Political Parties... what's your take on them?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Mar 24, 2010 12:57 AM GMT
    So the other day I was having a random discussion with people over politics. The question eventually arose "what is the point of political parties in the first place?"

    It seems to me that politcal parties only stifle genuinely progressive social change because people get so wrapped up in picking a side like it was a football game that they sometimes loose site of what's important.

    I dont feel that blind allegiance like this is in anyway what's best for the American people. Even George Washington warned against the dangers of political parties.

    This topic isn't trying to create any controversy, just thought provoking discussion... so what do you guys think?
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    Mar 24, 2010 2:12 AM GMT
    It's easier to choose a platform and back it up later than it is to look at an endless stream of conflicting facts, studies, and theories to form a vague opinion which only somewhat leads you towards favoring one political decision over another.

    I agree with your football analogy. It's dangerous and inefficient to treat important political decisions like a team rivalry. Not to mention stupid.
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    Mar 24, 2010 3:43 AM GMT
    I definitely agree that people like the idea of political parties because it's a nice little prepackaged form of politics. Doesn't that ultimately seem kind of lazy though? God forbid people actually began to think for themselves icon_lol.gif
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    Mar 24, 2010 4:20 AM GMT
    I think they need more beer and less acid.
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    Mar 24, 2010 5:12 AM GMT
    i guess the "thought provoking discussion" part scared a lot of people away... do i need to post some pictures of shirtless senators to get people interested?icon_lol.gif
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    Mar 24, 2010 11:11 AM GMT
    YoungJock4 saidI definitely agree that people like the idea of political parties because it's a nice little prepackaged form of politics. Doesn't that ultimately seem kind of lazy though? God forbid people actually began to think for themselves icon_lol.gif


    Absolutely it's lazy. I don't think getting rid of political parties would change much though. Ideologies would still exist and form the basis of all political discussion.

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    Mar 24, 2010 1:25 PM GMT
    BronzeChew said
    YoungJock4 saidI definitely agree that people like the idea of political parties because it's a nice little prepackaged form of politics. Doesn't that ultimately seem kind of lazy though? God forbid people actually began to think for themselves icon_lol.gif


    Absolutely it's lazy. I don't think getting rid of political parties would change much though. Ideologies would still exist and form the basis of all political discussion.



    That is why parties have primaries. Just think about the health care reform debate. There were opinions ranging from single-payer, to public option, to whatever insanity Bart Stupak was going on about. A big-tent caucus like that has Socialists like Bernie Sanders and right-of-center centrists like Ben Nelson. So, no worries about plenty of independent thinking.

    What is the point of a party? To know who these people will caucus with. And that is how you get shit done in this form of government.
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    Mar 25, 2010 11:25 PM GMT
    MunchingZombie said
    BronzeChew said
    YoungJock4 saidI definitely agree that people like the idea of political parties because it's a nice little prepackaged form of politics. Doesn't that ultimately seem kind of lazy though? God forbid people actually began to think for themselves icon_lol.gif


    Absolutely it's lazy. I don't think getting rid of political parties would change much though. Ideologies would still exist and form the basis of all political discussion.



    That is why parties have primaries. Just think about the health care reform debate. There were opinions ranging from single-payer, to public option, to whatever insanity Bart Stupak was going on about. A big-tent caucus like that has Socialists like Bernie Sanders and right-of-center centrists like Ben Nelson. So, no worries about plenty of independent thinking.

    What is the point of a party? To know who these people will caucus with. And that is how you get shit done in this form of government.


    That really does seem to be a pretty good explanation of why we do have them... idk hypothetically i dont see why it's impossible for people to view issues on how they truly feel and not just because of their political alignment. Because while it's not always the case, there are times when representatives in a party vote on things for the sake of agreeing with the rest of the party and not necessarily what they believe.
  • Anto

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    Mar 25, 2010 11:38 PM GMT
    It think it's easier to have political parties but it comes at a cost of reduced accuracy in representing the views of people.
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    Mar 25, 2010 11:41 PM GMT
    If the healthcare threads are any indication, the point of political parties is to turn otherwise pleasant people into unrelentingly hateful know-it-all douchebags.

    ^_^
  • chris_dallas

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    Mar 25, 2010 11:56 PM GMT
    i wish there was a way to work without them but our constitution wouldnt at allllll work with out a two party system so it is a sacrafice we have to make haha
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    Mar 26, 2010 12:00 AM GMT
    chris_dallas saidi wish there was a way to work without them but our constitution wouldnt at allllll work with out a two party system so it is a sacrafice we have to make haha


    Actually it would. There many political parties up through the end of the 19th century, and we had presidents come from them (Whig, Federalist, etc).
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    Mar 26, 2010 12:05 AM GMT
    I'm pretty sure both were designed to suck the life out of me
  • chris_dallas

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    Mar 26, 2010 12:11 AM GMT
    Brandon112586 said
    chris_dallas saidi wish there was a way to work without them but our constitution wouldnt at allllll work with out a two party system so it is a sacrafice we have to make haha


    Actually it would. There many political parties up through the end of the 19th century, and we had presidents come from them (Whig, Federalist, etc).


    haha yeah but it stil has to b a 2 party system is what i ment lol
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    Mar 26, 2010 12:13 AM GMT
    chris_dallas said
    Brandon112586 said
    chris_dallas saidi wish there was a way to work without them but our constitution wouldnt at allllll work with out a two party system so it is a sacrafice we have to make haha


    Actually it would. There many political parties up through the end of the 19th century, and we had presidents come from them (Whig, Federalist, etc).


    haha yeah but it stil has to b a 2 party system is what i ment lol


    Right and my point is that it actually doesn't, and technically we do not have a 2 party system. Unfortunately, 99% of the power is held by only 2 parties.
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    Mar 26, 2010 12:30 AM GMT
    actually during 1912 america was pretty much a 3 party system: the Democrat, Republican, and Progressive party. and could even be considered a 4 party system if you want to count the socialists who received almost about 6% of the popular vote for president that year. Problem is that the Republicans and Progressives were like siamese twins and after splitting, one of them had to die :/
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    Mar 26, 2010 12:32 AM GMT
    YoungJock4 saidactually during 1912 america was pretty much a 3 party system: the Democrat, Republican, and Progressive party. and could even be considered a 4 party system if you want to count the socialists who received almost about 6% of the popular vote for president that year. Problem is that the Republicans and Progressives were like siamese twins and after splitting, one of them had to die :/


    The wrong one died. Ha.
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    Mar 26, 2010 1:59 AM GMT
    YoungJock4 saididk hypothetically i dont see why it's impossible for people to view issues on how they truly feel and not just because of their political alignment. Because while it's not always the case, there are times when representatives in a party vote on things for the sake of agreeing with the rest of the party and not necessarily what they believe.


    I appreciate what you are saying. So many views though are connected, to believe in one you almost have to believe in the other. For example: you cannot believe in economic justice and support the living wage but not support the progressive tax system, if you believe that it is tough to believe that our health care system should not cover those in poverty or the lower middle class, and so on.

    Issues aren't discrete things, they are interconnected.
  • islander24

    Posts: 161

    Mar 26, 2010 2:12 AM GMT
    Politics are politics and seem to bring the worst out in most. The sad thing is we have had both sides dig in for the last twenty years and nothing is working.
    The Republicans were determined to get Bill Clinton. Then the Democrats refused to work with George W. The recent Congress has certainly taken the view , we don't need anyone except ourselves. in this case the democrats.

    Just finshed a book entitled Wingnuts by John Avlon. I think its subtitled saving America from the extremists and he does mean in both parties.
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    Mar 26, 2010 2:21 AM GMT
    I think the party system, and this goes for Parliamentary as well as Republican political systems, is inherently flawed. It stifles individual thought and encourages conformity and corruption. Again, this goes for every country.

    Parties have platforms so that candidates absorb the "ideals" and the people vote for the party, not the person. Parties become issue-specific, and people lose focus of all the other issues.

    In western 'liberal democracies', the party system uses key social issues to identify the party with: birth control, religion, gay rights, etc. Meanwhile, all the parties in power, with slight variations in strategy and degrees, support imperial foreign policies, war, and powerful economic interests. So while the people bicker about social issues, their nations murder people in foreign, poor countries, and take away their freedoms at home.

    Ironically, and sadly, I think the party system has played a systemic role in the decline of modern democracy. It doesn't work, it's broken, and it needs to be fixed.

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    Mar 26, 2010 2:34 AM GMT
    I think if there was a third party that was fiscally conservative and socially progressive, it would be large enough to viably compete with both equally. (and I would join)
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    Mar 26, 2010 4:27 AM GMT
    The more I think about it, the more I feel that it's representative democracy that is the problem... Imagine if the public actually got to vote directly on legislation instead of corrupt politicians with hidden agendas...

    Honestly how could it hurt the american people?

    Some may say that the american public as a whole isn't educated enough on the issues to vote... but after what I've seen from a lot of these politicians, im not so sure they're qualified either. icon_confused.gif

    Living in this modern age, the time direct democracy takes wouldn't be any longer than the god-awfully long legislative process we have now... i mean, my god, we can get millions of votes counted for an american idol winner in a matter of a few days. lol.

    Imagine a government, of the people, by the people, and for the people that was just that.icon_wink.gif



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    Mar 26, 2010 4:34 AM GMT
    bjw21 saidPolitics are politics and seem to bring the worst out in most. The sad thing is we have had both sides dig in for the last twenty years and nothing is working.
    The Republicans were determined to get Bill Clinton. Then the Democrats refused to work with George W. The recent Congress has certainly taken the view , we don't need anyone except ourselves. in this case the democrats.

    Just finshed a book entitled Wingnuts by John Avlon. I think its subtitled saving America from the extremists and he does mean in both parties.


    perfect example of how counter productive these parties can be when they focus more on opposing each other instead of actually working together...
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    Mar 26, 2010 4:53 AM GMT
    YoungJock4 said

    .....perfect example of how counter productive these parties can be when they focus more on opposing each other instead of actually working together...


    Ah, YoungJock4, you are the future of our country. It's nice to know your generation not only thinks with their head but with their hearts as well. Unless the politicians amongst us babyboomers can get their heads out of their collective asses and wake up to the world around them, we will just have to wait until your generation takes over and makes this world a much better place to live in.
    icon_wink.gif
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Mar 26, 2010 5:55 AM GMT
    For the most part, it isn't "blind allegiance."
    I think that most people "settle" for the party that espouses their most important beliefs.

    And, most people automatically exclude parties other than the Democrats and Republicans, even if one of the third parties more accurately mirrors their beliefs, because they know that the third parties have almost no chance of winning.