Representative Governments

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creativesoul
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Representative Governments

Post by creativesoul »

So, there are many representative style governments around the world. Generally, they're often referred to as democracies, even though they are not. The nuance of that is irrelevant to the general point I want to make here. Specifically, I would like to spark an intelligent discussion about underlying problems that are evident in American electoral processes.

So, American government is a republic with democratic tradition. Eligible citizens can choose to vote in primaries(which determine who the democratic and/or republican candidate for office will be). During this election cycle, the candidates who won the party nominations are Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Now, I want to set aside all of the particulars regarding what folk like or don't like about the two. This thread is not about a comparison between who's best. Rather, it is about whether or not the American system has actually worked in the way that it was intended to work. I'm strongly asserting that it has not.

Common sense tells us all that in a representative government with free and fair elections, and particularly in the United States where self-government is at the very foundation of the nation itself, the sole aim of electing representatives is and ought be for the people to be able to choose who they want to represent them. Now much can be said about satisfying all people, or rather... It is obvious that not everyone will get who they want. That is to be expected. It is an unavoidable consequence of having differing parties and differing viewpoints of the voters as well as other things. However...

It is the case that neither candidate has more than a 50% approval rating. That is, less than half the people in America who've been polled actually want either one. That is a travesty of justice. That alone warrants a bit more consideration of what's going on in American politics, particularly what's going at the functional level. You see, it cannot be the case that the overwhelming majority of Americans want neither candidate, if it is the case that the electoral process is working properly. If the fact that the overwhelming majority of Americans want neither candidate doesn't count as irrefutable evidence that there are systemic issues, then nothing will.

There is no excuse for a system that is supposed to produce representatives that the public wants to produce two candidates that the overwhelming majority of Americans do not.
MatejValuch
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Re: Representative Governments

Post by MatejValuch »

You made a good point. Similar situation has occurred in my country recently, and, considering the plurality of opinions in society and plethora of options, it is going to happen more and more often everywhere, in a scope of an election system where many candidates are reduced to two for a final vote.

But considering the faculties of the president, from which it is clear that there can be just one person chosen for the post, this outcome (that majority of voters doesn't want the candidate) will inevitable occur in current society, and it will happen often.
It's hard to come with a new idea of a voting system that the public would agree with (like they do agree with this one), where similar outcome would not be bound to happen....
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Lacewing
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Re: Representative Governments

Post by Lacewing »

creativesoul wrote:There is no excuse for a system that is supposed to produce representatives that the public wants to produce two candidates that the overwhelming majority of Americans do not.
I agree!

Here's what I would like to see... are these suggestions crazy?

> 4-5 different party platforms, represented (and financed) EQUALLY from beginning to end during elections, and represented equally throughout congress

> NO party platform can be in a "majority" that blocks the others; they have to ALL get along and come to cooperative agreements... or nothing happens and THEY DON'T GET PAID!!!

> Nobody older than 65 can participate in the government, because the government should be flexibly looking forward for newer generations, not mucking things up with archaic notions based on the past (THEY HAD THEIR TURN... NOW KINDLY GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY!) :D

(I'm really looking forward to the responses to this. :lol: )
Philosophy Explorer
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Re: Representative Governments

Post by Philosophy Explorer »

Lacewing wrote:
creativesoul wrote:There is no excuse for a system that is supposed to produce representatives that the public wants to produce two candidates that the overwhelming majority of Americans do not.
I agree!

Here's what I would like to see... are these suggestions crazy?

> 4-5 different party platforms, represented (and financed) EQUALLY from beginning to end during elections, and represented equally throughout congress

> NO party platform can be in a "majority" that blocks the others; they have to ALL get along and come to cooperative agreements... or nothing happens and THEY DON'T GET PAID!!!

> Nobody older than 65 can participate in the government, because the government should be flexibly looking forward for newer generations, not mucking things up with archaic notions based on the past (THEY HAD THEIR TURN... NOW KINDLY GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY!) :D

(I'm really looking forward to the responses to this. :lol: )
With your second point, that's what happens in the US anyways, paid or unpaid.

PhilX
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Gustav Bjornstrand
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Re: Representative Governments

Post by Gustav Bjornstrand »

The presidency was intended as a limitedly-powerful position. The real power structure is in the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Courts and most of governance occurs there. Only in the early 20th century did the presidency increase in power. It is a misperception to think that US government or its institutions are not functioning.

The crisis in the presidency reflects I think a crisis of identity in America. But government at state and regional levels function as well as anywhere else, for what that is worth.
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Lacewing
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Re: Representative Governments

Post by Lacewing »

Philosophy Explorer wrote:
Lacewing wrote:Here's what I would like to see... are these suggestions crazy?

> 4-5 different party platforms, represented (and financed) EQUALLY from beginning to end during elections, and represented equally throughout congress

> NO party platform can be in a "majority" that blocks the others; they have to ALL get along and come to cooperative agreements... or nothing happens and THEY DON'T GET PAID!!!

> Nobody older than 65 can participate in the government, because the government should be flexibly looking forward for newer generations, not mucking things up with archaic notions based on the past (THEY HAD THEIR TURN... NOW KINDLY GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY!) :D
With your second point, that's what happens in the US anyways, paid or unpaid.

PhilX... can you clarify? Right now, there is a majority of Republicans in the house and senate, so they can run the table however they want. There is no equal balance of parties... and there is no cooperation. There is also no time that they don't get paid for being uncooperative. So... what are you talking about?
FlashDangerpants
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Re: Representative Governments

Post by FlashDangerpants »

Eventually the general idea of government is to get some shit done.
If you devote your entire effort to the clearly futile task of making some perfectly representative system, that will never happen, and everyone will die.
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Gustav Bjornstrand
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Re: Representative Governments

Post by Gustav Bjornstrand »

Philosophy Explorer
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Re: Representative Governments

Post by Philosophy Explorer »

Lacewing wrote:
Philosophy Explorer wrote:
Lacewing wrote:Here's what I would like to see... are these suggestions crazy?

> 4-5 different party platforms, represented (and financed) EQUALLY from beginning to end during elections, and represented equally throughout congress

> NO party platform can be in a "majority" that blocks the others; they have to ALL get along and come to cooperative agreements... or nothing happens and THEY DON'T GET PAID!!!

> Nobody older than 65 can participate in the government, because the government should be flexibly looking forward for newer generations, not mucking things up with archaic notions based on the past (THEY HAD THEIR TURN... NOW KINDLY GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY!) :D
With your second point, that's what happens in the US anyways, paid or unpaid.

PhilX... can you clarify? Right now, there is a majority of Republicans in the house and senate, so they can run the table however they want. There is no equal balance of parties... and there is no cooperation. There is also no time that they don't get paid for being uncooperative. So... what are you talking about?
In very recent history, there's been deadlocked
Congresses that haven't been passing budgets that have lead to programs being shut down and pissed off the public.

PhilX
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Lacewing
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Re: Representative Governments

Post by Lacewing »

Philosophy Explorer wrote:In very recent history, there's been deadlocked Congresses that haven't been passing budgets that have lead to programs being shut down and pissed off the public.
I still don't see how that reflects (as you say) my "second point": "NO party platform can be in a "majority" that blocks the others; they have to ALL get along and come to cooperative agreements... or nothing happens and THEY DON'T GET PAID!!!"

I was trying to make a point that there should always be an equal distribution of seats, and cooperation should be the ONLY WAY to pass legislation. ONE party should not be in control or holding more seats. So, if parties are unable then to do their job because they can't cooperate, they don't get paid. Those prospects could be a good incentive to cooperate and find a balance. This is not the way it works right now.
Philosophy Explorer
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Re: Representative Governments

Post by Philosophy Explorer »

Lacewing wrote:
Philosophy Explorer wrote:In very recent history, there's been deadlocked Congresses that haven't been passing budgets that have lead to programs being shut down and pissed off the public.
I still don't see how that reflects (as you say) my "second point": "NO party platform can be in a "majority" that blocks the others; they have to ALL get along and come to cooperative agreements... or nothing happens and THEY DON'T GET PAID!!!"

I was trying to make a point that there should always be an equal distribution of seats, and cooperation should be the ONLY WAY to pass legislation. ONE party should not be in control or holding more seats. So, if parties are unable then to do their job because they can't cooperate, they don't get paid. Those prospects could be a good incentive to cooperate and find a balance. This is not the way it works right now.
The expected cooperation hasn't been working recently blocking budgets from getting passed. Normally the two parties have made trade-offs.

Paying parties to cooperate isn't logical because there must be adversity as well as cooperation to get the best legislation possible. Historically there has been a two-party system in the US because other parties ideas have been absorbed by the two parties.

PhilX
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Arising_uk
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Re: Representative Governments

Post by Arising_uk »

creativesoul wrote:...

It is the case that neither candidate has more than a 50% approval rating. ...
Actually it's worse than that as your turn-out was about 50% although in some states it actually went up a bit.
prothero
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Re: Representative Governments

Post by prothero »

Well the problem with representative governments is that they are not representative especially in the U.S. especially this election.

A good start would be reform of the primary system. There is actually no uniform primary system, instead it is a patchwork quilt state by state and determined by individual parties in the states. Some states hold caucuses (a rather antiquated process), others hold closed primaries, still other open primaries, some top two with open primaries (California). Although paid for with taxpayer dollars primary contests often exclude the majority of potential voters from participation in the process that selects the candidates in the general election. This process often gives candidates from the far left and the far right and gives the majority of voters (who tend to be independents, moderates and centrists) with the lesser of two evils (so to speak).

Reform at the national election level would also be good. Again there are no uniform national election standards. Some states have early voting others not, some states vote by mail others not. Voting methods, voting hours, polling station placement, staffing, voter registration, voter ID all vary by state and in some states and locations there are rather patent attempts to suppress minority voters often under the guise of preventing voter fraud (a virtually n on existent phenomena according to objective criteria). The real problem is voter participation and voter apathy. Voting should be made easier and voter registration automatic at the DMV.

A functional democracy requires and engaged and informed electorate. Unfortunately the media no longer informs or focuses on issues but instead seems to be in the entertainment and speculation business. This last election perhaps being the worst for ignoring facts, science, statistics, issues for cults of personality and endless rounds of fruitless speculation and analysis. The media no longer does it job of informing the public about issues and facts. The public has lost trust in the democratic process and its institutions (congress, courts, police, even the voting and primary process itself).

All in all the future of democracy is still uncertain and statist forms of governments with ten year plans, stable leadership and clearly defined priorities are offering a significant current and future challenge.
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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: Representative Governments

Post by Hobbes' Choice »

You can talk reform until you are blue in the face, but with the monkeys in control of the zoo, you have no chance.

Is there any viable argument for the POTUS electoral college?
I thought it was to separate the mob from the direct appointment by offering the 'electors' the right to choose. It would appear to me that this election was exactly the reason the system was devised; to give honourable and decent persons the right to choose otherwise when a dishonourable candidate was elected by the popular vote.
In practice the electoral college have followed the vote in over 99% of the cases. This means that Trump won even though he got fewer votes.
Impenitent
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Re: Representative Governments

Post by Impenitent »

Hobbes' Choice wrote:You can talk reform until you are blue in the face, but with the monkeys in control of the zoo, you have no chance.

Is there any viable argument for the POTUS electoral college?
I thought it was to separate the mob from the direct appointment by offering the 'electors' the right to choose. It would appear to me that this election was exactly the reason the system was devised; to give honourable and decent persons the right to choose otherwise when a dishonourable candidate was elected by the popular vote.
In practice the electoral college have followed the vote in over 99% of the cases. This means that Trump won even though he got fewer votes.
monkeys in charge of public education

you don't like the EC, change the Constitution

-Imp
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