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Why I Think the U.S. Needs a [Parliamentary System With Proportional Representation]

HamurabiHamurabi AmsterdamRegistered User regular
edited March 2012 in Debate and/or Discourse
So we wound up talking a little bit in the Middle East Thread about PR systems, and how (in most of our opinions) they're superior to the current first-past-the-post (FPTP)/winner-take-all voting systems employed here in the States. I can only speak for myself, but the main reasons I prefer parliamentary and/or PR systems to our current bicameral legislature/tripartite government are the following:

PR systems are, in theory, more representative of actual ideological positions of the electorate
If let's say 1-2% of the U.S. public were diehard communists, under the present system they'd basically have nowhere to turn for political representation, as neither viable political party is paying much attention to that constituency. Under a PR system, if I can meet some minimum threshold (often something like 5% of the national or regional/provincial popular vote), I suddenly have a good shot at gaining a seat on the national/provincial legislative body.

It's more difficult to wind up with divided government in a parliamentary system
Because the executive is chosen from the governing coalition of the legislature, it should in theory be ideologically compatible with the legislature by default. You avoid a situation where because the Prime Minister's party no longer has a majority in the legislature, that the executive can't pass any of its legislation/make executive or judicial appointments/conduct the general business of the state.

PR systems create more ideologically coherent political parties
I'm sure there'll be disagreement on this, and I'm more than willing to hear how I'm mistaken on this count, but in my opinion the kinds of parties that should in theory result from a PR system should be somewhat narrower in scope and more internally consistent in their ideology. An example of a party that I think is ideologically inconsistent, specifically because of the nature of two-party politics, is the Republican Party here in the U.S. I feel that it's only through a warping of normal political positions that you can have people in a single party who believe that: A) the U.S. government should be as small and unintrusive as possible, but also that B) it should legislate who you can marry and whether or not you're forced to carry an unborn child to term, as well as C) maintain the world's most expansive defense sector whose spending can never be reduced.

Less emphasis on personality politics, much more emphasis on party positions
Parliamentary systems typically operate off of party lists. As a citizen, you cast your vote for a political party, and based on what percentage of the vote your preferred party gets, that many names down the list will win seats in the local or national representative body. No personal campaigning, no endless fundraising based on personal connections and "charisma" (whatever that means).

There's a highly relevant phenomenon that's worth mentioning: Duverger's law. In summary, it maintains that FPTP systems will necessarily result in a two-party state, because there's little electoral space for more than two viable parties; basically, you'd really only ever consider one alternative to your preferred candidate, because everyone knows the third guy has no chance of winning.

I should also mention that, iirc, every single election in the U.S. isn't necessarily FPTP, but the most important ones (national presidential elections, Senate and House elections) are all FPTP, to the best of my knowledge.

Sound good? Have I missed something about the U.S. political system that would keep a parliamentary system with PR from being viable here (outside of a simple lack of political will to enact such radical change)?

Hamurabi on
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Posts

  • Captain CarrotCaptain Carrot Alexandria, VARegistered User regular
    I don't think 2 and 4 are actual benefits. There's nothing wrong with making people work together when they don't agree on everything (and a coalition government requires that anyway), nor is there a problem with politicians not being beholden to the party. Also, combining the legislative and executive branches, as making a parliament would require, could only be done through a constitutional amendment.

  • HamurabiHamurabi AmsterdamRegistered User regular
    I thought about adding a little disclaimer down at the bottom about how I didn't necessarily intend to map out exactly how this would be done, because I'm interested in how such a system would work more than I care about how to implement it tomorrow, but it would clearly require extensive constitutional amendments to achieve the unitary state model, completely change the voting system, etc.

  • Xenogears of BoreXenogears of Bore Registered User regular
    Parliments almost always devolve into two mega coalitions anyways; the ruling party and the opposition.

    Democrats and Republicans are just two mega coalitions that rarely switch their member parties.

    3DS CODE: 3093-7068-3576
  • The Fourth EstateThe Fourth Estate Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    It's easier to maintain internal party discipline than coalition discipline.

    In theory this leads to more representative policy under PR as it gets harder to whip unpopular legislation.

    The Fourth Estate on
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  • ToxTox I kill threads Punch DimensionRegistered User regular
    I don't think 2 is an absolute requirement for a PR system.

    Personally, I think the PR system should be organized at the state level. Have the President elected by straight popular vote, but congressional representatives, and possibly all of the state-level government officials, could be done along PR lines. Turn the Senate back the way it was originally, with the senators representing the state-at-large and being chosen by the state government, and you end up with a pretty good system, imo. You get PR in the congress, you have PR at the state level, so you have a pseudo-PR Senate, and you have a popularly elected president.

    I don't know why, but I really feel like having a general election where everybody votes for a specific person to run the country is too much of an Americanism to get rid of. PR could work for the congress, and possibly even the states, but I don't see us electing a President the same way other countries elect their PMs.

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  • ToxTox I kill threads Punch DimensionRegistered User regular
    Also no way in hell Federalism gets replaced. Just don't see it happening.

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  • Captain CarrotCaptain Carrot Alexandria, VARegistered User regular
    Tox, I'm confused. Why do you want to repeal the 17th amendment?

  • ToxTox I kill threads Punch DimensionRegistered User regular
    Tox, I'm confused. Why do you want to repeal the 17th amendment?

    Now explicitly saying I do, under the current system. However, being as PR would only work in the US if it was still Federal, and not Unitary, Senators wouldn't really work the way we elect them now, it'd still be FPTP. So if you want the closest to a PR you can get, you move them back to how it was before the 17th, so they're appointed by a state government that was elected using the PR system.

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  • Brian KrakowBrian Krakow Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Or you could just abolish that pus-oozing boil on the face of the Constitution.

    Brian Krakow on
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Or you could just abolish that pus-oozing boil on the face of the Constitution.

    ?

    Lh96QHG.png
  • ToxTox I kill threads Punch DimensionRegistered User regular
    Or you could just abolish that pus-oozing boil on the face of the Constitution.

    ?

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  • Brian KrakowBrian Krakow Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Or you could just abolish that pus-oozing boil on the face of the Constitution.

    ?

    You know, the Senate, The Greatest Deliberative Body in the World. Home to such great legislators as John Calhoun, Trent Lott, Joe Lieberman, and other notable mother fuckers.

    As to the question posed by the OP, I'm against systems that don't allow substantial intra-party democracy to take place.

    Brian Krakow on
  • ToxTox I kill threads Punch DimensionRegistered User regular
    Or you could just abolish that pus-oozing boil on the face of the Constitution.

    ?

    You know, the Senate, The Greatest Deliberative Body in the World. Home to such great legislators as John F Kennedy and Barack Obama.

    FTFY

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  • Brian KrakowBrian Krakow Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Neither Kennedy nor Obama were great legislators while in the Senate. Which wasn't their fault, since they were junior Senators operating in a chamber designed to obstruct and to obfuscate.

    But I was just pointing out that the way to integrate the Senate into a system of proportional representation would be to get rid of it altogether. Otherwise, the system wouldn't be proportional at all. This thread is only tangentially about the Senate so I'll shut up now about how it was the dumbest compromise ever made by a nation whose history is characterized by idiotic, unsustainable compromises.

    Brian Krakow on
  • ToxTox I kill threads Punch DimensionRegistered User regular
    So I guess the baseline is that the Senate becomes the biggest sticking point in the transfer to a PR system. We'd have to work out how the Senate would exist and function in a PR system before we could roll toward one.

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  • GoslingGosling Looking Up Soccer In Mongolia Right Now, Probably Watertown, WIRegistered User regular
    I could say the same thing about any governmental body. Any job you make will be put at risk of being filled by a motherfucker, and they will be as much of a motherfucker as the job permits. Motherfucker-B-Gone has not been invented yet.

    The House has assholes in it all the time. In fact, it's pretty much designed to be more asshole-intensive than the Senate. The Presidency has them too- Andrew Jackson, LBJ, Warren Harding. And those places are more inclined to give the asshole ability to not just obstruct the other guy's stuff, but to ram through their own assholish agendas. You might argue that that's even worse. Look what's been going on lately when assholes have been allowed to operate unobstructed. You want to facilitate more of that?

    Obstruction's not the problem. Assholes are the problem.

    I have a new soccer blog The Minnow Tank. Reading it psychically kicks Sepp Blatter in the bean bag.
  • ToxTox I kill threads Punch DimensionRegistered User regular
    I don't Awesome Post political thread posts anymore, but @Gosling, you're making it hard to stick by that policy.

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  • HamurabiHamurabi AmsterdamRegistered User regular
    Gosling wrote: »
    I could say the same thing about any governmental body. Any job you make will be put at risk of being filled by a motherfucker, and they will be as much of a motherfucker as the job permits. Motherfucker-B-Gone has not been invented yet.

    The House has assholes in it all the time. In fact, it's pretty much designed to be more asshole-intensive than the Senate. The Presidency has them too- Andrew Jackson, LBJ, Warren Harding. And those places are more inclined to give the asshole ability to not just obstruct the other guy's stuff, but to ram through their own assholish agendas. You might argue that that's even worse. Look what's been going on lately when assholes have been allowed to operate unobstructed. You want to facilitate more of that?

    Obstruction's not the problem. Assholes are the problem.

    This is a tension I run into.

    While I don't generally like to put it so, erm, indelicately as calling people Assholes, I do obviously have my own opinions about the direction in which things ought to go... but on the other hand, creating a better system or trying to improve the existing system doesn't necessarily mean getting more of what I want out of that system. Over half of the U.S. population thinks Iran already has a nuclear weapon, for instance. Then there was that stat a year ago or so that confirmed that a non-trivial percentage of the GOP (or was it the general population?) actually thought the president was a Muslim. Those are pretty damning reflections of the level of ignorance of the voting public -- but they still get a vote.

    Streamlining the system of governance would only make it easier for those people to enact their preferred policies, which is kind of a scary thought.

  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    We've had this thread before. Everyone seems so in love with parliamentary systems and yet we have threads dedicated to how shitty the government is being in Canada and the UK and Europe et. al.

    There is literally nothing that is wrong with the United States that would be solved by changing the way our government works. Like Gosling said, the assholes are the problem.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • ToxTox I kill threads Punch DimensionRegistered User regular
    We've had this thread before. Everyone seems so in love with parliamentary systems and yet we have threads dedicated to how shitty the government is being in Canada and the UK and Europe et. al.

    There is literally nothing that is wrong with the United States that would be solved by changing the way our government works. Like Gosling said, the assholes are the problem.

    I disagree vehemently. The biggest problem the PR system could help with is voter participation. Generally speaking, people don't vote because they don't think their vote matters. In a PR system, votes matter more, and can have a greater impact. So people are more likely to turn out and vote.

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  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Tox wrote: »
    We've had this thread before. Everyone seems so in love with parliamentary systems and yet we have threads dedicated to how shitty the government is being in Canada and the UK and Europe et. al.

    There is literally nothing that is wrong with the United States that would be solved by changing the way our government works. Like Gosling said, the assholes are the problem.

    I disagree vehemently. The biggest problem the PR system could help with is voter participation. Generally speaking, people don't vote because they don't think their vote matters. In a PR system, votes matter more, and can have a greater impact. So people are more likely to turn out and vote.

    That's hardly why people don't vote. It's also a bullshit excuse. You could solve this problem with more voter information and better outreach. We live in a world where more people vote for American Idol than for political office, you don't solve that with PR.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    Tox wrote: »
    We've had this thread before. Everyone seems so in love with parliamentary systems and yet we have threads dedicated to how shitty the government is being in Canada and the UK and Europe et. al.

    There is literally nothing that is wrong with the United States that would be solved by changing the way our government works. Like Gosling said, the assholes are the problem.

    I disagree vehemently. The biggest problem the PR system could help with is voter participation. Generally speaking, people don't vote because they don't think their vote matters. In a PR system, votes matter more, and can have a greater impact. So people are more likely to turn out and vote.

    I don't know if PR and turnout are linked to that degree. That isn't to say that PR of some kind, at some level wouldn't help with US turnout, but that it wouldn't be an outcome one could rely upon happening. For example, turnout in NZ was very high for most of our FPTP era (about 70 years, in the last cycle) and has actually started to decline a bit during the last couple of PR elections

    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    Tox wrote: »
    We've had this thread before. Everyone seems so in love with parliamentary systems and yet we have threads dedicated to how shitty the government is being in Canada and the UK and Europe et. al.

    There is literally nothing that is wrong with the United States that would be solved by changing the way our government works. Like Gosling said, the assholes are the problem.

    I disagree vehemently. The biggest problem the PR system could help with is voter participation. Generally speaking, people don't vote because they don't think their vote matters. In a PR system, votes matter more, and can have a greater impact. So people are more likely to turn out and vote.

    And plenty of those people will be assholes. Who will then elect assholes. We might consider, just for a moment, that our elected representatives actually "represent" us a lot more than we like to think.

    Aside from some distortions caused by the Senate (and amplified by the rules in that body), that is.

    People act like voter participation is some kind of miracle cure for poor government. Yet...I do hear Australians complain about their government as well, right? And it does sound at least a little dysfunctional?

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    Tox wrote: »
    We've had this thread before. Everyone seems so in love with parliamentary systems and yet we have threads dedicated to how shitty the government is being in Canada and the UK and Europe et. al.

    There is literally nothing that is wrong with the United States that would be solved by changing the way our government works. Like Gosling said, the assholes are the problem.

    I disagree vehemently. The biggest problem the PR system could help with is voter participation. Generally speaking, people don't vote because they don't think their vote matters. In a PR system, votes matter more, and can have a greater impact. So people are more likely to turn out and vote.

    That's hardly why people don't vote. It's also a bullshit excuse. You could solve this problem with more voter information and better outreach. We live in a world where more people vote for American Idol than for political office, you don't solve that with PR.

    And you have to ask if getting the kind of people who would vote for American Idol but not public office to turn out would really "fix" anything.

    Voter participation is good and all, but not necessarily a worthy goal in and of itself. If everybody turns out and still elects assholes...yay?

  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    That's why voter education is so important. Civics classes need to be a lot more in depth and a lot more mandatory, in my opinion.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    That's why voter education is so important. Civics classes need to be a lot more in depth and a lot more mandatory, in my opinion.

    Definitely.

    I'm just not buying that PR, or increasing voter participation, are magic bullets to make things better. I'll concede that I could just be far too jaded about the terribleness of the American people, and for that matter human beings in general.

  • override367override367 ALL minions Registered User regular
    children should be sent to the mines if they can't pass civics in early highschool

    Or we can like, start our own version of the hunger games or something. For the greater good!

  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    mcdermott wrote: »
    That's why voter education is so important. Civics classes need to be a lot more in depth and a lot more mandatory, in my opinion.

    Definitely.

    I'm just not buying that PR, or increasing voter participation, are magic bullets to make things better. I'll concede that I could just be far too jaded about the terribleness of the American people, and for that matter human beings in general.

    No, you're right. There is nothing that can magically make things better about just increasing the vote turn out.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    mcdermott wrote: »
    That's why voter education is so important. Civics classes need to be a lot more in depth and a lot more mandatory, in my opinion.

    Definitely.

    I'm just not buying that PR, or increasing voter participation, are magic bullets to make things better. I'll concede that I could just be far too jaded about the terribleness of the American people, and for that matter human beings in general.

    No, you're right. There is nothing that can magically make things better about just increasing the vote turn out.

    Except we'd always vote in Democrats. :P

    Herbert Hoover got 40% of the vote in 1932. Friendly reminder.
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    mcdermott wrote: »
    That's why voter education is so important. Civics classes need to be a lot more in depth and a lot more mandatory, in my opinion.

    Definitely.

    I'm just not buying that PR, or increasing voter participation, are magic bullets to make things better. I'll concede that I could just be far too jaded about the terribleness of the American people, and for that matter human beings in general.

    No, you're right. There is nothing that can magically make things better about just increasing the vote turn out.

    Except we'd always vote in Democrats. :P

    Ha, keep telling yourself that if it helps you sleep at night.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    Statistically, that's actually true. Which is frustrating to no end.

    Herbert Hoover got 40% of the vote in 1932. Friendly reminder.
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    mcdermott wrote: »
    That's why voter education is so important. Civics classes need to be a lot more in depth and a lot more mandatory, in my opinion.

    Definitely.

    I'm just not buying that PR, or increasing voter participation, are magic bullets to make things better. I'll concede that I could just be far too jaded about the terribleness of the American people, and for that matter human beings in general.

    No, you're right. There is nothing that can magically make things better about just increasing the vote turn out.

    Except we'd always vote in Democrats. :P

    Ha, keep telling yourself that if it helps you sleep at night.

    There's a reason why conservatives, especially social conservatives, have increasingly focused on voter suppression for the past 3 decades:

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  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Tox wrote: »
    We've had this thread before. Everyone seems so in love with parliamentary systems and yet we have threads dedicated to how shitty the government is being in Canada and the UK and Europe et. al.

    There is literally nothing that is wrong with the United States that would be solved by changing the way our government works. Like Gosling said, the assholes are the problem.

    I disagree vehemently. The biggest problem the PR system could help with is voter participation. Generally speaking, people don't vote because they don't think their vote matters. In a PR system, votes matter more, and can have a greater impact. So people are more likely to turn out and vote.

    That's hardly why people don't vote. It's also a bullshit excuse. You could solve this problem with more voter information and better outreach. We live in a world where more people vote for American Idol than for political office, you don't solve that with PR.

    But voting for American Idol is both (1) much more convenient that voting for the president and (2) since it is a straight count, without any electoral college like system, each vote counts more. I actually think that moving to a straight popular vote could signifigantly increase turnouts in states that reliably vote for one party (like NY, CA, TX). I also think that lowering the cost of voting would help, which is why I think the whole country should vote by mail. Oregon does it, and has incredibly high turnout.

    7zh9uu9etcor.jpg
    Chanus wrote:
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  • Anarchy Rules!Anarchy Rules! Registered User regular
    As an outsider, I do get the impression that the US senate is a tad broken with legislation unable to pass.

    The UK parliamentary system is still FPTP, resulting in a 2.5party set up (Labour-Conservative-Liberal Democrats), such a system usually guarantees a majority government. However as a result, this often allows the government to pass a lot of legislation, some of which can be badly thought through and dysfunctional.

    PR parliamentary systems generally result in a greater number of parties. Whilst these parliaments can be decisive and produce functional government they do run the risk of producing severe problems. For a start, there will be a lot of horseplay after elections as the parties negotiate about policies, where sides differ significantly can prevent formation of a government - in Belgium they went 590 days without a government after an unclear election.

    Another feature is that smaller parties (often representing more nuttier ideas) can become much more powerful - say an election splits the field 50-50 between two main blocks with a one party holding a single seat. That party could negotiate and wield a huge amount of power.

  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Tox wrote: »
    We've had this thread before. Everyone seems so in love with parliamentary systems and yet we have threads dedicated to how shitty the government is being in Canada and the UK and Europe et. al.

    There is literally nothing that is wrong with the United States that would be solved by changing the way our government works. Like Gosling said, the assholes are the problem.

    I disagree vehemently. The biggest problem the PR system could help with is voter participation. Generally speaking, people don't vote because they don't think their vote matters. In a PR system, votes matter more, and can have a greater impact. So people are more likely to turn out and vote.

    That's hardly why people don't vote. It's also a bullshit excuse. You could solve this problem with more voter information and better outreach. We live in a world where more people vote for American Idol than for political office, you don't solve that with PR.

    But voting for American Idol is both (1) much more convenient that voting for the president and (2) since it is a straight count, without any electoral college like system, each vote counts more. I actually think that moving to a straight popular vote could signifigantly increase turnouts in states that reliably vote for one party (like NY, CA, TX). I also think that lowering the cost of voting would help, which is why I think the whole country should vote by mail. Oregon does it, and has incredibly high turnout.

    I would tentatively get behind tweaking or removing the Electoral College, but there's nothing wrong with the United States that simply changing the voting set up or the government's structure is going to fix so it'd be silly to try and separate these questions. I'm of the opinion that if we fix the poor voter quality the issues with our government would solve themselves.

    Your vote very much does count, but its convenient for people on the right and the left to make it seem like it doesn't.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    Tox wrote: »
    We've had this thread before. Everyone seems so in love with parliamentary systems and yet we have threads dedicated to how shitty the government is being in Canada and the UK and Europe et. al.

    There is literally nothing that is wrong with the United States that would be solved by changing the way our government works. Like Gosling said, the assholes are the problem.

    I disagree vehemently. The biggest problem the PR system could help with is voter participation. Generally speaking, people don't vote because they don't think their vote matters. In a PR system, votes matter more, and can have a greater impact. So people are more likely to turn out and vote.

    That's hardly why people don't vote. It's also a bullshit excuse. You could solve this problem with more voter information and better outreach. We live in a world where more people vote for American Idol than for political office, you don't solve that with PR.

    But voting for American Idol is both (1) much more convenient that voting for the president and (2) since it is a straight count, without any electoral college like system, each vote counts more. I actually think that moving to a straight popular vote could signifigantly increase turnouts in states that reliably vote for one party (like NY, CA, TX). I also think that lowering the cost of voting would help, which is why I think the whole country should vote by mail. Oregon does it, and has incredibly high turnout.

    I would tentatively get behind tweaking or removing the Electoral College, but there's nothing wrong with the United States that simply changing the voting set up or the government's structure is going to fix so it'd be silly to try and separate these questions. I'm of the opinion that if we fix the poor voter quality the issues with our government would solve themselves.

    Your vote very much does count, but its convenient for people on the right and the left to make it seem like it doesn't.

    Could you elaborate on the last sentence? While it is clearly true that if no one votes for your candidate, your candidate will lose, if you are confident that your candidate will win your state, then you as an individual have little incentive to vote. Its just a collective action problem, but I think it may be solved, or at least lessened, by eliminating the electoral college.

    7zh9uu9etcor.jpg
    Chanus wrote:
    It's been a butt come true! I get to work with the absolute best boobs in the business. What more could a money ask for? Kids, aim for the freeloaders !

    @chanus
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Tox wrote: »
    We've had this thread before. Everyone seems so in love with parliamentary systems and yet we have threads dedicated to how shitty the government is being in Canada and the UK and Europe et. al.

    There is literally nothing that is wrong with the United States that would be solved by changing the way our government works. Like Gosling said, the assholes are the problem.

    I disagree vehemently. The biggest problem the PR system could help with is voter participation. Generally speaking, people don't vote because they don't think their vote matters. In a PR system, votes matter more, and can have a greater impact. So people are more likely to turn out and vote.

    That's hardly why people don't vote. It's also a bullshit excuse. You could solve this problem with more voter information and better outreach. We live in a world where more people vote for American Idol than for political office, you don't solve that with PR.

    But voting for American Idol is both (1) much more convenient that voting for the president and (2) since it is a straight count, without any electoral college like system, each vote counts more. I actually think that moving to a straight popular vote could signifigantly increase turnouts in states that reliably vote for one party (like NY, CA, TX). I also think that lowering the cost of voting would help, which is why I think the whole country should vote by mail. Oregon does it, and has incredibly high turnout.

    I would tentatively get behind tweaking or removing the Electoral College, but there's nothing wrong with the United States that simply changing the voting set up or the government's structure is going to fix so it'd be silly to try and separate these questions. I'm of the opinion that if we fix the poor voter quality the issues with our government would solve themselves.

    Your vote very much does count, but its convenient for people on the right and the left to make it seem like it doesn't.

    Could you elaborate on the last sentence? While it is clearly true that if no one votes for your candidate, your candidate will lose, if you are confident that your candidate will win your state, then you as an individual have little incentive to vote. Its just a collective action problem, but I think it may be solved, or at least lessened, by eliminating the electoral college.

    It is very rare for there to be only one office up at a time. If you're only focused on the top office, then congrats you're part of the problem. Down ticket races are important, more important I would say, than the top offices because that's where people can take control of their party.

    The people who benefit from this malaise about voting are the people in power on both sides of the aisle who would be thrown out on their asses if people started paying attention.

    Liberals do themselves no favors by throwing up their hands and saying "my vote doesn't matter" and hoping for an AV voting system or something to magic itself up.

    With that, moving to an AV or PR vote system will do nothing if it isn't coupled with more voter education and turn out drives. If anything it would make them worse. In my opinon, our system wouldn't be broken if we had voters who knew who to blame (instead of just blaming/crediting the president: gas prices being a good example, unemployment being another) and if people actually showed up to vote down ticket the two parties would be more representative in general.

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  • ZephiranZephiran Registered User regular
    Single Transferable Vote.

    Vote for your sweethearts first and hedge your bets by placing the tactical candidate on second or third preference.

    Solves everything.

    Alright and in this next scene all the animals have AIDS.

    I got a little excited when I saw your ship.
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Doesn't solve people voting and not knowing what they're talking about. Which is the biggest problem. So no, it doesn't solve anything.

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  • QliphothQliphoth Registered User
    Preferential voting is far better than the FPTP system. We get a more representative parliament than the US thanks to this.

    On the compulsory voting issue, it probably isn't that much of a difference, it probably just pushes the main parties to the centre a bit more as they've got to appeal to the apathetic swing voters in the middle to win election. This doesn't make too much difference however as we get the third parties to make up for it, as our Labour party (democrat equivalent) has gone very centrist the leftist green party has gained significantly more votes and now holds the balance of power in the senate.

    Similar things happened to the Liberals (Republicans) in the 1990s when a xenophobic tea party-esque party rose to prominence, the end result was the liberals moving a bit further right to maintain their votes. I'd expect an equivalent left move is coming in the next few years from Labour as we fight out this generations social issues (gay marriage, euthanasia etc).

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