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Thread: Election Methodologies Discussion WARNING: HERE BE DRAGONS!!!

  1. #21
      jfrazierjr is offline
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    Ok, guys.... let's not get into candidate bashing. The other admins were nice enough to leave this topic open, but it will be closed off if there are any more remarks about a particular candidate or party.
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  2. #22
      Karro is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfrazierjr View Post
    Ok, guys.... let's not get into candidate bashing. The other admins were nice enough to leave this topic open, but it will be closed off if there are any more remarks about a particular candidate or party.
    Sorry... don't mean to let my political affiliations show too clearly (I consider myself one of those centrist Americans I touted earlier).
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  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by CC_JAR View Post
    Ok, I was being a little over-exaggerative there.. more truthfully of what I'ld like/ what I meant is,

    The media's affiliations should have nothing to do with how they cover the candidates and the topics they cover.

    If you noticed in this election, everytime they talked to/about Obama, they held him up on a pedestal (oh god, it's so historic, the first black prresident! ...or possibly female vp..) and everytime they talked to/about McCain they would grill him on all the tough questions!

    Where were those tough questions for Obama!? I watched the debates, neither candidate ever gave a clear answer to any question asked!
    I respectfully disagree that there were not some very hard questions asked of both candidates. Though I had mostly made my own decision relatively early, some of the hard questions asked made me second guess and decide for myself whether those issues brought up were ones I was concerned about. It's up to us as voters to decide whether we think those questions were answered appropriately.

    Anyway, I agree that the media's affiliations oughtn't enter into their reporting. However, as I said, I think that's an intractable problem, since human beings by their very nature are biased beings. That being said, one means of combatting the problem is by increasing transparency and disclosure in the media (i.e. the media fully disclosing whom they support and why, so that media consumers can judge the news they receive via that media through the filter of that knowledge). The problem with this, however, is it violates the principle of a secret ballot by exposing the voting paterns of those in the media.

    On the other hand, it is relatively easy to discern the general political leanings of any given media outlet, I think. And this fact has contributed to another problem: people on the right get their news predominately from news sources that have a rightward leaning reporting, and people on the left get their news from leftward leaning media. The result is a politically segregated information gap, where each side is only informed by their own echo chambers. I actually make it a personal pursuit to seek out news and ideas from the opposite side--which actually lead me to, at least temporarily, change my political leanings during this election cycle--but this isn't the kind of thing you can mandate... You can't force the media to be completely unbiased, really, and you can't force voters either to inform themselves or, when doing so, to inform themselves in an unbiased fashion.
    Last edited by Karro; 11-05-2008 at 12:17 PM.
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      jfrazierjr is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karro View Post

    I also think another major problem with American Politics is that we remain a 2 Party System. This ensures that only the most extreme views on either side are the ones nominated by each party: the only way to get Nominated by your Party is to pander to the basest and most reactionary elements at the fringe of your party. (That Obama was able to shift his campaign back somewhat toward the Center, where politically the vast majority of Americans lie, was likely a Herculean feat, and necessary for his final victory.)
    I agree that the 2 party power structure is a horrible thing. However, to play devils advocate for a second, multi party systems have not always worked out to well. As an example, my understanding is that there were over 100 political parties(200+ IIRC) in Germany after World War I. I want to state emphatically, that I am not a history major, nor should I be considered an expert. In any event, the German people were fairly destitute and the political infighting between so many parties pretty much meant nothing could get accomplished to help the average Joe in the country. Also, note that this was around the time of the US Great Depression so this whole time period was bad for everyone in the world. Ultimatly, this political infighting lead to a few parties banding together and this lead to the power rise of Hitler. Hitler then began creating his secret police force to silent opponents as well as increasing his military might (which was expressly forbidden by the WWI treaty).

    Of course, history is always re-written by the winners of any conflict to make themselves look better, so take this all with a grain of salt and look into the facts and make up your own mind. Your conclusions could be different from mine.
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  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfrazierjr View Post
    I agree that the 2 party power structure is a horrible thing. However, to play devils advocate for a second, multi party systems have not always worked out to well. As an example, my understanding is that there were over 100 political parties(200+ IIRC) in Germany after World War I. I want to state emphatically, that I am not a history major, nor should I be considered an expert. In any event, the German people were fairly destitute and the political infighting between so many parties pretty much meant nothing could get accomplished to help the average Joe in the country. Also, note that this was around the time of the US Great Depression so this whole time period was bad for everyone in the world. Ultimatly, this political infighting lead to a few parties banding together and this lead to the power rise of Hitler. Hitler then began creating his secret police force to silent opponents as well as increasing his military might (which was expressly forbidden by the WWI treaty).

    Of course, history is always re-written by the winners of any conflict to make themselves look better, so take this all with a grain of salt and look into the facts and make up your own mind. Your conclusions could be different from mine.

    Neither am I a history major, just an occassional armchair enthusiast, but I think you're about right. And I agree... multi-party systems are also frought with problems--many problems of which I'm not keen on having crop up here in the USA. That said, I think it might be nice, perhaps ideal, to try having between 3 and 5 major parties.

    (Effectively, we kind of do, but they are shrink-wrapped into two permanent party coalitions. On one side you have the Christian/Family Values party permanently tied to the Fiscal Conservative party and the Defense/Warhawk party. On the other side you have the Free-love and Liberal Values parties permanently tied to the Social Reform party, the Environmentalist party and the Government Regulations party [please let those sound mostly neutral to everyone else]. But there's really nothing inherrent to these two coalitions that ought to bind them together. What if, for instance, you have a voter who is a strong Christian Values voter, but who also believes in Social Reform and Environmentalism as well as Fiscal Conservatism... There's not a party that represents this voter's collection of values.)
    Last edited by Karro; 11-05-2008 at 12:41 PM. Reason: Trying not to be offensive.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karro View Post
    Unfortunately, our system is currently designed such that it is in our Congress' economic self interest not to craft any such legislation that would eliminate the power and influence of corporate lobbyists.
    Agreed. That's why we have the abysmal tax system we have. It is really in neither parties favor to make sweeping overhauls of the US tax system. But really, is there any reason for it to be 60,000 pages (or what ever the crazy number is). Why can't it be simple, perhaps 15 pages via some form of National Sales tax. No deductions, no credits, no paper work to keep up with. Personally, I favor the Fair Tax(132 pages) idea brought forth by Congressman John Linder(R-GA) and Neil Boortz(Talk show host), but again, such things get little to no play in Washington due to lobbyists whose interests would not be served. I would expect that large number of lobbyist spend majority of their time dealing with tax issues and such a plan would eliminate this junk entirely.
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  7. #27
      CC_JAR is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfrazierjr View Post
    Ok, guys.... let's not get into candidate bashing. The other admins were nice enough to leave this topic open, but it will be closed off if there are any more remarks about a particular candidate or party.
    sorry about that, I understand.. I just get a little carried away at times..

  8. #28
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    Karro, as a follow up to your post 17, I have always been in favor of the 17th Amendment being kicked to the curb. Being more of a states rights person myself, I would have no problem with a system whereby the Senators were appointed to protect the rights of each individual state rather than by the people's popular vote. This method worked fine for 130+ years. Ah well.. I can keep dreaming...
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  9. #29
      CC_JAR is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karro View Post
    Neither am I a history major, just an occassional armchair enthusiast, but I think you're about right. And I agree... multi-party systems are also frought with problems--many problems of which I'm not keen on having crop up here in the USA. That said, I think it might be nice, perhaps ideal, to try having between 3 and 5 major parties.

    (Effectively, we kind of do, but they are shrink-wrapped into two permanent party coalitions. On one side you have the Christian/Family Values party permanently tied to the Fiscal Conservative party and the Defense/Warhawk party. On the other side you have the Free-love and Liberal Values parties permanently tied to the Social Reform party, the Environmentalist party and the Government Regulations party [please let those sound mostly neutral to everyone else]. But there's really nothing inherrent to these two coalitions that ought to bind them together. What if, for instance, you have a voter who is a strong Christian Values voter, but who also believes in Social Reform and Environmentalism as well as Fiscal Conservatism... There's not a party that represents this voter's collection of values.)
    another thing would be to have equal amounts of money for all candidates running, no fundraising, and limits set for how much they are allowed to spend campaigning.
    (ie: no more than 1mil on paper ads, 2.5 mil on transportation, 3mil on tv ads) <thats an example, I have no clue what actual values would be, but just so you understand what I mean..

  10. #30
      Karro is offline
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    Quote Originally Posted by jfrazierjr View Post
    Agreed. That's why we have the abysmal tax system we have. It is really in neither parties favor to make sweeping overhauls of the US tax system. But really, is there any reason for it to be 60,000 pages (or what ever the crazy number is). Why can't it be simple, perhaps 15 pages via some form of National Sales tax. No deductions, no credits, no paper work to keep up with. Personally, I favor the Fair Tax(132 pages) idea brought forth by Congressman John Linder(R-GA) and Neil Boortz(Talk show host), but again, such things get little to no play in Washington due to lobbyists whose interests would not be served. I would expect that large number of lobbyist spend majority of their time dealing with tax issues and such a plan would eliminate this junk entirely.
    It is mind-numbingly comlex, which makes it easy for those with a well-paid staff of tax lawyers to find loopholes, and a simpler approach ought to be instituted. (However, I disagree with the Fair Tax national sales tax proposal as a replacement for the Income tax, as from what I've read about it I don't think it's really all that fair and will disproportionately tax the poor; some version of progressive income tax is a century-old concept in this country, effectively pioneered by Theodore Roosevelt, who saw that it was necessary to level the playing field of opportunity for all--some may get rich, and that is fine, but the next generation needs the same chance for everyone to get rich as well... or at least that was apparently T. Roosevelt's belief.) But I think a fairer and simpler system than what we have in place can be figured out, if there was the political will for it.
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