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Religion, Politics and World Events They make great dinner conversation, don't you think? plus Political Film

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Old 07-25-07, 03:02 PM   #1
murphy_wmm
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How come Americans never vote for anything other than Democrat or Republican?

I've always been curious about this. Most countries have two dominant parties, but they also have a few other parties that often win seats in the federal government. This does not seem to be the case in the USA. Does anybody know why?
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Old 07-25-07, 03:06 PM   #2
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1. They do vote for other parties - we've got a bunch of Libertarians on the forum. Don't ask me why they're Libertarians. Only God knows.

2. We have people who call themselves Democrats or Republicans in Congress, but they're really not - Ron Paul comes quickly to mind.

We have a socialist in the Senate. He calls himself an independent.
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Old 07-25-07, 03:13 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murphy_wmm
I've always been curious about this. Most countries have two dominant parties, but they also have a few other parties that often win seats in the federal government. This does not seem to be the case in the USA. Does anybody know why?
Not all countries have two dominant parties. Some have three or four which regularly compete strongly.

To answer your question, the reason why the U.S. has a very strong two party system is simple - we have an election system that pretty much guarantees that. First, we have single member electoral districts, and also, pretty much every election contested in this country is a simple plurality ("first past the post") contest. These two characteristics of our electoral laws lead to a two party system.
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Old 07-25-07, 03:16 PM   #4
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Old 07-25-07, 03:18 PM   #5
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And the voters of Denmark, Israel, or the Netherlands are less sheeplike than Americans? I doubt it.
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Old 07-25-07, 03:20 PM   #6
classicman2
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I'll argue the two-party system has served this country quite well over the last 200+ years.

It it ain't broke...........
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Old 07-25-07, 03:22 PM   #7
NCMojo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wendersfan
Not all countries have two dominant parties. Some have three or four which regularly compete strongly.

To answer your question, the reason why the U.S. has a very strong two party system is simple - we have an election system that pretty much guarantees that. First, we have single member electoral districts, and also, pretty much every election contested in this country is a simple plurality ("first past the post") contest. These two characteristics of our electoral laws lead to a two party system.
True. In fact, our directly-elected democracy actually works much better with a two-party system -- which is something that a lot of so-called "independents" gloss over. When there has been a significant third-party showing, especially in Presidential races, there has always been turbulence and controversy.

Remember -- the Civil War was started over a third party candidate.
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Old 07-25-07, 03:30 PM   #8
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In order:

1) The electoral college
2) Gerrymandering
3) Tradition

Mopower also posed a very good argument.
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Old 07-27-07, 06:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by classicman2
I'll argue the two-party system has served this country quite well over the last 200+ years.

It it ain't broke...........
Except for when the collapse of it was a major factor in bringing about the American Civil War...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origins...n_party_system
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Old 07-27-07, 06:44 PM   #10
ernestrp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murphy_wmm
I've always been curious about this. Most countries have two dominant parties, but they also have a few other parties that often win seats in the federal government. This does not seem to be the case in the USA. Does anybody know why?
Because other party canidates do not win except for an ocasional Independant. Sometimes if I dont care for any of the top 2 parties canidates I will vote for an other party canidate.

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Old 07-27-07, 06:49 PM   #11
NCMojo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreenMonkey
Except for when the collapse of it was a major factor in bringing about the American Civil War...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origins...n_party_system
Insightful post! Makes me wish I had thought to say it first...

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Old 07-27-07, 06:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCMojo
Insightful post! Makes me wish I had thought to say it first...


Oh please. As an elected official, you are part of the problem!
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Old 07-27-07, 07:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NCMojo
Insightful post! Makes me wish I had thought to say it first...

Actually, it IS an insightful post. I did not think to read Wiki's article about the issue and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Thanks GreenMonkey for sharing.
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Old 07-27-07, 07:25 PM   #14
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How come Americans never vote for anything other than Democrat or Republican?
Because we're awesome.
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Old 07-27-07, 08:14 PM   #15
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America! Fuck Yeah!
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Old 07-28-07, 11:17 AM   #16
wm lopez
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The one thing that could and should start a 3rd party in America is this illegal alien boarder crap. Both Dems & Rep. have let their supporters down on this.
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Old 07-28-07, 11:24 AM   #17
AGuyNamedMike
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Draven
Oh please. As an elected official, you are part of the problem!

True dat.
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Old 07-28-07, 12:43 PM   #18
sjrab16
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Not sure why most Americans only vote for one of two parties. Maybe because while not everyone is lazy, it does seem that most people are happy to vote for the candidate that has the letter they are looking for at the right of their name.

I have never voted where I have chosen all one party for each electable position. I wonder what they think when they see candidates from the Democrat, GOP, Green and Libertarian parties chosen...do they think I just chose at random?

I think to make it harder for the American people to elect someone, we should remove all party affiliation from the voter information books. Then people might have to read up and see what they like about each person running for office.
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Old 07-28-07, 02:55 PM   #19
naitram
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cuz its just like a football game, hyuk
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Old 07-28-07, 02:57 PM   #20
NotThatGuy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wm lopez
The one thing that could and should start a 3rd party in America is this illegal alien boarder crap. Both Dems & Rep. have let their supporters down on this.
That would be my platform....."Want to get rid of 20 million illegal immagrants who will cost you billions/trillions of dollars....vote for me!". Hmm....I wonder....

-p
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Old 07-31-07, 01:18 PM   #21
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Because no one wants to vote for a loser. I was once told I was "throwing away my vote" if I voted for a third party candidate.
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Old 07-31-07, 01:19 PM   #22
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They do.
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Old 07-31-07, 03:10 PM   #23
murphy_wmm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pistol Pete
Because no one wants to vote for a loser. I was once told I was "throwing away my vote" if I voted for a third party candidate.
Well, if everybody has that attitude of course a third party candidate is never going to win...
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Old 07-31-07, 03:10 PM   #24
murphy_wmm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vandelay_Inds
I think the benefits of a two-party system far outweigh its limitations, especially in a vibrant and open democracy.
It's not really much of a democracy though, is it?
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Old 07-31-07, 03:18 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by murphy_wmm
It's not really much of a democracy though, is it?
Why not? What's inherently un-democratic about a two-party system?

Quote:
The traditional literature on party systems...emphatically favors the two-party system. Two-party systems are claimed to have both direct and indirect advantages over multiparty systems. The first direct benefit is that they offer voters a clear choice between two alternative sets of public policy. Second, they have a moderating influence because the two main parties have to compete for the swing voters in the center of the political spectrum and hence have to advocate moderate, centrist policies...

In addition, two-party systems are claimed to have an important indirect advantage: they are necessary for the formation of single-party cabinets that will be stable and effective policymakers.
Lijphart, Patterns of Democracy, pp. 63-64.
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