US election system. Is the US really a democracy, or a duocracy? - PlanetSide Universe
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Old 2012-03-20, 06:19 PM   [Ignore Me] #1
Figment
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US election system. Is the US really a democracy, or a duocracy?


As a dutch citizen, the US 'democracy' always makes you wonder. Just two parties, no distribution of votes on a ratio basis, but a system that represents a majorities in a state as one party dictatorial systems.

Like in the UK, this means that only a few parties can actually try and achieve a dominant vote. In the UK for the first time in eons a coalition government had to be formed with the party of Nick Clegg (who ironically is half-dutch).

Where in the UK you used to have the Torries and Labour, you have the same thing in the US where only one of two parties typically rules. In effect, the US is a dictatorship of two parties, the Democrats and the Republicans. So basically... it's a Duocracy. Elected into office, yes, but don't ask how the election goes.

Imagine if a poll on these forums would end with ALL votes on the poll turning towards the minor minority and represented as being YOUR vote as well. Imagine for a second this is a poll about pro- and anti-BFR and pro-BFR. Pro-BFR gets 47% votes, anti BFR gets 45% of the votes and neutral gets 8% of the votes. By the winner takes all rule, the forum dictates that 100% of the votes went to the pro-BFR.

Wouldn't you cry out in anger at the vote being rigged? Wouldn't you go out and demand the poll is labeled illegitimate?

Why isn't there a huge demand for actual representative elections where every vote counts equally? Why is it that it is possible for rigging of elections where in certain states votes from certain minorities do not count or voting booths have problems?

How is it even possible that the US calls this system a democracy? Elections are not enough surely? Because then most African nations have democracies. Two choices comes down to not having a choice. You then vote for the least worst thing that might win, even if you don't really support it. Is that democracy?

See, as a dutch person, we may have a monarchy, (which are more stable, neutral and cheaper than presidents thankfully), but we have a constitution that allows for a democracy in terms of populace representation. We have up to 17 different parties with all shades of the political spectrum participate in the elections and majorities are formed by coalitions. This means that it is more likely you can actually find a party that represents your views better than a "social rightwing" and "conservative rightwing" (which is what is the case in America, there isn't a left wing really out of fear of being labeled communist) and also means that not just one dictatorial view dominates the government. They keep each other in check.

Why is it the average American doesn't care? Just because it's always been that way? Just because they've been told it's not good for them by the parties in charge, apparently the Republicans in particular?



Imagine for instance if your campaigns would be split in four, or seven different political parties which could all make it to the senate. Imagine that one of these would be the tea party for religious nut jobs (20%), one would be liberals, one for socialists, one moderate conservatives, one more business oriented, one green party and one a bit in the middle of everything. Hell you can have more. Chances of a Tea Party fruitcake actually making it into office or getting control of the majority of votes would be extremely low and you could make coalitions that are less polarised. Those extremist thoughts would have to be tempered in coalitions to not lose out on a chance of governing. Wouldn't that be a lot more attractive?

In fact, all the political slander and lies, the kicking and mud slinging that you have in US elections would be much less, because they need each other after the elections. Btw, doesn't anyone care that candidates like Santorum blatantly lie about things just to keep extremists on board? (Basically all he said about the Netherlands save us being in Europe was an outright and verifiable lie - how can candidates that lie or don't even know their own political agenda even be considered an option?). Hell, they would have to know much more about subjects and get good arguments before decisions are being made on topics. Just because they have to debate with other people to get a majority vote.


So why no representative elections?
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Old 2012-03-21, 02:37 PM   [Ignore Me] #2
NivexQ
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Re: US election system. Is the US really a democracy, or a duocracy?


Originally Posted by Figment View Post
As a dutch citizen, the US 'democracy' always makes you wonder. Just two parties, no distribution of votes on a ratio basis, but a system that represents a majorities in a state as one party dictatorial systems.
There are a lot more than 2 parties. It's just that there are 2 major parties.


Originally Posted by Figment View Post
Imagine if a poll on these forums would end with ALL votes on the poll turning towards the minor minority and represented as being YOUR vote as well. Imagine for a second this is a poll about pro- and anti-BFR and pro-BFR. Pro-BFR gets 47% votes, anti BFR gets 45% of the votes and neutral gets 8% of the votes. By the winner takes all rule, the forum dictates that 100% of the votes went to the pro-BFR.

Wouldn't you cry out in anger at the vote being rigged? Wouldn't you go out and demand the poll is labeled illegitimate?
Not really. That seems fair to me. What would you do, p[ut half a BFR in the game?
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Old 2012-03-21, 04:03 PM   [Ignore Me] #3
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Re: US election system. Is the US really a democracy, or a duocracy?


The US is a Republic, not a Democracy. But the way the rules are set up, it's hard for a third party to really have any influence.
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Old 2012-03-21, 04:07 PM   [Ignore Me] #4
Figment
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Re: US election system. Is the US really a democracy, or a duocracy?


Originally Posted by NivexQ View Post
There are a lot more than 2 parties. It's just that there are 2 major parties.
Being able to partake in the elections is pointless in the current system and voter attitude. They don't even get significant press time because of it. The end result is there are no parties represented in the Senate. So they are effectively not there.

Not really. That seems fair to me. What would you do, p[ut half a BFR in the game?
Just to see if I got this right, you think it's entirely reasonable that an extremely minor % difference is represented as a 100% victory?

If I saw a poll with a minor victory with regards to BFRs, I'd not risk losing half my playerbase by adding them. There'd be too little concensus.

If they were votes to be represented on a nation wide scale, I'd simply take the actual numbers, tally the lot and round them off to the nearest amount of seats. Each party would get a certain number of seats where you need a minimum number (amount of votes/amount of seats, rounded) to get a seat.

Last edited by Figment; 2012-03-21 at 04:08 PM.
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Old 2012-03-22, 11:53 PM   [Ignore Me] #5
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Re: US election system. Is the US really a democracy, or a duocracy?


To sum it all up: yeah, we know, but what are ya gonna do?
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Old 2012-03-23, 12:08 AM   [Ignore Me] #6
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Re: US election system. Is the US really a democracy, or a duocracy?


Originally Posted by Figment View Post
If they were votes to be represented on a nation wide scale, I'd simply take the actual numbers, tally the lot and round them off to the nearest amount of seats. Each party would get a certain number of seats where you need a minimum number (amount of votes/amount of seats, rounded) to get a seat.
Congressional elections aren't nation wide, and rightfully so. They're supposed to be representing a specific area. When it comes to any election in the US, you're only voting for one seat.

Now, you could do that with the electoral college, but that only applies to the Presidency. And some states do that already.
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Old 2012-03-23, 01:04 AM   [Ignore Me] #7
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Re: US election system. Is the US really a democracy, or a duocracy?


The way the US system is set up (pretty much a first past the post system) voting for a 3rd party is actually voting against your own interest as it strengthens the party you are most opposed to.

Gerrymandering has caused some major problems in regional rep voting. Take my home state of Kansas for example. It has 4 House seats. In the 2010 ~70% of all house votes state-wide went to Republicans, while ~30% went to Democrats. IF we had ratio representation, 3 seats would go to Republicans, and 1 to Democrats. However, all seats are filled with Republicans.

This is largely due to gerrymandering before the last cycle, the 2 counties most filled with democrats (Douglas and Wyandotte) were essentially cut in half and given to other districts, diluting the D vote there, allowing all seats to be won by R by majority/plurality. There are many more examples of this, some much worse.

The electoral college is completely obsolete and should be scrapped.
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Old 2012-03-23, 07:00 AM   [Ignore Me] #8
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Re: US election system. Is the US really a democracy, or a duocracy?


So you would rather representatives be based on states than districts?
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Old 2012-03-23, 08:28 PM   [Ignore Me] #9
Figment
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Re: US election system. Is the US really a democracy, or a duocracy?


Originally Posted by NivexQ View Post
So you would rather representatives be based on states than districts?
How about the vote simply represents the voting populace, since that would be a democracy? Neither a district nor state 'votes'. You can look also at how the EU parliament is formed.
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Old 2012-03-23, 09:45 PM   [Ignore Me] #10
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Re: US election system. Is the US really a democracy, or a duocracy?


Originally Posted by Figment View Post
How about the vote simply represents the voting populace, since that would be a democracy? Neither a district nor state 'votes'. You can look also at how the EU parliament is formed.
They do represent the voting populace (or at least they're supposed to), but the population it separated into districts
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Click here to go to the next VIP post in this thread.   Old 2012-03-23, 10:38 PM   [Ignore Me] #11
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Re: US election system. Is the US really a democracy, or a duocracy?


Meh.
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Old 2012-03-24, 02:58 AM   [Ignore Me] #12
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Re: US election system. Is the US really a democracy, or a duocracy?


Originally Posted by NivexQ View Post
So you would rather representatives be based on states than districts?
No. However, I would make sweeping changes to the entire system. The following is just an idea, definitely has some flaws and could use some tweaks. But I believe it would be far superior to the current US system:

1. Double the amount of members for both the House and Senate.

This serves multiple purposes. Currently a Rep represents about 710,000 people, while a Senator represents about 3 mil (this varies depending on state). Doubling the size would cut those ratios in half, giving voice to more Americans.

It would dilute an individual congressman's power. This would also hurt the influence of special interests, as they would have to pay more to lobby more votes. Businesses have gotten up to a 22,000% rate of return before, Id think they could handle it. http://tinyurl.com/6qcr6sy

It is also necessary for the next step.

2. All new seats will be filled using the Mixed-Member Proportional Representation Method
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mixed_m...representation

No additional districts are drawn, so a state with 4 districts would have 8 representatives. Everyone gets 2 votes, one for whoever is in the race for their district's seat, the other for a party. 4 seats go to whoever wins the respective district's seat. The other 4 seats are given out proportionally based on the party's vote. For example:

Red Party gets 48%, Blue Party gets 29%, and Yellow Party gets 23%. The remaining 4 seats would go 2 to the Red Party, 1 to the Blue Party, and 1 to the Yellow party. Since this is the most accurate way to reflect how the public voted.

Switching to the will help break the two party system, as a citizen will be able to vote for the party they want, rather than against the one they hate (known as strategic voting).

3. District elections will use a Plurality with Elimination Method
http://www.ctl.ua.edu/math103/voting/methodof.htm

This is a preferential ballot, were citizens rank who they vote for in order of preference. This also helps against strategic voting. For example:

An election result:
48% Red Party
40% Blue Party
12% Yellow Party

Under the current system, the Red Party candidate would win the seat despite having more people vote against them (though some states do require a run-off election). However, if a preferential ballot were used and the vast majority of Yellow Party members ranked the Blue Party (the one they have some agreement with) over the Red Party (the one they most hate), the Yellow votes would be transferred (due to the elimination round) to the Blue Party candidate, winning him/her the election by 52%-48%.

4. Heavily Regulate Gerrymandering

Districts must, by law, be drawn to represent the voting public as closely as possible. When this is not possible, math will be used and the algorithm made public.

5. Remove party affiliation from ballots

That is only the candidate's name appears on the ballot with out any mention of the party they belong to. If a citizen is too lazy to know their candidate's name, why the fuck are they voting? Certain rules may have to apply w/ people who recently changed their names, or if 2 candidate's have the exact same name.

If anyone wouldn't mind reading this and punching holes in it, that would be great.
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Old 2012-03-24, 09:48 PM   [Ignore Me] #13
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Re: US election system. Is the US really a democracy, or a duocracy?


And where would you put these 550 extra politicians?
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Old 2012-03-24, 09:54 PM   [Ignore Me] #14
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Re: US election system. Is the US really a democracy, or a duocracy?


Originally Posted by Sobekeus View Post
And where would you put these 550 extra politicians?

And what will their salaries be?
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Old 2012-03-25, 11:15 AM   [Ignore Me] #15
TheSHiFT
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Re: US election system. Is the US really a democracy, or a duocracy?


Ah yes, the cost. I, like many people, just ignore when my car needs maintenance. Anyway, Ill try to nail down a ballpark figure...

Currently Congress members get paid 174k/year. But this is just pay! What about healthcare ect. and their staff's compensation? Lets triple it to make sure that is covered in this hypothetical (I am not advocating to increase their pay). Giving us 535 x 174k x 3 = 279,270,000$.

We also need to add office space and an expansion to the capital building. Going off the average skyscraper price of ~800m, I would guess that half that would be sufficient. So that is 400m. But I didn't include the staff (cleaning/IT/security), upgrades or supplies. Lets add on another 100 m.

Total cost: ~$797m first year, then ~$379m every year after.

That is, I believe, being very generous. To put that in perspective the War on Drugs costs 10b+ per year, the 2008 bank bail outs were 800b+, and the 2012 budget is ~3.75t. The 2008 Obama campaign spent nearly $800m alone.

This is pennies to revamp the voting system to more accurately reflect public will. I should also note that points 3, 4, and 5 above are pretty much cost-free. 3 would save a small amount of money for states that have to preform run-off elections.
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