Originally Posted by cipher
One of the best things I think is it would force the voter to actually educate themselves on who they are voting for instead of voting for a "D" or an "R".
I agree that voter education is important and seems to be lacking. However, not having parties could actually work the other way. Right now, voters have some idea about a candidates views/ideology based on the party he is a member of. If there were no parties and voters did not take the extra time required to educate themselves, they might be voting even more in the dark than they currently are. You assume that voters will automatically take the extra time needed to educate themselves, but I take a less optimistic view.
In my original post (#2 in the thread that was deleted), I said that I thought requiring voters to attend at least 1 town hall type meeting to be eligible to vote would is one thing that would be a more effective improvement than what Erik suggested.
Originally Posted by mvmac
I think these are good ideas. IMO it's something a good portion of the country would go for since I think most people are middle of the road politically. #3 might be a little tough since voters might have to implement some strategy and I don't trust that people are smart enough
Do you think voter education could help re #3?
Originally Posted by dsc123
I don't think 1 or 2 would do much. More political parties would be better, but the parties do serve the purpose of informing the public and organizing strategy. I think people aren't smart enough, or don't pay enough attention, to figure out what the hell is going on now and if you took away the parties they would know even less.
I don't see the primaries as a problem, and you need some way to whittle down the candidates that a party offers.
Frankly, I think we need a new constitutional convention. Short of that, fixing redistricting is probably the only thing that can save us.
Assuming that MVMac is correct that a lot of people are middle of the road, do you think there is the chance to create a significant 3rd party somewhere between the Republicans and Democrats? In the past, I have felt there were more similarities than differences between the two parties, but it seems like they are trying to stay more separate from each other rather than work together these days. If neither party ever had the chance to get a majority, it would force much more effort on coalition building to get anything done.
Not having primaries would:
1. Save money
2. Force candidates to have broader appeal right away.
Erik's #3 could be used to whittle down the candidates ASSUMING that MVMac is wrong and the voters could be made to understand how to properly list their 2nd, 3rd, etc choices. Of course, I think that having a list of 10 or more candidates listed WITHOUT a political party affiliation listed next to them would mean more voting in the dark unless you had more effective voter education.
Originally Posted by Golfingdad
I may sound like I'm really interested in politics because I like to discuss this stuff with you guys, but really, I'm with Erik. Outside of this website, and voting day, and John Stewart and Steven Colbert, my interest in politics is right "up" there with his. I mostly enjoy discussing with you guys because I'm learning about things, learning people's thought processes, learning how to debate, stuff like that.
So, the bottom line is, I don't know much about politics, but it seems to me like Erik's proposals would be good things.
On the other hand ... even without the labels of Democrat and Republican, a guy who runs for congress is still going to try and do whatever pleases those in his community, right? So maybe it won't make a difference? They're still going to vote the way they think they need to vote to keep their constituency happy ... and then hopefully continue to get re-elected.
But I like new ideas, and I like change, so I think it would be fun to try it out and see what happens!
I think Erik might be implying that congressman don't strictly vote to keep their constituency happy, but also must vote to keep their party happy as the party has lots of influence when it comes to fund raising and who to support/endorse. Without the help of one of the two major parties, it is very difficult to get elected. Assuming that is what Erik is thinking, then getting rid of the parties may help.
Originally Posted by iacas
I think the party system pushes candidates towards the extremes. They'll decide who to back. The governor will decide which local guy to "favor." The President will subtly "endorse" the candidate that the party says he should endorse. And so on.
That's why I included the bit about eliminating primaries. The primaries allow the parties to winnow down the candidates to one, then those candidates run to the extreme edges of their parties to shore up their party votes. A candidate who, to make something up, is opposed to laws preventing gay marriage but also in favor of guns is a candidate without a party (and thus, without any backing).
So parties encourage extremism, primaries encourage the parties to take the "winner" and push them to the extremes, and if we do away with those, we might have six choices for any office on voting day, so you implement instant runoff voting as a means of determining a winner.
At least, that's the thought…
As of right now four people have proven themselves incapable of reading either the first OR second posts and have had their posts deleted.
Seriously, people, they're not long posts. This thread is not about "tell me your ideas for improving politics." Read the first or second post.
I agree that primaries push candidates to stay within their parties platform/ideology to win the primary election, but think that after the primary is done, some candidates try to move more to the center to win the general election (without stepping on the toes of their party supporters). I think some party strategists have realized that electing "too extreme a candidate" can lead to poor general election results.
Originally Posted by saevel25
I agree 100% on the first part. Political parties have become the bane to our political system. Not sure if you can ever get rid of them. You would probably have to make redistricting work in a way were it is competitive for every seat. Also destroy the whole political party machine that has created all these super PAC's. I think there needs to be some creative rule making.
Agree with the 2nd point. It is such a power grab by the political parties to hold Americans hostage on who they have the right to elect.
Here's the thing, how do you stop them from still banding together. You can drop labels, it still doesn't stop them from bringing together an agenda, hence a shadow party.
I agree that the Political Parties create a lot of problems (people feel they are "wasting" their vote if they don't vote for a D or R) and also agree that the $ the party raises (directly and indirectly) make it hard for a non D/R to even have a chance. Assuming that you are right about shadow parties (or not being able to get rid of them in the first place), then maybe Erik's #1 is pointless.
As I stated in my deleted post #2, I think Campaign Finance Reform and major restrictions on Lobbyists/Special Interest Groups would be a more effective improvement. PACs should be included in this reform also.
Originally Posted by iacas
What I'll propose is flat out never going to happen (not in the next 50 years), but join me on a thought experiment. Tell me why this would fail to improve politics in the United States. Or tell me if you think it would work.
I'd propose three things to improve politics in the United States:
- Do away with political parties.
- Do away with the primaries.
- Implement instant runoff voting.
My interest in politics is barely above nil, but I'm curious enough to know what people think of the above.
It is good to see a thread like this and my hat is off to Erik for starting it! The more this thread has evolved, the more I see the potential merit of Erik's ideas and what he would view as a positive outcome.
With that said, the first post doesn't state exactly what the problem is and what the goal is of the solution. While some of these may have become obvious throughout the thread (or are obvious to anyone living in the USA), I think there has been too much censorship on the part of the moderators. I was the first to reply to Erik and see that my entire post was deleted.
Given that Erik admits that his proposals will "flat out never...happen...in the next 50 years" I am not sure why discussing proposals that might have more of a chance of happening and/or might help fix the problems Erik is trying to address is considered so far off topic to warrant being deleted??
A question for Erik- What is the end goal? What EXACTLY do you see as the problems you are trying to fix? I see your post #4, but what exactly is wrong with "Extremism"?
Personally, I think it is good to have a variety of ideas and be willing to think outside the box, but feel it is a problem when those running the country get fixated on a single position with a single issue and refuse to budge or compromise to take action when needed. With that said, I remember reading years ago that the stock market (or maybe it was some economic number) tends to do much better when the President and Congress (or maybe the Senate and House) are divided rather than when they are run by the same party. There could be many reasons for this (if true), but the explanation I remember was that it was better for business & the economy when Washington did less rather than more.