FreeCircle Freedoms Podcast

"Pushing Freedom Everywhere"

Episode 8

Published on:

23rd Feb 2020

Vote Splitting

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even though 60% of the voters prefer either candidate A1 or A2.

Cardinal voting methods are immune to vote splitting, since each candidate is rated independently of each other.[2] Pairwise-counting Condorcet methods minimize vote splitting effects.[3][1] Plurality-runoff voting methods (like Exhaustive ballot, Two-round system/Top-two primary,[1] Instant-runoff voting,[2] Supplementary vote, and Contingent vote) still suffer from vote-splitting in each round, but can somewhat reduce its effects compared to single-round plurality voting.[3]

A well-known effect of vote splitting is the spoiler effect, in which a popular candidate loses an election by a small margin because a less-popular similar candidate attracts votes away from the popular candidate, allowing a dissimilar candidate to win. As a result, the notion of vote splitting is controversial because it can discourage third party candidates.

Strategic nomination takes advantage of vote splitting to defeat a popular candidate by supporting another similar candidate.

Vote splitting is one possible cause for an electoral system failing the independence of clones or independence of irrelevant alternatives fairness criteria.

Episode 7

Published on:

16th Feb 2020

Lack Of Success Of Third Party Movements In American History

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Campaign finance rules say that a political party can only get government funding to run a race if it received a certain percentage of votes from the previous election. Often this leaves third party candidates to fund their own campaigns. With less media coverage, the candidates are left to find other means of exposure to raise the millions of dollars it takes to run a successful campaign.

Episode 6

Published on:

9th Feb 2020

The Independent Voter

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The definition of an "independent voter" is controversial and fraught with implications.

The earliest concept of independents is of a person whose political choices, by definition, were made based on issues and candidates (due to lack of party affiliation). Furthermore, early studies of voting behavior conclusively demonstrated that self-identified independent voters are less interested in specific elections than partisan voters, poorly informed about issues and candidates, and less active politically. However, a contrary view emerged: The independent usually voted on the basis of deeply ingrained beliefs, attitudes and loyalties, and is more like the strongly partisan voter than any other voter (or the idealized "independent").[6][8][9][10][11]

By the 1960s, scholars attempted to define the independent based on behavior, rather than party identification or loyalty. Focusing on ticket splitters, these studies depicted an independent voter who had the same level of political interest as strong partisans and who voted largely based on the issues with which they strongly agreed and/or disagreed.[4] However, by focusing on voting behavior, this definition of the independent ignored non-voters. Critics claimed that the independent voter is merely a subset of the larger set of independents, which should also include non-voters.[1] Studies also found that voting and not-voting is deeply affected by the particular candidate running in an election. Voting, therefore, is more reflective of what candidate is running—and therefore a poor measure of partisanship.[6][12][13]

More recently, scholars focused on self-identification as a good measure of a person's political independence. The value of self-identification as a measure of a person's political independence or partisanship is that it is seen as a proxy for the behavior which should be exhibited by the independent voter. Additionally, self-identification could be easily captured either with a nominal question ("Do you self-identify with an existing political party?", a question which is answered with a "yes" or a "no"), or by a structured ordinal question ("Generally speaking, do you consider yourself a Democrat, a Republican, an independent, or what?").[14] The first analyses of this measure of political independence found that there were significant differences between those individuals who self-identified as "independent" and those who listed "no preference" as to party identification.[15] Individuals who expressed "no preference" usually exhibited low levels of interest in politics, low levels of knowledge about the candidates and issues, low frequency of voting, and less confidence in their ability to influence politics.[16]

Although some scholars continue to conclude that self-description is the best measure of partisanship or independence,[2] a number of studies have found debilitating problems with this measure. The nature of the voter registration system and the appearance of the ballot, the way the question reinforces a unidimensional interpretation of the political arena, the measure's failure to function in a multi-party political system, the measure's confusion of the theoretical relationship between partisanship and the intent to vote, question wording errors which confuse a social group with a political party, failure to predict policy (versus candidate) preferences, question order, and failure to measure partisanship accurately when there are sizeable differences in party size all confound accurate measurement of partisanship and independence using this measure.[17][18][19][20] Even the nature of a survey instrument as a measure of partisanship and independence has been called into question.[21]


There are several synonyms for the term independent voter. In the U.S. state of Massachusetts, a registered voter who chooses not to enroll in a political party or designation is termed unenrolled.[22][23] In the U.S. state of Florida, a registered voter who chooses not to affiliate with a political party is termed no party affiliation (NPA).[24]

Partisan influence

To many scholars, independence seemed the flip-side of partisanship. Identifying the variables which are significant in creating partisanship would, therefore, identify the variables which are significant in creating political independence. Subsequently, a very large body of scholarship has emerged which has attempted to analyze partisanship.

Parents appear to be a primary source of political socialization and partisanship. Much of the theoretical basis for this hypothesis emerged from the fields of child psychology and social learning, which studied the ways in which children are socialized and values inculcated in them. Studies of political partisanship have found that partisanship is strongest when both parents have the same political loyalties, these loyalties are strong, both parents have similarly strong party loyalties, and parental partisanship accords with socio-economic status (for example, the wealthy are Republicans or the poor are Labour supporters).[25][26][27][28][29][30][31]

Social groups are another source of partisanship. Friends, relatives, and neighbors often have the same partisan loyalties and strengths as one's parents. The more homogeneous the social group, the more likely the individual will be to develop strong partisan loyalties. When social group homogeneousness is low, the individual is likely to be less strongly socialized into partisan politics and more likely to seek a different party loyalty (whether by disengaging from partisanship or switching partisan loyalties).[1][26][30][31][32][33]

Life-cycle and generational effects also contribute to partisanship. Initially, studies indicated that the operative variable was the "life-cycle." That is, a person's partisan attachments naturally grew stronger over time as weak socialization became strong and strong socialization became stronger. Additionally, theorists suggested that older voters favored certain policy preferences (such as strong government pensions and old-age health insurance) which led them to (strongly) favor one party over another.[34] Later studies showed that the initial strong effect of the life-cycle variable was mitigated by generational effects. Party identification seemed strongly affected by certain formative generational events (such as the Civil War, the Great Depression or the social upheaval of the 1960s). Several studies concluded that generational effects were distinct from life-cycle effects, and that both factors were significant in creating (or not) partisanship.[35][36][37][29][38]

But if generational events affected partisanship, some scholars hypothesized that lesser political, social, and economic issues might as well. Conceding that major "shocks" such as the Great Depression could realign or dealign partisanship, some scholars reasoned that a series of smaller shocks over time could also dramatically influence the direction and strength of partisanship. Many scholars became convinced that partisanship was not bedrock but shifting sand. Important childhood events (such as becoming aware of a presidential campaign) as well as events in adulthood (such as recessions, war, or shifting racial policies) could also affect the level of partisanship.[27][39] The concept of "retrospective voting"—in which the voter makes political judgments based on the party-in-power's performance over the past few years—deeply influenced studies of partisanship.[30][40][41][42][33] Applying the concept of retrospectiveness to partisanship, more recent analyses have concluded that retrospective and prospective political party success play a significant role in the direction and strength of partisanship.[28][43][44][44][45]

Both repeated "minor shocks" and retrospective/prospective assessments of political party success are micro-level, rather than macro-level, variables.[46] That is, while very important in creating political independence, they affect individuals only. For example, John may come to believe that Party A is no longer effective and become an independent. Yet, Mary may come to the conclusion that Party A is still effective. Both voters see the same successes and failures, but their retrospective and prospective calculus of success varies.

This has led some scholars to conclude that independence is not the flip-side of partisanship. Rather, partisanship and political independence may be two distinct variables, each of which must be measured separately and using different theoretical constructs.[11][36][41][47] Other scholars have concluded that the causal direction of partisanship must be questioned. While it has long been assumed that partisanship and the strength of partisanship drive attitudes on issues,[48] these scholars conclude that the causal relationship is reversed.[46]

Episode 5

Published on:

2nd Feb 2020

Exceptions to general party alignments

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The realignment of black voters from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party that began in the late 1920s proliferated during this era. This process involved a “push and pull”: the refusal by Republicans to pursue civil rights alienated many black voters, while efforts—shallow though they were—by northern Democrats to open opportunities for African Americans gave black voters reasons to switch parties.26

The 1932 presidential contest between incumbent Republican President Herbert Hoover and Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt was something of a turning point. During his first term, Hoover had tried to ingratiate himself with southern segregationists, and his administration had failed to implement economic policies to help African Americans laid low by the Great Depression. Still, Hoover received between two-thirds and three-quarters of the black vote in northern urban wards.27 Most black voters sided with Republicans less out of loyalty than because they were loath to support a candidate whose Democratic Party had zealously suppressed their political rights in the South. African Americans mistrusted FDR because of his party affiliation, his evasiveness about race in the campaign, and his choice of a running mate, House Speaker John Nance Garner of Texas.28

As late as the mid-1930s, African American Republican John R. Lynch, who had represented Mississippi in the House during and after Reconstruction, summed up the sentiments of older black voters and upper middle-class professionals: “The colored voters cannot help but feel that in voting the Democratic ticket in national elections they will be voting to give their endorsement [sic] and their approval to every wrong of which they are victims, every right of which they are deprived, and every injustice of which they suffer.”29

Episode 4

Published on:

26th Jan 2020

Party Principles and alignments

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Indeed, the most common political experience African-American Members of this era shared was their involvement in politics at the ward and precinct levels. The Chicago political machines run by Thompson and, later, Democrats such as Edward J. Kelly and Richard J. Daley, sent nearly one-third of the black Members of this era to Capitol Hill. Local and regional political machines recognized the voting power of the growing African-American urban population long before the national parties realized its potential. At the beginning of this era, the relationship between black politicians and party bosses was strong, and many black Members of Congress placed party loyalty above all else. But by the late 1960s, as black politicians began to assemble their own power bases, carving out a measure of independence, they often challenged the machine when party interests conflicted with issues important to the black community. Unlike earlier black Members who relied on the established political machines to launch their careers, these Members, most of whom had grown up in the cities they represented, managed to forge political bases separate from the dominant party structure. By linking familial and community connections with widespread civic engagement, they routinely clashed with the entrenched political powers.

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About the Podcast

FreeCircle Freedoms
FreeCircle Freedoms is a podcast that covers my thoughts and opinions on freedom, the direction of our nation and the world.
The shows Season 2 will release each week on Sunday starting in January 2020
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Ed Watters

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You will find that Ed Watters looks at the world with open eyes. He sees things with education in mind along with self-improvement. The podcast Ed delivers is intended on uplifting and identifying the inner psyche of one's self to promote better living in one's own life.
With life experience, he looks for ways to tell stories to help others identify with the hardness of day to day life. Ed is always open to hearing your story and help get it out to the world.

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