1127: "Congress"

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Karilyn
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Karilyn » Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:40 pm UTC

SerMufasa wrote:I think the parliamentary-style of government that most(all?) European governments have is more favorable to 3rd, 4th, and 5th parties that spread across a much wider portion of the spectrum. With the US' style, fringe parties are a lot more likely to fall into obscurity, and any ideological shift of where the center lies represents a shift of the nation's viewpoint, not just of a select few.

Are you capable of explaining to me why a parliamentary system encourages third parties? I have not seen that claim before, and I am genuinely curious to see why this permit's third parties, and a congress system does not. I am not exceptionally familiar with the differences between a parliamentary system and a congressional system.

Currently the only way I'm aware of to improve 3rd party chances is run-offs when candidates have less than 50% of the popular vote, which produces much higher 3rd party appearance rates in states who's congresses are elected using that technique, as people no longer see their vote as "wasted" when they vote for a third party, since they get a second chance for an input if their candidate fails. Permitting people to vote how they want the first time, and if their candidate fails to make the run-off, they can vote for the "least evil" like they normally do.
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:44 pm UTC

yedidyak wrote:Wow. What really stands out to me is the huge decline in the Center-Right, which totally disappeared from the House.

And I think someone gets the comic!

Showing the shift in party lines is what's so fascinating.
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby CasualSax » Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:45 pm UTC

Interesting chart. I'm fiscally conservative but extremely liberal, which pins me as a lightest red. It definitely shows how I feel rather well, as neither of the major candidates represent my views. I extremely dislike using left and right as terms. There are tons of different issues, and boxing them up into such really dissuades people from considering them individually. We've reached an age where technology will allow us to have an absolute democracy - who's with me?

As for the third party/parliment stuff: When a third party gets 5% of the popular vote in a parliment system, they get 5% of the seats. In the US, you could have 20% of the popular vote in each state, but still not have any representation.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby jpers36 » Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:49 pm UTC

I'm not seeing a dotted yellow line for the Senate.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Karilyn » Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:53 pm UTC

CasualSax wrote:As for the third party/parliment stuff: When a third party gets 5% of the popular vote in a Parliament system, they get 5% of the seats. In the US, you could have 20% of the popular vote in each state, but still not have any representation.

So you're voting for the party, not the individual? :?

Cause a lot of Republicans and Democrats vote across party lines; that's why the chart shows "far" and "center" versions of both Republican and Democrat; it's roughly a measure of how much the politician crossed side during a vote. If you're not voting for an individual, it seems like you would be severely limited in knowing what the person will actually do once they are in office. Do people not vote against party lines as often in a Parliamentary system? Do parties have some sort of well-defined organizational body that kicks people out if they vote outside of the party's ideology too many times?

I'm curious but not sold yet without more information. I am extremely excited about the idea of giving 5% of the seats for 5% of the votes, but uncomfortable about the appearance of voting for parties instead of individuals.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby CasualSax » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:05 pm UTC

Good points. I don't know the official answer, but if all of the people who vote for a party then get to decide which representatives are put in place (sort of like having the primaries after the election) it would solve some of the problems you mention.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby ElWanderer » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:07 pm UTC

CasualSax wrote:As for the third party/parliment stuff: When a third party gets 5% of the popular vote in a parliment system, they get 5% of the seats. In the US, you could have 20% of the popular vote in each state, but still not have any representation.

That's only true if proportional represenation is used, which isn't a necessary condition for a parliamentary system e.g. the United Kingdom has first past the post voting for Members of Parliament (and note that the "3rd party" is currently in power as part of a coalition).
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Karilyn » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:11 pm UTC

CasualSax wrote:Good points. I don't know the official answer, but if all of the people who vote for a party then get to decide which representatives are put in place (sort of like having the primaries after the election) it would solve some of the problems you mention.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlMwc1c0HRQ
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby SerMufasa » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:13 pm UTC

Karilyn wrote:Are you capable of explaining to me why a parliamentary system encourages third parties? I have not seen that claim before, and I am genuinely curious to see why this permit's third parties, and a congress system does not. I am not exceptionally familiar with the differences between a parliamentary system and a congressional system.


In a parliamentary system, the Prime Minister and cabinet are selected, not voted on. The selection is done by the members of Parliament that are voted on. When there are multiple parties and no single one has a majority, coalitions are formed between the parties to ensure the most desired Prime Minister is selected.

Let's say in a parliament of 500 seats, the party tally is as follows:
Party One: 248 seats
Party Two: 247 seats
Party Three: 5 seats

Guess which party gets to determine the next Prime Minister? (Unless Party Three is so reviled that Party One and Party Two compromise to select a Prime Minister)

And while it is possible that Party Three may go extinct in a few more elections, it's also possible for it to grow now that it has a foothold.

In the US, where the President is directly elected, the effect of a third party is greatly reduced. Sure, you may have the House or Senate setup in a similar division with a 3rd party or Independent, but that's going to be atypical that it's the deciding factor on if a bill is passed (as very rarely are votes strictly by party line). This is why third parties in the US have a hard time gaining traction.

Oddly enough, Abraham Lincoln lost the 1854 Illinois Senate Seat because Senators at the time were selected by state legislatures rather than the people. So even though the Whigs had a plurality in the Illinois legislature, they had to compromise with another faction to be able to choose a Senator, and that faction got to pick the Senator.
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Beltayn » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:18 pm UTC

The whole Liberal/Conservative labeling has another layer of complexity.

There are two broadly defined topics in which one can be Liberal or Conservative; Social Issues and Fiscal Policy.

Social Issues

Social Liberals tend to believe in the role of government being to protect and enfranchise all citizens, prevent descriminaion, and ensure equality of opportunity. In general, they believe that "banning things" is something that should be done as little as possible, and only for VERY good reason.
Examples:
-Oppose banning abortion, even if they personally disapprove of it
-In favor of gay marriage
-In favor of social programs for disenfranchized demographics, to include protections for the disabled, minorities, and women, as well as affirmative action to ensure these groups are represented according to their population in government, the work force, and in higher education
-In favor of legalizing marajuana, arguing that it does no harm

Social Conservatives tend to consider government interference in society on sensitive issues as unconstitutional overreach, and tend to resist change as dangerous. They prefer for social progress to occur only organically, when society as a whole is "ready". They tend to be reactionary against measures proposed by Social Liberals. Social Conservatives tend to champion pushing decisons on social issues to the State level, to allow more homogenous populations to implement their own systems according to their own values.

*NOTE* The "Religious Right" gets lumped in with Social Conservatives as allies of convenience, because they tend to be against the same things, like federally recognized gay marriage. The Religious Right, however, takes a more activist approach in that they support federal bans on things that are against their values.
A true Social Conservative would be generally ok with every state deciding for themselves, as long as no one is forcing anything on them in their own state.
Both groups, generally, are defined by the things they are against, rather than the things they are for.



Fiscal Policy

Fiscal Liberals believe in the role of the government to direct, stimulate, and regulate the economy. They are in favor of stimulus spending, and targeted monetary policy. They believe that deficit spending can be justified if it serves a greater good, such as leading to a surplus later. They believe in regulations on industry to protect the economy, environment, and public from abuse.

Fiscal Conservatives believe that government interferance in the economy is distortionary and more negative than positive. They believe that the free market will regulate its self if left alone, and that bubbles and crashs are the result of regulatory meddling. They believe in austerity in order to eliminate the deficit and reduce the debt, even if it means short-term pain, arguing that it will be compensated for when the market stablizes later. They are suspicious of inflation, even as a means to combat debt. They oppose bailouts of banks, companies, and even entire industries, preferring to allow market forces to take their course.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So it is not very specific to simply call someone a "Liberal" or a "Conservative", because one can be Liberal/Conservative in two different areas independantly.
Democrats are generally Social Liberal/Fiscal Liberal, but also encompass Social Conservative/Fiscal Liberals (the so-called "Blue-dog Democrats" mostly found in the South and among Northern Catholics).
Republicans are generally Social Conservative/Fiscal Conservative nowadays. The "Moderate Republicans" who have mostly been hunted to extinction were Social Conservative/Fiscal Liberal and overlapped with the Blue-dog Democrats.

You will notice that this leaves no real home for Social Liberal/Fiscal Conservatives. These people are known as "Libertarians", and either vote for third-party candidates or decide whether Social or Fiscal issues are more important to them and vote for the corresponding major party.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The water is further muddied by the fact that people can be Liberal or Conservative on individual issues, in contrast to their overall stance.

For example, the Republican Party is generally ideologically Fiscally Conservative, except on issues like law enforcement and military spending, which they consider "good" spending.

Similarly, the Democrat party, while generally Socially Liberal, will champion the Social Conservative platform of state self-determination if it allows them a more effective method of accomplishing their goals. For example, gay marriage and marajuana legalization have both been pushed at a state-by-state level due to the inability of the Democrats to gain much ground on these issues at the Federal level.
Last edited by Beltayn on Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:26 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Steve the Pocket » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:20 pm UTC

Is it just me, or is the center-right ... shape ... a pinker color on the Senate side?
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby abb3w » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:25 pm UTC

I looked up La Follette's "paranoid freakout". It looks... not particularly paranoid, in hindsight, and with surprisingly relevant contemporary counterparts. (Though the bit about the railroads is out of date; ISPs might give a contemporary counterpart over the "net neutrality" issue.)

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby NiteClerk » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:27 pm UTC

thesingingaccountant wrote:
Munksgaard_ wrote: ...
I personally am of the opinion that there is no significant difference between the two major political parties in the US. Each party is wholly owned and operated by big business and the ultra-rich, and the main goal of each party is the same: to transfer as much money and power as possible from the poor (by which I mean the bottom 90% of the population) to the rich by any means necessary. So, to me, it's somewhat amusing that we still use two different colors to represent them. ...


My family has been self employed since we were kicked out of the Garden of Eden. Business owners, tradesmen, farmers, slave owner, fishermen, etc. (Yes I know most of these are in fact a duplicate of being a business owner.) Anyway, I always figured the difference between D & R is that the D's want to take my money and give to poor people. The R's want to take my money and give to business'. All in all I'd rather my money goes to a business. Look at it this way, when the government wants to encourage something it subsidizes that activity. We have been subsidizing poverty and poor people for generations. And its worked! We now have more poor people than ever before.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby EgyptianSnailCashier » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:44 pm UTC

Mr. Munroe missed the third branch of the Federal government - the supreme court. Since the justices vote and have overlapping terms of office, they, too could be analyzed by the same methodology.

I'm really curious about that chart.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby sorenjordan » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:45 pm UTC

Imagine my excitement to see DW-NOMINATE as the subject of an xkcd comic this morning!

Political scientists have been using Poole and Rosenthal's NOMINATE scores as a gauge for legislator ideology for close to twenty years now. They are calculated through a complex spatial analysis of every roll call taken in Congress, from the beginning of the institution to date.

In a sense, many of your criticisms are intuitive versions of the criticisms us ``experts" have lobbied at the score for years. It does not have a natural metric. It does not tell us much about the content of the score. It does not yield a lot of insight into what the scores mean over time. They are endogenous to influence of party effects, meaning that, when we observe roll call votes, we're often observing more than just a legislator's preferences; we're also observing the pressures and forces of his or her party to vote in particular ways. Rather, they are, by construction, a best approximation of ``ideology," according to the spatial voting patterns observed through roll call votes.

But they turn out to be a very good approximation. Members' of Congress NOMINATE scores turn out to be pretty well related to where we think they should be placed on an ideological spectrum. And Poole and Rosenthal have demonstrated repeatedly that the content of the votes that makes up the ``first dimension" (if we consider the spatial model to be best estimated using a singular dimension of conflict) correspond almost exactly to a social/economic dimension of conflict: that is, they indicate that the primary dimension of political tension is along social and economic issues. Which also makes intuitive sense. In those eras where roll calls are not well classified by this ``first dimension," the second dimension of conflict turns out to be race and cultural issues. And, as you might have guessed, this dimension was only important in any substantive sense in the mid twentieth century. (Interestingly, this was also the time the political parties were noted to have been the least polarized.)

Interested readers really should go to voteview. Or just google ``NOMINATE": since they were funded by an NSF grant, there are lots of links to publications that use the scores for theory testing. The math of the model is sort of fun, if you're into that sort of thing. And note that there are other estimators of member ideology: inflation-adjusted ADA scores (Groseclose, Levitt, and Snyder 1999) and Bayesian estimators (Clinton, Jackman, and Rivers 2004).

If anything, hopefully we've convinced you that the common joke ``and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)" doesn't really apply ( :

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby PigeonBrain » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:45 pm UTC

Beautiful! Keep taking those Tufte tablets, Randy!

But the recent drift towards the far right is worrisome. Angry colors ready to explode? Hope not.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby alpha754293 » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:49 pm UTC

I'm more interested in how he generated such a massive info-graphic!!!

I'm assuming that he has some kind of script/automation cuz...that would be a royal pain to draw all those lines in...

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby samvimes » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:56 pm UTC

Karilyn wrote:
SerMufasa wrote:I think the parliamentary-style of government that most(all?) European governments have is more favorable to 3rd, 4th, and 5th parties that spread across a much wider portion of the spectrum. With the US' style, fringe parties are a lot more likely to fall into obscurity, and any ideological shift of where the center lies represents a shift of the nation's viewpoint, not just of a select few.

Are you capable of explaining to me why a parliamentary system encourages third parties? I have not seen that claim before, and I am genuinely curious to see why this permit's third parties, and a congress system does not. I am not exceptionally familiar with the differences between a parliamentary system and a congressional system.

Currently the only way I'm aware of to improve 3rd party chances is run-offs when candidates have less than 50% of the popular vote, which produces much higher 3rd party appearance rates in states who's congresses are elected using that technique, as people no longer see their vote as "wasted" when they vote for a third party, since they get a second chance for an input if their candidate fails. Permitting people to vote how they want the first time, and if their candidate fails to make the run-off, they can vote for the "least evil" like they normally do.


Well, I live under a presidentialist system, but I'd say (without proof) that in a presidentialist system, the feeling is that the president is the most important position, the parliaments feel like a stand by position. Ie: most voters blame/attribute the performance of the last period of government primarily to the Democrats, because the president was one, although the parliament was 47 vs 51, hardly a democratic fortress.
In such a scenario, a third party that does have a marginal chance of getting the presidency, looks like a "lost vote". OTOH, parliamentary systems explicitly make coalitions of already chosen representatives a way to achieve the executive power.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Transgenic_Squid » Mon Oct 29, 2012 3:59 pm UTC

Karilyn wrote:
CasualSax wrote:As for the third party/parliment stuff: When a third party gets 5% of the popular vote in a Parliament system, they get 5% of the seats. In the US, you could have 20% of the popular vote in each state, but still not have any representation.

So you're voting for the party, not the individual? :?

Cause a lot of Republicans and Democrats vote across party lines; that's why the chart shows "far" and "center" versions of both Republican and Democrat; it's roughly a measure of how much the politician crossed side during a vote. If you're not voting for an individual, it seems like you would be severely limited in knowing what the person will actually do once they are in office. Do people not vote against party lines as often in a Parliamentary system? Do parties have some sort of well-defined organizational body that kicks people out if they vote outside of the party's ideology too many times?

I'm curious but not sold yet without more information. I am extremely excited about the idea of giving 5% of the seats for 5% of the votes, but uncomfortable about the appearance of voting for parties instead of individuals.

CONTINUE YOUR SALES PITCH GOOD FELLOW.


I think CasualSax is not entirely correct in saying that parliamentary systems = proportional representation. While is true that the parliaments of many countries do use proportional representation, not all of them do, and proportional representation is not the defining characteristic of parliamentary systems.

The defining difference between a parliamentary system and a presidential system (like in the US) is that in a parliamentary system, the executive branch (ie Prime Minister and Cabinet) must have the support of the majority of the legislature to continue serving, whereas in a presidential system, the executive branch is elected in a separate vote from the legislature and serves until its term is up, regardless of whether the majority of the legislature supports it or not.

For example, in the US, it is possible for Congress to be majority Republican while the President is a Democrat. If this were to happen in a parliamentary system, the Prime Minister would be said to have "lost the confidence of the legislature" and would have to resign. At this point, either a new election is called or the majority party/coalition gets to select one of its own members as the new Prime Minister.

Anyway, coming back to the original point about how parliamentary systems encourage 3rd parties:

IMO, parliamentary systems do not inherently encourage 3rd parties. In the cases of parliaments that use proportional representation, 3rd parties indeed have an easier time getting elected. However, parliamentary systems that use first-past-the-post (if you win majority in a district, you win the seat for that district; this is the same system that the US uses) are just as difficult for third parties as a presidential system. As you can see from Randall's chart, the US did have periods when more than two major parties existed. It just so happens that currently, the US has been in a two-party for so long that it is now very difficult for third parties to appear as plausible contenders. The US is probably an outlier in this regard. In most other countries using the first-past-the-post system, there are two major parties with one or more third parties that are not popular enough to win outright majorities, but are still able to hold the balance of power between the two major parties. The position of major and third-parties may even switch around occasionally, as happened recently in Canada with the NDP going from third party to Official Opposition (second party).

Edit: another example:
The French system is a presidential system, but unlike the US congress, its parliament does have a bunch of third parties in it.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Parliament

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby rhomboidal » Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:12 pm UTC

I'd love to see USA Today try to compress all of this it into an eye-candy pie chart.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby J Thomas » Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:42 pm UTC

NiteClerk wrote:My family has been self employed since we were kicked out of the Garden of Eden. Business owners, tradesmen, farmers, slave owner, fishermen, etc. (Yes I know most of these are in fact a duplicate of being a business owner.) Anyway, I always figured the difference between D & R is that the D's want to take my money and give to poor people. The R's want to take my money and give to business'. All in all I'd rather my money goes to a business. Look at it this way, when the government wants to encourage something it subsidizes that activity. We have been subsidizing poverty and poor people for generations. And its worked! We now have more poor people than ever before.


Ah, identity politics! You feel like the Republicans are for business, and you're a businessman, so you prefer the GOP.

The trouble is, if you were poor you would probably find out that the Democrats must be subsidizing *other* poor people because they don't subsidize you much.

And if you look you will most certainly notice that the R's want to take your money and give it to other businesses, sometimes your competitors, but not you.

You can use anything you want to choose who to vote for, but my own suggestion is not to use this one.

For myself, I notice that Obama has delayed starting a war with Iran for years, and there's a chance if he gets elected he'll delay for another four years. Romney gives me the impression that if he gets elected we'll be at war within 6 months. The last two wars cost more than $2 trillion in real stuff and we haven't finished paying for them, and this one will be much larger. A war that Israel couldn't possibly fight. Another 10 year war that the Chinese might not pay for for 10 years.

(By real stuff, I mean it wasn't just bankers lending each other money, it used up lots of fuel and steel and a whole lot of DU and a lot of soldiers spending their time in deserts and third-world cities getting combat pay for being shot at. We bought a lot of stuff from foreigners that got blown up in foreign countries. 2% of GDP that could have gone to capital investments to make the USA more competitive, blown up.)

Of course, Obama could send us into Iran 3 months after he gets elected, and Romney might completely ignore his campaign promises. My father voted for Johnson because he thought Goldwater would get us deeper into Vietnam.

But Romney says he doesn't want any daylight between Israeli policy and US policy, and Netanyahu's policy is that the USA will fight a war with Iran.
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Karilyn » Mon Oct 29, 2012 4:43 pm UTC

SerMufasa wrote:
Karilyn wrote:In a parliamentary system, the Prime Minister and cabinet are selected, not voted on. The selection is done by the members of Parliament that are voted on. When there are multiple parties and no single one has a majority, coalitions are formed between the parties to ensure the most desired Prime Minister is selected.
[...]
Oddly enough, Abraham Lincoln lost the 1854 Illinois Senate Seat because Senators at the time were selected by state legislatures rather than the people. So even though the Whigs had a plurality in the Illinois legislature, they had to compromise with another faction to be able to choose a Senator, and that faction got to pick the Senator.

You just sold me, particularly by comparing it to the historical choosing of Senators by state legislatures instead of by vote. I have been a strong supporter of returning to popular vote election of Representatives, and appointment by state legislatures of the Senate, as I think it is a much superior system; giving weight simultaneously to popular vote AND appointment. I like a system that has both, because appointment helps compensate for an uneducated voter-base in an all-popular-vote system, and popular vote helps prevent corruption relative to an all-appointment system.

To apply the same thing to Presidency, of the Representatives and Senate electing the president, would be an excellent improvement to the system. It improves the layers on both sides, further reducing both corruption and uneducated voter problems, AND gives strength to third parties.

You have convinced me of the superiority of the Parliamentary system. Who says you can't convince anybody on the Internet?

EDIT: Another major benefit I see is removing the focus off the President. There's a major problem in the US with people focusing on the President and ignoring their congressional representative, which allows for more congressional corruption as they are not held under the same microscope that presidents are (not that presidents can't be corrupt, but they have a lower corruption than congress).
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby James2323 » Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:02 pm UTC

Transgenic_Squid wrote: The US is probably an outlier in this regard. In most other countries using the first-past-the-post system, there are two major parties with one or more third parties that are not popular enough to win outright majorities, but are still able to hold the balance of power between the two major parties. The position of major and third-parties may even switch around occasionally, as happened recently in Canada with the NDP going from third party to Official Opposition (second party).


One thing that is unusual about the US system is that the legislature is quite small, so the electorates are very large: the average senator represents about 6 million, and the average member of the House of Representatives 700 000. That contrasts with about 100 000 for a member of the Canadian or British House of Commons or the French National Assembly, and 150 000 for the Australian House of Representatives, for example. So I imagine it is a lot harder for third-party or independent candidates to enter the US legislature by campaigning on local issues, which happens fairly frequently in some other countries (for example, in the UK general election in 2001, an independent MP was elected largely on the basis of his opposition to the closure of the emergency department at a local hospital). This also means that a given race in the US will have far more national attention and money going into it, which will mostly benefit the main parties' candidates. Of course, Canada and the UK also have significant regions (Quebec, Scotland, Northern Ireland) with a very different political culture to the rest of the country, which allows smaller parties to flourish there.

The French system is a presidential system, but unlike the US congress, its parliament does have a bunch of third parties in it.


France really has a semi-presidential system: the president (who is directly elected) and prime minister (who is nominated by the president, but has to maintain the support of the majority of the National Assembly) share executive power. They also use a run-off election system which can help to encourage third parties.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby TheoGB » Mon Oct 29, 2012 5:29 pm UTC

Karilyn wrote:
TheoGB wrote:I'd imagine anyone from Europe will have had a little chuckle at the use of the term 'Far Left' in the key, frankly. US political 'far Left' probably barely makes it centerist politics over here. :D


Right and left are purely relative terms. There is nothing absolute about them. This specific sample is about US politics, not international politics. Thus there is and always will be no matter what you are sampling, a right, a left, and a center. The same is true even when you look at the most left, and the most right nations.

It doesn't particularly make you smart or cute to point out that American politics international is right.


It wouldn't be such a problem if American commentators didn't pull out the 'socialism' card when looking at someone like Obama, which implies strongly that there is not a general understanding of how much wider the political spectrum can be.

Also I find it interesting that you say left-wing is associated with being liberal when the rhetoric of the American right tends to be *actually* quite pro-libertarian (i.e. less meddling from the Government in people's affairs, less restriction on business, etc.) while still using it as a pejorative term.

Obviously here in the UK things look different. The Conservatives align themselves with notions of libertarianism, particularly after Labour brought in a lot more authoritarian laws post-11th September. Obviously the left have always been associated with liberalism in field of live and let live for others but clearly the paradox is that in order to try to provide more for the poor you need to have greater state intervention, which is less liberal.

Hmm. It's all a mess, really.

Anyway, apologies for the glib comments but I don't fully believe that these terms can just be left as relative. People in general should consider how 'left' or 'right' policies really are. They never do, though. :(

fatunga
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby fatunga » Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:07 pm UTC

Fantastic! Reminds me of diagrams of animal circulatory systems, except in this case somewhat diseased. It would be more helpful to me if it went chronologically top-to-bottom.

One more erratum: it should be "egalitarianism", not "egalatarianism" @Senate-1821

It's cool to see a discussion of representational government systems, but I respectfully suggest that we be careful not to conflate parliamentary (vs presidential) systems with proportional representation (vs winner-take-all) or proportional voting (vs one person/one vote). For the most part, these options can be mixed, and are used in various combinations throughout the world.

Also, I think the psychological and sociological impact of various systems on the voter is not trivial. The biggest problem I see with voting for individuals is that it seems to favor demagogues and figureheads, and more importantly the unaccountable and often murky coalitions behind them (as opposed to power-sharing coalitions that are formed in public post-election). I also believe that a two-party, winner-take-all system can demoralize political minorities and suppresses turnout, or turn them into political pawns (or is it footballs?). Finally, I would think that the size, geography and demographics of a nation makes certain processes more effective than others.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby DavidRF » Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:24 pm UTC

Minor correction: GHWBush was in the House from 1967-1971, not the Senate from 1965-69.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby superglucose » Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:40 pm UTC

Andrew Jackson was a democrat
George Washington was specifically unaligned and in his farewell address warned against political parties as a source of corruption and foreign influence while taking votes and debates away from the actual issues and instead making every decision a question of "them vs us" which would not help the nation in any way.

He kind of was a genius.
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby juliusdavies » Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:01 pm UTC

I can see the "control of house" line on the congress side (the yellow dashed line). But I cannot see it on the Senate side. Am I missing something?

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby obfpen » Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:04 pm UTC

fatunga wrote:Reminds me of diagrams of animal circulatory systems, except in this case somewhat diseased.


Idiopathic creeping hyperdexteritis?

Democrat's palsy?

Electerosclerosis?

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby JamesStreet » Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:15 pm UTC

In what universe does a hard-money economy inflate?? It's always been fiat, paper-money economies that self-destruct through inflation. Gold- and silver-based economies deflate, since the same money chases more and more goods as the economy grows.

The people want gold, since its value always grows; bankers and politicians want paper, since it can be created out of thin air to manipulate the market to their needs.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby mbklein » Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:40 pm UTC

Can someone explain to me what it means when one of the red lines flows in from the far left to join the rest of the red bloc, and vice versa?

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Adam H » Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:51 pm UTC

Here's something fun: it looks like voteview.com has about 1000 views per week (citation). I predict a huge explosion this week, and since randall didn't actually link to it, the site owners might never realize what caused the increase in traffic. :D

I'm skeptical that this DW-NOMINATE score can be used to compare politics across generations. It doesn't look at the contents of bills, it just analyzes the for/against split. So when you say that Senator A from 1800 is far right, you are really just saying that he voted similar to Senator B from 1804, who voted similar to younger Senator C from 1808, who voted similar to... etc etc etc ... who voted similar to Senator X from 2012, and since Senator X leans far right, Senator A leans far right.

mbklein wrote:Can someone explain to me what it means when one of the red lines flows in from the far left to join the rest of the red bloc, and vice versa?
I believe it means that a right leaning democrat (or other left party like democratic-republican) joined the Senate.
-Adam

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby jay35 » Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:51 pm UTC

While i knew that the Democrats were the party of slavery during the 1800s, I was shocked to learn that all major wars prior to the Bushes (i.e., prior to the 1990s) were begun under Democrat-led administrations. Add in the pseudo-wars of Kosovo/Balkans and Somalia in the 90s under Clinton, and the "Arab spring" nonsense and expanded Middle-East/horn of Africa operations under Obama, and the trend appears to continue with only the Bushes being the exception. Fascinating.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby namatad » Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:54 pm UTC

so um
what software is used to create a chart like this?
mathematica?
Examples somewhere ??
thanks

side question, WHY is it so hard to find the right tool, if you dont already know where to look?
sigh

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby namatad » Mon Oct 29, 2012 7:58 pm UTC

jay35 wrote:While i knew that the Democrats were the party of slavery during the 1800s, I was shocked to learn that all major wars prior to the Bushes (i.e., prior to the 1990s) were begun under Democrat-led administrations. Add in the pseudo-wars of Kosovo/Balkans and Somalia in the 90s under Clinton, and the "Arab spring" nonsense and expanded Middle-East/horn of Africa operations under Obama, and the trend appears to continue with only the Bushes being the exception. Fascinating.


Except that the name of the party has little to do with the ideology of the party over time.
Would Viet Nam have been expanded under Johnson if the voters rights act had happen earlier or later? Certainly once the dixiecrats left, the GOP took up the role of warmonger in chief party.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby J Thomas » Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:27 pm UTC

jay35 wrote:While i knew that the Democrats were the party of slavery during the 1800s, I was shocked to learn that all major wars prior to the Bushes (i.e., prior to the 1990s) were begun under Democrat-led administrations. Add in the pseudo-wars of Kosovo/Balkans and Somalia in the 90s under Clinton, and the "Arab spring" nonsense and expanded Middle-East/horn of Africa operations under Obama, and the trend appears to continue with only the Bushes being the exception. Fascinating.


Did you get your history from Fox News?

I'll grant you Korea and Vietnam, although Vietnam had just a little bit of aid from Kennedy and more from Johnson, and then Nixon came in with a secret plan to end the war which took as long as Kennedy and Johnson had spent on it combined.

But it makes less sense to say that Democrats started WWI or WWII than it does to say that Lincoln started the Civil war. And Republicans were responsible for the Spanish-American war and the Philippines bloodbath.

Still, it's hard for Republicans to say that Democrats start all the wars and also that Democrats are weak on defense. No, wait, it isn't. It's easy for them.

Regardless, I want to delay the war with Iran. Frankly, it looks like a trap. If the time came that we had ground troops rolling through Iran and the dollar collapsed, and the UN general assembly voted near unanimously to embargo us, we could veto but there wouldn't be a lot of nations that had an incentive to break the embargo. China is just about ready to spring a trap like that on us.

If I saw any reason to think that Romney might stay out of that war, I'd likely vote for him. But I've seen no hint from him of that. Nor from Ryan.
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby dtilque » Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:38 pm UTC

jay35 wrote:While i knew that the Democrats were the party of slavery during the 1800s, I was shocked to learn that all major wars prior to the Bushes (i.e., prior to the 1990s) were begun under Democrat-led administrations. Add in the pseudo-wars of Kosovo/Balkans and Somalia in the 90s under Clinton, and the "Arab spring" nonsense and expanded Middle-East/horn of Africa operations under Obama, and the trend appears to continue with only the Bushes being the exception. Fascinating.


There's an old political saying to the effect that we get wars under Democrats and recessions under Republicans. Nowadays, the Republicans have taken over both functions.

(The Arab Spring/Middle East stuff by Obama is small potatoes in terms of historic US military actions. Not much bigger than Reagan intervening in Grenada or Lebanon, for example.)
“This world is a strange madhouse. Currently, every coachman and every waiter is debating whether relativity theory is correct. Belief in this matter depends on political party affiliation.”
-- Albert Einstein, 12 September 1920

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby Karilyn » Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:39 pm UTC

TheoGB wrote:Also I find it interesting that you say left-wing is associated with being liberal when the rhetoric of the American right tends to be *actually* quite pro-libertarian (i.e. less meddling from the Government in people's affairs, less restriction on business, etc.) while still using it as a pejorative term.

Obviously here in the UK things look different. The Conservatives align themselves with notions of libertarianism, particularly after Labour brought in a lot more authoritarian laws post-11th September. Obviously the left have always been associated with liberalism in field of live and let live for others but clearly the paradox is that in order to try to provide more for the poor you need to have greater state intervention, which is less liberal.

I may be misunderstanding your post, but... I am not familiar with the word Libertarian being used pejoratively in America.

Libertarianism is fiscally conservative and socially liberal. Most American Libertarians emphasize the fiscal conservatism, and because of this, they are frequently considered more conservative than Republicans (They don't disregard social liberalism, it's simply not the focus). Though it's certainly possible to have a American liberal Libertarian who emphasizes the social aspects.

There has been a push lately to try and integrate more libertarianism into the Republican Party. But to some extent, Libertarianism in America is usually referring to the Libertarian Party as opposed to the libertarianism philosophies. And the two often fail to overlap. It's much the same way that Republicans are not necessarily Pro-Republic, and Democrats are not necessarily Pro-Democracy. It's just sorta, all meaningless names as this point, that people are uncomfortable to change because they are established names.
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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby jay35 » Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:48 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:
jay35 wrote:While i knew that the Democrats were the party of slavery during the 1800s, I was shocked to learn that all major wars prior to the Bushes (i.e., prior to the 1990s) were begun under Democrat-led administrations. Add in the pseudo-wars of Kosovo/Balkans and Somalia in the 90s under Clinton, and the "Arab spring" nonsense and expanded Middle-East/horn of Africa operations under Obama, and the trend appears to continue with only the Bushes being the exception. Fascinating.


Did you get your history from Fox News?

Not only do I not watch Fox News, I don't even bother with TV News as a whole. I'd consider myself a fairly mainline progressive.I'm not sure which word(s) in what I wrote that you mistook for some sort of "giveaway" of Fox News viewership, but you're way off target.

And as for getting history from Fox News, that's quite a non sequitor in response to what I wrote, given we all know the intent behind making such a silly statement. See, if I did get my history from Fox News, one would assume that my perspective coming into this would be that bad things (like wars) were started by bad people (which for Fox News would be Democrats, right?). Except that is actually the evidence construed by the comic -- that wars other than Bush wars were started by Democrats. My thought coming into this was that Republicans were the bloodthirsty types who started wars, just like most of us here probably assumed. The comic, assuming it's accurate, surprised me and crushed a stereotype I'd long accepted as truth. I would think I'm not alone in being surprised by that fact.

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Re: 1127: "Congress"

Postby jay35 » Mon Oct 29, 2012 8:51 pm UTC

dtilque wrote:
jay35 wrote:While i knew that the Democrats were the party of slavery during the 1800s, I was shocked to learn that all major wars prior to the Bushes (i.e., prior to the 1990s) were begun under Democrat-led administrations. Add in the pseudo-wars of Kosovo/Balkans and Somalia in the 90s under Clinton, and the "Arab spring" nonsense and expanded Middle-East/horn of Africa operations under Obama, and the trend appears to continue with only the Bushes being the exception. Fascinating.


There's an old political saying to the effect that we get wars under Democrats and recessions under Republicans. Nowadays, the Republicans have taken over both functions.

(The Arab Spring/Middle East stuff by Obama is small potatoes in terms of historic US military actions. Not much bigger than Reagan intervening in Grenada or Lebanon, for example.)

Ah, good call on the Reagan-era Central American 'actions'. I was too young to remember much of events back then, so they completely slipped my mind when I was trying to come up with exceptions other than Bushes. =)


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