Laying Bets: W Will Win

Michael Pugliese debsian at
Tue Aug 15 14:09:14 PDT 2000

On Tue, 15 Aug 2000, Nathan Newman wrote:

> However, I saw a report today that makes it look like even
> Jimmy Hoffa Jr. is not buying that argument,

"Even Jimmy Hoffa" ?!?!?!

Huh? Joseph Noonan

See this in salon. "I think we have to look at reality as to who has a chance of winning," Hoffa said in an interview with The Associated Press. "And while I have great respect for him, I think it's going to be hard for him to pull enough votes to win."

Doug brought up on this thread (or another?), Joel Rogers and Thomas Ferguson, Right Turn. Was hoping I could find some excerpts from Ferguson's later book, "The Golden Rule: The Investment Driven Theory of Party Competition, " from Univ. of Chicago. Bill Lear sent me these from various of Rogers and/or Ferguson.

Michael Pugliese ............................................................................ .................

Here, as in all advanced industrial democratic states, the major dynamics of domestic politics and party competition are determined by two factors: the aggregate balance of power between business and labor within the domestic system, and the competition of industrial sectors within the world economy. But the operative significance of the first factor is limited in the American case by the "exceptionalism" of American politics, which features a weak and politically disorganized labor movement. As a consequence, business provides the driving force behind much domestic politics, and political conflict is often best analyzed as derivative of conflict between different corporate sectors.

---Thomas Ferguson and Joel Rogers, "The Reagan Victory: Corporate Coalitions in the 1980 Campaign," in *The Hidden Election: Politics and Economics in the 1980 Presidential Campaign*, Pantheon, 1981, p. 7.


The service and software ends of the industry --- Perot's niche --- face a special problem in international trade: Big contracts abroad often depend on political standing and thus, like it or not, on the U.S. government's ability to retain influence. Also, while it is possible to write software and sell services in countries whose language is not English, even the most dedicated team of monoglot ex-Marines confronts a real obstacle abroad as it faces off with the locals. It is therefore unsurprising that software and computer service companies show up everywhere in the vanguard of campaigns to shore up the U.S. economy (through at least promotion of education) and to preserve the dominant position of U.S.-based production in the world economy (which is closely bound up with the viability of English as the world's second language).

So it makes sense that in Texas, Ross Perot was a leader in the effort that brought the Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation to Austin. And that Morton Meyerson, who now runs Perot Systems and helped direct Perot's presidential campaign, served for a time as chairman of the support committee for the superconducting supercollider and that he was succeeded by Tom Luce, Perot's longtime attorney and another principle figure in the campaign. And that a host of Perot philanthropies, such as his weighty gifts for biomedical research at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, fit clearly into this long-term project. (Several of these benefactions appear to have come with various strings attached, a pattern of doing good and doing well that marks U.S. business as a whole.)

---Thomas Ferguson, *The Nation*, August 17/24, 1992, p.175.

----------------------- situations where information is costly, abstention is possible, and entry into politics either through new parties or existing organizations is expensive and often dangerous (that is, in the real world in which actual political systems operate) political parties dominated by large investors try to assemble the votes they need by making very limited appeals to particular segments of the political electorate. If it pays some other bloc of major investors to advertise and mobilize, these appeals can be vigorously contested, but...on all issues affecting the vital interests that major investors have in common, no party competition will take place. Instead, all that will occur will be a proliferation of marginal appeals to voters --- and if all major investors happen to share an interest in ignoring issues vital to the electorate, such as social welfare, hours of work, or collective bargaining, so much the worse for the electorate.

---Thomas Ferguson, *The Golden Rule*, p. 28


Politics as an arena is open to anyone able to overcome the entry barriers of time, money, and incentives, and it is generally the case that business can cross these barriers more readily than other interest groups can.

---Thomas Ferguson and Joel Rogers, *The Political Economy*, p. 104

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