View Poll Results: Would this system work?

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  • Yes, it would work better than our current system.

    6 66.67%
  • Possibly, with some improvements.

    2 22.22%
  • No, this system has fatal flaws.

    1 11.11%
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Thread: Proportional representation

  1. #11
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    Re: Proportional representation

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesrage View Post
    The problem are politically ignorant voters.Not people who do not think their representative stinks. There are people who pay little to no attention to politics and usually on participate only in the federal elections.The spend their days watching American idol, stupid reality shows, sports and other things instead of paying attention to what their elected officials. This is why I think the get out vote campaigns are damaging.

    Regardless of how much or little someone pays attention to politics everyone has issues they are for and against. So I think the solution is to ban party affiliations on ballots and underneath the candidate's name should be a short list of issues a candidate is for and against and if applicable a short list of issues the candidate has voted for or against.On the voting booth there should be a more thorough list of issues and past votes. In busy polling places there should be booklets on issues and past votes that can be passed out to waiting voters. This would eliminate people ignorantly voting for someone based purely on party.
    Our local newspaper does a far job of posting information on politician's stands on various issues and I'd bet most metro areas have similar publications. The information is available but people have to read it. I don't think putting it in voting areas will help any.
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  2. #12
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    Re: Proportional representation

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    In the United States, Congress' approval rating hovers around 10%, yet we all know that the vast majority of incumbent congresspeople will be reelected. Why is this? Because everyone loves THEIR representative, and thinks that the problem lies with everyone ELSE'S representative. To combat this problem, I suggest a system of proportional representation. I've been looking into how other countries operate their proportional representation systems...and none of them work quite the way my idea does. So I'm asking the good people of DebatePolitics to help me figure out the flaws in this system, why it wouldn't work, or (if it's salvageable) how it could be fixed. Here's how it would work:

    The United States is divided into 435 congressional districts. On Election Day, voters would get to cast two votes: One for their district's representative, and one for which party should control the House of Representatives. The nationwide vote totals for which party should control the House are then counted. For this example, assume that the Democrats get 47% of the nationwide vote, Republicans get 43%, Libertarians get 5%, Greens get 2%, Constitutionalists get 2%, and Socialists get 1%.

    Only parties which meet a 5% threshold would be eligible for congressional seats. This is to prevent fragmentation and extremism. Parties which do not meet the threshold are excluded, and the proportions are rebalanced among the remaining parties to determine how many seats each party gets. So in this example, Democrats would get 49.5% of the seats, Republicans would get 45.3%, and Libertarians would get 5.2%.

    Which specific representatives would get to take office? That's where the local representative voting comes into play. The candidates from each eligible party are ranked, in order of their margin of victory. So if there were five congressional districts where the Democrat ran unopposed (and therefore received 100% of the vote), those representatives would be the first to be awarded a seat. We then continue awarding seats to the Democrat with the next-highest margin of victory, until all of the seats to which Democrats are entitled have been taken.

    Note that this system does not guarantee that the candidate with the most votes in any specific district will be elected. For example, if Rob the Republican narrowly edges out Dave the Democrat (49.5%-49.3%) in a certain district, but the Democrats have already seated all of their members who received a plurality in their district (i.e. had a margin of victory greater than 0%) and are still entitled to additional seats, Dave will be elected from that district! Similarly, if the Republicans seated their last member with a 0.8% margin of victory and are not entitled to any additional seats, Rob will not be entitled to a seat despite "winning" the district.

    The advantages that I see are that it would be much more representative of the overall will of the people nationwide, while still preserving the right of the people to choose their individual representatives instead of merely choosing a slate of candidates from a political party. The disadvantage is that in a few districts in which the election is very close, the candidate who receives the 2nd-most votes might actually "win" and get a seat in Congress while the candidate with the most votes would "lose" and not get a seat.

    What do you guys think? Are there additional drawbacks or benefits that I'm missing? Do the drawbacks outweigh the benefits? I'm interested in what YOU think, not what some dudes in wigs thought 200 years ago.
    To me this looks basically the same as the German proportional representation system, which I'm all for. Unless there is a difference that I'm not seeing.
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  3. #13
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    Re: Proportional representation

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesrage View Post
    The problem are politically ignorant voters.Not people who do not think their representative stinks. There are people who pay little to no attention to politics and usually on participate only in the federal elections.The spend their days watching American idol, stupid reality shows, sports and other things instead of paying attention to what their elected officials. This is why I think the get out vote campaigns are damaging.

    Regardless of how much or little someone pays attention to politics everyone has issues they are for and against. So I think the solution is to ban party affiliations on ballots and underneath the candidate's name should be a short list of issues a candidate is for and against and if applicable a short list of issues the candidate has voted for or against.On the voting booth there should be a more thorough list of issues and past votes. In busy polling places there should be booklets on issues and past votes that can be passed out to waiting voters. This would eliminate people ignorantly voting for someone based purely on party.
    It's much more than simply ignorant voters. A certain degree of ignorance is inherent in the system. The problem has been the gerrymandering of districts and the increasing effects of incumbent advantage. Kandahar is right - we have a Congress that certainly ISN'T really representative of the country at large.
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    Bifurcating victory (e.g. winning militarily, losing politically) is a useful salve for defeated armies. The "stab in the back" narrative helped take the sting out of failure for German generals after WWI and their American counterparts after Vietnam.

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  4. #14
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    Re: Proportional representation

    Quote Originally Posted by MoSurveyor View Post
    Our local newspaper does a far job of posting information on politician's stands on various issues and I'd bet most metro areas have similar publications. The information is available but people have to read it. I don't think putting it in voting areas will help any.
    Most people don't read news papers.Thats why sales are declining. The information should be presented at a time when it matters like at a polling place on a ballot and voting both wall.
    "A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murder is less to fear"

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  5. #15
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    Re: Proportional representation

    Quote Originally Posted by StillBallin75 View Post
    It's much more than simply ignorant voters. A certain degree of ignorance is inherent in the system. The problem has been the gerrymandering of districts and the increasing effects of incumbent advantage. Kandahar is right - we have a Congress that certainly ISN'T really representative of the country at large.
    In the day and age of computers there is no reason what so ever why we can't have a computer program draw up district lines based purely on population number.
    "A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murder is less to fear"

    Cicero Marcus Tullius

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    Re: Proportional representation

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesrage View Post
    In the day and age of computers there is no reason what so ever why we can't have a computer program draw up district lines based purely on population number.
    Ah, but who writes the program? Who supervises the supervisor?

  7. #17
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    Re: Proportional representation

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesrage View Post
    Most people don't read news papers.Thats why sales are declining. The information should be presented at a time when it matters like at a polling place on a ballot and voting both wall.
    The Internet is out there, instead, and often has more information than the newspapers. Our local paper, BTW, is on-line. They make a good chunk of their money from Internet ads. Of course, if you want the comics or the puzzles you still have to buy the paper, which I did for many years even though I read the news on-line.


    Political groups regularly hand out information at voting sites around here.

    But even if someone handed out more or less honest lists I'm sure they couldn't be posted inside the voting site. All solicitors are required to remain a given distance away from the doors of the voting site and not impede traffic, pedestrian or otherwise.


    Bottom line, though, is "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink."
    Last edited by MoSurveyor; 04-03-12 at 06:49 PM.
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  8. #18
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    Re: Proportional representation

    Quote Originally Posted by jamesrage View Post
    In the day and age of computers there is no reason what so ever why we can't have a computer program draw up district lines based purely on population number.
    It takes people to do this.
    As said more than once - we need a better people.
    The election process can be improved, if 99% of the people care and vote..Right now, its at what ? 40% ???
    K......... and J........ have some good ideas.
    The German process, how well does this work in reality ?

  9. #19
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    Re: Proportional representation

    Quote Originally Posted by MoSurveyor View Post
    The Internet is out there, instead, and often has more information than the newspapers. Our local paper, BTW, is on-line. They make a good chunk of their money from Internet ads. Of course, if you want the comics or the puzzles you still have to buy the paper, which I did for many years even though I read the news on-line.


    Political groups regularly hand out information at voting sites around here.

    But even if someone handed out more or less honest lists I'm sure they couldn't be posted inside the voting site. All solicitors are required to remain a given distance away from the doors of the voting site and not impede traffic, pedestrian or otherwise.


    Bottom line, though, is "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink."
    The same people who spend their days watching American Idol, sports and stupid reality shows instead of paying attention to politics are not going to look on the internet or read what some politcal groups hand them. However if you remove the party affiliation from the ballot and put a shot list of issues a candidate is for and against as well as past votes relating to those issues then voters might read those and make more informed decisions than they have in the past.
    "A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murder is less to fear"

    Cicero Marcus Tullius

  10. #20
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    Re: Proportional representation

    Such a system might be workable but is pointless unless the restrictions on what is a official party are made minimal. And I would set the number of seats that would supposed to be for a particular party would be decided on the State level. This would prohibit situations of the Coasts overriding less popular states.
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