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US Politics/Elections Thread

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He should have pulled a Costanza and left the room here:

He's a good performer. That's how you become president.

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Was going to post this in the inequality thread, but figured it deals more with politicking than policy.

According to Paul Ryan, former VP candidate and current House Ways & Means Committee Chairman, growing inequality is all Obama's fault:

"They’ve exacerbated stagnation. They’re made things worse. The wealthy are doing really well. They’re practicing trickle down economics now.”

No doubt inequality has grown under Obama's administration, but is Paul Ryan and fellow Republicans in any position to cast blame? As Jon Chait points out:

"…Ryan flamboyantly advocated a sweeping budget plan that would have eliminated coverage expansions for the poor, layered on hundreds of billions of dollars in additional cuts in programs benefiting the poor, and in general produced “the largest redistribution of income from the bottom to the top in modern U.S. history and likely increase poverty and inequality more than any other budget in recent times (and possibly in the nation’s history).”

And now Ryan is claiming Obama’s policies increased inequality! There seems to be literally no limit at all to his shamelessness."

But it is interesting to watch the GOP attempting to pivot on the issue of inequality. But what I don't understand is how they'll align their policies with that message since many of their policies make inequality worse, not better.

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Was going to post this in the inequality thread, but figured it deals more with politicking than policy.

According to Paul Ryan, former VP candidate and current House Ways & Means Committee Chairman, growing inequality is all Obama's fault:

"They’ve exacerbated stagnation. They’re made things worse. The wealthy are doing really well. They’re practicing trickle down economics now.”

No doubt inequality has grown under Obama's administration, but is Paul Ryan and fellow Republicans in any position to cast blame? As Jon Chait points out:

"…Ryan flamboyantly advocated a sweeping budget plan that would have eliminated coverage expansions for the poor, layered on hundreds of billions of dollars in additional cuts in programs benefiting the poor, and in general produced “the largest redistribution of income from the bottom to the top in modern U.S. history and likely increase poverty and inequality more than any other budget in recent times (and possibly in the nation’s history).”

And now Ryan is claiming Obama’s policies increased inequality! There seems to be literally no limit at all to his shamelessness."

But it is interesting to watch the GOP attempting to pivot on the issue of inequality. But what I don't understand is how they'll align their policies with that message since many of their policies make inequality worse, not better.

So how does cutting benefits for the poor decrease income inequality exactly? Must be the old Jedi mind trick...the GOP has a big pair you have to give em that.

Lets see how much the GOP really cares about wealth redistribution when it some time to vote on Obama's new budget which increases taxes on the wealthy and gives tax breaks for the middle class. :lol:

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Pumping a trillion dollars in banks so that they don't blow up like they should has been the main culprit since 2008. That's been bipartisan:

Edited by magisme

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Pumping a trillion dollars in banks so that they don't blow up like they should has been the main culprit since 2008. That's been bipartisan:

It's bipartisan because allowing the financial system to utterly crash would cripple the economy for decades. Thankfully people in charge at the time learned a lesson or two from the Great Depression.

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Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Too Big to Fail! Trust us, it's for your own good.

Edited by magisme

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How do people like this hold any kind of power?

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I have enjoyed US politics and elections, but now, with Colbert gone and Stewart retiring, I don't see what's fun in it anymore.

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I have enjoyed US politics and elections, but now, with Colbert gone and Stewart retiring, I don't see what's fun in it anymore.

John Oliver is great.

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I have enjoyed US politics and elections, but now, with Colbert gone and Stewart retiring, I don't see what's fun in it anymore.

As talented as Stewart, Colbert, and Oliver are, the source material is so strong that most any charismatic entertainer would likely deliver just as well. When I went to a taping of the Colbert Report last year, I got the chance to ask Colbert if he thought U.S. politics was its own brand of crazy when compared to the rest of the developed world. He took less than a second to answer in the affirmative. The next generation of entertainers will likely do just as good of job as the material allows them to. I don't see partisanship decreasing, news networks that cover U.S. politics being any less asinine or inept, or U.S. politicians (particular from one side of the isle) becoming responsible adults any time soon. Guys like Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly, and Sean Hannity aren't going away any time soon. The genre of satirical news parodies will be fine.

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I don't know how any sane, rational individual could vote for either the Democratic or Republican party at this stage.

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I don't know how any sane, rational individual could vote for either the Democratic or Republican party at this stage.

Lesser of two evils? I don't like David Cameron that much but the alternative in May is pretty much unthinkable.

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I don't subscribe to that idea.

Help to buy mortgage scheme under the Tories is my plan to buy a house in the next year so I'm voting for that.

Edited by Dazey

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I don't subscribe to that idea.

Help to buy mortgage scheme under the Tories is my plan to buy a house in the next year so I'm voting for that.

I haven't the same interest in British politics to be honest. I do find Farage endlessly amusing though :lol: and I'll be keeping a keen eye on the In or Out of the EU referendum.

Milliband is awful.

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I don't know how any sane, rational individual could vote for either the Democratic or Republican party at this stage.

Part of what Dazey says is true. Sometimes you don't necessarily vote for a party but vote against the other party.

The U.S. is also unique in how it practices democracy. I could be wrong, but it's the only constitutional republic on the planet, and as such, makes it difficult for other parties to gain a piece of the action. Most democracies are parliamentary-baesd, in which the electorate only votes for a particular party and almost never for the head of state directly. Separating the two can, at times, give the appearance of autonomy and choice whereby a voter can choose a Republican to represent them locally but a Democrat for President. People who live in parliamentary democracies don't have this luxury.

Identity politics is almost universal, but I'd argue it's not as nearly as potent and practice as found in the United States. For many active American voters, who you support says a lot about who you are and the community you belong to. Voting for a third, unknown entity that has neither roots in the community nor national branding would violate that sense of self. This isn't necessarily an American phenomenon, but in my experience, it's most noticeable in the States compared to most other developed nations.

Another issue is money and political infrastructure. The power and size of the political machines behind these two parties is enormous. Starting a new party from the ground up would be akin to starting a new automobile company from scratch. The U.S. is such a large country both population wise and geographically that getting any kind of traction nationally is almost impossible. The last person who had any measurable success doing so was Ross Perot (a billionaire) back in the 1990s. But even there, people were voting for him as President. Had he won, he still would have faced a Democratic-controlled Congress. It takes a tremendous amount of human and financial resources to marshal popular support. The Democratic and Republican parties live and die off the investments made by previous party faithfuls in a way that new parties cannot. As such, a voter could cast their ballot for a third party, but it's almost the equivalent of not voting at all. Or worse, your vote for the green party that could have supported the Democratic candidate might result in a Republican being elected. This happens both on the right and the left (most notably when Ralph Nader co-opted a large enough of the vote that ended costing Al Gore the election and the Presidency), and it's why you'll see both Republicans and Democrats a week or two out from every election telling voters not to throw away their vote by voting for a third party.

Finally, the ideology and platforms of both parties have historically been broad enough to capture most of the diverse voting coalitions within the United States. Sometimes it's a happy marriage (evangelicals + wall street conservatives) that proves strong enough to sweep a particular party into power. In the 1910s through 1940s the socialist and communist parties were able to survive, but as a result of the Great Depression and World War II, many of their policy planks were incorporated into the Democratic policy platform. This meant that if you were a socialist in the 1930s, you had a better chance of realizing some of the things you wanted by voting Democrat who had a better shot at winning Congress and the Presidency than voting for the socialist party. The same thing happened with the conservative right in the 1960s; with many members of the members of Young Americans for Freedom and the John Birch Society supporting Republican candidates who stood a chance of winning than starting their own parties.

In this manner, many of the extreme elements of the political spectrum have found it more effective to change the beast from within rather than challenge it with another party. We see this happening with the rise of the Tea Party; which chose not to create its own party but co-opt the Republican mantra. It's somewhat ironic that the Republican establishment initially supported and championed the Tea Party as a response to Obama's dominant electoral win in 2008 only to find that many were kicked out in 2010 and 2012. As much as I find the Tea Party fucking nuts when it comes to their ideologies and policy prescriptions, they are extremely effective at working the political system to enact changes. The "extreme left" (which needs to be put into quotes, because there really isn't an extreme left in the U.S.) haven't been as successful co-opting the Democratic party. The Occupy Wall Street Movement did not become a political force that bent or broke Democratic legislators. However, their message and concern for wealth inequality is finding a voice within the Democratic platform and will likely be a key issue Democrats will campaign on going forward. So in that way, we do see how the OWS movement has affected (but not infiltrated) the Democratic party.

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Basically you're not voting for the Democrats so much as voting against the guy who says prison causes gays or that a snowball disproves climate change.

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Basically you're not voting for the Democrats so much as voting against the guy who says prison causes gays or that a snowball disproves climate change.

Yeah, because if you vote for a third-party candidate, the snow ball guy gets to decide whether climate change is real or not.

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Basically you're not voting for the Democrats so much as voting against the guy who says prison causes gays or that a snowball disproves climate change.

Yeah, because if you vote for a third-party candidate, the snow ball guy gets to decide whether climate change is real or not.

I'd argue that your example above is precisely why the two party system needs to be dismantled. People aren't voting for something, they are voting against something , that is to avoid the evil of two lessers.

Given I am not an American, obviously my biggest concerns are that of Foreign Policy/Security/Economics. I don't have any interest in your gay marriage issues etc

On that basis, the US course since 2001 has been a disaster. Republican or Democrat hasn't mattered one iota. And I don't see it changing either when I see the likes of Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush being touted for the presidency.

.

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Basically you're not voting for the Democrats so much as voting against the guy who says prison causes gays or that a snowball disproves climate change.

Yeah, because if you vote for a third-party candidate, the snow ball guy gets to decide whether climate change is real or not.

I'd argue that your example above is precisely why the two party system needs to be dismantled. People aren't voting for something, they are voting against something , that is to avoid the evil of two lessers.

Given I am not an American, obviously my biggest concerns are that of Foreign Policy/Security/Economics. I don't have any interest in your gay marriage issues etc

On that basis, the US course since 2001 has been a disaster. Republican or Democrat hasn't mattered one iota. And I don't see it changing either when I see the likes of Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush being touted for the presidency.

.

Well, both what Dazey and myself are generalizations. Americans, just like many other citizens in other countries, vote for many reasons. Some are single issue voters (gun rights advocates), while others vote for certain parties that best align with their own ideologies.

The problem with the two party system, as I see it, is what is occurring in the U.S. right now. You have one party that is so far out of the mainstream with respect to environmental, inequality, and social issues that it's competitor doesn't have to try that hard. Of course, I'm speaking strictly in terms of Presidential elections when the American electorate participates the most.

With respect to foreign policy, while many unfortunate decisions have been made by both Republican and Democratic Presidents alike since 2001, it's unlikely such outcomes would have been much different had the President been someone from a third-party (with exception of Ron Paul). There is generally far more consensus around foreign policy than its domestic counterpart in the U.S., and as a result of the attacks on 9/11, the course of action was likely predetermined. As much as we like to think that had Al Gore won the Presidency in 2000 that the U.S. would have stayed out of Iraq, there is very compelling evidence that this wouldn't have been the case. There is a libertarian pulse within the American electorate, but it is a minor voice in an otherwise loud echo chamber that asserts America's primacy in international affairs.

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Basically you're not voting for the Democrats so much as voting against the guy who says prison causes gays or that a snowball disproves climate change.

Yeah, because if you vote for a third-party candidate, the snow ball guy gets to decide whether climate change is real or not.

I'd argue that your example above is precisely why the two party system needs to be dismantled. People aren't voting for something, they are voting against something , that is to avoid the evil of two lessers.

Given I am not an American, obviously my biggest concerns are that of Foreign Policy/Security/Economics. I don't have any interest in your gay marriage issues etc

On that basis, the US course since 2001 has been a disaster. Republican or Democrat hasn't mattered one iota. And I don't see it changing either when I see the likes of Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush being touted for the presidency.

.

Well, both what Dazey and myself are generalizations. Americans, just like many other citizens in other countries, vote for many reasons. Some are single issue voters (gun rights advocates), while others vote for certain parties that best align with their own ideologies.

The problem with the two party system, as I see it, is what is occurring in the U.S. right now. You have one party that is so far out of the mainstream with respect to environmental, inequality, and social issues that it's competitor doesn't have to try that hard. Of course, I'm speaking strictly in terms of Presidential elections when the American electorate participates the most.

With respect to foreign policy, while many unfortunate decisions have been made by both Republican and Democratic Presidents alike since 2001, it's unlikely such outcomes would have been much different had the President been someone from a third-party (with exception of Ron Paul). There is generally far more consensus around foreign policy than its domestic counterpart in the U.S., and as a result of the attacks on 9/11, the course of action was likely predetermined. As much as we like to think that had Al Gore won the Presidency in 2000 that the U.S. would have stayed out of Iraq, there is very compelling evidence that this wouldn't have been the case. There is a libertarian pulse within the American electorate, but it is a minor voice in an otherwise loud echo chamber that asserts America's primacy in international affairs.

No offence but you don't need to explain all that to me. I've lived and worked in the U.S. and participated in elections over there.

The choice facing the electorate is beyond abysmal.

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