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  1. #21
    Senior Member Ethereal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metamorphosis View Post
    It's hardly insidious. The fact is, the two party system is unavoidable when you have an electoral system that contains single member districts instead of proportional representation. While it's nearly impossible for another party to gain any serious ground electorally, the two major parties are forced to adopt the platforms of smaller parties that receive popular support...so their voice is still heard...somewhat. Our system causes changes to be slow and small, but it is very stable. See: Italian government history for a lesson on why proportional representation isn't always awesome
    Insidious is a word that is certainly applicable...

    I took a Congressional Politics Class under a professor Ross K. Baker, who is acknowledged as one of the leading experts on Congress. I got a peek into what happens on the Hill. One instance of insidiousness...

    When Representative Luis Gutierrez opposed Nafta during the Clinton administration, he received a call from his sponsors (after recieving one from the president) saying they were unhappy about this decision. Gutierrez noted that there had to have been a concerted effort to call up his sponsors by the party leadership, and considering the bill in question, I wouldn't dismiss it.

    The two parties do a lot of consolidating, and this is one aspect of it. If the set ideologies are not followed, than one cannot expect to find little help from the upper-echelons of the party in question. Those outside the two parties aren't simply not heard, they are completely ignored and suppressed. The debates, which were taken over from a neutral third party by the leaders of the two parties after an independent won a significant percent of the presidential vote (at least two digits), are just one symptom.

    Some may say all this is natural and normal, personally, I think its a catch 22 which is purposely propagated by the Republican and Democratic parties.

  2. #22
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    I think this is fine in any democracy were the partisan elements out of government realise that irrespective of differences they must remain a loyal opposition and not seek to destroy things once they imagine they are strong enough or reject clear mandates for reform they dont principle accept.

  3. #23
    Senior Member Bri's Avatar
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    It seems like politics is a lot like sports - once you have your home team figured out you're supposed to cheer/vote for them, even if they mess up a few plays here and there.

    Also, as others have basically pointed out, it takes a lot of work for the average person to muddle through the biased information they're presented and decide who should really earn their vote. Researching more than two candidates for any given office is an ordeal. It doesn't mean we shouldn't be responsible and do our best, but humans are pretty lazy creatures when they have the option, so it's not hard to see how we've ended up this way.

  4. #24
    Senior Member Gen's Avatar
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    I'll have to check this again but I read that Nebraska senators would have voted no without some provisions that were added to the bill giving them tons of money. They (the White House) only court the votes they need.

  5. #25
    IRL is not real Cimarron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bri View Post
    It seems like politics is a lot like sports - once you have your home team figured out you're supposed to cheer/vote for them, even if they mess up a few plays here and there.

    Also, as others have basically pointed out, it takes a lot of work for the average person to muddle through the biased information they're presented and decide who should really earn their vote. Researching more than two candidates for any given office is an ordeal. It doesn't mean we shouldn't be responsible and do our best, but humans are pretty lazy creatures when they have the option, so it's not hard to see how we've ended up this way.
    I think I agree with these observations, and as for the bolded line, I would like to make a point: I think it's the democratic aspect that makes politics a lot like sports.

    Restating my OP a little bit: Did something in the air (maybe economic depression and international fatigue) give that sudden push towards this new extreme level of polarization in recent months? After all, these are the times when voters are paying more attention to what their government is doing, and therefore politicians know the stakes (for re-election, etc.) are higher. So does that strengthen polarization, as an effect?
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