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Political parties: good or bad?
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Professional Poster
Join Date: May 2001
Location: North Dakota, USA
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Jul 15, 2002, 12:52 AM
I thought long and hard about whether or not to post this, but I think it could at least be an interesting question that hasn't been posed here before.

I don't want this to become a big flame war of different factions. Just stick to the topic, it's touchy, I know.

The Constitution never explicitly says anything about political parties, so do you think they're a positive or negative result of human nature?
Mac Elite
Join Date: Feb 2001
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Jul 15, 2002, 01:24 AM
I think there's just enough con to outweigh the good...

They help similarly thinking people band together for a common cause, which is a good thing. But I personally know a lot of people who vote a certain way just because of a candidate's party affiliation, which is not such a great thing. I also know a number of people who didn't vote - but that's just silly.

Also, it seems it's getting to the point where the two parties differ almost without compromise on a few issues, and on the others are almost indistinguishable.

For example, if your against (or in favor of, for that matter) both the death penalty and abortion... where do you go? Republicans and Democrats tend to favor one, and not the other. Now granted, there are exceptions, but in general I don't think a "good party man," who would have the favor of their given political party, would be one.

To me a political party is something for otherwise good-thinking people to get hung up on, non-thinking people to hide behind, and isn't quite living up to (if you will) the role of a consolidator of similar political thought and means of discourse.

(If any of this doesn't quite makes sense I left something out, or otherwise; I apologize, but I'm horribly tired, and just can't get to sleep.)
/Earth\ Mk\.\ I{2}/
Mac Elite
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Jul 15, 2002, 01:35 AM
This is a real toughy. I kinda agree with Earth about how people hide behind a party and simply vote for a person because s/he is associated with that party. However, that can also be a good thing since the vast majority of Americans know jack squat about the true workings of politics. If there were know parties then people would just be voting for whom ever looked the nicest or made the most empty promises. So parties can be good in that people only need to agree with the very basic principles of a party and then they know when they're voting if they vote a straight ticket everyone should follow those basic principles.

I think that, however, leads to parties that are indistinguishable. The two parties try to become as moderate as possible to get as many voters to agree with their platform. I think third parties would help to draw the two parties away from each other. The problem with that is you make people even more confused. That means voters would have to do even more research into the candidates and several parties (time which most people don't want to spend). After all, why should I spend several months investigating a whole slew of candidates when my vote means nearly nothing at all? I lose a lot and gain very little.

So, right now I would say parties are more bad than good, but it's really debatable and I think you'd be right no matter which side of the line you stand on.
Professional Poster
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Jul 15, 2002, 01:37 AM

Its just natural in a plurality system. Only two can exist in a winner take all election system. People will have to migrate to one of two sides to help their interests be represented. You can't ban them or take them away: its the natural order of politics under the rules of whatever country they live in.

Hence why in proportional representation systems you can have more than 2. But here we are stuck with only two viable parties.

Barack Obama: Four more years of the Carter Presidency
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Jul 15, 2002, 01:52 AM
Political parties are organizations whose goal is to control the government to their own ends. They're basically conspiracies that are, for the most part, out in the open. The supposed reason for their existance is to make people's voices heard, but IIRC, that is what the representatives are for! There's got to be another and/or better way to do it, because in the U.S.'s current two party system, the parties are just as big, unwieldy, and irresponsible to the individual voter as any government ever was.

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use. -Galileo Galilei, physicist and astronomer (1564-1642)
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