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1  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: How come we only see presidents hailing from a handful of states? on: September 23, 2017, 08:04:07 pm
Presidential candidates tend to come from one of the larger population states, which was competitive between parties. Both these factors have changed over time.
2  General Politics / Political Debate / Re: If the USA had to change from federal to Unitary or Confederate, which one? on: September 16, 2017, 10:26:57 am
Neither option seems sensible.

The United States is too large and diverse for a unitary government.

The sort of weak conferderation suggested proved inadequate to the needs of a rural backwater polity in the 18th century, so how it could function effectively as the government of a 21st century super power is not obvious.
3  General Discussion / Constitution and Law / Re: Since a POTUS could technically serve for 10 years... on: September 16, 2017, 09:56:35 am
A very popular politician, who could easily have been elected President three times if the constitution permitted it, might on one interpretation of the existing constitution be able to evade the two term limit.

After serving two terms, the popular politician could arrange for some very loyal supporter to be nominated for President and be nominated for Vice President himself. After the ticket is elected, the new President resigns after being inaugurated and the popular politician embarks on his third term. This ruse could be repeated for as many terms as the politicians popularity and health permitted.

The constitution has to be read as a whole, including its amendments in force at the relevant time. When the 22nd Amendment was proposed and ratified, it would in my view have been intended to affect the interpretation of the 12th Amendment so as to prevent the scenario I suggest above.

Of course the popular politician could still use the George Wallace option and have his (non politically active) wife elected Chief Executive, with the politician remaining effective head of the government.
4  General Discussion / Constitution and Law / Re: A British Prime Minister from the House of Lords... on: September 16, 2017, 09:30:17 am
There is no legal provision preventing a Prime Minister being in the House of Lords. It is however a political necessity that a modern Prime Minister either be a member of the House of Commons or become one soon after appointment.
5  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: New Zealand Election 2017 on: August 20, 2017, 05:47:51 pm
The New Zealand Electoral Commission gives a brief history of the Maori seats and explains how the system works.

http://www.elections.org.nz/voting-system/maori-representation

To expand on this, based upon books I have read about New Zealand history.

In the 19th century New Zealand started out with a single voters roll, which any British subject who met a landowning qualification could qualify for. In theory the Maori could qualify but in practice few did because the Maori tradition of communal land ownership was incosistent with European ideas about how land could be owned by individuals.

The Maori became discontented over the amount of land settlers had taken over. The Europeans did not realise how discontented until the King Country War broke out. This was a big enough threat to the colony that Imperial troops had to be sent from as far away as India to reinforce the colonial militia.

As an emergency measure, so that the Maori could express their grievances by participating in politics and not have to resort to war, it was decided to create four Maori seats in the New Zealand legislature. This was originally intended to be a temporary measure, but the Maori liked the system and it was made permanent.

The Maori seats elected Maori members to a small legislature, so they could exercise significant political power. This distinguishes the New Zealand practice from that in South Africa, where all the members of legislatures had to be of European descent both before and after communal representatives were introduced into the House of Assembly.

The preamble to the Maori Representation Bill 1867 states:-

Quote
WHEREAS owing to the peculiar nature of the tenure of Maori land
and to other causes the native aboriginal inliabitants of this Colony
of New Zealand have not heretofore with few exceptions been able to
become registered as electors or to vote at the election of members of
the House of Representatives or of the Provincial Councils of the said
Colony and it is expedient for the better protection of the interests of
Her Majesty's subjects of the native race that temporary provision
should be made for the special representation of such Her Majesty's
Native subjects in the House of Representatives and the Provincial
Councils of the said Colony ...

http://www.nzlii.org/nz/legis/hist_bill/mrb1867431247/
6  General Discussion / Constitution and Law / Re: Sitting senators voting for themselves (cabinet or election of a VP) on: August 20, 2017, 08:00:27 am
Actually, the VP can't break a tie during contingent elections. There must be a majority.

Well actually, that's an untested constitutional question: the language requiring an absolute majority of Senate votes *may* preclude the sitting Vice President from breaking any tie which might occur, although some academics & journalists have speculated to the contrary, w/ legal scholars differing on whether the Constitution would allow the sitting VP to break the tie on the choice of a VP.

There was discussion before the 2016 election, that the senate may end up 50-50 and that there would be no electoral college winner (for example if Trump had done worse in the Rust Belt and McMuffin taken Utah).

That scenario would only be critical if the House failed to elect a President before 20th January. I suspect the Senate would delay electing a Vice President until it was known who would be the next President and would then agree to allow the election of the President-elect's running mate.
7  General Discussion / Constitution and Law / Re: Could an acting president appoint a vice president? on: August 20, 2017, 07:54:28 am
Perhaps Congress should re-write the Presidential succession law, to take account of the 25th Amendment and sort out some of the uncertainties before they had to be resolved during the middle of a major political and constitutional crisis.
8  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Next UK General Election thread on: July 12, 2017, 01:14:04 pm
The movement surrounding Jacob Rees Mogg appears to be really taking off recently. Let's say they win and Mogg becomes prime minister in 2019 after Brexit is complete. How do you think his premiership would go and how would the 2022 election go assuming the Conservative government lasts?

Jacob Rees-Mogg is a back bencher and likely to remain so. All Conservative leaders for more than a century have been front benchers when selected or elected leader (apart from Andrew Bonar Law in 1922, who had retired from his first term as leader in 1921 due to ill health which he seemed to have recovered from by 1922).
 
9  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK Liberal Democrats leadership election, 2017 on: June 29, 2017, 02:26:45 pm
De jure i don't think there's any requirements of status. The monarch can appoint whoever he wants as PM, member of the commons a peer or none of the above (Home was PM for three weeks being a member of neither of the houses). It's merely a convention that it will be a member of the commons

The modern convention. which is not a matter of strict law but a very strong requirement of political necessity, is that the Prime Minister if not already a member of the House of Commons should become one as quickly as possible. Lord Home upon appointment as Prime Minister, had to renounce his peerage and win a convenient by-election.

The following year Patrick Gordon-Walker lost his seat at the General Election. He was still appointed Foreign Secretary in the new Labour government, but when he lost a by-election he then had to resign as a Minister.

The convention operates in Australia as well. Senator Gorton was appointed Prime Minister after Harold Holt disappeared. Gorton resigned his Senate seat and then won a by-election in his predecessors House of Representatives electorate.

Nowadays, in Westminster type bicameral systems, a Prime Minister really must be in the lower house to retain its confidence.
10  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK Liberal Democrats leadership election, 2017 on: June 29, 2017, 02:01:58 am
Ed Davey has announced he isn't standing.

It's looking likely there won't even be a contest now.
If Lloyd doesn't run, the other three MPs are all new. Hobhouse, I believe, would be the first party leader born outside of the United Kingdom.

Andrew Bonar Law, the Conservative leader from 1911-21 and 1922-23, was born in New Brunswick which is now a Canadian province.

Wera Hobhouse does not seem to be a very plausible candidate to be a party leader.

At the time he was born, however, New Brunswick was not yet part of the Canadian Confederation.

So would this be like John McCain being born in the Canal Zone?

To some extent. However there is no requirement that a British Prime Minister should have been born in the United Kingdom. Thus Bonar Law, having been born in the British colony of New Brunswick, was fully entitled to move to the UK and take part in British politics. In his time any subject of the British Crown, born anywhere in the Empire, had the same legal status.

Even today any citizen of a Commonwealth country, with the correct immigration status to be resident in the UK, can register to vote and be a candidate in elections.

Wera Hobhouse is in a different category. She was born in Germany so to be eligible to be an MP she had to become a naturalised British citizen. Having done so, she was free to be elected to Parliament  and could then (in theory) become a party leader or Prime Minister.
11  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK Liberal Democrats leadership election, 2017 on: June 28, 2017, 04:12:51 am
Ed Davey has announced he isn't standing.

It's looking likely there won't even be a contest now.
If Lloyd doesn't run, the other three MPs are all new. Hobhouse, I believe, would be the first party leader born outside of the United Kingdom.

Andrew Bonar Law, the Conservative leader from 1911-21 and 1922-23, was born in New Brunswick which is now a Canadian province.

Wera Hobhouse does not seem to be a very plausible candidate to be a party leader.
12  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Next UK General Election thread on: June 26, 2017, 08:58:53 am
The outside chance disappeared after my previous post, as the Conservatives and DUP finalised the deal to give Theresa May an overall majority in Parliament.

If Mrs May had had to resign after losing the vote on the Queen's speech then the Leader of the Opposition would be asked if he could form a ministry with the confidence of the House. If the answer was no then presumably Mrs May would continue in office, in a caretaker capacity, while the House of Commons got to vote on an early election motion.

If Jeremy Corbyn's answer was yes then he would get a chance to form a government and dare the other parties to vote it down. Given that there is a convention that there should be at least a few months gap between general elections, there would have been a chance that the Conservatives would abstain on confidence votes whilst they changed their leader. However none of this will happen now.
13  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Next UK General Election thread on: June 25, 2017, 05:16:42 pm
PM Corbyn when?

There is an outside chance of Friday 30 June.

The House of Commons is currently debating a motion to approve the Queen's speech, which sets out the government's legislative programme for the next two years. The vote is due on Thursday 29 June. If it does not pass then it is likely that the Prime Minister will then resign and arguably it would be unconstitutional not to do so.

There may be some doubt about what will happen because the interaction between the traditional constitutional conventions and the provisions of the fixed term parliaments law, have never been tested.

It is likely that a slim Conservative/DUP majority will prevail, so the interesting constitutional issues will not arise, but the numbers involved do not give the Prime Minister much margin of error.
14  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK Liberal Democrats leadership election, 2017 on: June 16, 2017, 03:43:07 pm
The Liberal Democrat strategy is to devote resources to a limited number of constituencies so as to gradually expand the number of seats won. Seats outside the target group do not matter much, at least in the early stages of the process.

The effect of the coalition was to close down some previously areas of advance and to re-start the process of growth from a lower starting point.

The strategy followed produced a net gain of four seats over the 2015 general election. There are some other seats which would be sensible targets at the next general election.

The Liberal Democrats are unlikely to make enormous gains at any one election, but are in no realistic danger of disappearing however much partisans of other parties might wish they would.
15  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election, 2017 - Election Day and Results Thread on: June 16, 2017, 08:30:51 am
You're probably describing the run-away two most popular Tory MPs in the country, there.

Is this serious?

Probably. In an age of cautious identikit politicians, both Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg are individuals who could not be mistaken for anyone else. They may be ridiculous, but they are far better known than about 640 of their colleagues in the House of Commons.
16  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK Liberal Democrats leadership election, 2017 on: June 16, 2017, 08:01:43 am
I honestly do think though they could benefit from some rebranding. Maybe dropping the Democrats and just calling themselves the 'Liberal Party' would more accurately capture them at this point.

I definitely do think Norman Lamb is the best option. Alistair Carmichael would be a good fit for Deputy Leader to show the look towards Scotland among the party. Obviously Jo Swinson should be given a prominent role as a spokesperson of some sort.

As someone else noted, the "Liberal Party" name isn't available currently (and unlikely to become available soon). They've bandied about rebranding as the Democratic Party or the Democrats in the recent past, but I think voters would rightly view any name change as silly.

When the merged party started in 1988, as the Social and Liberal Democrats, it tried using the short name the Democrats. Unfortunately this confused the electorate, who had no idea who this new group were. The party rapidly settled upon Liberal Democrats as the short name, which eventually became the official name of the party.
17  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK Liberal Democrats leadership election, 2017 on: June 16, 2017, 04:11:22 am
I honestly do think though they could benefit from some rebranding. Maybe dropping the Democrats and just calling themselves the 'Liberal Party' would more accurately capture them at this point.

I definitely do think Norman Lamb is the best option. Alistair Carmichael would be a good fit for Deputy Leader to show the look towards Scotland among the party. Obviously Jo Swinson should be given a prominent role as a spokesperson of some sort.

There already is a Liberal Party registered with the Electoral Commission. This is a small, minor party which was set up by some opponents of the merger with the SDP which created the Liberal Democrats. It has drifted quite a long way from the policies of the pre-1988 Liberal Party and the Liberal Democrats, particularly on Europe.

http://search.electoralcommission.org.uk/Registrations/PP54

18  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK Liberal Democrats leadership election, 2017 on: June 15, 2017, 09:28:11 am
What method do the Lib Dems use to choose their leader?

The candidates must be MPs. The members of the party are the electorate and they vote by giving preferences to the candidates. At any stage where no candidate has 50% plus one of the votes, the last placed candidate is eliminated with their ballots being transferred to the next numbered continuing candidate. The process is repeated until one candidate reaches the required number of votes to be elected.

So there's no requirement for support among fellow MPs before being put to the party members? Any MP who wants to stand for the leadership can do so carte blanche?

MaxQue has explained the nomination requirements, but to see how absurd it was to leave leadership elections solely up to the MPs in a small party, I refer you to the Liberal Party leadership election of 1967. In 1967, as with the 2017 Liberal Democrats, there were 12 MPs in the parliamentary party.

In 1967 there were three candidates. The voters split 6-3-3. The joint second placed candidates then withdrew and the glorious leadership of Jeremy Thorpe began.

The Liberal Party started experimenting with an  electoral college type arrangement for its next leadership election (so many electoral votes per constituency party), but the Liberal Democrats settled on one member, one vote elections.

19  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK Liberal Democrats leadership election, 2017 on: June 14, 2017, 06:45:37 pm
What method do the Lib Dems use to choose their leader?

The candidates must be MPs. The members of the party are the electorate and they vote by giving preferences to the candidates. At any stage where no candidate has 50% plus one of the votes, the last placed candidate is eliminated with their ballots being transferred to the next numbered continuing candidate. The process is repeated until one candidate reaches the required number of votes to be elected.
20  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK Liberal Democrats leadership election, 2017 on: June 14, 2017, 03:31:19 pm
It seems to me that Farron, to minimise damage to his political campaign, was pushed further than he was comfortable with to publicly explain his religious views and still did not satisfy his political rivals.

Carmichael would have been a potential leader except for his ill advised anonymous and untrue smear against Nicola Sturgeon in the 2015 election, which led to an election petition being brought against him. Although Mr Carmichael retained his seat, his evidence has enabled Scottish Nationalist bloggers to take great delight in describing him as a "self confessed liar".

There is no ideal candidate, amongst the remaining eleven MPs, but Cable, Lamb and Swinson seem to be the most likely to put themselves forward.

I do not think there is any plausible potential candidate  who did not serve in the coalition government, in one capacity or another. Cable, Davey and Carmichael all served in cabinet whilst Lamb, Brake and Swinson were junior ministers. The remaining newly elected MPs (Hobhouse, Jardine, Moran and Stone) do not have the experience to seek election. The one remaining MP, Stephen Lloyd of Eastbourne, does not in my view have the prominence in the party to be elected leader.
21  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election, 2017 - Election Day and Results Thread on: June 13, 2017, 07:54:25 am
Honestly, 10% is a really high deviation, and I could see it increasing the chance of an undemocratic outcome quite a bit. I'd say 5% is the maximum that can be tolerated (when I draw districts myself I usually try to stay within 1%). But yeah, most important is keeping the solid levels of representativeness that 650 seats allow, or at least not going backwards.

5% is really hard in UK. They use wards as building blocks, which building 75k constituencies from block ranging from 1000 (rural districts) to 15000 (large cities). Try to make it at 1% deviation with 10000 inhabitants bulding blocks.

Well, they should collect more fine-grained data. Tongue

No doubt the Boundary Commissions could abandon the traditional way of combining whole wards, so as to tighten up the potential range of constituency electorates, but this would double down on the features of the current boundary change system which British parties tend to object to.

22  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Next UK General Election thread Mrs on: June 11, 2017, 10:29:47 am
Voting intention:
SURVATION
10/06/2017

LAB 45 (+5)
CON 39 (-2)
LIB 7 (-1)
SNP 3 (-1)
UKIP 3 (+1)
OTH 3 (-1)

On leadership:
YOUGOV
09/06/2017 - 10/06/2017

MAY 39 (-4)
CORBYN 39 (+9)

Congratulations, May, you've become Ted Heath 2: Electric Boogaloo.

Though may I offer don't-count-your-chickens advice--Labour could just as well get too cocky and blow it in the other direction, and I'm not even saying so from an anti-Labour standpoint.  Heck, even with a seat plurality *they* could fall short of a majority, and here we go again, *three* elections triggered within the space of a year or so...

Yeah. Labour *cannot* be the ones to call the next election. Plain and simple. I'm not fully aware of the mechanics of calling an election without a Government or a no-confidence vote, but Corbyn and Labour simply can't risk being perceived as opportunistic and inflicting ~another~ election on the UK public.

After all, that was what poisoned May's campaign from the very start this time around.

The constitutional position is relatively clear. Theresa May is and continues to be Prime Minister until she either resigns or the House of Commons demonstrates it has no confidence in her.

If Mrs. May thinks she can command a majority in the House, which she could with the support of the 10 DUP MPs as well as her own party, then she will form a government and present a Queen's speech (which sets out the proposed government legislative programme). If the House passes the usual motion in favour of the Queen's speech then the May government has demonstrated that it has the confidence of the House.

If the House rejects the government programme or passes an opposition amendment, Mrs May would, under the traditional constitutional conventions, have had to either advise another dissolution or resign. Normally, either way, the Leader of the Opposition would be asked if he could form a ministry with the confidence of the House and if so would be appointed Prime Minister.  Of course if the new Prime Minister proved over optimistic, he would then have to ask for a dissolution, which would probably be granted as no viable government could be formed in the present House.

Under the current fixed term legislation, a government defeated on the Queen's speech might either resign immediately or wait for the prescribed formal procedure to be followed.

Quote
2Early parliamentary general elections

(1)An early parliamentary general election is to take place if—
(a)the House of Commons passes a motion in the form set out in subsection (2), and
(b)if the motion is passed on a division, the number of members who vote in favour of the motion is a number equal to or greater than two thirds of the number of seats in the House (including vacant seats).
(2)The form of motion for the purposes of subsection (1)(a) is—
“That there shall be an early parliamentary general election.”

(3)An early parliamentary general election is also to take place if—
(a)the House of Commons passes a motion in the form set out in subsection (4), and
(b)the period of 14 days after the day on which that motion is passed ends without the House passing a motion in the form set out in subsection (5).
(4)The form of motion for the purposes of subsection (3)(a) is—
“That this House has no confidence in Her Majesty’s Government.”

(5)The form of motion for the purposes of subsection (3)(b) is—
“That this House has confidence in Her Majesty’s Government.”

(6)Subsection (7) applies for the purposes of the Timetable in rule 1 in Schedule 1 to the Representation of the People Act 1983.
(7)If a parliamentary general election is to take place as provided for by subsection (1) or (3), the polling day for the election is to be the day appointed by Her Majesty by proclamation on the recommendation of the Prime Minister (and, accordingly, the appointed day replaces the day which would otherwise have been the polling day for the next election determined under section 1).
23  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: Next UK General Election thread on: June 10, 2017, 03:19:25 pm
Does the review of the parliamentary constituencies still have to be approved by Parliament, and if so, will the results of this election prevent that from happening?

The Boundary Commissions are due to put forward proposals in September 2018. Before the new boundaries can be put into law, Parliament will have to approve them. If the changes are rejected, then the existing boundaries will continue in force.

Given that only the Conservative Party is reasonably happy with a 600 seat House of Commons, it must be quite possible but not certain that the results of the boundary review will be rejected.
24  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election, 2017 - Election Day and Results Thread on: June 09, 2017, 01:43:05 pm
This is CNNs breakdown (I don't know if everybody would agree with how they broke down England into regions)

Southwest
Conservative: 51.4%
Labour: 29.1%
Liberal Democrats: 15.0%

Southeast
Conservative: 53.8%
Labour: 28.6
Liberal Democrats: 10.5%

London (1 riding outstanding)
Labour: 54.6%
Conservative: 33.0%
Liberal Democrats: 8.8%

Eastern
Conservative: 54.6%
Labour: 32.7%
Liberal Democrats: 7.9%

East Midlands
Conservative 50.7%
Labour: 40.5%
Liberal Democrats: 4.3%

West Midlands
Conservative: 49.0%
Labour: 42.5%
Liberal Democrats: 4.4%

North West
Labour: 54.9%
Conservative: 36.2%
Liberal Democrats: 5.4%

Yorkshire and the H.  (H...?)
Labour: 49.0%
Conservative: 40.5%
Liberal Democrats: 5.0%

North East
Labour: 55.5%
Conservative: 34.6%
Liberal Democrats: 4.6%

(CNN also gave the vote percentages for the smaller parties, but did not give the seat totals)


The English regions used are the constituencies into which the country is divided for multi member European Parliament elections. They were weak local administrative units in the Blair-Brown era, which Cameron's government abolished.

H stands for Humber, which is the area to the south of the river Humber, which was the north of the historic county of Lincolnshire.
25  Other Elections - Analysis and Discussion / International Elections / Re: UK General Election, June 8th 2017 on: June 04, 2017, 11:24:50 am
I think you would need something catastrophic, like a nuclear attack, before the executive would act outside law to postpone a general election.

I believe that there was a plan during the Cold War that, if attack was imminent and Parliament could not respond in time, emergency powers would be enacted under the royal prerogative. The constitutionality of using a power to legislate without Parliament, for the first time since about the 13th century, was extremely dubious. However if the emergency were big enough, no one would be bothered about formalities.
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