USA Presidential Election 2012

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Who would you vote for?

Poll ended at 2012-11-08, 15:51

Image Barack Obama / Joe Biden (Democratic Party)
17
57%
Image Mitt Romney / Paul Ryan (Republican Party)
2
7%
Image Gary Johnson / James Gray (Libertarian Party)
2
7%
Image Jill Stein / Cheri Honkala (Green Party)
9
30%
Image Virgil Goode / Jim Clymer (Constitution Party)
0
No votes
Image Rocky Anderson / Luis J. Rodriguez (Justice Party)
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 30

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Re: USA Presidential Election 2012

Postby Varislintu » 2012-11-01, 12:51

Hoogstwaarschijnlijk wrote:Okay, here is something I don't get: why would you vote for Obama when you actually sympathise with another party more? I mean, apparently everyone thinks like that and then it's only about Obama and Romney while actually people like other parties more, isn't that wrong or at least very strange...? Don't you think this system should be changed to give other parties more chances?


I guess the system with the elector votes, where the winner in a state takes all the elector votes, is a big reason. If you vote for a small candidate (or even the second largest) your vote really does not show anywhere.
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Re: USA Presidential Election 2012

Postby Hoogstwaarschijnlijk » 2012-11-01, 12:58

Varislintu wrote:
Hoogstwaarschijnlijk wrote:Okay, here is something I don't get: why would you vote for Obama when you actually sympathise with another party more? I mean, apparently everyone thinks like that and then it's only about Obama and Romney while actually people like other parties more, isn't that wrong or at least very strange...? Don't you think this system should be changed to give other parties more chances?


I guess the system with the elector votes, where the winner in a state takes all the elector votes, is a big reason. If you vote for a small candidate (or even the second largest) your vote really does not show anywhere.

Yes, I understand that system but isn't there any discussion about this system? It seems so obviously unfair! What's the point of voting when you live in a state that most likely will always be Democratic for example? Are there any ideas of how to make this more fair (and just let the actual votes count...)?
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Re: USA Presidential Election 2012

Postby Varislintu » 2012-11-01, 13:13

Hoogstwaarschijnlijk wrote:Yes, I understand that system but isn't there any discussion about this system? It seems so obviously unfair! What's the point of voting when you live in a state that most likely will always be Democratic for example? Are there any ideas of how to make this more fair (and just let the actual votes count...)?


Yeah, I'd also be interested in hearing USAns share their view on this issue. Is there any talk about the system's problems?
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Re: USA Presidential Election 2012

Postby Kenny » 2012-11-01, 14:35

Varislintu wrote:
Hoogstwaarschijnlijk wrote:Okay, here is something I don't get: why would you vote for Obama when you actually sympathise with another party more? I mean, apparently everyone thinks like that and then it's only about Obama and Romney while actually people like other parties more, isn't that wrong or at least very strange...? Don't you think this system should be changed to give other parties more chances?


I guess the system with the elector votes, where the winner in a state takes all the elector votes, is a big reason. If you vote for a small candidate (or even the second largest) your vote really does not show anywhere.

This. Most voters will vote Republican or Democrat anyway, so if you vote for anyone else, you're vote is as good as nullified. Is it fair? Certainly not...But that's the way it is.
But yeah, let's wait for an American who might know more about this give us their own perspective.

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Re: USA Presidential Election 2012

Postby JackFrost » 2012-11-01, 18:05

The electoral college could be abolished, but the smaller states will whine about the bigger states having more power which way the election would go. So, the other way is to change the way how the electoral vote i distributed: by giving them all to the winner of the national vote, not the state vote.

Is there any talk about the system's problems?

There are some, but not enough to cause actions to reform the system. Plus, the electoral college thing is enshrined in the constitution, so you'd need a very strong consensus to change the provisions (it's very hard to amend the constitution). And forming a strong consensus is probably a foreign concept in the US politics nowadays. :roll:

What's the point of voting when you live in a state that most likely will always be Democratic for example? Are there any ideas of how to make this more fair (and just let the actual votes count...)?

That's just like saying "what's the point of voting when you live in City that most likely will always be A?" The party support will always be strong in some places, weak in others, and competitive in the rest. Isn't that how democracy usually works?
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Re: USA Presidential Election 2012

Postby Muisje » 2012-11-01, 18:11

Hoogstwaarschijnlijk wrote:Okay, here is something I don't get: why would you vote for Obama when you actually sympathise with another party more? I mean, apparently everyone thinks like that and then it's only about Obama and Romney while actually people like other parties more, isn't that wrong or at least very strange...? Don't you think this system should be changed to give other parties more chances?
Isn't that pretty much exactly what happened with PvdA/VVD here? (except in the USA it's more extreme)
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Re: USA Presidential Election 2012

Postby TeneReef » 2012-11-01, 19:16

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Re: USA Presidential Election 2012

Postby Hoogstwaarschijnlijk » 2012-11-02, 19:05

Muisje wrote:
Hoogstwaarschijnlijk wrote:Okay, here is something I don't get: why would you vote for Obama when you actually sympathise with another party more? I mean, apparently everyone thinks like that and then it's only about Obama and Romney while actually people like other parties more, isn't that wrong or at least very strange...? Don't you think this system should be changed to give other parties more chances?
Isn't that pretty much exactly what happened with PvdA/VVD here? (except in the USA it's more extreme)

No, I think it's only comparable with when you would have voted for SOPN for example, or another party that didn't make it to the Tweede Kamer.

Or no, wait, I misunderstood you. You mean: people voted for PvdA or VVD to try to make that party the biggest. Yeah, that happened and it was pretty stupid, wasn't it? Now we ended up with both, while lots of people actually would have preferred something else...

JackFrost wrote:That's just like saying "what's the point of voting when you live in City that most likely will always be A?" The party support will always be strong in some places, weak in others, and competitive in the rest. Isn't that how democracy usually works?


I don't get this. For example: the country I live in will most likely never have the party where I vote for as the biggest party. So 'my' party will never have the prime minister or will never be in the government. But because the Netherlands doesn't have this 'each state will only give all their votes to one party' system my vote for this small party will still count.
Or is this Green Party also in the Senate, for example (I checked Wikipedia and it wasn't). Isn't it supposed to be when so many people would actually think this party is the best party?

But I read some more and I also thought about your comment about the smaller states versus the bigger states... I guess that's the reason, I hadn't thought about that, but I guess it matters which state people in the Senate are representing?
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Re: USA Presidential Election 2012

Postby Varislintu » 2012-11-02, 19:34

In Finland we have two rounds in the presidential election, to make it more viable for people to vote for the candidate they want, instead of having to group together behind a compromise candidate. Only if one candidate gets more than 50% of the votes does s/he win without a second round.

From my perspective as a voter, I'd also rather see the results of a presidential election broken down into more than two camps. Then you can also observe whether a party is gaining popularity. That usually activates others to notice it, maybe even vote for it. In the USA, the green party candidate didn't get to join the debates.

Stein and Honkala (4th generation Finn, yay :P) were apparently even arrested and spent hours in handcuffs in jail for protesting that they didn't get to debate. Kinda shocking (although not really related to the issue about the election system per se).

But I see now that the fact that the US is made up of states is a major factor in this as well.
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Re: USA Presidential Election 2012

Postby Saaropean » 2012-11-02, 21:02

The problem in the U.S. is, if you live in a state like Oklahoma or Washington, you know the outcome before the polls have opened. It's like democratic votes in Oklahoma and republican votes in Washington don't count because the other candidate will win the state anyway.
On the other hand, voter turnout does not seem to be considerably lower in those states, as this table shows.

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Re: USA Presidential Election 2012

Postby JackFrost » 2012-11-03, 7:19

Hoogstwaarschijnlijk wrote:Or is this Green Party also in the Senate, for example (I checked Wikipedia and it wasn't). Isn't it supposed to be when so many people would actually think this party is the best party?

Yes. Candidates for a senate seat will have to do campaigning all over the state. It's harder for a third-party candidate to win a senate seat since s/he has to convince the rural voters to support him/her. Although independent senators aren't unheard of.

The House of Representatives are easier supposedly since you would only have to run in a congressional district, not the whole state. So, if you pick a very urban district, a third-party candidate might receive more support than in suburban and rural districts. Yet, realistically, they're generally doomed to lose since the system is not really friendly to them (as you can tell).

I hadn't thought about that, but I guess it matters which state people in the Senate are representing?

? Not sure if I get the question.
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Re: USA Presidential Election 2012

Postby Saaropean » 2012-11-03, 11:25

JackFrost wrote:The House of Representatives are easier supposedly since you would only have to run in a congressional district, not the whole state. So, if you pick a very urban district, a third-party candidate might receive more support than in suburban and rural districts. Yet, realistically, they're generally doomed to lose since the system is not really friendly to them (as you can tell).

It's the same in all countries with majority vote parliaments, e.g. France's assemblée nationale and half of Germany's Bundestag.

I hadn't thought about that, but I guess it matters which state people in the Senate are representing?

The Senate is supposed to represent the states' interests in the Union. That's why each state has the same number of senators (2). Similar systems exist in other federal republics (e.g. Germany's Bundesrat).

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Re: USA Presidential Election 2012

Postby Hoogstwaarschijnlijk » 2012-11-03, 13:33

JackFrost wrote:Yes. Candidates for a senate seat will have to do campaigning all over the state.

I hadn't thought about that, but I guess it matters which state people in the Senate are representing?

? Not sure if I get the question.


I meant: does each state has its own people in the Senate? Saaropean already explained now that it has, and actually you did too in that first line. I thought each candidate would have to campaign all over the country. But apparently that's not true and there are even these 'congressional districts', I had never heard about those. It seems very complicated... Then again, the Dutch system isn't that straightforward either and the Netherlands is a much smaller country. I'm starting to realise that it would be impossible for the USA to adopt a system where smaller parties have as much chance as in the Netherlands, just because the country is so much bigger :)
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Re: USA Presidential Election 2012

Postby Saaropean » 2012-11-03, 16:28

There are 435 congressional districts in the United States House of Representatives, with each one representing approximately 600,000 people. In each district, the candidate with the most votes gains a seat. So the 435 members of parliament (called "representatives") represent 435 different parts of the country. I don't know if there has ever been a representative who was neither Democrat nor Republican.

In the Netherlands, on the other hand, the 150 members of the Tweede Kamer represent political parties operating in the whole country. The number of seats a party gains is (almost) proportional to its number of votes, nationwide.

That's why there are currently 11 parties in the Tweede Kamer, but only 2 in the House of Representatives. Germany's Bundestag (with currently 6 parties) uses a mixture of majority and proportion vote. France's Assemblée nationale and the UK's House of Commons use majority vote, just like the U.S., but with more than 2 parties.

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Re: USA Presidential Election 2012

Postby JackFrost » 2012-11-03, 20:20

Saaropean wrote:<The Senate is supposed to represent the states' interests in the Union. That's why each state has the same number of senators (2). Similar systems exist in other federal republics (e.g. Germany's Bundesrat).

Yep. The only difference is that senators are elected by the voters, not the state governments.

Hoogstwaarschijnlijk wrote:I meant: does each state has its own people in the Senate?

Yes, two per state to be exact.

I thought each candidate would have to campaign all over the country.

Nope. The senators stick to their own state and the representatives to their own congressional district. As you said, the US is simply way too big for all 535 members to do some campaigning from coast to coast. :P

Saaropean wrote:I don't know if there has ever been a representative who was neither Democrat nor Republican.

Indeed, it had independent representatives. Furthermore, you're forgetting that the Republican and Democratic parties did not exist throughout the US history. The Republican Party was founded in 1854 and the Democratic Party was founded in 1828, although its root goes back to the Democratic-Republican Party (founded in 1792; no relation to the modern Republican Party) and the Anti-Administration Party (founded in 1789).

So, that means back in the 19th century, there were non-Democratic and non-Republican congressmen. Like the Whig Party to name one. ^^
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Re: USA Presidential Election 2012

Postby Abavagada » 2012-11-04, 21:33

To further explain the setup, we have a certain number of Representatives from each states, based on the population of that state while we have 2 Senators from every state. The Representatives comprise the House of Representatives in the US Congress, and the Senators comprise the Senate. For any law to be passed, it has to be voted on and passed in BOTH sides of congress. In this fashion, no state has a distinct advantage because of size.

As for the electoral college.. it is a pain. It was put in place originally because the general public was deemed too uninformed to really make decisions. That might be still true today, but it should be done away with or alterred. Right now, we have certain states that are more important than others because of their number of electoral votes.. a candidate "wins" a state and gets all electoral votes. This is only different for 2 states .. Maine and Nebraska. Those states can split the number of votes they have between the candidates if they want.

And yes, it is aggrevating if you live in a state that always votes one way while you vote another.

We do have Senators, Representatives and even Governors that are of neither party. Maine had a governor, Agnus King, who was Independent. We also have what are called RINOs and DINOs (Republicans and Democrats "In Name Only"). That is, they belong to a party, but often vote the way of the other side. Maine is notorious for that with Collins and Snowe.. both Republicans who are likely to vote Democrat. That's the only time you hear about Maine at the federal level... when they hope one of those two swaps sides for a vote.
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Re: USA Presidential Election 2012

Postby Dormouse559 » 2012-11-04, 21:50

Abavagada wrote:This is only different for 2 states .. Maine and Nebraska. Those states can split the number of votes they have between the candidates if they want.
Any state can do that, right? It's just that only Maine and Nebraska have made the decision to reassign their votes.

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Re: USA Presidential Election 2012

Postby JackFrost » 2012-11-04, 22:09

Dormouse559 wrote:Any state can do that, right? It's just that only Maine and Nebraska have made the decision to reassign their votes.

Yep. Only the state can decide how their electoral votes can be distributed. ;) That makes it possible to alter the electoral college system without needing a constitutional amendment: get the states to give all of their electoral vote to the winner of the national popular vote instead of to the state's popular vote winner.
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Re: USA Presidential Election 2012

Postby NulNuk » 2012-11-05, 2:46

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and that probes that being Libertarian out side the US, no mater how much Libertarian you are, does not mean that you agree with the US Libertarian party...
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Re: USA Presidential Election 2012

Postby Hoogstwaarschijnlijk » 2012-11-05, 8:30

Dormouse559 wrote:
Abavagada wrote:This is only different for 2 states .. Maine and Nebraska. Those states can split the number of votes they have between the candidates if they want.
Any state can do that, right? It's just that only Maine and Nebraska have made the decision to reassign their votes.

Who exactly decides this then? Why do all the other States chose to don't do this?

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