[olug] OT: PSA

Thomas D. Williamson twilliam at inebraska.com
Tue Nov 9 03:26:45 UTC 2010

Quoting Tim & Alethea Larson <thelarsons3 at cox.net>:

> On 11/2/10 8:50 PM, Kevin wrote:
>> We are not necessarily a 2 party system; we are effectively, though.
>> Suppose there are 4 parties(A, B, C,&  D), representing 32%, 29%, 21%, and
>> 18%(I just pulled those numbers out of thin air) of the population at
>> election #1. Parties C&  D are going to merge so they can get 39% of the
>> population and a majority. That merger will create a 5th party(E) and
>> abolish C&  D. The proportions for parties A, B,&  E are now at 32%, 29%,
>> and 39%. Then parties A&  B will merge so they can get 61% of the vote and
>> between them, gain the majority back. Thus, you have 2 parties. I don't
>> remember enough of my college government class to see the way around it,
>> though(something about a winner-take-all system, though?).
> I'd like to see those kinds of coalitions form from the representatives
> once they are in office, though, rather than forcing voters to
> sacrifice their principles before they ever put anybody in office to
> begin with. Because of the system, there are large blocs of people who
> don't have anybody in office that really represents their views.  With
> Condorcet, or maybe proportional representation used in one chamber of
> a bicameral body, there'd be a good chance that 5-10% of the group may
> be from "your party".  That might not be enough to set agendas, but
> enough for the leaders to court you to get bills through, and that
> means you would have some influence.
> Tim
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Just a note. All the talk of a multiple party system is appealing, but  
the right to run for office under a particular party, not just as a  
write in, is determined by each state. If you are not a candidate from  
the Republican or Democratic parties, the process in some states to be  
listed in a different party is draconian. There have been only a  
couple of groups as third parties that got on enough state ballots to  
have a percentage that could be considered having validity. I know Jon  
Anderson got enough votes to get Federal Matching Funds. The threshold  
then was 5% of the popular vote. I do not recall what percentage Perot  
got or if he was seeking those funds. Nader as a third party did not  
appear on all fifty states because some of the states make it all but  
impossible to get on the state ballot for a federal election.

Tom Williamson

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