2136: "Election Commentary"

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2136: "Election Commentary"

Postby Western Rover » Fri Apr 12, 2019 6:29 pm UTC


Title text: This really validates Jones's strategy of getting several thousand more votes than Smith. In retrospect, that was a smart move; those votes were crucial.

Perhaps part of the problem is that elections are actually run locally, even presidential elections, but coverage is run from a national desk.

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Re: 2136: "Election Commentary"

Postby Tub » Fri Apr 12, 2019 7:15 pm UTC

To be fair, the american election system actually is an unnecessarily convoluted way to add up votes.

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Re: 2136: "Election Commentary"

Postby cellocgw » Fri Apr 12, 2019 9:09 pm UTC

Tub wrote:To be fair, the american election system actually is an unnecessarily convoluted way to add up nullifyvotes.

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Re: 2136: "Election Commentary"

Postby Ranbot » Fri Apr 12, 2019 9:21 pm UTC

YW :roll:

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Re: 2136: "Election Commentary"

Postby jgh » Sun Apr 14, 2019 12:05 am UTC

Aaarrrghhh! It's my election here in three weeks, and I'm jittery enough as it is with nine people on the ballot and the mental effort needed to do my count tallying accurately.

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Re: 2136: "Election Commentary"

Postby hetas » Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:15 pm UTC

I'm watching election commentery at the moment. Election for Parliament of Finland.

There seems to be nine parties getting seats in the parliament. With three or four top parties being quite close to each other.

That's the way it's been for few previous elections.

This got me wondering how many different parties are there usually represented in the parliaments around the world?

From United States we only hear about the two major parties but is the any "third parties" represented?

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Re: 2136: "Election Commentary"

Postby Soupspoon » Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:04 pm UTC

(Will leave US situation for a US person.)

UK has two main parties under the national-level FPTP system. They have been "one or the other" for long enough that the exceptions are notable. A third party (centrist to the other two's leftward and rightward) had also been at the poor-man's-third position, mostly those not on the right tending to vote left and vice-versa, rather than the centre. The centre-party is a spiritual and nominal successor to one of the "big two" that found itself marginalised when one of the current big-two became prominent. But it was punished within the past decade for having formed a coalition with the not-quite-majority party. And currently the not-quite-majority party (the same one, after briefly becoming majority in the meantime) is propped up by an even smaller regional party (see next paragraph) that is at least over in the same direction (but more so?) and has had no qualms in forcing its agenda while threatening (or actuallising) to stop its propping up on major issues. (The centre party was far too nice to do that.)

There are also regional parties that can claim to be significant within their regions (three of the four subordinate nations of the UK) but on the UK level tend to act as one or other of: sub-third-party participants who just make up the numbers; functionally allied to one of the bigger parties to make up their numbers; deliberately do not participate.

There are also (generally) single-issue parties who campaign nationwide but tend to get zero to less-than-a-handful representatives under the FPTP system. (Though they may have a wide general support, or at least a very intrusive voice.)

That's the UK parliament. The Scottish Parliament works differently (voting designed not to allow single-party domination, yet it got it, by FPTP for constituencies plus a proportional-ish Additional Member topping up based upon the results across each of several larger sub-regions) as do the Welsh Assembly (not sure how that's working right now) and the Northern Irish one (that isn't working right now, for reasons).

Our prior and hypothetical EU elections seem to follow that pattern, but I don't know if I (or anybody else) understands how it works enough to know what to tactically vote, the way a mainland-European with a similar national-parliamentary setup would.

There are also Local Elections. Within them there's still often domination between a big-two (often left+centre or centre+right, to give centre a significant voice there, but it can be more complicated than that) and seems to generally work on multi-member constituencies ('wards') where the incumbent's spot being voted on to re-elect or replace (plus others needing refilling?) is cycled between elections, while others continue their dislocated tenure. It is entirely possible for "no overall control" to occur, in some councils when no single party keeps/gains a majority against the opposition+third+fourth+…+independent member count. Local elections tend to be read (if not intended) as a barometer to the national (or sub-national) elections, in the middle of the non-local election-cycle, a critique of the result of one that just happened and a bellweather for such an election rapidly aproaching. Though whether as an actual pointer of where things would go, on the day of the local one, or as a pointedly inverse 'protest' vote that is not reflected at all in the 'real thing' where it might be perceived to matter more will vary according to circumstances.

TL;DR; - two parties rule, the rest tend to be also-rans. Except when they aren't.
Last edited by Soupspoon on Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:19 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: 2136: "Election Commentary"

Postby AndrewGPaul » Sun Apr 14, 2019 7:15 pm UTC

The entirety of election coverage from the moment the polls open to the moment the final result is announced is a day or so of utterly pointless broadcasting. It's only of use to keep political journalists busy on what would otherwise be a slow Thursday and Friday. :)

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Re: 2136: "Election Commentary"

Postby Keyman » Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:20 pm UTC

hetas wrote:From United States we only hear about the two major parties but is the any "third parties" represented?

Currently....no. Not on the national level. There are three (I think) "independent" Congresscritters - the most prominent of whom is Bernie Sanders, Senator from Vermont who is currently perusing the nomination of the Democratic party for President. He is not a member of their party, though he often 'caucuses' with them.

On the State level, there are a few 'other' parties with representatives, varying from state to state. Libertarians and Greens, mostly. But in Minnesota, if you gather 5% of the vote in your election, you are conveyed 'major party' status. We have two new ones as of the last election:
1) The Legalize Marijuana Now Party
2) The Grassroots Legalize Cannabis Party

I am not making that up. Major parties get automatic access to the ballot, and their candidates for office can qualify to receive state subsidies.
Nothing could be more ill-judged than that intolerant spirit which has, at all times, characterized political parties. - A. Hamilton

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Re: 2136: "Election Commentary"

Postby Crissa » Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:30 pm UTC

No commentary about the US's 'two-party system' should be without comment that we don't actually have an any-party system. Only in a few states are parties written into the law - they are not at the Federal level. (Nor should they be). In the United States, we've had two major parties the entire time, but they have not always been the same.

The most recent re-alignment (around the 'Civil Rights Act' and the 'Southern Strategy') preserved the names, but changed the parties from industrial isolationists vs monied expansionists to the conservative / liberal-progressive divide we have today. The previous re-alignment was incomplete, but had moved the progressives and socialists into the liberal-expansionist party.

Two parties are the natural result of voting for a single person for President, basically. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duverger%27s_law

There are ways we could mitigate this (our electoral college was one such failed attempt), but conservatives are generally against people participating or anything which would reduce their minority's grasp on half the counted votes.


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Re: 2136: "Election Commentary"

Postby Zamfir » Mon Apr 15, 2019 5:08 pm UTC

hetas wrote:
This got me wondering how many different parties are there usually represented in the parliaments around the world?

The current Dutch parliament has 13 parties, for 150 seats.

Here is a nice graphic history of the last few decades. You can see new parties enter, and other merge or disappear. There is quite some churn, as you can see.

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Re: 2136: "Election Commentary"

Postby jgh » Tue Apr 16, 2019 2:12 am UTC

The UK also doesn't have political parties in law, other than as legal corporate entities and for registration to prevent other people using your party description and logos. In law, a political party is a fan club of their leader. In Parliament or a local council, the council leader is whoever can persuade a majority of the members to vote them into office and not vote them out of office. The leader can then appoint whoever they choose into executive positions. (Regulatory and judicial bodies (eg, planning, licensing) are required to be policially balanced, and most councils have a constitution or standing orders that bans the executive from sitting on such bodies.)

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Re: 2136: "Election Commentary"

Postby element119 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 3:27 am UTC

hetas wrote:This got me wondering how many different parties are there usually represented in the parliaments around the world?

I'll apologize in advance for the length. If you are on a tight schedule or can't be bothered to read the ramblings on the Canadian and Albertan political systems, skip to the bottom to read the summary.

For all of those who are wondering, (OK, I know most of you weren't wondering but I'll say it anyway) Canada has 16 official parties, while 6 currently hold a seat in the federal government. The governing party, the Liberal Party (not the most original name...) is left-of-centre, while the Official Opposition is the Conservative Party, which is right-of-centre. The NDP (New Democratic Party) is further left than the Liberal Party, whereas the People's Party of Canada is further right than the Conservative Party. The Green Party and Bloc Québécois are special interest parties, with one focused on the environment, the other on Quebec separation. While the Liberal Party, the Conservative Party, and the New Democratic Party hold the majority of seats, the other three parties have 10 or less seats (out of a total of 338 seats, which does not give them significant say).
The remaining 10 parties have never received a seat in the Canadian House of Commons (same function as the British House of Commons and US House of Representatives). Many are fringe groups that are either focused on a single issue (ie. Animal Protection Party of Canada), advocate a specific government style (Communist Party of Canada, Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada, Libertarian Party of Canada), or are a satirical party such as the Rhinoceros Party (please, if you want a good laugh about party promises, look up the Macleans article on the first iteration of the party).

For Alberta (my home province), we have slightly different parties, all being more rightward than their federal counterparts. Our past election turned over the conservative party that had held power for 43 years through a vote split between the right-of-centre Progressive Conservative Party and the further right Wildrose Party. This benefited the far left (relative to the rest of the province) New Democratic Party to hold government for the last 4 years, but the two conservative parties merged in 2017 to form the United Conservative Party, and have held the majority of the support of the province since their inception in every survey taken since then. As as result, the election tomorrow (Tuesday, April 16) is going to be an absolute gong show. About a quarter of the province has already voted in the advanced polls, and with the NDP and the UCP fighting tooth and nail, it has been called the nastiest election yet. Currently 5 parties hold a seat, while another 6 are recognized as parties but do not have any seats. The NDP has 54 (out of 87) seats, the UCP has 27 seats, an independent holds 1, leaving the Alberta Party, the Alberta Liberal Party, and the Freedom Conservative Party with 5 seats to split between them. While the Alberta Party and the Alberta Liberal Party are fighting for the centre of the spectrum (relative to the UCP and NDP), the Freedom Conservative Party and the Alberta Independence Party advocate a much more right-of-centre approach, with the AIP advocating a secession from Canada.

If you want more info, since you are able to read this, you are able to peruse the internet for more information on your own. I will be unable to explicitly recommend sources as this is my first post, but if you ask, i can implicitly recommend others.

TL;DR; - In Canada, 3 parties rule, 3 others tag along, and 10 don't go anywhere. In Alberta 2 parties are enough to control the votes, 3 other parties are found in single digits, while 6 other parties are unable to get elected. The election for Alberta tomorrow (April 16) might change that, though.

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Re: 2136: "Election Commentary"

Postby Old Bruce » Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:54 pm UTC

element119 wrote:
hetas wrote:This got me wondering how many different parties are there usually represented in the parliaments around the world?
...a satirical party such as the Rhinoceros Party (please, if you want a good laugh about party promises, look up the Macleans article on the first iteration of the party). ...

I wanted to vote for them once, sadly there was no Rhino candidate in my riding, it was the promise to extend the Rideau canal from Ottawa to Victoria BC. Plus they did get the Belgians to pay reparations for a Tintin comic book where Tintin killed a rhinoceros. Good times back then for political silliness.

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