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View Diary: Ralph Nader was Right. (204 comments)

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  •  That's why we need to fight for electoral reform (none)
    I mean real electoral reform, as in proportional representation.

    Because, you ask "What's the point of having a party if you don't win elections?"

    How about standing for something and articulating a point of view shared by some of your fellow citizens?

    It all depends on what "winning elections" means under different rules. Here is means winner-take-all, so you have to avoid offending swing voters by taking tough stands  (other than tearing down the other candidate). And most of our congressional elections aren't competitive anyway--a serious threat to democracy!

    If we joined most of the rest of the democratic world and used PR to elect congress, we could have a party that really stands for something and represents us in congress.

    This is even more important than reforming how presidents are elected, though that is important, too (direct vote, with runoff, preferably "instant.")

    For a primer on alternative electoral systems I highly recommend  The Center for Voting and Democracy.

    •  First Things FIrst (none)
      Death to the Electoral College!

      And if you can devise a political system that can function without political parties, you'll be the first one to do it.

      •  the electoral college works (none)
        And here is some info on political parties.

        A key part of the American politcal process has included party conventions held every four years to determine the major parties Presidential candidates. The first party to introduce nominating conventions were the Anti-Masons. Delegates from 13 states met in Baltimore Maryland on September 26, 1831 were they selected Attorney General William Wirt of Maryland to be there candidate. The Democrats followed in 1832 renominated President Jackson. Since that time many of the conventions have been places of great drama, where it has taken multiple votes to elect a parties Presidential candidate. In recent years with the current system of primaries in which most of the convention votes are decided the drama of the conventions has been lost as the outcomes have been predetermined. Instead the conventions have been used as a tool by the parties to market their candidates and unveil their parties platform. In recent years the only true disagreements at the conventions have been negotiations over party platform.

        "They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."- Benjamin Franklin

        by bluestateLIBertarian on Tue Dec 28, 2004 at 11:52:13 PM PST

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        •  so what? (none)
          There were no political parties in late 18th century america?  that's a passage about the beginning of political conventions, not the formation of parties.

          look at this:

          Federalism was born in 1787, when Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison wrote 85 essays collectively known as the Federalist papers. These eloquent political documents encouraged Americans to adopt the newly-written Constitution and its stronger central government.

          Largely influenced by the ideas of Alexander Hamilton, the Federalists succeeded in convincing the Washington administration to assume national and state debts, pass tax laws, and create a central bank. These moves undoubtedly saved the fledgling democracy from poverty and even destruction. In foreign policy, Federalists generally favored England over France.

          Anti-Federalists such as Thomas Jefferson feared that a concentration of central authority might lead to a loss of individual and states rights. They resented Federalist monetary policies, which they believed gave advantages to the upper class. In foreign policy, the Republicans leaned toward France, which had supported the American cause during the Revolution.

          Jefferson and his colleagues formed the Republican Party in the early 1790s. By 1795, the Federalists had become a party in name as well.

          in other words, just a few years after the foundation of the republic, there are organized political parties, in name and in fact.

          and the electoral college doesn't work, except to needlessly complicate the electoral process and on too many occasions thwart the will of the electorate.  if ewe want to make sure every vote counts, get rid of it.

          •  you are mistaken (none)
            we have a republic, not a direct democracy. The public is not supposed to elect the president. That is a state power.

            "They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."- Benjamin Franklin

            by bluestateLIBertarian on Wed Dec 29, 2004 at 08:01:52 AM PST

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            •  they weren't supposed to elect Senators either (none)
              "The public is not supposed to elect the president."

              that was done by state legislatures.  Women couldn't vote, slavery was legal, and the electoral college worked so well in 1800 (giving us two presidents!) they had to pass an amendment.  Speaking of which, the constitution can be changed, as you seem not to have noticed.

              try arguing when you've learned something about american history.

              •  um... (none)
                the states still elect the president.

                "They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."- Benjamin Franklin

                by bluestateLIBertarian on Wed Dec 29, 2004 at 10:44:38 AM PST

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                •  no (none)
                  the electoral college elects the president.  and all it takes to make that much desired change is an amendment to the already much amended constitution.

                  as to your silly attempt at claiming "we R a republic not a democracy" and there4 can't elect a president by direct popular vote:

                  the republic of france has a president elected by the direct vote of the people

                  the republic of ireland has a (largely ceremonial) president elected by the direct vote of the people

                  in germany during the period of the weimar republic, the head of state was a president elected by the direct vote of the people.

                  i could go on, let's just leave it at 3 strikes yr out.

                  but if it's good enough 4 them furriners, it's good enough for the USofA!

                  republic:  "1.a. A political order whose head of state is not a monarch and in modern times is usu[ally] a president.  b. A nation with such a political order. 2.a. A political order in which the supreme power is held by a body of citizens who are entitled to vote for officers and representatives responsible to them.

                  Webster's II New College Dictionary

                  nuthin in there about any electoral college.

                  •  you're dense (none)
                    The electoral college is the mechanism the states use to elect the president. The states run their own elections for their electors. They have different laws reagrding how the electors vote, and how they are divided. That's why a couple mondays ago elctors met in the state capitols to cast their votes.

                    from the constitution:

                    Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

                    yep, ya got me. no mention of the electoral college in the definition of republic. That isn't what you argued. I'm arguing that it is a states right to elect the president, not whole of the public. The way it has morphed is the citizens of the states decide how the states electors will be declared.

                    "They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."- Benjamin Franklin

                    by bluestateLIBertarian on Wed Dec 29, 2004 at 11:49:33 AM PST

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                    •  As I Said Above (none)
                      My wife asked me to post her response to your earlier post, which pretty much demolishes this one as well.

                      As to density, I'm sure she wouldn't mind my adding that the whole point of an amendment to the Constitution is to change what it allows.  

                      Anyway, have a nice day, any further flogging of this dead horse won't be done by either of us.  Piling up the points is bad sportsmanship.

                      In a democracy, the people generally get the government they deserve - tant pis.

                      by JJB on Wed Dec 29, 2004 at 12:42:13 PM PST

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                    •  BTW (none)
                      While this has been a pointed debate with much snarkiness on both sides, I commend you for not stooping to the level of ratings abuse.

                      No hard feelings, I hope, certainly none from us.

                      In a democracy, the people generally get the government they deserve - tant pis.

                      by JJB on Wed Dec 29, 2004 at 12:58:49 PM PST

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