Note that Julie is from Australia where citizens are required by law to vote, the the third party might tend to attract the people who would stay away otherwise.
"Simmadahn" , wrote
> Just curious, how many of those alternate parties actually make it into office? I mean, more than just local positions?
> We do have more than two parties, but they rarely get any farther than maybe mayor or something.
> Also, it seems like the mandatory voting is a good idea but does it actually work? Or do people just vote for "whoever" because
> they have to vote for somebody?
In article ,
"Julie" , wrote:
> Yes you guessed right, it hasn't happened yet, but the third major party is
> the balance of power, and has a huge say in what laws or
> ammendments are passed, or not, or what ammendments need to be made for it to
> be acceptable to pass. So in Australia at the moment
> we have a Liberal (federal) Government, with Labour in opposition and the
> Democrats as our balance of power in the Senate.
> It is usual that the independant parties, or more alternate parties, give
> their preferences to a more major party. So if enough
> people were to vote for xyz party and they would get in, if not their votes
> are preferenced to a different party - this is disclosed
> so that you know that if you do vote for xyz party and they don't get in you
> know that your vote will be going to abc party and so
> on. Personally I think it is this preferencing that keeps the major parties
> coming back in.
Election Reform is the great unacknowledged American issue. As long as only two parties hold virtually all the political power, those two parties have no incentive to mention it, and as long as those two parties can make the rules regarding debates and press conferences that punish news agencies that cover this issue or acknowledge the existence of alternative parties, it will be hard to fix.
Most existing alternative parties have postions that turn off people, such as the social darwinism for the Libertarians, the "God" stuff for the Constitution Party, and the sheer greenness of the Green Party. Any time a position held by an alternative party gets popular, one or both of the big 2 coopt it. The idea of single issue parties isn't popular, but I think we could use one whose single issue is election reform with the promise that if they won, they would establish a ranked voting sytem such as instant runoff or condorcet, and hold a national referendum to decide the other issues until such time that a reformed presidential election could be held.
I also wrote this:
> We usually have many more than two. There are several reasons you only
> here about the bipartison duopoly.
> 1. We have a "first past the post" system where whoever gets the most
> votes wins a states electoral votes, even if it isn't a majority.
> 2. this is complicated by the fact that most states give ALL there
> electoral votes to the winner even if he wins by a narrow margin.
> 3. Most voters have an intuitive understanding of Duvergers Law which
> states that when you have a plurality system, only the top two
> candidates really matter.
> 4. The bipartisan duopoly refuses to publicly acknowledge the existance
> of other candidates. If other candidates are invited to attend a
> function such as a debate, the duopoly candidates refuse to attend. If
> a reporter asks about an issue popularized by a third party candidate,
> the bipartisan duopoly candidate will look at the reporter funny and
> then see that he is excluded from the next press conference.
> It's a system with obvious biases against free, fair elections. The
> fact that both the parties comprising the bipartisan duopoly ran
> candidates from the same fraternity of the same university (W's father
> is another "brother") should indicate something, but neither candidate
> made a point of addressing a fact that would have weakened both of them.
> When reporters brought it up, they both dismissed it as being
> insignificant since they were a few years apart in age and didn't really
> know each other. Sure the two men have different personalities, but
> they have very similar old money prep school backgrounds.