Election

Another 4 years

With academics and a lot of other things consuming my time, I’ve spent less time caring about the 2012 US elections. Myself aside, international support for Obama doesn’t seem to be significantly lower than in 2008. If the world were the electorate, it seems likely that Obama would have been elected in a much greater landslide.

But though the results are the same, 2008 and 2012 differ in one massive way: The reason. In 2008, there was genuine support and enthusiasm for Obama internationally. This was reflected by his overseas trips that did much to help Obama build up his brand. 4 years on, it was understandable given the domestic situation that Obama would be less focused on foreign affairs. But it was also notable that direct support and enthusiasm for Obama was much lower. It wasn’t that people didn’t want Obama to win, but rather than they were less likely to support him directly. The 2012 support stemmed more from a general dislike of the Republican candidate, or candidates.

This might well have been the unfortunate result of Obama’s own doing. His rock-star status and breath-of-fresh-air-appeal in 2008 created some very high expectations of how he would perform. Once in the White House, reality struck, limiting his capacity to do many of the things had argued for. The Arab Spring, the rising tensions in Asia and Europe’s slow disintegration probably didn’t help the case.

As it stands, though non-Americans are happy for Obama’s re-election, there is doubtlessly less enthusiasm for his presidency. Not that it really matters, given that the events on the ground are forcing Obama to ‘pivot’ to domestic issues.

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HK Chief Executive Election – 19/3/2012 Forum

I hesitate to call this one a debate… mostly cause it isn’t. Last time was. This time it isn’t. Sure they are trying to out compete each other. But a forum without the ability to respond directly to each other can never become a debate. But here it is anyways.

Hong Kong attempts sham elections

A lot of people confuse Hong Kong’s political system with that of China’s, assuming that Hong Kong is just another reclusive, facebook-less, Chinese city. Indeed, we like to think of ourselves as otherwise, but at the current rate, Hong Kong might just well turn into just another undemocratic Chinese city. I’m referring to of course, the HK Government’s new plans to scrap Legislative Council by-elections and replace them with some odd system whereby the next-best-placed candidate in the original elections would automatically be offered empty seats, thereby doing away with the need to hold by-elections.

The Government hasn’t even attempted to think of an illogical excuse for this move, happily admitting that such a move is in response to the so called ‘de-facto referendum’ triggered in January last year after five Civic Party and League of Social Democrats lawmakers resigned. At the time, most other main political parties did not put up candidates, and all five were voted back into office. The turnout was just 17.1 per cent and the government said the by-election, which cost HK$126 million, had been unnecessary, thus warranting it’s newest proposal.
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Legco By-elections – A comprehensive rebuttal

A well written article in the SCMP from 7 June 2011 that effectively destroys the government’s logic for changing the legco by-election rules.

Baffled by an empty seat

The government’s proposals for new ways of conducting by-elections are ill-considered and may well lead to more confusion, say analysts

The government’s controversial proposal to fill midterm vacancies in the Legislative Council by installing the next-best-placed candidate would serve the intended purpose: preventing lawmakers from claiming a by-election to be a referendum.

But it may lead to some unintended consequences, and even tricky scenarios that officials may not have thought through.

The proposal arose because, in January last year, five Civic Party and League of Social Democrats lawmakers resigned, triggering a by-election they hoped would be a de facto referendum on political reform. But the other main political parties did not put up candidates, and all five were voted back into office last May. Turnout was just 17.1 per cent and the government said the by-election, which cost HK$126 million, had been unnecessary.

Nevertheless, the government’s proposed solution is causing even some allied lawmakers to baulk.
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Campaigns and Social Media

[tweetmeme source=”@paullaucm” only_single=false]From Mashable :

Just as social media has opened a dialogue between businesses and consumers, its value is apparent to those in political office, whose work and very professional survival hinges on the needs and perceptions of their constituents.

But when was the last time a local politician garnered the same social media buzz as a hip startup, or a savvy online retailer?

As it stands, the social web is ripe with opportunities for candidates and office holders alike to connect with voters, foster transparency, and even spar with opponents in the same ways they have been in the traditional media for hundreds of years. We spoke with some innovators who have been tapping into the political power of social media. If their work is any indication, expect the future of elected government to be measured in fans and followers, as well as votes.

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