News Democracy in trouble!

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FZ+

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I don't think abandoning the electoral college would be a good idea. Unless you work under the slogan of 'Death to Democracy in the U.S.' and 'Mob Rule 100%'.
But is the US even really democratic? We have here two parties with no real opposition or any incentive to change, who are essentially the same. We have mounting apathy levels. We have frankly disgusting appeals for "patriotism" to support the president. Where is the democracy in the US?

Since when? (hint: overall popular vote has NEVER decided who would be president)
But to say that it is insignificant that because this is disregarded, the majority of Americans did not get the president they want is rather risible, isn't it?
 
But is the US even really democratic? We have here two parties with no real opposition or any incentive to change, who are essentially the same. We have mounting apathy levels. We have frankly disgusting appeals for "patriotism" to support the president. Where is the democracy in the US?
Take action, exercise your rights. Everyone, do this! Apathy is for morons, take action. I think if you are a teenager or a beaten down hermit you have a right to be apathetic but by and large Americans are able people. History proves this, we know this, otherwise we wouldn't be where we are today.

I think its ok to whine, release some steam etc but bottome line you have to stand up for your rights.

Personally, if you want to derail both parties vote libertarian or green. That will turn heads if enough do it. Change takes time but it also takes responsibility.

But to say that it is insignificant that because this is disregarded, the majority of Americans did not get the president they want is rather risible, isn't it?
Ok, a point worth noting. However, the electoral college wasn't created just for kicks. It's there for a reason, to keep stability. Be realistic, democracy doesn't work but you can still have a free society. In fact, democracy isn't really free because a minority votes everyone into anarchy. In our society the majority can speak and act, it is our hope for salvation. But, we need education and communication. We've got one but we lack the other.

The electoral college was created so populus states like California and New York can't whore out the entire country. It protects the little guy, or the majority of states. It is also a little known fact that the senate (probably among other reasons) was created to protect the little states.

If you want a real civil war, get rid of the electoral college.
 
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Originally posted by PsYcHo_FiSh

I don't think abandoning the electoral college would be a good idea. Unless you work under the slogan of 'Death to Democracy in the U.S.' and 'Mob Rule 100%'. There is no way to keep such a large democratic republic going without some sort of system like electoral college.
I think that the "founding fathers" expected the electoral college to be a deliberative body, like the Senate. However, that is not how it works, everybody goes there with a set mind to vote for a certain person, and rarely has anybody voted otherwise, at least in the past century and a half. It does nothing to diminish mob rule. It can actually the make the mob smaller than majority, as we saw in the 2000 election. Making the size of the mob a bit smaller does nothing to reduce mob rule. A majority of electoral votes still wins. The electoral votes are decided by the votes of the people. The electoral college just makes it so that presidential candidates appeal to certain key states, rather than trying to get a wider spectrum of supporters (There's not much need to do a lot of campaigning where you are a shoe-in or where you really have no chance in hell of getting that State's majority).

What this does is enhance the probability of the fears associated with mob rule coming to fruition, because it enhances the importance of local prejudices.
 

russ_watters

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Originally posted by FZ+
But to say that it is insignificant that because this is disregarded, the majority of Americans did not get the president they want is rather risible, isn't it?
Better do the math again: Bush got less than half of the popular vote - and so did Gore. And neither got anywhere close to half of the voting age population to vote for them. In fact, the majority of Americans by choosing not to vote said in effect they don't care one way or another.

'get over it' is Republican-speak for 'stop telling the truth about how Bush stole teh election.' I know Republicans love lies and liars, but give me a break!
Zero, we've had this discussion before. The thread is probably even still around if you care to look at it. And I know you've read the reports on the election study. Why you keep saying these things is beyond me: you were wrong then and you are wrong now. Its simply not debateable.

Gore lost the election. Had Gore won his challenges to the election, he STILL would have lost the election. There WAS a convoluted set of criteria under which Gore could have won (and others that were specifically illegal), but Gore didn't fight for it in his challenge.

http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2001/florida.ballots/stories/main.html [Broken]

In any case, the election is what is known as a "statistical tie." The problem was that Bush's margin of victory was smaller than the error inherrent in the election process. Things like electronic voting can reduce the error, but there is no way to completely eliminate error in such a process.
 
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Z

Zero

Russ, I'm also talking about the voter fraud that Katherine Harris commited before the election, which no one in the 'liberal media' challenged for some reason.
 
A

amp

Russ, I think your wrong...

There were probably a few stories/studies of the rigged Florida voter counts, some were skewed towards your side and some towards mine(opposite yours). The point is that the electorial process was not allowed to be completed in Florida which is what Gore wanted and I believe the citizens of the U.S. deserved. It was hijacked by the Bushs(George(Sr.),Jeb,G.W.) and their henchmen(in the Supreme Court). Now, we find little openness in this administration(secrecy is the word) Dick Cheny's company (Haliburton) is defrauding the U.S.(BILLING THE MILITARY overexaggerated prices for oil(N.Y. TIMES- Oct16,03) and likely other such excesses. Feel free to defend them since you trust them.
 

russ_watters

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Re: Russ, I think your wrong...

Originally posted by amp
There were probably a few stories/studies of the rigged Florida voter counts, some were skewed towards your side and some towards mine(opposite yours).
The study I cited was THE study conducted as a collaborative effort by a number of the biggest media outlets, CNN, AP, Reuters, etc. It was the largest, most thorough, and by its nature the most liberal.
The point is that the electorial process was not allowed to be completed in Florida which is what Gore wanted and I believe the citizens of the U.S. deserved. It was hijacked by the Bushs(George(Sr.),Jeb,G.W.) and their henchmen(in the Supreme Court).
Gore was quite selective about WHICH votes he wanted re-counted and in any case, that is covered in the study. He still lost even if he won his challenge.

I will however, say that the election was (regardless of who was declared the winner) a statistical tie. Most polls, even the most careful, have a 1-2% margin of error that cannot be eliminated. Electronic balloting will eliminate the ambiguity of the counting process (so people won't argue as much afterward), but it will not eliminate the margin of error.

Also, I'm reasonably sure I responded to Zero's post as well: I haven't heard of that conspiracy theory you are alluding to, Zero. If you can point me to a link discussing it, I'd appreaciate it.
 
R

RageSk8

Gore was quite selective about WHICH votes he wanted re-counted and in any case, that is covered in the study. He still lost even if he won his challenge.
Here is the really funny thing about the election in Florida that no one, Republicans or Democrats, like to bring up. After the hand recount was completed, Gore would have won in every category except for the one that he was calling for (the whole "chads" debate). In other words, if the recount would have gone through in the way that the Democrats would have wanted, Gore would have lost. If the recount would of gone through (had the Supreme Court let the recount be valid, they didn't, under existing Florida law) in the way the Republicans were willing to concede to (if worse came to worse), Gore would have won. That is why Democrats can technically say that the election was stolen, but few do. Anyways, I find this really funny (seeing that I am a Democrat, in a black humor sort of way).

edit - I am pretty sure this is how it worked out. I remember laughing at the irony when I heard the results. But, unlke most things I say, I am not absolutely certain for some reason.
 
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russ_watters

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So, this issue is back again:
It is the only way for Bush to ensure victory, besides rigging the election again.
Just because you don't like the evidence, doesn't mean the evidence doesn't exist...
So, to remind everyone where we left off (scroll up) the last time, I asked for evidence, Zero declined to offer any.

Zero, I bring this thread back again because of the impressionable types who are inclined to believe things simply because they hear them over and over again ('gee, Zero keeps saying it, so it must be true, right?'). You pump out the rhetoric, but you have not substantiated your claims. Here is your opportunity.

To paraphrase, you have claimed that Katherine Harris comitted voter fraud under the direction of Bush, which would then make him guilty of conspiracy to commit voter fraud (and maybe votor fraud as well).

In making a claim like this, besides actually explaining it, you are also required to substantiate it with evidence of the sort that might hold up in court. Its a two part requirement. You must show evidence that:
1. Voter fraud occurred.
2. Harris/Bush knew about/directed it.

For example, THIS link quotes a press release about voters complaining about illegal actions by Democrats in polling places. Thats real evidence that votor fraud occurred, but not evidence that Gore directed it. That sort of tampering happens on a local level all the time, perpetrated by individuals from both sides.

http://www.chronwatch.com/content/contentDisplay.asp?aid=1029&catcode=11 [Broken] is better. Its an actual prosecutorial investigation into alleged fraud by the Democratic candidate for senate (who won) in South Dakota in 2001. Still, afaik, he hasn't been prosecuted, so though the evidence is there, it must be pretty thin.

The best I could do for finding out what this particular conspiracy theory even is was http://dir.salon.com/politics/feature/2000/12/04/voter_file/index.html [Broken], which is an attack against a Florida anti-fraud law. The law is designed to "cleanse" votor rolls against multiple-entries and people not eligible to vote, etc. What is disupted is removing felons from votor rolls. There was apparently a mistake where some people were re-instated but didn't get their names back on the eligible votor rolls. But then, many counties didn't use the list of people not allowed to vote anyway. So the errors worked both ways.

The main issue democrats seem to have with this law though is that those not allowed to vote - convicted felons - are disproportionately black, which makes them disproportionately democrats. So, its in the best interests of the democratic party to have as many convicted felons voting as possible. Pretty funny actually.

Zero, I'm not even asking you to convince me that Bush comitted fraud. I don't think that can be done - if it could, the evidence would be clear and easy to find (and he'd already have been charged). All I want is some evidence that you have a basis for saying what you keep saying. I think you probably believe what you are saying, I'm just not convinced you actually have a basis for believing it - you just keep saying it because you want it to be true.
 
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Z

Zero

Russ, go to your local library and read a couple of books...how about one by Joe Conason, or one by Molly Ivins(her books are shorter).
 
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Originally posted by FZ+
1>But is the US even really democratic?
2>We have here two parties with no real opposition or any incentive to change, who are essentially the same.
3>We have mounting apathy levels.
4>We have frankly disgusting appeals for "patriotism" to support the president.
5>Where is the democracy in the US?

1>Yes it is.
2>We have two main parties, and if people would choose to vote for the MYRIAD of other parties, they would be main parties as well. I thikn that many of you forget that these parties and government are people acting in a group, not some magical thing that exists when everyone goes home. Essentially the same? Have you missed me and Adam and Zero *****ing at each other? Far from the same sir!
3>I am presently aiding a candidate for congress in his campaign. I spend tireless hours calling people, going to meetings, and handing out materials. This is what it takes. Because people are unwilling to get off their asses to move an ideaology they hold dear doesn't mean that having only two major parties disregards the democratic process.
Mounting apathy levels is a product of the populous. It takes no more than someone learning and passing on information to someone else to aide in a campaign. Even poor people can afford to hold an opinion and voice it if they choose.
4>What does this have to do with the rest of your post? We have appeals to hate black people. Does someone's opinion remove democracy?
5>Read my post, it's all around you!
 
Originally posted by phatmonky
2>We have two main parties, and if people would choose to vote for the MYRIAD of other parties, they would be main parties as well. I thikn that many of you forget that these parties and government are people acting in a group, not some magical thing that exists when everyone goes home. Essentially the same? Have you missed me and Adam and Zero *****ing at each other? Far from the same sir!
The electoral system works in such a way that it stabilzes at two parties. Even if a party has 10-15% support from the voting population, it would be lucky if it had a single senator or more than a couple members in the house.

Unless a party already has widespread support, it's very diffcult for a party to get votes since most people feel they're "throwing their vote away" by voting for a third party that seems to have no chance of winning. You need the potential to win before people give you a chance, but need them to give you a chance to have the potential to win.

And in practice, the two existing parties aren't really that different. Obviously there's a big gap between the most liberal Democrats and the most conservative Republicans, but there's quite a bit of overlap. While the "traditional" policies of the two parties are almost always different, the politicians don't always stand behind those platforms.

Originally posted by phatmonky
3>I am presently aiding a candidate for congress in his campaign. I spend tireless hours calling people, going to meetings, and handing out materials. This is what it takes. Because people are unwilling to get off their asses to move an ideaology they hold dear doesn't mean that having only two major parties disregards the democratic process.
Mounting apathy levels is a product of the populous. It takes no more than someone learning and passing on information to someone else to aide in a campaign. Even poor people can afford to hold an opinion and voice it if they choose.
The fact that you are active in politics, and that it's possible of others to be so as well does not change the fact that apathy is a serious problem in most democratic systems, in the US in particular. Apathy does make democracy less effective, and the fact that it's possible to participate does not change that in any way unless the people actually participate.

Originally posted by phatmonky
4>What does this have to do with the rest of your post? We have appeals to hate black people. Does someone's opinion remove democracy?
The problem is not just that there are appeals to patriotism, but is the fact that those appeals are effective.
 
Well Master Coda, I think you will agree when I say that there isn't a lack of democracy by any means. It's the lack of people who are actively participating.

The post I responded to asserted that there is a lack of democracy in America. I suggest that in no way is that true. The facts are:
Anyone can vote.
Anyone can join any of the parties.
Anyone can run for an office, assuming they meet the guidelines (if you are born here and live to be 35, you can run for any of them )
Anyone can voice their opinons on different candidates and issues in a variety of formats.


So, I ask, how is it that democracy is missing? Just because you(generally, not you personally) don't play baseball doesn't mean the rest of us don't, or that your lack of involvement means our game doesn't exist :smile:
 
Originally posted by phatmonky
Well Master Coda, I think you will agree when I say that there isn't a lack of democracy by any means. It's the lack of people who are actively participating.

The post I responded to asserted that there is a lack of democracy in America. I suggest that in no way is that true. The facts are:
Anyone can vote.
Anyone can join any of the parties.
Anyone can run for an office, assuming they meet the guidelines (if you are born here and live to be 35, you can run for any of them )
Anyone can voice their opinons on different candidates and issues in a variety of formats.


So, I ask, how is it that democracy is missing? Just because you(generally, not you personally) don't play baseball doesn't mean the rest of us don't, or that your lack of involvement means our game doesn't exist :smile:

My post never said that America wasn't a democracy. Just that apathy invalidates many of the advantages of democracy. If all the players at a baseball game decide not to run fast or throw hard because they don't think they can win anyway, then you still have a baseball game. But how good of a game is it?
 

russ_watters

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Originally posted by Zero
Russ, go to your local library and read a couple of books...how about one by Joe Conason, or one by Molly Ivins(her books are shorter).
Go read a book by a political spinster? That's your arguement? Wow, what a compelling arguement it is. Thats exactly the type of evidence I was looking for. [/sarcasm]

You did at least show that Rush Limbaugh has [less successful] counterparts on the left.
 
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Originally posted by master_coda
My post never said that America wasn't a democracy. Just that apathy invalidates many of the advantages of democracy. If all the players at a baseball game decide not to run fast or throw hard because they don't think they can win anyway, then you still have a baseball game. But how good of a game is it?
Plenty good for those of us playing. The rest can be as upset about it as they want, but the view is pretty nice from this side of the fence.

Australia requires people to vote- imagine that. Forcing people who dont' care to vote, who don't WANT to vote, to vote. An in turn, you get elections that are filled with results from people that often just randomly pick down the line.

Atleast our system works with the nature of some people. If they are apathetic, they can be, and it doesn't hurt anyone but themselves.
 
Originally posted by phatmonky
Plenty good for those of us playing. The rest can be as upset about it as they want, but the view is pretty nice from this side of the fence.

Australia requires people to vote- imagine that. Forcing people who dont' care to vote, who don't WANT to vote, to vote. An in turn, you get elections that are filled with results from people that often just randomly pick down the line.

Atleast our system works with the nature of some people. If they are apathetic, they can be, and it doesn't hurt anyone but themselves.

I agree that the apathy of others does benefit active participants somewhat. But if you don't value the input of others, why even bother with the pretense of democracy at all? If you don't care about the vote of others, why even let them vote at all?

Plus, apathy doesn't always mean that people won't vote. Sometimes it just means that people will vote for the same party over and over for their entire life because they can't be bothered to actually think about their vote. And these are probably the most valuble voters to politicians. Why would they want the vote of an active person who thinks when they can get the vote of someone who will support them forever, right or wrong?


Of course there are other problems with democracy in America as well. Who do you vote for if you support the idea of small government? Or if you oppose government invasion of privacy? The system has raised a huge barrier to entry for third parties, so if both the major parties agree (for the most part) on an issue, how do you get your point of view heard?
 
Z

Zero

Originally posted by russ_watters
Go read a book by a political spinster? That's your arguement? Wow, what a compelling arguement it is. Thats exactly the type of evidence I was looking for. [/sarcasm]

You did at least show that Rush Limbaugh has [less successful] counterparts on the left.
This is a non-response, and proof that you aren't interested in reading anything not spun in your direction.
 
Originally posted by master_coda
1>I agree that the apathy of others does benefit active participants somewhat. But if you don't value the input of others, why even bother with the pretense of democracy at all? If you don't care about the vote of others, why even let them vote at all?

2>Plus, apathy doesn't always mean that people won't vote. Sometimes it just means that people will vote for the same party over and over for their entire life because they can't be bothered to actually think about their vote. And these are probably the most valuble voters to politicians. Why would they want the vote of an active person who thinks when they can get the vote of someone who will support them forever, right or wrong?


3>Of course there are other problems with democracy in America as well. Who do you vote for if you support the idea of small government? Or if you oppose government invasion of privacy? The system has raised a huge barrier to entry for third parties, so if both the major parties agree (for the most part) on an issue, how do you get your point of view heard?
1>Who said I don't value the input of others? I value the pretense of democracy because it keeps ME and others like me from being excluded from those that, in fact, do not care about other inputs. That said, don't you think that it is more likely those who do not vote "don't care about others' input"?? Afterall, they care so little which way I vote, that they don't even bother voting to counteract my decision.


2>That's true, and that's ashame. However, that is hardly a problem for democracy. Democracy is represenative of the people. If you some people are stupid, some votes will be too. None the less, this effects the election a lot less negatively than forced voting, in which the ballot box would be stuffed with such votes by all the people that aren't voting here right now.

3> Small government, look to the libertarians for republicans (although Bush has let me down on that)
Government invasion of privacy typically takes a higher value on the democrats side (privacy being greater than other issues)
If both major parties agree, then there's room for another opinion that isn't a match.
Libertarians and Republicans follow the line of thinking that small federal government is better. How do the libertarians get heard? They raise other issues they don't agree on. What if you go down the list and find that what you agree is 90% taken, but you want another issue raised? You join the party you agree with 90% and, as a candidate, you pick an area along the political spectrum that suits you.
There are leftists, extreme right, moderates, and all in between. If there is a want for change, third parties will grow. If the issues people want are being handled by the two major parties, then they will go that route. I don't follow how any of this falls back on democracy, but rather human nature (and in that case, there's nothign that can be regardless).
 
Originally posted by phatmonky
1>Who said I don't value the input of others? I value the pretense of democracy because it keeps ME and others like me from being excluded from those that, in fact, do not care about other inputs. That said, don't you think that it is more likely those who do not vote "don't care about others' input"?? Afterall, they care so little which way I vote, that they don't even bother voting to counteract my decision.
Well, you gave me the impression that you don't care if other people actually vote as long as everyone is allowed to vote. In fact you seemed quite happen that other people didn't vote, since it makes your vote count for more. So my point was that if you didn't want others to vote, why not just let you and like-minded others vote?

Originally posted by phatmonky
2>That's true, and that's ashame. However, that is hardly a problem for democracy. Democracy is represenative of the people. If you some people are stupid, some votes will be too. None the less, this effects the election a lot less negatively than forced voting, in which the ballot box would be stuffed with such votes by all the people that aren't voting here right now.
I guess ignorant votes are an intrinsic problem with democracy, rather than an indication of the lack thereof. Still, I don't know if forced votes are any worse. The fact that other people don't vote doesn't necessarily mean they don't care, it may just mean they think they can't make a difference.

Originally posted by phatmonky
3> Small government, look to the libertarians for republicans (although Bush has let me down on that)
Government invasion of privacy typically takes a higher value on the democrats side (privacy being greater than other issues)
If both major parties agree, then there's room for another opinion that isn't a match.
Libertarians and Republicans follow the line of thinking that small federal government is better. How do the libertarians get heard? They raise other issues they don't agree on. What if you go down the list and find that what you agree is 90% taken, but you want another issue raised? You join the party you agree with 90% and, as a candidate, you pick an area along the political spectrum that suits you.
There are leftists, extreme right, moderates, and all in between. If there is a want for change, third parties will grow. If the issues people want are being handled by the two major parties, then they will go that route. I don't follow how any of this falls back on democracy, but rather human nature (and in that case, there's nothign that can be regardless).
Well, the parties in America at least have the good sense to not completely force their members to tow the party line. So if you mostly agree with the Democrats except on a few issues, you can support the Dems and try to steer the party in your direction.

But what if you don't support either of the major parties? Whatever their supposed ideologies say, both of the parties are clearly pro-business and pro-government, and neither of those positions have universal support in the US. But the system encourages people to vote for the "lesser of two evils" instead of the position they actually support. Do most of the people who vote for the two parties do so because they believe in their ideologies?

The fact that ordinary people can influence politics isn't enough. Even people in a dictatorship can influence politics. Democracy is supposed to produce a government that represents the will of the people, not just one that opposes the will of the people less.
 
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Can oyster shells be rigged?
 

russ_watters

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Hmm... appears my post was deleted. Also a good tactic.

Zero, "non-responsive" is not a word that can apply to me here - you didn't ask me a question. YOU were the one who was asked a question. YOU are the one who declined to answer. YOU are the one who will not substantiate your allegations.
 
Z

Zero

Originally posted by russ_watters
Hmm... appears my post was deleted. Also a good tactic.

Zero, "non-responsive" is not a word that can apply to me here - you didn't ask me a question. YOU were the one who was asked a question. YOU are the one who declined to answer. YOU are the one who will not substantiate your allegations.
You are a pain in the butt. Now, go to the library and get a book or three...and see if you can find Paul Krugman's book while you are there, I haven't read it yet. (my books, and the endnotes I would reference if I had them, are packed away, since I have just moved to Florida...and, since it is such a pretty day, I am going to go enjoy it. Cheers!!)
 
Gee kids..I mean, Mentors let's get back on topic!
 
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Greg Palast did some incredible investigative reporting regarding the Florida election. Specifically regarding the thousands of mostly black, mostly Democratic voters that were illegally 'scrubbed' from the voter lists by Katherine Harris doing the dirty work of "delivering Florida" just like Jeb promised.

His book, _The Best Democracy Money Can Buy_ is a must read for anyone interested in getting a fuller picture of the whole affair plus many other corporate dirty dealings.

For stuff online re: the election, check out http://www.gregpalast.com/columns.cfm?subject_id=1&subject_name=Theft%20of%20Presidency [Broken] portion of his website.




*edited to correct URL
 
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