American politics "6 year old" style
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01-04-2011, 02:38 AM (This post was last modified: 01-04-2011 04:25 AM by Observer.)
Question American politics "6 year old" style
When it comes to American politics I am like a 6 year old. So here I go...

Mommyyyyyyyyy? Dadyyyyyyyy?

Why do Americans only get to vote for 2 presidents?
Why are there only two parties?

(now please don't go *Don't ask stupid questions!Dodgy* on me or I will burst out into heart-breaking crying. Please don't make it complicated, I am only 6 you know... prepare yourself for follow up questions though Wink)

Observer

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01-04-2011, 05:00 AM
RE: American politics "6 year old" style
There aren't 2 parties. It's just that most people are indoctrinated by their parents and start identifying themselves as either republican or democrat. And once you start rooting for your team to win, it's hard to switch sides.

The way I went about it is that when I was 17 or so I asked my Poli Sci major brother to send me a list of all the parties and some suggestions for books I should read. I studied all the parties and identified my beliefs to be mostly Libertarian. But sadly, most people can't be bothered with thinking. They're too busy parroting off talking points that they heard on Glenn Beck.

There are the 2 major parties: the Democrats and the Republicans

There are the 3 "third parties": Libertarians, Green Party, and I think the 3rd one is like the Constitution Party or something similar.

Then there are tons and tons of even smaller parties (like 30). These are mostly ridiculous lost causes though (American Nazi Party, Socialist parties, Reform parties, etc)


Most people want to vote for who they think will win (same reason why every NCAA tourney bracket is filled with 1 and 2 seeds... a little bandwagon effect... didn't work too well this year lol). I'm a Libertarian who votes Democrat because I know that my vote would be "going to waste" on a 3rd party candidate, possibly giving the Republican side a greater chance at winning.

I think the closest any 3rd party president ever got to winning was Ralph Nader (correct me if I'm wrong) who ran for the Green Party and got about 3% of the total vote.

"Ain't got no last words to say, yellow streak right up my spine. The gun in my mouth was real and the taste blew my mind."

"We see you cry. We turn your head. Then we slap your face. We see you try. We see you fail. Some things never change."
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01-04-2011, 05:14 AM
RE: American politics "6 year old" style
Ross Perot took 19% of the popular vote in the 1992 election.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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01-04-2011, 05:20 AM
RE: American politics "6 year old" style
That's what I was trying to remember. Perot. I think I googled "most voted independent party" and was assaulted with Nader.

"Ain't got no last words to say, yellow streak right up my spine. The gun in my mouth was real and the taste blew my mind."

"We see you cry. We turn your head. Then we slap your face. We see you try. We see you fail. Some things never change."
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01-04-2011, 05:30 AM
RE: American politics "6 year old" style
But if the person you vote for is not really the one representing your point of view or party, what's the point in voting?

Observer

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Disclaimer: Don’t mix the personal opinion above with the absolute and objective truth. Remember to think for yourself. Thank you.
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01-04-2011, 05:37 AM
RE: American politics "6 year old" style
And Jessee "The Body" Ventura ran as an independent and became gov of Minnesota.

Btw, the best part of the Ross Perot campaign was his running mate, Admiral James Stockdale (who actually died not that long ago. 2005 or 2006 I think). Stockdale was a Viet Nam vet, was a former POW, and an impeccable record and was a true American hero. However, if you can ever find a video of the 1992 VP debate between Dan Quayle, Al Gore and James Stockdale, I suggest you watch it for the pure comedy aspects of it. Quayle and Gore were sipping cups of water and Stockdale was gulping what had to be grain alcohol. He became less and less lucid as the event went on. At one point they asked him a question and he looked blankly at the moderator for a like a minute, reached into his pocket and did something, and then apologized as he had turned off his hearing aid and had no idea they were talking to him. I don't know if Perot had a chance in that election before that but the idea of Stockdale being a heartbeat away from the button probably killed whatever slim chance he had.

Shackle their minds when they're bent on the cross
When ignorance reigns, life is lost
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01-04-2011, 05:56 AM
RE: American politics "6 year old" style
(01-04-2011 05:30 AM)The_observer Wrote:  But if the person you vote for is not really the one representing your point of view or party, what's the point in voting?

The only person who ever came close to representing my ideology was Wesley Clark back in 2004. He was a highly decorated war hero who was an independent but ran for the Democratic party until he dropped out and we were stuck with Kerry.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wesley_Clark

His book "Winning Modern Wars" is incredibly insightful.


I think the quote from South Park sums up the answer.

"I think voting is great. I just didn't care this time because it was between a giant douche and a turd sandwich."

"But Stan, don't you know, it's always between a giant douche and a turd sandwich. Nearly every election since the beginning of time has been between some douche and some turd. They're the only people who suck up enough to make it that far in politics."

"Ain't got no last words to say, yellow streak right up my spine. The gun in my mouth was real and the taste blew my mind."

"We see you cry. We turn your head. Then we slap your face. We see you try. We see you fail. Some things never change."
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01-04-2011, 11:12 AM
RE: American politics "6 year old" style
Republicans and Democrats are two factions of the same party...the Business Party. They both whore themselves out to the highest corporate bidder.

"Liberty without socialism is privilege, injustice; socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality." Mikhail Bakunin
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15-09-2011, 09:42 AM
RE: American politics "6 year old" style
Just got registered here, figured I'd post about this ...

To make a really long story short, there are four main reasons why alternative parties and independents have little to no electoral success in the United States:

(1) Ballot access laws make it much more difficult for alternative parties and independent candidates to get a spot on the ballot as compared to the two major parties;

(2) Campaign finance laws hurt the ability of smaller parties and independents to raise money more than they hurt the two major parties;

(3) The major media tends to ignore nearly all third party and independent candidates, and promotes the perception that "they can't win;"

(4) The voting method used for most elections (plurality) tends to ensure that there will be two dominant parties.

Many people overlook the voting method - plurality - but it is a major part of why reason alternative parties have trouble succeeding in the US.

Most elections in the US involve single member districts (voting districts with one representative / delegate / senator / etc). Plurality means that "you can cast one vote for one candidate, and the most votes wins" regardless of whether or not it is a majority. The general perception becomes "if you don't vote for one of the two major party candidates, you're wasting your vote." This results in a perception of "if you're not voting for my candidate, you're voting for the other major candidate." People think that a vote for Perot (1992 presidential election) helped Clinton, because it "took votes away from" Bush Sr. In 2000, the thought was that people who voted for Nader "took votes away from" Gore.

If an alternative voting method, i.e. approval voting (in which you can vote "yes" or "no" for EVERY candidate on the ballot), was used, this would be a big help, although it would not completely solve all of the problems faced by alternative parties and independents.

There is no proportional representation system in the US, so alternative parties cannot gain members in a legislature with that method. There could be, although it would require constitutional amendments (at the state or federal level depending on what legislature you're talking about).

(01-04-2011 05:30 AM)The_observer Wrote:  But if the person you vote for is not really the one representing your point of view or party, what's the point in voting?

The general practice is that voters decide "I hate this guy, but I hate this other guy a lot more, so I'll vote for the guy I hate less so the guy I hate more doesn't win."

The game is very rigged.

Hope this helps.

- Chip
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16-09-2011, 11:37 AM
RE: American politics "6 year old" style
(01-04-2011 05:30 AM)The_observer Wrote:  But if the person you vote for is not really the one representing your point of view or party, what's the point in voting?

You make an excellent point here, one that I have been mulling over for a bit. See, America is considered the land of democracy, etc etc, but think about this:
- Almost half of all registered voters are independents. This means they don't feel either party truly represents their views.
- More than half of Americans disapproves of the job done by the President.
- More than 80% of Americans disapproves of the job done by Congress.

All this tells me that the government currently does NOT represent the people. We seem to take this fact for granted, because after all, griping about the government is always a good pastime, but I find the implications disturbing. It means we are not ruled by representation anymore, and that it is not the will of the people that is currently implemented by the government. Of course we still elect our government so, in a strictly legal sense we are still a representative democracy, but philosophically we can't possibly claim that's the case. Do any Americans find it as troubling as I do?

English is not my first language. If you think I am being mean, ask me. It could be just a wording problem.
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