Democracy

Use this board for general non-cycling-related chat, or to introduce yourself to the forum.
Ben@Forest
Posts: 2739
Joined: 28 Jan 2013, 5:58pm

Re: Democracy

Postby Ben@Forest » 24 Feb 2020, 7:00pm

661-Pete wrote:
Ben@Forest wrote:Whatever the faults of the American electoral system Trump didn't invent them
I was told by someone on this forum (might have been you, can't remember now) that there was nothing 'undemocratic' about the winning candidate receiving 62,984,828 votes, while the losing candidate got 65,853,514


I'm pretty sure that wasn't me, and l have noted before the inequity of the 2005 Labour govt getting fewer votes in England than the Conservatives but getting 90 more English seats.

I am in favour of some form of PR however, but even under such a system the horsetrading post-election could easily mean a party with the most votes not being in government. Every system has its flaws.

carpetcleaner
Posts: 920
Joined: 14 Nov 2019, 1:25pm

Re: Democracy

Postby carpetcleaner » 24 Feb 2020, 7:23pm

661-Pete wrote:
irc wrote:But that is democracy. If 51% of the electorate are racists/xenophobes then they can vote in a racist PM.
I already said, if that's the outcome of 'democracy', do away with 'democracy'. I'd sooner have Stalin.


If you want to live under communism then why not emigrate to Cuba, China or Vietman? I'd certainly consider
emigrating if I found this country as awful as some people obviously do. But like the 3m EU citizens who are happy to stay here, so am I.

It is amusing how the twin shocks of Brexit and the election of President Trump, and now the huge win for Boris too, have caused some people to completely lose it and to declare that democracy isn't working and we need to change the system to ensure that their preferred, progressive and politically correct candidates win as they should when democracy is working properly.

I get the impression that their improved version of democracy would probably mean that the votes of people like me would count for less while their own votes would count for more to reflect their high opinion of themselves.

User avatar
Cugel
Posts: 3405
Joined: 13 Nov 2017, 11:14am

Re: Democracy

Postby Cugel » 24 Feb 2020, 7:24pm

661-Pete wrote: I'd sooner have Stalin.


I don't think you would - well, unless you are perverse enough to enjoy the gulag then liquidation after a few years of utter deprivation for "crimes" you have no idea you committed.

On the other hand, it's not hard to imagine Boris introducing a proto-Stalin (albeit with a paranoid ideology of the rightward tendency) who sweeps him from power via a back-stab before introducing an NKVD for Blighty. Sidle forward (choice from dozens of New Model Tories).

Cugel

carpetcleaner
Posts: 920
Joined: 14 Nov 2019, 1:25pm

Re: Democracy

Postby carpetcleaner » 24 Feb 2020, 7:30pm

661-Pete wrote:
Ben@Forest wrote:Whatever the faults of the American electoral system Trump didn't invent them
I was told by someone on this forum (might have been you, can't remember now) that there was nothing 'undemocratic' about the winning candidate receiving 62,984,828 votes, while the losing candidate got 65,853,514 :roll: . In a fair system, how could that be 'democratic'. Of course Trump concentrated his efforts on those states which would be most to his advantage, and milked the undemocratic 'electoral college' system. If that's not gerrymandering, what is?

if Clinton had won the presidency but not the popular vote would she also be responsible for gerrymandering?
That's a purely hypothetical question. Nothing of the sort happened - and there was no way it could have happened.

Secondly a considerable number of people who voted for Obama twice then voted for Trump. So are they forward-looking, non-racist, lovely people or racist xenophobes? Or maybe they just saw three steel mills in their town close down during Obama's presidency and wanted something different?
Just illustrates how the rabble can be swung towards extremist views by a rabble-rousing populist. Sadly, the same seems to be happening here.


You don't seem to understand what gerrymandering is. It is someone or an organisation in power manipulating and altering political borders for their own advantage to help them win elections. It is not someone exploiting the existing system to his advantage.

User avatar
661-Pete
Posts: 9855
Joined: 22 Nov 2012, 8:45pm
Location: Sussex

Re: Democracy

Postby 661-Pete » 24 Feb 2020, 8:03pm

carpetcleaner wrote:You don't seem to understand what gerrymandering is. It is someone or an organisation in power manipulating and altering political borders for their own advantage to help them win elections. It is not someone exploiting the existing system to his advantage.
I understand perfectly what its original meaning was, in the days of Elbridge Gerry (1744-1814). The word has broadened considerably in its meaning, since then. Politicians don't nowadays have much opportunity to change electoral boundaries to their advantage - as Governor Gerry did - 200 years ago.

They do, however, have plenty of opportunity to exploit the different sizes and populations of different electoral divisions, to their advantage. That's what Trump did in 2016.

Perhaps we should call it 'modern gerrymandering'?
Suppose that this room is a lift. The support breaks and down we go with ever-increasing velocity.
Let us pass the time by performing physical experiments...
--- Arthur Eddington (creator of the Eddington Number).

Oldjohnw
Posts: 5811
Joined: 16 Oct 2018, 4:23am
Location: Northumberland

Re: Democracy

Postby Oldjohnw » 24 Feb 2020, 8:18pm

carpetcleaner wrote:
661-Pete wrote:
irc wrote:But that is democracy. If 51% of the electorate are racists/xenophobes then they can vote in a racist PM.
I already said, if that's the outcome of 'democracy', do away with 'democracy'. I'd sooner have Stalin.


If you want to live under communism then why not emigrate to Cuba, China or Vietman? I'd certainly consider
emigrating if I found this country as awful as some people obviously do. But like the 3m EU citizens who are happy to stay here, so am I.

It is amusing how the twin shocks of Brexit and the election of President Trump, and now the huge win for Boris too, have caused some people to completely lose it and to declare that democracy isn't working and we need to change the system to ensure that their preferred, progressive and politically correct candidates win as they should when democracy is working properly.

I get the impression that their improved version of democracy would probably mean that the votes of people like me would count for less while their own votes would count for more to reflect their high opinion of themselves.


I fear you don't really get democracy at all. In a democracy you remain and fight to first hold the government to account, then you might for change. You don't just run or acquiesce.
John

User avatar
NATURAL ANKLING
Posts: 12435
Joined: 24 Oct 2012, 10:43pm
Location: English Riviera

Re: Democracy

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 24 Feb 2020, 9:51pm

Hi,
I think the biggest problem with democracy is getting normal people to even speak about it, they are not interested in politics etc, only whats going on in their own circle of friends family and world.
If some group are happy with their world whether a family small or even large firm organisation, its only when the status quo is disrupted that they sit up and complain that their life will change / has changed etc.
Sounds simplistic but when I look at what others have or have not you see trends.

I suppose this comes from haves and have not's.

Even not in politics, people are very protective to open up about their opinions on a work job,say in a group of ten you will have two outspoken with different opinions, the rest will say nothing or side with the outspoken.
I would rather see all participants of a group putting forward ideas, I have found that even when one is not necessarily an expert on a subject, ideas can be enlightening.

But thats me being an idealist at heart but a realist in my head that you have to take whats served up or not from those who are self serving, the fuzzy feeling is all theirs, till they move on to something more entertaining.
NA Thinks Just End 2 End Return + Bivvy
You'll Still Find Me At The Top Of A Hill
Please forgive the poor Grammar I blame it on my mobile and phat thinkers.

Ben@Forest
Posts: 2739
Joined: 28 Jan 2013, 5:58pm

Re: Democracy

Postby Ben@Forest » 25 Feb 2020, 7:56am

661-Pete wrote:Politicians don't nowadays have much opportunity to change electoral boundaries to their advantage - as Governor Gerry did - 200 years ago.

They do, however, have plenty of opportunity to exploit the different sizes and populations of different electoral divisions, to their advantage. That's what Trump did in 2016.


How did Trump do this? I can find no American interpretation of the results which suggests this. The electoral college is part of the constitution, partly (as with 2 senators per state) to ensure bigger states don't dwarf smaller ones. On the whole Trump's campaign was seen as incoherent; as much as anything he benefited from the perception of Clinton as a Washington insider with little regard for those Americans who don't live on either coast.

Oldjohnw
Posts: 5811
Joined: 16 Oct 2018, 4:23am
Location: Northumberland

Re: Democracy

Postby Oldjohnw » 25 Feb 2020, 8:00am

Ben@Forest wrote:
661-Pete wrote:Politicians don't nowadays have much opportunity to change electoral boundaries to their advantage - as Governor Gerry did - 200 years ago.

They do, however, have plenty of opportunity to exploit the different sizes and populations of different electoral divisions, to their advantage. That's what Trump did in 2016.


How did Trump do this? I can find no American interpretation of the results which suggests this. The electoral college is part of the constitution, partly (as with 2 senators per state) to ensure bigger states don't dwarf smaller ones. On the whole Trump's campaign was seen as incoherent; as much as anything he benefited from the perception of Clinton as a Washington insider with little regard for those Americans who don't live on either coast.


I must say the 2016 US election must have been a nightmare. The choice between Trump and Clinton was dreadful.
John

Stradageek
Posts: 837
Joined: 17 Jan 2011, 1:07pm

Re: Democracy

Postby Stradageek » 25 Feb 2020, 8:05am

I'll try and find the relevant references but from my recent reading I seem to remember that gerrymandering is alive and well in both the US and the UK

carpetcleaner
Posts: 920
Joined: 14 Nov 2019, 1:25pm

Re: Democracy

Postby carpetcleaner » 25 Feb 2020, 9:40am

Oldjohnw wrote:
carpetcleaner wrote:
661-Pete wrote:I already said, if that's the outcome of 'democracy', do away with 'democracy'. I'd sooner have Stalin.


If you want to live under communism then why not emigrate to Cuba, China or Vietman? I'd certainly consider
emigrating if I found this country as awful as some people obviously do. But like the 3m EU citizens who are happy to stay here, so am I.

It is amusing how the twin shocks of Brexit and the election of President Trump, and now the huge win for Boris too, have caused some people to completely lose it and to declare that democracy isn't working and we need to change the system to ensure that their preferred, progressive and politically correct candidates win as they should when democracy is working properly.

I get the impression that their improved version of democracy would probably mean that the votes of people like me would count for less while their own votes would count for more to reflect their high opinion of themselves.


I fear you don't really get democracy at all. In a democracy you remain and fight to first hold the government to account, then you might for change. You don't just run or acquiesce.


Nor do you claim that democracy isn't working properly just because the people refuse to vote the way you want them to, and explain that refusal by saying the people are ignorant, poorly educated, bigoted and gullible.

Well, you can if you want to, but it is a good way to fail.

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 18663
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: Democracy

Postby Vorpal » 25 Feb 2020, 10:42am

carpetcleaner wrote:You don't seem to understand what gerrymandering is. It is someone or an organisation in power manipulating and altering political borders for their own advantage to help them win elections. It is not someone exploiting the existing system to his advantage.

In the USA, gerrymandering is a specific type of exploiting the system to the advantage one party or person.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

Mike Sales
Posts: 5383
Joined: 7 Mar 2009, 3:31pm

Re: Democracy

Postby Mike Sales » 25 Feb 2020, 10:54am

Here is an article about gerrymandering from The New York Times.

HAVING the first modern democracy comes with bugs. Normally we would expect more seats in Congress to go to the political party that receives more votes, but the last election confounded expectations. Democrats received 1.4 million more votes for the House of Representatives, yet Republicans won control of the House by a 234 to 201 margin. This is only the second such reversal since World War II.
Using statistical tools that are common in fields like my own, neuroscience, I have found strong evidence that this historic aberration arises from partisan disenfranchisement. Although gerrymandering is usually thought of as a bipartisan offense, the rather asymmetrical results may surprise you.


Through artful drawing of district boundaries, it is possible to put large groups of voters on the losing side of every election. The Republican State Leadership Committee, a Washington-based political group dedicated to electing state officeholders, recently issued a progress report on Redmap, its multiyear plan to influence redistricting. The $30 million strategy consists of two steps for tilting the playing field: take over state legislatures before the decennial Census, then redraw state and Congressional districts to lock in partisan advantages. The plan was highly successful.


https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/2013/02/03/opinion/sunday/the-great-gerrymander-of-2012.html
Last edited by Mike Sales on 25 Feb 2020, 11:43am, edited 1 time in total.

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 18663
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: Democracy

Postby Vorpal » 25 Feb 2020, 11:20am

carpetcleaner wrote:
661-Pete wrote:
Ben@Forest wrote:Whatever the faults of the American electoral system Trump didn't invent them
I was told by someone on this forum (might have been you, can't remember now) that there was nothing 'undemocratic' about the winning candidate receiving 62,984,828 votes, while the losing candidate got 65,853,514 :roll: . In a fair system, how could that be 'democratic'. Of course Trump concentrated his efforts on those states which would be most to his advantage, and milked the undemocratic 'electoral college' system. If that's not gerrymandering, what is?

if Clinton had won the presidency but not the popular vote would she also be responsible for gerrymandering?
That's a purely hypothetical question. Nothing of the sort happened - and there was no way it could have happened.

Secondly a considerable number of people who voted for Obama twice then voted for Trump. So are they forward-looking, non-racist, lovely people or racist xenophobes? Or maybe they just saw three steel mills in their town close down during Obama's presidency and wanted something different?
Just illustrates how the rabble can be swung towards extremist views by a rabble-rousing populist. Sadly, the same seems to be happening here.


You don't seem to understand what gerrymandering is. It is someone or an organisation in power manipulating and altering political borders for their own advantage to help them win elections. It is not someone exploiting the existing system to his advantage.

It is both. A couple of states in the USA have passed laws requiring independent review of election boundaries, but I expect the laws to be challenged in court. Republicans have been stacking the judicial system for a couple of decades, now, so I expect that such laws will not be upheld, but time will tell.

As for who voted for whom... Not many people voted for Obama, then for Trump. Part of the problem is that Republican state legislatures are making it increasingly difficult for traditional Democrats to vote. They have closed urban polling stations, introduced voter ID laws, and 'cleansed' the voter registration rolls. By this, they mean they strike off anyone who may have an incorrect address, who has not confirmed their registration, etc. Such purges tend to disadvantages poor voters, and give clear advantages to Republicans in some areas.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

Mike Sales
Posts: 5383
Joined: 7 Mar 2009, 3:31pm

Re: Democracy

Postby Mike Sales » 25 Feb 2020, 11:28am

Yes, black voter suppression is a shameful, remaining relic of civil rights repression.

Even after segregation and Jim Crow voting laws came to a formal end in the south, modern politicians remained susceptible to the temptations of racist dog-whistles as a way of mustering the support of white voters and justifying the restriction of minority voting rights. Many southern states, for example, have persisted with segregation-era laws banning felons and ex-felons from voting – a restriction that disenfranchised an estimated 6 million voters in 2016, a vastly disproportionate number of them black men.
The Republicans have been especially prone to such corruptions because they are now the natural ruling party in the south, and they have resorted to a similar playbook to the segregation-era Democrats: stoking resentment of northern elites and harking back to the “lost cause” of the civil war. They have also become increasingly insecure about their ability to win national elections. Demographic shifts have eroded their overwhelmingly white base of support, and they have so far resisted repeated entreaties from party elders to broaden that support by moderating their policy positions.


In many states – notably North Carolina and Texas – they have exploited their majority in the state legislature to gerrymander congressional districts to their advantage. While both parties gerrymander, it has become surprisingly common for the Republican party to win fewer votes than the Democrats and still come out ahead in the House or Senate or both.

After the fight over the 2000 presidential race, the GOP’s response was not to sigh with relief that George W Bush squeaked into the White House, but rather to cry foul about African American voters being allowed to stay in line beyond the official poll closing time in St Louis, and to initiate a long, vicious publicity drive to insinuate that voter registration efforts in poor inner city neighborhoods were in fact corrupt enterprises to stuff voter rolls and ballot boxes on behalf of the Democrats.


https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/sep/13/america-history-voter-suppression-donald-trump-election-fraud