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Politics What is happening????

Discussion in 'Tilted Philosophy, Politics, and Economics' started by pan6467, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    Pan, I don't think I missed your point. I had a counterpoint that suggested there is an illusion of choice. You can say, "Well, anyone can get on the ballot!" I say, "What good will that do?" In practice, there are two parties. At least in Canada, more than two parties function with at least a modicum of political clout in parliament. In many ways, there are as many as four parties at one time vying for influence despite there being two historically domineering parties that form leaderships.

    When was the last time a party other than the Democrats or the GOP had a real say in Congress? How about a real impact on voting? Was it before or after the country finished abolishing slavery? (Yes, it was really that long ago.)

    Um...it's either two or fifty? C'mon now. The problem with a two-party state is that it limits choice. Coalitions governments/oppositions are normally done on a task-based initiative and aren't meant to be long-term. Coalitions often form only under certain conditions. There are agreements and compromises that occur that wouldn't otherwise. Either way, it represents more than a binary political influence.

    Again, this is tied into the illusion of choice. What are the odds of socialists, libertarians, communists, etc., actually having any political clout in Congress? The closest we've seen in recent days is a single independent social democrat and a handful of libertarian (wannabes?) who had to fly the Republican flag (i.e., toe the Republican line).

    Look north of the border. Canada has social democrats, liberals, conservatives who actually have voting influence in parliament, and it occurs under at least five or six parties at any one time, coalition or no coalition. Look south of the border. Mexico looks to be electing a social democratic president, in a congress that has no fewer than seven parties.

    North America is rife with political pluralism, with the exception of the United States.

    The real choice, as always, comes down to Democrat vs. Republican. It's going to take a political upheaval before anything truly changes. It may eventually happen (the GOP have shown evidence of its potentially imploding permanently).

    Until the Republicans let the Democrats be liberals again, there will be very little choice in American politics. The only functional political sphere is that which operates between centre-right and the right. It's not quite a monoculture, but it's damn close.

    Pan, you're running the risk of being an apologist for what appears to me is a relatively dysfunctional political system. It's not Somalia, but it sure as hell isn't as flexible and pluralistic as many other developed nations.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2012
  2. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    This is true, the parties are not banned or avoided by the system,
    but they are ignored by the masses...who have a tendency to vote for what they are used to...it's simpler for them to think that way.

    The media is also guilty in this, as we've seen in the GOP primaries...anyone they don't find interesting are ignored.
    Huntsman was exceptional in comparison to his rivals...yet was barely given any play time.
    (in truth, only his pretty daughters or his speaking Chinese were used as media fodder.)

    Romney only got by, because he already had an established base...which didn't change, up or down...and he didn't bring attention to himself.
    That and his funding helped him along...including to attack his primary opponent exclusively and to exhaustion.

    There are 3rd party candidates, yet they are looney...only if a substantial sane player were to do it...could it potentially succeed.
    A good example would be New York's Mayor Bloomberg...who has the money, clout, name and policies that could carry the day.
    But no one of substance...is coming forward.

    Ross Perot had a chance before he picked a very strange choice for VP candidate...and went overboard himself.

    If the US is going to have another significant party, then it would have to field and succeed in quality politicians.
    Otherwise, people are going to go "old hat", what they are used to.
    Americans are really not deep or complex thinkers politically as the Europeans are...
    but then again, they really never have had to...they are isolated in relative terms...Europe's history is MUCH more complicated.
  3. pan6467

    pan6467 a triangle in a circular world.

    In all this you CHOSE to cut out my rebuttals AND ignore them because they simply did not help you in any way, HOWEVER, they showed that there is an ability for a 3rd party to affect the presidency.

    And we need not go back as far as the Civil war.... when I showed in the argument that Teddy Roosevelt's Bull Moose (Progressive) Party did in fact affect an election, as did the prohibitionist movement, as did Perot in '96, as did Nader as "far" back as 2000. The Tea Party movement lies claim to the 2010 election and talks about and perhaps (even quite possibly ) will affect this election.

    America is not made for a third party, there have been many chances and yet they were absorbed by either the GOP or the Dems, simply because they did NOT have the people voting for them.

    This whole argument is fucking ridiculous and truly has NOTHING to do with what I stated. Argue all you want Baraka.... I AM PROUD THAT WE HAVE FUCKING CHOICES WHETHER YOU WANT TO FUCKING BELIEVE IT OR NOT, WHATEVER... TRULY I DON'T CARE WHAT A CANADIAN BELIEVES. IF THAT IN YOUR EYES MAKES NO SENSE THEN FORGET ABOUT IT. You have your beliefs I have mine. You chose to argue over a statement I BELIEVE IN, THAT I WORE A UNIFORM TO PROTECT AND WAS WILLING TO RISK MY LIFE TO DEFEND. My original statement had NOTHING to do with Congress but the presidency, hence the "EVERY 4 YEARS".

    You have the right to your opinion, I just choose not to have to defend my beliefs to someone who refuses to be honest.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2012
  4. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    I didn't cut out rebuttals; I didn't ignore any. What I left out were examples based on your core points, which I left in. I didn't feel the need to quote your examples because it gets cumbersome to have so much text. People can easily go back to read them if they need to.

    Sure, in the past there were third parties affecting presidential elections, but how close to actually winning were these third parties? Perot? Nader? Paul? Were they tough contenders? How close were they to winning? It's my understanding they were long shots that showed up rather short. Correct me if I'm mistaken. Some would wonder why they even tried.

    Which is it? We need to go back before the Civil War to find more than the two parties in power. Beyond that, it's a few candidates here and there that make high-profile runs that go virtually nowhere. The biggest one, I'll give you, is what happened with the Tea Party movement in 2010, but that ended up piggybacking off of the Republican Party. That's not a third party; that's a Republican movement essentially.

    What? It has nothing to do with what you said? You were going on about how you guys can choose to change the government if you want. Yeah, sure, if you want to go from Party 1 to Party 2 (whether president or Congress). What kind of choice is that? You then go on and with a broad stroke compare that to African/Middle Eastern/Asian nations. Do you want me to list nations within those regions with more political pluralism? I'm sure there are several. So to say that the argument is "fucking ridiculous" and "truly has NOTHING" to do with what you stated is false. I strongly disagree with you.

    I guess it's of no consequence then. Maybe one day an American president will be neither a Democrat nor a Republican. Maybe if they take the money out of politics.

    I'm not going to hold my breath on either count.

    Are you saying I'm dishonest about my opinion? Or are you talking about what people say about war vs. accidents? I'm not sure where that is coming from.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2012
  5. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Foggy Bottom
    I think out two party system, while far from perfect, has served us well; there has always been a clear choice between the two parties. The problem is that one party has narrowed its tent to the extreme.

    I am not a fan of multi-party systems, particularly when those multi-parties often have narrow agendas and require ideological purity. Putting these minority parties in position of power in the creation of a coalition government with a plurality party is giving far too much power to a minor third\fourth party that is only representative of a small number of ideologues.

    I'll take our separation of powers between the executive branch and the legislative branch over a parliamentary system as well.

    But on the lighter side, I'm reminded of Monty Python's Life of Brian -- the People's Front of Judea, Judean People's Front, the Judean Popular People's Front, the Campaign for a Free Galilee, and the Popular Front of Judea....
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    This sounds like a mixed blessing. What happens in a two-party system when one party goes cuckoo?

    It really depends on the political environment. Minor parties that form coalitions normally do so with conditions, and they usually maintain their relatively minor clout. It often still comes down to the number of seats/number of votes. In the end, multi-party systems tend to bring more pluralism. This is how Canada's political spectrum is much wider than America's.

    In Canada, the left has representation, albeit a bit less so than the right. I'm under the impression that the working class in Canada gets more "air time" in government than do the working class in America. This is because of parties such as the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois (who both hold seats in parliament), who tend to focus much of their platforms on support for organized labour and everyday workers. This is beyond the typical liberal-leaning platform items. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that kind of talk gets you red-baited in American politics.

    Both have advantages; both function. The parliamentary system has an executive intertwined with the legislative, but it's also responsible to that legislative, meaning that it requires its support for power. This is how you get non-confidence votes that put governments out of power.

    Both systems have their checks and balances; they merely operate differently.

    Classic. :)
  7. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Foggy Bottom
    Keep in mind that the US is a marginally right of center country and that wont change with additional parties. The lack of representation that may exist is not a function of the two party system, but rather the influence of money. particularly since the Citizens United decision.

    What baffles me is how a so called grass roots movement like the Tea Party would not be supportive of policies for real campaign finance reform. But then again, it is not a grass roots movement, but an astro-turf front for corporate interests.

    At some point, soon I hope (but not optimistic), those in office and running for office will have to face the public pressure to undue the current state of affairs that allows the Koch Brothers to spend $400 million (and those on the left as well, but not to that level) to influence the coming election.
  8. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    If I were to venture a guess, Canada too is a marginally right of centre country. You have a history of prime minsters that makes it look like we have a two-party system too, trading between a liberal and a conservative government. I think politically the U.S. and Canada aren't that much different. The U.S. is probably marginally more conservative. One difference is that we don't have the same history of opposing evil communist empires that you do, so socialism isn't such a faux pas. Yet, the only real socialism here is social democracy, which is essentially liberalism with socialist tendencies, a politics that doesn't seek revolution but instead seeks to work within capitalism. But trust me, there are many conservatives who revile the NDP as "damn socialists" and the Liberals with the same disdain that many American conservatives have for Democrats.

    I would guess that a social democratic option in the U.S. would be taken up with at least a minority of American voters to the degree of it garnering at least a few seats in Congress. And over time, it may lead to what the NDP has done, which is garnering a strong third voice in government despite not forming a majority or a minority government.

    I strongly believe that campaign finance reform is an important first step to fixing what's wrong in American politics.
  9. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Foggy Bottom
    The problem with running a far left social democrat as a third party candidate is that in most jurisdictions, it would simply dilute the center/left and left vote and swing the election to a Republican.

    Except in Vermont where we have a token socialist in the Senate -- Bernie Sanders. He was elected as an independent, but caucuses with the Democrats.

    He is also leading the fight for a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United:
    The U.S. Constitution has served us very well, but when the Supreme Court says, for purposes of the First Amendment, that corporations are people, that writing checks from the company’s bank account is constitutionally-protected speech and that attempts by the federal government and states to impose reasonable restrictions on campaign ads are unconstitutional, our democracy is in grave danger. There comes a time when an issue is so important that the only way to address it is by constitutional amendment.​

    The movement to overturn Citizens United and restore some level of sanity to the influence of money is growing.....but it is all coming the from the left.

    United for the People (scroll down to see the supporting groups).

    At some point, one can hope that reasonable conservatives will see the light and understand how corporate interests are not their interests and that there should be common ground with the left on the most basic issue of all - representing the people.
  10. Joniemack

    Joniemack Beta brainwaves in session

    Reading, UK
    I'm not a Canadian. I'm an American and agree with Baraka. We are only given the illusion of choice. All other factors which can come into play to actually provide us or allow us those choices, have been shut out of the process by the influence of the media, corporate campaign financing and the strength and pervasive control of the two parties in power.

    If you question this, ask yourself why all of the so-called Tea Party candidates who won elections during the last cycle ran as Republicans. Why Ron Paul, a devout Libertarian serves Congress as a Republican and has now run in 2 Republican primaries.

    The answer is obvious. They know, as everyone else does, that running under their own banner promises defeat in our two party system.

    A political system interested in opening up choices does not allow itself to be so heavily dominated by only two of them.

    An electorate who cares about having more than two choices is not influenced by expensive TV media campaign ads which no 3rd party candidates can keep pace with - not without donation collection and disbursement machines on a par with the DNC and RNC.

    A national media interested in choices does not exclude 3rd party candidates in their coverage.

    I don't care to get you riled up anymore than you are, pan, but if you feel that America is not designed for anything other than a two-party system, where are the choices you claim we have, coming from?

    And why do you feel that America is not made for a third-party? Is it simply because 3rd party candidates haven't been successful? I don't know. I see that as being more of a justification than a reason.

    Do you think more people would vote for a 3rd party candidate if the campaign playing field was level or do you believe that they don't receive votes because voters always prefer a Democrat or a Republican?
  11. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    Could we have a party that is...

    Socially libertarian (stay out of our personal)
    Strong military, but expect efficiency & frugality
    A flat tax, with few loopholes
    Lower corporate, but no havens allowed, period.
    Very few subsidies
    A safety net, within reason
    Healthcare (businesses just don't really want to do it anymore)
    Financial pool for infrastructure
    Strong police force, but enforce rights for citizens
    Strong capitalism, but some enforced regulation
    Corporations are not citizens.
    Free speech does not equate to money
    No filibuster
    Must pass a budget
    Invest into technologies
    Increase spending on established tech depts. (NASA, NOAA, etc...)
    National ID
    More efficient immigration, if you work, pay taxes, and jobs aren't taken from citizens...you can stay
    Investigation into fraud more
    Investigation into excessive fees more
    Enforcement of the Monopoly policies, less mergers
    and so on...

    I'd vote for that party...a little bit of this, a little bit of that...from both sides and more...
  12. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Foggy Bottom
    I am not convinced that a multi-party system would increase the likelihood of having your (or my) views represented in Congress or the White House. It may give you more choices, but it is just as likely to dilute your influence.

    Beyond the issue of the narrow ideological focus of many (most?) minor parties in multi-party systems, it also provides a platform for extremists to grow and flourish. The fastest growing parties in some European countries are far right nationalists parties . In others, regional parties have parliamentary influence beyond their limited geographic support.

    In Israel, the far right Shas religious party put Netanyahu and Likud in power in the last election, despite a liberal party winning the most seats.

    Nope. There is a downside to a multi-party system.

    And forget Perot or Nader; the first funded his own campaign and the latter ran on his name; neither had any party structure behind them. The last real third party in the US that had any measure of success was the Dixiecrats (segregationist party) led by Strom Thurmond that actually won 3-4 states (ie electoral votes).
    --- merged: Jun 3, 2012 4:18 AM ---
    The chinese menu party?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2012
  13. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    I'm pretty sure that multi-party systems typically trend towards centrism, as it forces parties to work together for a functioning government. Have a look at the dynamics of Canada's parties compared to the more limited kind between the Democrats and Republicans.

    Going beyond a two-party system might not be practical in the U.S., but there certainly are disadvantages in being stuck in that system. With an anemic political left, it's difficult to keep the right in check. Time will tell if the U.S. will trend back to the centre. There is an odd kind of inertia response in your politics when there are only two forces at play.

    I was thinking the same thing. Well, not expressed that way. But I like how you expressed it.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
  14. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Foggy Bottom
    I think Canada is the exception. Look at the recent election in France and the third leading party was the far right anti-immigrant party. Look at Shin Fein and the Scottish Nationalist Party with seats in the Parliament in the UK or the Basque Separatist Party in Spain...and then there is Israel, where minor parties have always had greater influence than their limited constituency.
    --- merged: Jun 3, 2012 at 12:35 AM ---
    If the moderate conservatives(or even Reagan conservatives) ever take back the Republican Party, then I definitely think we would see a third party and it would be a right wing religious party.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2012
  15. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    With all due respect, you seem to be taking a few aspects of multi-party politics and amplifying them, ignoring the majority.

    First, you're talking about the National Front in France's presidential election. The legislature is a different story. Also, separatist parties are nothing new. They represent minority voices. And despite what you state about Ireland, Scotland, Israel, etc., I find it interesting that you didn't offer such interesting counterexamples as, I don't know, Japan, Italy, Germany, and pretty much all of Scandinavia. Just to name a few.

    In most of these cases, the true extremists don't really have that much power.

    Two-party systems are pretty rare. Most of them are de facto. You make it sound like multi-party systems are a dangerous thing, opening up the door to extremism. If that were the case, America would be one of the few islands of moderate/progressive politics in a crazy world of fascist electorates and iron-fisted dictators. I don't see it that way. You've provided some good examples of extreme politics requiring a counterbalance, but you've hardly formulated a warning against multi-party systems.

    Seriously? Has it really gone that far?
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
  16. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Foggy Bottom
    Scandinavia? Arent nationalist (anti-immigration) parties the fastest growing parties in Sweden, Norway, Finland.....?

    Or elsewhere in Europe -- right wing nationalist movements in Denmark, where the Danish People’s Party has 25 out of 179 seats in Parliament, and the Netherlands, where the Party for Freedom won 15 percent of the vote in the 2010 general election.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
  17. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Foggy Bottom
    No, I am not suggesting that multi-party systems are dangerous or that they represent a "crazy world of fascist electorates and iron-fisted dictators."

    But yes, IMO they do give some level of legitimacy to extremists organizations by enabling them to operate as political parties within the political structure, even if only holding a handful of seats in the legislative body. We have those extremists organizations as well (aryan nation/white supremicists, extremist anti-immigrant, etc) but i think they are more marginalized because they dont have that same level of legitimacy.

    It is not a warning against multi-party systems, just a down side that I think should be acknowledged along with any potential benefits that may exist as well.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
  18. Alistair Eurotrash

    Reading, UK
    I'm not so sure about that, Redux. To me, you either believe in democracy or you don't. If you do, people should be able to vote for who they choose (however distasteful their choice may be).

    The Labour party in the UK started at the beginning of the last Century. At first, it only had two seats, then it grew to 29 .. then 42, and so on. How would that have happened if it wasn't possible to sow the seeds?

    Right now, our Parliament looks like this:

    Conservative 305
    Labour 253
    Liberal Democrat 57
    Democratic Unionist 8
    Scottish National 6
    Sinn Fein 5
    Plaid Cymru 3
    Soc. Dem & Labour 3
    Alliance 1
    Green 1
    Respect 1
    Independent 3
    There really isn't much power beyond the top 3 parties, yet the others have a voice. I don't see any harm in that.

    I guess this kind of thing could happen in America too, if that's what Americans wanted. Whether it would be an improvement or not is debateable. In any case, I think many Americans prefer a clear choice between two options and that is why it is as it is.

    I don't think the issue that the two options are so similar is unique to America. I see a lot of similarity between our parties here, too. I think that may be due to there being fewer issues most people fundamentally disagree about, but could equally be due to having fewer people going into politics because they have strong principles and want to fight for a better world (i.e. we have more career politicians).

    The danger, as I see it, is a kind of group-think where we drift further towards an extremist position because the big parties are doing it. For example, I don't think America has a left wing view represented (even moderately so) and the left is being quietened here too. Some of the views I hear expressed by GOP voices are, in my opinion, quite far right wing. This gives the illusion that the libs represent the left, when they are closer to centre-right.

    Having other voices that can be heard is at least some kind of check on "drift" - maybe.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
  19. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Foggy Bottom
    I am 100% for one person, one vote. People can run for office under the Democrat or Republican banner and anyone can vote for them.The two party system does not take away voting rights or representation.

    Again, using Israel as an example. From their last election:


    Kadima party won the most seats, yet Likud joined up (bargained) with Yisrael Beiteinu, but also needed Shas, the ultra-orthodox religious party, to reach the necessary number of seats to form a government.

    Is that representative? A government where the ruling party represents less than 1/4 of the voters.
    --- merged: Jun 3, 2012 at 9:44 AM ---
    In the UK, isnt the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition that enabled the Conservatives to form a government more a partnership of convenience rather than being representative of voter preferences.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2012
  20. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    In that case of Israel, the government was formed through a coalition. That makes the "ruling party" 44% of the vote. Even within Canada, minority governments have been formed by holding only 40% of the vote...within a single party.

    Also remember that Ariel Sharon's Likud formed a government holding less than 30% of the vote. And in 1977, Likud made history by forming the first right-wing government after 30 years of left-wing rule...with 33.4% of the vote.

    This kind of thing isn't new.

    Also, the idea of right-wing extremists holding as much as 12 to 15% of the power in a government shouldn't be that surprising. But the odds of their getting to the point of forming a government a slim. It would take some kind of crisis, in which case it doesn't matter how many parties are a part of the political system. In extreme situations, extremism usually finds its way.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012