Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by AJOwens »

sleepysilverdoor wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 6:24 am
We can register as a Republican/Democrat/third party, and vote. . .
Canadian here.

This "registering as a Republican or Democrat"(or other -- that's news to me) is something I've never understood. In Canada, if you're a citizen, the government mails you a card around election time and you take it to the polling station. If you didn't get a card, you can bring some ID and sort it out at the polling station. But you don't have to register as a Liberal / Conservative / New Democrat / Green / Communist / Natural Law Party or whatever, because who needs to know? The parties are allocated public funding based on the number of seats they win. (Not very fair in our first-past-the-post system, but that's how it's done.)

In the US, what's up with "registering as a Democrat"?
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by crumpart »

I, too, have this question.

Australians can officially join a political party if we want to, but it’s by no means necessary and the large majority of people don’t.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by grumpymike »

It has to do with primary elections. Because we only have "two major parties", the parties have to straighten things out before the "general election". The point is to gain a kind of consensus within your "big tent" party before running against the other side. This is actually a pretty decent strategy and is what makes our de-facto two-party system work compared to multi-party systems.

Nobody has to register with a party, but in some states you cannot vote in primary elections if you are not registered for that party. My state has "open primaries" which means anyone can vote in a primary, and there is regular paranoia that this causes Democrats to vote for the worst Republican and vis-versa (usually doesn't make a difference). When there are multiple parties with primaries on the same ballot, you may only participate in one primary. If you select a Republican presidential primary candidate and a Democratic presidential primary candidate, your primary selections are not counted (you'll be notified as you scan it in and probably end up with a new ballot. I don't know, I've never done it, but the scanner checks for errors.) There are often multiple primary positions at the same time, so this holds if there are presidential and other position primaries on the same ballot - you can only participate in the primary selections of one party even if you are choosing different positions.

Not every political position has primary elections.

What makes it a little awkward is that primary elections are administered by the state government. This is particularly awkward when general and primary selections are on the same ballot, and sometimes one or the other causes a skew because voters would not have shown up for the the other. For example, we just had the Democratic presidential primary and the State supreme court selections on the same ballot here. If you only cared about Bernie being the Democratic presidential candidate, you'd go in and likely pick a random judge for the general portion of the ballot, or only vote Democrat. (Some positions show the party by the name, some always say independent. It's a state-by-state thing. In Wisconsin, judges are all independent in name.)

The state governments also determine when primaries are held, which is a touchy subject because the earlier states set the tone when it comes to the presidential election. This is why everyone flips out about Iowa and New Hampshire every 4 years. It used to be that less-known presidential candidates could get a leg-up in those states because it's easy to visit everyone personally, etc. Iowa really screwed up this year and now people want to move their primary or put a larger state first, or even have all the states vote at the same time. There's a lot of ins and outs to it. Some primaries are run as "straw polls" or "caucuses", some are "non-binding", but most of them are run like the general ballot. And as you may know, every state has its own ballot system and voting laws.

Clear as mud, right?
Last edited by grumpymike on Tue May 26, 2020 6:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Caravan Ray »

grumpymike wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 5:31 am

Clear as mud, right?
LOL. I'm with AJ and Crumpart. You did a great job explaining Grumpy - better than I have read before - but yeah I still don't get it - it is still clear as mud. It is like you are trying to run a modern nation with a 250 year old constitution!

The Australian Constitution is 120 years old. It was written at a time when it took 6 days to get from Perth to Melbourne. It still doesn't acknowledge the original inhabitants on the continent. It is is badly in need of an update.

I think the US Constitution needs one too.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by AJOwens »

[edited for clarity]
I think I get it. The election process involves the interminable Primaries, where the Republicans and Democrats decide who they will offer as President; and then the big election on Nov 4th, where people choose who they want to be President, among other things. To vote for a candidate in the Primaries, you have to register with the party that offers the candidate. But to vote for President on Nov 4, this is not necessary.

It's similar in Canada. The parties have conventions (generally held over a weekend) where a leader is chosen by knockout rounds. If you wanted to vote in the party's leadership convention, you would have to join the party and then attend the convention, wherever it was held. (I don't know if remote voting is an option. It's all about working the floor and making alliances during the knockout rounds.)

I get also that the US voting process, whether for the Primaries or the general election, is complicated by the number of other questions that can be on the ballot, and which many people probably fill randomly.

But if I have this right, then when you go to the polls on Nov 4, you don't have to be a registered Democrat or Republican to vote. Is that correct?
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by crumpart »

Our leaders are chosen by the party. We don't vote for the leader at all, we vote for our local representative (I'm speaking for both Australia and Ireland here). Making decisions like who the leader is is something we pay and trust the politicians to do.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by grumpymike »

AJOwens wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 2:06 pm
But if I have this right, then when you go to the polls on Nov 4, you don't have to be a registered Democrat or Republican to vote. Is that correct?
Correct. The main difference from how you would understand primaries is that most of ours are administered by the state governments.

Registering with a party is mostly symbolic in states with open primaries. Sort of a "I don't want to associate with these people anymore and count toward their numbers but I'll probably still vote for them because I dislike the other people more"
Caravan Ray wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 1:35 am
It is like you are trying to run a modern nation with a 250 year old constitution!

It is is badly in need of an update.
I don't know about your UK-wannabe mamma's boy constitution, but our Constitution is perfect the way it's written. It's the only and probably last document of its kind that this nation will unanimously consent to until we have a violent revolution. If you think it's so bad, then you should be pleased that the revolutionaries will have access to weapons.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Caravan Ray »

grumpymike wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 2:12 pm


I don't know about your UK-wannabe mamma's boy constitution,
The UK doesn't have a Constitution. So, yes - you obviously don't know
grumpymike wrote:
Mon May 25, 2020 2:12 pm
but our Constitution is perfect the way it's written.
Yes. Obviously. That is why the USA is winning so bigginly.

The first step would be to sort our your backward electoral shit. Why not go for compulsory voting? It will stop an orange idiot being elected President by less than 25% of the population? How the fuck does that happen in a modern nation?? Have you thought of that? Why not???

And stop policemen killing black people randomly
And stop having every fuckwit owning a gun
It pretty simple?!?

I feel really let down. We have always know that the USA were bastards. But they were our bastards so we turned a blind eye to the military atrocities. Now - it is WTF?!?!? 100,000 people dead because you not the power to get rid of an idiot. That is the definition of a failed state.

The USA is a laughing stock because about 23% of the population voted for an orange idiot. And apparently he is now above the law. What the fuck is that all about?!?!? That is completely stupid. And I have investments in the USA that I really now regret.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Lunkhead »

In other good news, we've had over 40 million people file for unemployment insurance in the last 10 weeks. USA! USA! USA!

More like, Make America Great Depressioned Again, am I right?

https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/ar ... 300009.php
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by grumpymike »

Caravan Ray wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 4:30 am
The UK doesn't have a Constitution. So, yes - you obviously don't know
I said UK-wannabe, in that your system is heavily UK-influenced. Your demographics are 60%+ UK heritage (take a look at ours). Your population is 1/10th ours and all concentrated in city-islands surrounded by desert. Is it any surprise that you all might have an easier time nationally agreeing on things?
Caravan Ray wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 4:30 am
Yes. Obviously. That is why the USA is winning so bigginly.
We've always done terrible things. You're only just paying attention now. Writing a litany of grievances and blaming it on the Constitution is silly. We are the problem - our constitution is fine.

And the fact that you hear about these injustices, and you hear the outcry, is actually testimony to our system working. There are a lot of nations that would sweep this stuff under the rug.
Caravan Ray wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 4:30 am
Why not go for compulsory voting?
Oy, pip-pip everyone! Time to queue up to vote on our personal liberty or else the bobby's will lock you up!

This country was founded on the freedom of the individual, with the idea that eventually people will figure out how to do it right. It was not founded on the concept of "daddy knows best". No, if we want to run into the street, we have every damn right to. We'll sue you for stopping us from running into the street. And then we'll sue you for not stopping us from running into the street.

Everyone should have the option to vote. That is all. That it does not always work out like that is a failing of our local governments - not our constitution.
Caravan Ray wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 4:30 am
I feel really let down. We have always know that the USA were bastards. But they were our bastards so we turned a blind eye to the military atrocities.
This clown of a president is the first president in a while who's been averse to committing troops to endless conflict and he's gotten a lot of flak for it. But for some reason you're amped up about our domestic politics. I guess yours aren't as fun to watch? Do you go around telling your neighbors what they should do, too?

You live in a country where "tribal justice" is legal because you feel so terrible for what you did to the natives, but I can see how you might think you know better.
Caravan Ray wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 4:30 am
And I have investments in the USA that I really now regret.
You don't have to feign concern for our domestic injustices to just say that this is what you care about.

Pull the money out. Or don't. Our stock market is not far from where it was before the pandemic, so it's a good time.

The USA was around before you and it'll be around after you. I think you probably watch too much news, just like everyone else. By the way: thank you for Rupert Murdoch.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Lunkhead »

How's the US looking from Australia now?! :lol: :shock: :oops: :cry:
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by crumpart »

Lunkhead wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 10:16 am
How's the US looking from Australia now?! :lol: :shock: :oops: :cry:
From Ireland via Australia it’s looking a lot like JAYSUS FUCK LADS WHY IS IT WHEN A BUNCH OF PEOPLE SAY “PLEASE STOP KILLING US” THE REACTION IS “NO I DON’T WANNA IMMA KEEP DOING IT EVEN MORE YOU SHUT UP!”

(Note: that was a rhetorical question. I don’t expect any kind of sensical answer.)
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Caravan Ray »

grumpymike wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 8:06 am
The USA was around before you and it'll be around after you.
I am a very old bastard - but I’d bet a pint on that. I can’t see your failed state with its ridiculous 250 year old constitution written by tax avoiding slave owners making it to Christmas.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Caravan Ray »

Is there any serious talk of Calexit or West Coast Exit or NYexit yet? There probably should be.

Because the people who have benefited from centuries of inequality should pull out now and reap the benefits.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by grumpymike »

Caravan Ray wrote:
Tue Jun 02, 2020 4:08 am
Is there any serious talk of Calexit or West Coast Exit or NYexit yet?
lol no that was outlawed under president Lincoln in 1861.

Just to be clear- I am incredibly saddened and frustrated by what is going on. I just think it’s misguided and overly simplistic to think the Constitution is the source of our troubles. It is only so far as it is also the source of our strengths.

What we need right now is some clear and unifying leadership, and I am so dismayed that this president is incapable of even pretending to say something unifying.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Lunkhead »

This is clear and unifying leadership. Clearly fascist leadership including all three branches of the federal government, and unifying a minority of fascists, including tens of thousands of police and military personnel. He is saying something unifying to them, the people he wants to unite. Trump now wants to declare being anti fascism to be terrorism. Sounds like game over for liberty and freedom in America.

I know that all sounds melodramatic, sorry. I'm having a lull where I'm not yet seeing any hope of us coming out of this mess on a better path.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by AJOwens »

When a president parts a sea of peaceful protesters with brute force so he can pose in front of a church holding a Bible, a tone of melodrama has already been struck; incredulous horror is the normal reaction. If your Constitution can put a stop to this obvious descent into fascism, good for it. So far, though, it seems to be crumbling under some kind of "unitary executive" interpretation of the so-called balance of powers. The institution is only as good as the authorities who uphold it -- and, I suppose, the base from which they draw their authority.

The problem is not political. Ultimately, it is sociological. The "society of the spectacle" (Debord) has replaced politics with reality TV. The President is a star in his own all-American anti-hero movie, with the working title "Make my day," and uncouth audiences, who have come to confuse the American Dream with the violence and lawlessness of the frontier Western, are cheering him on. The Nietzschean Superman, making his own rules beyond good and evil, has come home to roost in America.

Then there is this notion of domination, in order not to look weak and be rolled over. Trump's advice to state governors to "dominate the streets" is just another expression of the by-now standard police tactic (perhaps "strategy" is a better word) of using overwhelming force, which is what got George Floyd killed. When is a good time to stop using truncheons and try something else? Never, apparently. This has its roots in attitudes of instrumentalist control, where nature, and now even humans, are just another thing to be hammered into compliance by the latest technology.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by grumpymike »

Lunkhead wrote:
Tue Jun 02, 2020 8:54 am
Sounds like game over for liberty and freedom in America.
We were being threatened by local governments for gatherings before the protests. The mayors and governors were using heavily armed police and the national guard before what he said yesterday.

Except what he said is like throwing gas on a fire. All he had to do was display some level of empathy instead of enabling the worst in people.

Having this many unemployed is a disaster like this waiting to happen. There are a bunch of jerks using the legitimate protests as a reason to riot. We need people to get back to work. We need justice reform. We need rioting to end. We need the pandemic to end. It's like a circular dependency.

I don't think the vast majority of Republicans want to enable him at this point. However, taking action against him is a risky initiative that could spark a different powder keg...
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Lunkhead »

People in politics, in the military, in the police, etc. need to make a choice right now, to be part of Trump's budding overtly fascist regime, or to be against it.

I'd be curious to see an American and an Australian responding to this about an Australian news crew being pummeled on live broadcast in DC

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/busine ... 59ca9ec917
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by grumpymike »

AJOwens wrote:
Tue Jun 02, 2020 9:52 am
If your Constitution can put a stop to this obvious descent into fascism, good for it.
Everyone involved here has sworn an oath to the Constitution. Not the queen. Not the government. But the rules of engagement. I pray they all take their oaths seriously.

Mostly every citizen has said the pledge of allegiance to the republic thousands of times. (This is why it is important, people.)

AJOwens wrote:
Tue Jun 02, 2020 9:52 am
The problem is not political. Ultimately, it is sociological. The "society of the spectacle" (Debord) has replaced politics with reality TV.
...
The Nietzschean Superman, making his own rules beyond good and evil, has come home to roost in America.
Nietzche wrote "God is dead" because he believed we were capable of making our own rules for ourselves.

All of the key founding fathers of the USA wrote something to the effect of, "a moral populace is required to maintain a free republic". This makes me even more saddened to see the president use religion as a prop here. Unfortunately, he's playing up the (IMO misguided) persecuted feeling of a lot of folks. One day last week, our police were threatening to ticket churches for too many people gathering. The next day, they were standing by and watching a horde loot. Right or wrong, they perceive it as an unequal application of justice.

When everyone makes up their own rules, you end up with division and ultimately might-is-right. So, the question is, do we have enough people with a conscience for the greater good? I think so. I hope so.
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Lunkhead »

This SF Chronicle article does a surprisingly good job of covering the anti anti fascism thing:

https://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/ar ... 309464.php
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Re: Modern democracy (was: COVID-19 freakout thread)

Post by Caravan Ray »

Lunkhead wrote:
Tue Jun 02, 2020 10:10 am

I'd be curious to see an American and an Australian responding to this about an Australian news crew being pummeled on live broadcast in DC

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/busine ... 59ca9ec917
Hard to know what happened there - you can't draw conclusions from a few seconds of footage. We need to consider:

a) I feel for the coppers - they are doing what they're told in a crap job and a lot of them must be shitscared knowing that any bastard could have a gun down their daks.

b) jobs like the police and military do attract a certain "type" - and that thump on the cameraman seemed entirely unnecessary, and

c) the channel 7 Sunrise program that those people work for is the worst type of tabloid trash - did they really need to encourage 2 young people to place themselves in a potentially hazardous situation just to get footage for some morning TV nong to try to look concerned about?

I am seeing c) as the overriding thing here and I hope that cameraman is a union member and his employers are told to pull their heads in.


BTW - you linked to "The Australian". Can you see that over there? It is behind a firewall here - I can't see your link. Not that I want to - The Australian is owned by that American fellow - Mr Rupert Murdoch. There are still a few proper journalists who write news there - but mainly it is just a rogues gallery of dribbling racist nut job "opinion writers" screaming about the global warming hoax and Asian invasion.
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