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Forum posts for political confusion

I don't know politics.
Posted by mike on Feb 23, 2004
I think they (the democrats) are talking about vote splitting. With a two party system I can see how vote splitting could screw one side or the other, depending on the views of the independent person running and the people voting for that person.

Isn't there something weird about independent cadidates in the US? I seem to recall from grade 8 that something odd happens if an independent were to win the US presidency.


Maybe it was that something weird would happen if an independent were to become prime minister. Hold up. Can that even happen? It doesn't seem like it could happen. I can see an independent getting a seat in Canada, but not being the Prime Minister, that doesn't make sense with the voting system I know of.

Somebody's got to know this stuff.

Posted by phduffy on Feb 23, 2004
Mike, I don't know what happens if an independent were elected president.

You're right in that under our system it's basically impossible for an independent to become Prime Minister. The only thing I can think of is assume there are 4 parties. Each of the four parties gets the same amount of seats. (Well, they don't have to all have the same seats, just that the combined total of two parties is equal to the combined of the other two parties). The independent also gets a seat.
So two of the parties team up with the independent to form the government. Now, why the two parties would make him Prime Minister I'm not sure. Maybe he/she makes that the only way they'll join the coalition.

Posted by cosmicfish on Feb 23, 2004
I think it's good that he is running and raising questions and hopefully making some people think more. But maybe he should consider that his accomplishment and drop out before the actual election. Poor, poor America with their two party system.

Posted by mike on Feb 23, 2004
You would seem to be correct about an independent being made Prime Minister.

I had not thought of that EXTREMELY unlikely event. But anything can happen.

makes sense
Posted by Katie on Feb 23, 2004
I agree with a point. I don't really like the thought of one person ruining a parties chance of getting elected just cause they wanted to run too.

Raise some important issues, make the others answer and rebut these issues, kick some ass at debates, then get out of there.

But I don't exactly see it as fair that he is never going to be able to realize his goal, because he doesn't have the backing of a big party behind him. I suppose that someone would counter that life isn't fair. But I mean fair for the American people, not just for this man.

If that was me down there, I'd pretty much feel like I was being forced to choose between the lesser of two evils.

I concur
Posted by phduffy on Feb 23, 2004
Mike, you're right. I wasn't really offering that as a real possibility, just a theorectical type of event.

Posted by phduffy on Feb 24, 2004
Well, the Democrats like to blame him because they lost. And the Republicans like to blame Perrot because they lost.
Let's quickly recap:

Of the last 9 elections, 6 have been won by Republicans. Of the other three you have:

Jimmy Carter who wins following Watergate, one of the biggest political scandals of the decade.

Bill Clinton, who wins in 92 in a year in which Ross Perrot gets roughly 20% of the vote, and is the first president to be elected with less than a majority of votes (well, Taft may also count.. I think it's Taft anyways. Let's just say the first president in a damn long time).

Bill Clinton in 96, who remains in power at a time when the US is looking at one of the most impressive economic boosts in history.

Other than that it's been all Republican. The funny thing is that exit polls show that in both Perrot's and Nader's cases, the voters would have pretty much split their vote evenly between the Democrats and the Republicans had they not been able to vote for Perrot/Nader. I find it hard to believe that anyone voting for the Green party would have voted for the Republicans, but there you have it. And considering how close Florida was, maybe the Democrats have a point.

Nader brings up the point that it's hard to tell the difference between the parties. And he's got a good point. They're both get large corporate donations (although the Republicans get more and the Democrats get the Union donations), and it can be hard to tell which party is which. Depending on the prevailing moode, they can each favour or not favour free trade, the current Republican administration is running the largest deficit in history, and is increasing spending. The last Democratic administration was able to balance its book and achieve a surplus, which was achieved by cutting spending. George Bush the first raised taxes, while Clinton froze/cut them. This is all the opposite of what you'd expect based on their platform.

Really, the only major differences they have are on social issues.
So, if you're an American, you have tough choices to make. You could be a social conservative, in which case the Republicans are a good choice. You could be a Libetarian who thinks that the government should stay out of people's lives and reduce spending, in which case you're kind of screwed. You could be socialy progressive and fiscally conservative, which means no matter what you pick you'll get it half wrong.

On the left you could believe in social issues, but also want balanced budgets. Which is prety much the last case I discussed. You could believe that corporations and/or Unions have too much power, which means you're pretty much screwed.

One of the writers I read online frequently mentions that he hates Bush. With a passion. However, he's still not going to vote for the Democrats. He's going to vote Libetarian, as that's what he believes in, and the only way to change the system will be to vote for someone outside the system.

With Nader it's a really tough call. Do you think that it's more important to get someone you don't like out of the office, or to vote your conscience? Which means more to you? Do you vote to change the current President, or do you vote to change the system? (Knowing that if you do so you may help someone you don't like, and your vote is practically useless).

I have no problem with Nader running and offering them those choices.

I know that alot of people don't like the US system. I don't know much about it, but from what I do know, I like the Canadian system better. However, alot of people don't like the Canadian system either. They think that some form of proportional representation would work better. I don't agree with this at all. It might be possible to have that work on the Provincial level, but I think it's a horrible idea for the Federal level. Preferential balloting is a possibility, but I hope we don't go to proportional balloting. (I fear that it leads to situations like Italy and Israel, where you have extremely unstable governments. It's proponents like to point to the countries where it works. I just wanted to point out a couple of countries where it doesn't work).

Bottom line:
I find Canadian politics more interesting than American ones. Surpringsly, this seems to leave me in a minority.
Secondly, if someone wants to post about why they like proportional balloting, I will post the reasons for my opposition to it. For now, it's kind of getting off topic. Sorry.

Great stuff
Posted by Miguel on Feb 24, 2004
Awesome post!

And yes, I totally agree with you. Canadian politics all the way! As a bonus, Canadian politics, with its strong emphasis on party discipline makes it extremely hard for Lobbyists like (one day hopefully) myself to work. So special interests and corporate interests are not as strong in Canada as in the states!

They are still there though.

Posted by alltogethernow on Feb 24, 2004
I agree paul...
Israel has a horrible political situation..

it has 7 or 8 parties that can't get anything done...
unless they agree to work together in loosely wrought coalitions..

this is incredibly difficult sometimes due to the party's terribly different viewpoints on how the day to day workings of the country should function...

I wonder how other forms of representation would work..
representation by age?
representation by occupation?
representation by sex???

I dunno .... but in the case of Canada we sure don't have it right..
but it's one of the best methods in my opinion...

in the case of American Politics vs Canadian Politics
Canadian politics are imporant on a National level with some influence over the world as a whole, while American politics almost always affect the entire planet. Canadian Prime Ministers don't order up Coups from the CIA, start wars, drastically change the civil liberties of it's people (well not in recent memory anyways, although with the new C-7 bill who knows?)... the point is (for me anyway):

National - Canadian Politics are important for us
but Amercian political races are important for the entire world

Posted by mike on Feb 24, 2004
What is not fair about representation by population desity?
Is that not democracy?

Posted by phduffy on Feb 24, 2004
Mike, I'm not sure who you were referring to, but I want to clarify my position. I agree with representation by population density (although this isn't always practical in Canada). I don't think that I agree with proportional balloting.

More more more
Posted by phduffy on Feb 26, 2004
Here's an article by a dude that voted for Nader last time, and why he did it:

Posted by Katie on Feb 26, 2004
an interesting read that makes me see the light....a bit.

More than that though, it shows me my total lack of knowledge when it comes to American politics. Interesting to read such a diatribe against the Clinton's.

Don't worry.
Posted by phduffy on Feb 26, 2004
There's nothing wrong with not knowing about American Politics.

You live in Canada after all.

(Now, if you know nothing about Canadian politics, that's what worries me)