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Third party and independent politics in the US

Politics-American Third Parties

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#1 Omega

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 10:06 PM

View PostBalderdash, on Feb 16 2010, 02:32 AM, said:

Stephen, tell me about being a Libertarian, I'm pretty sure that there are things that I wouldn't be able to go along with but you do seem fairly moderate and as a newly minted Independent I'm listening.

First, a bit about the American political landscape past the Republicans and Democrats.  There are three other significant nationwide parties: Libertarian, Green, and Constitution.  Each of these tends to have elected officials at local levels, maybe an occasional state legislator, and they usually run someone for President in enough states that they could theoretically win the electoral college.  Like the major parties, there is a wide range of beliefs within each, so any description should be taken with a grain of salt.  The Greens tend to be of a socialist/environmentalist bent.  The Libertarians are all about reducing government power at all levels, in some cases even to the point of anarchy, though not so much in the last decade or so.  And the Constitution party is the extreme religious right; they share a lot with the Libertarians, but they're also almost to the point of enforcing Christianity.  They're in favor of local governments being able to criminalize particular sex acts, and part of their national platform is actually that there should be no legal abortions for any reason, ever, with no exceptions.

I'm a Christian, but I wouldn't touch the Constitution party with a thirty-nine-and-a-half-foot pole.  And there are certain aspects of the Green party I agree with, but the simple fact that they're opposed to nuclear power when it's the most environmentally friendly source of energy we've got right now is absurd.  Taking ignorance of fact and making it part of your national platform just doesn't work for me.

So the Libertarian party could be described as the hard non-religious right wing.  I'm a member of this party because it's the locally active party that comes closest to representing my views.  However, I'm not in agreement with the overall philosophy of the party.  While I strongly believe that there is far too much bureaucracy and that we are severely overregulated as a society, I do not believe that a smaller government is always the solution .  The real issue is not one of size, but of wisdom and approach.  Going through the government willy-nilly slashing every program you see is foolhardy.  I'm an engineer.  When a problem is identified, the problem should be studied, and an appropriate solution found to that problem.  In effect, the three minor parties are dedicated to ideologies, and the two major parties are dedicated to beating each other.  I'm just interested in good solutions and good service.

And I finally found a party that's all about the same thing!

The Modern Whig party describes itself as a "methodology" party.  Their platformis very simple, composed mainly of things almost everyone can agree on, like fiscal responsibility and energy independence.  Their focus is less on issues and more on informing people, developing leaders, and long-term problem solving.  You can be a Whig and believe almost anything, so long as you express your disagreements respectfully, back up your statements with facts, and don't attack other members of the party.  They'll actually kick you out for character attacks against other Whigs!

I'm still working out the official announcement with the MWP leadership, but it's pretty definite at this point.  I'm remaining a member of the Libertarian party, but if you ask me, I'm a Whig.  Since I've also been endorsed by the Pirate Party, I guess that makes me a Libertarian Whig Pirate?

If you, like me, are wondering why every party seems to be dominated by ideological fights, and you're wondering where all the practical people went, the MWP is very likely for you.  Check it out.

Any questions? :D

#2 Cait

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 10:26 PM

Thank you very much fore the links.  I hadn't heard about TMWP, and it does sound intriguing.  

I'm looking for a third party to support.

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#3 Balderdash

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Posted 15 February 2010 - 10:31 PM

I kind of like the sound of the Whig party and will definitely check that one out.  Libertarian is too far right for me for sure.  And the Green party is too far left.  I'm for any energy solution that gets us out of the Middle East as long as it doesn't muck up the air we breath or the water we drink.  Republicans are right out and I have my doubts about Democrats.  Thanks for answering my question and providing links.  :)

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#4 Captain Jack

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 12:21 AM

How about getting rid of the party system all togethe?
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#5 Chipper

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 12:58 AM

^ Wish that were possible.  Unfortunately, it's that very machinery that controls things now, I guess.

That, and I don't think that truly direct democracy could work.  You still need those coalitions in Congress given how our system is set up, and it would naturally tend to parties.  Proportional representation would definitely make it more interesting, however.
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#6 G1223

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 01:12 AM

The reality is that the reason the to party system holds on as it does is that the supporters are seeing either a benifit or see breaking up into factions the easiest way of being stuck with ther other party comming in. This is why the teaparty has been smart. They are supporting canidates of both parties that represent their values rather than split off and form a third party. Doing that would give the democrats a better chance to keep hold of power and with Obama's crash and burn actions that is not really an option that can end well for the country.
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#7 Omega

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 08:57 AM

The best way to break the party system would be to change our voting system from plurality to something a bit more, you know, democratic.  Plurality voting is the worst thing to ever happen to democracy.  Say there's an election with eight candidates.  One, we'll call him Alf, is running on a platform of killing the westernmost 70% of the district and dividing their possessions among the survivors.  So he gets 30% of the vote.  The other 70% is divided evenly among the remaining 7 candidates.  With plurality voting, Alf wins, even though 70% of the district would vote "anyone but Alf" if they had the opportunity.  That's not democracy.  It's not representative of the will of the people in any way.  It's just insane.

There are lots of single-winner voting systems, and lots of criteria by which they can be judged.  Three are the most important:

Clone independence says that if two candidates with identical platforms run, the results are the same as if there was only one of them.  This eliminates vote-splitting as a concept.  If the voting system were clone-independent, parties would be much less meaningful, because each party could run as many candidates as it liked without interfering with its own chances of winning.
A voting system is monotone if it is impossible to hurt a candidate by ranking them higher, or help a candidate by ranking them lower.  This effectively eliminates strategic voting, making the ballot actually represent the preferences of the voter.
The Condorcet criterion says that if a candidate is preferred to all other candidates by at least 50% of the voters, that candidate always wins.  This has the effect of making less polarizing candidates more likely to win, as well as arguably being the very essence of democracy.

(I should mention that it's also important that the result be calculable in polynomial time, because otherwise it may not be possible to count the votes in the same century the elections take place.)

Plurality is monotone, but not Condorcet or clone-independent.  Instant-runoff, or IRV, is being adopted by a number of cities across the country.  It's clone-independent, but isn't monotone or Condorcet.  Schulze or ranked-pairs are the only systems listed on Wikipedia which meet all three criteria.  Of the two, Schulze is used by a significant number of organizations, while ranked-pairs has no listed implementations.

For Schulze, the ballot is the same as IRV: rank the candidates in order of preference.  The counting method can get a bit complex, but really only when there's a loop: A is preferred to B, B is preferred to C, but C is preferred to A.  If there's not a loop, it's easy, the candidate preferred to all other candidates wins.  No problem.

Basically, Schulze is mathematically the best voting system out there.  It's use would break the party system, reduce the dominance of money in elections, and end the polarization of the country.  The fact that democracies everywhere aren't using it is a travesty.

#8 Anna

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 09:36 AM

View PostCaptain Jack, on Feb 15 2010, 10:21 PM, said:

How about getting rid of the party system all togethe?
I'd love to! Until then I've been advocating that everyone who is a registered Democrat or Republican and unhappy with party politics to take themselves off the rolls of their party. Become an Independent. That's the only way right now that the parties will see that they're losing their mandate. Make the b*st*rds earn every single vote. In time we'll get the viable third parties we so desperately need. But this is the only solution that all of us can participate in right now.

On a good day I'm an Independent, on a bad day I'm an anarchist.  :ninjadeath:

I've heard of the new Whig party, but hadn't done much research on them. I will now check them out more carefully!
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#9 Cait

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 11:39 AM

View PostAnna, on Feb 16 2010, 06:36 AM, said:

On a good day I'm an Independent, on a bad day I'm an anarchist.  :ninjadeath:

Here, here!!!  

LOL, this just made my day!  Thanks!  :)

Rules for surviving an Autocracy:

Rule#1: Believe the Autocrat.
Rule#2: Do not be taken in by small signs of normality.
Rule#3: Institutions will not save you.
Rule#4: Be outraged.
Rule#5: Don't make compromises.
Rule#6: Remember the future.

Source:
http://www2.nybooks....r-survival.html


#10 Vapor Trails

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 11:48 AM

Sadly, all parties consist of one thing:

PEOPLE.

And no matter what the party, there will be bickering and shenanigans in the ranks. The question is:

Will there be enough unison/open-mindedness/maturity in any new party that comes forth?

Or will the party deteriorate into the same bullsh!t as usual, with just a new, shiny label slapped onto its hood?

Experience tells me it will be the latter.

:suspect:

Edited by Analog Kid, 16 February 2010 - 11:49 AM.

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Politicians are like bananas; they hang together, they're all yellow, and there's not a straight one among them.

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#11 Omega

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 01:54 PM

That's one reason I like the Modern Whigs.  The whole party is about unison, open-mindedness, and maturity.  If that doesn't work, I don't know what will.

#12 Vapor Trails

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 02:15 PM

View PostOmega, on Feb 16 2010, 01:54 PM, said:

That's one reason I like the Modern Whigs.  The whole party is about unison, open-mindedness, and maturity.  If that doesn't work, I don't know what will.

The skeptic in me plays wait and see.  :suspect: Human nature is TOO predictable.  :suspect:

To quote a line from a Rush song:

"Show me, don't tell me."

Edited by Analog Kid, 16 February 2010 - 02:16 PM.

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Politicians are like bananas; they hang together, they're all yellow, and there's not a straight one among them.

"We're relevant for $ and a vote once every two years. Beyond that, we're completely irrelevant, except of course to consume, and preach the gospel according to [insert political demigod here]."--Cait

#13 Omega

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 02:20 PM

Yeah, but if people suck that irredeemably, you may as well not try.  I'm not there yet.  :)

#14 Anna

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 02:58 PM

View PostCertifiably Cait, on Feb 16 2010, 09:39 AM, said:

View PostAnna, on Feb 16 2010, 06:36 AM, said:

On a good day I'm an Independent, on a bad day I'm an anarchist.  :ninjadeath:

Here, here!!!  

LOL, this just made my day!  Thanks!  :)
Glad it brightened your day! I've been saying that for quite a while now... And I have to say that I've been more anarchist than Independent lately. ("Lately" being defined as something over 10 years. :D )
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#15 Vapor Trails

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 03:45 PM

View PostOmega, on Feb 16 2010, 02:20 PM, said:

Yeah, but if people suck that irredeemably, you may as well not try.  I'm not there yet.  :)

Of course, not all people suck that bad. But enough of them suck to make the process a MASSIVE headache.  :headshake:

Can good things happen? Yes. But I think it's more of a roll of the dice-and sadly, people's lives are at stake oftentimes. :( Particularly the poor-and too often, the roll of the bones results in irreversible harm to them. :(

Edited by Analog Kid, 16 February 2010 - 03:46 PM.

Posted Image

Politicians are like bananas; they hang together, they're all yellow, and there's not a straight one among them.

"We're relevant for $ and a vote once every two years. Beyond that, we're completely irrelevant, except of course to consume, and preach the gospel according to [insert political demigod here]."--Cait

#16 ilexx

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 05:41 PM

View PostAnalog Kid, on Feb 16 2010, 09:45 PM, said:

View PostOmega, on Feb 16 2010, 02:20 PM, said:

Yeah, but if people suck that irredeemably, you may as well not try.  I'm not there yet.  :)

Of course, not all people suck that bad. But enough of them suck to make the process a MASSIVE headache.  :headshake:

Can good things happen? Yes. But I think it's more of a roll of the dice-and sadly, people's lives are at stake oftentimes. :( Particularly the poor-and too often, the roll of the bones results in irreversible harm to them. :(

Maybe. But in my experience pessimism and misanthropy only serve the perpetuate the conditions you're so fed up with.

#17 Omega

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 06:26 PM

I'm not usually a fan of trite phrases, but there's one that's absolutely true: the only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for the good to do nothing.  The same applies to the triumph of stupid.

#18 Vapor Trails

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 06:45 PM

View Postilexx, on Feb 16 2010, 05:41 PM, said:

View PostAnalog Kid, on Feb 16 2010, 09:45 PM, said:

View PostOmega, on Feb 16 2010, 02:20 PM, said:

Yeah, but if people suck that irredeemably, you may as well not try.  I'm not there yet.  :)

Of course, not all people suck that bad. But enough of them suck to make the process a MASSIVE headache.  :headshake:

Can good things happen? Yes. But I think it's more of a roll of the dice-and sadly, people's lives are at stake oftentimes. :( Particularly the poor-and too often, the roll of the bones results in irreversible harm to them. :(

Maybe. But in my experience pessimism and misanthropy only serve the perpetuate the conditions you're so fed up with.

(shrug)

My misanthropy didn't sprout overnight. It took years, as well as going though some TRULY f**ked-up experiences. My opinion remains unchanged. Optimism is a VERY, VERY rare thing for me these days.

This doesn't mean things shouldn't be attempted-but frankly, my misanthropy has made me a hard-core skeptic/cynic. The idealistic Saul is LONG gone.

That won't change.
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Politicians are like bananas; they hang together, they're all yellow, and there's not a straight one among them.

"We're relevant for $ and a vote once every two years. Beyond that, we're completely irrelevant, except of course to consume, and preach the gospel according to [insert political demigod here]."--Cait

#19 Bobby

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 06:55 PM

Most people have a smattering of political beliefs that run the gamut.  If people would stop looking at the party and start looking at the candidates instead it would be a hell of a lot better.  It's like everyone is sectioning off into teams.  We're Team USA!  Take your stance on gay marriage, Omega, I can totally accept that as a gay man.  There's nothing insulting in your stance to me, but to hear some tell it I shouldn't accept it since you still don't approve based on your religious leanings.  The Democrats and the Republicans are both doing good jobs of further dividing their own parties.


Analog,  you've told us how much of a skeptic you are based on your life experiences.   Maybe you hold people to standards that they can't live up to in some cases.   There are monsters out there, but all you can do is your part and be the change you want to see in the world.  "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine" and all that!

Edited by LiberalBob, 16 February 2010 - 06:56 PM.


#20 Vapor Trails

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Posted 16 February 2010 - 07:02 PM

View PostLiberalBob, on Feb 16 2010, 06:55 PM, said:

Most people have a smattering of political beliefs that run the gamut.  If people would stop looking at the party and start looking at the candidates instead it would be a hell of a lot better.  It's like everyone is sectioning off into teams.  We're Team USA!  Take your stance on gay marriage, Omega, I can totally accept that as a gay man.  There's nothing insulting in your stance to me, but to hear some tell it I shouldn't accept it since you still don't approve based on your religious leanings.  The Democrats and the Republicans are both doing good jobs of further dividing their own parties.

To the bold: here is the problem.

The candidate is NOTHING without the party. NOTHING.

Quote

Analog,  you've told us how much of a skeptic you are based on your life experiences.   Maybe you hold people to standards that they can't live up to in some cases.   There are monsters out there, but all you can do is your part and be the change you want to see in the world.  "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine" and all that!

True, that-all I can do is my part. And I can be a scathing, unforgiving critic of myself as well.
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Politicians are like bananas; they hang together, they're all yellow, and there's not a straight one among them.

"We're relevant for $ and a vote once every two years. Beyond that, we're completely irrelevant, except of course to consume, and preach the gospel according to [insert political demigod here]."--Cait



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