Author Topic: America's Broken Electoral System  (Read 532 times)

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Offline segnosaur

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Re: Americans Broken Electoral System
« Reply #30 on: November 05, 2020, 02:58:11 pm »
I agree about the age part.   

We keep seeing that the U.S. system is not one to be emulated whatsoever.   The ideals espoused, sure.  But those ideals are not being realized by their system, and are actively being undermined by those with power who are doing everything they can to keep it.
Here's the thing...

U.S. society and its politics are screwed up, but I'm not completely convinced it is due to the "U.S. system" (i.e. a congress and an independently elected president). I think any political system is prone to failure if the wrong people have political power.

For the past 4 years, the senate and Trump's cabinet have basically given Trump free reign to abuse political norms. But lets say he was the Prime Minister in a Canadian-style westminster system... Republicans would still probably retain an advantage (since they would appeal to rural ridings, which tend to have more political power). And because in the Westminster system, the executive branch has much stronger ties to the legislative branch, Trump would probably have even more authority to cram through laws than he has in the American system.
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Offline MH

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Re: Americans Broken Electoral System
« Reply #31 on: November 05, 2020, 02:59:57 pm »
So the moral is... even their checks & balances don't prevent an insane megalomaniac from getting elected ...

Offline wilber

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Re: Americans Broken Electoral System
« Reply #32 on: November 05, 2020, 03:04:49 pm »
Here's the thing...

U.S. society and its politics are screwed up, but I'm not completely convinced it is due to the "U.S. system" (i.e. a congress and an independently elected president). I think any political system is prone to failure if the wrong people have political power.

For the past 4 years, the senate and Trump's cabinet have basically given Trump free reign to abuse political norms. But lets say he was the Prime Minister in a Canadian-style westminster system... Republicans would still probably retain an advantage (since they would appeal to rural ridings, which tend to have more political power). And because in the Westminster system, the executive branch has much stronger ties to the legislative branch, Trump would probably have even more authority to cram through laws than he has in the American system.

Two things he couldn't do are stack the courts and compromise the electoral system.

It's interesting that when you look at any list of the best countries to live in, the top ten is dominated by constitutional monarchies with parliamentary systems. They also seem to be the most stable.
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Offline wilber

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Re: Americans Broken Electoral System
« Reply #33 on: November 05, 2020, 03:11:02 pm »
Another big problem with the US is their two party system. People have nowhere else to go.
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Offline the_squid

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Re: Americans Broken Electoral System
« Reply #34 on: November 05, 2020, 03:39:21 pm »
Another big problem with the US is their two party system. People have nowhere else to go.

And, as noted earlier or in another thread, the inordinate amount of power wielded by small, backward states with their senate seats is a huge issue...  and this is an issue with the ďsystemĒ.

The fact that Wyoming, pop ~600,000 has the same political power as California pop 35,000,000, skews the democratic process so far towards states that have no population that itís ridiculous.
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Offline wilber

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Re: Americans Broken Electoral System
« Reply #35 on: November 05, 2020, 03:55:02 pm »
And, as noted earlier or in another thread, the inordinate amount of power wielded by small, backward states with their senate seats is a huge issue...  and this is an issue with the ďsystemĒ.

The fact that Wyoming, pop ~600,000 has the same political power as California pop 35,000,000, skews the democratic process so far towards states that have no population that itís ridiculous.

We do the same thing with our Senate. We split it into regions with Quebec and Ontario each being a region and the four western provinces as another region.This results in BC being hugely under represented in the our Senate with Quebec and the Atlantic provinces hugely over represented.

PEI has the same population as Abbotsford and it has four Senators, only two less than all of BC.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2020, 03:59:23 pm by wilber »
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Offline the_squid

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Re: Americans Broken Electoral System
« Reply #36 on: November 05, 2020, 04:08:18 pm »
We do the same thing with our Senate. We split it into regions with Quebec and Ontario each being a region and the four western provinces as another region.This results in BC being hugely under represented in the our Senate with Quebec and the Atlantic provinces hugely over represented.

PEI has the same population as Abbotsford and it has four Senators, only two less than all of BC.

Not quite to that extreme in terms of representation.  But our senate doesnít write legislation. It barely ever holds up legislation.  Itís mostly a toothless relic. 

Iím not saying our senate is a shining example.  I think itís archaic and undemocratic.  But itís not as bad as theirís.    Haha

I actually used to think a ĎEEEí senate would be a good thing....  A few years ago, I realized that the equal representation part of it was a terrible idea.

Maybe a proportional senate....   
« Last Edit: November 05, 2020, 04:11:15 pm by the_squid »

Offline Gorgeous Graham

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Re: Americans Broken Electoral System
« Reply #37 on: November 05, 2020, 04:13:40 pm »
And, as noted earlier or in another thread, the inordinate amount of power wielded by small, backward states with their senate seats is a huge issue...  and this is an issue with the ďsystemĒ.

The fact that Wyoming, pop ~600,000 has the same political power as California pop 35,000,000, skews the democratic process so far towards states that have no population that itís ridiculous.

Wyoming doesn't have the same political power as California.  They have the same senate seats, but Wyoming has 3 electoral votes in the POTUS election to Cali's 55, and Wyoming has 1 seat in the House of Reps to Cali's 53.

The system is designed for checks and balances so that the majority can't dominate the minority and the minority can't dominate the majority.  The system is designed for gridlock and compromise, and the failure of Congress is because people stonewall and don't want to compromise on anything.  If it wasn't for the Senate, Wyoming would hardly have any say at all.  You don't like the "backwards" deplorables and you'd rather they be dominated, which is the whole point, it's designed to protect them from people like you.
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Offline the_squid

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Re: Americans Broken Electoral System
« Reply #38 on: November 05, 2020, 04:21:51 pm »
Wyoming doesn't have the same political power as California.  They have the same senate seats, but Wyoming has 3 electoral votes in the POTUS election to Cali's 55, and Wyoming has 1 seat in the House of Reps to Cali's 53.

Why should a state with 600k people have the same representation in the senate as one with 35M?

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The system is designed for checks and balances so that the majority can't dominate the minority and the minority can't dominate the majority.

So you donít think representation should be somewhat proportional to the population?

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 The system is designed for gridlock and compromise,

Gridlock is the opposite of compromise.  You donít get both. 


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You don't like the "backwards" deplorables and you'd rather they be dominated, which is the whole point, it's designed to protect them from people like you.

I donít live in the USA.  But if I lived in Wyoming, I would still think itís a stupid system and I would also still think most of the people in the state were backwards idiots.

Offline segnosaur

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Re: Americans Broken Electoral System
« Reply #39 on: November 05, 2020, 04:33:41 pm »
Quote
U.S. society and its politics are screwed up, but I'm not completely convinced it is due to the "U.S. system" (i.e. a congress and an independently elected president). I think any political system is prone to failure if the wrong people have political power.

For the past 4 years, the senate and Trump's cabinet have basically given Trump free reign to abuse political norms. But lets say he was the Prime Minister in a Canadian-style westminster system... Republicans would still probably retain an advantage (since they would appeal to rural ridings, which tend to have more political power). And because in the Westminster system, the executive branch has much stronger ties to the legislative branch, Trump would probably have even more authority to cram through laws than he has in the American system.
Two things he couldn't do are stack the courts...
While Canada does have various committees that review potential candidates, much of the authority still rests with the cabinet (who would would have been selected by, and likely subservient to, Trump)

From: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judicial_appointments_in_Canada#Superior_and_federal_courts
The Minister draws an appointment from the list of names received from the committees, and recommends that individual to the federal cabinet.

So a Canadian version of Bill Barr would likely pick the most right-wing candidates selected by the commiittees. (And this is assuming that a theoretical Trump PM wouldn't change the rules  to make sure only far right-wing candidates are examined by the committees.)

As for the supreme court: Also from Wikipedia:
Appointments to the Supreme Court of Canada...and are made on the basis of a recommendation to cabinet by the Prime Minister.

Now, Trudeau did introduce another committee to deal with supreme court nominations, but there is no reason the procedure could not be changed to go back to a more direct nomination.

So yeah, in Canada the courts can be stacked.

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...and compromise the electoral system.
Not sure how you define 'compromise the electoral system'.

Election methods and riding boundaries would be difficult for a Prime Minister to change, but he could (in theory) get parliament to change voter ID laws to suppress certain voting demographics (something he could not do in the United States, since those things are controlled at the state level).
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It's interesting that when you look at any list of the best countries to live in, the top ten is dominated by constitutional monarchies with parliamentary systems. They also seem to be the most stable.
Yes, there are plenty of examples of stable parliamentary systems. But then, there are also some constitutional monarchies that have been less successful.

That countries like Canada, Britain, Sweden, etc. have been as successful as they have been probably has more to do with factors like levels of education, bigotry, etc.

Offline segnosaur

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Re: Americans Broken Electoral System
« Reply #40 on: November 05, 2020, 04:40:26 pm »
Another big problem with the US is their two party system. People have nowhere else to go.
I wouldn't say a 2 party system is a 'big' problem.

There are advantages and disadvantages. Yes, it does mean voters have to pick a party that they might not fully agree with. But, it also means that when you do cast your vote, you don't have to worry about parties getting power with ~40% of the vote (something that happens here in Canada), or coalitions forming (which you as a voter may not have wanted.)


Offline wilber

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Re: Americans Broken Electoral System
« Reply #41 on: November 05, 2020, 04:42:49 pm »
Not quite to that extreme in terms of representation.  But our senate doesnít write legislation. It barely ever holds up legislation.  Itís mostly a toothless relic. 

Iím not saying our senate is a shining example.  I think itís archaic and undemocratic.  But itís not as bad as theirís.    Haha

I actually used to think a ĎEEEí senate would be a good thing....  A few years ago, I realized that the equal representation part of it was a terrible idea.

Maybe a proportional senate....

The thing is, if you go with an EEE senate, what powers do you give it? If you use the same regional formula, you will be concentrating even more power in the Central and Atlantic provinces at the expense of the West. That would be really bad for national unity and might even make western separation an actual issue.
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Offline wilber

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Re: Americans Broken Electoral System
« Reply #42 on: November 05, 2020, 04:44:38 pm »
I wouldn't say a 2 party system is a 'big' problem.

There are advantages and disadvantages. Yes, it does mean voters have to pick a party that they might not fully agree with. But, it also means that when you do cast your vote, you don't have to worry about parties getting power with ~40% of the vote (something that happens here in Canada), or coalitions forming (which you as a voter may not have wanted.)

It means when they see the two parties as essentially the same, you wind up with someone like Trump.
 
Well there is always PR, the promise Trudeau reneged.
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Offline segnosaur

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Re: Americans Broken Electoral System
« Reply #43 on: November 05, 2020, 04:50:29 pm »
The system is designed for checks and balances so that the majority can't dominate the minority and the minority can't dominate the majority.  The system is designed for gridlock and compromise
It may have been designed that way, but it doesn't seem to be working that way in action.

The way American society has evolved, plus the way the electoral college and senate work, have given Republicans both an inside advantage to political power (at least twice in the past few decades they have won the presidency while losing the popular vote, the republican-controlled senate has blocked normal functioning of the government, and currently the supreme court has had multiple members nominated by someone who lost the popular vote, and confirmed by a party in the senate representing less than a majority of citizens. And the supreme court will be deciding on things like Abortion, gun rights, gay rights, etc. for everyone.

There is a difference between "Small states must be protected from abuse by big states" and "small states will be given excessive power to exert the will of the minority over the majority".
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and the failure of Congress is because people stonewall and don't want to compromise on anything.
Correction.... in recent history it appears to be the republicans who are refusing to compromise. (Recall Moscow Mitch blocking Obama's judicial nominees, not because they were unreasonable, but because he was a prick.)
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Offline segnosaur

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Re: Americans Broken Electoral System
« Reply #44 on: November 05, 2020, 04:58:37 pm »
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I wouldn't say a 2 party system is a 'big' problem.

There are advantages and disadvantages. Yes, it does mean voters have to pick a party that they might not fully agree with. But, it also means that when you do cast your vote, you don't have to worry about parties getting power with ~40% of the vote (something that happens here in Canada), or coalitions forming (which you as a voter may not have wanted.)
It means when they see the two parties as essentially the same, you wind up with someone like Trump.
But here's the thing... the parties weren't the same.... one had a party leader with a competent politician with a set of well defined policies that placed it to the left of political center, the other had a bunch of half-baked nonsense (much of which was either self-contradictory, or disagreed with actual facts) pushed by a bigoted con-artist. The problem wasn't "There are no other alternatives", the problem was "people are too dumb to understand the difference".

If you add a 3rd party to the mix, there is no guarantee that that new party will help at all, instead there is a chance it will split the vote of people who actually think and act rationally, and allow a bigoted con-artist to gain power even more easily.
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