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  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
Third Parties in America by tucsonmike on 29 January 2006 2:25am
This is a quick and dirty American History lesson for Maria (and others of course).
I found a website that sort of explains the parties.


Wikipedia on Third Parites.

Our system is winner take all. So you don't get proportional representation. The third parties that grow the largest are normally absorbed eventually by one of the two major parties. For example, the Democratic Party ranges from relatively conservative to European style socialist. The Republicans once had a liberal wing. Now they have different shades of Conservative. There are splits even within the Republican Party that are widening.

Another reason the parties are the way they are is our Founding Fathers didn't like the idea of parties, fearing serious division. James Madison wrote about this in the Federalist Papers. For the longest time, the party was just a vehicle to get elected.
Hopefully this will sort of answer the questions.
Re: Third Parties in America by Tauriel on 30 January 2006 1:23am
Thanks, Mike, for explaining things to me. :-) I admit, I don't like politics too much, and I'm not too interested in it. But thanks anyway, at least next time I'll have a rough idea about how things look like before I start making rash suggestions... :-P LOL. ;-)
Re: Third Parties in America by tucsonmike on 30 January 2006 4:23am
Glad to help Maria LOL! My friend Lizzie keeps trying to get me to run for political office here...
Re: Third Parties in America by sighthound on 30 January 2006 4:46am
Thanks for the links, Mike.

Our current problem is that, given the fact that our politicians must now be totally bought by special interests to pay for the incredibly expensive media buys necessary for re-election so there is no way for the views of a minority (even for A VERY LARGE MINORITY) to be expressed in our elective system.

If, say, 45% of a local electorate is totally committed to environmental issues, they will not be represented since, as they do not constitute a majority, their concerns are ignored on both local and national levels. All the very legitimate concerns of a very large proportion of the electorate go unrepresented due to the tyranny of the majority swayed by expensive media campaigns.

Given the vast amounts of money that it takes to elect our representatives these days, I think it is time to rethink our "winner takes all" system and reorganize ourselves into a more equitable system, a hugely difficult problem given the fact that all the major media outlets are owned by the coporate interests that buy the politicians. We need to invest some power in "third parties" to offset the arrogance of the "bought and paid for" politicos.

P.S. We definitely need to start with eliminating the Electoral College that allows Predidents to be elected by a minority of the popular vote! It was an institution that made sense when it took weeks to get to Washington by horse but is absolutely ridiculous in the age of instant information and allows the absurd "red state/blue state" electoral manipulation that allowed Bush (and others)to become President without a clear majority.
Re: Third Parties in America by Tauriel on 30 January 2006 9:22am
Sighthound - I agree with you completely. I think "winner takes all" is a bad election system, especially with such a big country like USA. I think proportional system is much better.
Re: Third Parties in America by tucsonmike on 30 January 2006 11:22pm
The Electoral College is one of those very hotly debated things. I wonder too, in a modern world if it has outlasted its usefulness. It may also unify us more as a nation, because now, a states concerns rather than the concerns of the citizens can loom large.
Re: Third Parties in America by sighthound on 31 January 2006 10:51pm
I don't think it unifies us at all; it allows the politicians to divide us even further. "West Wing" has been brilliant in illuminating the tyranny of the "red state/blue state" polarity. It creates a dialectic where issues will never be talked about honestly and in depth. It gives all the power to political operatives who are adept in manipulating buzz words.

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