What you don't like about your government?

  • #26
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I always fall back upon the "First Danger Rule of Politics"; anyone who is possessed of the sort of mentality necessary to run for public office is unfit to hold it.

IMO - formerly, it was my opinion that anyone who sought a Government position was unemployable in the free market. Now, the Government workers are labeled "elites" and are paid more than private sector workers - what happened?
 
  • #27
I love that my government takes ~25% of my income and hands it to others in the exact same financial situation as me.
 
  • #29
CRGreathouse
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I live in the US. I think the biggest problems are its two main political parties (though, contrary to others here, I see this improving), government secrecy, and its tax policy: too high in general, too low Pigovian, too much paperwork.
 
  • #30
mheslep
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I live in the US. I think the biggest problems are its two main political parties (though, contrary to others here, I see this improving),
Yes an issue since US day one. So replace it with what?
 
  • #31
CRGreathouse
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Yes an issue since US day one. So replace it with what?

Specifically: replace the voting system for President (largely, first-past-the-post winner-takes-all state by state) with a national Condorcet election, perhaps Kemeny's method or Schulze's method. Then replace the first-past-the-post methods for Senate and House elections with appropriate statewide multiple-winner proportional representation method. I am ashamed to admit that I'm not sure which one I would choose, but any reasonable one would allow for:
  • An end to gerrymandering
  • Results that are less (literally) random
  • Results that are more proportional (unlike results in, e.g., gerrymandered states)
Further, I would choose a method which does not depend on party lists in order to keep power in the hands of the voters rather than the proverbial smoke-filled back room. To put yet a further requirement, I would (similarly to mixed-member PR) have representation chosen both for an area (so people have 'a representative' they can hold accountable) and at-large, where the proportionality is across districts and compensating for the local choices. (This is less complicated than it sounds.)

The important point here: I want to change the system to remove its two-party bias (and fix some other issues), not to attempt to enforce draconian rules ensuring that at least three viable parties exist. If, counter to my expectation, exactly two parties hold almost all the seats in Congress, the system would allow that. I'm only trying to fix the underlying problem that causes the two-party system.


If there's interest I could expand on either point: the mathematics/social choice theory of how to actually accomplish the vote or the need for some such change.
 
  • #32
mheslep
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The important point here: I want to change the system to remove its two-party bias (and fix some other issues), .
Oh, I thought your problem was with party politics in general, not just with the US two party system. I have several problems with moving to more parties. First, its not clear to me that the multi-party systems we see abroad are more effective, given the difficulties in forming governments, and that it gives the lunatic fringe elements a few actual legislative seats in stead of a simply a few votes. Second, the D and R parties are hardly monolithic. Especially see the influence of the Tea Party (movement, not a party) in shaking up the power structure of the R party this year.
 
  • #34
CRGreathouse
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Oh, I thought your problem was with party politics in general, not just with the US two party system.

One thing at a time! Yes, I strongly dislike political parties, but they literally won't go away in the US without a change to the system (this is essentially Duverger's law). How to deal with them after that is anyone's guess, but since I was asked what to do about it I gave an effective step forward.

Second, the D and R parties are hardly monolithic. Especially see the influence of the Tea Party (movement, not a party) in shaking up the power structure of the R party this year.

The problem is that a party schism is party controlled from within the party (removing power that should go to the voters). Worse, if it grows so deep that two candidates from a party run (presumably with only one on the ticket) they can split the vote in the present system, which is inappropriate. Whether Independent Democrats vs. Democrats, independent/Reform vs. Republican, Blue Dog vs. (traditional) Democrat, or Tea Party vs. Republican, this is a bad situation for voters. At best a candidate will step down, robbing voters of a choice; at worst, both will run and possibly elect an unwanted (by the electorate) third candidate.

[Multi-party systems give] the lunatic fringe elements a few actual legislative seats in stead of a simply a few votes.

I'm unwilling to restrict the lunatic fringe, insofar as it has public support. It's not clear which lunatic fringe ideas (like democracy itself for most of history) are actually good and which are simply batty. We've even elected single-issue lunatic fringe party members to the Presidency (like in 1860).
 
  • #35
Al68
Specifically: replace the voting system for President (largely, first-past-the-post winner-takes-all state by state) with a national Condorcet election, perhaps Kemeny's method or Schulze's method. Then replace the first-past-the-post methods for Senate and House elections with appropriate statewide multiple-winner proportional representation method.
Those aren't so bad in theory, but horrible as a practical matter. As a practical matter, the details of the system must be determined by politicians, and more complicated equals more corrupt in the real world.

Being complicated means that the people won't know whether or not, or how, the system is corrupt. They won't know for themselves whether a proposed "tweak" to the system makes it more or less corrupt.

And if you don't think people are that stupid, just look at how many people think Bush's election was the result of a Supreme Court decision. Apparently the situation was too complicated for many people to understand what happened. The last thing we need is a more complicated election system.
 
  • #36
CRGreathouse
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Being complicated means that the people won't know whether or not, or how, the system is corrupt. They won't know for themselves whether a proposed "tweak" to the system makes it more or less corrupt.

I do know of an example of that happening... it's not coming to mind at the moment, but I agree that it can happen. Having said that, ...

Those aren't so bad in theory, but horrible as a practical matter.

In my view the US uses an awful system right now, and these would be a huge improvement.
 
  • #37
Al68
In my view the US uses an awful system right now, and these would be a huge improvement.
I'm not sure what you're referring to specifically about the US electoral system being "awful". Can you elaborate? I know you're using the word "awful" as hyperbole and recognize that it's a huge improvement over historical alternatives, but I'm still interested in what particular aspects you consider to be disadvantages to its alternatives. Each aspect of the US electoral system was designed with a lot of thought and consideration of the advantages and disadvantages, which are not all obvious.
 
  • #38
CRGreathouse
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I know you're using the word "awful" as hyperbole

I am not, in fact. The US system of governance is solid (and was revolutionary in its day), but its method of elections is between badly outdated and pathological.

And of course I'm speaking specifically from a modern perspective; in the 18th century it was good.

I'm not sure what you're referring to specifically about the US electoral system being "awful". Can you elaborate?

A few flaws that come to mind:
  • Encourages/forces a two party system (Duverger's law); for brevity I won't describe here why this is bad
  • Unequally represents states: 'battleground' states get more attention and funding than they deserve*
  • Unequally represents states: Power indices (e.g. Banzhaf's) disproportionate to population
  • Unequally represents states: population shifts not taken into account until after census (though this is a small factor since censuses are frequent)
  • Disenfranchises voters in non-battleground states*
  • Congressional representation not proportional to electorate (percentage voting Democratic does not match percentage of, e.g., senators that are Democratic)
  • Fails catastrophically when there are more than two viable candidates

Were it not 2 in the morning I might be able to come up with more and better reasons, but let these suffice as an introduction. Basically, though the system was mathematically (!) groundbreaking in the 18th and early 19th centuries, the state of the art has advanced dramatically. Further, several features (distrust of individual voters vs. electoral collage electors) are now misfeatures.

* Note: I live (and have lived for much of my life) in a battleground state, so I benefit from these flaws.
 
  • #39
Al68
A few flaws that come to mind:
  • Encourages/forces a two party system (Duverger's law); for brevity I won't describe here why this is bad
  • Unequally represents states: 'battleground' states get more attention and funding than they deserve*
  • Unequally represents states: Power indices (e.g. Banzhaf's) disproportionate to population
  • Unequally represents states: population shifts not taken into account until after census (though this is a small factor since censuses are frequent)
  • Disenfranchises voters in non-battleground states*
  • Congressional representation not proportional to electorate (percentage voting Democratic does not match percentage of, e.g., senators that are Democratic)
  • Fails catastrophically when there are more than two viable candidates
I was asking about specific aspects of the electoral system, not their results. And the "flaws" you mention about battleground states have nothing to do with the electoral system, they are internal to each party, and are only used as a method for a party to choose their own candidate. Parties don't have to do it that way, and some don't. Political parties are free to decide for themselves how to pick their own candidates. They are not required to allow anyone to vote in their primary, or even have one. Are you suggesting that we pass laws to prevent political parties from choosing their own candidates as they see fit? That's inherently corrupt regardless of the result.
 
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  • #40
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what i hate about the US system is that most public political discourse is pure theater aimed at the prurient interest. emotional porn. meanwhile, anything of significance is carried out by lobbyists behind closed doors.

i guess the idea is that if the masses saw sausages being made, they wouldn't eat them. but then, maybe eating sausages is not the best dietary plan. leaves more prime cuts for the elite, tho.
 
  • #41
CRGreathouse
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I was asking about specific aspects of the electoral system, not their results.

I judge them by their results. Why would anyone do otherwise?

And the "flaws" you mention about battleground states have nothing to do with the electoral system, they are internal to each party, and are only used as a method for a party to choose their own candidate. Parties don't have to do it that way, and some don't.

The flaw is that the system encourages parties to do this, and punishes them if they do not.

Suppose my electoral method was to take a first-past-the-post vote in Maine and declare the winner the US President. Sure, parties could campaign across all 50 states, and could allocate federal monies fairly across them all. But they would be smarter to spend their time campaigning in Maine and preferentially funding Maine projects (so voters say, "hey, Party X is great because they built us this expensive bridge").

The actual system used by the US is flawed in a similar (but less extreme) fashion.

Political parties are free to decide for themselves how to pick their own candidates. They are not required to allow anyone to vote in their primary, or even have one. Are you suggesting that we pass laws to prevent political parties from choosing their own candidates as they see fit?

Considering that the US does restrict how political parties select their candidates, I'd say I'm not opposed to the idea.
 
  • #42
CRGreathouse
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what i hate about the US system is that most public political discourse is pure theater aimed at the prurient interest.

What would you do to change this?
 
  • #43
talk2glenn
Suppose my electoral method was to take a first-past-the-post vote in Maine and declare the winner the US President. Sure, parties could campaign across all 50 states, and could allocate federal monies fairly across them all. But they would be smarter to spend their time campaigning in Maine and preferentially funding Maine projects (so voters say, "hey, Party X is great because they built us this expensive bridge").

I think we both know that this is not how presidential primaries work...

replace the voting system for President (largely, first-past-the-post winner-takes-all state by state) with a national Condorcet election

This is just a complicated (and French) method for handling runoff elections. There is already a mechanism in presidential election law for runoffs if no candidate recieves an independent majority of the votes. We never have them, so the institution of the rule would complicate the elections process with no useful effect on the vast majority of outcomes. Can anybody think of a single cast in American electoral history where a candidate did not recieve a majority of the EV's?

Then replace the first-past-the-post methods for Senate and House elections with appropriate statewide multiple-winner proportional representation method.

What is with populist outrage at the American system of direct representation? Frankly, its loss would be a tragedy, especially since we are the only country on earth (as far as I know) to grant citizens the priveledge.

A European style proportional-election system would have at least the following unintended consequences:

  • To increase, not decrease, party influence - since candidate elections would effectively be made less local, and voters tasked with selecting from a greater range of candidates, individuals would naturally become less important relative to party affiliation.

  • To muddle the electoral process - the Representative system insures a given population is directly represented a given congressman. There is no question on the part of the congressman whose interests are supposed to be served, and who the constituent should call if they have a political concern.

  • To increase the loyalty of elected politicians to the party - as above, the loss of local political influence is offset by a gain in statewide party influence. When every race becomes regional (and no race is local), the same rules apply. The current system effectively divides power between the parties (Senate elections) and the people (House elections). Why you would presume to dismantle this, I cannot say.

  • Philosophically, it would do serious damage to the principle of American electoral politics - that we elect local residents to represent a given district directly in Washington. We don't election "shares of anonymous seats" and we don't send "groups of the ideologically like minded". Again, this is a European style of governance, but philosophically, the Europeans have never had the same confidence in direct local elections that we Americans do. The parliamentary propertional system isn't intended to increase local/individual influence, but to dilute it in favor of philosophical voting - the people elect an ideology, and wiser men choose their leaders. This is distinctly unamerican.

An end to gerrymandering

This is, to the extent, that it is a real problem and not a political one (Republicans cannot win election in San Francisco, ergo San Francisco must be hopelessly gerrymandered by eeevil Democrats, and vice versa) a legitimate critique of the current system, and about the only one I don't reject on its face.

In practice, I have no idea how effect or necesarry deliberate political manipulation of voting boundaries is. Populations naturally tend towards the homogeneous, along every line (racial, social, income). Why do you assume that ideology should be any different? If we assume it is true that people with similar voting patterns tend to live together, and that this effect is increasing over time as the relative value of alternative living preferences diminishes and the importance of political outcomes increases, then you would naturally expect apparently gerrmandered outcomes, even if the states were perfectly impartial in their divisions.

Assuming it is a problem, and without dispensing the sacred privelege of direct representation, how do you fix it? I had this whacky idea that you appoint a special, ostensibily non-partisan and politically otherwise powerless "Redistricting Committee" to handle the drawing of redistricting boundaries every 10 years, subject to the low but otherwise with no direct oversight - a sort of redistricting supreme court. Vacancies are then filled on an as-opened basis by sitting Governors, with the consent of the Legislature. This basically insures an ideologically diverse board, since it is unlikely that you'd have a significant number of retirements under any one governors tenure. The cyclical Republican might get to appoint 3, the cyclical Democrat gets to appoint 2, etcetera. As a working model, though, it seems pretty inefficient for a group that only has decision making powers once every 10 years.

Disenfranchises voters in non-battleground states*

This is only true to the extent that you imagine outcomes of primary elections would have been any different had the order of races been different. How likely is this? I cannot say, but I'd imagine pretty slim. One could argue that early race winners have a psychological advantage over their counterparts ("ride the wave"), but any argument that this psychological advantage is overwhelming over any technical disadvantage ("i really don't want to choose this guy") presupposes that voters are basically ignorant, emotional children incapable of consistency in their political selections and ruled by emotional swings.

To the extent that voters change their minds for rational reasons based on early primary results (electability, maybe, like deciding their first choice ideologically might not be so unelectable after all), then the current system isn't problematic.

I'm in the latter camp, of course.

Congressional representation not proportional to electorate (percentage voting Democratic does not match percentage of, e.g., senators that are Democratic)

Why is this a bad thing? True, larger state are disenfranchised in presidential elections. In the case of presidential elections, this is almost always without consequence. Only twice in history, I believe, has the victor in a presidential race not recieved a majority of the popular vote. In the long run, this is an important check on the power of the larger states relative to the smaller states. The present electoral system (both with the EC and the battleground primaries) protects the prestige of smaller states that would otherwise be marginalized in national popular campaigns.

As for copngressional disenfranchisement, this is true in the Senate (by design), but not really in the House. There isn't any significant variation in the population-per-Representative, and where there is variation, it does not correlate well with the size of the House (it's due more to population trends between census). Do we really need to go over why the Senate deliberately disenfranchises the big states relative to the smaller states? The entire system was designed a great big check on the obvious major power players. Big states are major power players, with a distinct advantage in the House. This is checked by the fixed representation of the Senate.

Clearly, I get rather defensive when I observe these populist trends in attacking the very carefully designed American system of electoral politics, mostly because I worry they just might succeed, in my opinion because people seem to think it "sounds good" and makes them culturally relevant (who isn't with the earmarks and electoral colleges are bad program, am I right?) without really thinking through the systemic consequences of the "reforms".

Color me conservative on this one - I like things just the way they are :)
 
  • #44
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I think we both know that this is not how presidential primaries work...

I don't think he was saying that's how presidential primaries work. That's how swing states work. A Democratic candidate doesn't need to bother throwing Maryland (my state) a bone, because they're assured a win here. They can completely neglect this state. A Republican candidate doesn't need to come here, because they're guaranteed to lose this state.

In other words, my vote for president in this state is basically meaningless, because over 50% of the voters here will vote for just about anybody with a D next to their name.

A president would have no reason to worry about passing a law harmful to my state, because the outcome of the election is almost pre-decided.
 
  • #45
CRGreathouse
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I think we both know that this is not how presidential primaries work...

That was out of the blue. Of course that's not how presidential primaries work; it's also not how engines function or birds fly. I didn't claim it was any of those.

This is just a complicated (and French) method for handling runoff elections.

No, not nearly! It is very different from the French system, and not just in that it combines the two* elections. It's very easy to have the French system fail to elect the Condorcet winner; in fact, all the French system guarantees is that the Condorcet loser (a candidate who would lose any pairwise election with another candidate) will lose.

* Actually, the French system technically need not have two elections; that's just the way it tends to happen.

There is already a mechanism in presidential election law for runoffs if no candidate recieves an independent majority of the votes.

Runoff? No, the election goes to the House in that case.

We never have them, so the institution of the rule would complicate the elections process with no useful effect on the vast majority of outcomes. Can anybody think of a single cast in American electoral history where a candidate did not recieve a majority of the EV's?

1800? 1824?

What is with populist outrage at the American system of direct representation? Frankly, its loss would be a tragedy, especially since we are the only country on earth (as far as I know) to grant citizens the priveledge.

My problem is the *lack* of direct representation in the case of the President.

A European style proportional-election system would have at least the following unintended consequences:

  • To increase, not decrease, party influence - since candidate elections would effectively be made less local, and voters tasked with selecting from a greater range of candidates, individuals would naturally become less important relative to party affiliation.

  • To muddle the electoral process - the Representative system insures a given population is directly represented a given congressman. There is no question on the part of the congressman whose interests are supposed to be served, and who the constituent should call if they have a political concern.

You're arguing against a different system than the one I proposed. This is a valid criticism (though I'm not sure that it makes the system worse than the present one). But you don't need to give up local representation to gain proportionality.

  • To increase the loyalty of elected politicians to the party - as above, the loss of local political influence is offset by a gain in statewide party influence. When every race becomes regional (and no race is local), the same rules apply. The current system effectively divides power between the parties (Senate elections) and the people (House elections). Why you would presume to dismantle this, I cannot say.

Again, you're arguing against the wrong thing.

  • Philosophically, it would do serious damage to the principle of American electoral politics - that we elect local residents to represent a given district directly in Washington. We don't election "shares of anonymous seats" and we don't send "groups of the ideologically like minded". Again, this is a European style of governance, but philosophically, the Europeans have never had the same confidence in direct local elections that we Americans do. The parliamentary propertional system isn't intended to increase local/individual influence, but to dilute it in favor of philosophical voting - the people elect an ideology, and wiser men choose their leaders. This is distinctly unamerican.

Once again you haven't understood the system I suggested. Your criticisms don't apply to my system.

This is, to the extent, that it is a real problem and not a political one (Republicans cannot win election in San Francisco, ergo San Francisco must be hopelessly gerrymandered by eeevil Democrats, and vice versa) a legitimate critique of the current system, and about the only one I don't reject on its face.

In practice, I have no idea how effect or necesarry deliberate political manipulation of voting boundaries is. Populations naturally tend towards the homogeneous, along every line (racial, social, income). Why do you assume that ideology should be any different? If we assume it is true that people with similar voting patterns tend to live together, and that this effect is increasing over time as the relative value of alternative living preferences diminishes and the importance of political outcomes increases, then you would naturally expect apparently gerrmandered outcomes, even if the states were perfectly impartial in their divisions.

Assuming it is a problem, and without dispensing the sacred privelege of direct representation, how do you fix it? I had this whacky idea that you appoint a special, ostensibily non-partisan and politically otherwise powerless "Redistricting Committee" to handle the drawing of redistricting boundaries every 10 years, subject to the low but otherwise with no direct oversight - a sort of redistricting supreme court. Vacancies are then filled on an as-opened basis by sitting Governors, with the consent of the Legislature. This basically insures an ideologically diverse board, since it is unlikely that you'd have a significant number of retirements under any one governors tenure. The cyclical Republican might get to appoint 3, the cyclical Democrat gets to appoint 2, etcetera. As a working model, though, it seems pretty inefficient for a group that only has decision making powers once every 10 years.

There are roughly two fixes, not mutually exclusive, to this problem. One is to change the system to remove the benefit of gerrymandering. The other is to attempt to stop gerrymandering. I suggested a system that would deal with the first, and you (half-heartedly?) suggested a system for the second. I have thoughts on other ways to accomplish the second but I'm less interested in that than in the first.

This is only true to the extent that you imagine outcomes of primary elections would have been any different had the order of races been different.

No, not at all.

Suppose there were three states with one electoral votes: Right, Middle, and Left. Right is populated almost entirely with Republicans. Left is populated almost entirely with Democrats. Middle has a mix of both. Clearly a candidate will campaign only in Middle.

Further, suppose a party is in power and must allocate money (perhaps highway funds). Strategically, they should send as much as feasible to Middle, so they can campaign as "the party that build the Whatzit Highway, employing tens of thousands of Middle residents and channeling billions of federal dollars to Middle".

This has nothing whatever to do with the order of the primaries.

Incidentally, I was never talking about the primaries myself, but rather the Presidential election and Congressional elections. Most of my arguments carry over, though, mutatis mutandis.


Why is this a bad thing? True, larger state are disenfranchised in presidential elections. In the case of presidential elections, this is almost always without consequence. Only twice in history, I believe, has the victor in a presidential race not recieved a majority of the popular vote.

Three, but who's counting?

The present electoral system (both with the EC and the battleground primaries) protects the prestige of smaller states that would otherwise be marginalized in national popular campaigns.

Actually, I think it does only a fair job at this -- that it doesn't do better was one of my criticisms.

As for copngressional disenfranchisement, this is true in the Senate (by design), but not really in the House. There isn't any significant variation in the population-per-Representative, and where there is variation, it does not correlate well with the size of the House (it's due more to population trends between census). Do we really need to go over why the Senate deliberately disenfranchises the big states relative to the smaller states? The entire system was designed a great big check on the obvious major power players. Big states are major power players, with a distinct advantage in the House. This is checked by the fixed representation of the Senate.

Please, read some game theory (or at least the basics of the Shapley value) before talking about this. You might find the actual power index surprising.

Clearly, I get rather defensive when I observe these populist trends in attacking the very carefully designed American system of electoral politics, mostly because I worry they just might succeed, in my opinion because people seem to think it "sounds good" and makes them culturally relevant (who isn't with the earmarks and electoral colleges are bad program, am I right?) without really thinking through the systemic consequences of the "reforms".

"Populist"? :rofl:
 
  • #46
mheslep
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The problem is that a party schism is party controlled from within the party (removing power that should go to the voters).
Not necessarily. If the movement is all grassroots, not officially endorsing candidates or becoming part of the political machine, then as in the case of most of the Tea Party all of the power stayed with the voters.

Worse, if it grows so deep that two candidates from a party run (presumably with only one on the ticket) they can split the vote in the present system, which is inappropriate.
Yes that was the concern with the Tea Party. They opted not to form a third party, using the primary system to knock off machine nominees.

I'm unwilling to restrict the lunatic fringe, insofar as it has public support. It's not clear which lunatic fringe ideas (like democracy itself for most of history) are actually good and which are simply batty. We've even elected single-issue lunatic fringe party members to the Presidency (like in 1860).
I don't think limiting the lunatic fringe to votes instead of guaranteed seats is a restriction. It forces those on the fringe to get serious, to do the intellectual heavy lifting to show how their out-there ideas, including democracy way-back-when, are worthy of a larger following, and not just political favors to gain the support of the two and half nutters holding seats in a parliament.
 
  • #47
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What would you do to change this?

that's a good question. and i'm not sure there are easy answers. much of it stems from a disunity among groups, and real and perceived imbalances. many of those are being addressed of course, but not always in the most rational ways, which just perpetuates the problem.

ultimately, i think it would come down to better education. maybe more project/participation oriented, and less read/regurgitate.
 
  • #48
CRGreathouse
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Not necessarily. If the movement is all grassroots, not officially endorsing candidates or becoming part of the political machine, then as in the case of most of the Tea Party all of the power stayed with the voters.

Right. The problem doesn't always manifest itself.

Yes that was the concern with the Tea Party. They opted not to form a third party, using the primary system to knock off machine nominees.

This solution doesn't work well for me, though. Suppose there are three candidates, L, R, and T. Now party d caucuses and chooses candidate D (because that's the only candidate from d), and party r caucuses and chooses candidate T (because among the r voters, T is more popular than R). But over all voters, R is more popular than T.

You can write your own ending; whether the r party manages to elect a more extreme candidate than voters prefer, or whether the selection of an extreme candidate causes the otherwise-r-leaning district to vote D to avoid T. Either way, abstractly, I'm unsatisfied with the results.

(Personally, I think that anything that shakes up the traditional two-party hegemony is good, but that's neither here nor there.)

I don't think limiting the lunatic fringe to votes instead of guaranteed seats is a restriction. It forces those on the fringe to get serious, to do the intellectual heavy lifting to show how their out-there ideas, including democracy way-back-when, are worthy of a larger following, and not just political favors to gain the support of the two and half nutters holding seats in a parliament.

I don't think that encourages "intellectual heavy lifting" at all.
 
  • #49
CRGreathouse
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that's a good question. and i'm not sure there are easy answers. much of it stems from a disunity among groups, and real and perceived imbalances. many of those are being addressed of course, but not always in the most rational ways, which just perpetuates the problem.

ultimately, i think it would come down to better education. maybe more project/participation oriented, and less read/regurgitate.

It is a hard question -- if I had a good idea I would have shared it.

I doubt that education (at least in the traditional sense) would be much use here, though. Even ten years out of school, how much do most people remember?
 
  • #50
mheslep
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I don't think that encourages "intellectual heavy lifting" at all.
<shrug> Seems to have worked in that manner over the history of the conservative movement. If we say it started with in the 1950's, it had to acquire intellectual articulation through WF Buckley at National Review, Whitacre Chamber's Witness and so on. Then it had to go through the motions of spelling out in detail why it wanted to expell the John Birch Society nuts, and later the same with those that wanted conservatism to become a theocratic movement, finally becoming the large voter force that it is today. This was all done with out ever seating a 'Conservative Party' member in Congress or a state legislature.
 
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