessened.

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  • icon
    ECA (profile), 10 Jun 2020 @ 3:30pm

    ok

    I want to see his disney collection, I will bet its HUGE..

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  • identicon
    Flotsam, 10 Jun 2020 @ 4:23pm

    First Henley, now Biden

    Yes, another copyright maximalist that thinks copyright should only apply to the little people. Joe Biden, plagiarist extraordinaire.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmuAB5MqP0Y

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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 10 Jun 2020 @ 5:48pm

    How does one determine the lesser of two evils?

    I don't want Trump again. I don't want Biden either. In fact I don't want any of the candidates that have presented themselves, R's or D's. So what is left? Third party or not voting only helps one or the other.

    Yet another systemic failure.

    Could we get the demonstrators to focus on systemic failures?

    I know, it is too broad a topic and difficult to write slogans for, but those are the things we need to deal with, despite the issue du jour.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Jun 2020 @ 6:50pm

      The United States needs massive reforms in electoral politics — not the least of which are the abolishment of the electoral college, mail-in ballots for all voters without special qualifications, and the removal of dark money from political campaigns. (I’d also be down for a new voting system such as ranked/scored voting and presidential campaigns that are funded only by public monies, which would help undo the locked nature of the current two-party system.) But for now, the primary goal should be to remove the Republicans from their “minority ruler” status. Once the Democrats have the reins, We The People can keep up the pressure on them to find their spines and enact real reforms in economics, politics, and the social contract in general.

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      • icon
        Upstream (profile), 10 Jun 2020 @ 7:21pm

        Re:

        ranked/scored voting

        There is a good case to be made for a change to our system of elections. Some version of a two-party system has existed in the US since shortly after the inception of the country. People who study such things say this situation is the inevitable result of our system of voting, where the winning candidate in each State takes all of that State’s electoral votes. Evidence to support this theory may be found in other countries that have different voting systems, and also have several strong political parties with much greater diversity than our own two.

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        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 11 Jun 2020 @ 12:18am

          Re: Re:

          First Past The Post is the all-or-nothing approach to voting. It's understandable that the early US, lacking a lot of infrastructure, would adopt this extremely simple way of vote counts - but it certainly largely eliminates democratic aspects from the system.

          Really, if the US could switch to proportional representation, that in itself would fix so very much. Sure, when proportional representation is in effect it's still possible for situations to arise where holding your nose is the norm. But if the country's politics has any health at all that's usually the exception rather than the rule.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2020 @ 5:08am

            Re: Re: Re:

            Really, if the US could switch to proportional representation, that in itself would fix so very much.

            Straight PR hands a lot of power to the parties, who decide who will actually be elected by ranking their candidates. If anything it makes candidates less accountable, as there is no constituency that elects them, but rather their chances of election are determined by how far up the party list they are.

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            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 2:48am

              Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Straight PR hands a lot of power to the parties, who decide who will actually be elected by ranking their candidates."

              It does, but seriously...looking at the european countries the very existence of proportional representation means that the parties need to be damn careful about which candidate they nominate.

              Yes, they hold more power over who gets to represent them. And we've seen that when they toss out a candidate who doesn't pass a certain bar of standards, they get voted down next election.

              As long as the US can maintain a higher standard than Hungary and Greece, proportional representation is the far better way.
              Hell, I'd argue that even greece has it better in the political sense than the steaming ocean of shit the US currently swims in when it comes to the sanity of their politics.

              "If anything it makes candidates less accountable, as there is no constituency that elects them..."

              That's a bit of a fallacy - sweden at least allows for citizens to choose both the party ballot AND the name within that party they want to vote for. Either from the candidates presented on that party ballot or one they can write in on their own. On occasion this resulted in people the party itself never wanted as a candidate to get a parliament seat. Germany does something similar - google "german personalized voting" and read up on it.

              Even where votes for individuals isn't the norm however, the system becomes accountable since the parties have a literal gun to their heads. Either they present a viable candidate or they're overtaken by the party which did. Which, with proportional representation, will be more than just "that other choice".

              Proportional representation allows for this diversity which First Past The Post really doesn't.

              Go look at the most inept prime ministers and presidents in the last twenty years. Count how many of those are from countries with First Past The Post.

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    • icon
      Upstream (profile), 10 Jun 2020 @ 7:14pm

      Re: How does one determine the lesser of two evils?

      Third party or not voting only helps one or the other.

      This kind of thinking has the R's and D's laughing all the way to the swearing-in ceremony. It is what assures that the status quo will remain the status quo. It has worked for them for generations. Maybe it's time to do something different? Think outside the Punch and Judy box?

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    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 11 Jun 2020 @ 12:27am

      Re: How does one determine the lesser of two evils?

      "So what is left? Third party or not voting only helps one or the other. "

      Not when critical mass of dissatisfied voters is reached. Both incumbent parties heavily encourage your arguments - because it means that as long as you believe that they can keep introducing the least objectionable alternative and call it a day.

      Either start voting for the third option or keep sending the guys in charge the strong message that there's no need for them to start making an actual effort.

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      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 Jun 2020 @ 3:04am

        start voting for the third option

        At a presidential level? That won’t do shit. The real trick: Start local. Help other parties build up bases of support in localities across the country until they become big enough to break into a presidential race without seeming like crackpots to the “average” American voter.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2020 @ 5:26am

          Re:

          Anything that will help move the political Overton Window in the right direction is good. Hit 'em high, hit 'em low, hit 'em in the middle, hit 'em wherever you can.

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          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 Jun 2020 @ 12:37pm

            I approve of the sentiment, but pragmatism must win the day. No third party candidate will ever win a presidential election until their party can prove what you might call a “path to governance” — that is, until the party has enough support in local and state governments to seem like a viable party for a national election. If you want presidential politics to change, start voting for third-party candidates in city- and state-level positions. You won’t change shit until you can help prove a third-party candidate has viable support from the ground up instead of the top down.

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            • icon
              Upstream (profile), 11 Jun 2020 @ 5:34pm

              Re:

              But there is ballot access to consider. The rules vary (and, of course, can be changed by the "grandfathered" R's and D's), but it generally boils down to either make a "good showing" in the previous election, or spend a huge amount of time, effort, and $$ gathering signatures on ballot access petitions. Similarly for debates, you must have a previous "good showing" to be allowed in the door. This is the "systemic party-ism" of the current government, meant to keep any competition out. If third parties had ballot access, they could spend much more time, effort, and money getting their message out through advertising, candidate campaigning, etc. So voting for a third party candidate in a Presidential election is the cheapest and easiest way for a third party to possibly get a "foot in the door" of national politics. It doesn't cost you or the third party anything for you to cast a vote for the third party candidate. Not to mention that you might be casting your vote for someone with whom you actually agree, to some extent, rather than having to hold your nose and cast your vote for the lesser of two obvious evils.

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              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 Jun 2020 @ 5:48pm

                It doesn't cost you or the third party anything for you to cast a vote for the third party candidate.

                …unless enough votes are cast for said candidate that the entire balance of an election shifts to, say, an overtanned racist authoritarian with pride in his ignorance and shitloads of daddy issues. Then you and those who voted like you could be held at least partially responsible for what that asshole does while in office, considering you could have voted for (and thus helped elect) the other, far less racist/authoritarian/ignorant candidate.

                Like I said: pragmatism. Unless we break the system from the bottom up by shifting local and state elections away from the two-party system, the situation at the top will never change. Aim at the knees of the colossus, and wait until you get the head within striking distance. Only then will you have the best chance of killing the beast that is two-party presidential politics.

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                • icon
                  Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 3:18am

                  Re:

                  "…unless enough votes are cast for said candidate that the entire balance of an election shifts to, say, an overtanned racist authoritarian with pride in his ignorance and shitloads of daddy issues."

                  As bad as Trump is he's not as bad as what could be sitting in his place, if things had slid just a little longer towards the deeper end of the stagnant pool you're all sitting in.

                  "Then you and those who voted like you could be held at least partially responsible for what that asshole does while in office, considering you could have voted for (and thus helped elect) the other, far less racist/authoritarian/ignorant candidate."

                  That's the propaganda every american gets taught in schools and basic politics yes. Both parties heartily approve of that message.
                  Where I grew up I was taught to never vote against my beliefs. Ever. If neither party has anyone you can vote for, vote blank, or for Donald Duck, Volvo, or somehow just send the message that the incumbent parties need to up their game.

                  And it works. The news over here have a field day those elections when "Donald Duck" gets 1-2% of the votes, and the parties all go into a frenzy to rebuild their public image. Because those "lost" votes? They're swing votes even in the US that's an incredibly powerful message to send, at ANY level.

                  You say "pragmatism" and "I'll have to accept the responsibility for not voting for the least stinky guy". To which I can only respond "You drank the damn kool-aid and are asking for more!"

                  Only in america has that political fallacy grasped even otherwise educated voters by the balls.

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                  • icon
                    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 3:20am

                    Re: Re:

                    Hell, run a Brewster campaign. "None of the above" is something which should be feasible to get a lot of americans to write on the ballot.

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                  • icon
                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 4:53am

                    You say "pragmatism" and "I'll have to accept the responsibility for not voting for the least stinky guy". To which I can only respond "You drank the damn kool-aid and are asking for more!"

                    I recognize the reality of the situation in American politics and voting, which is this: No third-party candidate stands a good God’s damn of winning a presidential election within my lifetime. As South Park famously put it, the election will always come down to a douche and a turd. I have a responsibility to vote not only for my beliefs, but with my conscience. I can’t, and won’t, throw away my vote for the sake of a “protest” that won’t affect any meaningful change.

                    I will advocate for change in American politics, especially on the presidential scale. I will vote for third-party candidates that best represent my beliefs when such choices present themselves…in local and state elections. But I will not use the one vote that I have in a presidential election to make a pointless statement that won’t be heard when the results come in. I will vote for the best (read: least objectionable) candidate and hope for the best. If you really want to say that makes me a Jonestown-esque cultist with an actual suicide wish, fine — give me my motherfucking Flavor-Aid and stay the fuck out of my way.

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                    • icon
                      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 15 Jun 2020 @ 1:34am

                      Re:

                      Well, i dig your frustration. Truly. I'd peg you as stuck in a political system somewhere between China and Hungary as far as the principles of "democracy" are still concerned, in practical effects.
                      Kindly allow me to clarify.

                      "As South Park famously put it, the election will always come down to a douche and a turd. I have a responsibility to vote not only for my beliefs, but with my conscience."

                      And if your conscience allows you to toss the vote for another 4 years of slow decline then that's where you should place your vote. I've never said anything else.

                      "I can’t, and won’t, throw away my vote for the sake of a “protest” that won’t affect any meaningful change."

                      And here's where we have a logical disconnect. What I'm saying is that because everyone in your situation believes the same, that does indeed become true. The way things are rigged currently your vote on either the douche or the turd is already meaningless as far as changing things go. The choice you are, in reality facing, is between a bad situation right now or the guarantee of an even worse situation down the line.

                      "If you really want to say that makes me a Jonestown-esque cultist with an actual suicide wish, fine — give me my motherfucking Flavor-Aid and stay the fuck out of my way."

                      Nope. A cultist is the Trumpist who gladly chugs the jar of poison in the belief it'll give him super powers.
                      You'd be the guy who knows exactly what's in that jar. But you've been told you've got no option other than to drink it and have accepted that as fact. That may, in fact, be true in your society. THAT assumption is the poison every american has been force-fed by both parties for a long time.

                      I admit I'm spoiled here since in the society where I live, everyone gets taught at an early age never to vote against their conscience, even if that means we end up with a highly visible portion of blank votes. You, on the other hand, have, like every other american, been repeatedly informed the vote needs to go on either candidate and nowhere else. Even if you changed your mind about that, what about everyone else?

                      I can only offer my heartfelt condoleances, because I surely wouldn'ty wish that shit on anyone.

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            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 3:05am

              Re:

              "If you want presidential politics to change, start voting for third-party candidates in city- and state-level positions. You won’t change shit until you can help prove a third-party candidate has viable support from the ground up instead of the top down."

              Maybe. The logic isn't wrong.

              I just don't think it's sufficient. Before you can viably start working for the third option to work out on local level you need the message to be sent to every american that the third choice exists. If what you end up voting for is either of the two bad choices, that message isn't sent.

              Instead you get, at best, four more years of gradual erosion. By the time shit becomes so unacceptable people start looking for the third option the reasonable choice will be Paul von Hindenburg who'll get few votes for being "more of the same". The bad option will be Franz von Papen who won't be interesting enough except by a very small minority, and the third option, who by then will be getting a lot of votes - from those who are still arsed to vote - will be Adolf Shicklgruber whose platform will also be about "draining the swamp", "getting rid of corruption", and "making america great again" - but unlike Trump he'll have a plan about how to do so.

              It'll be a strong one. Simple. Direct. One he can bring off coherently to all the desperate sheep willing to go ANY distance for meaningful change. It'll be great.

              That's not where you're at. But it is where you are heading. The window of opportunity closed on the rational option decades ago. I'm not sure whether you can mobilize for the third option on local level at all, but if that's going to happen people will have to see a presidential election where "none of the above" was the winner, first.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 2:50am

          Re:

          "The real trick: Start local."

          Yep. Once the college of electors start containing more than two viable options, change will come.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Thad (profile), 11 Jun 2020 @ 10:19am

        Re: Re: How does one determine the lesser of two evils?

        Not when critical mass of dissatisfied voters is reached.

        Yeah -- then one party collapses and we get a new two-party system.

        The Whigs replaced the Federalists; the Republicans replaced the Whigs.

        Historically, a third-party candidate winning the presidency has never resulted in more than a two-party system. Two parties is the equilibrium state of our voting system. It can't be changed without amending the Constitution.

        At least, not at the presidential level. State and local elections are a different story; we should definitely be working on changing how we elect positions at those levels. I strongly support ranked-choice voting.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2020 @ 12:43pm

        Re: Re: How does one determine the lesser of two evils?

        That critical mass needs to happen long, long before an election in which party members stand. Start local, and keep building. No current third-party candidate will ever have a chance. If you want a theoretical third-party / no-party candidate, the best you can do is co-opt the existing parties like Trump or Sanders.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TKnarr (profile), 10 Jun 2020 @ 6:52pm

    I look on his positions as this: the rest of the politicians are just as bad about it so choosing him isn't any worse, and at least he's an improvement in other areas and is more likely than a lot of them to be educable. I'll take what I can get.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 11 Jun 2020 @ 12:36am

      Re:

      ...the rest of the politicians are just as bad about it..."

      Only In America. Damn, that message used to be a lot more positive. Also not quite true. Countries running First Past The Post elections tend to breed candidates on the extreme side of "shitty" more than most.

      It's largely true though. In the rest of the world with actual proportional representation the major parties need to make efforts. Their coalitions will rise and fall if they allow a clown or tyrant to grab the party reigns. The worst results I've seen or heard of includes some asshat with at least a little polish, being counted among the top three. Never as the only choices.

      In the US - and most other places with First Past The Post rules - there'll usually just be two major parties, neither of whom have to give more of a damn than presenting the "less smelly than the other guy" candidate. With predictable results.

      US politicians used to have principles, around 1950. And then those principles gradually went away, and with it the buoyancy which kept the standard of political candidates over the sewage level.

      Until you change your system of elections and abolish first past the post your choices are to vote for the third party until things change...or forever hold your nose.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 11 Jun 2020 @ 12:05am

    Why Doesn't Joe Biden Have Any Tech Policy Advisors? Err...

    But he does, Mike. Biden has lots of tech advisors.

    He calls them "campaign contributors", and they do everything for him. They write the legislation he's to announce, they provide him with his arguments and speeches. They tell him which direction to take and how to tie his shoelaces. Hell, I suspect they even help him hold and aim when he goes to the bathroom.

    "Tech...that's copyrighted stuff, right? Lots of folks want to help me with that"

    • Biden, probably

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    oliver, 11 Jun 2020 @ 1:01am

    How about you?

    Yes, what about you Mike?
    Cheers, Oliver

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2020 @ 4:50am

    [Ronald Hump comic intensifies]

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 11 Jun 2020 @ 6:32am

    Who needs Tech Policy Advisors?

    Being in cahoots with Hollywood. Destroy big tech, because! Get rid of CDA 230 because who needs social media? Google should have to pay to drive traffic to others' web sites!

    With those policies in place, there won't be any big tech around to need any tech policy advisors.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2020 @ 6:52am

    idk, if the choice is between fighting a cold war with hollywood copyright fanatics vs fighting a hot war with nazis - I pick the one where people are not dying.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2020 @ 10:52am

    Why doesn't a five pound brick have any tech advisors?

    (Well, granted, real five pound bricks aren't running for office. It's just their fleshy imitations which do.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 12 Jun 2020 @ 3:23am

      Re:

      Biden is 120 pounds at the very least. Probably more. I'd say he's more of a tombstone.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Jun 2020 @ 5:12pm

        Re: Re:

        Seems like a unit of measure based on the British / Imperial stone. Biden is circa 160, so around 11.5 stone. Call it 12 stone = 1 tombstone. Sounds about right.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 15 Jun 2020 @ 1:38am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Also fits nicely with the prospects of actual change in a positive direction.

          Sure, Biden may have woken up from his decades-long career as a professional windsock and told himself "My god, I'm the man on the spot. This is my moment. I can change things for the better!"

          But those are long odds. I'm guessing his first act upon being informed he was a viable presidential candidate was to scribble up a quick price list for executive orders and legislation.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2020 @ 11:53am

    the biggest problem with American politics is that the candidates, regardless of which party they supposedly represent, are all too fucking old! they have, in the main, not got a clue about modern technology and are so entrenched with their old world ideas, they dont know which way their asses hang, let alone which way the people are leaning!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Jun 2020 @ 12:46pm

      Re:

      The younger candidates are generally just as bad. Most young people (5-35) don't know or give a fuck how tech works, either.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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