Jesse Ventura on Bill Maher: ‘I refuse to vote Democrat or Republican’

Last night former Independence Party Governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura made an appearance on Bill Maher’s show Real Time, which airs on HBO.  They talked about many topics, including Ventura’s refusal to support the two party system, electing independents, and “alternative voting,” which is more commonly known as instant runoff voting or ranked choice voting (they described it somewhat inaccurately, so go here for more info).

The interview starts at about seven minutes into the first video and continues into the second.

67 thoughts on “Jesse Ventura on Bill Maher: ‘I refuse to vote Democrat or Republican’

  1. Mik Robertson

    That’s the spirit! Sign him up to speak at the LP convention instead of Boortz!

  2. Aaron Starr

    Perhaps people are not familiar with the speaking fees well-recognized names are able to command.

    I don’t know what he is charging today, but five years ago Jesse Ventura was charging $50,000 per speech.

    Let’s say we are able to sell 250 gold packages this time at the current price levels. Does anyone believe that we could still sell that many if the price were increased by $200 just to break even on the cost of the speaking fee of this person?

    With all of the criticisms some have of the folks who are selected (and later unselected in some cases) to speak at the convention, we have to acknowledge something all of these speakers have in common:

    They generously agreed to speak with no honorarium and almost all of them are paying for their own travel and lodging.

  3. Robert Milnes

    Yes, if it is decided to NOT sign me up.
    Gravel/Ruwart is a fusion ticket that fell into the Libertarian lap in 2008, but it didn’t get hard. A Nader/Ventura Ventura/Nader fusion ticket is another possibility. Here Maher & Ventura dabble in the third party/independent scenario. Independent is put forward as an alternative to dems & reps. Mher even cites surveys of 20 something percent dem & rep & 40 something Independent. But there is no exclusive single national Independent party. Just like there is no single exclusive national progressive party. They also discuss alternative voting, getting rid of Electoral College etc.
    PLAS/FET/FDS has taken all these factors into consideration. It is ready NOW. It can win. All we need is for the GP & LP to agree to cooperate with 50/50 vote coordination & ballot access. An Independent fusion ticket with 100% ballots filled by a Green or a Libertarian.

  4. Robert Milnes

    I have already expressed willingness to speak at the convention without fee. I do need some help getting there though. & overnight stay if necessary.

  5. Robert Milnes

    The 2 elections in history very important here: USA 1912; Chile 1970. Also very important-Nader repeated tries as Green & Independent. As Independent he was able to “mix & match” various ballot lines. Allende had a leftist coalition & made several tries before victory-very close-in 1970. TR was a republican who split off & formed the Progressive Party. Close second. Socialist Debs took 6%. No socialist party in present day USA could come anywhere near 1%, let alone 6%.

  6. Mik Robertson

    @4 This was more of a suggestion along the lines of who fits better with the idea of alternative political parties rather than who should actually be booked. There already is another banquet speaker signed up if I am not mistaken. I am not up to date on the most recent developments, though.

  7. Robert Milnes

    Maher I believe leans libertarian if I’ve understood what he’s alluded to over the years. But Nader & PETA lean left. Difficult to say whether a fusion ticket would be Ventura/Maher or Nader/Maher.

  8. Robert Milnes

    TPR, sorry. I do not know if Maher has EVER expressed an interest in running. I was just elaborating on a possible fusion ticket based on left/Green v right/libertarian.Not whether declared or interested etc.

  9. Robert Milnes

    OK, everybody. I’ve just lost my Citi card. So I’ve lost my 3 best cards. It is downhill now. & the modestmiracle inheritance is probably due around June. So that is too late for the convention & to tie up lose ends for a summer working vcation in CA & probably too late to save my credit situation. I’m screwed. I’ve spent $ on my campaign which in retrospect I could not afford. I got $0 in political contributions & personal donations. & you wonder why I DEEPLY resent Ron Paul? I’m open to suggestions. Some support would be appreciated.

  10. Not Impossible

    $50,000 could be thought of as five hundred $150 fund raising tickets leaving $25,000 for overhead.

    Is getting five hundred people out to hear Jesse Ventura impossible?


    What do we lack that it takes? Five hundred people with $150?

    I don’t think so. I would like to see people in leadership that know how to draw that many people in even if it is just to have a good time. If you happen to get delegates together at the same time…

  11. Trent Hill

    I actually resent Ventura’s statement in the title. Refusing to vote Democratic or Republican is just as ignorant, I think, as refusing to vote third party. One should vote for the best candidate/party, regardless.

  12. joell

    je$$e’s schtick became obvious very quickly. after being elected governor, he floated the idea of paying his wife to serve as 1st lady. shortly afterwards, he made lots of $$$ by writing a book.

    je$$e used the Reform Party ballot line to get elected then quickly abandoned many of the party’s core values. he even supported the trade agreement we now have with

    i believe je$$e recently wrote another book. je$$e is a professional political “outsider.” if there’s a quick buck to be made, je$$e will take advantage of it.

  13. Jeremy Young

    I would guess Ventura’s speaking fees are more like $20,000 now. He’s not as popular as he was five years ago.

  14. Melty

    None of the Above should appear on all ballots, or at least all blank ballots cast be counted.

  15. tab

    Ventura has totally lost it. Which is a shame, because he actually had some good ideas. He is a parody of his former self.

    If you didn’t think he was a joke before, watch how hilariously bad his conspiracy theory show is.

  16. Ross Levin Post author

    Trent, I disagree. Ending the two party system in and of itself is a worthy cause, and not voting for the two major parties is a way to further that cause.

    Also, Bill Maher’s a prick, but PETA being terrorists is ridiculous.

  17. Mik Robertson

    @28 “Trent, I disagree. Ending the two party system in and of itself is a worthy cause, and not voting for the two major parties is a way to further that cause.”

    Hear! Hear!

  18. Melty

    Have you noticed how many names instant runoff has? In Australia, thoughout living memory, it’s been called “preferential voting.” Less than a decade ago in the States it started to attract attention as “instant runoff.” Its elaborate algorthm, though, is so far from “instant” that it’s like calling a flacid man “Woody.” Within the last couple years “ranked choice voting” became the new term for the same thing, as if there were no other voting method that involved ranking your choices. Now it’s already switching over to “alternative voting” as if there were no other alternative voting methods.

    Bill Maher here says that instant runoff has no spoiler effect. That is false. I think it’s not that he’s lying. He’s just ignorant of voting methods. It sounds like he doesn’t even know of any other alternative methods. Anyhow, instant runoff badly fails the independence of irrelevant alternatives criterion. Instant runoff gives you spoiler effect.

  19. Melty

    The link at the top describes instant runoff “somewhat inaccurately.” Instant runoff does not “guarantee majority winners” and it has “spoiler dynamics.” In fact, most everything instant runoff proponents claim is not true, and its paid proponents know this full well. You can get accurate descriptions of instant runoff at

  20. Trent Hill

    “Trent, I disagree. Ending the two party system in and of itself is a worthy cause, and not voting for the two major parties is a way to further that cause.”

    The two party system will not be destroyed by voting exclusively for candidates who run as third partiers or independents. Rather, the two party system will be destroyed by individuals coming to respect, and even admire, third parties as legitimate parts of the electoral process–as they are in Britain’s Parliamentary system.
    You are never going to convince people who agree with Dennis Kucinich (or Ron Paul) that they should only vote Green (or Libertarian)–simply because of their party label.

    It is not the “D” or the “R” beside a candidate’s name that disqualifies him or her from office. This is the same sort of thinking that leads people to immediately ignore people with “Ind”, “CP”, “GP” or “LP” beside their name. This sort of groupthink is precisely the problem, not the solution. We will destroy the two party system by lessening the influence of parties, not by increasing the influence of CERTAIN parties.

  21. PR

    Melty — “Alternative voting” is a long-time name for instant runoff voting in the United Kingdom. It comes from the concept that you get an “alternative” if your first choice doesn’t do well. Not sure why you are so bitter about it. It’s clearly better for third parties and independents than a plurality voting elections. Not as good as as system of proportional representation, of course.

  22. Ross Levin Post author

    Trent – I don’t think there’s a reason to disparage either point of view. Obviously not voting Democrat or Republican doesn’t help either the Democrats or Republicans. And neither does taking a more fair look at electoral politics. One is more extreme than the other, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with radical action rooted in a strong grievance, which is exactly what Ventura is describing.

  23. Ross Levin Post author

    And Melty, I know you’re involved with range voting, and at this point it’s just a matter of politics and not which is the better system. FairVote has been very successful in implementing IRV in cities and getting the word out about it. The range voting people have not. I think it’s as simple as that. And I know the range voting people are working on it, and I’ll support you guys once you have an organization for me to support.

  24. paulie

    I want to see Tom K. & paulie come up with something BETTER before they biff about their problems with PLAS.

    Building little step by little step is the best thing I can come up with. I’d also move towards somewhat of a PLAS by branding libertarianism in terms that progressives can relate to – short version, achieving liberal/progressive goals through libertarian means. By no means will this achieve instant victory, but if it is pursued relentlessly, I believe we will be much better off – often in ways that are not immediately apparent – than otherwise, and I believe we will “win” eventually, although I don’t know when.

    I find your version of PLAS to be about as realistic as a cow jumping over the moon, and no amount of repetition on your part is changing that.

  25. paulie

    as a candidate I am a media whore. I’ll do it for free with just about anybody who’ll have me at the drop of a hat.

    Only problem for you is, nobody (or virtually nobody) wants you. But Solomon Drek may cover your gas to speak in his living room somewhere in NJ. You’ll have to ask him.

  26. paulie

    Maher I believe leans libertarian if I’ve understood what he’s alluded to over the years.

    He used to sometimes call himself a libertarian, but more recently he has been more open about being a progressive.

  27. Deran

    “Everyone can just use their imagination as to what Milnes’ speaking fee is…”

    Half a bag of Cheetos?

    The comment that PETA is a “terrorist” organizatin is stupid. Now, if you want to talk abt the “Patriot” movement, or the Christian militias, or the tea partyers who support these groups, then we talk abt “terrorists”.

    I truly do not believe Nader will run again. From the more recent interviews I’ve read he seems kind of tired of it, and he is almost 77.

    This “PLAS” thing is utter bupkis. There are certain issues that people with varying ideological perspectives can agree to work together on, but the idea that the LP and some significant element of the Left would join in a unified slate, come on … pass that blunt over here! And some of Milnes’ Cheetos!

  28. paulie

    The comment that PETA is a “terrorist” organizatin is stupid.

    I agree.

    Now, if you want to talk abt the “Patriot” movement, or the Christian militias, or the tea partyers who support these groups, then we talk abt “terrorists”.

    No, that would be equally silly.

    Both groups contain a very tiny number of people who advocate — and an even far tinier number who practice – terrorism, and a vast majority of people who merely want to change public policy and what constitutes socially acceptable behavior through peaceful (or at least legal) means.

    I truly do not believe Nader will run again. From the more recent interviews I’ve read he seems kind of tired of it, and he is almost 77.

    I predict he will run until he can no longer walk, and maybe after that.

  29. Robert Milnes

    so paulie admits i t is a generally good idea to integrate libertarianism & progressivism, he’s just a little fuzzy on the details. his best-take it slow but sure. Little increments/baby steps.
    Tom recently wrote about advocatin g each party adopt some of the other & what amounts to fusion ticket e.g. a left leaning lib pursuading the Lp delegates to vote for a lefty/green vp. & similar in Gp. but that would split the inclusive progressive vote for the executive ticket with 2 fusion tickets.
    Deran, not bupkis if you guaranteed losers decide you want to win-for a change!

  30. Robert Milnes

    we can learn a lot from Nader’s runs.
    All he needs is a libertarian vp & to put up a website that coordinates the ballots to be as
    50/50 green & lib as possible:
    Constitutionally qualified candidates.
    Independent executive ticket.
    Fusion executive ticket.
    Sufficient ballot access to win.
    Full downticket slate of progressives & libertarians.
    Recommended vote coordination.

    He also has sufficient name recognition & resume.

  31. Robert Milnes

    nice thing about a little fuzzy it also is a little fuzzy. i’ve seen your links and stuff. which begs the question-how come plas is so difficult for you? it is fairly simple. you write about its elements every day. ballot access. libs and greens. the libertarian vote. the progressive vote. third parties. independents. state voting laws. court cses. etc. can’t you follow the logic?

  32. paulie

    At this point I do not even have postage to send TinyBook to paulie.

    Already bought one myself. A Cherrypal Africa from

    Thanks for the thought, though.

    And thanks to Brian Holtz, Tom Knapp and Darcy Richardson for kicking in contributions for it. I hope I didn’t forget anyone or embarrass anyone if the gift was supposed to be anonymous.

  33. paulie


    I don’t have sound on this computer.

    PETA is a public policy organization that works within the existing legal framework. It’s not by any means terrorist. Perhaps you are thinking of the Animal Liberation Front.

  34. Robert Milnes

    maybe your difficulty is like Tom, with the approximate maximum available vote bloc for the libertarian 13% + the progressive vote 27% =40%.? For one thing, these numbers explain Ron Paul’s vote in 2008, failing to win even one gop primary. & the failure of leftist/progressives to win. Notable exception Allende 1970 leftist coalition. 36%. Other notable TR 1912 second place Progressive Party 27%.

  35. Robert Milnes

    I looked up Cherrypal Africa. Again I ask if a mini is good enough for you. Not in the smartass sense. You do a lot & need a lot of ,apps, processor, memory etc., don’t you? I admit free wifi is an advantage over 3G. You say it has no sound system? Can you put memory card in it? .How about if I send TinyBook & you pick/mix & match/whatever.? You have my email. Send address. I’ll try to scrounge up postage.

  36. paulie

    I’m glad I got my mini-laptop. I need to download a new browser. I did download firefox, but it is not extracting. Possible that the download got interrupted, as internet is spotty at my motel.

    I’ve used it a few other places, and it works OK when I can get signal. Although, as I said, I don’t like the pre-loaded browser.

    I do not need a lot of memory or apps. Virtually everything I do on computers is online.

    I did not say it has no sound system. I said the computer I am on now, which is not that one, has no sound. I’m not on my mini-laptop at the moment. I’m using a public terminal in another (much fancier) hotel.

    I have no idea about memory cards, and I don’t store anything on computers anyway.

    Thanks for the offer, but I don’t need another mini-laptop since I already got one. If that ever changes, I’ll let you know.

  37. Ross Levin

    Paulie, you really don’t think IRV helps third parties at all?

    And if you didn’t see my comment before – if you still need any help paying for the laptop, I feel bad I forgot to send the ten bucks.

  38. paulie

    Paulie, you really don’t think IRV helps third parties at all?

    The link Melty posted seems to me to make a convincing case that if anything it hurts.

    And if you didn’t see my comment before – if you still need any help paying for the laptop, I feel bad I forgot to send the ten bucks.

    Need is a relative term. As mentioned above I already got the laptop, but if you still want to send me the ten bucks I won’t turn it down.

    I won’t starve or sleep outside (except by choice when camping out) if you don’t, but it would always be appreciated if you or anyone else wants to send me money.

  39. Ross Levin Post author

    All right, it will come your way sometime when I remember in the next month or so 🙂

    I’ve seen a lot of arguments for against IRV…I’m not convinced either way, mostly I’m just confused.

  40. Melty

    Ross. I know you’ve given voting methods a lot of thought and yet you admit confusion. I think that’s great. Most folks are the opposite. They don’t even scratch the surface of the topic and yet decide they already know everything about it worth knowing, jump to conclusions and don’t seek further. I think votin methods’re an intriguing topic, but I can see why most folks refuse to even ponder it. After all, this vote-ology stuff is a whole branch of applied math.

  41. Melty

    PR. There are some alternative votings methods that are clearly better than plurality voting, but instant runoff is not one of them. I believe that instant runoff is no improvement over plurality voting. It’s probably even worse.

  42. Melty

    Ross. Fairvote is not an honest organization. They knowingly make false claims. Fortunately, municipalities that get taken in are pretty quick to figure out that they’ve been had. Burlington, VT, Cary, NC, Aspen, CO, Pierce County, WA, have all ditched instant runoff recently, and after only a few election cycles. Instant runoff does not work as advertized, and folks’re getting wise to it.

  43. Clay Shentrup


    What does it matter that FairVote has been more successful at promoting IRV than supporters of Score/Approval Voting have been with their preferred system? IRV doesn’t substantially change anything, or get us out of two-party domination? In strategic terms, it effectively degrades to plurality voting, because a voter is incentivized to top-rank his favorite front-runner instead of his true favorite (Score/Approval don’t have this problem as they pass the Favorite Betrayal Criterion).

    Having a lot of experience with FairVote associates like Rob Richie, Terrill Bouricius, Steve Hill, etc., I have to agree with melty that they are dishonest. Extremely so. So I think their “success” is mostly a result of having gotten there first and told a lot of lies. Even then, IRV has backslid essentially everywhere they helped to get it adopted (my home of SF is an exception.. so far).

    Of course after that happens, those communities where it was used are soured to the whole experience of alternative voting methods. So then, say you propose Approval Voting to them (which is awesome, strategy-resistant, and dead simple) — do you think they’re going to want to give another alternative voting system a try? Fat chance.

    FairVote is reckless and dangerous to democracy. And IRV is a woefully inadequate voting method.

  44. Classy Quote

    “I am a whore. I’ll do it for free with just about anybody who’ll have me at the drop of a hat.” -Robert Milnes

  45. paulie


    Classy or not, it’s not technically accurate. A whore who does it for free with anyone who wants wouldn’t make any money. Whoring is a profession. The accurate word here may be slut. Which reminds me of a really classy article I wrote which expands on this theme….tres classy….

    I’m a whore and a glory hole slut

    2008.07.31 by pauliecannoli

    — In, “Rachel Hawkridge” wrote:

    Last nite, I was reading one of the blogs, and someone called paulie a whore for helping to get Barr on the ballot, when he’s not a supporter of the nominee.

    I roared with laughter . . . paulie gets paid. I did it for free.

    Guess that makes me . . . a slut? ;o)

    BTW, paulie said “Thank you.”

    p] Actually, I’m both a slut and a whore. For instance, I got Barr on the ballot in Arkansas for free. To make matters even worse, I didn’t even know it was for Barr at the time, since he wasn’t nominated yet and hadn’t even announced, so I guess that makes me a glory hole slut to boot, in addition to being a whore.

    Also, I’m a pimp, in addition to being a slut and a whore, because I make part of my living collecting overrides for managing crews of petition gatherers sometimes. And I am in no ways faithful to the Libertarians. Right now I’m doing a three-way, and negotiating to add one or two more clients at the same time. And I’m not using a condom with any of them! I guess that makes me a dirty whore.

    Not only that, but I kiss and tell: I offered to write either pro- or anti- Barr polemics to the highest bidder. I’m thinking of selling my vote, too, although I guess the buyer would just have to trust me that I stayed bought.

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