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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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Another dumb question

by Black Panther In reply to It Has Happened

Why have the 2 votes? ie you vote for the electoral candidate who %99.99 of the time you know which president they will vote for.

Then they have to vote again for the president you already know they will vote for.

Seems a waste of taxpayer's money.

Why not have the 1 vote on the day??

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These aren't dumb questions!

by admin In reply to hmmm...Dumb Question

hehe I certainly have thought about these sorts of things. Oddly enough, people from OUTSIDE the U.S. seem to ask about this more frequently, so here is the word from the U.S. Embassy in Mexico:

http://www.usembassy-mexico.gov/ecollege.htm

There is no Constitutional provision or federal law that requires Electors to vote according to the results of the popular vote in their states. Some states (24 plus D.C. at last count) require Electors to cast their votes according to the popular vote. These pledges fall into two categories -- Electors bound by state law and those bound by pledges to political parties.

The Supreme Court has held that the Constitution does not require that Electors be completely free to act as they choose and therefore, political parties may extract pledges from Electors to vote for the parties' nominees. Some state laws provide that so-called "faithless electors" may be subject to fines or may be disqualified for casting an invalid vote and be replaced by a substitute Elector. The Supreme Court has not specifically ruled on the question of whether pledges and penalties for failure to vote as pledged may be enforced under the Constitution. No Elector has ever been prosecuted for failing to vote as pledged.

Today, it is rare for Electors to disregard the popular vote by casting their electoral vote for someone other than their party's candidate. Electors generally hold a leadership position in their party or were chosen to recognize years of loyal service to the party. Throughout our history as a nation, more than 99 percent of Electors have voted as pledged.

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New Thread RE: Another Dumb Question

by admin In reply to American Politics -- 3 ...

I think the question is: Why not have a popular vote instead of an Electoral College?

Well, there have more attempts to make amendments to our constitution on this issue than any other, I believe. There are MANY reasons for and against changing it. Different interests would be better off with one or the other, but the real reason to me is that the Electoral College in fact does come straight from our constitution and is difficult to change without broad support. The powers that be are probably better off with it this way, so it will remain a long time.

In some ways, it is also more fair to the Southern States, although this came from a time when they were worried that slavery would be abolished by the Northern States which they felt would be disastrous to their economy.

Most of the uproar about the last election was due to the popular misconception by Americans that their persoanl vote counts directly for who becomes President. Individual votes do not count for Presidential or Vice-Presidential election in the U.S.

Obviously when over half of the states do not require electors to vote for the state's popular vote winner, and the remainder that do require it are threatened because their laws will be overturned at the Supreme Court level as unconstitutional then we could basically have at any time a simple elected coup where a handful of (well 270) people are paid off or otherwise conviced to throw their votes someday. This coupled with a possible National State of Emergency right afterwards makes our process quite dangerous actually. So in light of this why don't we change it?

Well, for one, most people in the U.S. don't understand it. That's why the ones that voted for Gore were so mad. They thought their vote counted in a different way that in their constitution says it does. On the other hand, the majority of people who understand it don't want it to change. It makes it much harder to get a strong third party in the system for one, since the actual electors are from one or the other. At any rate, although I am sure there will be another flood of proposed amendments, it won't be changing anytime soon, so it's up to us U.S. voters to learn how our system works and maximize our votes within the system we have.

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About Short-Sight ... and Foresight

by olprof67 In reply to New Thread RE: Another Du ...

As evidenced by the viciousness of the current campaign, the votes of those who live from beer to beer are more easily manipulated than the votes of those who plan from year to year.

Incidentally, Richard Nixon won the 1960 popular vote, so Gore's experience is not unique.

However, had Nixon ascended to the Presidency in pre-Goldwater days, it's unlikely that the events which led to the rise of Ronald Reagan would have transpired.

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%

by Black Panther In reply to About Short-Sight ... and ...

In America what is a percentage estimate of the voters who make up the 'beer to beer' compared to the 'year to year'.

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Prospects > Percentages

by olprof67 In reply to %

I don't doubt that the majority of the voters do go to the polls in the belief that their participation is worthwhile. But most of us who do take an interest in politics tend to favor one party unless a particular candidate, or referendum issue, evokes a very strong image, either positive or negative.

There is however, a modest-sized bloc of voters who remain essentially non-political unless aroused by a particular issue, or who have not made up their minds, but can be relatively easily swayed by an emotional appeal, Hence the current flap over the candidates' service during the Vietnam era.

Remember, from a dynamic point of view, one convert from the other side has more impact than five party loyalists.

Hence, my original point; that a rash or tasteless act by the populist wing of either coalition could have a last-minute impact upon the outcome of the election.

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beer 2 beer or Year to Year...

by admin In reply to About Short-Sight ... and ...

I'll remember that one- it's a good one :)

I do find it surprising though how many well thought persons will follow every detail of the candidates and are quite up on this level of political knowledge and yet are quite indifferent or have little or no knowledge of the electoral process and how it really affects them. As you said below, one undecided voter makes more difference than 5 party loyalists especially if they happen to live in certain states. Nixons 1960 experience is a classic.

One thing I thought somewhat sad in the last election was how many of those "beer to beer" voters were happy to trade their votes for the possibility of receiving $500 of their own money in what was more a furniture store marketing scheme than politics in my mind. I don't fault the people who did it though, it seemed to work, at least in my area, quite well to garner additional support.

It wouldn't of made a difference, but those on the edge either way definately seemed happy to vote for someone who would send them a check, albeit of their own money.

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electoral college

by ITgirli In reply to beer 2 beer or Year to Ye ...

Check out SchoolHouse Rock. The newest special anniversary issue has a brand new song about the electoral college. quite informative really, but I think that of all SchoolHouse Rock.

darn. that's the end.

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Schoolhouse Rock, well, ROCKS! :)

by admin In reply to electoral college

I love Schoolhouse Rock!

I swear I learned all basic Grammer Concepts there. :)

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yeah! It helped my math.

by ITgirli In reply to Schoolhouse Rock, well, R ...

But now I can't multiply without singing!

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