View Poll Results: Is the System Broken are People at Fault or Both??

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  • Is the System Broken?

    5 11.11%
  • Are People at Fault?

    8 17.78%
  • or Both?

    32 71.11%
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Thread: Is the System Broken or are People at Fault or Both?

  1. #11
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    Re: Is the System Broken or are People at Fault or Both?

    Quote Originally Posted by misterman View Post
    So you want to take away the right to vote because you think some voters are making the wrong choice?
    Huh? Who said anything about taking away anyone's right to vote? You're the one who said they keep voting for the same idiots. I say give them more to choose from.

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    Re: Is the System Broken or are People at Fault or Both?

    Quote Originally Posted by Morality Games View Post
    Some systems within the larger system are broken, but that along with the general dysfunction is the people's fault.

    I'm a bland centrist though, so I'll say 'both'.
    Bland Centrists of the world, UNITE! And...well, y'know, we'll hang out or something.
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    Re: Is the System Broken or are People at Fault or Both?

    Quote Originally Posted by grip View Post
    There is obviously a growing problem in today's politics. Whether it's a disconnect with candidates and elected officials or disenfranchised voters. The US government is IMO one of the most fair systems of governing ever devised in human history. Yet somehow we're seeing a growing corruption within. Is it from indefinite term limits, creating cronyism and career politicians? Is it from virtually unlimited candidate funding, allowing groups of concentrated wealth influence peddling? Is it the lobby's who through unimpeded access gain inside favoritism and no-bid contracts? Is it Party or Partisan Politics unable to compromise relying on ideology more than practical reasoning? I'm curious is it our system of governing that's flawed or are our people too self interested or a little of both? Let the debate begin.
    I think that it is less that the system is broken and more that the system is outdated.

    Now I'm not talking about the Bill of Rights or the spirit of the articles of the Constitution. Rather, I think that the mechanics of how our government system runs no longer works for how the country has evolved.

    After all, several major changes to the United States has been made since the time of the Founding Fathers.

    The first of this is that the people of the United States feel more loyalty to the country as a whole rather than to their own state. That does not made federalism - the separation of government powers between the national government and local government - no longer apply. But rather I think it does change the mechanics of how such federalism should work.

    Another major change is the wide variety of political thought available since the Constitution. After all, the Constitution was written without political parties or factions in mind. This was why, originally, the elections of the President and the Vice President were those who received the most and then the next most number of votes. In the election of 1796 John Adams won the most votes and Thomas Jefferson won the next most votes. However, Adams was a Federalist and Jefferson was a Democratic-Republican. So the 12th Amendment was included to create the party ticket in which a party nominates both their Presidential and Vice Presidential candidate for the general ballot.

    But the first-past-the-post voting system we use inherently naturally inevitably causes a two-party system to evolve. So while a large number of Americans are advocates of a particular political doctrine, any votes for the candidates of those smaller parties will be wasted and could even cause a split ticket to allow the least popular candidate to be elected. This is for seats in Congress as well as for Presidential elections.

    A third major change is the expansive role the executive branch has accrued since the days of the Founding Fathers. The British Parliament, which the Founding Fathers would have been most familiar with, has a legislature which then chooses the executive. The benefit of this is that it allows the legislature to work with and pass laws the executive needs so that the government can perform its duties. But the reason why the Founding Fathers may not have wanted this is because such a system may just continually vote itself legal powers at the cost of civil rights and civil liberties.

    This may be one reason why the Founding Fathers decided to separate the executive branch from the legislative branch. That is, the executive branch is elected totally separately from that of the legislature. This lends a system of checks and balance within government. But what it also does is cause so much partisan turmoil in governing that governing cannot be efficiently done. And so what has happened is that Congress has given over more and more power to the Presidency.

    After all, the President is one man who issues orders to all the Cabinet departments and the executive agencies within them. While his Cabinet Secretaries advise him and even administrate those departments, the President has the final say in how those departments are run even if the Cabinet Secretaries disagree with him. This makes the executive rather unitary in authority.

    Congress, on the other hand, is a divided branch with two houses, the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate currently has 100 seats and the House currently has 435 seats. Because of the amount of division of power in Congress, it is amazing that any legislation can get passed at all. One of these reasons is that while Senators and Representatives are elected locally they legislate nationally. So Congressmen are usually quite popular with their constituents despite the low popularity of Congress itself. Which is because American citizens tend to find unpopular all Congressmen but the one who represents them.

    So since Congress is designed with so much divided power they cannot adequately exert the power of that branch. And so steadily over time more and more power has been handed over to the Presidency. Since it is much easier for the Presidency to direct the executive departments and agencies for Congress to agree to act on issues.

    (Another part of this is that I also think that Congressmen would rather give the power over to the President so they can blame the President should something bad happen so they don't threaten their chances at re-election.)

    Along with this is how our Representatives are elected. Representatives are elected by constituents of single-member districts within a single state. But those districts must be drawn somehow. Unfortunately, more often than not accusations of gerrymandering are thrown out by one party or the other no matter how those districts are drawn. In fact, the term "gerrymander" was created from Elbridge Gerry, the governor of Massachusetts from 1810-12 who drew districts in order to favor his Democratic-Republican Party.

    This single-member district system causes a lot of partisan conflict. The first is just getting the district lines designed. A second conflict is that only one candidate from one party or the other can be elected despite the fact that they also represent their constituents of the other party as well. Because of these conflicts that have happened ever since the founding of the United States I think that changes are need to make these conflicts moot.

    One issue that may be of concern only to me is that the President is both head-of-state and head-of-government. I think this issue went unthought of by the Founding Fathers because the American colonies were not a world power at that time. However, the U.S. is now. And I think it has become exceedingly difficult for the President to perform both these roles.

    For instance, recently the President was in France attending to some international diplomacy as the head-of-state. However, there was legislation passed by Congress that he needed to sign but was unavailable to do so since he was, well, in France. The situation was resolved by "robo-signing" but that is an insufficient solution, I think. A more practical solution needs to be found.

    Term limits seem to be another change that many people favor. But I think this is a bad idea. After all, the legislation that Senators and Congressmen pass can have unforeseen consequences, especially negative. The more experienced we allow our Senators and Congressmen the more likely they can write legislation without those unforeseen negative consequences. But term limits means that we take away the professionalism Congressmen may develop when it comes to writing legislation.

    Another issue I would like to deal with is that while we have checks and balances within our government we don't have a check or balance against government. What I mean by that is that the only way for people to influence government is through elected officials. But that means that the will of politicians are implemented rather than the will of the people. And so I think a more direct procedure for the American people to implement policy should be created.

    So I would like a few changes to the system.

    1) Institute a voting system that allows multiple parties to be elected.

    I am an advocate of a multi-party system. However, the viability of multiple parties is determined by the voting system. So we should institute a voting system that allows members of multiple parties to be elected.

    The one voting system I favor is Instant Run-off Voting. IRV means ballots list the candidates and voters rank the candidates they prefer. Those candidates with first-choice ranks that don't have enough to be a contender have the vote move to the second choices on the ballots. This continues until a candidate has a majority of the votes. This allows for third party candidates to be elected and also allows the most moderate, compromise candidate be elected. This then leads to an elected official who may be most representative of his constituents.

    2) Eliminate single-member districts for House elections.

    That is, no longer divide states up into congressional districts represented by a single Representative. Instead, each state is allocated the number of seats in the House as normal. When House elections are done the seats are allocated proportionally in some manner that includes any possible 3rd parties. In this way, all the Representatives of the state have all voters of that state as constituents. It also eliminates the partisan bickering that occurs over the possibility of gerrymandering.

    3) Separate the head-of-state and the head-of-government.

    Rather than have the President serve as both head-of-state and head-of-government have them be separate positions. The office of President can serve as head-of-state and provide the roles traditional in other countries to that office, which are mostly ceremonial or possessor of emergency powers. The powers of the head-of-government can be invested in a "Prime Secretary" or some similar name. Every 4 years there will be a separate elections for the President/Vice President ticket and the Prime Secretary/Vice Prime Secretary ticket. The President and the Prime Secretary need not be of the same party.

    4) Institute age limits on political offices.


    An alternative to term limits I prefer is an age limit to elected positions. Now this is not that odd. After all, the U.S. military has an age limit on its flag officers so they must retire the month after their 64th birthday (this may be deferred by the Secretary of Defense to the officer's 66th birthday and may be deferred by the President to the officer's 68th birthday). There are several reasons for this. The major reason is so that it may free up that limited slot to those underneath him who are younger so those younger officers don't stagnate in inferior positions. Another reason is because military doctrine changes frequently and retirement is forced so that officers who understand changes in military doctrines may rise to the rank required so the military may adapt to such changes.

    I think the same thing applies to other elected political offices. Technology and culture is changing faster and faster. Those who are too old to understand those changes should not be writing laws concerning them. After all Strom Thurmond was elected to the Senate until he was 100 years old in 2003. In the last decade of his tenure the Information Revolution occurred. Now while I believe that long-term politicians can provide execellent institutional memory and experience to our legislature, it boggles the mind that a nonagenarian be allowed to be involved in legislation regarding technology and other advances that have outpaced a politician's age. So I think age limits would be a more adequate provision to implement rather than term limits.

    5) Implement procedures for some type of national popular initiatives to balance against the government.

    The American people should have a procedure for affecting legislation when Congress or the President implement legislation that the American people oppose. Now there are a lot of good reasons why popular initiatives are a bad idea. Specifically, ensuring any law passed in such a way gets adequate funding.

    But, at the very least, the American people should be allowed to veto laws passed by Congress and signed by the President that prove too unpopular to the American people. And to ensure that such a veto is not done as part of a "tyranny of the majority" I suggest that such popular initiatives be passed only with a "double majority." That is that national popular initiatives be passed only with 1) a majority of the national electorate and 2) they are passed in a majority of states with a majority of votes within that state. That is a national referendum is passed only if a majority of the people in the U.S. vote for it and that it gets majorities in at least 26 states.
    Also, we need to legalize recreational drugs and prostitution.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by grip View Post
    There is obviously a growing problem in today's politics. Whether it's a disconnect with candidates and elected officials or disenfranchised voters. The US government is IMO one of the most fair systems of governing ever devised in human history. Yet somehow we're seeing a growing corruption within. Is it from indefinite term limits, creating cronyism and career politicians? Is it from virtually unlimited candidate funding, allowing groups of concentrated wealth influence peddling? Is it the lobby's who through unimpeded access gain inside favoritism and no-bid contracts? Is it Party or Partisan Politics unable to compromise relying on ideology more than practical reasoning? I'm curious is it our system of governing that's flawed or are our people too self interested or a little of both? Let the debate begin.
    Much of this is because we as Americans do not agree on the big issues (though we agree on many or most), and as a result we elect representatives who campaigned on a given platform they thought was their mandate if elected. Then another group displeased with the situation elects another representative on a given platform that was expected to be a mandate. Surprise, surprise, government is divided. We do not agree and have differing views on either the problem or the potential solutions.

    It is just that many people are expecting the government as a whole to somehow sidestep that and take enlightened action and solve our problems without pissing too many people off.
    A message to both the Left and the Right. Ari Ne'eman-"People with disabilities deserve better than to be used as props in the country’s ongoing — and so far stalemated — arguments over gun control." https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/201...-obama-liberty

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    Re: Is the System Broken or are People at Fault or Both?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fiddytree View Post
    Much of this is because we as Americans do not agree on the big issues (though we agree on many or most), and as a result we elect representatives who campaigned on a given platform they thought was their mandate if elected. Then another group displeased with the situation elects another representative on a given platform that was expected to be a mandate. Surprise, surprise, government is divided. We do not agree and have differing views on either the problem or the potential solutions.

    It is just that many people are expecting the government as a whole to somehow sidestep that and take enlightened action and solve our problems without pissing too many people off.
    Well, I'm not disagreeing with you entirely, but it must be remembered that Senators and Representatives are relatively liked by the states or district they represent.

    It's just the people of every other state or district that hate the other members of Congress, and mostly because those don't allow their Senator or Representative to implement the policy they represent.

    Which was the whole point of having Congress be composed of so many seats in the first place.
    Also, we need to legalize recreational drugs and prostitution.

  6. #16
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    Re: Is the System Broken or are People at Fault or Both?

    Here's the problem I see with the "good ol' boy and gal" two Party system. Let's say an Independent becomes a new member in Congress and wants to vote their conscious on each individual issue splitting Party lines. But the current two Party heads tell them "you either vote our way or you'll sit on the back benches never having any real power, clout or committee position." We'll essentially neuter you and make it very rough to raise any campaign funds in your next election. Fair? Possibly what's part of the problem in today's government?

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    Re: Is the System Broken or are People at Fault or Both?

    Quote Originally Posted by grip View Post
    There is obviously a growing problem in today's politics. Whether it's a disconnect with candidates and elected officials or disenfranchised voters. The US government is IMO one of the most fair systems of governing ever devised in human history. Yet somehow we're seeing a growing corruption within. Is it from indefinite term limits, creating cronyism and career politicians? Is it from virtually unlimited candidate funding, allowing groups of concentrated wealth influence peddling? Is it the lobby's who through unimpeded access gain inside favoritism and no-bid contracts? Is it Party or Partisan Politics unable to compromise relying on ideology more than practical reasoning? I'm curious is it our system of governing that's flawed or are our people too self interested or a little of both? Let the debate begin.
    No debate from me...YOUR RIGHT as far as im concerned...and hit it right on the head categorically

  8. #18
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    Re: Is the System Broken or are People at Fault or Both?

    Quote Originally Posted by samsmart View Post
    Well, I'm not disagreeing with you entirely, but it must be remembered that Senators and Representatives are relatively liked by the states or district they represent.

    It's just the people of every other state or district that hate the other members of Congress, and mostly because those don't allow their Senator or Representative to implement the policy they represent.

    Which was the whole point of having Congress be composed of so many seats in the first place.
    I entirely agree. I was speaking as a whole.
    A message to both the Left and the Right. Ari Ne'eman-"People with disabilities deserve better than to be used as props in the country’s ongoing — and so far stalemated — arguments over gun control." https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/201...-obama-liberty

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    Re: Is the System Broken or are People at Fault or Both?

    Quote Originally Posted by grip View Post
    Here's the problem I see with the "good ol' boy and gal" two Party system. Let's say an Independent becomes a new member in Congress and wants to vote their conscious on each individual issue splitting Party lines. But the current two Party heads tell them "you either vote our way or you'll sit on the back benches never having any real power, clout or committee position." We'll essentially neuter you and make it very rough to raise any campaign funds in your next election. Fair? Possibly what's part of the problem in today's government?
    Well that's not entirely true.

    After all, Bernie Sanders is a Senator who was elected on the Independent ticket and he is an avowed democratic socialist. He was a Representative for Vermont from 1991-2007 and a Senator since 2003. Now it's true that he doesn't sit on any of the top tier committees or sub-committees. But that may have more to do with his lack of seniority in the Senate than it does with him being an Independent. Also, the committees he sits on: the Committee on Environment and Public Works, the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, the Committee on Veteran's Affairs, the Committee on the Budget, and the Joint Economic Committee - all seems to be issues he's most interested in anyways.

    And even though he's an Independent he caucuses with the Democrats because that party most closely resembles his ideology. And the Senate listens to Sanders just as much as they do all the other Senators.

    So I don't think the two-party system is quite as conspiratorial as you make it seem.
    Also, we need to legalize recreational drugs and prostitution.

  10. #20
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    Re: Is the System Broken or are People at Fault or Both?

    Quote Originally Posted by samsmart View Post
    Well that's not entirely true.

    After all, Bernie Sanders is a Senator who was elected on the Independent ticket and he is an avowed democratic socialist. He was a Representative for Vermont from 1991-2007 and a Senator since 2003. Now it's true that he doesn't sit on any of the top tier committees or sub-committees. But that may have more to do with his lack of seniority in the Senate than it does with him being an Independent. Also, the committees he sits on: the Committee on Environment and Public Works, the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, the Committee on Veteran's Affairs, the Committee on the Budget, and the Joint Economic Committee - all seems to be issues he's most interested in anyways.

    And even though he's an Independent he caucuses with the Democrats because that party most closely resembles his ideology. And the Senate listens to Sanders just as much as they do all the other Senators.

    So I don't think the two-party system is quite as conspiratorial as you make it seem.
    It'll take more than 2 Independent members out of 535 total to convince me that there's a solid third party alternative.
    Last edited by grip; 12-08-11 at 09:48 PM.

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