“Thanks to the idiosyncrasies of “first past the post” voting, whereby any candidate securing anything over 50 percent of the electorate wins it all, outside challengers face a tougher uphill battle…”
No, most, but not all, elections in the United States are based on a plurality of the vote, not 50% plus one. The winner of the popular vote in Presidential elections is often the candidate with a plurality only. The Electoral College is something else, indeed, it truly is something else.
The USA uses a “winner-takes-all” system. Studies prove that this system invariably results in a two-party system. Third parties invariably wither and die as they have no chance of winning and voters stop voting for them. A quick overview: The US System: Winner-Take-All
See also: The Winner-Take-All Problem
Basically, in 1949 when Germany was reconstituted we sent people to help and told them, “Don’t use our system, it’s lousy. Use proportional Representation!” Greece is a presidential parliamentary republic. The Greek government is similar to the model found in many Western democracies, such as Germany.
“Of the six nations that don’t use PR to elect representatives in their most powerful national legislative body, only three countries (US, Ghana, and Canada) don’t use it for at least one of their national elections (PR is used in the upper house in Australia and European Parliament in UK and France).” Source
So, basically, winner-takes-all systems (OURS!!) are horrendous and are not, by any measure, representative. Whereas, Proportional Representation (PR) produces, wait for it … representation in proportion to the vote. "In fact, studies have shown that governments elected by proportional representation are more likely to produce policies that are in line with the “will of the majority.” " Source
So, the whole premise of this article, the arguments behind it, are flawed, and pretty much fall into that category reflected by the old saying, “You are comparing apples to oranges.”
In 2012 I voted for Jill Stein of the Green party, a smart and accomplished woman whose values are those of peace and justice.
Though not as extreme as Mike’s, I had a reaction to the article along the same lines. I’ve volunteered with the SF Green Party for over 20 years and it’s painful to be dismissed as “totally marginal.” As Mike points out, the US’ winner-take-all system makes it virtually impossible for a third party to emerge. No third party candidate has won a US House race since 1948, when Mark Antonio won on the American Labor Party ticket. Even in state legislatures, there are less than 10 3rd party members out of something like 10,000. That’s less than 0.1%. (Our political system is 99.9% pure!) In the Nov 2014 election, in California there weren’t even any 3rd party candidates on the ballot! (Thanks to the top-two primary that Californians instituted, in their infinite wisdom.)
We can and have gotten Greens elected at the local level. The problem is an electoral glass ceiling. Today in SF, for example, there are 4 elected officials (out of something like 30 elected officials total) who WERE Green Party members and who retain Green Party principles.* Now, these folks are all registered Democrats, because SF is a one-party town.
Gaining political power is a lot more than winning elections, I agree. And I also find it heartening that Syriza and Podemos have gained a real following and some real power. But the article seemed lacking in going any further about what we could do here in the US.** (I found it interesting that there was no mention of Occupy, which started about the same time as these others. A combination of US ruling class brutality along with widespread apathy and ignorance among the US population may be part of the difference.) It’s hard not to think that it may be easier to organize an opposition in countries that are reasonably homogeneous culturally. The US, with its high ethnic and cultural diversity (even though I see it as a great thing) has the weakness that it’s easy for the ruling class to divide and conquer, pitting red against blue, white against black, Christian against Moslem, middle class against poor, citizen against immigrant…
How to form a movement/party/whatever that has the power to push through the healthy, humane, planet-saving reforms that are desperately needed? Is there an issue or issues that people could coalesce around? Would it still be “us against them” (e.g. the 99% against the 1%), or would it be completely inclusive? What values would predominate? How could it be made to remain democratic and not dominated by a cadre of unelected (or elected) glorious leaders?
- The Green Party is value-based, with what are called 10 key values. Here’s a link to the SF version:
** I liked the line: “So what is to be done short of half-hearted calls for ‘the revolution’?” 1/4th-hearted calls? half-hearted calls for McDonalds to serve healthier food?
I used to believe that if we just had PR and/or instant-runoff (such as Australia single transferrable vote/ preferential ballot system), and a parliamentary system that allows coalitions, then genuine popular socialist democracy would be just around the corner.
But if you have been following Australia’s politics lately, it seems that whatever the system, wealthy forces, through a combination of control over the media discourse and the politicians themselves, have learned to game it. The rise of Abbot’s Liberal/National coalition government in Australia shows this quite dramatically.
The electoral college assures that only voters in swing states determine the outcome of presidential elections. Therefore, 20% (plus or minus 4%) of those Americans who actually vote determine the outcome of elections. It doesn’t matter if the 80% of Americans (who actually vote ) residing in “red” or “blue” states ever vote.
If anyone is a real progressive, they will not be voting for hillary. If you are real you buy into “throwing your vote away” or that it helps the GOP. We have to stop voting for the major parties, period. It will be the only way to save this country from serious and possible violent uprising for sure.
When dyed in the wool Democrats tell me I wasted my vote by voting third party in the past six presidential elections, I tell them that they wasted their votes on candidates owned by Wall Street.
i wish that they would truly compromise and reach out to other third parties, to allow progressive values into the debate, if not the election. If enough like-minded 3rd parties joined hands, we could maybe, maybe at least debate nationally, and eventually, one day, win.
and they are introducing machines, iirc.
Found a flaw in the new comment system. I cannot “like” or “thumbs up”, lol
I just tell them, “I try not to vote for corrupt war criminals or anyone who supports them…so I hope you feel good voting for a war criminal. I know my conscious is clear.”
As WaPo and all of the MSM media/propaganda-sector of this ruling Disguised Global Capitalist Empire is seeding “Hillary Rodham Clinton’s long-anticipated entry into the 2016 presidential race took shape Friday, with Democrats saying she will announce her candidacy on Sunday and begin a series of deliberately small discussions with voters next week.”
This BS about a small, personal, informal campaigns or the 2016 version of the Empire’s scripted audition and selection of its next faux-Emperor/Empress/presidential puppet is being very carefully managed by the Empire for only one reason: to avoid ANY chance that a truly open and visible public event might allow an unscripted and highly unsettling (for the Empire) ‘shout-out’ by an average citizen (really a ‘subject’ of this Disguised Empire) to non-violently clearly scream at Clinton the most important question for all of we peons, proles, peasants, and ‘subjects’ of the disguised Empire ---- “Hey, Hillary, what are you going to do about the dual-party Vichy Empire that is screwing us. You know ---- the hidden Vichy Empire that all of you neocon ‘R’ Vichy party puppets and neoliberal-con ‘D’ Vichy party pimps are working for??”
That’s the most dangerous verbal bomb in the garden party facade of Hillary’s deceitful Empress coronation that scares the bejesus out of this Disguised Global Capitalist Empire that has taken control, ‘captured’, and now fully “Occupies” our former country!!
I think what needs to happen is for Elizabeth Warren to advocate for a third party candidate - Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, Rocky Anderson… that is truly the only thing that would shake it up at this point enough to get even the MSM talking about the possibilities.
Cambridge Massachusetts elects its city government via proportional representation(STV). States and cities are where electoral reform starts. see
fairvote dot org
Cycle after selection cycle, I keep hoping a candidate will appear who isn’t part of The Establishment. The republicans or democrats in other words and when such a person has arisen, Americans once more turn to The Establishment candidates which have failed the people so many times, I always end up wondering why people vote against their own interest time after time? Perhaps I underestimate the power of propaganda fed to people on a 24/7 cycle. In any event, 2016 will be more of the same, but I am hoping that, as Americans continue to become poorer, suffer the consequences more, and our country begins to look more like a third world country like is happening all the time, these factors will finally wake up our population to the reality they have been hoodwinked for the last time by 2020.
Then too, I must consider one of the two last controls of The Establishment should Americans decide to cast a vote in their own interest and that’s the Electoral College, since they decide who wins and who loses. Would they go along? Likewise, now that SCOTUS has installed a president once before unconstitutionally, I suspect they would do so again, rather than allow the people’s choice to take office. After the turmoil that would surely result, I suppose the question would be what side the police and military decide to take.
This is only a possibility of course and I feel, unlikely to happen in my lifetime, as it grows far shorter, with much more behind than ahead, but still, I’d love to live long enough to see this system of rule by self-appointed owners come to an end.
Oh Yeah. Short answer to the question; Ready for Hillary? Hell no! But not ready for any of the rest of them either, no matter which major party they belong to. Eisenhower was the first president I can recall and it’s been downhill with each one ever since, including the one who wasn’t elected or voted for at all. Ford that is, although GWB was installed unconstitutionally by SCOTUS, but still downhill from Eisenhower and most others nevertheless.
There should be a mass populist party. We should do away with the duopoly. I like the Greens, the Justice Party & some things but not other things about the Libertarians. I neither like the Constitution Party nor the Reform Party. The Reform Party was good when it had Jesse Ventura.
No likely, Elizabeth has already sold her sole to the Zionist of israel’s foreign lobby AIPAC. I was all for her until she sided with the Israel first crowd.
JFK before he was assassinated warned the American people about two things. He warned us about the military industrial complex becoming out of control. And he warned us also about Secret Societies
members that are imbedded in the government on many different levels. In order to move ahead these two issues need to be address head-on. Otherwise will continue to have endless war and Wall Street and the War Profiteers will continue to suck the life blood out of this country.