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Thread: Proportional Representation

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    Banned Goobieman's Avatar
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    Re: Proportional Representation

    Quote Originally Posted by obvious Child View Post
    Gerrymandering.
    If there is sufficient draw for 4 or 5 or 10 parties, gerrmandring will not stop it.

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    Re: Proportional Representation

    Quote Originally Posted by Goobieman View Post
    If there is sufficient draw for 4 or 5 or 10 parties, gerrmandring will not stop it.
    That's debatable. Directly after the 1992 election, where Perot gave both sides a run for their money, the Democrats and Republicans directly redefined districts all over the country based on the census to eliminate the large blocks of independents. Former independent strongholds were systematically broke down and split between strong Republican and strong Democrat areas. Effectively, the two parties neutered the capacity of independents to vote solidly in any district to elect any third party. With that in mind, it is stupid to vote for a third party as the system is directly working to marginalize them.
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    Re: Proportional Representation

    Quote Originally Posted by obvious Child View Post
    That's debatable.
    No, its not. Enough votes for any party in any district will elect a member of congress from that party.

    Directly after the 1992 election, where Perot gave both sides a run for their money, the Democrats and Republicans directly redefined districts all over the country based on the census to eliminate the large blocks of independents.
    This does not invalidate my statement, above.

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    Re: Proportional Representation

    Quote Originally Posted by Goobieman View Post
    The US system allows for proportional representation as it stands now.
    Nothing in the system keeps there from being 3 or 4 or even 10 parties represented in Congress.
    Yes, the winner take all system does.

    Additional of a 3rd party means that the other candidate with position closest to the 3d party candidate will lose votes, increasing the probability that the least prefered candidate (from the perspective of the other two) will be elected. Then neither the 3d party candidate, nor the next best alternative, will get the position in government.

    This happened in 2000, where even votes were siphoned by Nader from Gore to elect Bush -- the candidate most opposite of Nader and Gore.

    Therefore, in the winner take all system, logical people will not vote for a 3d candidate if the race is contested.

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    Banned Iriemon's Avatar
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    Re: Proportional Representation

    Quote Originally Posted by RightOfCenter View Post
    Do you think the US would benefit from a proportional representation system rather than or current single member district winner take all format?
    I think it makes sense, on a state level basis for Congress, at least the House.

    It would provide for a much greater diversity of representation in government.

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    Re: Proportional Representation

    Quote Originally Posted by Kandahar View Post
    Proportional representation is a bad idea. It would basically eliminate all the diversity of opinions in Congress and force each member to tow the party line. The party (rather than the voters) would be responsible for each congressman's seat, so they would answer to the party bosses rather than the people.

    A better solution would be to reform the way that we draw our districts. Right now they're drawn specifically to keep them as uncompetitive as possible. If we fixed that, then something close to proportional representation would naturally result...but without the parties controlling everything.
    People wouldn't be forced to vote the party line any more than they are in the current system.

    OTOH, it would put voices into the government that are currently excluded by the winner take all system. For example, a green party might only attract 10% support, not enough to win in the current system. So the voice of that 10% is extinguished. In a proportional system they'd have representation.

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    Re: Proportional Representation

    Quote Originally Posted by Goobieman View Post
    No, its not. Enough votes for any party in any district will elect a member of congress from that party.
    Except when the voting blocs for 3rd parties have been split into districts that traditionally vote democrat or republican.

    This does not invalidate my statement, above.
    In theory no, but in reality yes.
    "If your opponent is of choleric temperament, seek to irritate him." - Sun Tzu

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    Re: Proportional Representation

    Quote Originally Posted by RightOfCenter View Post
    Do you think the US would benefit from a proportional representation system rather than or current single member district winner take all format?
    Yes, I think Germans make up a great deal of our heritage, and should make up at least half of Congress.
    "He who does not think himself worth saving from poverty and ignorance by his own efforts, will hardly be thought worth the efforts of anybody else." -- Frederick Douglass, Self-Made Men (1872)

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    fyi Re: Proportional Representation

    Quote Originally Posted by Korimyr the Rat View Post
    There are better ways of allowing third parties to effectively campaign for office without eliminating geographical representation-- and I support those.

    My preference is Condorcet method voting, in which voters rank the candidates in order of preference-- and then the winner is determined by counting the votes as if each candidate pairing was a separate election; the winner is the candidate who would win in a two-way race with every other candidate.
    I agree.

    At the very least, we could mandate a runoff in the general election. But even with that, we can only cover the "top" three candidates.

    So therefore, the Condorcet system may be the only one that is really fair for all of the candidates.

    The real problem is getting the powers that be to accept such a plan. They don't like to give up their power.

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    Re: Proportional Representation

    I think Mixed Member PR like we get in Scotland is amongst the best electoral system. It allows areas to keep their own representatives while also properly refecting the views of the popuation.

    For those who don't know, you have two votes, one for your local representative and one for a national party or coalition list. Half the seats in parliament are filled by candidates who won their district election, while the other half are assigned proportionally on the basis of your second vote. There's a mathematical formula which decides exactly how many votes each party needs to get a seat from the list vote. This is to ensure fairer representation for the smaller parties who are unlikely to win any district seats. I think it works well, it gives you a local MP who will spend time in your area and hear your grievances, then it also reflects the political opinion of the nation.

    The Scottish system is basically modeled of the German one and I think Germany is the largest country to use it.

    In regards to the US I think this system could be a decent way to elect the House of Representatives, although it might require a bit of a change in political culture. For all the talk you hear on the internet, most Americans seem pretty content with 2 party domination, or at least unprepared to try and change it. Such a system would be pretty pointless if 2 party domination continued.
    Last edited by Slainte; 12-17-08 at 04:48 PM.
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