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Sat Dec 31, 2016, 04:25 PM

How are voters ever to learn to be good citizens in an antidemocratic system?

There are the obvious problems with antidemocratic government... where representatives of a minority of americans can actually govern. This is the case in the Senate where a mere 18% of the US population gets 52% of the seats... and the Senate no only has a veto over the House but special powers over nominations and treaties. And there are certainly issues of the moral legitimacy of a president when the EC overturns an election an installs a president someone REJECTED by the People. US history can change WITHOUT the consent of the governed.

How, in such a system, can the voters ever own the true consequences of the their vote or learn to be better citizens when the decision making is made by a minority of US citizens or the decision is stripped from them by a mindless, antidemocratic vote rigging scheme?

Key to a functioning democracy is citizen responsibility and our system strips many citizens of this responsibility by denying us true choice in two-party, winner take all elections, and when representation is antidemocratic.

The question is when with Democrats start valuing democracy?

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Reply How are voters ever to learn to be good citizens in an antidemocratic system? (Original post)
eniwetok Dec 2016 OP
Retrograde Dec 2016 #1
pangaia Dec 2016 #3
eniwetok Jan 2017 #14
deist99 Dec 2016 #2
eniwetok Dec 2016 #5
NobodyHere Dec 2016 #8
JustinL Dec 2016 #9
eniwetok Jan 2017 #13
eniwetok Jan 2017 #10
NobodyHere Dec 2016 #4
forthemiddle Dec 2016 #6
eniwetok Jan 2017 #11
eniwetok Jan 2017 #12
JustinL Jan 2017 #17
eniwetok Jan 2017 #23
eniwetok Dec 2016 #7
eniwetok Jan 2017 #15
Initech Jan 2017 #16
eniwetok Jan 2017 #25
McCamy Taylor Jan 2017 #18
McCamy Taylor Jan 2017 #19
eniwetok Jan 2017 #21
ck4829 Jan 2017 #20
eniwetok Jan 2017 #26
annabanana Jan 2017 #22
eniwetok Jan 2017 #24
DetlefK Jan 2017 #27
eniwetok Jan 2017 #28

Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Sat Dec 31, 2016, 04:39 PM

1. Let's start with going back to basics

Namely, that all politics are local. We as Democrats need to learn what the GOP learned several years back, that it's not so much as who controls the presidency as who controls Congress and the statehouses. We need to get people engaged in local elections - city councils, school races - where they can see that their votes do make a difference. Then we need to primary every DINO who co-operates with attempts to suppress voters or who supports the efforts to nullify the rule of the people. In other words, we need to rebuild the base, the foundation, before we can take the higher offices.

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Response to Retrograde (Reply #1)

Sat Dec 31, 2016, 05:05 PM

3. Several years back?

The GOP started doing this more than 40 years ago. And now they have reaped the rewards of the effort.

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Response to Retrograde (Reply #1)

Sun Jan 1, 2017, 12:42 AM

14. I know the argument... but it's deeply flawed

Sure this can't hurt for getting new talent into the pipeline and maybe having some agenda issues work their way up... but the idea this is the only way to rebuild the party is naive. It's right up there with those who believe the demographic trends will doom the GOP. What an nutty idea. In the US 45-65% of the voting age population doesn't vote. But they might if someone reaches out to them. Reagan brought in the religious right into the GOP coalition. Trump appealed to blue collar workers who believe they've been shafted by free trade. Nearly 25 years of free trade and finally Bernie and Trump bring it up as a major issue?

The missing variable here is the GOP has an edge the Dems lack... our very antidemocratic nature of the federal system has a bias... as the Bush and Trump Juntas should prove. But it's also in the Senate.

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Sat Dec 31, 2016, 04:41 PM

2. Because

Because at the federal level we are not a democracy, we are a constitutional republic. Let's at least get our facts straight.

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Response to deist99 (Reply #2)

Sat Dec 31, 2016, 05:38 PM

5. I have my facts straight...

Last edited Sun Jan 1, 2017, 01:30 AM - Edit history (1)

That being said... since you seem to be saying you do have your facts straight, please show the class where there is ANY requirement in the political concept of a "republic" that it MUST be antidemocratic permitting a tyranny of the minority... and MUST be based on winner take all elections where as much as 49.9% of the votes count for nothing, or citizens should not have civic equality in the vote in terms of representation, or citizens should not have the right to vote their conscience and get some representation.


This nonsense about we're a republic not a democracy has never served to enlighten anyone about the nature of our system. All it's done is shut down any real inquiry into our system's defects.

At it's generic core a republic is merely a government with a written constitution, no nobility, and a representative government... presumably chosen by majority elections. That latter aspect can easily be undermined if the representatives do not represent equal numbers of people... as our Senate and EC prove.

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Response to eniwetok (Reply #5)

Sat Dec 31, 2016, 11:03 PM

8. Because otherwise we would have no country at all

 

The smaller states never would've signed on to the constitution. Most of the smaller states currently have no interest in seeing the deals made when they joined the union reneged upon.

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Response to NobodyHere (Reply #8)

Sat Dec 31, 2016, 11:20 PM

9. And the slave states wouldn't have signed on without provisions protecting slavery. n/t

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Response to JustinL (Reply #9)

Sun Jan 1, 2017, 12:31 AM

13. Sure...

Much of the structure of the Constitution revolved around protecting slavery. But slavery's been abolished 150 years... and the 3/5th rule may have been abolished, but not the EC.

There are democratic ways to protect LEGITIMATE rights of small population states WITHOUT granting them the ability to create a tyranny of the minority or for ultra tiny segments of the US population to block any reform.

Here's an example of the absurdity. States with 4% of the US population can block any amendment... yet states with 40% can ratify any amendment. Since ratification might be a simple majority... that means, in effect, an amendment could be blocked by 2% of the population and ratified by 20%. BTW... that 2% logic comes from Scalia. It's one of the few times I agreed with him. The amendment formula it nuts. But then so it the EC and a Senate where 18% of the US population gets 52% of the Seats. These sorts of vote weighting/dilution schemes are ILLEGAL in the states.

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Response to NobodyHere (Reply #8)

Sun Jan 1, 2017, 12:06 AM

10. so you agree that the Constitution set the politics of 1787 in cement?

That is essentially what you're saying. And sure, every special interest that was invited to what we now call the Constitutional Convention wanted a system that checked every other special interest. Toss in some class warfare with Madison wanting the Senate to protect the interests of the "minority of the opulent". Toss in some goodies for the slave states like the EC... and THIS is why we have the EC... to magnify the power of whites in the slave states... not because of RI. The eventual formula benefited RI, but RI wasn't even represented at the Convention. Much of what we think we know about the EC was concocted later. I'll dig up the minutes of the Convention if you like...

But are we, today, forever to be held to the will of 2000 or so white men who ratified this agreement when the Framers negated the Articles? The Article were supposed to the a perpetual union... requiring unanimous consent to make amendments. And sure, the smaller states aren't the ones screwed in the current system... it's the PEOPLE in the larger states. Any citizen living in CA who moves to WY automatically gets a 3.3x bigger presidential vote and 70x bigger vote for the Senate. No, CA's larger House contingent doesn't make up for the difference because any citizen in CA only gets one representative.

The bottom line is the current system can not provide morally legitimate government as election 2016 proved. We can face the defects in the system... or forever be the victims of those defects.

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Sat Dec 31, 2016, 05:09 PM

4. You do know how this country was put together right?

 

And the EC didn't "overturn" anything because the national popular vote never meant anything.

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Response to NobodyHere (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 31, 2016, 05:46 PM

6. Exactly

We are the United STATES of America.
We are first governed at a local city level, then on to County, then on to State, and finally Federally.
We do not live in a Federally controlled Country. Although Federal law is Supreme, we still always start at the most basic level.
The reason is that we are self-governed, as it should be.

The President is based on popular vote, the popular vote of your State. And I personally, like it just the way it is. Even though for the first time since Reagan my state went Red, I still like that I get a vote, and that the popular vote of my neighbors are representing me!

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Response to forthemiddle (Reply #6)

Sun Jan 1, 2017, 12:09 AM

11. curious definition of "self-governed"

"The reason is that we are self-governed, as it should be."

What kind of self-government is it when elections can be meaningless? Since when is "self-government" a tyranny of the minority?

Isn't the REAL principle that this nation was founded on that government derives its JUST powers from the CONSENT of the governed? Ring a bell?

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Response to forthemiddle (Reply #6)

Sun Jan 1, 2017, 12:17 AM

12. We The People...

Two of our founding principles are government derives it just powers from the CONSENT of the governed, and we have the right to change our form of government when ever it becomes hostile to our interests.

In republican political theory of the era the PEOPLE were the sovereigns. Government exists to protect the rights of the PEOPLE. The People don't exist to serve the will of the state. Therefore the PEOPLE could undo the Articles Of Confederation that were merely an agreement between the states.

Well, WE are the People today. But if you feel bound by the politics and the will of the dead... I know I'll never change your mind.

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Response to forthemiddle (Reply #6)

Sun Jan 1, 2017, 03:19 AM

17. but the Presidency is a national office

The laws the President signs, the decisions of the Supreme Court justices appointed by the President, the decisions the President makes as Commander in Chief, etc., affect all Americans equally. So why shouldn't all Americans have an equally effective Presidential vote?

In my state of PA, the electorate was split almost evenly, yet fuckface got 100% of the Electoral votes. How is that just?

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Response to JustinL (Reply #17)

Sun Jan 1, 2017, 11:13 AM

23. state vs federal

How a state allocates its EC votes is a state matter. The antidemocratic method by which states are allocated votes is a federal matter. Even if ALL states use a proportional method... the system would still be antidemocratic... ie someone rejected by the People could still become president. The bottom line is if all the EC can do is ratify the popular vote, then it's not needed. If it can overturn the popular vote it should not be tolerated. As the Trump Junta proves, the US is the process of being destroyed by our own Constitution.

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Response to NobodyHere (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 31, 2016, 05:54 PM

7. we have to stop being victimized by the politics of 1787

I know the system... and we need to break out of the twin straightjackets American's are in 1: that this is the system we have and we can't (or shouldn't) fix it... so get use to it... and 2: the system is so antidemocratic... and getting more so, that it's virtually reform proof and no one wants to talk about it.

When the so-called "framers" held the Philadelphia Convention it was to fix the failing and dysfunctional Articles of Confederation that required unanimous consent for any amendment. They could not fix it so they dumped it. Technically it might be seen as illegal under the rules of the Articles.

Well, perhaps it's now our generation's turn to fix the current system because when it fails to give the People morally legitimate government... it makes a mockery of the very concept of self-government. But if liberal Dems lack any moral conviction in democratic principles... then we are doomed to have more Bush and Trump Juntas... and US history will forever change WITHOUT the consent of the governed.

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Response to NobodyHere (Reply #4)

Sun Jan 1, 2017, 12:48 AM

15. Yup, the popular vote was compromised away

That doesn't mean the popular vote was a bad idea. It's the EC that's the bad idea. So why do we have it? From the minutes of the Constitutional Convention July 19th 1787.. discussing methods of electing a president. Madison is defending the popular vote...

Mr. MADISON. The people at large was in his opinion the fittest in itself. It would be as likely as any that could be devised to produce an Executive Magistrate of distinguished Character. The people generally could only know & vote for some Citizen whose merits had rendered him an object of general attention & esteem. There was one difficulty however of a serious nature attending an immediate choice by the people. The right of suffrage was much more diffusive in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of the Negroes. The substitution of electors obviated this difficulty and seemed on the whole to be liable to fewest objections.

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Sun Jan 1, 2017, 01:15 AM

16. Serious change starts at the local level.

To quote one of my all time favorite bands - Gogol Bordello - "think locally, fuck globally". That's what we need to do to start winning elections and changing the narrative - we need to show change happens at the local level, and then it will happen at the national level.

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Response to Initech (Reply #16)

Mon Jan 2, 2017, 10:24 AM

25. the problem with thinking change starts at the local level

Someone mentioned this before so this is a repost...

Sure this can't hurt for getting new talent into the pipeline and maybe having some agenda issues work their way up... but the idea this is the only way to rebuild the party is naive. It's right up there with those who believe the demographic trends will doom the GOP. What an nutty idea. In the US 45-65% of the voting age population doesn't vote. But they might if someone reaches out to them. Reagan brought in the religious right into the GOP coalition. Trump appealed to blue collar workers who believe they've been shafted by free trade. Nearly 25 years of free trade and finally Bernie and Trump bring it up as a major issue?

The missing variable here is the GOP has an edge the Dems lack... our very antidemocratic nature of the federal system has a GOP bias... as the Bush and Trump Juntas should prove. But it's also in the Senate.

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Sun Jan 1, 2017, 05:56 AM

18. The vote is lost. For good. You won't get it back with voting.

Because now that a foreign power controls the vote, the GOP is literally above the law.

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Sun Jan 1, 2017, 06:03 AM

19. PS Democracy died in 2010 with Citizens United. Most folks just didn't realize it at the time.

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Response to McCamy Taylor (Reply #19)

Sun Jan 1, 2017, 11:06 AM

21. sorry.... CU may not have mattered

Sure, CU was a despicable ruling... as was Buckley v. Valeo back in '76. But remember in our system

Even if we had

100% voter participation
100% publicly financed elections
100% vote count accuracy

We'd still have

States with 18% of the US population getting a majority in the Senate

States with 4% of the US population being able to block any amendment yet states 40% being able to approve one

And an antidemocratic EC which can impose on the nation a president REJECTED by the People.

Citizens would still be denied their right to vote their conscience and get representation for what they believe.

Our problems go much deeper than just big money in politics

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Sun Jan 1, 2017, 08:18 AM

20. Forget democratic, is our government today even representative of the people?

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Response to ck4829 (Reply #20)

Mon Jan 2, 2017, 10:27 AM

26. the only way government can represent the people

is if the electoral system can accurately measure the will of the People, and the political system implements that will. Our system is incapable of doing either. Winner take all elections routinely toss out up to 49% of the vote and political system is grossly antidemocratic to the point it can create minority rule.

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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Sun Jan 1, 2017, 11:08 AM

22. teach civics...teach civics...teach civics

Everyone talks about the "rights" of Americans.. Very few make a really big deal of the duties.

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Response to annabanana (Reply #22)

Sun Jan 1, 2017, 11:30 AM

24. what good is civics if the system is not responsive to the People?

In a well functioning "democracy"... or a democratic republic, the electoral system should be able to accurately measure the will of the People, and the political system should be able to implement that will in a way that's deliberative, and doesn't trample on rights. Our system goes through the motions but does neither well... in fact our system permits minority rule.

In that context all the civics in the world isn't going to fix a system with broken electoral and political systems... and I'd argue the function of Civics in the US serves to rationalize away the defects in our system. We're brought up to believe the US has some perfect system and yet on some level many sense the system is dysfunctional. What the hell is the point of voting when someone rejected by the People can "win" an election? As someone left of Bernie Sanders I can vote forever and never have anyone represent my views. In our system apathy is a pretty reasonable response and it shows in our voter participation numbers. Only about 35% of the voting age population (VAP) votes in off-year elections... and 50-55% in presidential years. Compare that to nations with a VAP in the 70-80% range.


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Response to eniwetok (Original post)

Mon Jan 2, 2017, 10:42 AM

27. The crappy electoral system is the core of the US' political failings:

Think of the rabid partisanship. It pays to be partisan in the US because your voters MUST vote for you lest the other party wins. Voters are essentially not FOR their party but AGAINST the other party.
The Democrats voted against Trump and the Republicans voted against Clinton.
A Third-Party-vote is political malpractice.



Now imagine the US with an electoral system where small parties have a chance. With Republicans and Democrats each naturally broken up into 3-4 smaller parties.
It doesn't pay to be partisan when election-winners never get above 40% in the polls.
When you can't afford to demonize other people, because you'll definitely need their cooperation one day.

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #27)

Mon Jan 2, 2017, 11:08 AM

28. our system can create contempt between natural allies.

A dysfunctional electoral system like ours can have a devastating consequence: it can create contempt between natural allies. All we have to do is look at election 2000. Many Dems blamed Nader for running and Nader voters for voting for him. Yet one might think that a CRUCIAL RIGHT in a democracy is to be able to run for office and to vote for whomever one wants.

The problem wasn't with Nader or those who voted for him. The entire fault IS WITH THE SYSTEM... and how it creates the so-called "spoiler effect"... where similar candidates split the vote, and a slimeball gets in by winning a plurality and then those who could be natural allies start throwing accusations against each other.

A simple solution is instant runoff voting where someone votes their first and second choice. If a candidate fails to get 50%+1 on the first round, a voter's second choice is added to the total. No candidate would win with the approval of at least a majority. Of course US presidential elections have an added complication: the EC was designed to be antidemocratic... and it's unbelievable that a free people would put up with having elections stolen from them.

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