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American Politics -- 3 on 3

By olprof67 ·
Heading into what seems to be the most polarized election in 40 years, I'd like to postulate a new theory of the dynamics of the electorate in recent days.

As a number of writers have noted, ideology became a much stronger component of the political spectrum with the coming of age of the baby boom in the late 1960's. The Democrats' faith in central planning began to fragment in the wake of Vietnam, while the Republicans' social conservatism became a drawback in the attempt to recruit young voters.

The more ideologically-oriented of liberal voters were drawn to a number of movements, usually with a different single issue at the core but united in opposition to what was identified as the military-industrial complex, while disaffected Republicans split between traditionalist single causes (abortion being the most prominent) and a growing Libertarian movement.

Note too, that despite their emergence, the more ideologically-oriented of each side tended to carry a strong prejudice against the opposite core party. Though Greens and Libertarians might be able to engage in intelligent and cordial discourse, it is rare to find a Libertarian who doesn't carry a deep-seated predisposition against the Democrats, and vice-versa.

Now add to this mix the disaffected populist wing of both parties; the most socialistically-oriented of the liberal Democrats, and the populist conservatives who have emerged in the wake of Limbaugh, Savage, Hannity et. al.

With the electorate again polarized, and the better-educated of both sides locked in place by ideological commitments, it could well be that the final outcome may be affected by a last-minute indiscretion by the disaffected wing of either party.

Ladies and gentlemen, please comment.

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is it different

by Black Panther In reply to American Politics -- 3 ...

How does it work in the USA?

In Australia voting is compulsory. %50 of the people have made up their minds before they get to the polling booth. The others either 'donkey' vote ie the vote is null or make up their minds on the day ( without any knowledge of what has been going on through the media etc ).

Some vote for some obscure party thinking they are not voting for one of the major parties yet the obscure party gives it's preferences to one of the major parties.

Their are some seats which are 'swinging' and may change but the majority of seats have been the same for decades.

Is it any different in the USA - does the campaigning work - do you vote on the person or the policies???

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at least here.

by ITgirli In reply to is it different

In the area in which I'm currently residing, you don't go to vote unless you have a candidate in mind. We are born or brought up to believe in certain ideas. We then choose the candidate that supports what we believe in those ideas. Most people figure out rather early on what side of the fence they are on. Then you just pick that side's candidate. If anyone doesn't really care all that much about it either way, they are not likely going to go and stand in line so that they can be counted. It all ends up in the electoral college anyway.

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It's sad but only too true.

by sleepin'dawg In reply to at least here.

Every now and then a politician with a certain panache will come along and cause people to forget their traditional loyalties but unfortunately not very often. Most tend to vote the way their parents voted and it takes generations to change such ingrained attitudes.

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The same

by Black Panther In reply to It's sad but only too tru ...

It's the same here - we actually have our own Federal election here on October 9th -- Voting is compulsory otherwise you are fined.

Most Voters will vote for the Party they have voted for all of their life and there parents voted for without question.

The 2 major parties are Liberal and Labor ( compared to your Republican's and Democrats (( I think? )

There is a percentage of voters that actually decide on who wins the election the swing voters.

What do we actually know really about these parties anyway - mostly the media runs our countries because they usually are the only way we hear about the parties and they decide what we hear!!

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USA is run by TV

by spyder In reply to The same
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Well, yes it is quite different here in the US.

by admin In reply to is it different

Oddly, My vote doesn't really count as to who will win the Presidential election due to the Electoral College, although I believe it is very important that I vote because it does have influence.

Voting is not compulsary here and turn-out in my state is high for the U.S.- about 70 %

Here is the totals for all states:

http://www.fec.gov/pages/2000turnout/reg&to00.htm

When I vote for a non-major party, even though their preference has been traditionally Republican, the Republicans will get no credit for that vote. However, they will already have won my state and it is not a "swing" state so voting for them will change nothing and in fact detract from their consideration of implementing change. This is because if you vote for them it affirms their present course of moving towards the other party.

Those that vote for the Democrat, although they do not win, they have influence on the Republican party historically as the Republican party is becoming more like the Democratic party wherever it can to ensure that it maintains its majority in the state. You can definately see this at the primary election level, where the party moves towards it's opponent in an attempt to capture those not secure in a party vote by offering a more similar candidate to the other party rather than a less similar one. Of course, this weakens party ideology over time in a two party system.

By voting non-major party I am attempting to move the major parties towards a return to the roots of American government which has been, and is being sorely weakened and broken down in the two party process in my opinion. Actually, Libertarians have been traditionally more influential to the Republicans, but in this election they are actually drawing traditional Demcrats and the Democratic party is watching too. The Libertarian party is the 3rd largest party in America.

On a more local level I will vote for a person more than a party, but in my State my Presidential vote in the Electoral College has been, for all practical purposes, already decided, so instead I try to have the most influence possible in the Presidential election.

There are those that vote either on the person, the policies or both in combination here.

I hope that makes it more clear, but its not too clear of a system! Unfortunately, many Americans don't even understand or realize there is an Electoral College or what it does!

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college

by Black Panther In reply to Well, yes it is quite dif ...

Excuse my ignorance but what is this Electoral College - is it a database of voters similiar to our electoral roll?? or is it some type of Jerimander ( rigging of electoral bounderies to favour a certain party! )

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Electoral College

by admin In reply to college

Here is a good general description of the process from:

http://www.fec.gov/pages/ecworks.htm

How the Electoral College Works
The current workings of the Electoral College are the result of both design and experience. As it now operates:

Each State is allocated a number of Electors equal to the number of its U.S. Senators (always 2) plus the number of its U.S. Representatives (which may change each decade according to the size of each State's population as determined in the Census).
The political parties (or independent candidates) in each State submit to the State's chief election official a list of individuals pledged to their candidate for president and equal in number to the State's electoral vote. Usually, the major political parties select these individuals either in their State party conventions or through appointment by their State party leaders while third parties and independent candidates merely designate theirs.
Members of Congress and employees of the federal government are prohibited from serving as an Elector in order to maintain the balance between the legislative and executive branches of the federal government.
After their caucuses and primaries, the major parties nominate their candidates for president and vice president in their national conventions
traditionally held in the summer preceding the election. (Third parties and independent candidates follow different procedures according to the individual State laws). The names of the duly nominated candidates are then officially submitted to each State's chief election official so that they might appear on the general election ballot.

On the Tuesday following the first Monday of November in years divisible by four, the people in each State cast their ballots for the party slate of Electors representing their choice for president and vice president (although as a matter of practice, general election ballots normally say "Electors for" each set of candidates rather than list the individual Electors on each slate).
Whichever party slate wins the most popular votes in the State becomes that State's Electors-so that, in effect, whichever presidential ticket gets the most popular votes in a State wins all the Electors of that State. [The two exceptions to this are Maine and Nebraska where two Electors are chosen by statewide popular vote and the remainder by the popular vote within each Congressional district].
On the Monday following the second Wednesday of December (as established in federal law) each State's Electors meet in their respective State capitals and cast their electoral votes-one for president and one for vice president.
In order to prevent Electors from voting only for "favorite sons" of their home State, at least one of their votes must be for a person from outside their State (though this is seldom a problem since the parties have consistently nominated presidential and vice presidential candidates from different States).
The electoral votes are then sealed and transmitted from each State to the President of the Senate who, on the following January 6, opens and reads them before both houses of the Congress.
The candidate for president with the most electoral votes, provided that it is an absolute majority (one over half of the total), is declared president. Similarly, the vice presidential candidate with the absolute majority of electoral votes is declared vice president.
In the event no one obtains an absolute majority of electoral votes for president, the U.S. House of Representatives (as the chamber closest to the people) selects the president from among the top three contenders with each State casting only one vote and an absolute majority of the States being required to elect. Similarly, if no one obtains an absolute majority for vice president, then the U.S. Senate makes the selection from among the top two contenders for that office.
At noon on January 20, the duly elected president and vice president are sworn into office.

Occasionally questions arise about what would happen if the pesidential or vice presidential candidate died at some point in this process.

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hmmm...Dumb Question

by Black Panther In reply to Electoral College

How do you know that the Elector you vote for will actually end up voting for the person he/she wants as president ie party.. ie are they in anyway bound..

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It Has Happened

by olprof67 In reply to hmmm...Dumb Question

There are a number of instances in which one or two electors have changed their votes, but this was usually for a candidate within their party, but closer to their personal ideology. The actual electors are always "party regulars" who can be counted on not to defect to the opposition.

One of the more memorable instances was in 1960, when Alabama Democrats ran an "unpledged" slate of electors to vent their opposition to Sen. Kennedy's Catholicism.

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