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Author Topic: Constitutional Mad Scientist  (Read 3443 times)
Polkergeist
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« on: August 13, 2004, 11:10:27 pm »
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All the time I am thinking about alternative forms of government. So I'd like to bounce some ideas off fellow forumites in this thread. First cab of the rank is........

Flexible terms.

One thing that I notice about democracy in Western Nations especially the Anglosphere is that periodic elections are seen as an  annoyance that needs to be tolerated. The population at large has only experienced democracy and just takes elections as a given.

WI electoral terms of office last until a petition signed by 25% of all voters is lodged with a proper authority ( i.e. Supreme Ct, or in constituational monarchies, the monarch) which then sets an election date in 2 to 3 months.

The only other way an election can be called is if the elected offical resigns.

The reasoning about this is let the people develop a hunger for an election then they will participate more deeply and value their vote more.

Of course if this were to work their needs to be a protection against the Government or elected officals from interfering in the recall petition process.

If this were to used in America I would see it used on a statewide basis. Where a valid petition is lodged in each state a fresh election would held for its congressional delegation. As for the President there would be a nationwide petition.

If this were to be used in Britain the same would apply only a on a nationwide basis. However I would let the PM still have the right to dissolve the Parliament for fresh elections.

Now, Forumites what would happen if this were used ?

Would this make democracy more valued and would this induce more participation in elections ?

Does this provide greater opportunity for abuse of the Democratic system ? If so how?

What would politics in general be like ?

Fire away ! Smiley

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« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2004, 11:19:07 pm »
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If it were possible to prevent fraud with very good certainty, I don't think it'd be that bad of an idea.  It would save a lot of money if a person wouldn't have to run a re-election campaign at the end of a set term if the person would have obviously been re-elected.
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Polkergeist
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« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2004, 11:25:21 pm »
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If it were possible to prevent fraud with very good certainty, I don't think it'd be that bad of an idea.  It would save a lot of money if a person wouldn't have to run a re-election campaign at the end of a set term if the person would have obviously been re-elected.

Good point about obvious re-elections being a waste of money. Ironically the first quibble about this plan is going to come from me. Shocked

Petitions aren't secret ( you have to out your name on them) so a bad ass government could make things hard for the signatories.

But then again it depends on the political climate of the country. if its open to dissent then there is no problem, but its no good for a place like Iran.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2004, 11:26:33 pm by Polkergeist »Logged

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Gabu
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« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2004, 11:30:53 pm »
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If it were possible to prevent fraud with very good certainty, I don't think it'd be that bad of an idea.  It would save a lot of money if a person wouldn't have to run a re-election campaign at the end of a set term if the person would have obviously been re-elected.

Good point about obvious re-elections being a waste of money. Ironically the first quibble about this plan is going to come from me. Shocked

Petitions aren't secret ( you have to out your name on them) so a bad ass government could make things hard for the signatories.

But then again it depends on the political climate of the country. if its open to dissent then there is no problem, but its no good for a place like Iran.

Possibly, but if you think about it, if people saw that the signatories were being treated badly, the government would not exactly have that high a chance of being re-elected.
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Polkergeist
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« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2004, 11:41:53 pm »
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But then again it depends on the political climate of the country. if its open to dissent then there is no problem, but its no good for a place like Iran.

Possibly, but if you think about it, if people saw that the signatories were being treated badly, the government would not exactly have that high a chance of being re-elected.

Good point, but it would only occur if the people were of an open mind and weren't in a position to be intimidated.

This plan is probably best for those democracies that have had fixed term elections for a lonr period of time. In such nations democracy is developed to such a stage it is ingrained in the culture.
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« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2004, 11:42:01 pm »
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If it were possible to prevent fraud with very good certainty, I don't think it'd be that bad of an idea.  It would save a lot of money if a person wouldn't have to run a re-election campaign at the end of a set term if the person would have obviously been re-elected.

Petitions aren't secret ( you have to out your name on them) so a bad ass government could make things hard for the signatories.
That's also true in the current system. The old Chicago Machine was notorious for getting back at anyone who signed a petition to place any candidate but their own on the ballot.
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Polkergeist
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« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2004, 05:12:25 am »
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Lets say this system was implemented just after the second world war as a method to avoid elections during a war. I can see the post-WWII Presidential list like this. Remember the 1948 election would have to occur.

Truman (D) 1945-1951

Korean War/Red Scare causes a recall petition to succeed and for an election to be held

Eisenhower (R) 1951-1962

Eisenhower presides over a golden age but resigns due to ill health

Nixon (R) 1962-1969

Nixon rides Eisenhower's coatails to victory and has a popularity rating after defusing the Cuban Missiles Crisis. However Vietnam war saps his popularity  and triggers a successful recall petition.

John F. Kennedy (D) 1969-1981

JFK takes US out of Vietnam but by the late 70's as the economy stagnates,  Iranian Hostages Crisis drags truns the public against and triggers a successful recall petition.

Ronald Reagan (R) 1981-1990
Reagan's presidency goes as per OTL but Reagan has to quit due to ill health.

Mario Cuomo (D) 1990-2003
After a narrow election victory over Bob Dole, Cuomo prosecuted the 1991 Persian Gulf war and used the political capital gained as wartime leader to ride out the recession of the early 90's. Cuomo also rode out the Angry White Men political rebellion of the mid 90's narrowly avoiding a successful recall petition. Cuomo rode the successful economic time of the late 90's to high popularity. But the 9/11 terrorist attacks after initally welding patriotic support to the president ,has now focused on the pre 9/11 mistakes of the Cuomo administration in combating terrorism. This inspired a recall attempt which was on track for success in 2003 but Cuomo at 71 decided to quit.

John McCain (R) 2003-
After defeating Pat Buchanan at the covention and Bob Graham in the general election. John McCain is now busy working on fulfilling his campagin promis to eradicate terrorism.
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« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2004, 08:55:56 pm »
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Well, under this assumption, I think history would not unfold as it it did.  The most obvious change would be the Bay of Pigs.  Either Eisenhower would have supported it all the way or quelched it before it happened.  Either way, I think the Missile Crisis would have been either avoided or delayed.
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« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2004, 11:48:29 pm »
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Sometimes people think of the American founders as a bunch of rednecks who just hid behind trees and took potshots at passing redcoats. In fact they were brilliant men who studied earlier civilizations and to the best of their ability fashioned our government to protect our safety, and our freedoms and to endure for a long time.
I think they did an outstanding job. Most of the few problems they missed have been corrected by amendments. I would change only two things; Eliminate the 16th amendment and add a provision for quickly removing from office anyone who violates the constitution.
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Polkergeist
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« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2004, 07:35:53 am »
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Well, under this assumption, I think history would not unfold as it it did.  The most obvious change would be the Bay of Pigs.  Either Eisenhower would have supported it all the way or quelched it before it happened.  Either way, I think the Missile Crisis would have been either avoided or delayed.

Good point, though I don't think it would change the timeline for the purpose of this time line
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Polkergeist
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« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2004, 07:47:28 am »
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Sometimes people think of the American founders as a bunch of rednecks who just hid behind trees and took potshots at passing redcoats. In fact they were brilliant men who studied earlier civilizations and to the best of their ability fashioned our government to protect our safety, and our freedoms and to endure for a long time.

Yes the American founders did a good job, however they just did what was required of them at the time.

That being said I think that after quite a long period of liberal democracy it may be the case that people take it for granted and are more willing to tolerate abuses of liberal democracy under the pretext of its inevitability to endure over time.

The American Founders were in a differnt climate, they were in a climate where people were willing to toil and die for their free society and willing to work towards its maintainance. This assisted their task.

Hence I would think the task of the founders would be harder today if for some reason a new constitution had to be drafted.
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« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2004, 10:14:28 pm »
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I think they did an outstanding job. Most of the few problems they missed have been corrected by amendments. I would change only two things; Eliminate the 16th amendment and add a provision for quickly removing from office anyone who violates the constitution.
Even without the 16th amendment, income from wages and salaries could have been taxed.  What the 16th amendment enabled was taxes on investments, which was considered a tax on capital.
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cwelsch
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« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2004, 10:17:34 pm »
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America isn't a parliamentary democracy.  It sounds nice when you weed out Nixon, Ford and Bush-41 and get double the JFK, more Reagan and McCain.

Ask the Italians pre-Berlusconi what it's sometimes like to have flexible terms for the chief executive.
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