Welcome to Librarium Online!
Join our community of 80,000+ members and take part in the number one resource for Warhammer and Warhammer 40K discussion!
Registering gives you full access to take part in discussions, upload pictures, contact other members and search everything!
So the Congressional thread doesn't get overrun, and because I was inspired by not only my own recent thoughts about the issue, but by artificer's post in the other thread, I am going to go ahead and create this thread to get some opinions and suggestions on the two party system.
More specifically, the United States two party system, as it's one of the biggest and the likes, and it's the one I know more about.. and have the most problems with.
I was told (Government class, high school) that the forefathers of our country (U.S.A.) were very much against a system of political parties, for various reasons. They warned the government against them. And, as it turns out, they were right to do so, in my opinion.
As it stands, I think the two party, or party in general, system in the U.S. is burning away much of what our country is supposed to be about. Splitting the country into, basically, two halves is not the way to go, not at all - to a point, competition can be seen as a way to gain strength, but when you go the extremes that the Democrats and Republicans have gone over the years, it just starts tearing a rift into a country that needs unity to survive.
And that's exactly what's happened. There's a rift, unable to heal as long as the parties have as much power and influence (and money) as they do. Important issues get left behind in their race to defeat eachother, other issues that shouldn't be left alone, as they're redundant at times, are focused on as the main platforms.
Heck. There are people who refuse to even consider other viewpoints, if they aren't the same political party as they are. How messed up is this? We are supposed to be an open, free-minded sort of country. We're some of the worst at doing that anymore.
I don't want to debate with people who adamantly refuse to see my view, to consider it, or even to just respect it, just because I'm not affiliated with their party - who, I'm sure, 50% at least have different views, in general.
Just something that gets my hackles up, and that I wish we could abolish.
Well, up in Canada, we have lots of parties. We also have a different form of Democracy, but in all it works for us. I think that unfortunatly our neighbors to the south are in bit of a pickle, because your either One the other, or neither. Thats not how democracy is supposed to work, but hey, who am i to argue with tradition. We currently have 4 big parties in Our House of Commons (sorta the states senate equivalent), and are forced to work together for common goals. Lost Nemesis, i see how that is a problem, but thats how democracy works now. Its a popularity contest for the rich and Privaledged, not people who are trying to do the best for there nation. Although Borat the movie was incredably racist in many ways, i can just se how the states is digging itself a bigger and bigger hole to fall into.
my two cents or 1.7 cents american...
"This sure ain't no pansy Eldar Armor, Son"
185th Cadian Armored Div.
"One Shot, One Kill"
Western Border Patrol of Athel Loren
I personally think party politics is a big, ugly bruise on the nose of democracy.
The purpose is obvious.. it reduces voting to a simple black and white (or red and blue) choice, so even if you don't want to actually wade through the policies, you can make a choice.
However, it's not an informed choice. You may care about family values, and may therefore want to vote for a conservative party, but of course your local candidate for that party may be an inverterate drunken womanizer who wouldn't know family values if it slapped him in the face. You're voting for the organization, not the person.. which is crap, because the person is the one who sits in government making choices on your behalf.
We've all gone to the polling station and ticked a box without even looking at the candidates name, but the fact is, we're voting for individuals. The party they belong to may be an indication of their stance on various issues, but ultimately, it's just a guideline. Do people in the UK who vote conservative really check if they're voting for an old fashioned family values conservative or a new right libetarian.. the party contains both, and many more in between.
So in short, politics is about people, and the more you try and reduce it to this artifical divide between different conceptual ideals the more unfair it is. At the end of the day, it isn't 'the party' which decides how things are going to be run.. it's the actual people in power. If you're going to vote for them, you need to know what they, as people, believe in and want to do.
There is a legitimate point in that you are rarely voting for a true "conservative" or "republican" but rather an individual with his own belief system and values and I agree that few if any ppl bother to address the individual as apposed to the party he is a member of. This is where being an informed voter comes in i.e. not just knowing the party, but rather stances on critical issues. I've found alot of politicians running for congress have remarkably similar stances, but most voters in their states don't even bother to look into the similarities and differences between candidates and just look at red vs. blue. The reason for the similar stances is that two people from the same region are gonna have some pretty similar beliefs regardless of party. Much of the voting public don't even know the stance of the person they voted for on the critical "make or break" issues instead assuming the individual is just going to follow the party lines (and often being dissapointed as a result)
Blais's Paint Studio-Getting broken armies good soft scores since 2009
There are other candidates (like Independents and other parties) in the US. We have MANY parties, but only two "real" ones. It's like the unspoken rule that to be President you have to be Protestant. We've only had one Catholic, and no other types. We do currently have 2 Independents in the Senate, but none in the house this time.
The fact is if Americans werenâ€™t so politically lazy and actually did some research they could elect other members from other parties (vote the individuals). As it stands right now, the majority elect whatever party their parents and grandparents voted for. The most common answer for â€œwhy are you Xâ€? is â€œmy parents were Xâ€?. Many people donâ€™t full understand what the PARTY stands for, let alone an individual.
Honestly, until Americans become more concerned about their candidates and do some research this wonâ€™t change. I also wouldnâ€™t hold my breath for this to occur. We are an individualistic society, and thereâ€™s nothing wrong with that. But individuals care about 1 person, them, and trying to get them to care about the Nation as a whole would require a culture change.
Shoal07, I definitely agree with you, but at the same time, I would have to say that the parties themselves (at least the major two) need a revamp, and need to get off their high horses and start seeing what the people want, then getting it done. As it stands, and as someone posted in the other thread (I believe), all they do is focus on issues that haven't gone one way or the other in 15+ years, and all but ignore issues that could be solved - with satisfaction to all parties involved - in almost no time at all. Those ignored issues aren't any less important, the parties just don't see them as being able to get their candidates into office. Bad system.
I think that might be a bit unfair to your average American. Especially in a Presidental Election. You dont even directly vote for him. The votes of your state go to the electoral college who aren't even legaly bound to vote the way you wished (although they always do). Voting for another candidate will in the vast majority of cases be a wasted vote. In the case of congress candidates, without a party to vote with, unless they are lucky enough to hold the balence of power, the danger is they will achieve nothing for their voters. Rather than being seen as a call for a change in the system, independants are too easily maginalised and ignored.
Rather than being lazy I think most Americans who vote simply feel the lesser of two evils is better than a wasted vote.
The system does seem to leave a lot of people feeling powerless and polarises politics in America. But the system is also stable and powerfull enough to resist outside change. My country uses proportinal representation. There are 2 big parties, 1 medium and 3 small ones and independants on top of that. If thats not enough, I recomend people to spoil their vote. If 10% of people show they are willing to go out and vote, but not for a candidate standing the parties will find out why and offer something to get their vote. 10% goes a long way when the vote is split by 6 parties.
However this may well not work in America. Considerable numbers of people voted for Ross Perot to no lasting effect. Anything system introduced to open up possabilities of more parties/different opinions would need the backing of the two parties who would have no interest in doing such a thing. Any Party that divides itself to give a more multi-dimensional choice to the voters simply hands the other the influence over the house and senate.
While I agree that there is a need for change, and that only Americans can bring about this change, it would take co-ordinated, publisised, nationwide action to bring about. This would be hard work not just a matter of voters "not being lazy".
However, educating and energising voters to even care is the vital first step. And if calling them lazy helps do the job, by all means call them lazy. But it would be a mistake to actually look down on them and truely believe that they are stupid/lazy. That is the reason Communism is such a disaster("listen you stinking proles, its for the good of the people") and the reasoning behind institutions like the electoral college. Democratic institutions should not be insulated from the people. Even if the people do sometimes seem lazy/stupid/ungratefull. If they want to elect an American Idol contestant, let them. And let them learn from their mistake.
Democracy isn't the best form of government because you end up with the best government. Individuals are intelligent, groups can be unbelievably stupid/bigoted. Democracy is the best form of government because the people largely get what they deserve. And they can choose to accept it or change it. Between sheer size of the country, division into states, indirect election of the president and a two party system it is far harder for Americans to change things. American voters arn't lazier than others per se, they just have a much higher mountain to climb. Dont give up on them yet.
I was reading today that to stand any chance of being the US president, you effectively have to be a practising christian - it's that important. That adds an entirely different dimension to democracy since you're not necessarily appealing to people in terms of what you want to do for them, but what your beliefs/values are. No religion almost seems to equate to no chance. Once the difference between party faithful and the faithful begin to blur is when you can lose sight of what you're trying to do.
Contrast that to british politics where religion will likely get a raised eyebrow as a response. The british just don't really do nationalism or religion (or combine the two in a "God bless America" way). A while back Tony Blair was asked if he prayed alongside George Bush when they met one time - You could almost feel the antipathy towards such an idea that politics and religion might co-exist. Yet we have no division of Church and State like the US, and our head of state is also the head of the Church of England (Perhaps it helps that "God" is identified with the monarch rather than the nation/prime minister).
But then we're more of a three-party system (even if the third party doesn't really have a look-in on getting into government), and being a liberal isn't really an insult like it comes across as in the US (All three major parties are scrapping over the political middle ground). The only real analogue to the US system is Northern Ireland where it's nationalists/catholics vs unionists/protestants - and that's far from one party vs another.
But it seems to down to cultural differences that such things happen. Being a US citizen seems to involve following the "American Way" and being "American" rather than being a muslim, jew or of "immigrant stock" as it were. It creates something of a mono-culture (a rather large generalisation) compared to some european countries (such as the UK) where people get on with their own cultural identity alongside being "British" - no doubt aided by the fact we aren't "One nation under God" just four nations glued together by conquest, several acts of union and one act of independence.
All these things (including further lengthy historical events ) result in two different systems - one where you're on safe ground appealing to a specific apolitical majority (The US) compared to the other where doing so would be pushing political suicide (The UK, other "multicultural" countries).
Anyway, ramble over .
Having an army and not owning a rulebook is like owning a car with no steering wheel.Originally Posted by amishcellphone
I don't think there's any doubt that having two uber-powerful parties effectively eliminates true democracy. Nothing can happen that doesn't serve the goals of the parties themselves. They are entrenched, and they aren't about to allow any upstarts to challenge their power. Yes, we have a very rich spectrum of alternative "third" parties, but they have no real power, no real voice, no real way to raise concerns the the two major parties have no intention of ever addressing.
But, as bad as it is, I don't think it's anything that two simple solutions wouldn't solve entirely.
Firstly, 100% public financing of elections. The benefits should be obvious: politicians no longer beholden to anyone except their constituents. Unless you are against democracy, I don't see how you can be against this.
The argument that preventing people from throwing their money around politically is a hindrance to free speech has, I must admit, real merit. But the problem is that, letting things stand the way they do, it allows the wealthy, privaleged, and powerful to speak freely a whole heckuva lot louder, longer, more powerfully, and with far more influence then those without the means. I think an argument can be made that granting that much power to a very limited subset of the populace actually tramples on the rights of the vast majority of citizens. The courts and the legislatures have a history of curbing the powers of the ultra-powerful in favor of a "greater good". It is well established in history and law, and I fail to understand why this tack has never been taken before.
Secondly, and this can be done independently of my first suggestion, instant runoff voting (IRV). This would prevent situations where politicians in a tight race with more than one other opponent can win with a mere plurality of the vote, and not a clear majority. (As with Jesse Ventura winning the MN govenernorship a few years back.) Suddenly, people wouldn't have to always feel like they were voting for "the lesser of two evils", or "purely against the opponent I hate". They could feel free to cast votes for the politicians they actually liked, no matter how "viable" the mainstream media labels them, and it woiuld never be a throwaway vote.
Aside: My favorite "Simpsons" episode of all time is the 3rd story from the 7th "Tree House of Horror Special", where Kang and Kodos take the places of Bill Clinton and Bob Dole. A savvier satire on American politics would be hard to come by. "Don't blame me! I voted for Kodos." :w00t:
ninjabackhand: point and click, again, really? even after i give you an military term "shock tactic" you still call it point and click.
RIP Warhammer 40,000: 21 Sep 1998 - 24 May 2014
Forged Election/Party system Reform Plan-
Step one, create national campaign finance reform, limit contributions to 100 dollars per personal, entity, or group.
Step two, provide public debates for the top 10 candidates, selected by the number of signatures they are able to gather, as endorsements.
Step Three, after debates, the public votes for a primary, in which 6 of the candidates are eliminated. The 4 that are left are awarded money depending on the importance of their position, plus the amount they raised in step one.
Step Four, create air tight voting machines with paper trail, or vote by mail system, independently reviewed and tested for accuracy.
Step Five, Create independent election manager, may not be associated with any political party or faction, similar to a judge. Who will draw country lines in the way that will best represents a state. With an National Oversight committee, similar to the suppriem court, but only makes rulings on election matters.
Step Six, Voting Days will now be National holidays, your employer must provide employees with time to vote. This holiday will be considered as important as Christmas, and should constitute double time pay. No person may work more then 6 hours on Voting days.
Step Seven, You may right off voting on your taxes, worth 50 dollars, to compensate for lost wages, but only if you vote.
Step eight, hold unscripted public debates, congressional and executive debates must be held on television, as well as governorships. Other tight elections may also be held on television. Candidates must debate, or forfeit their right to be on the ballot. All debates will be streamed on the internet.
Granted this will cost a lot of money, but i think its a fairly solid plan to fix voting, and end the party system. What good is a party if they cant give you more then 100 dollars.
Secondly mandatory debates will force candidates to talk about the issues.
Public financing will level the playing field and help promote the best person with the best ideas, over the person who can scream the loudest.