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Default Elections in the USA tomorrow…

November 7th, 2006, 18:59
How hard would it be to have replace the winner-takes-all system with a proportional one, even at the state level? That would permit the emergence of third parties and encourage coalition-building rather than win-at-any-cost.
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November 7th, 2006, 19:04
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
@Alex — I'm not blaming you (plural) for the situation… much. You're pretty much like the proverbial frogs in the kettle; as the heat is slowly turned up, it's very hard to tell when to jump.
You know, if I wasn't such a complacent, pig-headed American, I'd almost think I'd been insulted there ……. But, thinly-veiled insults aside, you seem to be implying that the only way to fix a bad situation is to leave, like the proverbial frog leaping from the pot before his hind quarters (erm… I mean his "principles") are singed beyond repair. I must say that unless you are swimming around in the pot yourself, that is a hard call to make.

I have lived abroad, as have members of my family. I consider myself open-minded and accepting of differing opinions, faiths, lifestyle choices, etc. and, though it might not always seem as such from the way we're portrayed in the media, there are MANY Americans who feel the same. We folks are, in effect, true Americans who believe and wholeheartedly support the notion of a Melting Pot. However, we are labeled in our own country as "liberals" and "heathens" who lack the ethics/morality to govern ourselves and others around us.

Now the problem is that I do love this country, even if I do not love (or respect) its leaders. So, do I forsake control of the country to those who stand to do it even MORE harm, or do I stay and fight (vote) for what I believe in? Call it an idealistic stance, but when it comes down to it, it is this idealism that just might cause a shift the other way. Our country hasn't always been this way. We could be better in the future, if given the chance.

In my view, a Rubicon was crossed when the right of habeas corpus was abolished. Your chief executive now has the power to imprison anyone at his discretion for any amount of time. The fact that he does not (yet?) exercise this power to an extent where you're likely to run into it personally is of secondary importance.
Agreed, though I still don't believe he has crossed this imaginary Rubicon of which you speak. If your implied comparison is Caesar (achieving the role of Dictator), we still have a working Senate and a House, one or both of which might be Democratic by tomorrow. And, believe me, if both parts of Congress flip Democratic, it will be Caesar in the pot and not us helpless frogs….

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November 7th, 2006, 23:38
Alex, on the contrary — it's when you're in the pot that the call is hard to make. It's much easier to see from the outside.

However, you're taking my analogy further than I intended. I didn't mean that getting out is the only valid option; on the contrary, the most moral course of action is active opposition. IMO just voting and going home won't cut it; it's like being a good German in the 1930's. (I'm sure there were plenty of good Germans back then wrestling with similar moral dilemmas as you are: "I don't approve of all aspects of the Führer's racial policies, but I do love the Reich…")

Until now, the American system has indeed been self-correcting. However, I believe that its foundations may have rotted beyond repair; you no longer have the enlightened electorate that a democracy requires to function; rebuilding it would take a generation or two — and I don't see any efforts being made to give it a start. The Democrats are only marginally less corrupt than the Republicans; both are prisoners of the same system, and neither can fundamentally change it without destroying themselves in the process. It's a matter of values, assumptions, and structures, rather than a matter of which party happens to be in power.

In other words, I just don't see it happening.
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November 8th, 2006, 01:46
While I have problems with it, one interesting difference between Australia and America, is that voting is COMPULSORY here. You get fined if you don't vote!! Wonder what difference that would make if implemented in the good old USA!!

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November 8th, 2006, 02:18
Originally Posted by Prime Junta View Post
Alex, on the contrary — it's when you're in the pot that the call is hard to make. It's much easier to see from the outside.
Sort of like a marriage … but similar to that, the outsiders are usually ill-informed, overly confident of their correctness, and largely wrong. I take as primary evidence the lack of knowledge of state and local politics, the very underpinnings of the system. If you don't know about that, then you really are ill informed and in no position to say that you see anything all that clearly.

— Mike
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November 8th, 2006, 03:02
The thing that scares me most about politics in America is the lack of outrage over irregularities that have taken place during the last several elections. I remember during '04 some talk of having international observers monitor elections as they have in other countries. The reaction was one of outrage rather then open transparency. I think the strongest tool the established powers here have is the overdeveloped sense of self-importance and, I don't know how to express it well, but being beyond reproach or criticism makes us too easily influenced by pride.
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November 8th, 2006, 03:36
Americans and Pride??!! I can't believe it!! (Said with tongue firmly in cheek)

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November 8th, 2006, 05:18
*with a new york accent* Shuddup!
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November 8th, 2006, 05:55
Woo-hoo! Democrats take the house!!!
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November 8th, 2006, 06:34
Where are they taking it?

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November 8th, 2006, 09:17
@txa — as an outsider, I'm not even particularly interested in how well America functions at the state level. I'm commenting on how it functions at the federal level, which is something I'm quite well positioned to observe. And at that level, the system is broken; whether there's enough machinery for change at the state level to fix it I just don't know.
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November 8th, 2006, 13:02
Well, having a European perspective on American politics, I think the US system is essentially flawed
I'd just like to say, that the system of many European countries where you have a lot of parties to vote for is even worse than the US system. At least in the US system there is a winner! and the polictics will go in this direction.

In for example Sweden there are 4 winners with different opinions and they can never agree…. in fact the disagreement is so much that some of these 4 parties will take make deals with the 3 parties from the other side to get through a specific proposition. There are even things like exchange of votes…. you vote for our idea we will vote for yours… even if we think it sucks. A good example would be a party wanted to found the building of a rubber factory in Africa to help people get jobs… they got it through in this way…. but none checked if there was acctually enough rubber for the factory…… needless to say the money was wasted and the factory buldozed….. on top of that it takes forever to get through a decision. No a strong power is to be prefered over one that doesn't act… infact the EU is the same way they talk and talk and talk but can never agree.
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November 8th, 2006, 13:26
Who knows, Corwin…hopefully to gridlock, at the least.
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November 8th, 2006, 13:48
@GothicGoddess — how is the system you describe worse? It works very well in practice. Look at recent global surveys of good governance (e.g. the Transparency International corruption index or global competitiveness surveys), and you'll find that most of the top countries have proportional multi-party systems.

As an aside, "no a strong power is to be prefered over one that doesn't act" is the main argument in favor of a dictatorship.
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November 8th, 2006, 16:48
All I can say is that I would rather live in America that anywhere else…



Except maybe Australia…spend my days digging for Opals.



Or Germany…drinking their wines.



Maybe Japan…study under a real Master.



No…I know…New Zealand and retire as a Hobbit
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November 9th, 2006, 01:44
There are many great countries I could enjoy living in, Austria springs to mind, and while I like America and enjoy visiting the country, I wouldn't choose to live there!! Too many guns for one thing!!

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November 9th, 2006, 08:16
@GothicGothicness: what Prime Junta said
But you are partly right I think, there are flaws in European democracies too, there is no perfect governmental model imho. Our government is sometimes slow in acting and mired in compromise because of the multiparty system. But I would still prefer it over a two party system.
@all: Belgium has compulsory voting and that seems to fuel the extreme rightwing more than it helps the left because of "protest" votes. Now you could argue that the last ones are votes also and represent a part of the people that actually hold those views. Then again, in the Netherlands we have quite a low voting rate and that is not good either. How does that work out in your countries?
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November 9th, 2006, 13:29
Btw, just wanted to reiterate, as per my earlier prediction, that the US is about to get a whole lot more civil in its foreign affairs policy. The Dems gaining the House, the Senate, and the Governor's Majority, is HUGE. Perhaps we can finally start mending fences with those in other countries and stop apologizing for the faults of our leaders. I know it might look like "political business as usual" from the outside, I can say that from inside the pot there's a lot of happy frogs right now.

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November 9th, 2006, 15:36
I certainly hope so. However, until some structural changes actually happen, color me skeptical.

Hanging Bush, Cheney, Rummy et al. as war criminals would be a good start. Preferably from the same gibbet as Saddam.
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November 9th, 2006, 15:40


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