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Old 07-14-2015, 03:11 AM   #11
Prince Charon
 
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Default Re: US city-states

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Originally Posted by Owen Smith View Post
Similar issue here in the UK. Right now the Scottish National Party almost completely dominates scottish politics ("first past the post" translates 55% support into 95% ish seats). They seem to think this will persist indefinitely, even if Scotland votes for independence in some hypothetical future referendum. They don't realise that once the issue that defines them is won, either they will splinter into two or more parties or another party (existing or new) will take a big chunk of support. And they've only had this huge level of support since the referendum (that they lost) a couple of years ago, so in fact the current situation is probably a brief blip in historical terms.
According to at least one Scot I've communicated with, the only reason they have as much support as they do (outside the advantage of FPTP) is that they aren't the Conservatives, Liberals, or Labour. Make of that what you will.
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Old 07-14-2015, 11:49 AM   #12
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Please note that would only be an initial set up: if one side find it has an advantage, the center tends to drift so that it doesn't. the roughly 50/50 split in american politics is a consequence of the political system, not american political beliefs.
You should see in any competitive system where you have a majority wins outright really. This represents the minimum possible compromise you need to win the rest of your platform.

It's also why the successful political parties in one of these systems always evolve to be hard to tell apart. They are dragged toward the mid-point by the minimum compromise they need to make in order to win. In the limit, if they differ by more than whatever change in policy will cause the one voter in exactly the middle to just switch sides there's still room for one of them to move just a little closer to the center, convince him to switch, and change the winner.
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Old 07-14-2015, 03:42 PM   #13
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You should see in any competitive system where you have a majority wins outright really. This represents the minimum possible compromise you need to win the rest of your platform.
Unless you have other parts of the system pulling to extremes, such as primary elections.
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Old 07-15-2015, 10:35 AM   #14
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Default Re: US city-states

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Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
You should see in any competitive system where you have a majority wins outright really. This represents the minimum possible compromise you need to win the rest of your platform.

It's also why the successful political parties in one of these systems always evolve to be hard to tell apart. They are dragged toward the mid-point by the minimum compromise they need to make in order to win. In the limit, if they differ by more than whatever change in policy will cause the one voter in exactly the middle to just switch sides there's still room for one of them to move just a little closer to the center, convince him to switch, and change the winner.
This is a feature, not a bug.

Extremists cannot govern, effectively, for very long, and government by extremists usually has horrific results.

The best government is one in which center-left moderates compete and compromise about policy (but not ideology) with center-right moderates, and extremists remain so marginalized they're inconsequential.
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Old 07-15-2015, 10:38 AM   #15
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Unless you have other parts of the system pulling to extremes, such as primary elections.
Yep. It's a problem -- but disciplined creation of electoral districts to make them as competitive as possible mitigates the issue, to a large extent. People get tired of losing, and the more extreme the views, the fewer people find it appealing, and the more people it alienates.

We have a name for an extremist who wins a primary, but loses a general election.

"Private citizen."
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Old 07-20-2015, 09:19 PM   #16
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Unless you have other parts of the system pulling to extremes, such as primary elections.
It also only works that way as long as the 'left-middle-right' or whatever spectrum is the sole axis of division. When there are two or more axes on which the population can split, the 'center' becomes unstable. As long as TPTB can keep the debate focused on that first axis, the center holds, if something kicks it over to one of the others the center suddenly becomes an extreme without even moving.
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Old 07-20-2015, 09:41 PM   #17
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It also only works that way as long as the 'left-middle-right' or whatever spectrum is the sole axis of division. When there are two or more axes on which the population can split, the 'center' becomes unstable.
That's not really true; as long as people vote for the candidate who is 'closer' to their position than the other candidate, there is an optimal position. Now, people changing their priorities produces instability.

There's also the turnout strategy, though: if voting is optional and at least slightly inconvenient, you want to take positions that will cause people to turn out to vote for you, and not cause people to turn out to vote against you. This typically means positions that have minority support and majority 'eh, whatever'.
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Last edited by Anthony; 07-20-2015 at 09:46 PM.
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Old 07-20-2015, 09:47 PM   #18
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That's not really true; as long as people vote for the candidate who is 'closer' to their position than the other candidate, there is an optimal position. Now, people changing their priorities produces instability.
People usually have different and conflicting priorities, when those line up in large clusters the center is unstable. The 'change' is not so much a change as the fact that the issue in question suddenly changes. It's a bit like water behind a dam, it can look calm and stable for year after year, but in fact it's in an unstable configuration, and any change to the dam suddenly changes the entire situation. Very suddenly. But it's not that the water suddenly became unstable, it's that there was an illusion of stability as long as the dam was in place.
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Old 07-21-2015, 01:46 AM   #19
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Default Re: US city-states

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Originally Posted by tshiggins View Post
Yep. It's a problem -- but disciplined creation of electoral districts to make them as competitive as possible mitigates the issue, to a large extent. People get tired of losing, and the more extreme the views, the fewer people find it appealing, and the more people it alienates.

We have a name for an extremist who wins a primary, but loses a general election.

"Private citizen."
This system/approach of 'eliminating the extremes' is not necessarily an inherently good thing, in fact it can have strong dark sides. An example would be modern RF, where the parliament became so monolithic in its elimination of fringe opinions that there was exactly one deputate who voted against initiating territorial aggression, and was immediately branded a national-traitor for it. It's easy to say 'extremists are not fit to rule', it is much harder to avoid making it into a buzzword that is used as a justification for alienating whoever does not fit in with the establishment. And I'm pretty sure this phenomenon has plenty of other examples, such as the Cold War Witchhunts, or the voting of the Enabling Act, or the October Revolution etc.
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Old 07-21-2015, 03:40 AM   #20
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Default Re: US city-states

Extremists have pulled cultures kicking and screaming toward a better society. Civil rights movements have always required aggressive fighting against the majority opinion.
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