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News: Cast your Ballot in the 2016 Mock Election

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1  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Worse election defeat on: February 20, 2017, 02:21:15 pm
I didnt select parties which were wiped out to an extent that they never won again.

OK, how about the British Labour Party in 1931. 287 seats out of 615 in the 1929 general election, when they were the largest party and formed a minority government. A small split over austerity measures during the Great Depression, led PM Ramsay MacDonald to form a National government. The Labour Party was crushed in the 1931 general election, electing 52 seats out of 615 including 6 unendorsed candidates. The party was back in government during the 1940-45 wartime coalition, before winning a large majority in the 1945 general election.
2  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Worse election defeat on: February 20, 2017, 01:15:10 pm
There have been worse defeats, in UK politics. The non-coalition Liberals in 1918, went from the clear Official Opposition to no more than 36 MPs. The undivided Liberal Party was the leading party in the wartime coalition until 1916. After 1918 the official party never recovered first or second place in the House of Commons.
3  General Discussion / Constitution and Law / Re: Feasibility of a Constitutional Amendment for a balanced budget on: February 18, 2017, 05:00:15 pm
Presumably it is intended that the courts enforce the amendment, if it is not followed by the political branches. Alternatively the balanced budget would be a pious aspiration, which would not in practice be followed.

Most versions of a balanced budget seem to include an exception for time of war. It would be absurd for the President to have to say "we have balanced the budget despite the was. However we have unfortunately had to surrender to the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, as we could not afford to counter their advanced archery technology".

The US is pratically always involved in some sort of war, so the balanced budget amendment would never be required to be implemented.
4  General Discussion / Constitution and Law / Re: Parliamentary system in the US ? on: February 18, 2017, 04:47:26 pm
You can have a system with a strong President and a Prime Minister, like France.

When a French President is supported by a majority of the lower house, the Prime Minister is clearly subordinate and can be the designated scapegoat when the administration becomes unpopular.

When the President is cohabiting with a Parliamentary majority of his opponents, the President is forced to rely upon the powers the constitution gives him (particularly in foreign policy) and the Prime Minister is an independent centre of power.

The French amended the constitution to make cohabitation less likely. Now both President and Parliament have five year terms, with the Parliamentary election following the Presidential one. There is strong pressure to give a newly elected President a Parliament he can work with.

This is, of course, the opposite of a purely Parliamentary system (like France before 1958 or the UK today) where the head of state is largely a figurehead and the Prime Minister is the person who can command the confidence of the lower house.
5  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: What would realistically be the most electable Democratic or Republican ticket? on: January 25, 2017, 06:33:41 pm
Repeat the ticket from 1904. What could go wrong as Theodore Roosevelt will not be the opponent.

A conservative from New York for President, Andrew Cuomo.

The richest man in West Virginia for Vice President, Jim Justice.
6  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Alberta Progressive Conservative Leadership Election - March 18, 2017 on: January 19, 2017, 03:12:30 pm
From England, I would say that Canadians do not speak English without an accent. They speak English with various Canadian accents.

No one speaks a language without some sort of accent. The question is to what extent different accents and dialects of the same language are mutually intelligible.

I doubt that a Minister of the Crown, representing a riding in the Anglophone part of Canada, could not make himself understood in English even if that was not his native language.
7  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Process / Re: What if electoral votes were awarded proportionally? on: January 17, 2017, 06:38:08 pm
A proposal by Senator Howard Cannon  (D-NV) to the 91st Congress suggested a proportional electoral vote allocation plan. The number of electoral votes would be the same as before, but instead of popular electors choosing electors of the President, the popular vote would be used to divide the electoral vote of each jurisdiction calculated to three decimal places.

This is a much more radical proportional allocation plan than the one suggested by the diarist.

The key part of the proposed constitutional amendment was as follows. http://www.every-vote-equal.com/sites/default/files/eve-4th-ed-ch3-web-v1.pdf

‘SECTION 4. Within forty-five days after such election, or at such time
as Congress shall direct, the official custodian of the election returns
of each State and the District of Columbia shall make distinct lists of
all persons for whom votes were cast for President and the number of
votes cast for each person, and the total vote cast by the electors of the
State of the District for all persons for President, which lists he shall sign
and certify and transmit sealed to the seat of Government of the United
States, directed to the President of the Senate. On the 6th day of January
following the election, unless the Congress by law appoints a different
day not earlier than the 4th day of January and not later than the 10th
day of January, the President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the
Senate and House of Representatives, open all certificates and the votes
shall then be counted. Each person for whom votes were cast shall be
credited with such proportion of the electoral votes thereof as he received
of the total vote cast by the electors therein for President. In making
the computation, fractional numbers less than one one-thousandth
shall be disregarded. The person having the greatest aggregate number
of electoral votes of the States and the District of Columbia for President
shall be President, if such number be at least 40 per centum of the whole
number of such electoral votes, or if two persons have received an identical
number of such electoral votes which is at least 40 per centum of
the whole number of electoral votes, then from the persons having the
two greatest number of such electoral votes for President, the Senate
and the House of Representatives sitting in joint session shall choose
immediately, by ballot, the President. A majority of the votes of the com-
bined membership of the Senate and House of Representatives shall be
necessary for a choice.
8  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Does he still have a chance? on: January 16, 2017, 03:16:28 pm
The path? Having been elected President pro tempore of the Senate; when the President-elect, Vice President-elect and Speaker all decline to take office as President or Acting President.
9  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Northern Ireland Assembly Elections: May 2017? on: January 10, 2017, 01:37:43 am
The simplest solution is for the DUP to either get a new leader or support another of their members for First Minister. Are Mrs Foster and her party going to be so stubborn as to let the whole devolution settlement collapse rather than give up on one individual leader?
10  General Discussion / Constitution and Law / Re: Could you merge the positions of Senate Majority Leader + President Pro Tempore? on: January 09, 2017, 04:56:50 am
President pro tempore is an office provided for in the Constitution.

Before 1890 the Senate practice was only to name a President pro tempore when the Vice President was absent or that office was vacant. Thereafter the Presidency pro tempore was held continuously, even when the Vice President was actually performing the duties of President of the Senate.

Now, with the President pro tempore having been given additional constitutional functions in connection with the presidential disability provisions of the 25th Amendment, it seems to be required that there always be a President pro tempore.

There would be no constitutional problem about the Majority Leader also being President pro tempore, if the Senate changed its rules and practice to permit the duplication.
11  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK local by-elections, 2016 on: December 15, 2016, 06:56:52 am
I do read this thread regularly, but I do not usually have much to say in response. It is a valuable community resource to keep track of the local by-elections.

The level of detail in the various Holy Words is impressive. I could perhaps duplicate it for Slough Borough Council elections, but having such information for the whole of Great Britain is awesome.
12  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK Parliamentary by-elections, 2015-2020 on: December 09, 2016, 07:42:38 pm
[quote authr=rob in cal link=topic=221651.msg5427389#msg5427389 date=1481321425]
  Not sure where to post this question, but in the various by-elections being held are all of the new Conservative candidates in favor of Brexit, and is the default assumption now that that's to be expected?

Yes, pretty much.

The Tories are still divided between big business friendly soft Brexiteers and nationalist hard Brexiteers, but almost none of the present generation of Conservatives is going to argue against Brexit means Brexit.

I would draw an analogy with the way that free traders were squeezed out of Conservative and Unionist ranks in the early 20th century. By the time of the First World War, the internal battle between free trade and protectionism was clearly won by advocates of the latter policy. The argument had shifted to one about the extent that free trade in food was still compatible with a generally protectionist policy.
13  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK Local Elections, 4th May 2017 on: December 02, 2016, 09:51:58 am
What are these strange county elections? We do not have any in Berkshire, as our County Council was swept away in 1998.
14  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Honest question: Will there be an election in 2020? on: November 28, 2016, 07:48:04 am
When a government has been functioning in a more or less orderly way, for over two centuries, it is difficult to imagine it not continuing. However constitutional orders do sometimes break down, after being stable for a long time.

It may be that, like Rome under the early Emperors, the forms of republican government will be preserved but that real power will be exercised outside the traditional government structure. In Rome the Senate continued to meet, the Consuls and other officers continued to be elected, but the Emperor (whether or not he held formal office) was the effective ruler.

The existence of an Emperor became the core of the government, so that thereafter no serious attempt was ever made to re-establish functioning republican government.

At the end of the day an existing government will be preserved if people are prepared to follow it. If not something new will eventually emerge.

15  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK Popular Vote on: November 28, 2016, 07:18:56 am
Thanks for the history everyone.

This is good argument to refute those who say that popular voting for president is what everyone else does.

In effect, voting for electors, based on your location, is what many countries do.  [The biggest difference in the US, of course,  is that in most states you are voting for a block of voters not just one, and with some states (e.g. California, Florida, NY, Texas) you are voting for a large block of those votes].

There is a difference between selecting a Prime Minister and cabinet, based on the composition of a Parliament, and electing a President.

For a single office, direct election by the whole population seems the simplest and fairest system. Any other method gives the possibility of the winner of an overall plurality of votes losing to another candidate whose smaller number of votes are more efficiently distributed.
16  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Dark horse Democrats for 2020? on: November 13, 2016, 04:59:20 pm
There does not seem to be an obvious Democratic candidate for 2020. I suspect that the nominee will be a current or recent Senator or Governor. I doubt that the sort of celebrity and non elected office holding candidates, mentioned in this thread, would be viable.

There may be room for one comparatively conservative Democratic governor to run, someone like Governor Cuomo, but probably not to be the nominee.

I suspect that Senator Kaine would be a credible candidate, but the party electorate may want a younger, more charismatic candidate. I am not sure who that dark horse candidate is as I am not sufficiently familiar with the younger Senators and Governors. It is probably someone not currently being talked about as a Presidential candidate.
17  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Election What-ifs? / What if the President was elected by Congress? on: November 10, 2016, 09:44:45 pm
One of the ideas which the Philadelphia convention considered but rejected.

Sect. 1. The Executive Power of the United States shall be vested in a single person. His stile shall be "The President of the United States of America;" and his title shall be, "His Excellency". He shall be elected by ballot by the Legislature. He shall hold his office during the term of seven years; but shall not be elected a second time.

If this plan had been adopted, US politics might have developed differently. At least gridlock between executive and legislative branches would be less likely.
18  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / Presidential Election Process / Re: Opinion of Electoral Vote Allocation by Congressional District on: October 29, 2016, 09:36:51 am
It is equivalent to how district-based parliamentary systems (such as Canada, UK, and Australia) choose their PM.

Not quite. The equivalent in a US type system would be for a joint session of Congress to elect the President (with one vote for each Senator and Representative or one vote for each state delegation). That was an option that the Constitutional Convention considered, but ultimately rejected.

A group of specially chosen persons, for the sole purpose of electing a President, would not be so subject to the necessity for acting in party groups that the members of a legislature are.
19  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2016 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: How would have Sanders fared in the G.E.? on: September 24, 2016, 07:32:01 pm
Larry Sanders, Senator Sanders elder brother, is the candidate of the Green Party of England and Wales in the Witney by-election (to fill the vacancy caused by David Cameron resigning his seat in the UK Parliament). The election is on 20 October, so we will see if any of the American brother's celebrity makes any difference. I suspect not, as the Greens will probably come 4th or 5th, in a safely Conservative rural and small town district of central England.

He is not the Sanders this thread is about and the voting is not in a US Presidential election, but it is an electoral test for a Sanders.


20  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK local by-elections, 2016 on: September 24, 2016, 04:02:54 pm
A poor week for the Cons. Is it entirely coincidental, or is there something cooking ?

I wouldn't read much into it.  But the Lib Dems do seem to be having a number of good results; I wonder how their Witney campaign is going.

I think a lot of the good local by-election results are the Lib Dems recovering from the electoral damage the coalition caused, at least in some of their stronger areas. There does not seem to be a general recovery yet, but persistent local campaigning is now more likely to produce a good result than it has in the last few years.

The Lib Dems do seem to want to mount a strenuous campaign in Witney. It will be interesting to see if a parliamentary by-election electorate reacts in the same way that some local by-election voters have been doing.
21  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: How long will it be before Labour wins another election? on: September 18, 2016, 02:09:29 pm
It could be anything from never to the next election.

If the existing Labour Party retains major party status, in a first past the post electoral system, then it will eventually regain power when Conservatives support falls far enough. It might have to be firstly as a minority government,  which is daring the SNP and other non-Conservative forces not to vote it out of office. As with the first Labour government, in 1924, it might be more important to gain the added credibility of being in power than in actually achieving anything much in office.

Alternatively Labour may split in the next few weeks. If a Corbyn led Labour Party loses most of the existing Labour MPs and ceases to be the official opposition, then there may be a chance of the new party becoming the major anti Conservative force for the future.

The worst case scenario for Labour would be for both fragments of the Labour Party to be largely wiped out at the next general election. Perhaps the 50 or so SNP MPs would be the official opposition in the next Parliament, with a very large Conservative majority and other anti Tory groups reduced to small fragments which would have to realign into something new to create a credible future challenger for government.

Given the extreme rigidity of the British party system the first option is most likely, but unusually the second and third possibilities are not unthinkable. We will just have to wait and see what happens in the next few weeks.
22  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Labour Party (UK) Leadership Election, 2016 on: September 16, 2016, 05:22:01 pm
If it's going to happen, it'll have to involve the Lib Dems "re-splitting" into their Liberal and SDP factions, and the SDP half becoming a safe-space for non-Corbynite Labour...

The Lib Dem factions are not "Liberal" and "SDP".

What exactly are their factions these days?

"Labour Can't Win Here. Vote Lib Dem to keep the Tories out" and "The Tories Can't Win Here. Vote Lib Dem to keep Labour out".

More seriously, what Phony Moderate said.  The point is that both sides identify as "liberals" and neither particularly derives from the SDP, whose less "liberal" figures mostly drifted away from the Lib Dems or (in the case of David Owen) never joined the merged party in the first place.

The Lib Dem approach, much as it irritates Tory and Labour activists, is sensible so long as there are only three parties that matter and the Lib Dems do not have to choose one of the two major parties. The rise of new parties has weakened the first precondition, but as we have seen from the political effect of the coalition it is the breakdown of the second precondition that is really toxic.
23  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK parliamentary boundary review 2016-2018 on: September 14, 2016, 05:43:11 am
So unsurprisingly, its as bad as the last review then?

It'll be interesting to see what they do up here - the Scottish Boundary Commission has a very different attitude on ward splitting than the England and Wales one though, which I think will lead to a better map.  There certainly wasn't anything totally awful in the last one; other than the fact that the highland seats now have to a much bigger than they were which isn't particularly great for rural representation; especially since the effective Scottish quota is higher due to Orkney and Shetland and Na h-Eileanan an Iar...

The electoral quota, for the 596 seats outside the island areas with special provisions, is calculated excluding the island area electorates; so the effective quota is the same throughout the United Kingdom. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2011/1/section/11
24  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Labour Party (UK) Leadership Election, 2016 on: September 08, 2016, 05:42:57 pm
The point I was trying to make is that a shadow cabinet elected by the current PLP is likely to be hostile to Jeremy Corbyn. The leader would not have control over the shadow cabinet and would presumably find his views often rejected by its members. As the leader could not dismiss the members of the elected shadow cabinet, why would they not be free to impose party policy over the leader's objections and publicly repudiate the leader's position if he does not obey the party line in Parliament set by the shadow cabinet majority?

This is not really a situation which has arisen before in modern British politics. The conventions of cabinet government (usually applied by analogy to shadow cabinet's), would break down within the sort of institutional framework the Labour Party is thinking about adopting.
25  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Labour Party (UK) Leadership Election, 2016 on: September 07, 2016, 02:11:13 pm
Will an elected shadow cabinet be bound by collective responsibility? If so, what happens when Jeremy Corbyn is outvoted on issues he feels very deeply about? Would the leader have to resign or rebel against the party line or just allow free votes on all major issues?
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