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Old Oct 11, 2013, 10:37 PM   #26
miloblithe
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I want to see a four party system:

Religious conservatives
Pro-business party
Labor party
Green party
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Old Oct 12, 2013, 08:43 AM   #27
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A vote for a third party is in my opinion a wasted vote until you change the system. For real multiparty democracy you need proportional representation.
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I think if voters are frustrated at the way government works (or doesn't work) then they should look in the mirror. Everyone in Congress and the President are elected -- this government is not imposed on us.
It's true that voters make the choices. But it's also true that our choices are limited by the system we have and the incentives it creates. Winner takes all means exactly that and winning has become so important (an end in itself) that even governing (which used to be the point) has taken a back seat. There's so much money to be made (or saved) by changing this or that policy that it can't help but distort the process. Business now distorts government as much as government distorts business (perverted symmetry?).

But that leaves us with a dilemma. How do we change a system controlled by those positioned to benefit from it? Or put another way, how do we elect people willing to vote against their own interests, even when it would mean also voting against their opponent's interests? Proportional representation, for example, is desirable because it would gut both parties, so how would we get them to support it? Or even keeping winner take all, why would parties willingly give up control of redistricting?
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Old Oct 12, 2013, 10:52 AM   #28
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But that leaves us with a dilemma. How do we change a system controlled by those positioned to benefit from it? Or put another way, how do we elect people willing to vote against their own interests, even when it would mean also voting against their opponent's interests? Proportional representation, for example, is desirable because it would gut both parties, so how would we get them to support it? Or even keeping winner take all, why would parties willingly give up control of redistricting?
For that question, you are on your own.

I do think seeing how broken your system is, only another civil war, or great depression, would push people in the US to change the system you now have.
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Old Oct 12, 2013, 11:17 AM   #29
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But that leaves us with a dilemma. How do we change a system controlled by those positioned to benefit from it?
I'm probably overly naive about this, but I believe this is a relatively easy sell.

Americans love choice and we love the idea that our opinions are being heard. Proportional representation allows these desires to be realized in one of the most important aspects of our lives, politics.

I think the biggest hurdle is getting the word out to people that that option is available to us. I would bet that the vast majority of citizens have little idea about what it is and how it can work. So the first step is getting the message out and gaining momentum in the media. Once that gains some speed, then I believe this could become something.

The old saying is, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Well, it's pretty obvious that our current state of governance is broken and in need of fixing. In the coming years I believe the people and the our politicians will be more open to exploring ways to fix our very flawed system.
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Old Oct 12, 2013, 02:18 PM   #30
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I don't vote for parties, I vote for candidates.
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Old Oct 12, 2013, 03:28 PM   #31
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... Americans love choice and we love the idea that our opinions are being heard. Proportional representation allows these desires to be realized in one of the most important aspects of our lives ...
It's been tried in the U.S., but for whatever reason(s), it never really caught on...

During 1936-1947, New York City used proportional representation to elect its city council members, using the single transferable vote (STV) system.

In the first half of the 20th century, STV was adopted to elect several city councils in the United States. More than twenty cities used STV. See: History and use of STV in the U.S.

As of January 2010, it is used to elect the city council and school committee in Cambridge, Massachusetts and the park board in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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Old Oct 12, 2013, 04:16 PM   #32
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I don't vote for parties, I vote for candidates.
I get the impression that you—or others who claim this—believe it to be some kind of noble thing, but I don't see it as such.

The only way this works is if you're so middle of the road that you can be swayed from one side to the other based on the perceived personal traits of a candidate. It's my belief that you'd then be basing your vote on the most unknowable aspect of any candidate: their inner being.

If you're capable of discerning their psyche, based on their bios and behavior on the campaign trail, then you are a better assayer of personality than I am. I'm probably a bit too cynical, but I see them all as overly spun political products, loathe to reveal their true selves at the cost of a vote. But again, I'm sure that's just my cynicism showing through.
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Old Oct 12, 2013, 04:31 PM   #33
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I get the impression that you—or others who claim this—believe it to be some kind of noble thing, but I don't see it as such.
Nothing noble about casting a vote, regardless for whom you cast it, as far as I'm concerned.

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The only way this works is if you're so middle of the road that you can be swayed from one side to the other based on the perceived personal traits of a candidate. It's my belief that you'd then be basing your vote on the most unknowable aspect of any candidate: their inner being.
I wouldn't call myself "middle of the road" politically, nor do I really know anything about a candidate's "inner being," nor do I care. I care about their politics; or more accurately, how they state their political beliefs.

In last year's elections, I voted for four Libertarians, one Democrat, two independents, and around a dozen or so Republicans. I based my votes on their political and professional backgrounds, as well as their political reputations. Now you can accuse me of an attempt to achieve nobility, or being a moderate, or whatever; I simply stated that I vote for a candidate based on his/her merits, not on his/her party's merits.
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Old Oct 12, 2013, 04:33 PM   #34
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The current political situation reminds me of that old "Simpsons" episode where the voters had to choose between the two aliens. Kodos or Kang, to be president, either choice a bad one. They reminded the voters, "it's a two party system, you have to vote for one of us!"

I'm a conservative but there doesn't seem to be any viable 3rd choice in the country. The Independents just don't seem to be gaining traction.
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Old Oct 12, 2013, 04:51 PM   #35
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In last year's elections, I voted for four Libertarians, one Democrat, two independents, and around a dozen or so Republicans. I based my votes on their political and professional backgrounds, as well as their political reputations. Now you can accuse me of an attempt to achieve nobility, or being a moderate, or whatever; I simply stated that I vote for a candidate based on his/her merits, not on his/her party's merits.
I vote based on the political philosophy espoused by the candidate, as well as the party they belong to. Because even though a candidate might appear more moderate, when they find themselves in the halls of congress they often have to toe the party line—see the current deadlock in Washington.

Candidates that belong to a party have already been vetted, supported and financed by that party and will most likely remain loyal in order to remain in good standing, well supported and well funded.

So in my case, a republican or independent candidate would have to be pro-choice, pro-government, pro-entitlement, pro-environment, and overall progressive in their political philosophy before I ever would consider giving them my vote. There aren't too many candidates out there like that ... that don't already belong to the Democratic Party, or are so fringe that they don't stand a chance of actually being elected.
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Old Oct 12, 2013, 04:53 PM   #36
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I don't vote for parties, I vote for candidates.
This is more or less what I used to do. First of all, it is a general feature of the U.S. "first past the post" or "winner take all" system. Particularly with congressional districts, the elected representative in some sense represents me in Washington. I would normally choose to vote for the best candidate for that reason. The party spin part was not as bad back then, also.

It helped that in the postwar/cold-war era, the two major parties were close enough together that left-wing visitors from Europe would constantly complain about it. In that era, I was pretty much in the middle, making it logical to split my vote.

In the post-cold-war era, the Republican Party started to seriously misbehave, starting with the K Street Gang. I gradually stopped voting for most Republicans, although there were still one or two fiscally conservative socially liberal folks I voted for.

In recent years, a seriously deranged shamefully untruthful (as in saying things that are not so) right-wing group has dominated the Republican Party, and, while there are still some fiscally conservative socially liberal survivors, they are mostly afraid to stand up and say so for fear of losing the next primary. And both parties have slid to the right, so that I'm now a very "Liberal" Democrat even though my views haven't changed much.

Actually, one view has changed. The super-rich used to behave much better back then, spending lots of visible time with charities and foundations, and they lived in the big house down the street. Now, they effectively live in castles on hilltops. 18th-19th century English novels written within a rigid class system that seemed so distant, such as those by Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and Anthony Trollope, now seem very relevant indeed.

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I get the impression that you—or others who claim this—believe it to be some kind of noble thing, but I don't see it as such.

The only way this works is if you're so middle of the road that you can be swayed from one side to the other based on the perceived personal traits of a candidate.
That is it exactly. When you are middle of the road as I once was, you have the luxury of voting for the best candidate.

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It's my belief that you'd then be basing your vote on the most unknowable aspect of any candidate: their inner being.

If you're capable of discerning their psyche, based on their bios and behavior on the campaign trail, then you are a better assayer of personality than I am. I'm probably a bit too cynical, but I see them all as overly spun political products, loathe to reveal their true selves at the cost of a vote. But again, I'm sure that's just my cynicism showing through.
I think you have forgotten that it in this respect things used to be better. I would agree that the parties are now so far apart that there really isn't much of a middle of the road any more.
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Old Oct 12, 2013, 04:58 PM   #37
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I think you have forgotten that it in this respect things used to be better. I would agree that the parties are now so far apart that there really isn't much of a middle of the road any more.
I think also that candidates and their handlers now understand how to spin their image to sway voters.

In the end, I'll never pretend to know the person I'm electing.

I'll settle for knowing their politics.
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Old Oct 12, 2013, 05:04 PM   #38
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I've definitely voted for a 3rd Party - if I don't like the way the other candidates have voted or the way they have handled their campaign.

I do mostly vote democratic, but if there is an alternative candidate that would better serve me, I will certainly not stay true to only 1 party. I've even voted for a republican or two. NOt in Texas, though, because every Republican here is batsh** crazy. I've been extremely active politically since I've moved here and I don't believe that any Republican in this state would have my best interests in mind.

I'm looking forward to seeing how Wendy Davis does in her campaign for Governor. I'd love to see her get a win here and really make some changes for the better.
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Old Oct 12, 2013, 05:05 PM   #39
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I do think seeing how broken your system is, only another civil war, or great depression, would push people in the US to change the system you now have.
What you're describing is a cleansing. Like the way the forest benefits from the occasional fire, restoring the soil and making room for new growth. I don't see an economic event by itself as being enough.

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Americans love choice and we love the idea that our opinions are being heard. Proportional representation allows these desires to be realized in one of the most important aspects of our lives, politics.
Suppose 10M voters actively want it to happen and 10M more are willing to go along. But the last 10M (one third) want nothing to do with it. Now suppose both parties fight tooth and nail against it. How much organizing would be needed to replace enough reps to make the difference.

I'm not saying it's impossible but I don't see it happening outside of a crisis. A real one, not the manufactured one we have today.

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It helped that in the postwar/cold-war era, the two major parties were close enough together that left-wing visitors from Europe would constantly complain about it.
Maybe it's not a coincidence. During the cold war, inhalation was around every corner and we had to stick together. Now it's more like we're fighting over what's left.
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Old Oct 12, 2013, 05:54 PM   #40
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Suppose 10M voters actively want it to happen and 10M more are willing to go along. But the last 10M (one third) want nothing to do with it.
If it became a popular movement that stood a good chance of winning, I'd have no problem casting my vote their way.
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Old Oct 12, 2013, 11:30 PM   #41
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I vote based on the political philosophy espoused by the candidate, as well as the party they belong to.....
out of curiosity, do you ever actually vote for anybody but democrats? how often?
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Old Oct 12, 2013, 11:37 PM   #42
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It's an easy choice.

Only one of the two major parties supports a woman's right to choose. Only one of the two major parties recognizes Climate Change is real and needs to be addressed. Only one of the two major parties seems committed to maintaining social safety nets. Only one of the two major parties thinks there's any need for stronger gun control. Only one of the two major parties embraces the role of government that reflects my values. Only one of the two major parties believes in regulating private industry. Only one of the two major parties believes that endangered species need to be protected ...

Shall I go on?
So, you're right to kill unborn babies is more important than anything else that happens in politics ?

Way to go. You and your kind are our future.

Oh, wait...

-t
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Old Oct 12, 2013, 11:46 PM   #43
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OMG a third party???? What about the anarchy in countries with 5 or 6 parties?? How do they do it?!?!

Seriously, the US system is a ****ing joke.
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Old Oct 13, 2013, 12:12 AM   #44
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So, you're right to kill unborn babies is more important than anything else that happens in politics ?

Way to go. You and your kind are our future.

Oh, wait...

-t
Amazing how everyone who is pro-CHOICE is an suddenly an advocate for killing babies.

Kind of like how everyone who believes in some type of gun regulation is a "gun grabber". I always wonder how some of these idiots keep getting elected - and then I read comments that remind me that there are actually people voting for these idiots. On purpose! No wonder our country is in the mess it's in.
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Old Oct 13, 2013, 12:35 AM   #45
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out of curiosity, do you ever actually vote for anybody but democrats? how often?
I have voted either Democrat or Green in national or state elections. County and city elections are non-partisan, but I vote for the candidate that most closely matches my liberal political POV.

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So, you're right to kill unborn babies is more important than anything else that happens in politics ?

Way to go. You and your kind are our future.
That's an interesting response on your part, because I listed a number of things that I base my vote on ...

• a woman's right to choose
• Climate Change
• maintaining social safety nets
• stronger gun control
• the role of government
• regulating private industry
• protecting endangered species

And within that list I did not prioritize any issue over another.

So for you to focus solely on abortion and assume that I said that the "right to kill unborn babies is more important than anything else that happens in politics" actually says far more about your politics than it does mine.
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Old Oct 16, 2013, 12:19 PM   #46
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I voted green in '08 and '12 for president, and green or libertarian for smaller offices. On non-partisan offices I tend to vote based on what I know about where the candidate stands.

The two main parties have frustrated me but probably the republicans more than the democrats. If it's a race that comes down to just the two main parties, I will sometimes vote for the democrat and only republican once for county supervisor.

There's a part of me that wants to vote for anybody who had nothing to do with shutdown in 2014. If they are a senator or congressperson right now, then forget them. Why did they (most of them) continue to receive pay when civil servants and government contractors got furloughed?
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Old Oct 16, 2013, 05:45 PM   #47
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I find it amusing that people actually think their vote could be wasted on a third party. Since a single vote is not going to change the outcome of any presidential election, why not use your vote as a show of no-confidence in the current party system and support someone in an alternative party?
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Old Oct 16, 2013, 05:50 PM   #48
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So, you're right to kill unborn babies is more important than anything else that happens in politics ?

Way to go. You and your kind are our future.

Oh, wait...

-t
Seriously? You must be kidding right?
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