Florida Gubernatorial Debate: Three Cardboard Cutouts and One Real Live Arth

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Friday, August 07, 2009 at 10:34 am

You may recall Michael E. Arth, the spunky developer-turned-Democratic candidate for governor of Florida who took to The Streak’s comment thread to insist he’s dead serious about his campaign. Well, maybe “serious” isn’t exactly the right word. From a press release he just sent out:

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Michael E. Arth challenged Florida’s top three leaders to a debate on Thursday night at the Democratic Club of the Southwest Volusia County meeting in Deltona. Not surprisingly none of them showed up, but the “debate” went on anyway. Arth’s entourage brought life-size, cutout figures of Governor Charlie Crist, Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, and Attorney General Bill McCollum. Arth said, “Whether they are here or not doesn’t matter because they won’t debate the serious issues affecting Floridians.”

This New Urban Cowboy appears to have done wonders to rehabilitate his local “Cracktown.” But it looks like breaking into mainstream statewide politics is proving a tougher challenge.

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3 Comments

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michaelearth
Comment posted August 8, 2009 @ 2:33 pm

Having mute, life-size cutouts of Florida's leaders on stage with me is not a joke. It's a serious commentary on the sad state of our electoral system and the kind of leaders it produces. Not all politicians are bad, but our flawed electoral system tends to select for venality and other undesirable traits. Our leaders avoid the real issues, prevaricate when forced to talk, and spend much of their time raising money from interests highly invested in the status quo. The term “Democratic Party” has become an oxymoron, and the Republicans are even worse. Like the old Soviet Union, we get to vote for the candidates selected by a handful of party leaders.

If voting really worked it would be illegal. As George Carlin once said, “I haven't voted since I stopped taking drugs. That was in the late '70s, and the delusional thinking stopped immediately on both fronts.”

We laugh at Carlin because most people sense something is wrong with the way we vote. The two-parties manage to create enough confusion on the subject that Americans are not aware we have one of the worst electoral systems in the civilized world. Most people blame the politicians but the real problem is vote-buying combined with the winner-take-all voting system.

If we had majority voting (instant runoff voting) for single member elections, and proportional representation for larger, newly-created, multi-member House districts–combined with public campaign financing as I outline at my website–we would see a vast improvement in the quality of our leaders and in democratic representation. We would see the ascendancy of other parties and principled independents. Pay-for-play, spoilers, vote-strategizing, gerrymanders, and the disenfranchisement of the majority would cease. We would begin to see policies based on the highest good for the greatest number instead of policies that bring the greatest reward to the smallest number. It would still not be a perfect country, but we'd have a chance at being the best we can be.


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