Thoughts on the two party system

Fero

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Living in a country with more than ten parties, most of which have a totally different vision on what our society should look like in it's entirety, I can't really imagine what it's like to live in a nation that only offers it's citizens two serious choices.

From a European point of view, both American parties situate themselves on the economical right wing (liberalism/capitalism) and only seem to distinguish themselves from one another one social matters and civil liberties. I'm thinking of pro-life/pro-choice, gay marriage rights, privatized health insurance etc.

When Obama was running against McCain, most leftist Europeans cheered Obama, not because of his supposed stance on civil liberties and such, but because they assumed he was comparable to European socialists. No matter how hard I tried explaining this to them, they did not understand the Dems would qualify as a right wing oriented centrist party (IF that).

Those discussions with my misguided socialist compatriots led me to be totally convinced of the fact there aren't really any huge ideological differences between the dems and the GOP, except on social matters. Americans don't really have a choice, do they? Who do pro-choicers who frown upon economic interventionism vote for?

I also get the impression that many Americans vote for the Party (cap intended). Simply because they have always done so. The tend to think in terms of the party line in stead of personal ideology. And that's something I find frightening.

Last point: the stale mate. Most GOP'ers won't work with dems and vice versa. And bingo, you get shutdowns.

First of all: am I in the wrong here? I realize I can't fully understand the internal discrepancies in and within parties of a nation the size of the US, or 'social tradition'. For instance, decent health care makes so much sense for me, so I never really understood the upheaval about obamacare.

Ok, that was hard to explain in english. Over to the next point.

Like I mentioned earlier, my country counts more than ten parties. Some very large, some tiny. None of the parties however, are large enough to rule by themselves. This is the same in most EU countries.
As you well know, this means the parties have to form coalitions in order to get a majority in parliament. It has some disadvantages (won't bother you with those), but it does mean more ideologies are actually represented (although everybody has to make some concessions).
People can make a choice between leftist or right wing liberals, greens, christian-democrats, centrist or right wing nationalist, communists or socialists..., each with their own agenda with pretty much unique priorities. There are many tangents of course, which makes certain coalitions more logical than others.

Could this work in America? Could Americans cope with more than two choices and a variety of ideologies? Or do you consider the two party system the best solution for the USA?
 

chalupa

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You are pretty much correct in your assessment. There are some subtleties (as you said) like the existence of Blue Dog Dems, but really, they are all the same with the only distinction being how much one party sucks the cocks of religious nuts vs the other.

I think a reason for this two party split has to do with the fact that we are such a large country. In reality, most governance here is done at the local level. The only thing any of us interact with the Feds on a daily basis are the national road network, which is run by each state anyway with money from the Feds, and the motherfucking TSA. That's it.

We operate with the constant threat of involvement in our work world by some federal agencies like OSHA or the EPA, but again, most enforcement is done on a state level.

So, big country, small day-to-day involvement of Washington..that leads to a woefully uninformed populace. Because of that, it is easier for people to vote the same way their parents always have, or, based on hot button issues like abortion. Unions used to wield much more power than they do now, but people still vote based on them, as well.

We could never have the myriad of parties you guys do because instead of 10, we'd have closer to 1000, and none could be organized enough or strong enough to compete with the two established juggernauts that are already here. Shit, even the libertarians have to try to organize a nice beauracracy and establish themselves in the mold of the parties they hate to be able to compete, a juicy piece of irony that is not lost on me I might add.

You do see the disparate interests of individuals represented on a more local level regardless of their overall affiliation, and sometimes a politician will break the over-arching mold and set his own tone: think Chris Christie. But those guys are few and far between.

Also, the ones that break the mold then have to revert back to the extreme when they go for a national election (president), because they do have to pander to the local groups in primaries...Christie will have to come out hard against fags in the Bible Belt, or he won't have a shot at the republican nomination. Then he will swing back to center on social issues. He has to appeal to people on the local level to get a shot at the more centrist vote.

Also, whatever the fuck apple did on this last iOS revision sucks my nuts, because now this fucking thing is autocorrecting real worlds. Fuck you, Ghost of Jobs.

I lost my train of thought...
 

Fero

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So if I understand correctly, most power in America derives from the individual states anyway?
Then in theory it would be possible for a state to have more than just the two parties? I imagine it could present problems with federal elections, but that could be fixed the same way we do it. In European parliament, the parties from different countries are united in groups more or less according to ideology. So for instance Palin's People's Party could join with moronic parties in other states to form the True Blue American Coalition of Dumbasses on the federal level.

Or is this impossible? I'm not really a pro on how American governmental elections work.
 

chalupa

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So if I understand correctly, most power in America derives from the individual states anyway?
Actually, quite the opposite. Most of the power in the US is concentrated in DC, but most of the governing the regular people are exposed to is managed at the state level. Welfare is a good example...that is funded out of DC, but every state has their own plans and then decide how to do it. They have to comply with edicts out of DC to actually get the money. Same thing is what is fucking up the implementation of the ACA (Obamacare). The states were left with how they wanted to implement it to get federal funding, and some retarded states decided they didn't want the money at all. Screwed up the deployment because it parsed it up into smaller, untenable bits.

So, the normal people don't really understand what DC is doing and how much power they actually have, which is how we ended up in two idiotic wars.
Then in theory it would be possible for a state to have more than just the two parties?
You will see more parties represented in local elections, but more so than that, you will see shades of the two main parties represented: pro-life democrats in city government, environmental-minded republicans in a statehouse.

I imagine it could present problems with federal elections, but that could be fixed the same way we do it. In European parliament, the parties from different countries are united in groups more or less according to ideology. So for instance Palin's People's Party could join with moronic parties in other states to form the True Blue American Coalition of Dumbasses on the federal level.
That's really it, in a nutshell, here. Palin's republicans truly have little in common with republicans along the Louisiana coast, for example, but they join together under the banner of "Conservatives" in order to have power on a national level. What you find is that at the top levels, politicians talk, but they really don't say shit because they have to appeal to the lowest common denominator. That's why you hear retarded platitudes about "american values" and "war on christmas." Those things don't actually mean anything, but they can sorta be applied kinda a little across every place.
Or is this impossible? I'm not really a pro on how American governmental elections work.
Here's how American elections work on the national level: BLAAAAARG BLAAAAAAARG GRAAAAWR BLAAAAAAAAAAARG.*

*note how little is actually being said
 

Fero

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You'd think conservatives in one state would hook up with like minded new parties in other states. If they play their cards right, they could seriously fuck DC up and get rid of the retards in their old party. It'd just take a shitload of guts, sacrifice, organisation and ideology. You'd get a better America, though.

EU parliament has more than one conservative coalition, for instance. No real reason why that wouldn't work in the US.
 

silberfuchs

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Ideally, we wouldn't have parties at all. In reality, we're stuck with two and that's all we're going to have. Hell, look at just how hard they tried to erase Ron Paul, and he was a republicans. Many idiots seem to be stuck with the impression that they need to vote for the winner; not for the person that can actually best lead the country. News organizations also attribute themselves to specific parties (and lie about being impartial), which leads to 3rd parties getting totally ignored. Even if you see the bullshit going on, it doesn't mater because you still don't know anything about someone that somehow does manage to run for a 3rd party.

See also: this, point 4.

The worst part of it isn't even just that there's 2 parties, but that they hold an allegiance to those parties before an allegiance to the country.
 

reggie jax

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the two party system works pretty much the same as the one party system except with twice as many career opportunities for lawyers and politicians
 

Nocturnal

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We have a two party system solely because of the winner take all model we employ. Nations with multiple party systems all use some form of proportionate success in elections.

To change things we would only need to do a runoff election after our current elections. You pick the 2 guys with the most votes in the primary, regardless of their party, and then they are the two finalists.
 

BigMattTheHobo

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Have to agree with most of what's been said already.


But I think the party system we have would work if everyone were better informed. I don't think there are any rules that say we must have Ds and Rs as the primary parties. We could have any group of people band together to create political parties. If people were better educated and involved, more parties could exist.

But now, money has worked its way so deeply into both parties, I doubt we'll ever see a break from the two party system unless something major happens.


Chalupa's description of local govt. vs. states was excellent. In my opinion, county commissioners are the most powerful elected officials in the land. Not power like money and military. But power as in the ability to have the greatest impact on your life. They control so, so much depending on your state. A lot can be done at the local level, and it's not impossible to help shape policy if you get involved with something locally.
 

chalupa

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Also, it is WAY easier to be corrupt on the local level and bury $100K in small cash bribes, instead of at the federal level where you embezzle tens of millions, have to launder it, and end up getting sent away for a long time.
 

Hambone

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I love the the thought of a 2 party system, but we all know that shit aint real....props to Fero and Lupa. I often ponder,but understand.
 

Hambone

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It sickens me.., .......the forefathers are rolling over in their grave. But they owed slaves so not sure if they knew what was up. Plus they invaded a free nation, and talked about FREE. Democracy is a thing gained by the ones that have the ballz to want it. The whole point in government is for the weak. I'm a barbarian
 

reggie jax

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Have to agree with most of what's been said already.


But I think the party system we have would work if everyone were better informed. I don't think there are any rules that say we must have Ds and Rs as the primary parties. We could have any group of people band together to create political parties. If people were better educated and involved, more parties could exist.

But now, money has worked its way so deeply into both parties, I doubt we'll ever see a break from the two party system unless something major happens.
yes but then we are putting the onus on the general public to do something that they have historically never done. most people just don't have the time, resources or patience to weed through all the bullshit and develop a political opinion which best suits their interests. they do however have the time to ingest soundbites and regurgitate them back out. that is why money is so effective... because people are inherently malleable.

to be honest i have started to think that democracy is only valuable in the sense that it seeks to prevent crazy dictators from running off on crazy or oppressive schemes. it is utterly inept at actually producing the results that would be optimal for the majority of the population.
 

Hambone

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True dat...if I'm not mistaken....back in the day you were voted into the "senate", and served. After you were done you faced the people and they let you know whether you served proper or not.Nowadays you get a pension, and secret service for life. I see no real democracy going on here.
 
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