Is American Democracy Flawed?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Kalns, Mar 21, 2007.

  1. Kalns macrumors regular

    Kalns

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    #1
    Mind you, I'm not talking about anything remotely pertaining to just the current state of affairs. What I'm talking about is the establishment of American Democracy....the Constitution. In your mind, how are they flawed and how could they be improved upon?
     
  2. princealfie macrumors 68030

    princealfie

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    #2
  3. Kalns thread starter macrumors regular

    Kalns

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    #3
    Well here's an example to get started...

    The Electoral College. Now that we have the capacity and means to actually tally the popular vote, should that in fact be the determining factor in who wins the election? Would that not streamline the process?
     
  4. bartelby macrumors Core

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    #4
    I doubt there are any real Democratic countries in existence. Most are Representative Democracies which are inherently flawed.
     
  5. princealfie macrumors 68030

    princealfie

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    #5
    Yeah, I think perhaps more like a plutocracy instead?
     
  6. bartelby macrumors Core

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    #6
    Yep, I'd agree with that.
     
  7. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

    Swarmlord

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    #7
    Actually, I find the concept of the electoral college to be one of the most useful and relevant aspects of the way our government was set up. I can't even imagine our country being controlled by a handful of the most densely populated urban centers.
     
  8. miloblithe macrumors 68020

    miloblithe

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    #8
    The electoral college groups voters by state, not rural/urban divide. I don't think it would make much of a difference on that front, other than to weaken the Democrat monopoly over the only citystate (voting wise) in the country: DC.
     
  9. atszyman macrumors 68020

    atszyman

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    #9
    The EC either needs to be removed, tied to the proportion of the state vote like Maine and Nevada, or used as intended for it to work.

    As it is right now the most populous states now determine elections versus the most populous urban areas. How does that make a big difference? Shouldn't a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people" pay attention to where the people are? Moving to a direct popular vote would concentrate campaigns on population centers but could also force a more national election. When's the last time a candidate visited Nebraska or Wyoming, with a direct election those voters could swing it, look how close 2000 was. A few small towns could swing a close election thus requiring at least some attention, which is more than they get now.

    A proportional vote rather than the winner takes all would alleviate some of the discrepancy between EC and popular vote and more adequately reflect the will of the people. It could also break the 2 party system since it would be possible for states with large EC delegations to actually have an elector or two for a third party making them more viable for future elections.

    The third option would be to use it as intended and actually have Electors campaign on a state level and people elect the Electors who then go to a smoke filled room and debate about who to make president. This would have a benefit of not knowing the Presidential candidate in advance and with some strict rules and/or public financing for the Elector's campaigns might drive a wedge between corporate interests and the President. Once again this could really hurt the 2 party system and open things up for finding truly the best man for the job.
     
  10. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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  11. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

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    #11
    well is there actually an reason why to choose the american system

    after all a system where votes aren't worth the same seemed useless to me 10 years ago when we went through the US/UK system in geography during school

    it also seems to work against the principle of majority
     
  12. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    #12
    Yep, got to stop that "one person, one vote" concept we supposedly keep pushing on the rest of the world. No reason a person in Wyoming or Montana shouldn't get to have their vote count for more than mine. If we could just get back to that 3/5 ths stuff in the original constitution it would really help because those city folks are real trouble. :mad:
     
  13. latergator116 macrumors 68000

    latergator116

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    #13
    Why not? Isn't it more fair that way? :confused:
     
  14. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #14
    We're not a democracy. We're a representative republic, using a democratic process to elect repressentatives.

    However, governing by poll results has resulted in a sort-of democracy, to our detriment. It's a whim-of-the-moment deal.

    'Rat
     
  15. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    #15
    This old canard keeps coming up. We are supposed to be a representative democracy. There is no contradiction between a republic and democracy. There are different kinds of democracy, including direct democracy and representative democracy. We are the latter.

    The only reason this old lie keeps coming up is that some folks want us to downplay the importance of the control of our country by the people of our nation. There are still sentiments that would want the "wise old men" of the backrooms and boardrooms to hold the power. It is true that these sentiments have nothing to do with democracy, but they also have no basis in law.
     
  16. Agathon macrumors 6502a

    Agathon

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    #16
    The central problem with the US political system is that it is based on what was philosophically fashionable 230 years ago. The world is a very different place now. A political system that is set up to benefit the interests of wealthy, property owning males has limited application these days.

    Frankly, if the people who wrote the US Constitution were asked to write another one today, they would probably come up with something a lot different.

    In general, the "winners" of WWII did much worse out of it in the long run than the losers. The discrediting of the political class in Europe did much to sweep away old and useless political traditions. Countries like France, the Netherlands and Germany have much better and more modern political systems than Britain, which is hopelessly mired in the past.

    The obvious exception is Italy. But as an Italian once told me, the problem with the Italian political system is that Italians are involved in it.
     
  17. SC68Cal macrumors 68000

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    #17
    I'm reading a book right now for a course that argues that the democratic two-party system is deeply flawed.

    It's called Uneasy Alliances
     
  18. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #18
    gee, we've got an administration which breaks laws, starts illegal wars, runs roughshod over the constitution, works for its friend and donors instead of the public, stacks the courts and ignores congress...

    no, i don't think our democracy is flawed at all.
     
  19. princealfie macrumors 68030

    princealfie

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    #19
    Remix it more like this...

    We are a representative democracy using a democratic process to count only the votes of those who earn more than $250,000/year and rewards themselves with tax rebates.

    Basically, it's not just a plutocracy but the Reps and Dems are in on this. That's why everything is a non-binding resolution and nothing either side says sticks to the wall or ...
     
  20. swingerofbirch macrumors 68030

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    #20
    I think that you first need to distinguish between flaws with the current administration, or any administration, and flaws with the system of government in the United States, which seems to be what the original OP was asking about.

    The previous poster mentioned this administration's perversion of our system of government. I think what is important to remember is that within our system of government we have the power to correct these perversions. I strongly believe in our system of government.

    Pointing to George Bush is like pointing to any security vulnerability we might find on Mac OS X. But just like Apple can release a patch, we have elections for new leaders, we have the ability to pass new legislation.

    Just look at the recent scandal over the White House being deceptive over why it fired US attorneys. Under Republican leadership in the Congress, I imagine the White House would have used its old line, "Well, if you don't understand firing US attorneys mid-term, you're living in a pre-9/11 mentality."

    As we have a Democratic Congress, Bush is instead cooperating to some degree, releasing thousands of pages of documents, and pleading with Congress not to subpoena Karl Rove and Harriet Miers. Congress likely will.

    This is a DIRECT result of the greatness of our system of government. In the last election Democrats were given power, and those Democrats are using that power. Democrats are holding Senate hearings on global warming and investigating malfeasances of the Bush administration.

    Now, how has it come to be that the American people have given George Bush eight years of power? That is not a question of our system of government. My personal opinion is that a significant portion of our population are fundamentalist Christian. They saw Bill Clinton demonized both by his own failings and being painted as anti-family. So they elected a conservative. After 9/11, people voted out of fear, ignorance, and perhaps latent, subconscious racism toward the Eastern world. Regardless of all that, the people did speak.

    I don't think the election system is perfect. But in our system of government we have the POWER to change the election system. That's what I keep coming back to, because it's what the OP asked about. If I were to change the election process, candidates could only use limited public funds, and campaigning would be restricted to a shorter time before the actual election--say 120 days. But that's my opinion, and one that can be debated, if liked pushed through Congress, if it fails, can be redacted and changed!

    In short, the framework is good, it's the content we don't like! We have the power, given to us by the framework, to change the content!

    OK, it's 3 AM, so I hope this makes sense! Lol.....

    (I love politics.)
     
  21. trebblekicked macrumors 6502a

    trebblekicked

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    #21
    for the record, the electoral college wasn't created because they didn't have the ability to count votes, it was a compromise between the parties who thought the president should be elected directly and those who thought he should be appointed by congress. it's a silly compromise, but those were silly times.

    and our democracy is fine, what's gone wrong is the two-party system (which washington despised), the lobby machine, and the lack of transparency and accountability. TBTB have had too long to learn how to milk the system.
     
  22. Sayhey macrumors 68000

    Sayhey

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    #22
    One should never forget that it also reflects the successful attempt to magnify the power of the slave holding states. With the numbers of electors determined at the time by a census count that included the non-voting slave population as 3/5ths of person per capita, it gave the slave holders more power in who was president. In every way, the Electoral College system is an anachronism that should be done away with, but it is kept because the Republican Party has convinced the small rural states that it is in their interest to deny the basic principle of "one person, one vote." They do so to artificially skew the electorate to the right and ensure a conservative advantage in Presidential politics. There is no moral argument possible for keeping this horrible system that has in the past denied the will of the people in electing our President.
     
  23. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    #23
    This is an odd point in my mind. If you want to win Arizona, just to use a local example, you can win the entire state by focusing on Phoenix and Tucson, while completely ignoring the poor saps in Yuma or Flagstaff. And, if you want to win New York, you must win New York City.

    Obviously, this becomes more difficult with states like Wyoming, but in reality there is a major population center in nearly all of them, and the ones that don't have a major population have the least numbers of electoral college votes. In reality, you can nearly win an election by seizing California and a handful of states all of which have densely populated cities.

    The electoral college was an invention to give the southern states more power during the Constitutional negotations, but is an anachronism even for the southern states it was created to benefit.
     
  24. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #24
    Could be worse. Much worse. We know how these things usually go, but I keep hoping for the best.

    But no, the system isn't flawed. It's just being perverted by those who wish for power so they can abuse it. Same happens with what they call communism, which is actually usually just a dictatorship. It would be nice if there was some way to stop this from happening, but Democracy is the worst form of gov except for all the others. That's why the Founding Fathers made the Constitution a living document, ever changing, but with the basics always kept in tact unless we let them go away, which sadly we are letting happen because we feel powerless to stop it. Our complacency and misdirected anger will be our undoing.

    It's going to be a heck of a ride down though. :)
     
  25. atszyman macrumors 68020

    atszyman

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    #25
    It only takes the 11 largest states to win, and you only need a hairs breadth over 50% of the vote in those states to get all the EC votes. I did the math once and it puts it at about 30% of the total population is all that's required to win.

    One of the big reasons for the EC other than pacifying the small states who felt their voice could be drown out by the big states was that technology at the time did not allow for a national campaign to be run effectively. Thus to have the Electors campaigning locally makes more sense. Electing a body to elect the president helped to keep the campaigning closer to the people.
     

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