Author Topic: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?  (Read 1748 times)

dismalist

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Re: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?
« Reply #30 on: January 07, 2022, 12:56:08 PM »
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Don't confuse levels with rates of change. :-)

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marshwiggle

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Re: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?
« Reply #31 on: January 07, 2022, 01:50:29 PM »

A single party state would be so much better. See how much Hong Kong has improved in the last 20 years.

We used to have Whigs and Tories. We wouldn't have a one party system and I hope and would love to see something moderate replace the White Kristian Nationalist cult that has cast out Liz Cheney of all people.

The voters remain the same, regardless of what the parties are. Any party with any desire to win has to have a big enough tent for a significant part of the electorate. Trump is kind of a red herring; his popularity was relatively low, and the fact that a reasonable percentage of those who voted Obama in 2012 went to Trump in 2016 suggests it had little to do with him personally. Focusing on him is just a way to ignore the ways that the Democrats failed to attract lots of voters that they might have gotten otherwise. ( You know, the "deplorables".)

Bill Maher, definitely neither a Republican nor even a conservative, raised this point a few years back. The fact that some people would choose someone like Trump over the Democrats indicates how alienated they had become by the party that they "should" have embraced.

It takes so little to be above average.

dismalist

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Re: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?
« Reply #32 on: January 07, 2022, 02:01:07 PM »

...

The voters remain the same, regardless of what the parties are. Any party with any desire to win has to have a big enough tent for a significant part of the electorate. Trump is kind of a red herring; his popularity was relatively low, and the fact that a reasonable percentage of those who voted Obama in 2012 went to Trump in 2016 suggests it had little to do with him personally. Focusing on him is just a way to ignore the ways that the Democrats failed to attract lots of voters that they might have gotten otherwise. ( You know, the "deplorables".)

Bill Maher, definitely neither a Republican nor even a conservative, raised this point a few years back. The fact that some people would choose someone like Trump over the Democrats indicates how alienated they had become by the party that they "should" have embraced.

Bingo!

Would it not in that case be simpler
for the government
To dissolve the people
And elect another?
--Bert Brecht, The Solution, 1953. Published 1959.

We have met the enemy, and they is us.
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Istiblennius

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Re: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?
« Reply #33 on: January 07, 2022, 04:06:01 PM »

The voters remain the same, regardless of what the parties are. Any party with any desire to win has to have a big enough tent for a significant part of the electorate. Trump is kind of a red herring; his popularity was relatively low, and the fact that a reasonable percentage of those who voted Obama in 2012 went to Trump in 2016 suggests it had little to do with him personally. Focusing on him is just a way to ignore the ways that the Democrats failed to attract lots of voters that they might have gotten otherwise. ( You know, the "deplorables".)

Bill Maher, definitely neither a Republican nor even a conservative, raised this point a few years back. The fact that some people would choose someone like Trump over the Democrats indicates how alienated they had become by the party that they "should" have embraced.

I get what you are saying and acknowledge that there is some truth to it, but it is also more complicated. The current GOP strategy also isn't to have a big tent for the electorate, it is to hand pick the electorate that it wants and actively try to prevent much of the electorate from voting.

From the eighties forward, the active project to dismantle and hamstring the federal government and then say "see, government is unable to help you" has convinced that hand-picked electorate to vote against their own interests. It is also true the Democrats are horrible at messaging. When individual components of Obamacare and Build Back Better are presented to Americans, they in large number like and support them. But then Tucker and co screech "death panels" and "socialism". There is also a lot of privilege fragility that shouldn't have to be handled so carefully, but probably needs to be if we are to move people past that fragility.

And the two parties are playing very different games. "Build the Wall" fits on a bumper sticker. "Universal pre-K to improve quality of life for all and reduce the amount of money we spend on medicaid, SNAP and mass incarceration" is a lot harder to get on a sticker.

It's also a lot easier to lie and obfuscate and just refuse to do anything beyond make tax cuts, wave flags, and pass outsized military budgets. It's a heck of a lot harder to actually try to govern a really diverse country that has been shredded by decades of growing income inequality, lack of health care, and insane levels of gun violence. Yeah, Canada's not perfect but they have a handle on those last two things which make us the shame of the developed world as they should.

And let's not forget only one party is actively undermining democracy to the extent that they celebrate the terrorists of January 6 as patriots.

mahagonny

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Re: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?
« Reply #34 on: January 07, 2022, 04:18:07 PM »
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And let's not forget only one party is actively undermining democracy to the extent that they celebrate the terrorists of January 6 as patriots.

And let's not forget only one party is actively undermining democracy to the extent that they celebrate the terrorists of the George Floyd riots as patriots.

yet...

There are democrats who want it understand that they notice black Americans' pain, but do not want police precincts, cruisers burned to the ground or non-prosecuted retail looting to express that concern.

There are republicans who suspect the voting count accuracy in 2020 was compromised, and that people who chose Trump over Biden and Hillary have been unfairly maligned, but don't need to cause a fracas in public to express themselves.

Both these group ought to able to see each other as reasonable, in theory, but are drowned out by the hysterical noise.

dismalist

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Re: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?
« Reply #35 on: January 07, 2022, 04:52:56 PM »
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to vote against their own interests.

Ah yes, the fallback position of Marxism: The masses suffer from false consciousness.

Therefore, those who are against us may not vote.

The neo's have happily taken this over form the originals.


We have met the enemy, and they is us.
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Sun_Worshiper

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Re: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?
« Reply #36 on: January 08, 2022, 08:09:39 AM »
I'll just remind everyone who is trying to "both sides are bad" this thing that Trump and his Republican allies tried to overturn the results of a free and fair election. This is the immediate crisis to democracy.

downer

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Re: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?
« Reply #37 on: January 08, 2022, 08:34:39 AM »
What would have happened if Mike Pence had agreed to do what Trump asked him to do? How close were we to civil war?

It didn't feel that close to me.

But then I think how the democracy of a country is more a matter of a sliding scale rather than all or nothing. Right now I'd rate the US something like 2 out of 5 stars. Maybe 2.5. Do political scientists have official ratings of how democratic countries are?
"Change takes courage." Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

mahagonny

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Re: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?
« Reply #38 on: January 08, 2022, 08:40:09 AM »
I'll just remind everyone who is trying to "both sides are bad" this thing that the republican party still believes the American experiment is worth continuing and the democratic party (at least the ones we hear from most of often) have given up on it and can't offer anything but the opportunity to join them wallowing in misery.

Parasaurolophus

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Re: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?
« Reply #39 on: January 08, 2022, 08:43:38 AM »
What would have happened if Mike Pence had agreed to do what Trump asked him to do? How close were we to civil war?

It didn't feel that close to me.

I don't think you were close to civil war either. That would require the Democratic part of the country to take up arms, which seems unlikely at best. This would, after all, have been the second election stolen by Republicans, and the first saw Democrats roll over for the sake of "unity".


Quote
But then I think how the democracy of a country is more a matter of a sliding scale rather than all or nothing. Right now I'd rate the US something like 2 out of 5 stars. Maybe 2.5. Do political scientists have official ratings of how democratic countries are?

There's the Democracy Index (but it's compiled by The Economist).
« Last Edit: January 08, 2022, 08:50:03 AM by Parasaurolophus »
I know it's a genus.

Sun_Worshiper

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Re: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?
« Reply #40 on: January 08, 2022, 08:45:37 AM »
What would have happened if Mike Pence had agreed to do what Trump asked him to do? How close were we to civil war?

It didn't feel that close to me.

But then I think how the democracy of a country is more a matter of a sliding scale rather than all or nothing. Right now I'd rate the US something like 2 out of 5 stars. Maybe 2.5. Do political scientists have official ratings of how democratic countries are?

The Polity index is popular among political scientists. We're at a 5 on the -10 to 10 scale these days, putting us below the democracy threshold of 6. Economist also has one that rates US as a flawed democracy. I'm sure there are others.

spork

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Re: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?
« Reply #41 on: January 08, 2022, 10:20:19 AM »
What would have happened if Mike Pence had agreed to do what Trump asked him to do? How close were we to civil war?

It didn't feel that close to me.

But then I think how the democracy of a country is more a matter of a sliding scale rather than all or nothing. Right now I'd rate the US something like 2 out of 5 stars. Maybe 2.5. Do political scientists have official ratings of how democratic countries are?

V-Dem: https://www.v-dem.net/

Freedom House: https://freedomhouse.org/

We had a good run but it's over.

I recommend The Unwinding by George Packer.
It's terrible writing, used to obfuscate the fact that the authors actually have nothing to say.

marshwiggle

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Re: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?
« Reply #42 on: January 08, 2022, 10:40:23 AM »

The voters remain the same, regardless of what the parties are. Any party with any desire to win has to have a big enough tent for a significant part of the electorate. Trump is kind of a red herring; his popularity was relatively low, and the fact that a reasonable percentage of those who voted Obama in 2012 went to Trump in 2016 suggests it had little to do with him personally. Focusing on him is just a way to ignore the ways that the Democrats failed to attract lots of voters that they might have gotten otherwise. ( You know, the "deplorables".)

Bill Maher, definitely neither a Republican nor even a conservative, raised this point a few years back. The fact that some people would choose someone like Trump over the Democrats indicates how alienated they had become by the party that they "should" have embraced.

And the two parties are playing very different games. "Build the Wall" fits on a bumper sticker. "Universal pre-K to improve quality of life for all and reduce the amount of money we spend on medicaid, SNAP and mass incarceration" is a lot harder to get on a sticker.


Democrat ideas don't fit on bumper stickers? There are lots, but here are a couple of examples:
  • "DEFUND THE POLICE!"
  • "BELIEVE ALL WOMEN!"


As I said before, voters are not stupid, and hyperbolic nonsense doesn't impress them. They may not say it to anyone's face, but in the privacy of the ballot box they will vote against that stupidity.

The above examples could both have been replaced with much more truthful statements that many voters could accept, if in fact they were about truthfulness rather than tribalism.

  • "IMPROVE MENTAL HEALTH INTERVENTIONS!"
  • "INVESTIGATE EVERY CLAIM!"


In the first case, one of the big complaints against police is related to people having mental health crises. Voters are not stupid, and have heard these stories. Virtually all agree that improvements can be made. If that involves more or better training for police, it would actually require more funding for police. If it involves setting up programs with mental health professionals dealing with some of these cases, then it may eventually reduce the need for resources, but if so that is a secondary consequence; it is NOT a prerequisite for the improvement.

In the second case, one of the complaints against the justice system is that many historical complaints of sexual assault were not investigated. Voters are not stupid, and have heard these stories. Virtually all agree that improvements can be made. However, most voters have heard stories of false claims of sexual assault, and every voter knows of some woman who has lied about something. ( And "believe all women" presents a logical impossibility in the case of a female teacher accused of sexual interference with a female student. If the teacher denies the claim, WHICH woman is to be believed??? Again, voters are not stupid and see through this immediately.)

Trying to get voters to say the magic phrases and use the secret handshake to show that they're part of the "right" tribe is condescending and ineffective. Voters who do not voluntarily align with a specific party will not be browbeaten into submission just to avoid being identified with those "other bad people over there".

Truthfulness is more important than tribalism to a large section of the electorate.
It takes so little to be above average.

dismalist

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Re: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?
« Reply #43 on: January 08, 2022, 10:58:52 AM »
What would have happened if Mike Pence had agreed to do what Trump asked him to do? How close were we to civil war?

It didn't feel that close to me.

But then I think how the democracy of a country is more a matter of a sliding scale rather than all or nothing. Right now I'd rate the US something like 2 out of 5 stars. Maybe 2.5. Do political scientists have official ratings of how democratic countries are?

V-Dem: https://www.v-dem.net/

Freedom House: https://freedomhouse.org/

We had a good run but it's over.

I recommend The Unwinding by George Packer.

I checked out the Freedom House ratings, for the US and a couple of other countries with which I am somewhat familiar.

The ratings seem to derive from the degree of agreement between matters in countries and Freedom House's preferred policies. For the US it is said:

However, in recent years its democratic institutions have suffered erosion, as reflected in partisan pressure on the electoral process, bias and dysfunction in the criminal justice system, harmful policies on immigration and asylum seekers, and growing disparities in wealth, economic opportunity, and political influence.

--In recent years [Trump, Republicans]. I guess they don't like him or them.
--Partisan pressure on the electoral system. I suppose they mean by Republicans, but one can say from Democrats as well.
--Bias in criminal justice. I suppose the incarcerated population must be proportional to race in the population.
--Harmful immigration policies. One can disagree, strongly.
--Disparities in ... everything. The disparity in wealth is rich. I suppose most wealth was stolen.

So their trick is to claim the system is broken rather than to argue one's views. That's very common, but is mere political rhetoric.
We have met the enemy, and they is us.
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Sun_Worshiper

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Re: How are you feeling about the state of American democracy?
« Reply #44 on: January 08, 2022, 11:06:56 AM »
What would have happened if Mike Pence had agreed to do what Trump asked him to do? How close were we to civil war?

It didn't feel that close to me.

But then I think how the democracy of a country is more a matter of a sliding scale rather than all or nothing. Right now I'd rate the US something like 2 out of 5 stars. Maybe 2.5. Do political scientists have official ratings of how democratic countries are?

V-Dem: https://www.v-dem.net/

Freedom House: https://freedomhouse.org/

We had a good run but it's over.

I recommend The Unwinding by George Packer.

I checked out the Freedom House ratings, for the US and a couple of other countries with which I am somewhat familiar.

The ratings seem to derive from the degree of agreement between matters in countries and Freedom House's preferred policies. For the US it is said:

However, in recent years its democratic institutions have suffered erosion, as reflected in partisan pressure on the electoral process, bias and dysfunction in the criminal justice system, harmful policies on immigration and asylum seekers, and growing disparities in wealth, economic opportunity, and political influence.

--In recent years [Trump, Republicans]. I guess they don't like him or them.
--Partisan pressure on the electoral system. I suppose they mean by Republicans, but one can say from Democrats as well.
--Bias in criminal justice. I suppose the incarcerated population must be proportional to race in the population.
--Harmful immigration policies. One can disagree, strongly.
--Disparities in ... everything. The disparity in wealth is rich. I suppose most wealth was stolen.

So their trick is to claim the system is broken rather than to argue one's views. That's very common, but is mere political rhetoric.

Try looking at Polity Index, the Economist democracy rating, and the myriad of others showing US democracy in decline.

More generally, and I cannot believe I have to keep repeating this, Trump and his Republican allies tried to overturn the results of a free and fair election just one year ago. You keep going on about tyranny of the majority, insisting there is no problem, and saying "it is mere political rhetoric," but you are ignoring a literal attack on the democratic process and system.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2022, 11:10:50 AM by Sun_Worshiper »