25
   

The Democrats will win again in 2016

 
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Dec, 2012 12:53 am
@dlowan,
Probably, I post it every week or so.
0 Replies
 
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Dec, 2012 03:43 am
To quote Harold MacMillan, when asked what prime ministers feared the most.

'Events, dear boy, events.'

In short the Democrats may look good on paper, and the Republicans may look unelectable, but something may come along to blow that out of the water.

Would Obama have won his first term if the global financial meltdown hadn't occured during the campaign?
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Dec, 2012 04:33 am
@ehBeth,
The Electoral College and the Senate are the two compromises which reconciled small states (i.e., small in population at that time) to a legislature based on proportional representation. Some of the small state delegates had been instructed by their state legislatures not to vote for proportional representation, and some were even instructed to withdraw from the convention if it were mooted.

The men at the convention were experienced in political bodies, so they resolved themselves into a committee of the whole which allowed them to discuss these issues without triggering the instructions to delegates from small states. They came up with the Senate as a balance to the House, which is proportional representation. The Senate, of course, is equal representation by state. The Electoral College was the other compromise which would "save" the small states from being overwhelmed by the voting power of the large states (large in population--at that time, Virginia, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania). The states were given quite a bit of power over these matters. Originally senators were appointed by the states, not elected popularly (that was changed by the seventeenth amendment). The other state sovereignty issue which was addressed by the Electoral College was to give the manner of choosing electors to the the states to determine.

In so many nations, states or provinces are just subdivisions of the nation which are arbitrarily determined, often on an historical basis. But the United States truly was created by the union of independent states, and states in the 18th century sense of independent nations. I think this concept is a big stumbling block for people from other systems who are trying to understand how it all works in the United States.

On a side note, distributing electors based on the popular vote would not have helped the Republicans--Romeny got creamed in the popular vote, too.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Dec, 2012 04:40 am
@Robert Gentel,
Bullshit . . . we have a two party system because neither the Whigs or the Know Nothings survived the 1860 election. The Democrats were too big to fail, even in defeat, and the Republicans had a long enough run in power to survive. What makes the two party system inevitable is the systems the two parties put in place after the war to enshrine their power and to make invincible. The registration of voters by party affiliation, the primary election system and the chairmanships of committees in the Congress and in state legislatures have all served to preserve the unique powers of the two parties. They may fight like cats and dogs (or appear to), but they close ranks to exclude any third party.
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Tue 11 Dec, 2012 04:43 am
I would just like to point out that Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton were all dark horses that no one saw coming, expecially Carter. Reagan lost his first primary bid, but he soon corrected that. I don't think that Clinton is inevitable. I sure hope she's not.
joefromchicago
 
  5  
Reply Tue 11 Dec, 2012 07:02 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

Bullshit . . . we have a two party system because neither the Whigs or the Know Nothings survived the 1860 election.

Hunh? That's like saying that we have a two-party system because we don't have a three-party system.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Dec, 2012 07:11 am
@JPB,
There is a half vast effort being spurred by the GOP controlled state Senates.(Its amazing how coincidentally these things all happen together across the US). The senior senators are sponsoring changes in the electoral law policies of the several states in orer to turn their states from a "winner take all" to a proportional share of electoral votes. I would like to see the voting splits in the US from the 2012 election.
Perhaps changing to a proportional share wont be as happy a wish that the GOP is envisioning.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Dec, 2012 07:13 am
@farmerman,
oops, I just read some of the early contributions and seems youve covered this point. NEVER MIND!
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Dec, 2012 07:18 am
@farmerman,
I stated it incorrectly earlier. The push in these states isn't to do it on a % of the popular vote, it's to award the EC votes by district. In this year's elections there were a couple states where Obama won the state-wide popular vote but won fewer districts than Romney. I'll have to find the example again, but I think it was Obama only won 4 of 11 districts even though he carried the entire EC vote this year. The math given for the swing states would have resulted in Romney getting exactly 270 EC votes. I can't imagine there wouldn't be huge blowback within the states. We'll see.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Dec, 2012 07:26 am
@JPB,
HMM, in Pa and NJ I read a piece in the Inquirere that Dom Pileggi (a GOP toadie, never mind) wishes to intyroduce a % apportionment of the ECs by the TOTAL vote. SInce any other way would cast it back intyo the pit of redistricting(a huge Cluster F*** in PA) that is presently going through its second round of bullshit inspection by thge Pa SUpreme Court.

The Pa SUpreme Court is , by virtue of a Dem judge being under indictment, a clear GOP majority, yet they cant pull anything off because two GOP judges are much more moderate than the Dems.

Yet Texas and New Mexico arent coming forward to apply such an EC selection change are they?
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  -4  
Reply Tue 11 Dec, 2012 08:02 am
@joefromchicago,
Not exactly, and you should know your history better than that--you are also willfully ignoring the rest of what i wrote. With the Democrats and the Republicans as the only two parties standing after the war, they both took measures to secure their everlasting survival, and have colluded to exclude third parties.

My post was in response to RG's claim that the first past the post system assures a two party state. That's a popular claim these days, and people repeat to appear wise, i guess. It happens to be bullshit. It's an oversimplicstic view of what happens in electoral politics in essentially stable, complacent societies. Even then, it's not a sure thing. Canada started out a two party state, and it now has four Federal parties, three of which are national. A dozen years ago, the PC (Progressive Conservatives--the Tories) looked moribund, and it appeared that the Liberals would govern until kingdom come, world without end amen. Today, the Tories have a majority government (just barely), the Bloc has all but disappeared, the Liberals are still in critical condition, and the New Democrats, who had never had even as many as 30 seats in the Cmmons are the official opposition with more than 100 seats.

My remark about the 1860 election may have been awkwardly worded, but the fact that that was the last election in which more than two viable, national parties participated is true nonetheless. Since that time, there has been only one third party candidate that i know of who had a real shot at the elections (Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. in 1912), and no third party which had been organized from the ground up which therefore had a chance of survival. Examples such as Ross Perot creating a party in order to run for the presidency hardly count. If a third party is ever organized from the ground up, they'll have to have a truly significant presence in each state legislature to begin to dismantle the protections the Democrats and Republicans have put in place to assure that they survive and that no third party does.
joefromchicago
 
  3  
Reply Tue 11 Dec, 2012 09:43 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:
Not exactly, and you should know your history better than that--you are also willfully ignoring the rest of what i wrote. With the Democrats and the Republicans as the only two parties standing after the war, they both took measures to secure their everlasting survival, and have colluded to exclude third parties.

Of that there is no doubt, but those measures were put in place after the two-party system had already been in effect for decades, and they still don't prevent independent candidates from getting elected. Those measures, in other words, may perpetuate the two-party system, but they don't explain it.

Setanta wrote:
My post was in response to RG's claim that the first past the post system assures a two party state. That's a popular claim these days, and people repeat to appear wise, i guess. It happens to be bullshit.

I'm not sure if it's a popular claim, and I wouldn't go so far as to call it bullshit, but the first-past-the-post system of elections is clearly inadequate to explain why the US has a two-party system.

Setanta wrote:
My remark about the 1860 election may have been awkwardly worded, but the fact that that was the last election in which more than two viable, national parties participated is true nonetheless.

There weren't more than two national parties in the 1860 election. In fact, there was only one national party in that election -- the Democrats. The Republicans were a northern regional party -- Lincoln didn't even appear on the ballot in several southern states -- and the southern Whigs largely went over to the Democrats rather than join the new Republican party. The Constitutional Union party represented the last gasp of the Clay wing of the Whig party -- it wasn't so much a party as a collection of political refugees in search of a party. The Democrats were the sole party that could claim to be a truly national party, even after the factional split that saw the southern wing run their own candidate for the presidency.

Setanta wrote:
Since that time, there has been only one third party candidate that i know of who had a real shot at the elections (Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. in 1912), and no third party which had been organized from the ground up which therefore had a chance of survival.

Most significant national third parties have really been factions organized for a single election around a single charismatic leader. Thus with Roosevelt in 1912, Wallace and Thurmond in 1948, George Wallace in 1968, and Ross Perot in 1992 and 1996. They rise and fall with the fortunes of their leaders and their partisans are quickly absorbed back into the two-party structure. The only post-1860 grass-roots level political party that participated to any noticeable effect in national politics was the Populist party.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Dec, 2012 10:14 am
@joefromchicago,
Now you're quibbling, while playing rhetorical games. I didn't say that the measures the two parties have taken to preserve their dominance explain why there are two parties. I was just pointing out why they have been able to keep third parties at bay. Your remark about first past the post elections and the two party system of the United States were unnecssary, as it is exactly what i was already saying. Your closing remark about third parties was also unnecssary, as it doesn't contradict what i have already said about third parties. The "Populist Party," as you call it (it was actually, formally called the People's Party) did not succeed in winning any national elections, and only won locally when they were in coalition with either the Democrats or the Republicans. At all events, it does not alter what i had to say about third parties and independent presidential candidates. They endorsed William Jennings Bryan, but he was running as the Democratic candidate.

Your claim about the 1860 election could not be more specious. The Republicans took California and Oregon, as well as the states in the Midwest, the Mid-Atlantic states and the Northeast which gave Lincoln his victory. As there were no states between Missouri (which was one of only two states that Douglas won) and the west coast, i am bemused to think what would have qualified to make the Republicans a national party. That last time i saw an map of the United States, California and Oregon are western states, not either northern or southern. Bell actually took three southern states--Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee (all states, incidently, which had strong unionist sentiments during the subsequent war). Breckenridge actually reduced the Democrats to a regional party, with only Marland going to him, and it was, of course, a slave state. As for Bell and the rump of the Whigs, their decline doesn't mean they hadn't once been a national party--they sent Taylor and Fillmore to the White House (i don't believe there were any other Whig presidents).

At all events, you're just quibbling because i have denied your silly accusation of what my point was about why we have a two party system. You are, of course, free to think what you like. It's very easy to take one sentence from a long post and hold it up to ridicule, but not terribly enlightening. Why don't you tell us why we have a two party system?
Robert Gentel
 
  3  
Reply Tue 11 Dec, 2012 10:19 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:
Bullshit . . . we have a two party system because neither the Whigs or the Know Nothings survived the 1860 election.


A lot of time has elapsed since then. That we do not have a viable third party now has a lot more to do with the voting system being one that is well understood by political scientists to favor the major parties than the historical explanation you prefer here.

Edit: to repost the video dlowan mentioned earlier here is an accessible explanation:



The losses of the alternate parties fuels the consolidation because it is correct game theory in the system rules to react by trying to pick from one of the winners instead of creating a spoiler effect for yourself.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Dec, 2012 10:38 am
@Setanta,
I agree that nothing is inevitable, which is part of what makes it fun to guess. My method for predictions is merely to try to tease out for myself what I think the most likely scenarios are but in most cases even the most probable scenario is less likely to happen than not, so there's certainly plenty of opportunity for me to be wrong.

That's what makes it fun. I am predicting that Hillary will be the next president and there is so much that can go wrong to derail that that it makes it extra-special if I get it right. If I were to make this prediction in 2015 when that is going to be more obvious it would be less fun.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Dec, 2012 10:50 am
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:
That we do not have a viable third party now has a lot more to do with the voting system being one that is well understood by political scientists to favor the major parties than the historical explanation you prefer here.


I should provide academic citation for this. So I will: One good example that succinctly demonstrates its wide acceptance among political scientists is that this concept that I refer to has a name in political science, it is called Duverger's Law based on research by Maurice Duverger in the 50s and 60s.

There are many other academic works that support his correlative studies and the game theory explanations are simple and logically consistent. It's not a polemic claim, it has been widely accepted political science for a half-century.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Dec, 2012 11:00 am
@Robert Gentel,
I'll look at the video in a moment. I continue to believe though that there have been no viable third parties in the United States because the two parties have taken steps to exclude them. I consider it historical accident that we ended up after 1864 with only two parties, but that those two parties have, since that time, worked to exclude any third party. I would say that apathy has more to dow with the lack of a third party than anything else. To creat a third party it would be necessary to build from the ground up, as i've said here many times. That means a generation or perhaps two of taking municipal, county and eventually state offices before making the attempt to go national. With the American electorate, that's expecting a lot of continued focus, which hasn't been apparent in electoral politics here.

It is ironic in a way that Joe mentioned the populists. After the movement had died in the United States, it began to grow in Canada. In the 1920s, the agrarian movement and the labor movement were successfully combined to form the CCF--the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation. Never a successful national party, they nevertheless had power in local politics on the prairies (now, once again ironically, the home of Canadian conservatism). Tommy Douglas won Saskatchewan in the 1940s as a CCF candidate, and eventually brought in the first Medicare system in Canada. In Alberta, the same system was introduced by the Social Credit Party. Canada seems to be a friendly environment for local "third" parties. The Tories finally killed off the CCF by associating them int he public mind with communism, but the wreck of the CCF joined with the Canadian Labour Congress and formed the New Democratic Party in 1961, with Tommy Douglas as the party leader. Douglas was the still the leader of the NDP when a medicare system was finally funded by the Federal government (it is funded on a province by province basis).

The CCF, Social Credit, the NDP, Action democratique Quebec (sorry for the lack of accents, i can't get the keyboard toolbar to come up) and the Wild Rose Party have all been formed in the last century. The Wild Rose Party is an extreme right-wing party in Alberta. The prairies, once the home of left-wing radical parties is now home to conservative splinter groups.

As for predictions, i personally don't make them for the reasons you gave. All i can say about your predictions is that i hope you're wrong about Clinton. I don't like her, i don't trust her, and i wouldn't want to see her in the White House.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  4  
Reply Tue 11 Dec, 2012 11:02 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:
Now you're quibbling

Coming from you, that's quite a compliment.

Setanta wrote:
I didn't say that the measures the two parties have taken to preserve their dominance explain why there are two parties. I was just pointing out why they have been able to keep third parties at bay.

Then you were being irrelevant.

Setanta wrote:
Your remark about first past the post elections and the two party system of the United States were unnecssary, as it is exactly what i was already saying.

You wish.

Setanta wrote:
Your claim about the 1860 election could not be more specious. The Republicans took California and Oregon, as well as the states in the Midwest, the Mid-Atlantic states and the Northeast which gave Lincoln his victory. As there were no states between Missouri (which was one of only two states that Douglas won) and the west coast, i am bemused to think what would have qualified to make the Republicans a national party.

Running candidates in every state would have been a good start.

Setanta wrote:
Breckenridge actually reduced the Democrats to a regional party, with only Marland going to him, and it was, of course, a slave state.

Breckenridge didn't split the Democratic party, he simply split the Democratic vote for president. The Democrats didn't run competing slates of candidates in congressional and state races. There was only one Democratic party, despite the fact that two Democrats ran for president that year.

Setanta wrote:
As for Bell and the rump of the Whigs, their decline doesn't mean they hadn't once been a national party--they sent Taylor and Fillmore to the White House (i don't believe there were any other Whig presidents).

That's true: the Whigs once were a national party. But they were extinct by 1860, and the Constitutional Union party was far from being a national party (or indeed much of a party at all) in 1860.

Setanta wrote:
At all events, you're just quibbling because i have denied your silly accusation of what my point was about why we have a two party system. You are, of course, free to think what you like. It's very easy to take one sentence from a long post and hold it up to ridicule, but not terribly enlightening. Why don't you tell us why we have a two party system?

I've explained it all before in this post.
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 Dec, 2012 11:10 am
@Robert Gentel,
Vote Monkey 2016!
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  -1  
Reply Tue 11 Dec, 2012 11:21 am
@joefromchicago,
Typical sneers from you. By your criteria, there were no national parties in 1860. But i'm sure you're right, Bubba, you're always right . . . at least that appears to be your opinion.

I don't see that the post you link, from four years ago, in a thread on a different subject, is something i ought to have had in mind when posting. While your view in that post is compelling, i think it is ovesimplistic. I think it can equally well be explained by the behavior of an electorate in what is essentially stable, complacent societies (as is said earlier). But even then, it isn't entirely predictive. I've already alluded to the Canadian experience. In England and in France, the lives and times of political parties have been and are much more fluid and unpredictable than is the case with the United States.
 

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