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Who Would Vote For a Peace Candidate?

It’s been instructive to watch the maneuvering of the Republican field of candidates, and of the Republican party in general, in the pre-primary phase of the 2016 election.

Jeb Bush enters the race with the formidable advantages and disadvantages of his last name. But rather than move to distance himself from his brother’s foreign policy disasters, he’s shown every indication [1] of believing that, whatever the failures of execution, the strategic and moral framework within which they unfolded was correct, and that the big problem with President Obama foreign policy has been that it is insufficiently muscular in its activism.

Mitt Romney enters the race with the formidable advantages and disadvantages of his 2012 run. A significant part of his motivation appears to be the belief that, on foreign policy specifically, he predicted all the problems [2] that have bedeviled America and the world in Obama’s second term, and that his own omnidirectional belligerence [3] would have worked out much better than the President’s approach.

All of the other Republican candidates need to establish that they can play at the level of these two in terms of national credibility. Some – like Marco Rubio or Rick Santorum – are true-believing hawks. Others – like Scott Walker, who I felt before Iowa had the best chance to “break out” of the pack as an establishment-acceptable alternative to the better-known leaders – who are in a position either to stake out distinctive territory in foreign policy or to largely avoid the subject, have chosen instead to stake out stridently hawkish positions [4] across the board, without much thought or concern.

Only Rand Paul still seems to be looking for distinctive foreign policy ground, but increasingly he seems to be trying to have things both ways [5] – to push the envelope in a less-hawkish direction by reassuring his audience that he has the same Jacksonian instincts they do.

What I take from all of the above is the conclusion that, whatever the polls may say, the people with power in the Republican party believe that there is far more electoral risk in deviating from the hawkish line than from embracing it. So I feel confident in saying that the next Presidential election looks overwhelmingly likely to feature a hawkish Democrat (Hillary Clinton) facing off against a hawkish Republican.

When faced with this kind of situation, it is tempting to fantasize about alternatives. In the context of the Democratic party contest, I’ve done [6] some [7] of that [8] fantasizing myself. So: what if a serious candidate ran on a third party peace platform? What would be the consequence?

Taking the fantasy seriously for a moment, I immediately have to ask myself: who is the candidate? How is he or she perceived in more general ideological terms? Dennis Kucinich and Pat Buchanan could both plausibly describe themselves as peace candidates. But I very much doubt there are many voters who would seriously vote for one who would also seriously vote for the other.

Successful third party candidacies – meaning, ones that succeeded in shaping subsequent politics – have to scramble the allegiances of established blocs of voters, so that both parties sit up and take notice, and ask themselves: how can we win those who may be suddenly up for grabs? Ross Perot did that in 1992; he not only facilitated Bill Clinton’s victory, but moved the national conversation about the budget decisively in his direction. George Wallace did it in 1968; he not only facilitated Richard Nixon’s victory, but moved the national conversation about crime decisively in his direction. Is there any plausible candidate who would have a similar impact in 2016? Who could force the two major parties to reckon with an up-for-grabs bloc of voters not being represented by the major party candidates in contention?

Well, another way to put that is: can you imagine a significant number of Democratic-leaning voters, liberals or moderates, voting for a peace candidate who felt culturally Republican and/or who failed to pass a set of liberal litmus tests (say he’s against the ACA, or against abortion or gay marriage, or goes around waving the tenth amendment at rallies)? Can you imagine a significant number of Republican-leaning voters, conservatives or moderates, voting for a peace candidate who felt like a cultural Democrat and/or who failed to pass a set of conservative litmus tests (say she’s robustly in favor of higher income taxes, or open borders, or says one of our most important challenges today is ending rape culture)? Or, alternatively, is there some cultural and political type that crosses those boundaries in interesting ways?

The more I think about it, the more I think the answer to this question is “no.” That is to say: when you poll Americans about whether they want to see a more or less active foreign policy, you can get numbers that suggest there’s an opening for someone to run on such a platform – and that such a constituency exists in both parties. But this is an electoral illusion.

The peace constituency in the Democratic party is a left-edge constituency that is not going to consider voting against Hillary Clinton or any other popular Democrat in favor of someone more centrist-seeming – or even culturally Republican – who happens to be in favor of a significantly more restrained foreign policy. Foreign policy is just one of a host of issues where they are to the left of their party’s center; it’s not a trump card.

Meanwhile, I increasingly suspect that there is no actual peace constituency in the Republican party, but rather a below-the-surface unease about the kinds of people who are making decisions about war and peace for our country. And part of the price of admission to proving you are the right kind of person to trust with our national security is believing in American exceptionalism and standing with our allies and all of that – that is to say: speaking the language of the hawks. Yes, there are fringe groups of libertarians and paleoconservatives and the like who are genuinely opposed to the Washington consensus and its even more hawkish movement conservative variants, but (a) they are tiny; and (b) many of them, like left-wing Democrats, would not vote for someone whose views on other issues they strongly opposed even if they agreed on foreign policy.

So if we do see a third party alternative running on a peace platform, I would expect that candidate to receive very few votes. And I would expect that result to be touted as proof that the American people favor the hawkish consensus.

All of which also makes it harder for a peace candidate to get any traction within one of the two major parties – since the candidates know that such positioning doesn’t help them win votes from the center, and there’s no real ability to reach around and grab from the opposing party’s fringe.

Sorry for the depressing analysis. On the bright side, we only got a few inches of snow here in Brooklyn, so the apocalypse is not upon us quite yet.

28 Comments (Open | Close)

28 Comments To "Who Would Vote For a Peace Candidate?"

#1 Comment By EliteCommInc. On January 27, 2015 @ 10:48 am

“And part of the price of admission to proving you are the right kind of person to trust with our national security is believing in American exceptionalism and standing with our allies and all of that – that is to say: speaking the language of the hawks.”

I very pro US exceptionalism, but I am not sure I agree with how that term is defined. I am not a pacifist, not even close. If necessary with sufficient warrant, “nuk’em til they glo” could escape my lips. However, none of the so called “hawks” have demonstrated the wisdom of hawks. Hawks are not inclined to assert aggression merely because they don’t like their fellows.

Thus far, no one and I mean no one in the fray who is touted as a hawk has demonstrated with any sufficiency that there is much need to behave with a forward leaning posture.

And the one that is rising is largely the fault of their advocacy, including Sec. Hillary Clinton —

But if you mean the style of peace advocacy that is reflected in Quakers or genuine pacifists – no and never and not at all in any manner. There are times when we must but heads. And to on those rare occasions we should be thoughtful about goals (specific) methods, and consequences.

Doesn’t make one a coward, just prudent.

#2 Comment By Kurt Gayle On January 27, 2015 @ 11:29 am

Noah, a very fine analysis that is not “depressing” at all. Rather it is a breath of fresh air concerning the probable no-real-choice election of 2016.

But we don’t need a “peace” candidate.

We need a “No more wars that are not in the national interest!” candidate.

(I know: “Peace” is a catchier campaign slogan. But “peace” also says something different. Most of us out here want a “No more wars that are not in the national interest!” candidate, not a peace candidate.)

#3 Comment By William Dalton On January 27, 2015 @ 12:34 pm

“Taking the fantasy seriously for a moment, I immediately have to ask myself: who is the candidate? How is he or she perceived in more general ideological terms? Dennis Kucinich and Pat Buchanan could both plausibly describe themselves as peace candidates. But I very much doubt there are many voters who would seriously vote for one who would also seriously vote for the other.”

If they were running against Clinton and Bush or Romney, or anyone even more of a hawk, I would vote for the two together running on the same ticket.

Whether or not a self-identified “liberal” or loudly proclaiming “conservative” would switch sides to vote on the issue of war and peace depends on how important that issue is to them. During the Cold War, I was a warhawk’s warhawk. I was a Reagan Republican going back to “the Speech” in 1964, before it was cool. I was active in College Republicans, supporting Nixon’s efforts in Vietnam, his bombing of Hanoi, his incursions into Cambodia to wipe out Viet Cong strongholds, when most of my student body, even the politically apathetic, hated Nixon and the War. I helped Jesse Helms win Ronald Reagan the 1976 N.C. Presidential primary, without which the former California governor would likely have folded his tents, gone home, and we would never have heard from him again. I supported not only an embargo on Castro’s Cuba, but also Mao’s China, and our retaining recognition of China’s government on Taiwan. I ran for office on the Reagan ticket in 1980 and worked in the Reagan Administration. I was upset when Congress pulled the rug out from under the Contras in Nicaragua and cheered on Ollie North when he faced down his inquisitors in the U.S. Senate. I was never prouder of President Reagan than when he healed the wounds between old enemies by laying a wreath in the Bitburg cemetery and then went to Berlin to demand, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

It was not until after the wall came down, the Soviet Union collapsed, and the U.S. did not significantly reduce its military presence throughout the world, that the scales fell from my eyes. World Communism may have been defeated, and the hundreds of millions who lived in slavery to it liberated, but yet the world had not yet become a safe place, much less “safe for democracy”. I followed and supported Pat Buchanan through the 90’s and the 2000 campaign, because he spoke most clearly and eloquently the case for social conservatism, but he also opened my eyes to see, first, how unnecessary, then, how ill-advised, and finally, how disastrous American military interventions in the Persian Gulf and Yugoslavia were and would be. I turned to the online columnists to whom I had earlier been introduced by my hometown newspaper, Joe Sobran and Charley Reese, both on the “right” side of the culture wars, but both vehemently opposed to U.S. foreign military intervention. And they, through Lew Rockwell, led me to Ron Paul, as, in the wake of 9/11, I scrambled to find Republicans who opposed involving the United States more deeply in the wars, national and religious enmities of the Middle East. Like these others, I had been persuaded that the earth-shattering attacks upon New York and Washington were not an assault on America or American values but a reprisal launched upon the economic and military might of an American war machine which had been engaged in military operations for years in the homelands of our attackers, the toll of lives and injuries had been just as great as those sustained by us on 9/11, and that the LAST thing we should do was to double down on war in the Middle East, which would be certain only to create for us more enemies and bring more attacks upon our nation.

Needless to say, the events of the last thirteen years have left me feeling vindicated in my opinion. But that alone would not have lead me to conclude that I would rather see a social liberal Democrat in the White House than a conservative Republican who insists on pursuing the policy of more foreign wars. What I also began to see was that the policy of war, in addition to being a crime against humanity and a monumental drain upon the U.S. Treasury, was a threat to the American Republic and the liberties of the American people, those for which our forefathers died, themselves. Abortion, sex, race, immigration, socialism, even role of the Church in society, all the issues which usually define the difference in American politics between right and left, will wax and wane in importance over the coming decades, as they have in the past. I see now the human race will contend with them until the Second Coming. None of the political battles we wage today will be determinative of the final outcome, even for our nation. But if we allow our nation continue down the path from Republic to Empire, as Pat Buchanan so sagely demonstrated we are doing, we shall, like ancient Rome, lose our blessed form of government and our liberties, and neither we nor our descendants will be able to retrieve them. So, yes, in my case and in the case of many who worked for Ron Paul for ten years or more, I would vote for a social liberal who will pledge him or herself to end U.S. engagement in foreign wars, wars not of defense of our homeland, but only in defense of the imperial domains of the World’s “one percent”, end the sale of our armaments to the world, and bring our troops home. And I hope there are enough on the left side of the political spectrum who have had their eyes opened to this reality, that will cast their ballots for anti-war conservatives before they give another vote to flaming liberals who, like Hilary Clinton, will, through constant war-making and foreign meddling, continue to lead our nation down the road to perdition.

Really, how much longer will Americans go on before they recognize that the survival of the Republic is at stake, and that all other issues pale in comparison? Will they really not see the light and rally to the cause before all is lost and they can do nothing but repent our folly as Americans live in penury, the subjects of foreign plutocrats and potentates?

#4 Comment By Kieselguhr Kid On January 27, 2015 @ 1:00 pm

I think you ended up at the right place, that there really is no peace bloc to be ad, only not forcefully enough. I mean, I like foreign policy and I think it’s the main driver in my Presidential vote, but poll after poll shows foreign policy doesn’t really matter at all in American elections. So if we figure the candidates know that too then what you’re calling the consensus is shaped entirely by its domestic implied correlates, and that makes sense to me, both in specific cases (powerful rhetorical support for Israel signalling evangelical sympathies, say) or in general (I’m not taking crap from Putin or al Assad or Xi so you know I won’t take it from Congress, I’m no pushover). Even the diehard libertaians you mention would almost all prioritize domestic issues: I think you’d capture the whole Ron Paul Revolution by promising a gold standard even if you also pledged to, say, send in troops to oust Bashar al Assad.

#5 Comment By Jack Ross On January 27, 2015 @ 1:01 pm

This is all true as far as it goes, but the question is would a primary candidate running on foreign policy realism also have other issues to stand out on that would be more galvanizing? Rand Paul plausibly does on civil liberties, the drug war, and criminal justice reform, but if anything those causes have an even more marginal following among Republicans, however plausible as a long-term path for the Republicans to reinvent themselves for a new generation. On the other hand, there is a much wider opening for an anti-Hillary, for our purposes let’s assume it’s Jim Webb. The economic policy case against Hillary would galvanize a much larger pool of primary voters, not to mention all the others that obtain for Rand Paul. The question is can Hillary ride liberal cultural prejudice to the nomination in spite of all of that. And let’s be frank: Webb has a perfectly good down-the-line liberal record on all the culture war questions. If Hillary were to prevail in such a contest, it would prove that movement liberal primary voters are simply bigoted against anyone who might stand for not marginalizing strait white males, no more no less.

#6 Comment By Karen On January 27, 2015 @ 1:14 pm

Theres something going on at the moment that might shake things up: the Netanyahu issue and Iran sanctions.

President Obama let it be known that he felt insulted by the Netanyahu speech to Congress that Speaker Boehner set up without consulting him in advance. That’s still being discussed on TV panels.

Black voters are very loyal to Obama and very sensitive to other politicians showing disrespect to Obama. The last elections had a big drop in white support for Democrats, making Democrats even more reliant on black voters. A Democrat cannot win a statewide election without solid support and high turn-out of black voters in NJ, PA, OH, IL, MI, GA, NC, VA, IN, CT at least.

Democrats in Congress would love to vote more sanctions on Iran and get their pictures with “Bibi” hugging and smiling. That’s where the donor money is, wealthy Israel supporters and war machine money. But now they know that the President is not afraid to take on the notion that Israel is the most wonderful, beloved, important, valuable ally we’ve got. In fact, he might make Israel look selfish and disrespectful towards us. That will register with black voters and even lift the lid on criticizing Israel. Who knows where that might lead? Its not 1 in 50 Americans who know about the USS Liberty but everyone knows about the Iranian hostage crisis.

#7 Comment By Patrick On January 27, 2015 @ 1:20 pm

“Meanwhile, I increasingly suspect that there is no actual peace constituency in the Republican party…”

How do you explain Ron Paul winning 21% in Iowa in 2012?

Sadly, I’d say probably four-fifths of the country doesn’t want more war if you talked to them in person…yet most of them as you have described will loyally support their party’s candidate because (we can’t let X win.”

#8 Comment By Noah172 On January 27, 2015 @ 1:42 pm

What I take from all of the above is the conclusion that, whatever the polls may say, the people with power in the Republican party believe that there is far more electoral risk in deviating from the hawkish line than from embracing it

Oh, the people with power embrace hawkishness, but not because of electoral risk, but rather financial and image risk.

The big money in the Republican Party is almost exclusively hawkish and especially Zionist (Adelson, et al.). They would rather hold their wallets and let an underfunded Buchananite/Paulite lose (if such a candidate ever won the nomination) — or even openly undermine such a nominee and support the Democrat — then lose control of the party.

Republican poobahs also have absorbed the leftist narrative about conservative voters. The Willie Horton ad, for example, was “racist” even though (or maybe especially because) it raised a legitimate objection to a Democratic candidate and was quite successful politically. A Buchananite Republican nominee would be ceaselessly denounced as an anti-Semite and worse (as Buchanan and Paul and every other non-hawkish, non-Zionist Republican has been since the ascendance of the neocons) by the MSM, and rather than fight back against such vile propaganda, beltway Republicans would feel ashamed if their candidate won on an anti-imperialist, anti-neocon platform (just as they are ashamed of Bush using Horton).

The great majority of Americans, even evangelicals who subscribe to Zionist theology, do not prioritize overseas adventurism ahead of domestic issues, economic and social. Most voters don’t want endless war, even if they accept it from leaders who foist it on them.

#9 Comment By Chris Atwood On January 27, 2015 @ 2:06 pm

“How do you explain Ron Paul winning 21% in Iowa in 2012?”

Easy–they were voting for his radical libertarian domestic policies.

#10 Comment By Chris Atwood On January 27, 2015 @ 2:07 pm

“Most voters don’t want endless war, even if they accept it from leaders who foist it on them.”

Which proves Noah’s point that domestic policies define candidates for the voters, not foreign policies, and hence an alliance of voters from different extremes of the domestic policy spectrum united by a single foreign policy just won’t happen.

#11 Comment By Buzz Baldrin On January 27, 2015 @ 3:12 pm

Because of the Democrat’s electoral lock, a third-party candidate could make waves, because he or she could deny the prize to the boxed-in Republicans.

In a close election, the Democrats could be vulnerable, too. That’s why, following W’s disputed victory, the Democrats devoted so much time, effort and money to keeping Nader off the next ballot and away from televised debates.

I do not believe the voters oppose a third party candidate. Only the parties and their major contributors fear them and fight no holds barred to make them invisible.

What’s needed is a third party-candidate who, like Perot, can afford to litigate his or her place on the ballot in 50 states; who runs with a party that’s in it for the long haul, like the Front National, instead of trying to hit it out of the park in one election; and a candidate willing to bargain for a major concession from a position of strength.

At this point, Donald Trump would be the only potential populist peace candidate, since he could afford the ballot litigation; won’t go away; and can deal with the lizards.

Trump also fulfills the Perot voter’s need for a billionaire on horseback. He can use the MSM and talk radio, where he will flaunt his birth certificate, to his advantage. And may have enough network TV clout to slip into the debates, which I think empowered Perot in 1992.

#12 Comment By Otto von Confucius On January 27, 2015 @ 3:20 pm

I consider myself non-interventionist. I hate war but am emphatically not pacifist. I think we have expanded military action and other meddling far beyond what is justifiable, but I also think defense, border defense in particular, may occasionally require offense.

In the cases of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Israel/Palestine, Pakistan, Yemen, for example, I vote not just for “peace” but disengagement. On the other hand, in the case of Mexico I see a mounting case for intervention.

In short, I don’t need a “peace candidate”, rather, I don’t want an interventionist candidate.

This view isn’t represented among known 2016 candidates at the moment, and yet I know a fair number of people who share it in rough outline. I put it down to the major parties sucking all the air out of the room on foreign policy with their “pick the interventionist of your choice” menu, and of course most journalists and reporters take their cues from the parties.

But as the parties continue to simultaneously meld and collapse, and as the disastrous consequences of our interventions continue to register with the public, I expect more interest in “peace candidates” and other alternatives now considered exotic.

#13 Comment By Kurt Gayle On January 27, 2015 @ 3:47 pm

@ William Dalton:

You’ve written a fascinating piece about your long political journey. It’s good of you to take the time to share this.

Your story and your honesty in telling it are encouraging — really encouraging!

You ask the right question: “How much longer will Americans go on before they recognize that the survival of the Republic is at stake?”

With your story in mind, maybe there is hope after all.

#14 Comment By SDS On January 27, 2015 @ 3:53 pm

There is a BIG area between pacifist and the kind of “peace” candidate I would vote for…..

But the only acceptable view seems to be believing in “the exceptional America” that cannot do wrong….”IF America does it; then it’s not wrong”…..

Didn’t work for Nixon; won’t work for America….

“Hawks are not inclined to assert aggression merely because they don’t like their fellows.”

Of course they do! That’s the current definition of hawks, isn’t it? Ask Lindsay Graham or Senator McCain! You can have your own definition, but that’s the one in favor these days….

#15 Comment By EliteCommInc. On January 27, 2015 @ 5:18 pm

“Which proves Noah’s point that domestic policies define candidates for the voters, . . .”

I think this is too far. The idea that foreign policy as default doesn’t matter enough to significantly impact the electorate goes too far. The elections of to second terms and Pres. Roosevelt’s four terms were highly influenced by foreign policy.

I am not sure that Mr. Millman is contending what you proffer. And to that point, treading carefully on what is meant by “hawkishness”, I am not sure that the voters look to a hawk in the general sense, but rather one who willing to be hawk when need be.

The debate now is what constitutes the need. It may be that our lopping of o heads and lids has created a very dire regional consequence of resorting to force. That scenario would dilute the objections that many of had prior to the invasions and after — as if the original policy were justified in the first place.

Perhaps that is what the original advocates are seeking as their escape plan.

#16 Comment By Mario On January 27, 2015 @ 5:55 pm

I guess the only scenario I could envision supporting a Kucinich was if there was a veto proof libertarian styled GOP majority House and Senate with Amash and Paul clones, which will never happen. It’s a shame, because foreign policy is in essence what a president has the most control over, especially if the legislature is neither filibuster/veto proof or controlled by the opposite party.

#17 Comment By Patrick On January 27, 2015 @ 7:43 pm

@ Chris Atwood:

That’s an excellent point, though the exit polling appears ambiguous. To take one case, Paul won more self-identified evangelical Protestants than Romney, and not by a little. Are these people libertarians? (You might reply, are they anti-war? And you’re right that evangelicals don’t fit into either camp as a stereotype.) Paul also won 11% of people who made up their mind in the last few days before the caucus: who knows why those people voted for him? Did they meet Paul in person? Did Paul have a good campaign team?

Also, beneath the young people (libertarians) supported Paul meme is the fact that at least one third of his voters were over 40 – again, not the type you’d pick out as libertarian, per se.

Nevertheless: good point. The exit polling still seems a little inconclusive but no doubt a lot of “independents” (libertarians) voted in the GOP caucus.

#18 Comment By Jane On January 27, 2015 @ 8:10 pm

That is depressing…

Conventional war aside, probabilities of nuclear ‘events’–use of nuclear weapons in some way or another–across long periods of time are scary.

There seem to be a lot of conservatives for whom national machismo is a key element in their conception of what constitutes conservatism. I feel more confident than ever to argue against this, but it doesn’t really do any good because I’m just some random internet user.

I would guess that immigrants and their children do not track the same patterns. I wonder if the way out is through them.

#19 Comment By sean On January 27, 2015 @ 8:25 pm

“So I feel confident in saying that the next Presidential election looks overwhelmingly likely to feature a hawkish Democrat (Hillary Clinton) facing off against a hawkish Republican.”

Hello Gary Johnson!

If your scenario plays out (and I believe it will) then the LP has the opportunity, if it plays its cards rights, to finally gain a foothold in national American politics. Not just as a movement but as a serious party whose candidates people will vote for not for protest.

What Johnson has to make clear, especially to conservative audiences, is that kind of government you say you want cannot be achived if you let your fears for your secruity trump all considerations. You may think that if you eliminate the National Forest Service you have cut the size of government, yet the NSA, the CIA and the FBI spend treble what NFS does to spy on you. Is this the smaller government of which you speak, one that is given carte blanche to do whatever it wants because you’re afraid of another 9-11? Then you have not and never will accomplish your goal and you would be better off not calling yourselves conservatives at all but just…Democrats like your fathers once did.

#20 Comment By William Dalton On January 28, 2015 @ 1:30 am

“I think you’d capture the whole Ron Paul Revolution by promising a gold standard even if you also pledged to, say, send in troops to oust Bashar al Assad.”

Well, yes and no. If you promised to put the dollar on the gold standard but still pursued a policy of unnecessary foreign wars, I would, in principle, be inclined not to support you. But if you actually had the power to push through legislation that would return the dollar to the gold standard, I would support you – for one simple reason: America can not return to the gold standard and continue its policy of imperial wars. Such wars are financed only because the Fed can print limitless amounts of dollars which Congress can borrow to spend on war. If the Fed couldn’t print the money and Congress couldn’t borrow it, the revenue to fight wars would have to be raised through enormous increases in taxes. And that is something politicians know will be even more deadly to them than a failure to “be tough” on terrorism or “the enemies of Israel”.

The essential connection between fiat currency and imperial warmaking is something Ron Paul has preached for years, and yes, people have been listening.

#21 Comment By William Dalton On January 28, 2015 @ 3:01 pm

Thank you, Kurt Gayle. I hope you are right!

#22 Comment By Kieselguhr Kid On January 28, 2015 @ 7:38 pm

William, you understand that folks fought hegemonic wars without fiat currency for most of history, right?

#23 Comment By a spencer On January 28, 2015 @ 7:57 pm

nobody else has said it, so:

Jesse Ventura.

#24 Comment By William Dalton On January 29, 2015 @ 8:10 am

“William, you understand that folks fought hegemonic wars without fiat currency for most of history, right?”

If they could find someone to lend them the money they could. That was responsible for rise of Nazism in Germany. Hitler accused Jewish bankers of financing both the Allies and the Central Powers in the First World War and said they were responsible for the carnage and Germany’s woes. And in this sense he was right – if bankers would refuse loans for military spending there would be no more wars, or at least less deadly ones.

England’s King Charles wanted to fight a war with Spain and later Scotland and couldn’t do so without raising taxes. Parliament refused to authorize them and when he tried to act without them he was convicted of treason and lost his head. That is the model more countries should follow.

#25 Comment By a spencer On January 30, 2015 @ 2:12 am

The Bar Stool Vote – it exists. Ask Norm Coleman or Skip Humphrey.

People who don’t normally vote but can get excited by one person in a short amount of time; as well as regular voters caught unsuspecting and willing to consider.

Let’s say the Bar Stool wants Peace.

Serious question: what percentage of a popular poll would require current broadcasters to include a third candidate in a debate?

#26 Comment By Pi In The Sky On February 1, 2015 @ 7:37 am

I’m a conservative. I have voted almost exclusively GOP for many years. My ideal is not a “peace candidate” but after reflecting on what has happened since 9/11 I would vote for a “peace candidate” over an interventionist. The risk of further damage by an interventionist is too great.

#27 Comment By EliteCommInc. On February 1, 2015 @ 11:27 am

“Serious question: what percentage of a popular poll would require current broadcasters to include a third candidate in a debate?”

A spontaneous massive riot that spread across the country from any starting point. people so fed up that they just turned off their televisions.

#28 Comment By RadicalCenter On May 15, 2015 @ 6:25 pm

We had a peace candidate for the White House in 2012: Libertarian Gary Johnson.

I voted for him in 2012 and will gladly do so again next year.