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Could American democracy really die?


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https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/09/opinion/wisconsin-primary-democracy.html

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/10/wisconsin-primary-coronavirus-republican-voting-by-mail

Are the republicans going to do whatever it takes to suppress democrat votes, like suppressing postal voting (used by people too busy to get to the polling stations, often democrat voters).

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2 minutes ago, Si1 said:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/09/opinion/wisconsin-primary-democracy.html

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/10/wisconsin-primary-coronavirus-republican-voting-by-mail

Are the republicans going to do whatever it takes to suppress democrat votes, like suppressing postal voting (used by people too busy to get to the polling stations, often democrat voters).

They have used the tactic for years.

 

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Elections should be abolished anyway, by concentrating voters' opportunity to exercise power down to a single day every few years it makes it much easier for rich and well connected individuals and organisations to manipulate the system. Voting should be continuous, with voters able to change who represents them at any time.

Edited by Dorkins
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29 minutes ago, Dorkins said:

Elections should be abolished anyway, by concentrating voters' opportunity to exercise power down to a single day every few years it makes it much easier for rich and well connected individuals and organisations to manipulate the system. Voting should be continuous, with voters able to change who represents them at any time.

I said something similar on another thread a week ago or so, but I'd prefer to see politicians removed and the public voting directly through an app or terminal. 

There's a fundamental issue you are trying to address which is that if I'm unhappy with my local elected representative then I can remove them. But some people argue that politicians are elected on manifestos and shouldn't be removed for following a manifesto commitment even if it's against the interests of their constituency voters, and some people also argue that politicians are allowed to excercise their own judgement, they've been elected on their own character or on a broad idea of what they represeng and people should respect their decisions. 

Edited by regprentice
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3 minutes ago, regprentice said:

I said something similar on this thread a week ago or so, but I'd prefer to see politicians removed and the public voting directly through an app or terminal. 

Completely impossible to govern without politicians. Who decides what gets voted on and the wording of the questions, the Civil Service? In that case the Civil Service would become a permanent unelected government.

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43 minutes ago, Dorkins said:

Completely impossible to govern without politicians. Who decides what gets voted on and the wording of the questions, the Civil Service? In that case the Civil Service would become a permanent unelected government.

There are a number of potential solutions including taking suggestions for questions, putting next weeks proposed questions up to a vote, rolling 'peoples assemblies' to direct policy in short term bursts. But I can't see that proposal being inherently more chaotic that the electorate removing their local MP every few days. 

Edit - perhaps something similar to the current petition system where, if it reaches 100, 000 signatures it gets debates in Parliament. 

Edited by regprentice
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3 hours ago, Dorkins said:

Elections should be abolished anyway, by concentrating voters' opportunity to exercise power down to a single day every few years it makes it much easier for rich and well connected individuals and organisations to manipulate the system. Voting should be continuous, with voters able to change who represents them at any time.

More like the Swiss. 

They do pretty well. 

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6 hours ago, Si1 said:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/09/opinion/wisconsin-primary-democracy.html

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/10/wisconsin-primary-coronavirus-republican-voting-by-mail

Are the republicans going to do whatever it takes to suppress democrat votes, like suppressing postal voting (used by people too busy to get to the polling stations, often democrat voters).

Yes. They will do anything it takes. There is no rule they won’t bend, no law they won’t break, no contrivance too despicable.

The image of USA as a noble country of freedoms is a propaganda confection. 

Edit to add that I expect Trump to push the election if he’s not polling well enough.

Edited by PeanutButter
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No - they have a constitution which protects those rights via the first amendment - we don't though! 

Perhaps we should worry about our own lack of a written constitution - look at the laws passed by our parliament a couple of weeks ago with cross party support and which could last for up to two years.

The US also has a separation of powers and states rights - the UK government could in theory abolish all local government and even the devolved administrations tomorrow if it voted to do so. In the US states have separate powers too to determine their own laws and tax policies - hence Andrew Cuomo having the right to adopt a different approach to Governor de Santis in Florida.

Just saying - their rights and democratic institutions are more embedded in many ways than ours which are heavily centralised in one institution.

Trump and/or Biden (whoever wins in November) are temporary actors in the game.

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3 hours ago, regprentice said:

I can't see that proposal being inherently more chaotic that the electorate removing their local MP every few days. 

Why would people change their vote every few days? A lot of people vote for the same party for decades. Plus I wouldn't keep constituency MPs anyway as all this does is encourage oligopoly as in the current Westminster system, instead I would propose a single national list of candidates with voters free to choose whoever they want from the whole list.

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19 minutes ago, Ghostly said:

Sounds unworkable. Also I think it would cause too much short-termism which is already an issue.

It would only be unworkable and short-termist if the views of the electorate were too, all it would be designed to do is efficiently transmit what people want into how they are represented in Parliament. I don't believe that the current system which papers over crises that are happening for real out in the country by smothering them with FPTP and making sure MPs come from the right backgrounds is very healthy, better to get it all out in the open and deal with it rather than let it fester while an increasingly detached political-media class tells itself everything is fine.

A simple example of a real crisis which is being effectively smothered by FPTP and MPs coming from affluent background is high house prices, the raison d'etre of this site. I want an electoral system in which I can be represented by somebody who thinks high house prices are bad, and if they ever change their mind or I suspect they are lying I can be represented by somebody else. I am not asking for more than my 1 in 45 million representation, I just want whoever represents me to actually hold similar views to me. In decades of living various UK constituencies I doubt I have ever had a single MP who thinks high house prices are bad so in what way did they represent me?

Edited by Dorkins
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2 minutes ago, Ghostly said:

I think it’ll always be difficult to avoid those with resources and influence having an undue influence over the way things are run.

Sure, but we can at least try to make it a bit challenging for them.

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11 hours ago, MARTINX9 said:

No - they have a constitution which protects those rights via the first amendment - we don't though! 

In practice they don't protect those rights in the USA, but we do in the UK. The more stringent ID required to vote disproportionately affects poor people. Also there are often not enough polling stations in poorer areas. This means either voters have to travel a long way to vote or wait a long time. Someone had to wait seven hours to vote in the Primaries recently in Texas. 

11 hours ago, MARTINX9 said:

Perhaps we should worry about our own lack of a written constitution - look at the laws passed by our parliament a couple of weeks ago with cross party support and which could last for up to two years.

Were the laws passed in Parliament any worse than those passed in Congress with cross party support?

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19 hours ago, MARTINX9 said:

The US also has a separation of powers and states rights - the UK government could in theory abolish all local government and even the devolved administrations tomorrow if it voted to do so. In the US states have separate powers too to determine their own laws and tax policies - hence Andrew Cuomo having the right to adopt a different approach to Governor de Santis in Florida.

But "States rights" rhetoric in America seems to often lead to reactionary governors and socially/economically/environmentally oppressive laws anyway.

When many Soviet Republics were "freed" from Moscow, they became straight forward autocracies.

 

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On 12/04/2020 at 06:37, Si1 said:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/10/wisconsin-primary-coronavirus-republican-voting-by-mail

Are the republicans going to do whatever it takes to suppress democrat votes, like suppressing postal voting (used by people too busy to get to the polling stations, often democrat voters).

From the Guardians own report - scarcely pro-Republican:

"in 2011, Republicans also drafted one of the strictest voter ID laws in the country. It required Wisconsin voters to present a form of photo ID such as a driver’s license or passport to vote. Students could only use their school IDs if they contained a signature and an expiration date."

Is that such an attack on democracy? I rather wish we had the same laws in the UK, rather than our corrupt postal voting system or double-voting by students

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  • 4 months later...
On 12/04/2020 at 13:31, PeanutButter said:

Yes. They will do anything it takes. There is no rule they won’t bend, no law they won’t break, no contrivance too despicable.

The image of USA as a noble country of freedoms is a propaganda confection. 

Edit to add that I expect Trump to push the election if he’s not polling well enough.

 

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It’s quite possible the USA will split into two countries, so different are the ultra conservative southern states and the neoliberal California and New York etc. 

Rather than keep lurching from Obamas to Trumps each 8 years.

Historical precedents would certainly suggest that, according to a Cambridge historian I know. 

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4 hours ago, scottbeard said:

It’s quite possible the USA will split into two countries, so different are the ultra conservative southern states and the neoliberal California and New York etc. 

Rather than keep lurching from Obamas to Trumps each 8 years.

Historical precedents would certainly suggest that, according to a Cambridge historian I know. 

Who would get the nukes? Can we look forward to a nuclear armed mormon state run out of salt lake city? would a merger of parts of the states with canada be on the cards

jesuslandmap.gif.20e0704ffa0e56c84e08a930e31febad.gif

 

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On 13/04/2020 at 10:10, dryrot said:

From the Guardians own report - scarcely pro-Republican:

"in 2011, Republicans also drafted one of the strictest voter ID laws in the country. It required Wisconsin voters to present a form of photo ID such as a driver’s license or passport to vote. Students could only use their school IDs if they contained a signature and an expiration date."

Is that such an attack on democracy? I rather wish we had the same laws in the UK, rather than our corrupt postal voting system or double-voting by students

There is plenty of evidence that the changes favour the Republicans so yes it is part a wider attack on democracy. 

  

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They've been at it for years.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-secret-files-of-the-master-of-modern-republican-gerrymandering

Quote

Hofeller did not follow his own advice. Before his death, in August, 2018, he saved at least seventy thousand files and several years of e-mails. A review of those records and e-mails—which were recently obtained first by The New Yorker—raises new questions about whether Hofeller unconstitutionally used race data to draw North Carolina’s congressional districts, in 2016. They also suggest that Hofeller was deeply involved in G.O.P. mapmaking nationwide, and include new trails for more potential lawsuits challenging Hofeller’s work, similar to the one on Wednesday which led to the overturning of his state legislative maps in North Carolina.

Gerrymandering at every opportunity. 

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Both sides are doing their ever best in an attempt to fudge the results. It's real dirty play and the only people who are going to be affected are the ordinary American citizens.

What's interesting this time around, is that the loser will refuse to lose, but instead claim that they've won. So you are soon going to have no legal government in the US, and the entire country will be in a civil war.

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There is no Democracy in America. If there ever was, it would've been outlawed a long time ago. Similarly to Voting; it's just there to make Mr & Miss/Mrs Joe/Jo Public believe that they actually have a say in what goes on. Same in this Country really. We've always tried to copy our neighbours over the pond. E.g Trainers, Tracksuits, Music, Drug Epidemics, Unjust Wars, Generational Theft & Corruption from the top down. Sincerest form of flattery apparently?!?

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  • 415 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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