They aren't just supposed to represent their political parties
I agree, shame that doesn't seem to happen much. But when that's who is giving you money it's hard to blame people.
It happens a lot. Especially at the federal level. Members of districts with narrow majorities absolutely have an effect on the legislation their party puts out there. There's a reason why GOP Senators from Maine (for an easy example) regularly vote against the GOP on a number of hot button issues. There's a reason why there are disagreements within any given party over any of a number of policy positions. There are Democrats who are in favor of building the wall, and Republicans who are against it. Heck, immigration reform alone has members all over the map, and not remotely "in line" with some kind of monolithic position held by their party.
This happens precisely because the voters in different geographical areas care about different issues differently. What resonates with voters in Detroit, doesn't with voters in Austin. This means that in order to win in those areas, you have to not just be a cookie cutter member of your party, but show that you're addressing the things that the people in that district/state want addressed. Which absolutely may not be in lock step to what the national party wants, for either party for that matter.
There's a reason why, right now, there's a discussion about government shutdown over failure to pass a budget bill, almost entirely over whether something unrelated to that bill is addressed as well (DACA). And there's a reason why the current narrative is that if the shutdown happens, it'll be 100% the fault of the GOP, because they control both houses of congress and the White House, and thus should always be able to pass a bill, right? Except that there's no guarantee that 100% of the GOP will vote in lockstep with the party. If they can't pass a bill on their own, it'll be because they couldn't caucus within their own party to reach an agreement.
Which kinda proves that what you are claiming is not true. If it were, then the GOP members would simply pass the bill in the house, hand it to the Senate where the 51 GOP senators would vote for it, where the only way it couldn't pass is if the Dems use the filibuster. Which, would make the shutdown the Dems fault
. 100%. They're literally counting on the GOP *not* being able to get enough of their own party to support the bill so they can blame the shutdown on the Republicans.
Your system will ensure that every representative of each party will always vote 100% with the party. Because you've removed any other influence on their vote. They wont care if the voters in any given geographical region disagree with what they did, because they're not directly voted on by them. They only care about the national ratio of votes for their party.
In one to one district to representative scenario, that representative can easily be in a party which a very narrow majority in his district, meaning that if he does anything that turns off voters in that district, he may lose his seat, even if that action is wildly popular among voters for his party nationwide. IMO, this is a very very good thing. I just don't see the value in abandoning it. Doubly so since you claim that your reason is that the representatives are already too much in lockstep. What you're proposing only makes it worse.
Not really, just calling the wolf in sheep's clothing a wolf. Party line votes are more common than ever before.
So you want to replace it with a system that will ensure party line voting all of the time instead of just most of the time?
I mean that really doesn't happen now. If you're a party member perhaps you get a couple of options, but if not you get to choose between 2 candidates that basically just toe the party line. The person is almost an afterthought, unless they're monkeying around with teenage girls or something similar.
Again. I think you are grossly underestimating just how significant district specific issues are to a representative being able to win and keep a seat in congress.
Again though. Is the "who" an actual person? Or a party?
Party, choose democrat, republican, or whatever.
Again though. How on earth does that reduce
the degree to which representatives are just cookie cutter party members? It will make the very thing you are complaining about worse.
I mean you don't have to doubt, most countries with the systems will have 3-6 major parties represented. Here's Brazil
, and Australia
as some examples with slightly different processes and outcomes.
There are more reasons than just proportional voting for that though. This, once again, veers off into a discussion of the electoral college, and far far away from the original issue of gerrymandering though. Um... It's also almost entirely a semantic difference too. The same range of issues and positions exist in both scenarios. The difference is that in one, you have a bunch of smaller parties, each representing a portion of that range. In the other, you have two large parties, which jockey for support of voting blocks, which would otherwise be separate parties themselves in a more parliamentarian style system.
I happen to prefer the method the US has precisely because it requires the parties/majorities to be more transparent about their policies before the people vote
. In both cases, a majority is required to pass a bill. The difference is that in the US the people vote to determine which party will make up that majority, with the party having to create a range of positions and platform positions which will gain them enough support to win that majority. In a multi party system, the political party representatives jockey with each other after being elected, to determine which combinations of policies and planks win "a majority" and thus get implemented into law.
Think of parties in those systems as "interest blocks" within the two major parties in the US. Those blocks pick positions and align with one or the other party ahead of time in the US system. The change position and alliances after the vote in the other. So when you vote for GOP or DEM in an election in the US, you know ahead of time which combination of positions are going to be in majority if that party wins. In other systems, you don't. You know that the one party you voted for, with its relatively narrow set of planks may gain some increased influence. Maybe. But you, as a voter, have no clue how those various parties will arrange themselves later to form a majority in the government.
Neither is terrible, but I wouldn't absolutely say one is objectively better. I have a preference, but that's just my personal opinion. Others can have different preferences. But that doesn't make either method "broken". just "different'. We're just changing how a majority position on any given set of policies is arrived at. At the end of the day, a majority will always be formed.
Well I hardly blame you for that, but figured you might care if he was ignoring you while he was supposed to be representing you.
I do. And if I, and those in my district, have 100% of the say over whether that guy who's ignoring us keeps his seat, then we can do something about it if he ignores us. If his seat is based on some conglomeration of voting nationwide, then we have zero say about it. I'm honestly not sure what virtue you're claiming here. You're literally arguing for a system where no representative will ever care at all about the people he's representing directly. I can't see how that can ever be anything but worse than a direct "one district; one representative" process that we have now.
Well we could look at the percentage of voters that'll vote party line to get a decent estimate. That's around 33-40% of voters depending on how and who you ask. Then there's people who vote primarily for issues and values (abortion, health care, economy, immigration, etc). Every election is different, but as much as issues and values get hyped in the media I have trouble seeing how that's less than an additional 10%. There's certainly people who do vote primarily for a person, of course, but I don't see how I'm in a very small minority here. At minimum it's a large minority.
I meant in the minority in terms of wanting to eliminate the ability of people living in a given district and only the people living in that district having the power to elect the one person who represents that district. I think that somewhere near 99% of voters like that system. The fact that a high percentage of them vote on party lines isn't the point. They know they have the power to vote differently if they want. The fact that most of the time, someone who agrees with the platform of partyA is going to vote for the guy running from partyA doesn't change this fact.
That's why you publish the code, and describe the algorithm. There's a point for making a black box if you're trying to protect a propitiatory algorithm, but there's no reason to do so in this circumstance. There's no reason the program code shouldn't be made available to both parties, the public, experts, etc.
It's not just about the code. It's about the data the code uses to make decisions. Someone will get to decide whether "average income" is weighted as much as "education level", or "wears white after labor day", or any of a zillion possible facts about the people in a given area which might be used to decide how to draw lines. Do we follow or not follow school district lines? Do we take into account geographical differences? How much so? Do we take into account city boundaries? County? Incorporated versus unincorporated? Do we weight for police jurisdictions? Different local legislative regions? Etc, etc, etc, etc.
Someone (or a group of someone's) is going to be making those decisions. And it's a bewildering array of them. And at the end of the day, the value to manipulate those decisions and weighting factors is just as great as it is right now. The difference is that instead of allowing the party who won sufficient majorities in the state elections to have the power to do so, we give it to... who? People we didn't vote for? We don't know their loyalties? We don't know how they were selected? There's no such thing as an "unbiased process". At some point, when you take enough steps back there's some point in the process where bias will always be used to influence the outcome.
I didn't mean black box in terms of the actual code, but the methods used to define the criteria used for district line drawing in the first place. GIGO, right? Whoever gets to determine what goes into the process, determines what comes out. A great example of this is my own state of California, which went to an "unbiased" group of people to draw the lines. I've researched the selection process. It's pretty strange. In theory, the panel has like 5 democrats, 5 republicans, and 4 "non-partisans", and requires a majority of a set number of each of those three groups to agree on a map change. Sounds great, right? Except who chose who is on the panel? Basically, when you drill back in time on this, the party in power put in place a selection panel (which I'm sure was totally unbiased), who them dug through tens of thousands of applicants for each of these three groups, and selected a small subset of "the best". Then they went through another round, trimming it down, until they got the final panel members.
How conservative do you think the GOP members on the panel are? How does one make that determination? How "unbiased" are the non-partisan folks? How do you make that determination. We're just supposed to trust that a group of Democrat appointed selectors would fairly make sure to put actual non-partisan people in the non-partisan group, and make sure to put really staunch conservatives in the GOP group, right? Yeah. I've got a bridge to sell you.
The result was a number of seat that shifted to the Democrats (I think it was like +4 after all was said and done). So the non-partisan alternative to the old method actually increased the power for Democrats in the state. Hmmm... I'm sure that was all just coincidental, right? The saddest part is that at least before, you could directly know who drew the lines and why. You could point at them and say "this party did this", and this may or may not influence people, outrage them, amuse them, whatever. Now, the process is hidden behind a non-partisan veneer. Anyone who questions the results is met with the response about how it's all non-partisan, the party had nothing to do with it, yadda, yadda, yadda.
I'd rather have the transparency of knowing that the party in power draws the lines, and is thus responsible for them, both gaining power by drawing them in their favor, and possibly losing favor if they are perceived as being too unfair. That's part of what democracy is about. Balancing what the voters want, and what you do with the power they give you. I see this no differently. Let those who won have the power to do what they want (within the limits of said power, of course). Let them also take responsibility for the result. That's "fair".
Hiding behind process isn't a good idea IMO. It is still subject to just as much partisan meddling, but it's harder to see when it happens.
It's hard to do that when those with power try to influence the vote. We're not starting from a blank slate, and people don't vote in a vacuum.
Those in power always have the ability to influence the vote. The difference is to what degree people are aware of it. You're not eliminating that influence. If history is any indicator, you're just making it easier for them to hide it. I don't think that's a good thing at all. Edited, Jan 17th 2018 6:51pm by gbaji