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There is something I like about the American Election System

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Zardnaar, Jan 28, 2004.

  1. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Deity

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    After the Florida debacle in 2000 I thought the American electoral system was rubbish. From what I know it was good 100+ years ago but not so great now. However unless you are blind/deaf/dumb theres a election in America for the Democratic presidential candiate.

    Now I prefer the way we vote or even Englnds system. Basically you have 2or more parties contesting seats or in my countries case a popular vote- 47% of the vote gives you 47% of the seats in parliment.

    But for those non US citizens when was the last time you voted for the leader of the opposition? Elections have been won or lost because although the leader of the opposition is an effective politician they are about as electable as pubic lice. A month or 2 ago I thought Bush would win the 2004 election while the Democrats sleepwalked to defeat with Dean. Not so sure now.

    In the westminster style of government the party leader is often a long serving politician who gets to be leader by getting other polititians to vote for them. I like the idea of being able to vote for the presidential candidate. The 2 main parties here wouldn't like this system.

    I think the 2004 American election is going to be crucial. If Bush loses I think he is going to go down in history as the worst president in living memory if not ever. 9/11 happened on his watch, he bungled foreign affairs, he bungled the war in Iraq, he is stupid, the patriot act, rigged his election etc etc.

    However if he wins alot of his mistakes will be washed away and some of his detractors will have to shut up. He will clearly be the peoples choice as president and be given approval for his actions. His defects will be washed away by the tide of history (unless he screws up 2004-2008).
     
  2. cgannon64

    cgannon64 BOB DYLAN'S ROCKIN OUT!

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    That's the one thing you're wrong about. Int he primaries, only registered Democrats can vote for the Democratic candidate, and only registered Republicans can vote for the Republican candidate. In a few states Independents can vote.

    So, unless you are strange and register under another party just to try to sabotage them, you can't elect a crappy leader. ;)
     
  3. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Deity

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    Yeah I know you can only vote if you're a republican/democrat. Better than nothing though. The 2 main parties over here had there memberships plummet though partly because of unelected party leaders. In the 80's the left wing party initiated massive reforms more in line with a right wing party. In the 90's the right gutted social security and alienated a good chunk of ther own voters and they have effectivly collapsed as a viable government at the moment.
     
  4. Kinniken

    Kinniken Riding with William

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    I very much like the American primary system. The capacity to chose your party's leader is definitely a good point. I would prefer it though if political parties organised it themselves (as some do, but not most); I am uneasy with the idea internal party elections being organised by the state or even of being registered as belonging to a party by the state.

    However, I prefer the French system for the election of the President: a simple majority of votes with a second round. Simpler, without the distortions the electoral college brings, and somewhat more democratic since votes all over France are worth exactly the same thing (while in the US a vote in a "swing state" is much more important than one in a party stronghold).
     
  5. thestonesfan

    thestonesfan A Client of Ron Kuby

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    Not so. That's only in the primaries. You can vote for whoever you want to in November, regardless of your registration.
     
  6. cgannon64

    cgannon64 BOB DYLAN'S ROCKIN OUT!

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    Yeah. I thought he was referring to the Primaries.

    I think he is, actually. Because he said you can choose who your candidate will face.

    I'll edit my post so he's not confused though.
     
  7. Archer 007

    Archer 007 Rebirth

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    I completly agree with Kinniken. France's final stage is a wonderful system.
     
  8. Lefty Scaevola

    Lefty Scaevola Moderatus Illuminatus Super Moderator

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    The best part of the electorial college system is that it limits the motivation for litigating election reults. If the election had been by popular vote, there would had been such lawsuit not just in a few florida counties, but in EVERY urban county in the USA, plus suits about every state absentee voting system. Note that nearly a million votes were not counted at all last election, because they were latee arriving absenttee votes in state where they would not change the winner take all result. If they had broken the way absentee votes did on a national avergage (around 65/35 for Bush), then the popular vote result would have been with a few thousands votes nationally, and any urban counties disputed woulds could change the election. You would amount greater the GNP of each of dozens of the nations spent on the lawsuits.
     
  9. Zardnaar

    Zardnaar Deity

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    Find a better way to do absentee ballots. Would it kill anyone to wait a day or 2 to get all the votes in? Or even make election day an election weekend?
     
  10. Yago

    Yago came undone

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    What I don't get is this "the winner takes it all". That makes no sense. It is not necessary from the federal point of view, I even think it undermines it a little bit. If the votes in a state with 21 electors get a 2/3 1/3 result, one canditate could get 7, the other 14 votes. This would still be in the realm of a majority-vote-system (crap imo), yet would make results much more interesting and lessen that strategical 5-moves-ahead-thinking and I-vote-for-what-I-acutally-like.
     
  11. vonork

    vonork Emperor

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    But whats stoping me from first register as a democrat and vote for whatever candidate then re-register as a republican and vote for that.
     
  12. Shadylookin

    Shadylookin master debater

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    you have to register in advance, and since primaries for both parties are on the same day.
     
  13. onejayhawk

    onejayhawk Afflicted with reason

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    Some states are also open. You can vote for anyone, though you have to choose one party's ballot. Local election rules can be downright arcane, and crossover voting is very important in some cases.

    What makes all this really interesting is that the delegates only are commiting their first vote. If no candidate gets a majority, ie 50% plus 1 vote or more, then there is another ballot which all delegates vote their conscience. This has not happened in many years, basically since television made the campaigns a news event. In previous decades the news of one state primary barely made any impact on the other states, so there would be 4-5 candidates with large blocks of delegates going to the convention.

    Conceivably that could happen this year if, for example, Edwards took the southern states, Dean the Pacific west, Clark the Southwest and plains, and Kerry the Midwest and Northeast. As it is the primaries in New Mexico and Arizona next Tuesday are anyone's guess.

    J
     
  14. Irish Caesar

    Irish Caesar Yellow Jacket

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    But the Electoral College is a good thing, in a sense. Sure, since I'm in Massachusetts, a Republican vote isn't worth a thing (there's not too many up here) but this way, each state is like a small republic of its own.

    This way, the president is elected by the United States, and not America (if that makes sense to anybody). Each state has its say in the election, and the result is what all the states decide, not just the majority.

    It's a good way to balance some power between the whole big country and the states.
     
  15. Archer 007

    Archer 007 Rebirth

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    Thats exactly what I hate about the Electoral College. If your area is largely one party, you have to no incentive to vote.
     
  16. SeleucusNicator

    SeleucusNicator Diadoch

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    Well, most years, the electoral college and the "popular college" have the same winner. It's not usually a problem.
     
  17. bobgote

    bobgote Trousers

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    I would vote for pubic lice.
     
  18. Pirate

    Pirate Emperor

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    It's a bit hard to explain, but having an electoral college means that your vote is MORE powerful, giving everyone more incentive to vote. Here's how I've heard it explained:

    The power of a vote is measured by the chance it has to decide the election. In a nation of 300 million, one vote going either way doesn't have much effect, but in a group of 20 people, there is much more chance that your vote will be the tie-breaker. The electoral college system breaks down voting districts so that the majority doesn't get an overwhelming 100% victory. If everything was decided by simple majority, then the majority would always overrule any and all minorities and a significant portion of the population would have no political voice. So much for "one person, one vote." Having smaller districts allows minorities to pool their votes and gives them a chance to have an actual effect on an election. Your vote means more because even those who are outnumbered have more of a chance to have an effect because you don't need to change the minds of 150 million people to vote your way, you only have to change the minds of the few thousands in your district. It makes politics much more accessible and meaningful.
     
  19. Michael York

    Michael York On Sabatical from Civ

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    The electorial college is structured for the same reason that we have two houses of congress.

    Remember, the USA, is made up of 50 soveriegn states.

    The Senate exists for all the states to be equal, and small states have just as much power as large states.

    The House of Representatives exists so that California has more say than Wyoming (50mil vs. 500k population).

    The same principle exists through the electorial college. It protects the smaller states from the larger ones, but without completely debalancing it.

    Think of it like this. In the UN, major nations such as Germany, India, and Japan have no more power than the Cook Islands or Andorra. Two nations with a combined population of 2 inhabitants have more power than the 1 billion in India. The electorial college is an excellent compromise.

    As far as not having the senators and such select the president, This is essential to have the legislature and the executive branches seperate.
     
  20. Aphex_Twin

    Aphex_Twin Evergreen

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    The American electorial system is something of a more elaborate oppinion poll. Ordinary people's votes only matter as much as the electorial college decide it does...
     

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