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Old 05-19-2009, 03:15 PM   #1
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The Party System in American Government

Do you guys think it would be better if instead of having a party system (like Democrat and Republican), we just had NO parties, and it was just independent thinking and free flow of ideas without labels?

I feel that now a days everyone becomes "loyal" to their party and sometimes throwaway their own individual ideas in favor of the group. Perhaps if we had no parties, then we politicians would just be looked at like individual people without following into a specific group...

i mean, it might be a good idea?
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Old 05-19-2009, 03:16 PM   #2
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bu....bu....but it makes for such great television!
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Old 05-19-2009, 03:17 PM   #3
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bu....bu....but it makes for such great television!
hahahha thats true!

Comedy is always more important than our future if you ask me... the republicans have been really entertaining now a days.
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Old 05-19-2009, 03:18 PM   #4
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it began that way

if you look at the glorious founding fathers, they put nothing in writing about parties
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Old 05-19-2009, 03:29 PM   #5
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You'd have to change the winner-take-all system we have for there to be any hope of eliminating the two-party system.
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Old 05-19-2009, 03:34 PM   #6
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Why?
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Old 05-19-2009, 06:28 PM   #7
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The best way of getting to this "free idea without parties" idea is to first allow for there to be more than just two parties. And to do that, you'd have to create a system in which people wouldn't feel they were "wasting" a vote if they voted for a third party. The best way of doing that is having two rounds of elections: one in which you vote freely for whoever you like, and then they narrow it down to the top two and vote again so you're voting one against the other. Thus, you've spoken your mind AND you're not "wasting" your vote by doing so.

In our current system, people are afraid to vote for independents in most cases. This is because they want a choice between the top two candidates most likely to be voted in office.
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Old 05-19-2009, 06:57 PM   #8
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Never gonna happen. The die-hards in either side would cry out anarchy and lynch the person who suggested it. I think you should delete this thread before they track it back to you.
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Old 05-19-2009, 07:00 PM   #9
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Never gonna happen. The die-hards in either side would cry out anarchy and lynch the person who suggested it. I think you should delete this thread before they track it back to you.


haha btw, I love your new avatar with the mask... it made m day.
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Old 05-20-2009, 02:56 AM   #10
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politics will occur one way or another. I don't really have a problem with party politics, it at least has the benefit of housing various groups under one banner, making government possible for periods of years at a time.

America's parties are a strange beast to me, however. It might be better if the duopoly broke up into a few more pieces. Whenever I hear someone bemoaning how the Democrats aren't liberal, for instance, I find myself thinking, well, yeah...

because from my foreign perspective, the US Democrats are as if the Labor Party, the small l liberals, the unions, the teachers, the centrist business types and the rest all stood on the one stage every four years. On the plus side, the Republicans are steadily whittling away all their non-fundamentalist-dominionist members. I predict a bright future for them as a minor party based in Utah.
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Old 05-20-2009, 06:02 AM   #11
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politics will occur one way or another. I don't really have a problem with party politics, it at least has the benefit of housing various groups under one banner, making government possible for periods of years at a time.
I second this - it's the first thing I thought when I read the original post. Non-party independent politics isn't all some people might wish it to be. New Zealand had nearly forty years of party-less politics, from 1856 when the first responsible parliament sat until John Ballance united the progressive faction of parliament as the Liberal Party and won the 1891 election in a landslide. There were unofficial, loose "parties" during the period of independent politics, but they changed with the tide and revolved around single issues or personalities. If you look at the early to mid 1870s, when the central government dissolved the provincial system, you had two unofficial parties of centrists and provincialists, but good luck getting them to co-operate on any issue unrelated to the provinces.

In other words, the New Zealand parliament was rather chaotic and I'm often impressed they got as much done as they did, given how hard it was to keep enough people together to pass legislation. Just to illustrate the lack of stability for everyone, the following is the list of Prime Ministers (then styled as Premiers) who sat in the 35 years of party-less politics, and note that none died in office:

1856: Harry Sewell (just 13 days!)
1856: William Fox (also just 13 days!)
1856-61: Edward Stafford (longest single term of the lot)
1861-62: William Fox
1862-63: Alfred Domett
1863-64: Frederick Whitaker
1864-65: Frederick Weld
1865-69: Edward Stafford
1869-72: William Fox
1872: Edward Stafford (just a month)
1872-73: George Waterhouse
1873: William Fox (just a month)
1873-75: Julius Vogel
1875-76: Daniel Pollen
1876: Julius Vogel
1876-77: Harry Atkinson
1877-79: George Grey
1879-82: John Hall
1882-83: Frederick Whitaker
1883-84: Harry Atkinson
1884: Robert Stout (just 12 days!)
1884: Harry Atkinson (SIX days!)
1884-87: Robert Stout
1887-91: Harry Atkinson

In 35 years, there were thirteen different Prime Ministers with twenty-three changes of power (a change of government roughly every 1.5 years). By way of comparison, in the 118 years of party politics in New Zealand, the Prime Minister has changed twenty-six times, and the party in power has changed twelve times (a change of PM roughly every 4.5 years and a change of party roughly every 9.8 years - the latter stat is blown out by the fact the Liberals were the ONLY party in the early years and sat for 19 years, followed by Reform for 16 years).

So hopefully this is some food for thought for those who like the idea of all politicians being independent and the party system going the way of the dodo. A party system is much more stable; you may or may not consider that a virtue.

My own view is that politics will be politics, and I'd rather formalised parties I can actually somewhat know and follow rather than vague issue or personality-specific factions that change with every shift of the wind's direction.
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Old 05-20-2009, 07:21 AM   #12
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Also post war Italy is a case in point. Maybe not so much in recent years since it appears to be under the personal rule of one Silvio Berlusconi, entrepeneur.
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Old 05-20-2009, 01:01 PM   #13
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hmm... interesting points.
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Old 05-21-2009, 03:28 PM   #14
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Survey: America in midst of centrist era
Report contains much that's likely to hearten Obama, Democrats
The Associated Press
updated 2:09 p.m. ET, Thurs., May 21, 2009

WASHINGTON - Barack Obama's presidency has ushered in an era of centrism, with the United States experiencing such a boost in independent voters that they now make up the largest proportion of the electorate in 70 years.

This fickle group does not have uniform opinions, so its dominance carries potential risks for emboldened Democrats and opportunities for out-of-power Republicans.

A new, expansive Pew Research Center survey that contained those details also found that the nation's values haven't fundamentally changed. The country hasn't become more ideologically liberal or conservative despite sweeping Democratic victories at all levels of government last fall and shrinking Republican ranks.

Broadly, the findings indicate that it's politically dangerous for the new president and his fellow Democrats who control Congress to move too far to the left on domestic and foreign issues, lest they turn off middle-of-the-road voters whose support was critical in 2008 and will be important in upcoming elections.

The results also suggest that the public recently has rejected the Republicans for poor performance, not because it disagrees with the party's positions on key issues. That means beleaguered Republicans looking to rebound must convince voters they are still good stewards of those values while improving the party's image and morale.

The trump card
Overall, the report contains much that's likely to hearten energized Democrats looking to build upon Obama's popularity for lasting success and much that could further discourage Republicans seeking rebirth after back-to-back losses in national elections.

"There's certainly a lot of bad news for Republicans and better news, if not good news, for Democrats," said Andrew Kohut, director of the nonpartisan center that conducted the survey. He said both sides should take particular note of this finding: "Independents are very much the trump card these days and their views are not all one way."

Indeed, the survey found that 36 percent of people call themselves independent, an uptick from two years ago, while 35 percent claim the Democratic label and only 23 percent say they are Republicans. Among independents, 17 percent lean toward Democrats while 12 percent lean toward the Republicans.

On issues, independents' viewpoints don't fit neatly into liberal or conservative frameworks.

This group hews more closely to Democrats than Republicans on social values, religion and national security. But it also is more conservative on several key issues including the economy, partly because of steady defections from the Republicans, and more skeptical than two years ago of expanding government assistance, a typically Republican position. More in line with Democratic thinking, most independents support expanded government intervention and regulation in the private sector, albeit reluctantly.

Watching for red flags
Because of its viewpoint diversity, analysts say the growing independent sector could slip from the Democrats' grasp as Obama pushes an ambitious agenda that is different from his predecessor's.

"We've moved from a less activist government to a more activist government, and the two-mindedness in the reaction of independents, I think, to some extent is response to that," Kohut said.

That said, Kohut added: "Obama's doing very well with independents. But they have some reservations ... about growing government and about growing debt." He called those issues "red flags" for the party.

For its part, the Republican party is in its weakest position in two decades of Pew polling; it's smaller, older and heavily white, though not more conservative even as the number of people who identify themselves as Republicans has declined precipitously. Also, Republicans are increasingly critical of their party, with only a quarter saying the it is doing an excellent or good job of standing up for its longtime core principles of lower taxes, smaller government and conservative social values.

The findings are contained in the latest version of a survey conducted every two years since 1987 to gauge the country's political and social values. This year's update included 77 questions posed to 3,013 people interviewed by cell phone or landline over two weeks. For all adults, the poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points. Pew used surveys conducted by Gallup to identify long-term trends in party identification since 1939.
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Old 05-22-2009, 08:56 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zooropop40 View Post
Do you guys think it would be better if instead of having a party system (like Democrat and Republican), we just had NO parties, and it was just independent thinking and free flow of ideas without labels?

I feel that now a days everyone becomes "loyal" to their party and sometimes throwaway their own individual ideas in favor of the group. Perhaps if we had no parties, then we politicians would just be looked at like individual people without following into a specific group...

i mean, it might be a good idea?
or maybe having third parties that were actually revelant and not only having 2 parties that are pretty much the same and having candidates that are selected for our consumption.
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