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Party Politics in the American System

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  • Doc
    replied
    Originally posted by Heresiologist View Post

    An anarchist running as a republican for a sheriff's position? I expect, among other things, it's intended to show up problems with both major parties.
    All of this would be funny if it wasn’t so serious.

    Leave a comment:


  • EverKing
    replied
    Originally posted by Heresiologist View Post

    An anarchist running as a republican for a sheriff's position? I expect, among other things, it's intended to show up problems with both major parties.
    Indeed it is. Her intent, apparently, was to expose the weaknesses of our single-party primary system.

    Leave a comment:


  • Heresiologist
    replied
    Originally posted by EverKing View Post
    Another example of the problems with Party: https://www.nhpr.org/post/transsexua...wsuit#stream/0

    EDIT: I am less concerned with the lawsuit, in this context, than the nature of the nomination. She ran under the GOP primary for the office of Sheriff (which also beg the question, 'Why does New Hampshire allow partisan Sheriffs?') with a 'F--- the Police' platform/slogan...and won.
    An anarchist running as a republican for a sheriff's position? I expect, among other things, it's intended to show up problems with both major parties.

    Leave a comment:


  • EverKing
    replied
    Another example of the problems with Party: https://www.nhpr.org/post/transsexua...wsuit#stream/0

    EDIT: I am less concerned with the lawsuit, in this context, than the nature of the nomination. She ran under the GOP primary for the office of Sheriff (which also beg the question, 'Why does New Hampshire allow partisan Sheriffs?') with a 'F--- the Police' platform/slogan...and won.

    Leave a comment:


  • Doc
    replied
    https://www.salon.com/2020/09/17/ang...cracy_partner/

    interesting piece on the politics anger and it’s detriments to government. Reminded me of this thread.

    Leave a comment:


  • EverKing
    replied
    Sorry I haven't responded in a while, I was away all last week traveling for business. I'll read through and catch up and likely provide a few more thoughts.

    Leave a comment:


  • Doc
    replied
    I just read a (non-academic) article about polarization and dangers of partisanship. Pretty interesting as it
    relates to views in COVID-19, but also interesting in what is says about the creation of dual (and dueling) realities.

    https://www.salon.com/2020/08/23/the...ities_partner/

    Leave a comment:


  • Doc
    replied
    Originally posted by Heresiologist View Post
    As a result, though, again, not a direct result, Canada has medicare and it's political death for a party to explicitly declare they want to get rid of it. The political culture is also different because there's a history of those democratic socialists, and their later moderated successor party, showing they can run the provinces as well as (and sometimes as poorly as) the Liberals and Conservatives. The biggest budget surplus in my province's history was courtesy the leftmost party. Their popularity after WW2 and the following few decades also meant the Liberals leaned more left in order to steal some of their fire.

    Consequently, I don't think there's much talk from any but the rightest of conservative pundits about extremism in the Democratic party. What I have heard a number of times, though, is that based solely on his policies, Obama could fit in with Canada's conservatives.

    The sense I get is that in Canada and the US the Liberals and Democrats, respectively, still try to straddle the centre. They each have their left and right wings. Their right wings are right of centre. Overall, they are primarily centrist, but the levers of power within them are primarily in their right sides.

    The Conservatives and Republicans are different. For one thing, they are not centrists.
    Survey data shows pretty consistently that the majority of the US population supports a lot of ideas that are pretty far left, but only when they are removed from the context of being leftist. Social Security and Medicare are enormously popular, but would get zero support from today’s Republicans, and little and only tepid support from the majority of Democrats if they were being considered today.

    Part of this is the Democratic move to the center that you point out. I see it as starting with Bill Clinton, who consciously moved that way as a political strategy. He took the party with him. This was the same time that the present right wing outrage machine was just getting started, digging into the idea of two-sides to everything, and not conservative was definitively liberal. The middle to middle right became somehow the Democratic party’s lane. Nixon probably have been a Democrat in this climate. Reagan and the first Bush would have been pretty moderate. FDR probably wouldn’t even have the Bernie Sanders role in the Democratic Party.

    This is also why the U.S has been center right for the last 30 years or so, even under Democratic presidents. I do wonder if Joe Biden is elected how the party will move. He has pretty quietly proposed a fairly progressive agenda, without touching the ideological third rail issues, or at least using any terminology that sets off the ideological alarms.

    And to rerun to one of EverKing’s points, when I wonder about how Biden might move the party (and I know how Clinton did), maybe it is dangerous that we see the president as the leader of a party as well as chief executive. It’s almost (almost) as authoritarian as people fear about Trump.

    Leave a comment:


  • Heresiologist
    replied
    The CBC has something to do with it, sure. But the fact we elect a local representative and don't directly elect our Prime Minister (even if a lot of people think that's how it works) is another part of it.

    But I think the biggest something is from my original point, namely that Canada does not have a two party duopoly. Canada's had a variety of relatively short lived 3rd parties at provincial and federal levels, plus a powerful and fairly long lived 3rd party that operates in only one province (note: powerful because of large provincial population). More significantly, the Liberal/Conservative duopoly was soundly broken almost 90 years ago when a democratic socialist party broke into the system. Its more moderate descendant party is still active today.

    As a result, though, again, not a direct result, Canada has medicare and it's political death for a party to explicitly declare they want to get rid of it. The political culture is also different because there's a history of those democratic socialists, and their later moderated successor party, showing they can run the provinces as well as (and sometimes as poorly as) the Liberals and Conservatives. The biggest budget surplus in my province's history was courtesy the leftmost party. Their popularity after WW2 and the following few decades also meant the Liberals leaned more left in order to steal some of their fire.

    Consequently, I don't think there's much talk from any but the rightest of conservative pundits about extremism in the Democratic party. What I have heard a number of times, though, is that based solely on his policies, Obama could fit in with Canada's conservatives.

    The sense I get is that in Canada and the US the Liberals and Democrats, respectively, still try to straddle the centre. They each have their left and right wings. Their right wings are right of centre. Overall, they are primarily centrist, but the levers of power within them are primarily in their right sides.

    The Conservatives and Republicans are different. For one thing, they are not centrists.
    Last edited by Heresiologist; 08-22-2020, 01:16 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • EverKing
    replied
    I'm prone to agree regarding the Republican Party being better in opposition than leadership. The trouble is that the current trends in the Democratic Party are taking it down a similar road--or perhaps worse in some ways. The modern progressive-left movement prevalent in the party and even more so in popular culture/society at large has a stink of puritanical zealotry with a growing undercurrent of totalitarianism. Not the fault of the Progressive movement, mind you, but a troublesome result of divisive identity politics taking over the masses. As we've said elsewhere, the coming election isn't about what a Democratic administration may bring to the future of the country but about the fact that a Biden/Harris ticket simply isn't a Trump/Pence ticket. The possible result, then, will be that we may have two Parties which operate in opposition rather than in dynamic creation.

    I have some thoughts around identity politics as well but those are a topic for another place.

    Leave a comment:


  • Doc
    replied
    Originally posted by EverKing View Post


    Which brings us to...


    More so, in the US, where political debate is increasingly governed by pundits under the guise of journalism in the control of less than a handful of media conglomerates with very real interests in advancing a particular narrative for the sake of subscribers and advertising dollars. Fox, MSNBC, CNN, all examples. Even the nominally independent Public Radio (NPR) has really moved further Left in reaction to their personal distaste of the current Administration. Political Journalism is all-but dead in the current news media feeding sensationalism and division to the American people--who, sadly, are largely too unaware of the broader world to notice or even care.

    Personally, I cannot in good conscience align myself with any particular Party as I have found all them to become more destructive to the American political machine as I've grown older. The ideals and promise of the American Experiment have largely been forgotten with the Parties instead telling us what it should be rather than the People trying to achieve what it could be.
    I read an interesting article where the main argument was that the Republican party is a great opposition party, but a lousy governing party. They have been a minority party for much of their existence, so part of the party's foundation lies in just being against something. That doesn't lead to good governance when the party controls the levers of power. Moreover, the oppositional position is easy to take when it is constantly amplified by right wing media punditry only loosely disguised as political journalism. Most of Carlson, et. al's ratings come from people who want to know what to be against, so they can figure out what they are for. That is also good for ratings.

    Obama's speech last night also spoke to the your point about how the possibilities of the U.S. experience is no longer embraced, sacrificed at the alter of rigid dogma about what the U.S. experience should be.

    And to your point, democrats are very guilty of this process, too. I like the results a little better (sometimes) and there is not comparable spin machine to Fox News for the democrats (no matter how much people try to make CNN and MSNBC boogeymen).

    Leave a comment:


  • EverKing
    replied
    Originally posted by Doc View Post

    Tell your conservative acquaintance to be careful. The far-right crazies were welcomed into the Republican Party for similar reasons, and they took over In less than a generation. There’s no room for measured or “intellectual” conservatism. Even G.W. Bush looks fairly moderate and measured relative to the former fringe that is now the mainstream Republican Party. It was nice thinking that that must lead to self-destruction, but the joke is on all the people who thought that was an inevitable consequence.
    This is crux of the problem that the American Party system faces: that the organization of the parties encourages growth of political extremism. Both major parties, as well as the Libertarian Party of America, have show this tendency in the past few decades of gradual shift toward the extremes of their respective spectrums (spectra?). The GOP in the last 20 is a prime example of it where first the NeoCons came to dominance during the GW Bush era, followed by the growth of the Tea Party Caucus--first a semi-libertarian movement which was then high-jacked and integrated into the GOP in the form of far-right Christian Conservatism--and finally, now in the current Administration, with the growing dominance of ultra-right Nationalism. The DNC, likewise, has seen a shift from the center-left Democratic ideals of the Clinton era '90's toward the new Progressive-Left movement and the European socialistic ideals. The Libertarian Party has become dominated by a mix of the Randian school of Anarcho-Capitalists and their tinfoil hat counterparts. I think this is all a result of the "squeaky wheel" effect within the parties amplifying the loud voice of the minority extremes during the primary contests.

    Which brings us to...

    Originally posted by Doc View Post
    I suspect the CBC has something to do with it.
    More so, in the US, where political debate is increasingly governed by pundits under the guise of journalism in the control of less than a handful of media conglomerates with very real interests in advancing a particular narrative for the sake of subscribers and advertising dollars. Fox, MSNBC, CNN, all examples. Even the nominally independent Public Radio (NPR) has really moved further Left in reaction to their personal distaste of the current Administration. Political Journalism is all-but dead in the current news media feeding sensationalism and division to the American people--who, sadly, are largely too unaware of the broader world to notice or even care.

    Personally, I cannot in good conscience align myself with any particular Party as I have found all them to become more destructive to the American political machine as I've grown older. The ideals and promise of the American Experiment have largely been forgotten with the Parties instead telling us what it should be rather than the People trying to achieve what it could be.

    As for my personal leanings (perhaps a topic for another discussion but worth laying out here for transparency), as I get older and more mature in my world-view I find myself increasingly leaning toward centrist ideas based on libertarian ideals--Geo-Libertarianism intrigues me, although I am not entirely sold on it. The trouble with the Libertarian Right is the surrender to corporations while both the mainstream Right and Left expect us to surrender self-determination to the State. Ultimately, I think the greatest individual freedoms can be achieved in a balanced system free from many of burdens that hold most Americans down. I like the idea of small-state that still has the power to provide basic human needs (healthcare, education, minimum basic income) and prevent corporate dominance. I guess it boils down the idea that government exists at the will of the People and primary to ensure a balanced playing field for the population rather than to dictate morality and control behaviour.

    Leave a comment:


  • Doc
    replied
    I know about Terry Fox because of Douglas Coupland (another pretty interesting Canadian). I saw his book Terry and was interested enough to see what all the fuss was about. He lived a lot of life and made a giant impact in such a short amount of time. I know several people who have battled cancer who do not like having their struggles and the aftermaths label led “heroic,” but how else can you characterize a person like him?

    And I still need to read the Coupland book...

    Leave a comment:


  • Heresiologist
    replied
    Originally posted by Doc View Post
    ...I suspect the CBC has something to do with it....
    Yeah, in what was undoubtedly part of CBC efforts to keep us in line with the maple straight and narrow, some years back they had a tv series called The Greatest Canadian.

    It was one of those vote in affairs, but the winner was Tommy Douglas, the "father" of our medicare system, but also a baptist minister who led a socialist party called the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) as well as its successor organization the New Democratic Party (NDP). Kiefer Sutherland would like to acquaint you with with Tommy Douglas by way of his Mouseland story/speech.

    Also, Greatest Canadian number two was Terry Fox. Hope you've heard of him. Greatest Canadian number 10, Wayne Gretzky, told all his supporters to vote for Fox.

    Leave a comment:


  • Heresiologist
    replied
    Originally posted by EverKing View Post
    ...
    The problem I have with Proportional Representation is that it becomes a vote for Party by aggregate, rather than a vote for the individual locally. To simplify, let's suppose we have a national election for Congress (every two years) and GOP gains 42% of the popular vote, DNC 54%, and others 3%. By PR that would mean 182 Republican seats, 235 Democrats, and 18 Others. How then, do you distribute the representation to individual districts? Do the Parties get to select who takes a seat? Or is local representation moot in such a system in favor of the national aggregate? If so, then how can low-population areas with special and unique interests (say, Wyoming, Montana, or the Dakotas) ensure fair representation?

    I much prefer a system where we, at a local level, select our own Representatives (or Senators) as an individual rather than assigned by Party.
    ...
    Distribution of representation depends on the particulars of the PR system. There are many PR systems. For our last PR referendum we had a randomly chosen 161 member citizen's commission that investigated a number of the many options and then made recommendations. Single Transferable Vote and Mixed Member Proportional ended up the top two recs.

    I don't think selection of representatives was completely party prerogative in either STV or MMP. Our proposed version of MMP gave you two votes, one for party, one for local rep. It also used multi-member ridings so the chances of you having a local representative sitting at the levers of power were increased. On the other hand, first past the post (FPTP) is winner take all and the norm is is that somebody representing a distinct minority gets 100% of the power, which, you probably know by now, is a particular bugaboo of mine.

    And that looks like a segue for an Ambrose Bierce quote:
    PRESIDENT, n. The leading figure in a small group of men of whom— and of whom only— it is positively known that immense numbers of their countrymen did not want any of them for President.
    Last edited by Heresiologist; 08-18-2020, 09:24 PM.

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