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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
An Pluiméir Ceolmhar BS: Nader Considering Running in 2004 (130* d) RE: BS: Nader Considering Running in 2004 08 Jul 03


Don't know if the Cattery is going to solve the democratic conundrum of reconciling representativeness with effective government, but it's an important debate.

Electoral systems sometimes outlive their usefulness, but they have profound symbolic value which makes it difficult to change them. The US collegial system belonged to an earlier era when the public could not be expected to know the individual candidates, but is now an artifice which simply distorts the results of what in fact is a single-constituency electorate trying in vain to elect a president directly.

Any thoughts from UK Catters on the proposition that the UK now has a presidential régime with the House of Commons functioning as an electoral college?

For parliamentary elections, the first-past-the-post system is brutally unfair and produces results which make a mockery of democracy. On the other hand, pure proportionality leads to a situation where splinter groups hold the balance of power and wield disproportionate power. The UK and Israel spring to mind as exemplars of the defects of both systems.

I still have a strong attachment to the form of PR which I grew up with (STV, the single transferable vote, with multi-seat constituencies for parliamentary elections). It's not perfect, but if engineered with the public interest in mind (OK, that's a big "if") it can introduce enough viscosity into the system to reconcile the representativeness/effectiveness dilemma and help to ensure that minorities are represented. It also works effectively in presidential elections where the whole country becomes a single constituency and the president who scores highest on the combined scales of most favoured/least disfavoured wins.


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