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View Poll Results: Who Will Win The Presidency?
Hillary Clinton 9 81.82%
Donald Trump 1 9.09%
Jill Stein 0 0%
Gary Johnson 1 9.09%
Voters: 11. You may not vote on this poll

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  #41  
Old 09-21-2016, 07:04 AM
GonzoTheGreat GonzoTheGreat is offline
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As GWB said: if you do not succeed at first, try, try again. That's what the Dems are doing: following Dubya's sage advice.

Why they trust him in such matters is not quite clear to me, I grant.
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  #42  
Old 09-21-2016, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Nazbaque View Post
The problem with the American system is that no matter who the actual candidates are it's always reps vs dems. Whenever one party screws up and loses voters the other gains. The screw up brings harm to the nation as whole but from the other party's point of view they are getting more voters so the damage is a good thing. The well is poisoned and people just keep on drinking while arguing over who did it. "Their guy is worse than our guy so vote for us" is a working strategy for American elections. If you had even one more party on an equal footing, every rep and dem candidate would have to prove themselves better than their two opponents instead of just bad mouthing their one opponent. When one party screws something up the other two parties would have to fight each other for the voters and work at fixing the mess to get them. The third party would make things better just by existing. "They poisoned the well" doesn't get you any votes when another party says "Here's how we detox the water".

So if you are an American vote for a third party and convince your friends to vote for a third party. The competition will make both major parties work harder and that will improve your nation.
We have had brief times of transition, where one of the two parties dies, but we've never had three simultaneously viable parties. First there was the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans. Then the Federalists and the Democrats. Then the Federalist Party died, and was eventually replaced by the Whigs, which eventually became the Republican Party. That same dichotomy, of Republican vs Democrat has held since the 1840s, albeit the base of power, and the stance of each flipped beginning in the early 1900s (due to the Roosevelts), and then completed in the '60s (due to the Civil Rights Movement and the Dixiecrats defecting en masse to the by now very sourthern and very conservative republican party, completing that party's shift from its original progressive and northern foci). The natural equilibrium has always been binary. That might well seem insane, and foolish to an outsider. It's certainly appears quite different from the tapestry of parties that one sees at present in your parliament in Finland, but it is what we have. Voting third party won't result in a permanent shift towards three stable parties, it will only produce a momentary shift, creating the greater surety of the dominance in the present election of the stabler of the two original binaries, here clearly the republicans, and hence the election of Trump. We've seen the same effect before - most notably with the election of Woodrow Wilson, but also, more recently, with the election of Bill Clinton. The former caused by Teddy Roosevelt and Taft splitting the republican vote, allowing a weak democrat (Wilson), to win. The latter with the Elder Bush and Perot splitting the republican vote, allowing for the election of Clinton. The situation now is not as fractured as either of those, but Hillary is still losing a significant percentage of what normally would be democratic voters to both Johnson and Stein (mostly college kids - the Bernie crowd). And this feels very much like what happened in 2000 with Nader, which allowed for the narrow election of the Younger Bush. Johnson and Stein are both polling much better than Nader, and thus even against an incredibly weak republican opponent (Trump), hemorrhaging that much support (likely about 8-10% of what she, or at least a typical democrat, should at least be receiving) to the third parties, and we have Hillary in dire straits, and are staring at the very real possibility of repeating the one effect that political history in America demonstrates as the outcome of temporary third party viability. But that viability never lasts, and for good reason, as it's not difficult in those situations to recognize that it was that splintering that caused disaster for either the left or the right, and that the splintering only benefits the other side, not the side wishing that their defection would somehow benefit the cause of their own side.
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Old 09-21-2016, 09:27 AM
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So basically through out your political history you just won't learn the most basic lessons and insist on shooting at your own feet. Tell me again why oligarchy is worse than democracy and why America is the better of the two choices. I'm fairly sure that either democracy is just as bad or America is effectively not a democracy but an oligarchy masquerading as a democracy.
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Old 09-21-2016, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Nazbaque View Post
So basically through out your political history you just won't learn the most basic lessons and insist on shooting at your own feet. Tell me again why oligarchy is worse than democracy and why America is the better of the two choices. I'm fairly sure that either democracy is just as bad or America is effectively not a democracy but an oligarchy masquerading as a democracy.
We are an oligarchy, Naz. We might occasionally pretend otherwise, but our system was modeled on the Roman Republic, not the Athenian democracy.

The struggle between the two parties for us even mirrors the struggle that was seen in the Republic - the optimates (republicans) and the populares (democrats). I for one think that one descent into civil war was enough, no need to even more accurately reflect the path that the Republic took. That however does seem to be more the path that the extremists (tea party and bernie bros) on each side seem intent on leading us down once again. And to be blunt, you don't have a stake in this game, Naz. You can watch us descend into chaos safely from afar. Trump will be bad for the world, but he won't have anywhere near as much of a devastating effect upon Finland as he will on us. And that's all voting third party achieves - Trump. A strong third party merely nets the plutocratic demagogue. It pushes the country to the right, not to the left. One would hope that after seeing this same pattern play out numerous times in the past, that we would not make the same mistake again now.

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  #45  
Old 09-21-2016, 01:16 PM
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We are an oligarchy, Naz. We might occasionally pretend otherwise, but our system was modeled on the Roman Republic, not the Athenian democracy.
Now that you've got backwards. I few individuals might see that, but the vast majority believes that you are a democracy. You might say that they are naive, but is it any better being one of the cynics? Naive don't have the experience. Cynics have the experience but didn't learn from it. Hard to say which are worse.
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The struggle between the two parties for us even mirrors the struggle that was seen in the Republic - the optimates (republicans) and the populares (democrats). I for one think that one descent into civil war was enough, no need to even more accurately reflect the path that the Republic took. That however does seem to be more the path that the extremists (tea party and bernie bros) on each side seem intent on leading us down once again. And to be blunt, you don't have a stake in this game, Naz. You can watch us descend into chaos safely from afar. Trump will be bad for the world, but he won't have anywhere near as much of a devastating effect upon Finland as he will on us. And that's all voting third party achieves - Trump. A strong third party merely nets the plutocratic demagogue. It pushes the country to the right, not to the left. One would hope that after seeing this same pattern play out numerous times in the past, that we would not make the same mistake again now.
Everyone has a stake in this. Not perhaps on the same scale, but it is there. And in the long run the true problem is that a country that could do a lot more good on a global scale insists on either doing the reverse or getting applause for doing nothing at all.
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  #46  
Old 09-21-2016, 04:14 PM
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Now that you've got backwards. I few individuals might see that, but the vast majority believes that you are a democracy.
In terms of the nuance between the two meanings, it's difficult, if not impossible, to deny. Ours isn't a system, nor could it (nor could the Roman Republic) have been from a simple logistic standpoint, one, like at Athens, where all citizens (well, male citizens anyway, female citizens lost their right according to myth after the first vote, though they still accepted the result of that first vote, and kept Athena, and not Poseidon, as their patroness) could enter the Ekklesia and vote. Nor certainly one, where for the sake of pure democracy, most (essentially everything but the 10 yearly generalships) offices were assigned by lot rather than by election. So ours is not a pure "rule by the people". We, like the Republic, have "rule by few". It's not quite as pronounced, nor as exclusive, as the old Roman system, but power is still isolated in the hands of the few, and while we don't have just a few families (endless strings of Cornelii, Claudii, Julii, Sempronii appearing over the centuries repeatedly holding consulships) holding the highest offices almost exclusively, nor are novi homines as rare and notable for us as they were for them, but keep in mind the Elder Bush wasn't the founder of that political dynasty, his father, Prescott Bush, had been a senator as well. Gore's father, like him, had been a senator. Romney's father had been governor of Michigan. JFK's father, Joseph Kennedy, had been the US Ambassador to Britain, and his grandfather had been mayor of Boston. Heck, the Roosevelts and Rockefellers were both about as patrician a clan as one could find in America. So, sure, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama were both novi homines, but most men and women who rise that high in politics here, as in Rome, do so due to familial connenctions that helped pave their own rise to power.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing. The Roman Republic wasn't without its faults, but it worked well for a long time. We luckily don't possess the same poison that corrupted and then killed the Republic, as unlike with late Republic Rome, it's still the state that is paying the soldiers, and not their generals. That one innovation made by Marius, more than any other, is what killed the Republic. It took 60 years for the poison to complete the job, but that was 60 years of nearly endless civil war between Marius' first consulship and the Ides of March. The other poisons were, unfortunately, similar ones to what is corrupting us. The Republic's two other most significant problems were the extension of Italian Citizenship (seems eerily similar to our immigration reform and amnesty debate, and also to the continuing, perhaps unsolvable, problems surrounding civil rights and racial violence/inequity), and growing wealth disparity. The Gracchi were assassinated while trying to conduct land redistributions and debt reforms (eerily similar to the Kennedy brothers) to address the latter. So was Clodius, whose career looks quite similar to Bill Clinton's, right down to the similarity of the scandals. Certainly the Bona Dea Scandal seems a very Bill Clinton type situation. Bill did at least, luckily, escape Clodius Pulcher's fate. Clodius' enemies did really hate his widow though. And while Hillary becoming Sec of State for Obama, isn't quite the same as Fulvia marrying Antony, Fulvia did convince Antony (not that he really needed much convincing as he really hated Cicero himself as well) to find a very dramatic and creative way to exact their vengeance upon Cicero - not that I'm actually suggesting that Obama should chop up Trump and staple him piecemeal to the rostra, but that should give you an idea of just how much more violent their downhill spiral was. Makes for interesting history, but not something that one would wish to experience firsthand...

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Old 09-21-2016, 06:50 PM
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All of which is something the average American is not aware of. How is that "occasionally pretending to be a democracy"?
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Old 09-21-2016, 07:26 PM
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How is that "occasionally pretending to be a democracy"?
Well, every four years around half of eligible voters (it was 55% of those eligible in 2012) vote for president, and for whatever other candidates happen to be running at that same time. Far fewer tend to show up for non-presidential votes, especially if it isn't even one of the senate seats in contention. That is certainly far less involvement than Athenian citizens had in their democracy. Far less than many Romans had as well. After all, one of their main assemblies was the Comitia Centuriata, which was the army sitting as an assembly. And while most of the real power was with the magistrates and the Senate, the Centuriate Assembly directly elected consuls and praetors (the command level offices - offices with imperium), and only it could declare war, and it served as the highest court of appeal.

In contrast, I doubt most Americans could even say with certainty, or necessarily even care, who their House rep even is. But then that is why we have political parties, so that you can have a reasonable expectation of how someone will vote even without knowing them. That might sound awful, but keep in mind the alternative. There often is a slate of judges that one votes for alongside president, house rep, and usually one senator when one enters the booth to vote for president, and typically one hasn't the slightest clue who any of them are, nor the slightest clue as to personality, stances, or politics for any of them. They are just a name, and unless you are a trial lawyer, little incentive to take the time to bother to read up and learn anything about them, and even if one wished to do so, unless you just happened to know them privately, or had appeared before them either as an attorney or as a defendant, one is likely to be able to gather much, if any, useful information on them. Voting for them is thus little more than a crap shoot. If they had to declare party affiliation, it would make that choice much easier, and much more informed.

Nonetheless, the key factor here is that we have clearly outsourced the running of government to oligarchs. We vote for them, and we have a constitution that binds them and shapes the process, but it is still an oligarchy, albeit a constitutional oligarchy.
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Old 09-21-2016, 08:09 PM
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Which the majority doesn't realize. To them the pretense is a constant not a once in four years occurance.

But even so that isn't what makes the difference. It's not how often people vote but what effect the vote has. You don't vote for what the nation does just for your state. Basically that means that if you didn't vote for the winning party in your state you might as well have not voted at all. How many voices unheard is that?
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Old 09-22-2016, 03:35 AM
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We luckily don't possess the same poison that corrupted and then killed the Republic, as unlike with late Republic Rome, it's still the state that is paying the soldiers, and not their generals.
Your government (mostly the Republicans, of course) is working on this. A well known example is Blackwater (which has changed its name a number of times in the last decade, because of their reputation), but there are plenty of others. But there are plenty of other mercenary companies which are taking over the jobs of your soldiers.
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Old 11-09-2016, 07:12 AM
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Told you.
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