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Independent voters and the end of the two party system?

Discussion in 'American Politics' started by stamperben, Jan 26, 2012.

  1. stamperben

    stamperben It's an old family tradition

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    I just read an article -
    No More Democrats OR Republicans: A Simple Plan to Dismantle the Two-Party System- and was wondering, would a lack of "membership" in them actually cause both the parties to become a thing of the past?

    Many voters today are already considered independent, both sides covet their vote now, as a national candidate can't get elected without their vote. So what, if anything, would change if all voters were to register as independent?
     
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  2. cfyahoo08

    cfyahoo08 -

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    I like the idea. A two party system is bad for the country and cause too much bickering. I'd like to also see politicians as part time not full time. We have enough laws they need to get rid of some that we already have and enforce others that are not being enforced.
     
  3. stamperben

    stamperben It's an old family tradition

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    But will they go away, or will they just cater to the "independents" as they do in the general election while holding their form?

    In other words I guess my question is - can voters truly be independent of either the Dems or Repubs, or would the voter just keep on as if they were still registered with a particular party? Would the fact that voters register independent cause the rise of alternate parties?
     
  4. Autumnleaf

    Autumnleaf Legend

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    Being an independent just means your vote doesn't count in the primaries. To really get rid of the two party system, and the money behind it, would take an overhaul of how the government works. As it is now there is so much corruption between business and government that you'd have to make politicians take a vow of poverty to clean things up.
     
  5. Kalevalatar

    Kalevalatar Veteran

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    I have never understood the US system of having to "register" as a Democrat, Republican, or Independent beforehand. Here in Finland, as a card-carrying member of the Christian Democrat Party, no one -- absolutely no one -- will not know if I vote a Green Party or the Swedish People's Party candidate instead in the voting booth. We have this thing called vaalisalaisuus/scrutin secret/secrecy of the vote.
     
  6. Autumnleaf

    Autumnleaf Legend

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    You see, America has this thing called Gerrymandering which can only be done if you have a good idea how many registered voters belong to which political party in certain parts of town.
     
  7. stamperben

    stamperben It's an old family tradition

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    But that's an excellent argument for being independent!
     
  8. Kalevalatar

    Kalevalatar Veteran

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    Most unfortunately.

    I understand the nuts-and-bolts of the system.

    I just have never become to understand the question of why: why, in the supposedly "leading" democracy and the self-proclaimed so-called "leader" of the "free" world and all that.
     
  9. cfyahoo08

    cfyahoo08 -

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    "Were parties here divided merely by a greediness for office,... to take a part with either would be unworthy of a reasonable or moral man." --Thomas Jefferson to William Branch Giles, 1795.
     
  10. AirPo

    AirPo with a Touch of Grey

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    The laws vary by state and affect which primary you can vote in.

    In the state I live in now, you are only allowed to vote in the primary of the party you are registered with. I can vote in the democratic primary, but not the republican. My wife cannot vote in any primary because she is an independent. There is no independent primary.

    In the state I lived in before, everyone could vote in any one primary. You just picked which one when you got to your polling place.
     
  11. Kalevalatar

    Kalevalatar Veteran

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    Thanks for this further explanation. I have to say it still leaves me mightily puzzled, the way it leaves voters, based on their registeration/state/place of residence on unequal footing, no matter how one looks at it.
     
  12. Douger

    Douger Veteran

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    I don't know how it is with Democrats, but I know that there sure a lot of NRINOs (Not Republicans in name only) who claim to be independents or even Democrats but who vote exclusively for Republicans, or in the case of public figures, carry water exclusively for Republicans.
     
  13. keith99

    keith99 sola dosis facit venenum

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    Not really. Choosing a party is just a line on a form. One can easily chose to not be independent or to officially regester for a party less in line with your thought if you think their primary is where things will be decided.

    I'm actually still refistered as a democrat because when I first registered I was a one issue voter on the national level. (Funny how that happens where ther is a draft and you are elegible, not geting killed is a priority).

    I kept it that way and it was educational as my parents were both registered Republicans and I used my parents address all through college. They would get thgnis saying they were Republican voter guides and I'd get the same thing for Democrats with top level candidates changed.

    In part that is why I never changed, I still value being able to detect some of the underhanded practices. (I still ahve access to both Democratic and rebublican malnings).
     
  14. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

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    The ways that Gerrymandering occurs is truly a tragedy.

    There's also the reality often ignored of where the Senate has MORE power than the House as it concerns favors given from people in the Senate toward those in the House---and the House never represented all people from all various backgrounds and most were not poor in the House anyhow.

    There are no "poor" Representatives---be it from the hood or from trailer parks. There's a social status one must have to represent--and even with that, depending on who votes you in and whom you favor, one group will always be heard more so than another....

    The Founding Fathers intended House of Representatives to be very responsive to shifts in the public mood. The framers of the Constitution designed the House of Representatives to be the most democratic body of the national government, as responsive as possible to the popular will. Compared to senators, members of the House represent smaller numbers of voters and serve shorter terms. The framers' idea was to make congressmen more accountable to voters, and thus more representative of public opinion at any particular moment in time. The Constitution does not set the size of the House, but it does require that each state's representation be proportionate to its population. The First Congress, elected in 1788, included just 65 members of the House. As the country expanded and new states entered the Union throughout the nineteenth century, the House grew larger and larger. By 1912, the House had grown to nearly seven times its original size, with 435 members representing the 48 states that existed at the time.

    However, gerrymandering has created many "safe" seats for congressmen almost certain to win reelection, no matter what. And that is a big problem. Other problems apart from that...in America today, U.S. senators from the twenty-six smallest states, representing a mere 18 percent of the nation’s population, hold a majority in the United States Senate, and, therefore, under the Constitution, regardless of what the President, the House of Representatives, or even an overwhelming majority of the American people wants, nothing becomes law if those senators object. The result has been what one would expect: The less populous states have extracted benefits from the rest of the nation quite out of proportion to their populations. What happens if the larger states, with a majority of the people, object? Not much apparently since the nine largest states, containing a majority of the American people, are represented by only 18 of the 100 senators in the United States Senate.

    The fact that a Senate majority reflects a majority of states rather than a majority of the people originated in what is erroneously called the “Great Compromise,” which small states extracted from larger states in 1787 at the federal Constitutional Convention. All states, large and small, wanted each state’s vote in the House of Representatives to be proportioned to the size of its population. Small states wanted an equal vote for every state represented in the Senate, regardless of population. What followed was hardly a compromise. Rather, it was just the unhappy acquiescence of larger states to an undemocratic demand by smaller states, which were otherwise refusing to be part of a new national government.

    Gerrymandering was NEVER what the Fathers intended...paticularly as it concerns people not being represented fairly or smaller people have greater representation than others simply because of larger space (As that is why it has been an issue for others lying on territory so as to have greater pull).

    When the First Congress convened in 1789, there were 65 members in the U.S. House, with each one representing roughly 30,000 people. Given the growth of the country, the number of seats in the U.S. House increased over time until reaching 435 in 1913. Reformers realized that if we continued adding new seats every time the population increased, there would soon be 1,000 members serving in the U.S. House. So the size of the U.S. House was set at 435 with the passage of the Reapportionment Act of 1929. Consequently, instead of adding new congressional seats as the population increases, each member of Congress simply represents more people. Today, a member of Congress can expect to represent roughly 700,000 people...and with that comes the responsibility of ensuring that the more people someone's to represent are represented FAIRILY/CONISTENTLY in their stances.

    After every decennial census, congressional seats are reapportioned to reflect changes in the population. The process — nicknamed "gerrymandering" — was named after Elbridge Gerry, a Massachusetts politician who, in 1812, signed off on a scheme to rearrange legislative districts to favor members of one party. When a newspaper editor commented that the shape of the new districts resembled a salamander, the name stuck: "Gerry-mander." Unfortunately, the power to design legislative districts rests with state legislators who use computer programs and voting data to rig districts to favor their reelection and their political party. Zigzagging through neighborhoods, stretching over long distances, and connecting people with little in common, gerrymandered districts now resemble modern art and offer incumbents safe seats.

    For more, one can go here or here at Founding Father Elbridge Gerry and Gerrymandering.

    Politicians have been drawing district lines for their own advantage since the days of the founding fathers, when Patrick Henry gerrymandered a Virginia district to try to keep James Madison out of Congress. And the issue goes deep when seeing the history of what has happened throughout the U.S when the Supreme Court has consistently found certain types of racial gerrymandering to be illegal. Supreme Court ruled in 1986 that partisan gerrymandering was unconstitutional and could be challenged in court . While the Supreme Court opened the door to partisan gerrymandering challenges in 1986, it set a high bar: Plaintiffs would have to prove that the shape of a district demonstrated "both intentional discrimination against an identifiable political group and an actual discriminatory effect on that group."

    As another explained best in investigation of special interests and redistricting, the ways that politicians manipulate districts are so well-known that political insiders have a special gerrymandering vocabulary: Politicians can "pack" certain communities into a single district, "bleach" out minorities, "crack" troublesome voting blocks between different districts, "kidnap" a troublesome representative by putting his or her house in a separate district from his or her former constituents, or "hijack" a district by redrawing the lines to pit two incumbents from the same party against each other. (For more details on these tactics, check out our Devil's Dictionary of Redistricting ). And this plays out at the harm of citizens. In example, one can examine Montogomery, Alabama. Known for its hostilities toward minorities often and at 62 percent African-American, the Alabama 7th Congressional District was already a safe minority district. But when the Republican-controlled state legislature redistricted recently (last year, I believe), they extended the district's tendrils further into Birmingham and Montgomery to carve out African-American neighborhoods and create a 64 percent African-American district. The result: The surrounding districts now have almost no African-American voters. Previously competitive, the districts are now safely Republicans....but there's still talk of fair representation.

    There is simply no factual evidence as it concerns the claims that all groups are properly represented in the U.S and have been consistently....or that political corruption as it concerns gerrymandering is what the Founding Fathers had in mind since they were against such and made that clear multiple times. We can't reinvent history

    For others who've spoken out against the issue:








     
  15. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

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    Something that happened recently, as it concerns Gerrymandering, involves the Federal panel of two Republican-appointed judges and one Democrat-appointed judge overseeing the gerrymandering case against the Republicans found that they unconstitutionally gerrymandered Wisconsin districts strictly for partisan gain, and they have ordered at least a portion of the maps fixed before any of the new maps can be used. The Republicans had already been ordered by the court to reveal their secret emails which showed they signed agreements to keep secret the maps and discussions that took place at a private attorney's office through intimidation, and the emails also showed that the Republicans orchestrated public testimony in favor of the maps. The judges had already given the Republicans a chance to fix their gerrymandering, but Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald refused. And it has caused waves.

    Again, Republicans secretly redrew district maps to keep them in office. And this went with the Republicans being told to ignore the public comments of their fellow Republicans while gerrymandering Wisconsin. The Republicans also signed confidentiality agreements to not talk about the maps while they worked on them in secret at a private law firm in Madison. The information came about during court proceedings for a lawsuit against the Republicans in front of a three-judge panel. ..and although the Republicans fought hard to keep this information secret, the judges forcefully ruled against them.

    Although the latest decision in the federal court case against the Wisconsin Republicans for gerrymandering is a harsh review of recent Republican tactics, calling them "shameful," the Journal Sentinel reports. The Republicans were fighting tooth-and-nail to keep some 84 documents secret, but were ordered to make the documents public. The Republicans were claiming the documents fell under attorney-client privilege, because they consisted of only legal advice. However, the panel of three judges (2 Republican appointees and 1 Democrat) found the documents to primarily consist of political advice. Thus, the documents couldn't fall under attorney-client privilege..

    Jeremy Ryan at Joint Public 'Hearing' on Redistricting 7 13 11


    The case of Gommington vs Lightfoot is another example (from 1960). And for others:

     
  16. SimplyMe

    SimplyMe Senior Veteran

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    Texas has an interesting system: you don't register as either party. In each primary you are free to chose either party's ballot but the party whose ballot you chose becomes your party of record -- at least until you vote the other party's ballot in another primary.
     
  17. SimplyMe

    SimplyMe Senior Veteran

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    Both parties love gerrymandering. Though this webpage is pretty fun, showing the most gerrymandered districts in the US. Some are so bad (using separate areas that border the same body of water) that he calls them "cherrymandering", a combination of "cherry-picking" and "gerrymandering".
     
  18. SnowCal

    SnowCal 50 Cent Party

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    In California most "independents" (we call them "decline to state") are reliable votes for the Democrats. Pretty substantial number of them, but they don't vote much different than actually registered Democrats. The various political parties can allow "decline to states" to vote in their primaries. The Republicans don't. The Democrats do.

    I do think people overstate the importance of independents. They really aren't that big of a deal, even in swing states. It's just as important to get good turnout in the base. Not too many independents are truly swing voters either. A lot of them talk that game, but in the voting booth pretty much go the same way every time.

    As for ending the two party system, there's nothing you or I can do. Or everyone. It's baked into the cake, or the Constitution that is. The very design of our Congress pretty much guarantees a two party system. If you want to change the Constitution we could fix that.

    But hey, if you want to make a difference in this screwed up two party system of ours, don't be an independent. Pick a party and work to change it. Doesn't mean you have to vote their slate, but there are much greater opportunities to affect American politics at the primaries and within the party structure than at the general elections. The generals are pretty pointless.
     
  19. Gxg (G²)

    Gxg (G²) Pilgrim/Monastic on the Road to God (Psalm 84:1-7) Supporter CF Ambassadors

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    Cherrymandering is a good way of describing things.
     
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