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Old 08-19-2018, 01:52 AM
Jim B. Jim B. is offline
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Millennials and Democracy.

I heard something on Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, that I actually find rather hard to believe.

Most people of the World War II generation think it is important to live in a democracy. I can understand that. But not so with millennials. A clear majority of that generation does not feel it is vital.

I belong to generation X. And I like to think I understand my generation. Growing up, in high school, most gen X'ers were open-minded, on issues like gay rights, for example. From what I understand, most millennials are too.

But why the strange deviation on the democracy issue? How would millennials like to live? In a totalitarian regime? A plutocracy? A fascist state? Someone please clarify for me. I want to know.

And did I misunderstand the answer? Does this mean for our country, or just others?


A couple of points to add. In case you all don't know by now (again, Bill Maher tells all), Donald Trump probably won't leave office, even if he loses or is term limited out. Also, FWIW, as I have said before, I personally think an aristocracy is the ideal state. But I mean the original meaning of that word: government by the best and brightest citizens. But since no such people or state probably exists, I defer to the notion a democracy is best, for now at least.

Actually, sci-fi genres like Star Trek might agree with me. In the fictional Star Trek universe, many advanced societies are governed by an oligarchy of the best citizens. That's at least the impression I get. They often make references to ruling councils, ministers and so forth. Correct me if I am wrong, by all means.

And for those of you who will ask what my question/s is/are, I have bolded it above, so there is no doubt.

Thank you in advance for all your kindly replies.

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Last edited by Jim B.; 08-19-2018 at 01:53 AM. Reason: Typo.
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Old 08-19-2018, 02:45 AM
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I think either you or Maher have misunderstood what was being said. It's not that millennials don't consider democracy important or desirable, it's that millennials don't TRUST that the system we actually have IS a democracy in any real form. They've LOST FAITH in (what the US calls) democracy. There's a difference.

Last edited by jayjay; 08-19-2018 at 02:46 AM.
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Old 08-19-2018, 02:47 AM
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And the fact that I hedged that answer demonstrates that some Gen-Xers are pretty cynical about it, too...
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Old 08-19-2018, 03:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
But why the strange deviation on the democracy issue?
It's not a strange deviation. There's been a steady decline, and millennials just happen to be at the (current) end of it. There's a chart halfway down here.

Last edited by Lord Feldon; 08-19-2018 at 03:48 AM.
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Old 08-19-2018, 06:10 AM
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I think either you or Maher have misunderstood what was being said. It's not that millennials don't consider democracy important or desirable, it's that millennials don't TRUST that the system we actually have IS a democracy in any real form. They've LOST FAITH in (what the US calls) democracy. There's a difference.
It is not difficult to see where this comes from. The US is not a real democracy.

Two of our last three presidents lost the popular vote but won the presidency (Bush in 2000 and Trump in 2016).

In 2016, "45.2 million Americans cast a vote for a Democratic Senate candidate, while 39.3 million Americans voted for a Republican," yet the senate remains in republican hands. (SOURCE)

Quote:
Even if Democrats were to win every single 2018 House and Senate race for seats representing places that Hillary Clinton won or that Trump won by less than 3 percentage points — a pretty good midterm by historical standards — they could still fall short of the House majority and lose five Senate seats.

SOURCE: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features...oward-the-gop/
So when the conservatives on this message board piously tell you to solve your problems at the ballot box point to the above and let them know the American people have spoken and do not want their brand of politics but the scales have been tipped which does not seem very democratic to Millennials (and me too, a Gen-Xer).
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Old 08-19-2018, 07:46 AM
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Most people of the World War II generation think it is important to live in a democracy. I can understand that. But not so with millennials. A clear majority of that generation does not feel it is vital.
Most people of the World War 2 generation thought authoritarian government was a bad thing. But look where we are now. We live in strange times.
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Old 08-19-2018, 08:42 AM
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... and FWIW, America’s democracy has effectively ceased to function over the last 20-30 years. I’m not just talking about the Electoral College and the outcomes of elections. Even after the elections are over, our government is a stew of oligarchy, business money, hate, and obstruction. We just watched half the government spend eight years trying to obstruct the other half. And now that same party has control of all three branches of government yet it STILL cannot pass the legislation that has been its obsessive focus for years.

Meanwhile, the Retard-in-Chief’s only identifiable policy is to undo everything the last executive accomplished. America cannot make - much less execute - any kind of long-term planning if every generation only cares about stopping their imaginary enemies and reversing the last generation’s effort.

I hate to turn this into some kind of angry rant, but if America’s so-called democracy is representative of how democracies are supposed to function... No, thank you. At least China and Russia are capable of planning strategic goals that won’t be reversed every four years thanks to a mob of goddamned idiots.
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Old 08-19-2018, 09:43 AM
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Does this sound about right?

Quote:
Millennials themselves, asked why they do not back democracy, mostly say it “only serves the interests of a few” (40%) and that there is “no real difference between the policies of the major parties” (32%).
Except that's from an article about Australian millennials from 2016 (looks like the poll is from2014):

Quote:
A large-scale survey of political attitudes conducted by the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney found that just 42% of Australian 18- to 29-year-olds thought democracy was “the most preferable form of government”, compared with 65% of those aged 30 or above. Earlier Lowy polls have turned up the same disenchantment, all confirming that young adults are deeply sceptical about democracy.
And Canadians?

Quote:
A Canadian poll four years ago found less than 50% of young adults thought democracy trumped other kinds of government.
Maybe it's American exceptionalism that makes millennial different in the US, but I doubt it. Seems like it's a world-wide trend in western democracies, as the article indicates. But in India and Indonesia, young folks still apparently value democracy.
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Old 08-19-2018, 09:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
In case you all don't know by now (again, Bill Maher tells all), Donald Trump probably won't leave office, even if he loses
This kind of illogical paranoia is where I get bored and wander off looking for more reasonable discussion.

Yes,I know that in the course of human events, revolutions have happened. And once, We the people actually succeeded.

But today's society is nowhere near as divided by the level of hatred that we lived through in the 1960's; a time when 10's of thousands of national guard troops were mobilized in a hundred cities across the land, and blood ran in the streets-- of the ghettos, and at the Democratic convention in Chicago.

Today's prophets of doom seem to enjoy prepping for a right-wing/Christian takeover.
And they look as silly as those preppers who've spent years preparing for nuclear war, and love to show off their stores of guns and food hidden in their cabin up in the mountains.

Last edited by chappachula; 08-19-2018 at 09:52 AM.
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Old 08-19-2018, 10:18 AM
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Most people of the World War 2 generation thought authoritarian government was a bad thing. But look where we are now. We live in strange times.
We live in times where the sort of repression of freedom found acceptable by "the world War 2 generation" (or previous generations) is not tolerated.

That "Greatest Generation" accepted mass imprisonment of Japanese-Americans, saw the passage of the Smith Act and acquiesced in President Roosevelt giving J. Edgar Hoover emergency mass censorship powers.

https://mtsu.edu/first-amendment/art...during-wartime

It wasn't just in the U.S. either - Britain during WWII for example saw prosecution and imprisonment of citizens for doing nothing more than comparing Churchill unfavorably to Hitler.

A significant number of people at various times in our history have tolerated or encouraged repression of basic freedoms in the name of economic or national security. It's nothing new, but has to be fought whenever it crops up.
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Old 08-19-2018, 03:45 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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America is a plutocracy with democratic trappings. I think that is what millennials are opposed to. No matter which party you vote for, policy is always designed to benefit the rich first and foremost.

But sadly other forms of government just empower the plutocrats even more. If people think plutocracy is bad in a democracy, wait until they see how bad it is under an authoritarian state where naked bribery is legal and the politicians have nothing to fear from voters.

Also sadly due to all the mindless military worship here, large sections of America are now OK with a military junta.

http://theweek.com/speedreads/664505...nion-army-rule
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Old 08-19-2018, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by chappachula View Post
This kind of illogical paranoia is where I get bored and wander off looking for more reasonable discussion.

Yes,I know that in the course of human events, revolutions have happened. And once, We the people actually succeeded.

But today's society is nowhere near as divided by the level of hatred that we lived through in the 1960's; a time when 10's of thousands of national guard troops were mobilized in a hundred cities across the land, and blood ran in the streets-- of the ghettos, and at the Democratic convention in Chicago.

Today's prophets of doom seem to enjoy prepping for a right-wing/Christian takeover.
And they look as silly as those preppers who've spent years preparing for nuclear war, and love to show off their stores of guns and food hidden in their cabin up in the mountains.
How can you call that illogical paranoia? Trump said he wouldn't accept the results of the election if he lost.

He probably won't step down voluntarily and may have to be forced out by the new guys secret service detail.
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Old 08-19-2018, 04:01 PM
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How can you call that illogical paranoia? Trump said he wouldn't accept the results of the election if he lost.
No, he didn't say that (from Time):

Quote:
First, he has said the nation could face a messy fight around the election results themselves. Trump declined to promise at the final presidential debate that he would accept the election results regardless of outcome. “I’ll keep you in suspense,” he said. The following day at a rally in Ohio, he elaborated: “I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election — if I win,” he said.

So in the event of a Trump loss, he’s hinted at challenging the results or calling for a re-count similar to 2000. “If Al Gore or George Bush had agreed three weeks before the election and waived their right to a challenge or a re-count, there would be no Supreme Court case,” Trump argued in Ohio. “In effect, I’m being asked to waive centuries of legal precedent designed to protect the voters.” (TIME’s David Von Drehle explains here why Trump’s comparison to the 2000 election doesn’t hold up.)

Last edited by John Mace; 08-19-2018 at 04:01 PM.
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Old 08-19-2018, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
Except that's from an article about Australian millennials from 2016 (looks like the poll is from2014):
...
Maybe it's American exceptionalism that makes millennial different in the US, but I doubt it. Seems like it's a world-wide trend in western democracies, as the article indicates. But in India and Indonesia, young folks still apparently value democracy.
World-wide trend? In my anecdotal experience the Anglophonic democracies follow a decidedly right-wing trend compared with other nations.

I mentioned previously that I'd downloaded the World Value Survey Wave 6 and was looking for interesting statistics to measure. Here's one:

To the question "How much confidence do you have in the government in your nations' capital?",
responders could answer 1 = A Great deal; 2 = Quite a lot; 3 = Not very much; 4 = None at all.

Here are the average scores of 60 countries, sorted from most to least confidence in government:
1.601 Uzbekistan
1.807 Qatar
1.973 India
2.011 Philippines
2.047 Ghana
2.077 Nigeria
2.135 China
2.137 Bahrain
2.140 South_Africa
2.143 Malaysia
2.218 Kyrgyzstan
2.280 Japan
2.302 Kazakhstan
2.319 Estonia
2.327 Egypt
2.347 South_Korea
2.351 Singapore
2.366 Azerbaijan
2.425 Chile
2.440 Thailand
2.453 Cyprus
2.474 Iraq
2.481 Ukraine
2.506 Pakistan
2.517 Palestine
2.522 Rwanda
2.533 Morocco
2.538 HongKong
2.540 Sweden
2.542 Zimbabwe
2.585 Germany
2.595 Algeria
2.599 Belarus
2.608 Ecuador
2.619 Turkey
2.623 Kuwait
2.628 Netherlands
2.654 Jordan
2.688 New_Zealand
2.690 Trinidad_Tobago
2.715 Uruguay
2.723 Russia
2.725 Slovenia
2.737 Taiwan
2.746 Lebanon
2.767 Colombia
2.788 Romania
2.794 Poland
2.807 Armenia
2.814 Argentina
2.819 Peru
2.831 Brazil
2.850 Spain
2.854 Mexico
2.883 Georgia
2.883 United_States
2.963 Australia
3.004 Libya
3.022 Yemen
3.101 Tunisia
Unfortunately, several major countries including the U.K. seem to be missing from the WVS data altogether. Nevertheless two Anglophonic countries score "poorly" on this question, ahead only of Libya, Yemen and Tunisia. (Obviously one can muse about respondent ignorance — is Thailand's government really more trustworthy than the U.S.'s? But, whatever cause/effect inference you might want to draw, the result shown here is striking.)
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Old 08-19-2018, 04:54 PM
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World-wide trend? In my anecdotal experience the Anglophonic democracies follow a decidedly right-wing trend compared with other nations.
"Seems like it's a world-wide trend in western democracies, as the article indicates." I was referencing this, from the article I linked to:

Quote:
A similar malaise is expressed across western democracies.
But yeah, the article is a bit sloppy about exactly what that means. The main point, though, is that the issue brought up by the OP is not uniquely American.

Last edited by John Mace; 08-19-2018 at 04:56 PM.
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Old 08-20-2018, 02:35 AM
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How can you call that illogical paranoia?
He probably won't step down voluntarily and may have to be forced out by the new guys secret service detail.
I'm calling it illogical paranoia because it is paranoia.
There is nothing to be afraid of.
After 12 noon on inauguration day 2020 or 2024, Trump will no longer be president. Anything he does will be a joke, not something to be afraid of.

Yes, Trump may act stupidly that day,staying in the White House bedroom in his pyjamas and sleeping till the afternoon.
He may even hold a competing rally of his supporters elsewhere in Washington, and then declare that his rally was bigger than the inauguration ceremony, so he's still the big cheese.
Foxnews might even show it on a split screen.

But , so what?
No matter what he does or says, he will not be president.
He won't be creating some kind of threat to democracy.
He wont be leading masses of revolutionaries in the streets.
He wont even have the authority to tell the White House chef to make him a cheeseburger.

There is nothing to be afraid of.
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Old 08-20-2018, 03:22 AM
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Originally Posted by John Mace View Post
"Seems like it's a world-wide trend in western democracies, as the article indicates." I was referencing this, from the article I linked to:
Yes; as often my goal was not to contradict your point but to augment or modify it. Your poll and the WVS survey asked different questions.

Setting aside the article's question and looking only at the WVS result, do you find it unsettling, as I did?

And surely I'm not the first to note that it is U.K. and Australia, and not France, Germany or Scandinavia, that often seem to follow the U.S.A. down the right-wing or "populist" rabbit-hole. (Canada often seems more sensible — is that because they are partly Francophonic? )
.
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Last edited by septimus; 08-20-2018 at 03:26 AM.
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Old 08-20-2018, 03:58 AM
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Nothing wrong with democracy, when it works. And if really is that. But for decades democracy in many part of the worlds (including usa to same point) was and is just a nice sigil written somewhere in constitutions, whilst autocratic, buffonish, plutocratic and downright insane goverments rule(d) in the name of it. And then they go: you voted for us. Millennial know that this stinks. They want alternative. Not fascism or communism or monarchy (except stupid ones). They want some alternative that mirrors modern world and it is possibly not invented yet. Meanwhile they eat popcorn and sit in half demolished sofa.
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Old 08-20-2018, 04:43 AM
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Yes. But these autocrats and buffoons are elected by democratic processes. (Trump got only 46% of the popular vote instead of 48% but let's please cease sniveling about this minor detail.)

Millennials should be our hope, but most don't vote at all. Among those who do, many vote for R/Tyranny. (And a few of the 100+ IQ Millennials try to demonstrate their "superiority" by voting for simpletons like Gary Johnson. )
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Old 08-20-2018, 05:59 AM
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Slightly off topic. We really need more millennial power on this geriatric board. Go, fetch some grandchildren and force them to share their opinion here.
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Old 08-20-2018, 07:34 AM
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The alternative to democracy is not authoritarianism. Democracies can be authoritarian or not. The key is being able to escape the reach of government. This brings freedom because the state doesn’t want to scare you off. If you have large powerful governments, sometimes it takes quite an effort to escape it. Sometimes you must travel to distant locales that do not share your culture. Some easily escapable governments are Singapore, Hong Kong, Monaco, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland. You can escape these places and still remain in the same basic culture and you don’t have to go far.
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Old 08-20-2018, 07:50 AM
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As to generational differences, the WWII generation largely grew up in the Depression. They didn’t understand the economics of it, and thus they thought FDR’s statist plays were simply the government being nice to people. Then they were inculcated with immense amounts of pro-government propaganda for the war.

The Boomers were Fed a steady stream of propaganda from birth. They were idealogues who basically destroyed the government they loved so much. Gen Xers are pragmatic and came up during the 1970, the height of postwar anti-state sentiment.

Reagan made the Boomers swoon with ideological love of country once again. The gen Xers got into the saddle around the dot-com bubble. They are a scrappy bunch with some good knowledge, but there aren’t enough of them. The millenials came of age at what seemed like the joyous end of time. The 90s were carefree and then the world ended with 9-11. They were frazzled by this and the accompanying propaganda nixed any hope of a teenage rejection of the state. They came of age punch-drunk and unable to integrate into the economic system. State schools had taught them to follow processes. Without a guide, those that did not stick to the script floundered in the housing bust. Their love of Obama was idealistic, and his ineffective presidency jaded them. The rise of Trump should have any sensible person questioning democracy.

I don’t think the book can be written on the millennials quite yet.

-WillFarnaby, millennial

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Old 08-20-2018, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by chappachula View Post
This kind of illogical paranoia is where I get bored and wander off looking for more reasonable discussion.

Yes,I know that in the course of human events, revolutions have happened. And once, We the people actually succeeded.

But today's society is nowhere near as divided by the level of hatred that we lived through in the 1960's; a time when 10's of thousands of national guard troops were mobilized in a hundred cities across the land, and blood ran in the streets-- of the ghettos, and at the Democratic convention in Chicago.

Today's prophets of doom seem to enjoy prepping for a right-wing/Christian takeover.
And they look as silly as those preppers who've spent years preparing for nuclear war, and love to show off their stores of guns and food hidden in their cabin up in the mountains.
We live in different times, with different threats.

It's true that we don't have tens of thousands of rioters clashing with tens of thousands of national guard troops, but who's to say that it can't happen at some point.

What's occurring right now is, in many ways, unprecedented. A presidential election that may have very well been decided by the involvement of a foreign rival power. A presidency that is gaslighting the country. A presidency that has made clear its contempt for human rights and fundamental liberties of free speech and the press. A presidency that has tried to undermine and weaken the institutions that support these liberties. A presidency and congress that seem interested in trying to suppress voting. A presidency and congress that have essentially rigged taxation to promote and protect the wealth of the plutocratic class and make everyone else pay for it. I'd posit that the only reason we haven't seen civil unrest is that we're in the beginning stages and the consequences of this government haven't been fully appreciated, but in time, people will no doubt see this corruption for what it is. And we'd be foolish not to be both outraged about the present and fearful about what might happen next.
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Old 08-20-2018, 11:52 AM
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We live in different times, with different threats.

It's true that we don't have tens of thousands of rioters clashing with tens of thousands of national guard troops, but who's to say that it can't happen at some point.

What's occurring right now is, in many ways, unprecedented. A presidential election that may have very well been decided by the involvement of a foreign rival power. A presidency that is gaslighting the country. A presidency that has made clear its contempt for human rights and fundamental liberties of free speech and the press. A presidency that has tried to undermine and weaken the institutions that support these liberties. A presidency and congress that seem interested in trying to suppress voting. A presidency and congress that have essentially rigged taxation to promote and protect the wealth of the plutocratic class and make everyone else pay for it. I'd posit that the only reason we haven't seen civil unrest is that we're in the beginning stages and the consequences of this government haven't been fully appreciated, but in time, people will no doubt see this corruption for what it is. And we'd be foolish not to be both outraged about the present and fearful about what might happen next.
This is nonsense. As long as democracy has existed, there have been crazy people stirring up crazy fears. Hopefully as people get older they find the nuts and their doom saying less appealing because they can remember all the past times the nuts have been wrong.
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Old 08-20-2018, 12:18 PM
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Part of the change might be a more global world view, particularly in light of the recent wars. The question was "is it essential to live in a Democracy". Many people can live in China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iran, just fine, and then attempts to turn Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria into democracies has left them much worse off than before. So it is clear that on a global scale, Democracy may be nice but its not essential.
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Old 08-20-2018, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by septimus View Post
Yes. But these autocrats and buffoons are elected by democratic processes. (Trump got only 46% of the popular vote instead of 48% but let's please cease sniveling about this minor detail.)

Millennials should be our hope, but most don't vote at all. Among those who do, many vote for R/Tyranny. (And a few of the 100+ IQ Millennials try to demonstrate their "superiority" by voting for simpletons like Gary Johnson. )
Voter turnout increases with age.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank...ers_turnout-2/

http://www.electproject.org/_/rsrc/1...out_by_age.png

Hopefully as the millennials get older their turnout will increase. Supposedly there will be 90 million eligible millennial voters in 2020, and turnout may be 50-55%, so nearly 50 million millennial voters in the 2020 presidential election.

My understanding is 40% of millennials are non-white, and of the 60% who are white they are somewhat to the left of white boomers. So hopefully it'll move politics to the left eventually.
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Old 08-20-2018, 12:32 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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Originally Posted by chappachula View Post
I'm calling it illogical paranoia because it is paranoia.
There is nothing to be afraid of.
After 12 noon on inauguration day 2020 or 2024, Trump will no longer be president. Anything he does will be a joke, not something to be afraid of.

Yes, Trump may act stupidly that day,staying in the White House bedroom in his pyjamas and sleeping till the afternoon.
He may even hold a competing rally of his supporters elsewhere in Washington, and then declare that his rally was bigger than the inauguration ceremony, so he's still the big cheese.
Foxnews might even show it on a split screen.

But , so what?
No matter what he does or says, he will not be president.
He won't be creating some kind of threat to democracy.
He wont be leading masses of revolutionaries in the streets.
He wont even have the authority to tell the White House chef to make him a cheeseburger.

There is nothing to be afraid of.
I'm not disagreeing with you. But the point was that Trump may not leave office voluntarilty. He may have to be forced out by the next guys secret service detail.

I agree, Trump can't just sit in the oval office and say 'I'm still president' in 2021 or 2025. As far as I know he (hopefully) has no legal power to do so. However I wouldn't put it past him to try.

And this whole experience with Trump is moving the overton window on what is acceptable behavior in politics. The GOP keeps getting more and more racist, deranged, incompetent and anti-democracy and it doesn't cost them any votes. No matter how bad Trump fucks everything up he is still guaranteed 60 million votes.
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  #28  
Old 08-20-2018, 03:30 PM
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This is nonsense. As long as democracy has existed, there have been crazy people stirring up crazy fears. Hopefully as people get older they find the nuts and their doom saying less appealing because they can remember all the past times the nuts have been wrong.
Nothing about this is “nonsense.” Asahi has accurately described the situation. Trump’s administration is the most corrupt we’ve seen since Nixon, and Trump’s own naked contempt for democracy, truth, and American values in general are indeed unprecedented and terrifying. The only saving grace so far is his own astonishing incompetence.
  #29  
Old 08-20-2018, 04:13 PM
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Well, it seems to me that the biggest problem we face is that everyone seems to think that we live in democracy.

IIRC from my High School Civics class, we live in a democratic republic, which functions fundamentally differently from a democracy.

Maybe that's the disconnect certain people have when trying to figure out why their version of reality doesn't necessarily match up with actual reality.
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Old 08-20-2018, 07:20 PM
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Nothing about this is “nonsense.” Asahi has accurately described the situation. Trump’s administration is the most corrupt we’ve seen since Nixon, and Trump’s own naked contempt for democracy, truth, and American values in general are indeed unprecedented and terrifying. The only saving grace so far is his own astonishing incompetence.
To me, Trump's attempt at a power grab isn't the most terrifying part; it's the fact that a minimum of 40% of people in this country don't understand the dangers of what he and republicans are doing. And even beyond that 40%, there are probably another 20-25% who don't like Trump but are so checked out that they just don't seem to care about politics generally.

I keep going back to the fact that the worst regime in modern history, the Nazis, took power in a democracy, but needing only 37% of the vote to do it. We've already seen in this country a disturbing trend with increasing frequency, which is that political minorities win key elections. We're dangerously naive if we think we can't end up with an authoritarian regime here.

People assume that authoritarians are masterminds, cunning geniuses who fool people into voting for them because the trains run on time. In fact, the reality is that more often than not, they're grossly incompetent. They make disastrous decision after disastrous decision. They load their government with ministers and bureaucrats who are loyal but utterly incompetent. Look at how Putin has fucked Russia. Look at how Chavez and now Maduro have brought Venezuela to near collapse. Look at Erdogan's Turkey. They've destroyed their countries. The educated classes in their countries are well aware of this, which is why autocrats go after college professors, school teachers, organizers of labor, and competent bureaucrats - either jailing them or chasing them out of the country. But in all cases, there's just enough support, just enough people who buy into their ethnic nationalism or class warfare just enough for them to get away with rigging the vote in what are obviously sham elections. The world's most powerful autocrats and party leaders are often terribly incompetent, but the skill they possess is an understanding of how to manipulate people and how to gain and use power against their enemies. My point is, if you think Trump's sheer idiocy is going to be his downfall, I would not bet on that. Not when he has 30-40% of this country enthusiastically supporting him.
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Old 08-20-2018, 07:24 PM
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Well, it seems to me that the biggest problem we face is that everyone seems to think that we live in democracy.

IIRC from my High School Civics class, we live in a democratic republic, which functions fundamentally differently from a democracy.

Maybe that's the disconnect certain people have when trying to figure out why their version of reality doesn't necessarily match up with actual reality.
It's true that we live in a democratic republic, but it's implicit in this day and age that the emphasis is on democratic, not just republic. The trend over much of the 20th Century was in expanding the popular vote, not restricting it. Most people alive today assume that they live in a society that is free and one in which they have the opportunity to use their freedom to achieve socioeconomic mobility. High school civics teachers can say whatever they want, but when a significant number of people in this country begin to doubt that true democracy exists and when they doubt that there is fundamental fairness in society, then that's a powder keg waiting for a match light.
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Old 08-20-2018, 07:38 PM
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The real problem is money in politics. I remember a congressman complaining that the main thing he does is raise money for his reelection. He had to raise $30,000 a week, every week of his term. And if he takes a week vacation, he has to raise $60,000 the following week. And where does that money come from? Lobbyists, wealthy donors, you can spell it out. The result is that the money men call the tune. It is inevitable, so long as you allow money into politics. And even aside from the actual donors, there are all the advocacy groups who pretend to support causes, not candidates, but in most cases that is a fiction. Is it any wonder that ordinary people feel left out?
  #33  
Old 08-20-2018, 09:59 PM
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The real problem is money in politics. I remember a congressman complaining that the main thing he does is raise money for his reelection. He had to raise $30,000 a week, every week of his term. And if he takes a week vacation, he has to raise $60,000 the following week. And where does that money come from? Lobbyists, wealthy donors, you can spell it out. The result is that the money men call the tune. It is inevitable, so long as you allow money into politics. And even aside from the actual donors, there are all the advocacy groups who pretend to support causes, not candidates, but in most cases that is a fiction. Is it any wonder that ordinary people feel left out?
Money in politics, yes.

But then money in politics is used to create an economic system in which there is extreme wealth inequality. When there is wealth inequality in a democracy, democracy is in danger of death. Too many people in this country don't understand the relationship between economic equality and people power. Countries with extreme wealth & income inequality might be "democracies" but in name only.
  #34  
Old 08-21-2018, 03:34 PM
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In 2016, "45.2 million Americans cast a vote for a Democratic Senate candidate, while 39.3 million Americans voted for a Republican," yet the senate remains in republican hands. (SOURCE)
Wow...conflating ALL senatorial elections into a single majority complaint?
I am impressed by that reporter! That level of stupid usually requires the orange one.
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Old 08-21-2018, 04:04 PM
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It is not difficult to see where this comes from. The US is not a real democracy.

Two of our last three presidents lost the popular vote but won the presidency (Bush in 2000 and Trump in 2016).

In 2016, "45.2 million Americans cast a vote for a Democratic Senate candidate, while 39.3 million Americans voted for a Republican," yet the senate remains in republican hands. (SOURCE)



So when the conservatives on this message board piously tell you to solve your problems at the ballot box point to the above and let them know the American people have spoken and do not want their brand of politics but the scales have been tipped which does not seem very democratic to Millennials (and me too, a Gen-Xer).
Apparently they are confused about basic facts of civics.

The United States of America has never been a pure democracy. We have always been a representative democratic republic. It has ALWAYS been possible for a person winning the total national popular vote to fail to win election at the Electoral College, as Samuel Tilden can tell you. He is, to this day, the only candidate to win an outright majority of the popular vote (as opposed merely to more popular votes than the winner). But there is no President Tilden portrait in the White House.

That's the system. Maybe you don't like it, but don't walk around thinking it's sudden and new. Andrew Jackson also won the popular vote in 1824 but lost the Presidency to John Quincy Adams, but at least he got his revenge four years later. Al Gore and Hillary Clinton are the other two members of the club.
  #36  
Old 08-21-2018, 04:11 PM
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Slightly off topic. We really need more millennial power on this geriatric board. Go, fetch some grandchildren and force them to share their opinion here.
I'm a Millennial, and I assure you that the common sentiment here is not one that would like to see me with more power on this board or sharing my opinion more.

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Originally Posted by Unpronounceable View Post
Wow...conflating ALL senatorial elections into a single majority complaint?
I am impressed by that reporter! That level of stupid usually requires the orange one.
It's been a repeated refrain by some leftists on this board ever since the election. Yes, it's stupid, but that hasn't stopped them.
  #37  
Old 08-21-2018, 07:06 PM
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In 2016, "45.2 million Americans cast a vote for a Democratic Senate candidate, while 39.3 million Americans voted for a Republican," yet the senate remains in republican hands. (SOURCE)
Wow...conflating ALL senatorial elections into a single majority complaint?
I am impressed by that reporter! That level of stupid usually requires the orange one.
Wrong. It is true that the GOP Senate win despite Democratic popular-vote advantage is the valid result of the system, and not directly the result of GOP cheating or gerrymandering. It is a happenstance of bad luck rather than the result of explicit GOP mischief.

However, it is frustrating for right-minded pro-democracy thinkers to see results like this, especially since similar results in the U.S. House and in state legislatures often are due in part to malicious GOP gerrymandering. True, rigging due to GOP cheating and rigging due to the happenstance of state boundaries are different qualitatively, but the effects happen to operate in tandem, empowering the kleptocrats and false populists in the minority rather than pro-democracy voters in the majority. It is easy to grasp why the reporter (and the SDMB poster commenting on the report) complain about the anti-democratic result despite that they understand that, in this specific case, the subversion of the will of the majority may be due to happenstance rather than GOP mischief.

Last edited by septimus; 08-21-2018 at 07:08 PM.
  #38  
Old 08-21-2018, 07:33 PM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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Wrong. It is true that the GOP Senate win despite Democratic popular-vote advantage is the valid result of the system, and not directly the result of GOP cheating or gerrymandering. It is a happenstance of bad luck rather than the result of explicit GOP mischief.

However, it is frustrating for right-minded pro-democracy thinkers to see results like this, especially since similar results in the U.S. House and in state legislatures often are due in part to malicious GOP gerrymandering. True, rigging due to GOP cheating and rigging due to the happenstance of state boundaries are different qualitatively, but the effects happen to operate in tandem, empowering the kleptocrats and false populists in the minority rather than pro-democracy voters in the majority. It is easy to grasp why the reporter (and the SDMB poster commenting on the report) complain about the anti-democratic result despite that they understand that, in this specific case, the subversion of the will of the majority may be due to happenstance rather than GOP mischief.
"similar results in the U.S. House"? The total of 2016 votes for the House of Representatives (a MUCH better sample than the Senate races) went for the GOP by ~1.4 million votes.

And "the happenstance of state boundaries" is not "rigging" in any meaningful sense of the word.
  #39  
Old 08-21-2018, 07:48 PM
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"similar results in the U.S. House"? The total of 2016 votes for the House of Representatives (a MUCH better sample than the Senate races) went for the GOP by ~1.4 million votes.

And "the happenstance of state boundaries" is not "rigging" in any meaningful sense of the word.
Nationally, the GOP may win more House votes, but gerrymandering in states like Wisconsin assures the GOP will be over-represented vis-a-vis voters' wishes. And controlling a disproportionate number of statewide seats lets them draw the maps for house seats as well:
"In 2012, Republicans got 48.6 percent of the statewide vote but won 60 seats in the 99-seat Assembly. In 2014, the party got 52 percent of the vote and won 63 Assembly seats. Democrats in 2012 received 51.4 percent of the vote but only won 39 Assembly seats, later winning just 36 seats when they received 48 percent of the vote in 2014."
https://madison.com/wsj/news/local/g...cc72ee068.html
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  #40  
Old 08-21-2018, 08:19 PM
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"similar results in the U.S. House"? The total of 2016 votes for the House of Representatives (a MUCH better sample than the Senate races) went for the GOP by ~1.4 million votes.
How are you with numbers, Mr. Hurricane ? Pay close attention. To avoid complaints of cherry-picking, I include all seven of the most recent general elections.

2004 Red
Seats won 232 202
Popular vote 55,958,144 52,969,786
Percentage 49.4% 46.8%

2006 Blue
Seats won 233 202
Popular vote 42,338,795 35,857,334
Percentage 52.3% 44.3%

Start by comparing 2004 and 2006. The Blues had almost exactly the same final seat count in 2006 as the Reds had in 2004. But to get there they needed to win the popular vote by 8% compared with just 2.6% for the Reds in 2004. ¿Comprende?

2008 Blue
Seats won 257 178
Popular vote 65,237,840 52,249,491
Percentage 53.2% 42.6%

2010 Red
Seats won 242 193
Popular vote 44,827,441 38,980,192
Percentage 51.7% 44.9%

Blues win by over 10% in 2006 and are rewarded. Reds win by less than 7% in 2010 but get several more seats than Blue got with their 8% 2006 win.

2012 Red
Seats won 234 201
Popular vote 58,228,253 59,645,531
Percentage 47.6% 48.8%

The Blues won the 2012 popular vote by 1.2% but Red gets a strong advantage by number of seats. Capiche?

2014 Red
Seats won 247 188
Popular vote 40,081,282 35,624,357
Percentage 51.2% 45.5%

2016 Red
Seats won 241 194
Popular vote 63,173,815 61,776,554
Percentage 49.1% 48.0%

In 2016, Reds eke out a tiny 1.1% win but get hugely more seats.

IOW, the House is "rigged" in favor of the GOP. Some of this advantage, like the entire Senate advantage, can be attributed to happenstance rather than deliberate gerrymandering. But it puts to rest your incorrect conclusion.

This is your cue to say "Thank you, septimus. I learned something new." But I won't hold my breath.

Last edited by septimus; 08-21-2018 at 08:20 PM.
  #41  
Old 08-21-2018, 08:26 PM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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... This is your cue to say "Thank you, septimus. I learned something new." But I won't hold my breath.
No, you should definitely not hold your breath because my conclusion was that the 2016 Senate vote total, which the Democrats "won" (for all that's worth) was nothing like the 2016 House results, which the Republicans won. In the post I was responding to, you said "similar results in the U.S. House", but they weren't similar. Your claim that your post "puts to rest [my] incorrect conclusion" looks silly to me, and I don't generally thank people for doing silly things.
  #42  
Old 08-21-2018, 09:33 PM
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No, you should definitely not hold your breath ..
Quibbles about semantics don't interest me. Misunderstanding or pretending to misunderstand another's point holds no interest for me. Information is valuable.

I might almost conclude that the tiny popular vote win by the D's in the Senate compared with the tiny R vote advantage in the House was all that you grasped. Your thinking isn't that simplistic , is it?

Just to see if you're even remotely on the same page, summarize what you learned by reviewing the results of those 7 House elections shown in the post. Look at those results in isolation — don't pretend that the only value is to quibble with your misconstruction of a previous post.

I'm still not holding my breath.

Last edited by septimus; 08-21-2018 at 09:36 PM.
  #43  
Old 08-21-2018, 09:40 PM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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... summarize what you learned by reviewing the results of those 7 House elections shown in the post. ...
Nothing I didn't already know:

1) in almost every case, the side that gets the most votes wins the House (2012 being the sole exception in recent years)

2) larger margins of victory generally translate into more seats for the winning side

3) incumbency is an advantage

4) Team Blue has done a piss-poor job of distributing themselves geographically, and this costs them seats.
  #44  
Old 08-21-2018, 11:37 PM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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Originally Posted by HurricaneDitka View Post
Nothing I didn't already know:

1) in almost every case, the side that gets the most votes wins the House (2012 being the sole exception in recent years)

2) larger margins of victory generally translate into more seats for the winning side

3) incumbency is an advantage

4) Team Blue has done a piss-poor job of distributing themselves geographically, and this costs them seats.
The 2012 election happened after the GOP gerrymandering binge of 2010. So you can't call that an exception, more of a pattern that will play a role in 2018.
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Old 08-22-2018, 12:04 AM
HurricaneDitka HurricaneDitka is offline
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The 2012 election happened after the GOP gerrymandering binge of 2010. So you can't call that an exception, more of a pattern that will play a role in 2018.
Sure I can, because in 2014 and 2016 the Republicans got more votes in the House. 2012 was the exceptional year, in that the party that received fewer votes won control of the House. In all other years (that septimus posted data for) the party that received the most votes won control of the House.
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Old 08-22-2018, 01:14 AM
Wesley Clark Wesley Clark is offline
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Sure I can, because in 2014 and 2016 the Republicans got more votes in the House. 2012 was the exceptional year, in that the party that received fewer votes won control of the House. In all other years (that septimus posted data for) the party that received the most votes won control of the House.
Had the republicans not won the majority of votes in 2014 or 2016, they likely would've still retained control of the house due to gerrymandering done in 2010.

The GOP gerrymandered things to the point where even if they lose the popular vote, they still control the house.
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  #47  
Old 08-22-2018, 05:30 PM
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Ho hum, another poll indicating we're going to hell in a hand-basket.

I'd say the original poll is largely meaningless unless you can compare it to a similar poll taken in, say, 1974. The "Summer of Love" had collapsed into the Weather Underground bombings, Nixon, and Kent State. How much did boomers trust democracy after the release of the Pentagon Papers?

And today's music sucks, too.
  #48  
Old 08-23-2018, 08:51 PM
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@OP

Personally, after ranging all across the political spectrum and digging up just about every political system I could research (I have a boring job), the only consistent conclusion one can reach is that the only interests that will ever be served are the interests of the powered elite. Now, that's usually the monied elite, but occasionally you can have a system where power isn't identical to money but it's rare and usually not stable. The only possible solution for The People to have their interests served is to give them the power. Completely. In the past, the middle class had a lot more political power (and money) and the US republic kinda sorta worked (it's better than Monarchy). Now, it's totally dysfunctional and really only serves the interests of the 1% (republicans) or the 5-10% (democrats). The other 90% has zero representation.

But the question is, what kind of system do people want if not democracy?

I can only speak for myself, but I'd argue total Demarchy. 10,000 senators (no bicameralism needed), selected from computer generated districts that are randomly distributed then adjusted to maximize convexity and equalize population between districts. Senators are randomly selected (Sortition) from college educated citizens and sent to a special year of post-secondary education (focusing on politically neutral economics, real politics, etc, for all those people whose field has absolutely nothing to do with governance), then allowed to administer as a voting member of the legislature for 3 years, after which time they are barred from public office permanently. They are also barred from any field in which they had a committee position with regulatory power (likewise, former members of industry are banned from those committees). No revolving door. No career politicians. Their pay is equal to the median income of the country, but they're given a perpetual stipend after retirement that scales with the impact of their economic decisions on the median income to incentive LONG TERM economic prosperity and ignore short [s]sighted[/s] term gains. Otherwise, the legislature would fill the same role as congress - passing laws, upon the signature of the president, approving appointments, etc.

The executive branch would have a president elected directly by the populace - no districts, no electoral college - popular vote. Single transferable vote, that is everyone votes for an unlimited number of candidates by order of preference, first to 50% of the vote wins, and until there is a winner repeat the following: eliminate the lowest voted candidate(s), recount the votes as if that candidate never appeared on the ballot. The president would have the same veto powers, appointment, ect. Not everything about the US system is bad. All votes would require a paper trail and verifiable counting process. All voters would have a constitutionally protected right to vote. No poll taxes of any sort (voter ID is fine, as long as it is completely free and automatically issued, and entirely intollerable otherwise).

The Judicial system has been the hardest thing to research, but besides the dysfunctional appointment process the US system has worked fairly well. I don't think I'm experienced enough to suggest an improvement, and would import it directly.

Last but not least, an ideal system would borrow from Switzerland's (or for those unfamiliar, California has similar) citizen initiatives, wherein a sufficient number of signatures can trigger a citizens vote for something to become law, circumventing congress entirely.

Now, why 10,000 senators? Athens was functional with 6,000 (yes, over the centuries of its existence it had the occasional issue, but it was mostly functional). 10,000 is a far cry from the percentage of the population that Athens had as its representatives (there was a good chance of you getting a seat in Athens at some point in your life, like 50/50, but that's just not possible with the number of US citizens in existence), but we have historical examples of such a large legislature being able to get things done. 10,000 is at least a representative sample. You'd be laughed out of any rigorous institution if you presented a sample size of 100 or even 500 in a study, why should a single study (vote) be used as a representation of the will of the people? It also dilutes political power. Bribe/blackmail/extort one senator today, and you have 1% control of congress for what may be decades. Bribe one in the new system? You have 0.01% control for exactly 3 years.

Why sortition? It's harder to rig, it eliminates all variants of Tweedism, eliminates gerrymandering, and it produces a far more representative sample. Most politicians will tell you they are the Clever Elite, smarter than you and more experienced than you in every way. This is just salesmanship, and most of them have no more education or experience than the average joe on the street. They just have the balls, money and connections to run for office. We're basically getting random joes now, except they are hand picked by the Tweeds, bought and paid for by lobbyists, and generally filtered by our system to leave us with the worst of the lot. I'd have a lot more faith in a system looking out for me if the people in office looked like me economically - I avoid playing race cards, but this'd also put an end to the whole argument about representation too.

It'd be a lot more functional, and it would represent the will of the people. You'd also need to rewrite a lot of the constitution (we have no constitutional right to vote, bribery is protected speech, and rules-as-written, you should be able to bring a nuke into a hospital without offering up any reason whatsoever just for *starters*)... but this post is long enough. I'm happy to engage, however.

The so called democracy we have today? It's about as "representative" of the people as the old noble republics circa Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The aristocracy chooses who holds the reigns and the people have no real say. We've slipped so far from the republic we started as that it's sad and almost funny. Funny, because even the original intent for the republic was to keep those stupid, poor inferior people from participating (that is why we have the Electoral College to overrule the popular vote, why Senators exist and were chosen by state legislatures and not votes, why we had poll taxes, and why the supreme court was a lifelong position). People seem to forget that when the founders spoke of men, they meant relatively rich, land owning men (who were coincidentally white, but they cared a lot more about money than race, and happily threw poor whites to the dogs same as everyone else). I mean, they modeled their government off of ancient Rome- yeah, bread and circuses, screw the plebs, Rome. They disparaged Athens and rule by the people.
  #49  
Old 08-24-2018, 08:30 AM
Red Wiggler Red Wiggler is offline
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Well, that was quite the screed but I agree completely that a substantially larger Congress and the elimination of first past the post voting will advance the cause of democracy in this country. The corrupt, money-driven system currently in effect serves the will of big donors far more than it does the rest of us.
  #50  
Old 08-24-2018, 11:14 AM
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its that millennials think everyone who is a member of a "marginalized group" is inherently entitled to what they want at everyone's expense. That doesn't square with democracy.
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