Club PA 2.0 has arrived! If you'd like to access some extra PA content and help support the forums, check it out at patreon.com/ClubPA
The image size limit has been raised to 1mb! Anything larger than that should be linked to. This is a HARD limit, please do not abuse it.
Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

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

135

Posts

  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    Bullshit, it's very simple to understand who is "responsible" for things in the US. The Federal system isn't that hard to understand and blame is shared by all three branches in some instances and the State governments in most.

    Fun question, who is most responsible for the stimulus package being the size it was?

    A) Larry Summers
    B) Barack Obama
    C) The Maine Twins
    D) Nancy Pelosi
    E) Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman
    F) Mitch McConnell

    I could basically pose that question on any piece of legislation with an equally bipartisan and equally muddled list of options.

    Herbert Hoover got 40% of the vote in 1932. Friendly reminder.
    Warren 2020
  • PantsBPantsB Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    spool32 wrote: »
    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.

    Pretty much this.
    Divided government is not a bad thing when compared to absolutist governments. Checks and balances are good for government. Indeed, one of the biggest problems from a theoretical standpoint of the Westminster style of government is that majority power is unchecked. Requiring consensus can sometimes slow governmental action... but that's a feature not a bug. In times of crisis where immediate action was needed, the US has never had a problem truly unifying sufficiently to meet those demands. When it is not, having asshats for a minority slowing things down might be inconvenient but it works. The system of government in the United States has been approaching truly democratic* for longer than any country in the world, and has produced one of the most power, prosperous and stable states in human hsitory.

    Don't hate the game... hate the players. I strongly dislike conservative politics. I frankly think its closer to evil in its current form than honest disagreement. And the only reason its not running the United States right now is because we have checks and balances. The US comes up with some dumb policies, yeah. That's not because of a bicameral legislature or the Senate, its because of asshole Legislators. The White House has had fools and bastards, but its not because they were independent from Congress. There's a lot of support for barbaric, ignorant, and irrational politicians, but that's not the fault of First Past the Post voting, that's the fault of the voters.

    Bush unchecked by Congress is not better than Bush that has to go through a Senate that puts up some resistance. Obama with a hostile House or foot dragging Senate is better than Obama being kicked out two years before most of his policies go into effect.

    *
    There are certainly older Parliaments, but most were for non-independent states. The United Kingdom, the most notable exception, didn't have anything approaching broad male suffrage into the late 19th-early 20th century(about 100 years after the US abolished property requirements), and for much of that time the House of Commons was either explicitly or implicitly beholden to the unelected House of Lords and/or monarch.

    ed
    Additionally 1 and 3 aren't really coherent. If the system allows for representation from more specific parties (ie the Communist party with 1% support), coalitions will need to be broader to achieve majority support and thus control of Parliament. This will lead to direct contradictions in platform ideology. These contradictions will require the weaker party to compromise and/or reduce ideological coherence. This broader coalition could easily be less appealing to a voter than other parties that might have formed a majority. For instance, a Libertarian might emphasize Civil Rights above all but find out after he or she votes that the Libertarian MPs have aligned with the Pro Business Party, Neo-Con party and Family Values party to form a coalition government. The Libertarian may or may not approve of this coalition over another coalition, but until the votes are counted he or she doesn't know what government he or she is actually voting for. A Two Party system just creates the coalitions first. And a non-Parliamentary system elects people, so if you're a Libertarian Republican and you elect a Libertarian Republican, you can hope he or she will break ranks when appropriate. Or you can vote someone who doesn't do that out.

    PantsB on
    11793-1.png
    day9gosu.png
    QEDMF xbl: PantsB G+
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Bullshit, it's very simple to understand who is "responsible" for things in the US. The Federal system isn't that hard to understand and blame is shared by all three branches in some instances and the State governments in most.

    Fun question, who is most responsible for the stimulus package being the size it was?

    A) Larry Summers
    B) Barack Obama
    C) The Maine Twins
    D) Nancy Pelosi
    E) Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman
    F) Mitch McConnell

    I could basically pose that question on any piece of legislation with an equally bipartisan and equally muddled list of options.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • chrisnlchrisnl Registered User regular
    I'm curious as to how many countries have a system setup like the United States of America. Mexico comes to mind as being largely similar, are there others?

    steam_sig.png
  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Generally, in a country with coalitions as the norm, the probable coalitions and key bargaining points seem to be widely known by anyone who cares to inform themself. Or at least that is how it works in NZ. Not too dissimilar I guess from a person who cares to inform them-self about a two party non proportional system's parties.

    The key difference seems to be that while a big party has internal coalitions, the fault lines and specific in party bargains are rarely known or understood. Whereas in the NZ style PR coalitions, the terms of agreement are always specified in a written Heads of Agreement between the principal party and its smaller partners. That of course does not mean that we know how the parties got to that agreement, but we do know broadly what it is and can "keep them honest" at the next election.

    Here is an example of such an agreement, from the 2008 campaign, between the big right wing party, National, and a smaller neo-liberal party, ACT.

    http://www.act.org.nz/files/agreement.pdf

    Kalkino on
    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
  • enlightenedbumenlightenedbum Registered User regular
    Bullshit, it's very simple to understand who is "responsible" for things in the US. The Federal system isn't that hard to understand and blame is shared by all three branches in some instances and the State governments in most.

    Fun question, who is most responsible for the stimulus package being the size it was?

    A) Larry Summers
    B) Barack Obama
    C) The Maine Twins
    D) Nancy Pelosi
    E) Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman
    F) Mitch McConnell

    I could basically pose that question on any piece of legislation with an equally bipartisan and equally muddled list of options.

    And here's the follow up: who does the public assign credit to?

    Herbert Hoover got 40% of the vote in 1932. Friendly reminder.
    Warren 2020
  • Dis'Dis' Registered User regular
    chrisnl wrote: »
    I'm curious as to how many countries have a system setup like the United States of America. Mexico comes to mind as being largely similar, are there others?

    A number of Latin American and African countries initially adopted very similar set ups to the US, then modified them when it lead to things like coups and dictatorships (or you know, just stayed dictatorships).

    The US presidential set up seems to produce authoritarian stress due to the winner take all nature of the presidency, as being locked out in the cold for years with no power or patronage is very polarising. The US seems to avoid this due to the raising of the Constitution to the status of civil religion, and having such economic dynamism that most of the politically involved are pretty comfortable. Putting the US system in a poorer country, with higher economic stakes for losing the winner-take all contests, creates serious problems.

  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    Dis' wrote: »
    chrisnl wrote: »
    I'm curious as to how many countries have a system setup like the United States of America. Mexico comes to mind as being largely similar, are there others?

    A number of Latin American and African countries initially adopted very similar set ups to the US, then modified them when it lead to things like coups and dictatorships (or you know, just stayed dictatorships).

    The US presidential set up seems to produce authoritarian stress due to the winner take all nature of the presidency, as being locked out in the cold for years with no power or patronage is very polarising. The US seems to avoid this due to the raising of the Constitution to the status of civil religion, and having such economic dynamism that most of the politically involved are pretty comfortable. Putting the US system in a poorer country, with higher economic stakes for losing the winner-take all contests, creates serious problems.

    Similar outcomes were noticed in the ex British colonies in the years after independence. First past the post Westminster parliamentary democracy lends itself to dictatorial rule in many new states it seems!

    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Bullshit, it's very simple to understand who is "responsible" for things in the US. The Federal system isn't that hard to understand and blame is shared by all three branches in some instances and the State governments in most.

    Fun question, who is most responsible for the stimulus package being the size it was?

    A) Larry Summers
    B) Barack Obama
    C) The Maine Twins
    D) Nancy Pelosi
    E) Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman
    F) Mitch McConnell

    I could basically pose that question on any piece of legislation with an equally bipartisan and equally muddled list of options.

    And here's the follow up: who does the public assign credit to?

    Are we talking ideally or in reality? Because in reality all blame and credit goes to the White House because most people don't understand that the President isn't King.

    Ideally people would look at specific bills and assign the correct amount of blame/credit to each individual.

    If your point is that people should learn more about their government, I agree. If it isn't I'm not sure I know what you're aiming at.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Kalkino wrote: »
    Dis' wrote: »
    chrisnl wrote: »
    I'm curious as to how many countries have a system setup like the United States of America. Mexico comes to mind as being largely similar, are there others?

    A number of Latin American and African countries initially adopted very similar set ups to the US, then modified them when it lead to things like coups and dictatorships (or you know, just stayed dictatorships).

    The US presidential set up seems to produce authoritarian stress due to the winner take all nature of the presidency, as being locked out in the cold for years with no power or patronage is very polarising. The US seems to avoid this due to the raising of the Constitution to the status of civil religion, and having such economic dynamism that most of the politically involved are pretty comfortable. Putting the US system in a poorer country, with higher economic stakes for losing the winner-take all contests, creates serious problems.

    Similar outcomes were noticed in the ex British colonies in the years after independence. First past the post Westminster parliamentary democracy lends itself to dictatorial rule in many new states it seems!

    Civilization is three meals away from anarchy, folks. There's a reason that Iraq and Afghanistan are still occupado.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • Dis'Dis' Registered User regular
    Kalkino wrote: »
    Similar outcomes were noticed in the ex British colonies in the years after independence. First past the post Westminster parliamentary democracy lends itself to dictatorial rule in many new states it seems!

    There is a difference between reacting to a colonial legacy (with all the lack of legitimacy that comes with it) and overthrowing a system you chose yourself, especially as the Latin america polities tended to be older and more coherent nation states and still hitting problems. Besides the Westminster system has had a few successes mixed in with the failures :).

  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    Kalkino wrote: »
    Dis' wrote: »
    chrisnl wrote: »
    I'm curious as to how many countries have a system setup like the United States of America. Mexico comes to mind as being largely similar, are there others?

    A number of Latin American and African countries initially adopted very similar set ups to the US, then modified them when it lead to things like coups and dictatorships (or you know, just stayed dictatorships).

    The US presidential set up seems to produce authoritarian stress due to the winner take all nature of the presidency, as being locked out in the cold for years with no power or patronage is very polarising. The US seems to avoid this due to the raising of the Constitution to the status of civil religion, and having such economic dynamism that most of the politically involved are pretty comfortable. Putting the US system in a poorer country, with higher economic stakes for losing the winner-take all contests, creates serious problems.

    Similar outcomes were noticed in the ex British colonies in the years after independence. First past the post Westminster parliamentary democracy lends itself to dictatorial rule in many new states it seems!

    Civilization is three meals away from anarchy, folks. There's a reason that Iraq and Afghanistan are still occupado.

    Indeed. There is clearly a lot that goes into making a stable democratic state.

    I sometimes think that a big reason why the Second Empire colonies that became Dominions did well because Britain kept military and economic power over each of them and would clearly not stand for any shameless coups or the like, unlike post the WW2 independence wave. So when a government or colony got into trouble that was not an option for the leadership/other elites. Clearly there are a lot of other factors too, but that one I think is neglected.

    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Dis' wrote: »
    Kalkino wrote: »
    Similar outcomes were noticed in the ex British colonies in the years after independence. First past the post Westminster parliamentary democracy lends itself to dictatorial rule in many new states it seems!

    There is a difference between reacting to a colonial legacy (with all the lack of legitimacy that comes with it) and overthrowing a system you chose yourself, especially as the Latin america polities tended to be older and more coherent nation states and still hitting problems. Besides the Westminster system has had a few successes mixed in with the failures :).

    Is this the point where we start pretending that Latin America isn't the result of colonialism?

    I suspect that it's really only related to colonialism in the sense that these are poorer parts of the world.

    Example: The Northeast has fairly reasonable state governments while the south wallows in gilded age nostalgia.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • Dis'Dis' Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Is this the point where we start pretending that Latin America isn't the result of colonialism?

    Their chosen presidential-constitutional governments were certainly not the result of colonialism, which was my point.

    American systems works not because of the magic sanctity of checks and balances, but because it has a culture of trust and respect of the law and governing structures (and is really wealthy). I agree with your earlier points it is problems of the voters not the system, no matter how some people fellate the constitution and others bash it.

    Dis' on
  • KalkinoKalkino Buttons Londres Registered User regular
    Dis' wrote: »
    Kalkino wrote: »
    Similar outcomes were noticed in the ex British colonies in the years after independence. First past the post Westminster parliamentary democracy lends itself to dictatorial rule in many new states it seems!

    There is a difference between reacting to a colonial legacy (with all the lack of legitimacy that comes with it) and overthrowing a system you chose yourself, especially as the Latin america polities tended to be older and more coherent nation states and still hitting problems. Besides the Westminster system has had a few successes mixed in with the failures :).

    Is this the point where we start pretending that Latin America isn't the result of colonialism?

    I suspect that it's really only related to colonialism in the sense that these are poorer parts of the world.

    Example: The Northeast has fairly reasonable state governments while the south wallows in gilded age nostalgia.

    Post independence settler colonies, who've had to fight for years or decades for independence/against local rebellions are a pretty different but related beast than colonialism, in the normal sense of the word

    Freedom for the Northern Isles!
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Dis' wrote: »
    Is this the point where we start pretending that Latin America isn't the result of colonialism?

    Their chosen presidential-constitutional governments were certainly not the result of colonialism, which was my point.

    But until very recently Latin America didn't have the kind of economic output that results in the relative peace the US, the UK, most of Europe, and our hangers on like Australia and Canada enjoy which I think is why our democracies tend to work out better. And Latin America is still very much reeling from colonialism, if not the Spanish than the kind that is also at work in Asia thanks to us dirty westerners and our love of cheap, convenient crap.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • Dis'Dis' Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Dis' wrote: »
    Is this the point where we start pretending that Latin America isn't the result of colonialism?

    Their chosen presidential-constitutional governments were certainly not the result of colonialism, which was my point.

    But until very recently Latin America didn't have the kind of economic output that results in the relative peace the US, the UK, most of Europe, and our hangers on like Australia and Canada enjoy which I think is why our democracies tend to work out better. And Latin America is still very much reeling from colonialism, if not the Spanish than the kind that is also at work in Asia thanks to us dirty westerners and our love of cheap, convenient crap.

    Obviously yes, I was agreeing with your earlier points wasn't I?

    When Argentina and Chile were some of the richest nations per capita back round the turn of the century things worked fine for them. Its just the US system works just as shit in those situations as any post-colonial legacy government (and sometimes worse).

    Dis' on
  • Edith UpwardsEdith Upwards Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    Ideally people would look at specific bills and assign the correct amount of blame/credit to each individual.

    Ideally, people would have the basic human decency required to type "Collateral Murder" into Google before launching into an eight paragraph long screed about it. Basic civics classes will help to some degree, but unless you engage in aggressive, subversive intellectualism, eg, actually explain shit instead of silently fuming, you're not going to see any change in your locality.

    Edith Upwards on
  • V1mV1m Registered User regular
    It's interesting to ponder what form of government the Confederacy would have today if Abe Lincoln had basically said "Vaya con dios"

  • Fallout2manFallout2man Registered User regular
    I'm beginning to think we need to design our system of government based on the premise of super-intelligent psychopaths all infiltrating it and attempting to turn it into one form or another of a dictatorship. Like, design congress based on the idea that both parties will inevitably be arguing in bad faith, for their own interests, and not care about shutting the whole thing down and screwing everyone if they don't get their way. Can't we build some type of a fault tolerant system that literally forces good policy to rise to the top despite the disingenuous assholes we elect? Because that's the system we need.

    On Ignorance:
    Kana wrote:
    If the best you can come up with against someone who's patently ignorant is to yell back at him, "Yeah? Well there's BOOKS, and they say you're WRONG!"

    Then honestly you're not coming out of this looking great either.
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Dis' wrote: »
    Dis' wrote: »
    Is this the point where we start pretending that Latin America isn't the result of colonialism?

    Their chosen presidential-constitutional governments were certainly not the result of colonialism, which was my point.

    But until very recently Latin America didn't have the kind of economic output that results in the relative peace the US, the UK, most of Europe, and our hangers on like Australia and Canada enjoy which I think is why our democracies tend to work out better. And Latin America is still very much reeling from colonialism, if not the Spanish than the kind that is also at work in Asia thanks to us dirty westerners and our love of cheap, convenient crap.

    Obviously yes, I was agreeing with your earlier points wasn't I?

    When Argentina and Chile were some of the richest nations per capita back round the turn of the century things worked fine for them. Its just the US system works just as shit in those situations as any post-colonial legacy government (and sometimes worse).

    Sorry, I wasn't trying to be combative, I was just putting out a hypothesis as to why places like Africa and Latin America have such a hard time with democracy.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Erich Zahn wrote: »
    Ideally people would look at specific bills and assign the correct amount of blame/credit to each individual.

    Ideally, people would have the basic human decency required to type "Collateral Murder" into Google before launching into an eight paragraph long screed about it. Basic civics classes will help to some degree, but unless you engage in aggressive, subversive intellectualism, eg, actually explain shit instead of silently fuming, you're not going to see any change in your locality.

    I agree with this.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    I'm beginning to think we need to design our system of government based on the premise of super-intelligent psychopaths all infiltrating it and attempting to turn it into one form or another of a dictatorship. Like, design congress based on the idea that both parties will inevitably be arguing in bad faith, for their own interests, and not care about shutting the whole thing down and screwing everyone if they don't get their way. Can't we build some type of a fault tolerant system that literally forces good policy to rise to the top despite the disingenuous assholes we elect? Because that's the system we need.

    Government by Batman?

    Lh96QHG.png
  • TenekTenek Registered User regular
    PantsB wrote: »
    Divided government is not a bad thing when compared to absolutist governments. Checks and balances are good for government. Indeed, one of the biggest problems from a theoretical standpoint of the Westminster style of government is that majority power is unchecked. Requiring consensus can sometimes slow governmental action... but that's a feature not a bug. In times of crisis where immediate action was needed, the US has never had a problem truly unifying sufficiently to meet those demands. When it is not, having asshats for a minority slowing things down might be inconvenient but it works. The system of government in the United States has been approaching truly democratic* for longer than any country in the world, and has produced one of the most power, prosperous and stable states in human hsitory.

    It's a bug when everything requires consensus involving people who benefit from not solving problems. Divided government hands a truckload of power to people who are not held accountable for how they use it. It's a pain in the ass when the party you don't like takes charge but they have to be careful or they get tossed out the next election. This is right up there with the Electoral College or the 10th amendment on the list of American peculiarities that get vigorously defended despite having massive drawbacks.

    Also, I call bullshit on "stable". America is one hijacked election away from a civil war.

  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Tenek wrote: »
    PantsB wrote: »
    Divided government is not a bad thing when compared to absolutist governments. Checks and balances are good for government. Indeed, one of the biggest problems from a theoretical standpoint of the Westminster style of government is that majority power is unchecked. Requiring consensus can sometimes slow governmental action... but that's a feature not a bug. In times of crisis where immediate action was needed, the US has never had a problem truly unifying sufficiently to meet those demands. When it is not, having asshats for a minority slowing things down might be inconvenient but it works. The system of government in the United States has been approaching truly democratic* for longer than any country in the world, and has produced one of the most power, prosperous and stable states in human hsitory.

    It's a bug when everything requires consensus involving people who benefit from not solving problems. Divided government hands a truckload of power to people who are not held accountable for how they use it. It's a pain in the ass when the party you don't like takes charge but they have to be careful or they get tossed out the next election. This is right up there with the Electoral College or the 10th amendment on the list of American peculiarities that get vigorously defended despite having massive drawbacks.

    Also, I call bullshit on "stable". America is one hijacked election away from a civil war.

    And the UK is one overzealous monarch away from civil war and Canada is one angry polar bear away from civil war and we're all one agitated blood vessel away from a stroke.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    Bullshit, it's very simple to understand who is "responsible" for things in the US. The Federal system isn't that hard to understand and blame is shared by all three branches in some instances and the State governments in most.

    Fun question, who is most responsible for the stimulus package being the size it was?

    A) Larry Summers
    B) Barack Obama
    C) The Maine Twins
    D) Nancy Pelosi
    E) Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman
    F) Mitch McConnell

    I could basically pose that question on any piece of legislation with an equally bipartisan and equally muddled list of options.

    And here's the follow up: who does the public assign credit to?

    Are we talking ideally or in reality? Because in reality all blame and credit goes to the White House because most people don't understand that the President isn't King.

    Ideally people would look at specific bills and assign the correct amount of blame/credit to each individual.

    If your point is that people should learn more about their government, I agree. If it isn't I'm not sure I know what you're aiming at.

    Okay, so how much responsibility/credit should be assigned to Olympia Snowe? I'll wait.

    ...

    The point is that it's dumb to have a system that effectively insulates officials from voter accountability, which is what the current system does a very good job of for every office except maybe the president.

    It is difficult for voters to assign accountability to legislators in the U.S. system. Even if you understand how the senate functions and pay attention to, say, the workings of its conference committees it is frequently very difficult to assign responsibility for a particular action to a given legislator. It is sometimes difficult to assign the result even to one party. This means that it's very difficult for the public to elect a legislature that will follow through on their policy preferences.

    Consider universal health care as an example. The idea that health care ought to be provided for every american has been a position held by the majority of the american public since at least the 1960s. Every democratic presidential candidate since truman has made it a major plank of their platform (most of the republican ones have, as well.) Any system of government that did a reasonably good job of translating voter preferences into policy would've long since enacted UHC, yet it was only last year that the united states did. This is because the legislative electoral process is (in most cases) almost completely disconnected from the performance of individual legislators, because the legislative process (and in the case of the senate their term of office) make it hard for voters to hold representatives accountable.

    This is a deliberate feature of the U.S. system of government. It is the result of a bottom-line distrust of popular government on the part of the founders. Which in their own time may have been defensible but in our own time certainly is not.

    also, designing systems of government with "ideal" people in mind is dumb

    NREqxl5.jpg
    do you lack faith, brother?
    or do you believe?
  • TenekTenek Registered User regular
    No, the UK (and Canada) for that matter are one monarch away from removing their ceremonial powers. That's all.

    You take your PA electoral college split proposal and add a close election that, say, Obama would have won without that change and you completely obliterate the legitimacy of the President. How confident are you that nobody's going to try it, especially if the 2012 or '16 or '32 election is close?

  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Sorry, your assumption is bullshit, I was trying to be polite about it. We are not "one election away" from a civil war. That's founded in zero facts and a "OMG, what if X happened?!?!"

    Lh96QHG.png
  • Dis'Dis' Registered User regular
    PantsB wrote: »
    The system of government in the United States has been approaching truly democratic* for longer than any country in the world, and has produced one of the most power, prosperous and stable states in human hsitory.

    Or just maybe other factors have contributed to the United States success? Assigning that much causative effect to a system of governance is prosperity theology by another name - 'we are well-off because we are righteous folk, and all those sinning [poor people]/[less well-off countries] just haven't realized you just need to pull yourselves up by your [constitutional] bootstraps'

  • Captain CarrotCaptain Carrot Alexandria, VARegistered User regular
    Hey, remember the massive bloodshed over the bitterly contested 2000 election? Me neither.

  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Bullshit, it's very simple to understand who is "responsible" for things in the US. The Federal system isn't that hard to understand and blame is shared by all three branches in some instances and the State governments in most.

    Fun question, who is most responsible for the stimulus package being the size it was?

    A) Larry Summers
    B) Barack Obama
    C) The Maine Twins
    D) Nancy Pelosi
    E) Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman
    F) Mitch McConnell

    I could basically pose that question on any piece of legislation with an equally bipartisan and equally muddled list of options.

    And here's the follow up: who does the public assign credit to?

    Are we talking ideally or in reality? Because in reality all blame and credit goes to the White House because most people don't understand that the President isn't King.

    Ideally people would look at specific bills and assign the correct amount of blame/credit to each individual.

    If your point is that people should learn more about their government, I agree. If it isn't I'm not sure I know what you're aiming at.

    Okay, so how much responsibility/credit should be assigned to Olympia Snowe? I'll wait.

    ...

    The point is that it's dumb to have a system that effectively insulates officials from voter accountability, which is what the current system does a very good job of for every office except maybe the president.

    It is difficult for voters to assign accountability to legislators in the U.S. system. Even if you understand how the senate functions and pay attention to, say, the workings of its conference committees it is frequently very difficult to assign responsibility for a particular action to a given legislator. It is sometimes difficult to assign the result even to one party. This means that it's very difficult for the public to elect a legislature that will follow through on their policy preferences.

    Consider universal health care as an example. The idea that health care ought to be provided for every american has been a position held by the majority of the american public since at least the 1960s. Every democratic presidential candidate since truman has made it a major plank of their platform (most of the republican ones have, as well.) Any system of government that did a reasonably good job of translating voter preferences into policy would've long since enacted UHC, yet it was only last year that the united states did. This is because the legislative electoral process is (in most cases) almost completely disconnected from the performance of individual legislators, because the legislative process (and in the case of the senate their term of office) make it hard for voters to hold representatives accountable.

    This is a deliberate feature of the U.S. system of government. It is the result of a bottom-line distrust of popular government on the part of the founders. Which in their own time may have been defensible but in our own time certainly is not.

    also, designing systems of government with "ideal" people in mind is dumb

    It isn't my place to assign blame on Olympia Snowe, I'm not a Maine voter. I can say I wouldn't vote for her for a number of reasons were I living in Maine and she was up for an election. There's more than enough blame to go around on ACA, it's not a zero sum game. If that's not good enough I guess you can keep waiting.

    You can easily assign responsibility, if based on votes alone. It really isn't that difficult. A busy enough beaver could even delve into the record via CSPAN or congressional publications to see the inner workings of committees.

    BTW, committees are not a US only feature and would hardly stop being shifty if we had a parliament.

    I'm not saying that people shouldn't lobby to change the way our voting works. Personally I'd like to take away the electoral college's power, put strict limits on campaign financing, and rejigger our primary system. I'm just stating my opinion on why I wouldn't want to move away from the federal system.

    I don't know why you'd think that a parliament isn't designed with "ideal" people in mind, or is everyone in the UK super happy with their coalition government all of a sudden?

    Lh96QHG.png
  • TenekTenek Registered User regular
    Sorry, your assumption is bullshit, I was trying to be polite about it. We are not "one election away" from a civil war. That's founded in zero facts and a "OMG, what if X happened?!?!"

    People have already made a serious attempt at causing X. Close election + Tom Corbett or Scott Walker or Rick Scott or whoever wants to be big and important = massive clusterfuck. Slavery wasn't the only time bomb in the Constitution.

  • TenekTenek Registered User regular
    Hey, remember the massive bloodshed over the bitterly contested 2000 election? Me neither.

    Nobody tried to game the system in 2000.

  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    Tenek wrote: »
    Sorry, your assumption is bullshit, I was trying to be polite about it. We are not "one election away" from a civil war. That's founded in zero facts and a "OMG, what if X happened?!?!"

    People have already made a serious attempt at causing X. Close election + Tom Corbett or Scott Walker or Rick Scott or whoever wants to be big and important = massive clusterfuck. Slavery wasn't the only time bomb in the Constitution.

    I'm not saying there aren't problems, it's also incredibly hard to change that kind of thing. It isn't the sort of thing that One Guy could cause to happen. It's disingenuous to say the US is "One Election Away from Civil War" any more than any country is.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    It isn't my place to assign blame on Olympia Snowe, I'm not a Maine voter. I can say I wouldn't vote for her for a number of reasons were I living in Maine and she was up for an election. There's more than enough blame to go around on ACA, it's not a zero sum game. If that's not good enough I guess you can keep waiting.

    this is a cop out. If responsibility for legislation were so easy to understand/assign in the U.S. system, "who is responsible for the stimulus package" would be an easy question to answer. But it manifestly isn't.

    I'm not saying parliaments are perfect. I'm saying they do a better job of interpreting voter preference as policy than the U.S. system does.

    In 2012 the idea that we need to design systems of government to deliberately subvert the popular will ought to be a dead one.

    NREqxl5.jpg
    do you lack faith, brother?
    or do you believe?
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    Tenek wrote: »
    Hey, remember the massive bloodshed over the bitterly contested 2000 election? Me neither.

    Nobody tried to game the system in 2000.

    Google "Brooks Brothers riot".

    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum / Steam: noxaeternum
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    It isn't my place to assign blame on Olympia Snowe, I'm not a Maine voter. I can say I wouldn't vote for her for a number of reasons were I living in Maine and she was up for an election. There's more than enough blame to go around on ACA, it's not a zero sum game. If that's not good enough I guess you can keep waiting.

    this is a cop out. If responsibility for legislation were so easy to understand/assign in the U.S. system, "who is responsible for the stimulus package" would be an easy question to answer. But it manifestly isn't.

    I'm not saying parliaments are perfect. I'm saying they do a better job of interpreting voter preference as policy than the U.S. system does.

    In 2012 the idea that we need to design systems of government to deliberately subvert the popular will ought to be a dead one.

    It really isn't a cop out. Olympia Snowe isn't Grand Moff of the Senate, sure she was a hold out and one of the reasons that we got a nerfed law, but so is every other Republican and or Democrat who wouldn't sign on to single payer. There are 535 voting members of the United States Congress, guy.

    A lot of blame can be put on Obama for kicking the can over to Capitol Hill and not demanding a stronger bill, it can go to the senate leaders on both sides, it can go to blue dogs who tried to appeal to their home voters, a super majority of the blame can go on the Republicans. That's what that means.

    If that's a cop out, I guess call reality Paul Blart.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    edited March 2012
    You just said that reasonable people should look at specific legislative processes and assign specific amounts of responsibility to individual legislators; you seem to think this is a relatively easy thing to do.

    I am asking you to demonstrate how easy it is by actually doing it in one specific case. If you don't like the olympia snowe/stimulus bill example for whatever particular reason, pick another case to use.

    Eat it You Nasty Pig. on
    NREqxl5.jpg
    do you lack faith, brother?
    or do you believe?
  • AManFromEarthAManFromEarth Let's get to twerk! The King in the SwampRegistered User regular
    You just said that reasonable people should look at specific legislative processes and assign specific amounts of responsibility to individual legislators; you seem to think this is a relatively easy thing to do.

    I am asking you to demonstrate how easy it is by actually doing it in one specific case. If you don't like the olympia snowe/stimulus bill example for whatever particular reason, pick another case to use.

    I don't understand how I didn't assign blame, her shenanigoats with ACA as well as several other stances shes taken would keep me from voting for her with all things being equal. I thought I was being pretty clear on that.

    But here's another one: I will not be voting for my Representative in the House because he keeps trying to peddle a national BBA, is proudly supporting stripping planned parenthood of funding, and bragged in his response email to me about Keystone and how he was so insistent that it passed and was built regardless of the wishes of Nebraskans, the EPA, or the state department's decision making procedures. Marco fucking Rubio gave me a better response than that.

    What I mean by "how simple it is" is that it is very easy to find out how your Congresscritter/Senator/President voted or stood on an issue. It is also fairly simple to track down their actions in committee. Using that an educated voter can easily come to a conclusion. That's all I meant. It's also exactly how it would work in a Parliamentary system, the only difference being that the majority would have fewer checks and balances on their power.

    Again, I'll bring up the example of the Tea Party in the House. Do you want the current House of Representatives to be the only actioning part of our government? I don't.

    I don't think moving to a parliamentary system would be a horrific thing for the United States, clearly several highly functioning countries have them. I don't think that they address the major problems that we have. If you pop over to the Canadian politics thread you'll see that they're talking about low voter information and engagement just like we do in US threads. My vote is that we start there.

    Lh96QHG.png
  • AtomikaAtomika technology is your dickfist Registered User regular
    Right now, roughly 80% or better of the GOP voting base are in favor of mandating religious practice, outlawing freedom of certain other religious practices, outlawing abortion and contraception, and criminalizing homosexuality.

    Given that represents about 40% of all US voters, I don't think our problem is with voter education. The people on the far-right are generally well-educated (HS or better), they just subscribe to an ideology that tells them that facts and data don't matter if you're following the Good Book.

    Increased education, on a rote level of approach, isn't going to combat that. The most common levels of educational achievement (HS and/or undergrad completion) are dominated by arch-conservatives. Oddly, the Dems have strong advantages amongst the very uneducated and the very educated. To make it worse, conservative voters are far more likely to be motivated to vote.


    We don't need to teach better civics and politics, we need to teach people to stop being gigantic assholes so they stop thinking that it's okay to legislate the freedoms of their fellow citizens based on loose and unfounded morality.

Sign In or Register to comment.