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Politics What do you (we) want out of left politics?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by FBH, Dec 16, 2016.

  1. This. "Unpopular government headed by dubiously competent leader" is a situation I'm pretty sure has occurred a lot of times with no help from democracy.

    Also, I think the present situation owes more to the American system's undemocratic features than its democratic ones. It happened because you can lose the popular vote but still win the election. It happened because "safe seat" dynamics - the thing gerrymandering is all about creating - create a political landscape that rewards extremism. It happened because two political parties have an absolute death-grip on the government so you can have the most unpopular nominee in a generation running against the second most unpopular nominee in a generation and everybody has to just hold their noses and pick one. It happened because the one percent's capture of government created conditions that generated massive popular resentment of the political class. This wasn't a product of democracy, it was a product of antidemocratic mechanisms that frustrate the popular will and empower numerically marginal constituencies (party machines, rich donors, and rural voters).
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  2. Aaron Fox

    Aaron Fox Personally, why not?

    While I agree that gerrymandering simply causes extremism -either by as a byproduct of it's use or by design- I'll have to say that the fact you think that the cities should rule everything is stupid as fuck.

    The Democrats should shed the entire 'have the Cities dominate everything' ideal of popularity is something that has to be slammed through the heads of Democrats and leftists everywhere.
  3. I'm sympathetic to the idea that there should be undemocratic mechanisms to protect minorities, but that doesn't change the fact they're undemocratic.
  4. Yeah, TBH I have no particular care for cities. I think instead of having cities rule, or having ruralia rule, we should just have people vote in a mixed-member-proportional system. Everyone gets their regional representation, but ALSO the party representation as a whole represents the % of the voters who went to each party. So, for example, let's say the Libertarian Party gets 5% of the vote, but it gets 5% of the vote in every district. Instead of having zero seats, it will get 5% of them. Or let's say someone starts a new party and calls it the New Social Democrats and starts running candidates. If that party gets 3% of the vote, instead of having zero seats, it will have 3% of them. All this while preserving regional/local representation that is imo quite important in a large country in USA.

    Another advantage of such a system is that all parties would have an incentive to pay attention to people everywhere, not just in "swingy" areas.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017 at 8:38 PM
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  5. MJ12 Commando

    MJ12 Commando Shadow Cabal Barristerminator

    Incidentally, you know what a major problem of the Democrats is? They're not willing to make such a simple, easily defended argument like that when it is to their advantage because it's "radical." They go and say something like you did, "to be fair, someone might think that the cities ruling everything could harm America" rather than going "80% of Americans live in cities. What you're saying is that 80% of Americans, if they agree on something that is constitutional and doesn't violate the rights of the other 20%, shouldn't be allowed to do it unless the other 20% agree. Why do you hate democracy and America?"

    And repeat it. Again. And again. And again.

    So I'm going to practice what I preach. 80% of Americans count as urban. If 80% of Americans vote for something, and that something isn't blatantly unconstitutional like sending all the rural people to death camps, that shit should pass.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017 at 8:40 PM
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  6. Well, I don't care for cities in particular, but they do contain people, and those people do have votes, and it would be awfully shitty to ignore people's votes. Our current system in this regard needs much fixing.
  7. As I understand it 62.8 percent of Americans are city dwellers according to the US census and I would trust those numbers given it comes from the census over numbers from any other source so I not sure where your getting your 80 percent numbers from.
  8. This is what I've been talking about when I say I want the Democratic Party to stop playing centrist respectability politics. Not necessarily about the city thing specifically (contrary to the impression @Aaron Fox seems to have gotten, I wasn't using "democratic" as synonymous with "good" in that argument), but about generally doing stuff that pushes the Overton Window in left/liberal directions.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017 at 9:00 PM
  9. So the Democratic party should, in your opinion, push leftist ideas in an attempt to move the overall political discourse left?
  10. MJ12 Commando

    MJ12 Commando Shadow Cabal Barristerminator

    The World Urbanization Prospects, which use one consistent measurement for the entire world (and thus is generally more useful than the census, which uses an American- specific definition). The point is the majority of Americans are urban regardless of irrelevant nitpicking. If they all somehow agree on something maybe that something should happen, unless it's literally unconstitutional. Isn't that what democracy is about? I didn't see the asterisk in democracy which said "oh yeah and by the way if you live in a city, well fuck you your vote counts for only 3/5ths as much as a guy who lives in the middle of nowhere despite the fact that government more directly affects you than the other guy, therefore if you wanted to give everyone differing voting power if anything city-dwellers should be given more voting power than rural folks."

    This isn't centrist respectability politics or the lack thereof. This is a willingness to lose-and also a willingness to act like your view is the only legitimate one on the planet. The democratic party needs to be willing to lose, and lose big, if it wants to win. Losing when you've loudly declared something unconstitutional is pretty humiliating. Like on Obamacare. But as the Republicans have shown, it doesn't matter. A bit of shamelessness seems to be a huge advantage in a politician and a willingness to act like you are Correct is also one. The fact that you can combine the two is icing on the cake.

    "Gerrymandering is bad," one of the examples brought up, is completely divorced from the left-right axis for that reason.

    EDIT: Make no mistake. This is going to involve the Democrats losing a lot more. It'll hurt. But you lose every game you don't contest.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017 at 9:08 PM
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  11. So how would you change things given some things can't be constitutionally be changed or eliminated like the US senate with its equal representation of the states, the whole separation of power between the three branches of federal government not to mention how some powers belong solely to the states rather than the federal government?
  12. FBH

    FBH Write drunk. Edit Hungover

    Why should any region of the USA have more power than any other?

    Like, obviously you need to spread money from rich areas to poor areas, but is there any evidence that's not happening?

    What does the constitution actually say?
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017 at 9:20 PM
  13. MJ12 Commando

    MJ12 Commando Shadow Cabal Barristerminator

    Why does any of this matter? I'm not talking about that issue. I'm talking about the issue of the electoral college. Those other issues only matter insofar as they support my assertion that it isn't going to lead to some dystopia where the urban-dwelling Morlocks send the rural Eloi into concentration camps to be processed into food, and thus is not fundamentally unjust.

    You take on one issue at a time.
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  14. Granted, that's mainly because the FEMA camps underneath Wal-Mart will be for all dissidents rather than just rural folk but still.
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  15. Van Ropen

    Van Ropen Angry, angry about elves.

    We have a Senate, where every state - regardless of population - gets two votes, ensuring regional interests are looked after.

    Why shouldn't the proportional bits actually be proportional?
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  16. It establishes the senate as the upper legislative body and guarantees equal Representation in the senate between the states in one of the entrenched clauses of the constitution that can only gotten rid off by throwing out the entire Constitution. Other clauses being the separation of powers between the three branches of the federal government. You in theory could increase the number of senate seats if all the states agreed but all the states would have to have equal numbers of senators in the increased senate.

    Beyond that all powers not stated as being invested to the federal government or prohibited by the Constitution are invested to the states and the people.

    I could agree to a increase in the number of house representatives but only if those representatives are directly elected to represent individual congressional districts as they are supposed to represent the local interests of the people of a congressional district at the national level first not serve some national political party goals and ambitions.

    The senators represents the interests of each state while representatives represent local people's interests at the national level or at least that is how things should work.
  17. Aaron Fox

    Aaron Fox Personally, why not?

    Thing is, the US was designed from the onset to be as undemocratic as possible to more or less keep the problems of democracy from plaguing the government.
    Oh great, that argument again. Yeah it doesn't actually work as the senate was originally designed to represent state legislatures not the people themselves.
    Equality is simply giving everyone an equal amount of shit. Justice is giving the weakest enough to not be at a disadvantage.
    Given the US had been propaganda'd to the point to think anything about Justice of economic and political power is outright communism...
    Other than 1) the Senate is to be elected by only state legislatures, 2) the Office of President is to be elected by the Electoral College who are essentially the Reps+Senate (with every state getting a minimum of 3 due to the fact that at the minimum you get one rep and two senators), and 3) more or less the entire federal government isn't top down ala practically everyone at that point but states on up. Please note the italicized, bolded, and underlined part that is highlighted in bright yellow.

    No other government on the planet is based upon the bottom-up model. No one.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017 at 9:55 PM
  18. And the state legislatures represent the people, yes? State governments are supposed to be closer to what the people there specifically want than the federal government, so that seems like a positive thing.
  19. Van Ropen

    Van Ropen Angry, angry about elves.

    ...what is your point? What is the basis for not representing the people themselves proportionally?
  20. You beat me to making exactly that observation. Making the Presidency a direct election would still leave quite a bit of disproportionate power in the hands of low-population areas.

    Also, if we want to disproportionately empower vulnerable minorities in elections, why not just give some people multiple votes? That would allow you to extend the same benefit to vulnerable populations that are geographically dispersed. How does one trans woman, five votes sound? The main argument I see in favor of the electoral college but against multiple votes from a minority protection PoV is a Schelling fence one (deciding who gets multiple votes would be a huge can of worms, and be certain to become a political prize).

    Yes, I've made some posts on this a while back ITT. I think the Overton Window is leveraged from the extremes. Centrist ideas are centrist relative to wherever the extremes are, and the boundaries of extremism are shifted around by popularizing radical ideas until they become mainstream and attacking centrist ideas until they become unpopular. Chasing the center cedes the initiative in this process to your opponents.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017 at 10:00 PM
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  21. Aaron Fox

    Aaron Fox Personally, why not?

    Because that's the House's job. The Senate was specifically designed -as part of the compromise- to represent the states themselves. What people forget is that the entire US Government is built upon a house of compromises.

    Problem is, technology and time kept throwing wrenches into those compromises. Not having the entire thing explode into fire and death within the first half-century -which was the estimated lifespan that the more intelligent and politically savvy folks in the Convention gave- is a feat in of itself.
    Yeah but that got removed in order to combat the power of Trusts in the government and the mind-bite 'MOR DEMOCRACY'... which didn't end as well as the Progressives thought it did.
  22. I am all for giving rural people disproportionate representation but I feel it doesn't go far enough. I think all minorities should have disproportionate representation, blacks, LGBT folks, First Nations, etc etc.
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  23. FBH

    FBH Write drunk. Edit Hungover

    The Constitution has been amended before. You could alternatively just redraw all the boundaries so all states have equal populations, but it's probably easier to just change things.

    At this point, the US right wing has again and again over your history shown that it's utterly uncommitted to the Republic as other than a structure by which it can gain power and pursue it's interests. For instance, it's only interested in states rights to protect slavery or prevent race rights, gay rights, women's rights, or even healthcare.

    I don't really believe that the left should firmly commit itself to all US Constitutional norms when the right aren't, especially when they're basically highly technical rules about how the government works. The ordinary person on the street is unlikely to be too affected by the composition of congress.

    But those both apply to people, not map grids. How does giving certain people in the USA disproportionate power create either justice or equality?
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  24. Van Ropen

    Van Ropen Angry, angry about elves.

    The House's job? The House where 705k citizens in California get one representative - the same one representative that 568k citizens in Wyoming get? That House's job is to be proportional?

    That's what I mean when I say you're not taking your point anywhere. None of what you're saying provides any justification for this - what is the damage incurred by making the proportional house proportional? Of course, we're talking about the presidential race where things become even more skewed. But even if you hate the direct vote for whatever reason, why is the state the level of granularity you're using instead of the district?
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017 at 10:25 PM
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  25. Hmm honestly I'd support the first nations having representatives especially voting in the house, its not like they are legally subject to the states around them except the few like the Virginia tribes and others that aren't recognized by the federal government.

    I'd also support allowing the 5 inhabited territories to have voting representatives in the house instead of representatives that are just sort of there but can't vote though I'd prefer them to become states so they could have a say in the senate as well.
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