homepage
  roll on christmas  
click here to find out more about ship of fools click here to sign up for the ship of fools newsletter click here to support ship of fools
community the mystery worshipper gadgets for god caption competition foolishness features ship stuff
discussion boards live chat cafe avatars frequently-asked questions the ten commandments gallery private boards register for the boards
 
Ship of Fools


Post new thread  Post a reply
My profile login | Register | Directory | Search | FAQs | Board home
   - Printer-friendly view Next oldest thread   Next newest thread
» Ship of Fools   » Community discussion   » Purgatory   » Legitimate Government (Page 1)

 - Email this page to a friend or enemy.  
Pages in this thread: 1  2 
 
Source: (consider it) Thread: Legitimate Government
Timothy the Obscure

Mostly Friendly
# 292

 - Posted      Profile for Timothy the Obscure   Email Timothy the Obscure   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
There's been a bit of a fuss about John Lewis (and others) calling Trump "not a legitimate president," on various grounds. Certainly he's legitimate in law (though the Electoral College blew its first ever chance to perform its main function of preventing a dangerous demagogue from seizing power), but there are other forms of legitimacy more substantive than mere legal form. I propose the following criteria for a legitimate government:

Fundamental Postulate: Political sovereignty resides in the people as a collective whole.

Consent Corollary: Governments derive all of their legitimate powers from the consent of the people.

Revocation Corollary: Such consent, once granted, may be withdrawn by the people.

Majority Rule Corollary: Consent to governance in general, and to specific acts of governance, is determined by majority rule.

Minority Rights Corollary: The rights of minorities must be guaranteed, especially those rights essential to persuading others to join them so they may become a majority: e.g., freedom of speech and the press, freedom of association and assembly, etc.

Equality Corollary: Equality under the law, and equality of participation in political processes, must be guaranteed to all citizens (e.g., universal adult suffrage).

To the extent a government meets these criteria, it is legitimate. Clearly the Electoral College at times violates the Majority Rule Corollary, and gerrymandering and voter suppression violate the Equality Corollary. Legitimacy is a continuum. I suspect there may be corollaries I've overlooked, and I'm sure some may take exception to the whole scheme, but...thoughts?

--------------------
When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion.
  - C. P. Snow

Posts: 6103 | From: PDX | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Ian Climacus

Liturgical Slattern
# 944

 - Posted      Profile for Ian Climacus     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Interesting post.

quote:
Originally posted by Timothy the Obscure:
Revocation Corollary: Such consent, once granted, may be withdrawn by the people.

Is this at the next election, or are you thinking of a withdrawal of consent during a term?

quote:
Originally posted by Timothy the Obscure:
Majority Rule Corollary: Consent to governance in general, and to specific acts of governance, is determined by majority rule.

From your last paragraph I take it you define "majority rule" as the candidate who gets the most votes? I rather like our Australian electorate system where each electorate contains approximately an equal number of voters and the party winning the most electorates wins. But perhaps familiarity breeds comfort.

[edit: can't schpel]

[ 22. January 2017, 04:58: Message edited by: Ian Climacus ]

Posts: 7372 | From: Albury, Australia | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
anteater

Ship's pest-controller
# 11435

 - Posted      Profile for anteater   Email anteater   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Timothy: Interesting:
quote:
Fundamental Postulate: Political sovereignty resides in the people as a collective whole.
Do you mean it does or it should? If the former I do not believe it to be true. If the latter, I think it far more nuanced. I'm not sure "people as a whole" is always a useful concept, where there is great internal division.

quote:
Consent Corollary: Governments derive all of their legitimate powers from the consent of the people.
Do you mean as in Representative Democracy where power to act is based on having been elected? Or plebiscite-style, where all decisions are subject to referendum, which IMO doesn't work.
quote:
Revocation Corollary: Such consent, once granted, may be withdrawn by the people.
Subject to restrictions, like not every two weeks. Hence elections.

quote:
Majority Rule Corollary: Consent to governance in general, and to specific acts of governance, is determined by majority rule.
So where does this come from? Is it just what you think works? Or some basic fact of the collective unconscious? I think this is highly debatable is divided societies. Which is why multi-cultural societies are problematic.
quote:
Minority Rights Corollary: The rights of minorities must be guaranteed, especially those rights essential to persuading others to join them so they may become a majority: e.g., freedom of speech and the press, freedom of association and assembly, etc.
What rights? And why? You assume that it will never be the case that a minority believes it has a right, which is prejudicial to the well-being of society. ISIS, for instance should have "those rights essential to persuading others to join them so they may become a majority"?

quote:
Equality Corollary: Equality under the law, and equality of participation in political processes, must be guaranteed to all citizens (e.g., universal adult suffrage).
Why just adults? And you need to define adult.

Mostly, we start more or less from this, and I don't think what you say departs from what most people believe, but it gets tempered by pragmatism.

--------------------
Schnuffle schnuffle.

Posts: 2513 | From: UK | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged
Albertus
Shipmate
# 13356

 - Posted      Profile for Albertus     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
This looks like ti could be a very interesting discussion, although it's the kind where pond differences become apparent quite quickly. Need to remember that questions of legitimacy in different polities will be affected by different constitutional traditions. (Not quite the same thing but c.f. the number of UK first year politics undergraduates that I've had to remind that separation of powers is not a feature of the British constitution in the same was it's a feature of the US one!)

--------------------
My beard is a testament to my masculinity and virility, and demonstrates that I am a real man. Trouble is, bits of quiche sometimes get caught in it.

Posts: 6423 | From: Y Sowth | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged
orfeo

Ship's Musical Counterpoint
# 13878

 - Posted      Profile for orfeo   Author's homepage   Email orfeo   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Timothy the Obscure:
Certainly he's legitimate in law (though the Electoral College blew its first ever chance to perform its main function of preventing a dangerous demagogue from seizing power), but there are other forms of legitimacy more substantive than mere legal form.

But "legal form" is to a considerable degree based on your "more substantive" notions of legitimacy.

Take your idea about the people's consent and the withdrawal of people's consent. That's exactly what elections are designed for.

Now maybe in this social media age where the people's consent can be toyed around with in a matter of hours, we need an election every month or so, but I shudder at what that might do to genuine government.

--------------------
Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

Posts: 18031 | From: Under | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged
Timothy the Obscure

Mostly Friendly
# 292

 - Posted      Profile for Timothy the Obscure   Email Timothy the Obscure   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I'm trying to establish general principles, which might be implemented in a variety of ways. I would say that experience has shown that periodic elections are one of the most effective ways of determining the consent of the governed, though I wouldn't assume the only one. Likewise, it's hard to see any way of determining the will of the people by any means that doesn't assume majority rule, but the exact means are open to debate--in practice, it will always be an approximation, but some approximations are more accurate than others. As I said, legitimacy falls on a continuum--actual governments will always be imperfect, but can approach a state they can never fully achieve.

As for the fundamental postulate--I called it that because I take it to be the underlying assumption of all written or unwritten constitutions that are not absolutist autocracies of some sort for the past 300 years or so. And yes, I do consider it a statement of fundamental moral principle. Again, the practical expression of it is often problematic, which is why I started the thread. The reference to the people as a collective is in part to contrast it with a recent, peculiarly American phenomenon, the "sovereign citizen" notion, a radical social contract theory in which each individual is in effect a republic of one who only becomes subject to governance by individually contracting with society. Yeah, it's loony. In any case, I do believe that political sovereignty as a moral reality resides in society as a collective, and there is no real sovereignty otherwise.

Perhaps the question ought to be phrased as "how can we most nearly approach moral legitimacy in government, and when do governments diverge so far from the ideal that they can be regarded as illegitimate?"

--------------------
When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion.
  - C. P. Snow

Posts: 6103 | From: PDX | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

 - Posted      Profile for Marvin the Martian     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Based on the criteria you lay out in your OP, I'd be interested to know if you think there has ever been a legitimate government anywhere in the world.

--------------------
Hail Gallaxhar

Posts: 29840 | From: Adrift on a sea of surreality | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
gorpo
Shipmate
# 17025

 - Posted      Profile for gorpo   Email gorpo   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I'm sure that anyone who is butt hurt cause their candidate has lost can make up his particular criteria according to which the winner is not legitimate. But the rules have to be set before the game star ts. The richest people in the US are liberal and they own the media, donate to campaigns and direct supposedly grassroots protests. If even with all this power they cant make people vote for who they want, then maybe they should either accept what people want or give up democracy.
Posts: 238 | From: Brazil | Registered: Apr 2012  |  IP: Logged
HCH
Shipmate
# 14313

 - Posted      Profile for HCH   Email HCH   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
It is preposterous to say that the richest people in the U.S. are liberal. The Koch brothers, for instance, are highly conservative. I doubt that Warren Buffet could be considered liberal. As for "controlling the media": this is an obsolete concept in modern times.
Posts: 1475 | From: Illinois, USA | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged
Enoch
Shipmate
# 14322

 - Posted      Profile for Enoch   Email Enoch   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
For practical purposes, this depends quite a lot on what country and culture you live in. I once had quite an odd discussion about this with somebody from another political culture, and being surprised to discover how little weight they gave to the question whether the present polity had legitimately continued from any previous one.

It's interesting to list factors that contribute to legitimacy, and whose absence diminishes it. However, I don't think it can be avoided that legitimacy is a cumulative thing. It also depends on where one is looking at it from. Ultimately it has a lot to do with whether enough of the governed accept the government (acquiescence) and if they don't, whether they can do anything about it.

The issue that has provoked this, is a legitimate question. If one has a constitution where there are two candidates for president, but under the constitution, the one who gets the lower number of votes become president, then however that complies with the law, that calls into question whether the system delivers legitimacy. The same applies to a result that depends on whether a machine has correctly punched holes in a ballot paper. There's no way round these. The complacent argument 'that's the way the constitution works; lump it' won't do. If people aren't accepting the system for a valid reason, the system isn't working.

It would also be less of an issue if the choice was not so controversial. If everybody has to express a view, but most electors don't feel all that strongly one way or the other, the result is more legitimate than if it is controversial.

[ 23. January 2017, 17:44: Message edited by: Enoch ]

--------------------
Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

Posts: 7233 | From: Bristol UK(was European Green Capital 2015, now Ljubljana) | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged
Leorning Cniht
Shipmate
# 17564

 - Posted      Profile for Leorning Cniht   Email Leorning Cniht   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
For those in search of facts, rather than alternatives, the richest Americans are listed by Forbes as:
1. Bill Gates. ($81 B)
2. Jeff Bezos
3. Warren Buffet
4. Mark Zuckerberg
5. Larry Ellison
6. Michael Bloomberg
=7. Charles Koch
=7. David Koch
9. Larry Page
10. Sergey Brin ($37.5 B)

The Koch brothers are famously as conservative as they come. Bloomberg has been in and out of both parties, but in any sane world would be basically a Republican.

The rest are a long way away from being screaming lefties, but they tend to support Democrats.

(Falling just outside the top 10 are the Waltons (all Republicans), Sheldon Adelson (Republican), and the Mars family (Republican)).

[ 24. January 2017, 04:49: Message edited by: Leorning Cniht ]

Posts: 4745 | From: USA | Registered: Feb 2013  |  IP: Logged
orfeo

Ship's Musical Counterpoint
# 13878

 - Posted      Profile for orfeo   Author's homepage   Email orfeo   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
If one has a constitution where there are two candidates for president, but under the constitution, the one who gets the lower number of votes become president, then however that complies with the law, that calls into question whether the system delivers legitimacy.

What it also into question is whether people understand the purpose of the system.

The US is not the only country that doesn't make the leader depend on the national popular vote. The UK doesn't. Australia doesn't. Canada doesn't. The countries at the top of the list of countries where Shipmates come from consistently do not make this kind of leadership depend on the overall national popular vote.

To me one of the fundamental problems is that people simply don't understand where the existing systems came from and why. The US Presidential system exists because the US is a federation. The US is not merely a clump of people living in a single territory, it is 50 clumps of people living in 50 states, with some other territories thrown in.

Federations are expressly and intentionally designed to ensure that smaller units in the federation are not overwhelmed by larger ones. That it's not possible to become President simply on the strength of an overwhelming victory in California isn't a bug, it's a feature. It's a deliberate device to force a President to have a broad geographic support base.

There were some quite good articles BEFORE the election about why people in small town America supported Trump. And a big part of it was a feeling of being ignored and left behind, of seeing a culture on television that either paid no attention to them or made of fun of them for being backward.

Honestly, it does my head in that the response of many people from big, powerful coast states, at the signal from people in "flyover country" that they're sick of being ignored and want someone to respond to the loss of their way of life, is to see if the system can be changed to ignore people from flyover country a bit more.

The whole point is that people are upset about globalisation, and the response is to say "we better make the vote more global and less reflective of local concerns and interests".

--------------------
Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

Posts: 18031 | From: Under | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged
anteater

Ship's pest-controller
# 11435

 - Posted      Profile for anteater   Email anteater   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Enoch:
quote:
the one who gets the lower number of votes become president (or Prime Minister), then however that complies with the law, that calls into question whether the system delivers legitimacy.
I can see that those who dislike the result would seize on this. But they would have more credibility if they campaigned for a change when it was not so obviously for partisan reasons. Like the Lib Dems and PR in the UK.

SFAIK Trump is on record as saying the he agrees that it would be a better system if the President had to get the overall majority vote.

But surely his allied point is also valid, that you run your campaign on how things are. So in the UK you concentrate on marginals, and if that means neglecting safe seatts resulting in a lower majority there, then that is a rational decision for UK elections, but not for Brexit where although voting was per constituency, the result was not. And there are several elections in the UK where the winning party got less overall than the runner up.

So there is no evidence to show whether Trump could have won the popular vote had that been the hurdle he needed to jump.

I see no reason to doubt that the decision to elect Trump is as legitimate as is was unwise.

--------------------
Schnuffle schnuffle.

Posts: 2513 | From: UK | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged
Dave W.
Shipmate
# 8765

 - Posted      Profile for Dave W.   Email Dave W.   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Federations are expressly and intentionally designed to ensure that smaller units in the federation are not overwhelmed by larger ones. That it's not possible to become President simply on the strength of an overwhelming victory in California isn't a bug, it's a feature. It's a deliberate device to force a President to have a broad geographic support base.

What kind of alternative system are you imagining that would have allowed a candidate to win the presidency "simply on the strength of an overwhelming victory in California"?
Posts: 1992 | From: the hub of the solar system | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
orfeo

Ship's Musical Counterpoint
# 13878

 - Posted      Profile for orfeo   Author's homepage   Email orfeo   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Federations are expressly and intentionally designed to ensure that smaller units in the federation are not overwhelmed by larger ones. That it's not possible to become President simply on the strength of an overwhelming victory in California isn't a bug, it's a feature. It's a deliberate device to force a President to have a broad geographic support base.

What kind of alternative system are you imagining that would have allowed a candidate to win the presidency "simply on the strength of an overwhelming victory in California"?
My understanding is that Clinton's margin in the national vote is much the same as her margin in California. If the figures were subsequently updated so that this is not true, let me know.

--------------------
Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

Posts: 18031 | From: Under | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged
orfeo

Ship's Musical Counterpoint
# 13878

 - Posted      Profile for orfeo   Author's homepage   Email orfeo   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Actually, looking at the figures currently available on Wikipedia, Clinton won California by well over 3 million votes. It was the state she did best in by percentage terms.

She won the national vote by less than 3 million votes. In other words, if you accumulate the vote in the 49 smallest states, she lost.

Out of the 10 biggest states in terms of votes cast according to Wikipedia, Clinton won only 3. But she had a big win in the biggest state of all.

As Trump himself pointed out, if the result was determined by the overall national vote, there would've been a huge increase in the amount of campaigning in California. It's sheer size makes it where you would campaign.

[ 24. January 2017, 12:22: Message edited by: orfeo ]

--------------------
Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

Posts: 18031 | From: Under | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged
Dave W.
Shipmate
# 8765

 - Posted      Profile for Dave W.   Email Dave W.   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Federations are expressly and intentionally designed to ensure that smaller units in the federation are not overwhelmed by larger ones. That it's not possible to become President simply on the strength of an overwhelming victory in California isn't a bug, it's a feature. It's a deliberate device to force a President to have a broad geographic support base.

What kind of alternative system are you imagining that would have allowed a candidate to win the presidency "simply on the strength of an overwhelming victory in California"?
My understanding is that Clinton's margin in the national vote is much the same as her margin in California. If the figures were subsequently updated so that this is not true, let me know.
Is this meant to be an answer to my question?
Posts: 1992 | From: the hub of the solar system | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
orfeo

Ship's Musical Counterpoint
# 13878

 - Posted      Profile for orfeo   Author's homepage   Email orfeo   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Yes. Of course it is. As soon as all you count is people, the huge population of California gives California a huge significance. The fact that it is only 1 state out of 50, or even the fact it is a state, becomes nothing more than a geographical footnote. All that matters is that it is a dense population that is capable of offsetting unpopularity elsewhere.

--------------------
Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

Posts: 18031 | From: Under | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged
Augustine the Aleut
Shipmate
# 1472

 - Posted      Profile for Augustine the Aleut     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Orfeo writes:
quote:
It's a deliberate device to force a President to have a broad geographic support base.
My reading of the development of the US Constitution suggests that this was not the intent, although it is a result of the electoral college mechanism. It was a deliberate device to a) persuade smaller-population states that they will not be unduly marginalized and b) give a greater voice to slave states.

Because of the accidents of the historical development of states and state boundaries, some large states (California, Texas) have their voice diminished while some smaller-population states (North Dakota, Nebraska) have the impact of their inclinations maximized. It's a clear contradiction between the We-The-People principle, and the principle of a federation of equal states, but it seems to have received general grumbling assent over the years.

Posts: 6093 | From: Ottawa, Canada | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Albertus
Shipmate
# 13356

 - Posted      Profile for Albertus     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I reckon- quick & dirty count based on Wikipedia info on the Electoral College, that a candidate could win with support only of 11 states- California, Texas, Florida, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia, Michigan, N Carolina & New Jersey. I know these don't all tend to vote the same way, but still, it's not exactly broad geographical support.

--------------------
My beard is a testament to my masculinity and virility, and demonstrates that I am a real man. Trouble is, bits of quiche sometimes get caught in it.

Posts: 6423 | From: Y Sowth | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged
Dave W.
Shipmate
# 8765

 - Posted      Profile for Dave W.   Email Dave W.   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Yes. Of course it is. As soon as all you count is people, the huge population of California gives California a huge significance. The fact that it is only 1 state out of 50, or even the fact it is a state, becomes nothing more than a geographical footnote. All that matters is that it is a dense population that is capable of offsetting unpopularity elsewhere.

What "huge significance"? California has about 10% of the electoral votes and about 12% of the population; switching to the popular vote would hardly make it vastly more influential.

As for your "Yes. Of course it is." - There's no "of course" about it. Under the popular vote, there's still no way to win the presidency "simply on the strength of an overwhelming victory in California." California just isn't that big; you have to have a lot of support elsewhere as well. I think it was quite reasonable to ask what system you were imagining that would allow such a result.

Posts: 1992 | From: the hub of the solar system | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
Leorning Cniht
Shipmate
# 17564

 - Posted      Profile for Leorning Cniht   Email Leorning Cniht   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Augustine the Aleut:
It was a deliberate device to a) persuade smaller-population states that they will not be unduly marginalized

This. Your state has the same number of electoral college votes as members of Congress. Representatives, which are basically proportional to population (small states like Wyoming and Vermont have one, California has 53) plus two senators.

The difference between the electoral college and a popular vote comes in the winner-takes-all nature of the state ballots. It wasn't worth Trump campaigning much in California under the present system because he was never going to swing such a democratic state. With the popular vote, every vote counts, so getting an extra 100,000 Californians to vote for him would be worth twice the entire state of Wyoming.

Posts: 4745 | From: USA | Registered: Feb 2013  |  IP: Logged
Enoch
Shipmate
# 14322

 - Posted      Profile for Enoch   Email Enoch   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
If one has a constitution where there are two candidates for president, but under the constitution, the one who gets the lower number of votes become president, then however that complies with the law, that calls into question whether the system delivers legitimacy.

What it also into question is whether people understand the purpose of the system.

The US is not the only country that doesn't make the leader depend on the national popular vote. The UK doesn't. Australia doesn't. Canada doesn't. The countries at the top of the list of countries where Shipmates come from consistently do not make this kind of leadership depend on the overall national popular vote.

To me one of the fundamental problems is that people simply don't understand where the existing systems came from and why. The US Presidential system exists because the US is a federation. The US is not merely a clump of people living in a single territory, it is 50 clumps of people living in 50 states, with some other territories thrown in.

Federations are expressly and intentionally designed to ensure that smaller units in the federation are not overwhelmed by larger ones. That it's not possible to become President simply on the strength of an overwhelming victory in California isn't a bug, it's a feature. It's a deliberate device to force a President to have a broad geographic support base. ....

Orfeo, the point you're answering isn't quite the one I was making.

Whatever the theory might have been in the C18, my point is that if too large an element of people don't understand that, don't agree with it, or think it has become an illusion, then that part of the constitution is not working.

The more fundamental questions are probably,

1. What proportion of people have to have lost confidence in a governmental system, for it to start to matter for social cohesion?

2. When does it matter, and when can one just muddle along?

3. If you're going to muddle along, are there some things you have to accept you can't do? [Trump clearly doesn't think that, or isn't bright enough to understand it].

4. How does one best govern a country which contains political differences that people take sufficiently seriously for it to affect social cohesion? A cynic might say 'We've won; b****r the rest. Either they knuckle under or we beat them up'. That's the Reheboam or the Ivan the Terrible approach. Do we agree with that? If not, what is the better way?

--------------------
Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

Posts: 7233 | From: Bristol UK(was European Green Capital 2015, now Ljubljana) | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged
orfeo

Ship's Musical Counterpoint
# 13878

 - Posted      Profile for orfeo   Author's homepage   Email orfeo   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Yes. Of course it is. As soon as all you count is people, the huge population of California gives California a huge significance. The fact that it is only 1 state out of 50, or even the fact it is a state, becomes nothing more than a geographical footnote. All that matters is that it is a dense population that is capable of offsetting unpopularity elsewhere.

What "huge significance"? California has about 10% of the electoral votes and about 12% of the population; switching to the popular vote would hardly make it vastly more influential.

As for your "Yes. Of course it is." - There's no "of course" about it. Under the popular vote, there's still no way to win the presidency "simply on the strength of an overwhelming victory in California." California just isn't that big; you have to have a lot of support elsewhere as well. I think it was quite reasonable to ask what system you were imagining that would allow such a result.

So you decided to read it as if I was suggesting there might be a system where winning 100% of the vote in California and none of the vote elsewhere was sufficient?

Um, no. I was at least attempting to use real world parameters.

Although it did amuse me when a couple of sites set out a scenario whereby the guy who was only running Utah might become President.

--------------------
Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

Posts: 18031 | From: Under | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged
Gee D
Shipmate
# 13815

 - Posted      Profile for Gee D     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
A great enhancement to legitimacy in both the UK and the US would be to introduce compulsory voting.

--------------------
Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

Posts: 6616 | From: Warrawee NSW Australia | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged
Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

 - Posted      Profile for Alan Cresswell   Email Alan Cresswell   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Compulsory voting is a whole discussion in it's own right.

In terms of legitimacy, rather than forcing people who don't really care to turn up at the polling station I'm much more concerned about the people who do care, who do want to vote but are prevented from doing so. From the potentially biased perspective of someone who's FB friends in the US are constantly banging on about voter registration laws introduced by Republicans that make it harder for members of demographic groups likely to vote Democrat to actually vote, that's a real concern - especially in a close election with a Republican winner (in a scenario where Trump had a landslide victory, or Clinton won despite many of her supporters being unable to vote, this would have little impact on legitimacy of the result).

--------------------
Don't Brexit if you haven't a scooby how to fix it.

Posts: 31964 | From: East Kilbride (Scotland) or 福島 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Dave W.
Shipmate
# 8765

 - Posted      Profile for Dave W.   Email Dave W.   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Yes. Of course it is. As soon as all you count is people, the huge population of California gives California a huge significance. The fact that it is only 1 state out of 50, or even the fact it is a state, becomes nothing more than a geographical footnote. All that matters is that it is a dense population that is capable of offsetting unpopularity elsewhere.

What "huge significance"? California has about 10% of the electoral votes and about 12% of the population; switching to the popular vote would hardly make it vastly more influential.

As for your "Yes. Of course it is." - There's no "of course" about it. Under the popular vote, there's still no way to win the presidency "simply on the strength of an overwhelming victory in California." California just isn't that big; you have to have a lot of support elsewhere as well. I think it was quite reasonable to ask what system you were imagining that would allow such a result.

So you decided to read it as if I was suggesting there might be a system where winning 100% of the vote in California and none of the vote elsewhere was sufficient?
I couldn't tell what you were suggesting, hence my question. Which you could have simply answered.
Posts: 1992 | From: the hub of the solar system | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
Gee D
Shipmate
# 13815

 - Posted      Profile for Gee D     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
Compulsory voting is a whole discussion in it's own right.

In terms of legitimacy, rather than forcing people who don't really care to turn up at the polling station I'm much more concerned about the people who do care, who do want to vote but are prevented from doing so. From the potentially biased perspective of someone who's FB friends in the US are constantly banging on about voter registration laws introduced by Republicans that make it harder for members of demographic groups likely to vote Democrat to actually vote, that's a real concern - especially in a close election with a Republican winner (in a scenario where Trump had a landslide victory, or Clinton won despite many of her supporters being unable to vote, this would have little impact on legitimacy of the result).

Compulsory voting deals with a lot of the issues you raise - you get your birth certificate, trot along to a convenient office of the Electoral Commission, fill in a simple form and there you are.

As for the don't cares - there probably are quite a few like that. I'm not aware of any proper statistics one way or the other, or which would be able to be comparable with attitudes in countries where voting is not compulsory. It may well be that being educated and growing up in a society where you know that at frequent intervals you will be called on to vote changes attitudes.

A quick check shows that just under 10% of those eligible did not vote in the Federal election last winter, the highest proportion since compulsory voting started in those polls 90 years ago. The average seems to about a 5% abstention rate.

--------------------
Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

Posts: 6616 | From: Warrawee NSW Australia | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged
RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
# 13

 - Posted      Profile for RuthW     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Honestly, it does my head in that the response of many people from big, powerful coast states, at the signal from people in "flyover country" that they're sick of being ignored and want someone to respond to the loss of their way of life, is to see if the system can be changed to ignore people from flyover country a bit more.

WTF? Flyover country is ignored? On what planet is that true? In primary season Iowa gets to vote in January every goddamn time and California votes in June.

Tell me how the current system of electing the US president is benefiting "big powerful coast states." What are we getting out of it that other people aren't getting?

Posts: 24368 | From: La La Land | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
orfeo

Ship's Musical Counterpoint
# 13878

 - Posted      Profile for orfeo   Author's homepage   Email orfeo   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
Tell me how the current system of electing the US president is benefiting "big powerful coast states." What are we getting out of it that other people aren't getting?

I didn't say the current system is benefiting coast states. I said the current system was designed not to benefit them, and that people who want the overall national vote to be the method are looking to benefit coast states.

--------------------
Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

Posts: 18031 | From: Under | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged
RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
# 13

 - Posted      Profile for RuthW     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
You said flyover country states are being ignored. In our electoral system they are in fact not being ignored.
Posts: 24368 | From: La La Land | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

 - Posted      Profile for Alan Cresswell   Email Alan Cresswell   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
you get your birth certificate, trot along to a convenient office of the Electoral Commission, fill in a simple form and there you are.

From what I've read, in many States the response would be "if only it was that simple", unless of course you're from a more privileged, mostly white, community when it possibly is that easy. Start by making voter registration so easy there's no reason why anyone can't register with id requirements such that after you've registered you don't then need to produce impossible to obtain id when you turn up to vote. Then we can start to discuss whether or not compulsory voting would help.

--------------------
Don't Brexit if you haven't a scooby how to fix it.

Posts: 31964 | From: East Kilbride (Scotland) or 福島 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
orfeo

Ship's Musical Counterpoint
# 13878

 - Posted      Profile for orfeo   Author's homepage   Email orfeo   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
You said flyover country states are being ignored. In our electoral system they are in fact not being ignored.

Yes, in your electoral system. How about everywhere else? Culturally? That was the point, that the electoral system is somewhere they actually still have a meaningful voice, and now people want to take even that away rather than noticing that the electoral system is where the flyover country was trying to get your attention.

It's in the paragraph before the one you quoted. I don't think I was unclear.

[ 25. January 2017, 23:07: Message edited by: orfeo ]

--------------------
Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

Posts: 18031 | From: Under | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged
Gee D
Shipmate
# 13815

 - Posted      Profile for Gee D     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
you get your birth certificate, trot along to a convenient office of the Electoral Commission, fill in a simple form and there you are.

From what I've read, in many States the response would be "if only it was that simple", unless of course you're from a more privileged, mostly white, community when it possibly is that easy. Start by making voter registration so easy there's no reason why anyone can't register with id requirements such that after you've registered you don't then need to produce impossible to obtain id when you turn up to vote. Then we can start to discuss whether or not compulsory voting would help.
Establish independent officers to run the process of delineating electorates, maintaining the electoral roles and running the elections - with judicial oversight built in of course. Worth a try in the US - and dare I say in the UK as well?

[ 25. January 2017, 23:53: Message edited by: Gee D ]

--------------------
Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

Posts: 6616 | From: Warrawee NSW Australia | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged
Lamb Chopped
Ship's kebab
# 5528

 - Posted      Profile for Lamb Chopped   Email Lamb Chopped   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
You said flyover country states are being ignored. In our electoral system they are in fact not being ignored.

Yes, in your electoral system. How about everywhere else? Culturally? That was the point, that the electoral system is somewhere they actually still have a meaningful voice, and now people want to take even that away rather than noticing that the electoral system is where the flyover country was trying to get your attention.

It's in the paragraph before the one you quoted. I don't think I was unclear.

Orfeo, you're wasting your time. I tried to make the same point pages ago and got shot down for my troubles. Flyover country doesn't matter.

--------------------
Er, this is what I've been up to (book).
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down!

Posts: 19956 | From: off in left field somewhere | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
# 13

 - Posted      Profile for RuthW     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Are poor people more fucked over in flyover country than they are in Los Angeles County?
Posts: 24368 | From: La La Land | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
orfeo

Ship's Musical Counterpoint
# 13878

 - Posted      Profile for orfeo   Author's homepage   Email orfeo   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
Are poor people more fucked over in flyover country than they are in Los Angeles County?

How does Los Angeles County vote? I've honestly no idea.

It's not simply about "poor people". It's about culture more generally. It's about communities.

I'm not making up these ideas out of thin air. Some of the more thoughtful articles, including ones pre-election, tried to address the question "how can people support Donald Trump?" and this was a theme in several of them. Towns that depended on particular industries have watched those industries go and nothing has replaced them. The educated young get out of there, and don't come back.

This has entirely different effects to the ones witnessed by poor people in a great big city.

I mean, have you actually thought about the term "flyover country"?!? Where it came from, what it means? What it says to the people who actually live there?

[ 26. January 2017, 01:43: Message edited by: orfeo ]

--------------------
Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

Posts: 18031 | From: Under | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged
Dave W.
Shipmate
# 8765

 - Posted      Profile for Dave W.   Email Dave W.   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Lamb Chopped:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
You said flyover country states are being ignored. In our electoral system they are in fact not being ignored.

Yes, in your electoral system. How about everywhere else? Culturally? That was the point, that the electoral system is somewhere they actually still have a meaningful voice, and now people want to take even that away rather than noticing that the electoral system is where the flyover country was trying to get your attention.

It's in the paragraph before the one you quoted. I don't think I was unclear.

Orfeo, you're wasting your time. I tried to make the same point pages ago and got shot down for my troubles. Flyover country doesn't matter.
This is your first post on this thread.

On the aftermath thread, you got shot down for posting nonsense about how the states are 50 tiny cultures and then later implying that the preferences of people in a large state have to be subordinated to national opinion because "people aren't that smart" and they might be making a bad choice based on misperceptions of their own interest. (My paraphrase - but the quote is yours.) I doubt that posts commiserating with orfeo will make your position seem any more convincing.

Posts: 1992 | From: the hub of the solar system | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
Leorning Cniht
Shipmate
# 17564

 - Posted      Profile for Leorning Cniht   Email Leorning Cniht   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
Are poor people more fucked over in flyover country than they are in Los Angeles County?

They think they are, which is what matters. In general it isn't true, but they think it is.
Posts: 4745 | From: USA | Registered: Feb 2013  |  IP: Logged
RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
# 13

 - Posted      Profile for RuthW     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
Are poor people more fucked over in flyover country than they are in Los Angeles County?

How does Los Angeles County vote? I've honestly no idea.
LA County votes predominantly Democrat, for whatever good that does. The poor in LA County have less voice in the national electoral process than the poor in smaller states and swing states.

quote:
It's not simply about "poor people". It's about culture more generally. It's about communities.

I'm not making up these ideas out of thin air. Some of the more thoughtful articles, including ones pre-election, tried to address the question "how can people support Donald Trump?" and this was a theme in several of them. Towns that depended on particular industries have watched those industries go and nothing has replaced them. The educated young get out of there, and don't come back.

This has entirely different effects to the ones witnessed by poor people in a great big city.

Yeah, so what? The poor people in the upper midwest who put Trump into office have real power. A few of them, in the mere tens of thousands, change their minds, and we get a different president. The poor people in the inner cities of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc. don't have that kind of power.

quote:
I mean, have you actually thought about the term "flyover country"?!? Where it came from, what it means? What it says to the people who actually live there?
I didn't introduce the term into this discussion, and I really don't give a shit what it says to the people who live there, especially the ones who talk about living in "the real America" and who bleat about the "coastal elites" as if none of us works just as hard to earn a living as they do.

They do have a meaningful voice. And if they want their local economies to stop sucking, they should do something besides moan about the buggy whip industry having gone out of business. They put all their eggs into the coal basket or the auto industry basket and then things changed, and the federal government is supposed to magically bring back their mining and manufacturing jobs? Plus places like Kansas should stop electing asswipes like Sam Brownback as governor. Ditto Wisconsin and Scott Walker, Maine and Paul LePage, Michigan and Rick Snyder. Republicans hold the majority of the gubernatorial seats in the US and they hold sway in more state legislatures than Democrats do -- if people in those states are so unhappy with things, why don't they hold their state leaders responsible?

quote:
From your earlier post:
That it's not possible to become President simply on the strength of an overwhelming victory in California isn't a bug, it's a feature. It's a deliberate device to force a President to have a broad geographic support base.

It would be better if our system forced candidates to seek a broad demographic support base.
Posts: 24368 | From: La La Land | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
orfeo

Ship's Musical Counterpoint
# 13878

 - Posted      Profile for orfeo   Author's homepage   Email orfeo   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I don't know of any system, anywhere that mandates a broad demographic support base.

I don't know of any system that checks what percentage of the female vote you got, what percentage you got from different races, from different age groups.

American pollsters, of course, broadcast and analyse this information to death and apparently for not much practical benefit. But asking your official electoral system to check demographics? Whoa, that's new territory indeed.

--------------------
Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

Posts: 18031 | From: Under | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged
Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

 - Posted      Profile for Alan Cresswell   Email Alan Cresswell   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
Establish independent officers to run the process of delineating electorates, maintaining the electoral roles and running the elections - with judicial oversight built in of course. Worth a try in the US - and dare I say in the UK as well?

I don't know how things are organised in the US (my guess would be that elections and voter registration are organised at the State level, so there is no single system).

But, in the UK we do have an electoral registration office which is organised by local authority areas (so, in my case I deal with an office in Hamilton, about half an hour by bus away should I ever need to visit them in person) handling voter registration, as well as details such as provision of postal ballots or authorisation for proxy voters if someone is unable to attend the polling place in person. Registration is very simple - we regularly get letters to confirm who is eligible to vote at the address, it used to be a case of ticking the "details are correct" box/filling in correct details and putting the form in the envelope supplied to return, now it can be done online as well. Failure to register without a valid reason (long term stay in hospital etc) can result in a fine.

As I said, I was commenting on various news articles and other information shared by friends on FB, and almost certainly various threads here, about how some States in the US have put in legislation that puts in insurmountable barriers to voting, hence preventing significant numbers of people the chance to vote - often in a manner practically designed to benefit one party over the other.

I would agree that the legitimacy of an election result is reduced by a low turn out, and anything that increases voter turnout is a good idea (but, I would add, not forcing people to vote because a vote made under coercion may be for someone different from a free vote, including the freedom not to vote) and will increase legitimacy. But, removing discriminatory barriers to voting is a far more important step to make. When significant numbers of people want to vote but are unable to then the legitimacy of the result is even lower than when people choose not to vote.

--------------------
Don't Brexit if you haven't a scooby how to fix it.

Posts: 31964 | From: East Kilbride (Scotland) or 福島 | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
# 13

 - Posted      Profile for RuthW     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
I don't know of any system, anywhere that mandates a broad demographic support base.

I don't know of any system that checks what percentage of the female vote you got, what percentage you got from different races, from different age groups.

Nor do I. But if the electoral college were organized around congressional districts instead of states, we'd be closer to a system organized around people (demos) instead of around land (ge).
Posts: 24368 | From: La La Land | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Leorning Cniht
Shipmate
# 17564

 - Posted      Profile for Leorning Cniht   Email Leorning Cniht   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
It would be better if our system forced candidates to seek a broad demographic support base.

The honorable member for women aged 30-35 who listed an AGI of $30,000-$35,000 on last year's tax return?
Posts: 4745 | From: USA | Registered: Feb 2013  |  IP: Logged
Albertus
Shipmate
# 13356

 - Posted      Profile for Albertus     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Now that was more or less the idea behind one of the rally proposals for PR in the UK in mid-C19: can't remember the details offhand but IIRC it's discussed in Bagehot's English Constitution. You identify the number of votes you need across the whole country to get one MP elected, and then go out and drum them up, from people like you- e.g. fellow Methodists or whatever.

--------------------
My beard is a testament to my masculinity and virility, and demonstrates that I am a real man. Trouble is, bits of quiche sometimes get caught in it.

Posts: 6423 | From: Y Sowth | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged
orfeo

Ship's Musical Counterpoint
# 13878

 - Posted      Profile for orfeo   Author's homepage   Email orfeo   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
I don't know of any system, anywhere that mandates a broad demographic support base.

I don't know of any system that checks what percentage of the female vote you got, what percentage you got from different races, from different age groups.

Nor do I. But if the electoral college were organized around congressional districts instead of states, we'd be closer to a system organized around people (demos) instead of around land (ge).
No, you'd be closer to a system capable of being manipulated by appalling levels of gerrymander.

--------------------
Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

Posts: 18031 | From: Under | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged
Adeodatus
Shipmate
# 4992

 - Posted      Profile for Adeodatus     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Pardon me if someone else has said this and I've missed it, but surely one of the criteria for really legitimate government is a politically educated electorate? - rather than one that's gorged itself on "alternative facts".

--------------------
"What is broken, repair with gold."

Posts: 9754 | From: Manchester | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged
Dave W.
Shipmate
# 8765

 - Posted      Profile for Dave W.   Email Dave W.   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Can you give an example of a society which you think meets that criterion?
Posts: 1992 | From: the hub of the solar system | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
Adeodatus
Shipmate
# 4992

 - Posted      Profile for Adeodatus     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.:
Can you give an example of a society which you think meets that criterion?

Not off the top of my head. Or the middle of my head, or indeed the bottom of my head. Though, without my necessarily being able to name them, I do know that some countries at least teach philosophy and political thought in school. (Germany?)

--------------------
"What is broken, repair with gold."

Posts: 9754 | From: Manchester | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged
Dave W.
Shipmate
# 8765

 - Posted      Profile for Dave W.   Email Dave W.   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
quote:
Originally posted by Dave W.:
Can you give an example of a society which you think meets that criterion?

Not off the top of my head. Or the middle of my head, or indeed the bottom of my head. Though, without my necessarily being able to name them, I do know that some countries at least teach philosophy and political thought in school. (Germany?)
A useful concept of legitimacy might require criteria that are kept to a less ethereal standard.

If you're going to ask for a politically educated electorate, you might as well wish for a pony too.

Posts: 1992 | From: the hub of the solar system | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged



Pages in this thread: 1  2 
 
Post new thread  Post a reply Close thread   Feature thread   Move thread   Delete thread Next oldest thread   Next newest thread
 - Printer-friendly view
Go to:

Contact us | Ship of Fools | Privacy statement

© Ship of Fools 2016

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classicTM 6.5.0

 
Check out Reform magazine
sip of fools mugs from your favourite nautical website
 
  ship of fools