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scoutldr

Is the political party system detrimental to the country?

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I agree with Robert Heinlein that the franchise needs to be earned (a major theme in Starship Troopers).

 

I'd be happy is they just made it so the voter had to write out (with out any help) the correctly spelled name of the candidate. Last name would be enough. Of course this would lead to politicians all changing their name to "A" or "X".

 

Perhaps it would just be best if government offices were filled the same was as juries. That they would have to spend most of their term trying to figure out what they were doing to actually accomplish anything would make it all the better. Add the requirement that any law would have to be understood by the next group before it could go into effect would ensure freedom and prosperity for years to come.

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Beavah,

 

I agree with you on the way that the primary system skews the candidates. Another issue that I have with primaries is that most (all -Lisa might help here) allow us to vote in only one primary. Since as a taxpayer I am paying for both, I should be able to vote in both. If the parties want to pay, then they can limit however they wish. If that was done I could see 2 possible patterns, 1) people would vote for their favorite in their own party and for a middle of the road in the other party to hedge their bets; 2) people will vote for the extreme in the other party hoping that it will be sure to defeat the other party. One way or the other, it might serve to dilute the extremism because candidates would want to appeal to most of the electorate and not the extremes.

 

The electoral college is essential to our representative democracy to be sure that small states get some attention. Otherwise all of us in the "fly-over" states will be ignored.

 

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The Scout:

I lived in Nebraska for three years and never noticed the non-partisan nature of the unicameral. That's probably because the Democratic party barely exists in Nebraska. One house, one party.

 

Hal

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Unfortunately, although I could get behind the idea of a Suburban Moderates Party, in a generation or so it would be the only functional party. We call them swing voters today but organized they'd rule.

 

The SMP candidates don't have a fringe base to play for so they get to have one message. They only need to control 10 or so Senate seats and 40 or 50 house seats to control the government. Once that happened, some politicians would switch parties because they are a moderate Republican or moderate Democrat and the switch to SMP is easy. Ultimately, both the GOP and Democrats fracture and we get two fringe parties (socialists and neocons) and one ruling party.

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VOL.

FYI dependign upon the state you are in, determines whether it's a caucus, closed primary, or open primary. I personally loved the open primary that LA has, because you could vote for the best person,or if you are in the situation I am in NC, you can actually vote for the person to represent you in the state legislature. there have been no candidates for state rep in my party, and I cannot vote for the challenger to the incumbant as they are not in my party.

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"Just because the current leadership of the two major political parties are liars, cheats, theives, pond scum sucking bottom feeding maggots..."

In spite of the fact that this is going to be another of those politics threads that merely wastes time, I must defend a few things - namely pond scum, bottom feeders, and maggots. I feel that it is unfair and certainly inaccurate to use these in pejorative comparisons.

First of all, pond scum can be some of the most interesting ecological communities to study with great diversity and high-intensity processes. Bottom feeders perform an essential function and some of us find them to be quite tasty (except if they eat too much pond scum they taste like, well, pond scum).

Maggots are, let's face it...babies. OK, they're fly babies but I'm sensing some right-to-life hypocrisy here. Maggots also perform an essential function and in some cases can actually help the healing process in humans. They can also be eaten in the form of maggots (stir fried is good) or in the later pupal stage in which case they're more like rice crispies, only without the snaps and crackles. These can be steamed and used just like sunflower seeds on salads, for example. Yum.

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Eagle92,

 

I certainly understand that states are different. What I am saying is if the public is paying for the caucuses or for the primaries, the voter should be able to participate in BOTH caucuses or vote in BOTH primaries. If the parties pay for the costs, rent the schools for the caucuses or election, etc then they can admit whoever they wish. If the taxpayer is picking up the bill, they should be able to participate in both the democrat and republican events the same day. As a taxpayer, I should not be excluded from one or be forced to reveal to anyone which party I favor for any office.

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I've always been in favor of the non-party elections the City of Denver does for mayor. Candidates do not delcare party and all comers run in a general election. The candidate with over 50% wins. If nobody gets over 50%, the top two do a run off election.

If this were applied to all public offices, in conservative districts, the top two would be conservative. In liberal districts, the top two would be liberals. But you would have a choice, not who the party chose to run.

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Oh, I give up. You guys aren't gettin' it.

Political parties are there to remove the public's choice in elections. In the old days (what, 40 years ago? LOL) the Democratic Party was the ONLY party in the South. The people thought they were 'electing' someone in the general election but in fact they were merely confirming the decisions that had been made earlier in a backroom someplace. The Party had made the decision for them long before, when they decided who would be on the ticket. No way they could risk leaving these decisions up to the people.

 

Now, it still works the same way in the South, only the Republican Party has taken over. Without the political intelligentsia and the best minds the Party can attract, how could the 'little people' make good decisions on who to elect? Without the political elite and genius of the Party, the real power might go to the rabble who are not the social and political elite, and the elections might, for example, produce governors who....oops, what am I saying, it happens anyway! :)

 

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Pack,

 

Your observations on the parties is correct IMHO. However, as Beevah pointed out, the current primary system forces candidates to the extremes only to move toward the center in the general election. I believe that at some level we all lose some respect for the candidates changing from extreme to centrist even though we understand the reason. I sometimes wonder if the smoke filled back room deals to pick candidates was at least as good. I am just a little too young to remember much of those days but both parties had reasonable candidates.

 

The democrat party moved away from the values of southerners with the inevitable change to republicans. The democrat party has become left wing from the left center of the 50's and early 60's. The south will not move back until the party moves back toward the center.

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vol, you may have heard that Lyndon Johnson predicted the end of Democratic electoral success in the south for the next 50 years when he signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

 

He appears to have been right. I don't know that it was the "liberal" nature of the party that drove people away in the 50s and 60s, unless of course, you want to categorize racial equality as just another one of those crazy "liberal" ideas.

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Lisa took the words out of my fingers, LOL. I was thinking exactly about that statement by Lyndon Johnson. It was one of the most revealing statements he ever made, showing that he did understand the fundamental force driving politics in the South AND that he decided to do the right thing anyway.

Anyway, he was right. It did shift party politics for 'some' of the South. Whereas the entire South had been essentially Democrat prior to that, after Johnson signed the Act, the 'white' South moved to the Republican Party. Those elements are still there and the 'black' South still knows it.

So I think Lisa is correct in her assertion that the values spoken of by Vol are primarily those relating back to the 60s and the issues from that time. I don't think of them in 'liberal' versus 'conservative' terms, though. 'Inclusive' versus 'hateful' seems more like it whereas concepts like 'freedom' should be embraced by everyone.

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Our two party system, on a national level, is nearly as old as the Constitution itself. This country wasn't founded on a two-party system, but the government as set up by the Constitution greatly favors it. So does human nature. In a democracy such as ours, with the mentality we've developed over the decades, we tend to think in terms of "us vs. the other."

 

If a third party were to come into prominence, it would simply crowd one of the others out of existence.

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