Skip to main content

**This was touched on in Morus's diary about the general election, but I wanted to expand on this.

Ah, the time-honoured "first-past-the-post" system.  It's how Britain has elected its MPs for centuries.  Most current democracies that were ever a part of the British Empire conduct, or have at some time conducted, their elections in that way.  Virtually every single election at any level in the US is run in the same manner.

Here in America, where there are two, and only two, major political parties, FPTP doesn't fail us very much at all.  The proportion of seats a party wins is usually fairly analogous to the number of votes for that party in the election.  I know some may ask if Florida 2000 was a FPTP failure.  No, that was an Electoral College failure.

So, in America, because of the rigid two-party system, FPTP works out.  But what if we had a multi-party system?  Better yet, what if the three or more parties were fairly even?

For those who don't know a lot about current British politics, there are two major parties, the Labour Party and the Conservative Party, aka the Tories.  There are also the Liberal Democrats, who are the continuation of the old Liberal Party, who haven't been in government for nearly a century now.  There are also Scottish and Welsh nationalist parties, as well as multiple Catholic and Protestant parties in Northern Ireland, but they are all irrelevant here.

For decades, the Liberal Democrats were little more than a political sideshow, puttering along with somewhere around a dozen seats, maybe even less.

This began to change with the 1997 election, when the Conservatives were tossed out like old garbage, losing over half the seats they had previously held, with Labour winning nearly two-thirds of all seats.  Along with the Labour landslide, however, the number of Liberal Democrats increased from 18 to 46.  This was largely due to "tactical voting"; if a seat was a Labour-Tory battle, a number of Lib Dem voters would abandon their own candidate and vote Labour, just to oust the Conservative.  In constituencies where the race was between the Tories and the Lib Dems, it was vice versa.

But the cracks in FPTP were beginning to show.  That large upswing in the number of Liberal Democrat seats occurred even though their share of the national vote was actually lower than the last election in 1992.

1997 General Election
LABOUR - 418 seats (+147) - 43.2% (+8.8%)
CONSERVATIVE - 165 seats (-178) - 30.7% (-11.2%)
LIBERAL DEMOCRATS - 46 seats (+28) - 16.8% (-1.0%)

The next election, in 2001, was pretty ho-hum.  Britain liked where it was headed under Tony Blair and New Labour, and the bitter infighting among the Tories did not help them any.  What little movement there was outside of Northern Ireland was mainly to the Liberal Democrats' benefit.

2001 General Election
LABOUR - 413 seats (-5) - 40.7% (-2.5%)
CONSERVATIVE - 166 seats (+1) - 31.7% (+1.0%)
LIBERAL DEMOCRATS - 52 seats (+6) - 18.3% (+1.5%)

By the time of the next election, in 2005, Britons were very upset with Blair's practically unquestioned jump into the War on Terror, especially the sending of British troops into Iraq, and the Tories were starting to get their act together by then.  The Liberal Democrats maintained their steady climb as well.

2005 General Election
LABOUR - 356 seats (-47) - 35.3% (-5.4%)
CONSERVATIVE - 198 seats (+33) - 32.3% (+0.6%)
LIBERAL DEMOCRATS - 62 seats (+11) - 22.1% (+3.8%)

Notice the changes for the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats there.  The Tory vote was practically unchanged, yet they gained 33 seats.  The Liberal Democrat vote was up rather nicely, yet their gain was one-third that of the Conservatives.  Meanwhile, Labour's vote skidded to just three points higher than the Tories, yet they still had nearly double the amount of seats.  Why is this?

The main reason is that Labour's vote is distributed much more efficiently than that of either of the other two parties.  When Labour candidates win, they tend to win by a much higher percentage than other parties' victorious candidates.  Moreover, many of Labour's winning constituencies exhibit chronically low turnouts, not unlike inner-city Democratic strongholds here in the States.  Also, Labour tend to lose big (that is, with fewer wasted votes) in high-turnout constituencies where they face long odds anyway.  These facts mean there are more wasted Tory or Lib Dem votes in Labour seats as there are wasted Labour votes in Tory/Lib Dem seats.

The Liberal Democrats are especially wronged by the system.  As can be seen from the election results above, their number of seats is far less than what their proportion of the vote says they deserve.  There are around 650 seats in the House of Commons (the number varies slightly with each election).  The Lib Dems have yet to win 10% of the seats, despite winning 15-20% of the overall vote.  This is because they are spread too thin.  In a lot of seats across Britain, they will take a decent 20-30% of the vote, but often be beaten by either Labour or the Tories.  And their vote share increases more uniformly than the other parties; a 5% swing their way would result in a few more seats, but often, they would then lose seats with a decent 25-35% showing.

That brings us to the current election campaign.  Thirteen years in power has worn Labour down.  Tony Blair stood down in 2007 in favour of Gordon Brown, his Chancellor of the Exchequer (sort of a combination of our Treasury and Commerce secretaries), and he is not as politically gifted as Blair was.  The young new Tory leader, David Cameron, has presented a different image than the party has had for the last decade or so, one which is less off-putting to voters.  The Liberal Democrats, as usual, had been sidelined, lost in the shuffle.  Until recent weeks, polls consistently showed the Tories with large leads over Labour, with the Liberal Democrat number slightly down on 2005.

Last week was the first time the leaders of the three parties have ever participated in a televised election debate.  Anyone who has ever watched Prime Minister's Questions on C-SPAN know that the PM is obviously the star of the show, and the Leader of the Opposition is afforded certain privileges that the leaders of smaller parties aren't.  So, for Nick Clegg, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, this debate was really the first time a leader of a third party was viewed as an equal of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition.

By all accounts, Clegg hit a home run with his debate performance, making Gordon Brown look like the Scottish version of Al Gore that he is, while appearing far better prepared than David Cameron.  This has led to a spike in the Liberal Democrats' poll numbers, at the expense of both Labour and the Tories.  Polling shows the three parties at the most even they've ever been, with some surveys even showing the Liberal Democrats in the lead.

But polls show how people would vote.  As we've seen, that doesn't mean those votes will necessarily turn into seats in the House of Commons.  Using this nifty BBC toy, we can see how different percentages might translate into seats.  An average of the three polls released today shows:

LABOUR - 28.33%
ALL OTHERS - 10.00%

That would roughly translate to this in the House of Commons:

LABOUR - 277

And we think the Electoral College is screwed up!  The third-place party could very well end up with the most seats in the House of Commons, while the second-place party would have more votes, but less than half the seats.  First-past-the-post would have to go if this happened, and it's hard to see it surviving very long if this scenario came to pass.

If neither Labour nor the Conservatives are able to garner an absolute majority of seats (326 are needed to win outright), then they would almost be forced to negotiate with the Liberal Democrats in order to form a coalition government, or risk having to form a minority government which could be brought down at any time, leading to a new election.  Not surprisingly, one of the Liberal Democrats' major platform planks is electoral reform, and they would certainly require the larger party to introduce legislation ending first-past-the-post as we know it.

Originally posted to demomoke on Sun Apr 18, 2010 at 06:57 PM PDT.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

    •  In America's case, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      with only two political parties, the system can never be changed; the winning party has no desire to change it, and the losing party has not the power.  With a three-party system, I could see it becoming more possible to see a change.  But to say figuratively that "it'd take an act of Congress" to change from FPTP to proportional representation would exaggerate the ease with which one could do it.  

      In the US, it's impossible even to get rid of the Electoral College, which is as useless an anachronism as our appendix.  I'd find it interesting (and, as your "toy" results show, more sensible from the voters' point of view) to see if such a coalition government allowed the Liberal Democrats to upset and reform the current system in this way.

      "Arguments are to be avoided. They are always vulgar, and are often convincing." -- Oscar Wilde

      by Villagejonesy on Sun Apr 18, 2010 at 10:44:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Proportionate representation has always (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shiobhan, Wary, Joffan, geomoo, pademocrat, yaque

    seemed a bit strange to me. I suppose that has a lot to do with what one is used to. It seems that the people voting for an MP for their particular constituency would want the person with the most votes to take that particular seat. If there are some at large seats that are used to even up the over all balance, then perhaps the voters wouldn't have the sense of being deprived of their choice.

    •  Abolish the lords (5+ / 0-)

      And select pols by proportional representation. But the commons should hold the same overall powers. The upper house might be allowed the occassional veto or one year delay.   Still, don't fix what isn't broken. The goverment there works better than the one in the US as far as I am concerned.

      the intelligence community is no longer geared towards telling the president what they think the president wants to hear

      by Salo on Sun Apr 18, 2010 at 08:50:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  why not... (0+ / 0-)

        ...just do away with the Lords, since all they can do is delay a bill that the Commons are determined to pass?  The House of Lords is just slightly less democratic than the Canadian Senate, which, in turn, is much less democratic than the U.S. Senate, which is an abortion of democracy itself.  All three of them need to go.

        "To call a starving man free is to mock him." --Jawaharlal Nehru

        by demomoke on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:08:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Lots of ways to change the voting system (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      all with their different strengths.

      I like the "one ballot paper per voter" variation where you have the opportunity to vote for as many candidates as you find worthy. But to get proportional representation you would probably still need some "make-up" seats as well as constituency seats.

      This is not a sig-line.

      by Joffan on Sun Apr 18, 2010 at 08:56:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It would take an attitude adjustment (0+ / 0-)

      People would need to realise that if an absolute majority of voters prefer one of candidate A or B to candidate C then (perhaps) one of A or B ought to be elected, even if C would get the most votes under FPTP due to the splitting of A and B's votes. Many alternative voting systems would retain the traditional constituencies (or amalgamations thereof) while allowing for such scenarios.

      No voting system is perfect, and inevitably some people would feel unfairly treated under any new system, but FPTP has for too long unfairly treated and excluded many people from the democratic process.

      The big guy in the commercials would not approve of my use of the High Life.

      by leberquesgue on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:20:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Addendum (0+ / 0-)

      I recommend the Jenkins Report that Blair commissioned in 1998 from the former SDP/Lib Dem peer Roy Jenkins for an excellently-written analysis of the problem and possible solutions for the British system. I didn't like his conclusions but it's a thorough discussion.

      The big guy in the commercials would not approve of my use of the High Life.

      by leberquesgue on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:22:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I seriously doubt it (n/t) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  Excellent diary (10+ / 0-)

    One thing I would like to add is that there is another slight complication in Scotland. Scotland has long been a Labour stronghold in national elections (the Conservatives have exactly 1 (one) seat out of the 59 seats in Scotland).

    However, the major force in Scotish politics at the moment is the Scottish National Party (SNP). They hold about 40% of the seats in the Scottish Parliament, running a minority government. They are also, even though they are nationalists and strive for independence, basically a social-democratic party, and as such appeal to much the same voters as Labour. Now, even though they have had 30-40% of the Scottish vote in elections (Scottish, European and local) since the last national election, they currently only hold 7 seats in the UK parliament. If they manage to get a similar percentage in the election in May, they could well pick up 10-15 seats, mostly from Labour, which would make it far harder for them to get a majority. (The BBC tool, however nifty, completely ignores this.) The stated aim of the SNP for this election is 20 seats.

    The FOX is a common carrier of rabies, a virus that leaves its victims foaming at the mouth and causes paranoia and hallucinations.

    by Calouste on Sun Apr 18, 2010 at 07:19:19 PM PDT

    •  PR would play havoc with the constitution (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fizziks, demomoke, Joffan

      The US may as well abolish the Senate. Perhaps the least representative and corrupt elected body in the English speakng world.

      the intelligence community is no longer geared towards telling the president what they think the president wants to hear

      by Salo on Sun Apr 18, 2010 at 08:55:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Senate is OK but way too powerful (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        It should be the House that has the power. The discussion of equality between states' treatment is a reasonable topic for a body like the Senate but should not dominate lawmaking etc as it does.

        This is not a sig-line.

        by Joffan on Sun Apr 18, 2010 at 09:00:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think it's its power that's the problem (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          shiobhan, demomoke, Joffan, condorcet

          It's its inefficiency.  The fact that an individual senator can hold up nominations and votes for an indeterminate amount of time and the fact that if the opposition party decides to be a bunch of pricks and abuse the filibuster, nothing can pass without 60% of the vote.  That's not majority rule, it's an arbitrary procedural impediment that should be fixed.

          •  There are other problems, sure, but (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            the composition of the Senate is grossly imbalanced by the two-senators-per-state rule. No amount of procedural updates will fix that.

            This is not a sig-line.

            by Joffan on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:19:24 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  How do you mean? (0+ / 0-)

              From what I always was taught the reason it is that way is to make every state equal in influence and representation which separates it from the House where the bigger states have more influence.  Out of all the things to change about the Senate why change the one thing that makes it the way it is?  It doesn't make any sense to me.

              •  I don't want to change that. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                But I do want consideration of that fundamental structuring to inform where the focus and power of the Senate is, which I would say is overly broad at present.

                So the "grossly imbalanced" phrase I used above relates to the current scope of Senate powers, which I think requires a more representative body like the House.

                This is not a sig-line.

                by Joffan on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:37:19 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  this is why the Senate is ridiculous... (0+ / 0-)

                The fact that every state is equal is what makes the Senate such an undemocratic body.  You can theoretically make a Senate majority from states with all of 16% of the total population.  Meanwhile, California by itself has about 12% of the population, and it has only two senators.

                Abolish the Senate, make the Congress unicameral, and add 120 members to the House.

                "To call a starving man free is to mock him." --Jawaharlal Nehru

                by demomoke on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:43:50 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The problem is (0+ / 0-)

                  there's not a lot of checks and balances there.  Sure that's a much more simple system... but so is a dictatorship.

                  •  well... (0+ / 0-)

          's often said that the best form of government ever devised is the benevolent despot.

                    Getting a little closer to the original subject, I would be completely all right with the US going to a Westminster system of government, because it is a lot more fluid than our obstacle course of a government.

                    "To call a starving man free is to mock him." --Jawaharlal Nehru

                    by demomoke on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 11:26:25 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  This is something that bothers me about Daily Kos (0+ / 0-)

                      There aren't many things that provoke me to comment but often I find people advocating for massive reform of the American political system to make it work faster and smoother when they're either ignoring or aren't aware of the fact that the framers intended it to be slow.  So realistically to try to gather enough political will to make such drastic changes you have to basically convince the American people that the framers are either wrong or their thinking is outdated.  That's just not gonna happen because it defies everything that American children learned in grammar school.  Also we'd have to undermine the entire concept of judicial review because it wouldn't matter anymore if something is constitutional as long as we felt it was wrong so the Supreme Court's function pretty much ceases to exist as well.

                      I'm just saying that when kossacks start down this line of thinking they seem to get the impression that since they can envision it then it's something that can actually happen.  Really it's just a waste of time.  This is our political system.  There are 3 branches of government and a bicameral legislature.  That's it.

                      •  bingo! (0+ / 0-)

                        "the framers are either wrong or their thinking is outdated."

                        But, of course, I completely agree that we need to alter the social studies curriculum in order to make Americans more aware that our system of government, while it might have been the cutting edge of democracy in the late 18th century, is abjectly dysfunctional these days.

                        "To call a starving man free is to mock him." --Jawaharlal Nehru

                        by demomoke on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:57:24 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  However, (0+ / 0-)

                          you still seem to believe that this is a task worth taking on.  You want to reform the social studies curriculum to what you believe to be right.  That seems very reminiscent of what they're trying to do in Texas right now and I don't think it's something I'd support.

                          •  so instead... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...we should just keep feeding our children the same load of bullshit we all got in primary school, that the Founding Fathers wrote a perfect Constitution, farted sunshine, and shat out rainbows?  With all due respect to them, they weren't gods, or even gods among men.

                            This points to a skill that has sadly gone by the boards in much of American education: critical thinking.  I'm not aiming this directly at quixoto, but our school curriculum seems to be sorely lacking in this area.

                            "To call a starving man free is to mock him." --Jawaharlal Nehru

                            by demomoke on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:15:12 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

  •  Terrific Diary! (5+ / 0-)

    In the 80's in college I was taught Poli Sci by a Professor who had studied in England their system. I actually was in London during Thatcher's 3rd election term.

    We were taught that they had a '2 1/2' party system--it appears it's evolving.

    I'll be quite interested to see how this turns out.

    I personally like the proportional Representation model, it's different than ours FPTP system.

    Here's how I explain it, in the US political factions join coalitions BEFORE an election with one of the  political parties in a 2 party system.

    In multi party  systems coalitions of interests are formed after the election in order to form a government.

    I'll be interested in seeing how this one turns out for sure.

    This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. Barack Obama

    by Wary on Sun Apr 18, 2010 at 07:31:59 PM PDT

  •  I remember (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joffan, geomoo, pademocrat, Villagejonesy

    when I was living in London - During the Iraq war I became eligible to vote - My friends (all aussies and Kiwi's) thought I was a little nuts to go out of my way to vote in the english elections.

    I had just had the big disappointment of Blair and Bush - so voted Lib-Dem - that was when that election they became a bit of a proper party :)

    When I got back to Australia in 2004 I found that our own third party had imploded and was no more.  Sad.

  •  I predict it will go to the Supreme court. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Salo, shiobhan, Joffan, geomoo, Villagejonesy

    The US Supreme Court doesn't have the right, you say?

    Didn't stop them before.

  •  Linden share would shrink (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shiobhan, Joffan

    With PR. I vote in Camerons constituency and all my family in the Uk do so. We are all Labour type socialists but tactically vote libdem in hopes if one day upsetting a Tory Grandee ( in this case the party leader). I'd never consider doing that with PR. And with PR the libs would be in a position to control who is in power every fucking time. It would soon show it's true colours and be overrun with Lieberman type power lovers. Fuck that.    At least they are a nice safety valve rather than the balance of power in the commons.

    the intelligence community is no longer geared towards telling the president what they think the president wants to hear

    by Salo on Sun Apr 18, 2010 at 08:35:15 PM PDT

    •  Libdem share would shrink. (3+ / 0-)

      Auto correct betrays me again.

      the intelligence community is no longer geared towards telling the president what they think the president wants to hear

      by Salo on Sun Apr 18, 2010 at 08:36:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, but so would the share of lime trees! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I WAS wondering what "Linden share would shrink" meant... perhaps a reference to the fact that the Weimar Republic used proportional representation?  But it was after the Republic was abolished that the Linden trees went away...

        "Arguments are to be avoided. They are always vulgar, and are often convincing." -- Oscar Wilde

        by Villagejonesy on Sun Apr 18, 2010 at 10:30:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  That's a silly objection (0+ / 0-)

      Firstly, PR has worked quite successfully in Scotland and Wales so far. Secondly, if the Lib Dems do prove to be so awful (unlikely, though they do have some wackos), hopefully people would stop voting for them. My reason for supporting electoral reform is not to promote the Lib Dems (though I think that would be a good thing, currently) but to promote all minority voices. Parties such as the Greens, UKIP, (*gag*) the BNP, the Welsh/Scottish nationalists, etc. (and possibly new ones) would have greater motivation to concentrate their efforts on electoral politics if their supporters had a reasonable chance of being rewarded.

      The big guy in the commercials would not approve of my use of the High Life.

      by leberquesgue on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:27:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What are the chances of the UK (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    officially becoming a federal country? As an Anglophile, I am STRONGLY opposed to Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish independence but I could see the country going federal. After all, Canada, Australia, India, Nigeria, and the United States are are examples of former British colonies that are federations. The two questions are #1. is that feasible and #2. What would the capital of England be? I vote Birmingham.

    •  I don't know... (0+ / 0-)

      ...about the chances of that happening, but I sincerely hope, based on our own problems with federalism, that it doesn't happen in the UK.  In fact, I wouldn't really mind it if the Welsh, Scottish, and Northern Irish bodies all went away, even though that's not going to happen.  One people, one nation, one law.

      "To call a starving man free is to mock him." --Jawaharlal Nehru

      by demomoke on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:39:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Instead of proportional representation, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, pademocrat

    maybe they could go to instant runoff voting.  We need more experiments in that sort of thing.

    William Poundstone in the book Gaming the Vote advocates range voting.  I would like to see it tried on a large scale.

    "For the world is changing: I feel it in the water, I feel it in the earth, and I smell it in the air."

    by Thutmose V on Sun Apr 18, 2010 at 09:07:38 PM PDT

  •  In a wave election, however, I think the Libs (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    killjoy, shiobhan, pademocrat

    can perhaps overcome the structural hurdles mentioned in the diary.  Something tells me that a Lib Dem breakout has been in the offing for the past 15 years in the UK (look how the Lib Dems share of the electorate in each election since '97 has grown the most).  Without a wave (basically where Libs can even take a Labor district, or if smaller, at least, a good number of Tory seats), I doubt the Libs can win outright; instead any overpeformance will tend to lead to a hung parliment.

    •  Well, they do represent a mix of a protest vote (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and an interesting/useful alternative to the two parties that look unproductive or counterproductive in power on their own.  A Lib Dem-Labour coalition might be the best outcome.

      Oh, and I wouldn't mind if the Tories lose surprisingly severely if only because the U.S. paleocons are having such a mancrush on this Philip Blond fellow.

  •  Great diary, My one observation would be (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shiobhan, fizziks

    to emphasize that FPTP actually entrenches our two-party system here in the U.S.

    So instead of

    Here in America, where there are two, and only two, major political parties, FPTP doesn't fail us very much at all.

    I would say

    Here in America, FPTP entrenches the duopoly of the Democrats and Republicans.  

    FPTP effectively prevents most third party challenges from getting off the ground because their base of voters will abandon them if they believe that the race will ultimately come down to a contest between a Dem and a Repub.

  •  A useful counterpoint would be the French (0+ / 0-)

    electoral system, where there are runoffs.

  •  Excellent diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shiobhan, condorcet

    Very clear, and well set-out.

    I appreciate the hat-tip and link to my diary as well - very generous of you.

    I think you're right - this was not seriously on the cards even a couple of months ago, and now it looks almost probably.

    Interesting times!

    "I, for one, would like to welcome our new Belgian overlords..."

    by Morus on Sun Apr 18, 2010 at 10:30:45 PM PDT

  •  I look forward to American right wing (5+ / 0-)

    heads exploding if Britain elects a party called the "Liberal Democrats".

  •  First of , why 'would forced to negotiate with (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the Liberal Democrats' would be so terrible ?

    Secondly, many democracies following the brit style of parliament, have been running coalition governments for years without any problem (at least not worse than a single major party rule).

    Between birthers, deathers and mouth-breathers, the gop has got 'teh crazy' and 'teh stoopid' covered.

    by amk for obama on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:57:03 AM PDT

  •  At best we would get a referendum (0+ / 0-)

    But I won't get my hopes up yet. The Lib Dems and their predecessors have been close before (83, 97) but foiled from real electoral impact.

    I wonder how a referendum would go; perhaps the public will have been reassured by the reasonable effectiveness of the proportionally-elected devolved assemblies in Wales and Scotland -- which, I might add for those who fear the Lib Dems, have successfully operated without excessive control by minority parties.

    The big guy in the commercials would not approve of my use of the High Life.

    by leberquesgue on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:10:30 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site