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54 minutes ago, Andras said:

Considering the current polls of who favors better against republican candidates, it isn't Hillary. That's a whole bunch of opinion without substance behind it.

You can keep claiming polarization by defaulting to another's opinion but what are the facts behind the actual policies we receive? Left or right, it's the same ******* thing. The funny thing is you say this while insinuating that the public won't support the supposed fringe left candidate. That undermines the claim of massive polarization.

It looks like the fringe on the right have given empty talking heads the ground to claim that we don't have two parties serving the same causes.

Through Democratic leadership there has been wall street deregulation, stagnant wages and the income gap, Republican healthcare proposals(that were a last resort because of a more conservative democrat congress), more disgusting foreign policy, same old spying, same old support of Israel, same old destabilization of the Middle East, big talk about domestic spending with little action, same old war on drugs that was escalated by a Democratic President's crime bill. The result is a well-stocked private prison industry that just coincidentally gives campaign funds to the current leading democratic candidate. So different!

What is said does not match up to what is done. Period.

We've discussed the futility of general election matchup polls this early in the cycle.  I won't rehash that other than to say that most political scientists agree with my view on this.

The polarization has been at the elite level - members of Congress and other elected officials.  The only polarization among the mass public has been among the 20-25% of the public that is highly informed and also highly partisan/ideological.  For the rest of the public, there has been little to no polarization.  Because that 25% of the most informed/ideological public are also the ones most likely to vote in primaries, that group of the public has pushed the parties to the fringes.  That leaves the overwhelming majority of the public - who are moderate and not ideological in their political beliefs - stuck with increasingly extremist candidates that don't represent their views.  So no, my point about ideologically extreme candidates that result from the current primary system being unappealing to a general electorate does not undermine the point about polarization.  

You want to point to policy outcomes while ignoring the institutional context in which those policies were passed.  The filibuster was the major obstacle to enacting a more liberal health care system.  So was public opposition, which doesn't favor extreme policies from the left or the right.  That's why people are concerned about Sanders' ability to win a general election.  Even a moderate policy like the ACA was strongly opposed by the public as "government takeover".  Imagine what that very same general public is going to say about an actual government takeover.  You seem to not understand that there is a general public out there that strongly opposes the policies that you (and in some cases, I) support.  So when you have Democratic senators elected in states that always swung GOP but have increasingly become more Republican in nature, those senators are not going to sign onto strong liberal policies from a Democratic president.  Even with 60 seats - which Democrats only held for a short period of time - you still have vulnerable Democratic senators blocking the legislation because it and the president were unpopular in their states.  And they were willing to veto the legislation to prevent it from even being considered.  So whatever policy desires Obama and other Democrats had, institutional factors blocked them from enacting a more liberal policy on health care.  

And you want to ignore the institutional factors that inhibit the majority party from enacting its agenda in order to argue that both parties are just exactly alike when all of the empirical evidence points to the exact opposite conclusion.

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58 minutes ago, JDaveG said:

Did it just take 240 years, or what do you think caused the polarization now that didn't cause it before?

I'm not so sure other systems are better, for what it's worth.  For one, I'm not sure letting the majority party pass whatever agenda it perceives it was elected to pass is helpful when that agenda might adversely affect the minority voters.  They ought to have a voice too, which is why the framers built in checks and balances.  They saw gridlock as a reasonable consequence of checks and balances, as opposed to reducing the ability to have checks and balances in order to foster greater efficiency.

Further, unless you go to a straight parliamentary system, you have to deal with divided government. The Congress is always going to be more polarizing than the Executive, because the entire country votes for the President and Vice President, but each local district or state votes for their Representative or Senator.  With divided government, efficiency is nearly impossible.  

We've had periods of deep polarization in the past, particularly during the Civil War.  The current period of polarization began around the 1970s and really escalated during the 1980s.  But this depends on the specific issue.  On race, the parties began divided in 1964.  On abortion, they didn't start separating until the 1980s.  On other issues, some of it started in the 70s and others started in the 80s.  

There are three main factors that explains about 70% of the increasing polarization over the past 40 years or so.  First, there has been "sorting" among the mass electorate, both geographically and in terms of partisanship.  People who move from one neighborhood to another are more likely to move into a more homogenous partisan neighborhood.  So someone who moves out of a leaning Republican neighborhood is more likely to move into a heavily Republican one.  This isn't because people choose houses based on partisan composition of neighborhoods.  It's because purchasing behavior has become more tightly aligned with the underlying values that are related to partisanship.  For example, someone who wants to live close to a whole foods, ethnic restaurants, and be near biking and walking trails is very different politically from someone who wants to live near a Walmart, gun shops, and away from ethnic neighborhoods.  This geographic sorting has made redistricting easier for house seats and has made states more politically homogenous, which creates safer seats for one party.  So redistricting is part of the explanation, but it's only a consequence of the geographic sorting in the House.  Sorting is the explanation for the Senate, which doesn't have redistricting.

Partisan sorting has also occurred where people with liberal beliefs switched allegiance from GOP to Dem while conservatives did the opposite.  That means the parties are more internally homogenous than in the past.  That doesn't mean people have become more ideologically extreme, however.  Someone who has moderate conservative beliefs and traditionally voted Democratic will now vote Republican, but will still only be moderately conservative.  Sorting is based on shuffling partisan allegiances, not on changing ideological beliefs (which again, most people are not ideological in their beliefs). So the first factor is sorting.

The second major factor concerns primaries.  I've already explained how primaries lead to polarization, but hopefully you can see how the sorting and redistricting compounds the problem.  More Republican/Democratic districts means safer general elections for incumbents, whose only fear at that point is a primary challenge from the right/left.  

Finally, in Congress a large part of the polarization is also procedural.  Minorities parties that are more ideologically extreme look for parliamentary tactics (filibuster, amendments, etc) to block the majority legislation.  The majority responds by ceding more power to the leadership, which uses closed rules to shut off the minority.  The minority responds with ever more sophisticated parliamentary tactics and trying to block bills before the final roll call vote.  This has led to the phenomenon we saw among Republicans where they filibustered their own bill for weeks, yet when that bill finally got a vote the outcome was unanimous support for the bill.  It's also why we see judicial nominees blocked for years but ultimate receive a unanimous vote on final confirmation.  The best term that I've heard for this factor is from Jon Stewart, who referred to it as "a game of a**hole poker".  

The majority party has to be able to pass its agenda if the public is to judge its effectiveness in the next election.  Otherwise, we get the current situation where the minority party blocks any effective legislation from the majority and then attacks the majority for not passing the legislation that the minority blocked.  That's insanity.  

A parliamentary system may not be best for our country...although it would guarantee multiple parties.  However, our system is designed to force cooperation between the majority and the minority, especially during periods of divided government.  The problem is that our system - designed to require cooperation by the minority - is facing a situation where both parties are so ideologically polarized and where the electoral incentives are so skewed against cooperation, that we have parliamentary-minded minority parties using their power to effectively veto any and all legislation.  It's a disconnect between an oppositional minority party and a system that requires cooperation.  That creates the dysfunction we've seen these last few decades regarding government shutdowns, threats to default on the national debt, and so forth.  

So either we have to make the parties less ideologically extreme and less polarized, or we have to change the system to take away the ability of an oppositional minority party to block legislation.  Ending the primary system would help ease the polarization and force members of both parties to follow their leadership instead of their own, often contrary, self-interests.  Ending the filibuster and other institutional obstacles to majority legislation would heighten polarization in Congress, but it would at least give the public a firm basis for judging the actions of the majority party that it selected in the last election.  

What we can't have is the current system where the minority party has strong electoral incentives to block the majority from doing anything so it can then blame that majority for not doing the things the minority prevented.  And we can't continue to have a system where the minority party can legitimately threaten the economic security of the country (e.g., threaten to default on the debt) in an attempt to force concessions from the majority party that the minority cannot get through the regular legislative process.  What we have now is unsustainable.

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Blame republicans. Democrat priority #1.

Republicans didn't cause Lybia. Republicans didn't cause Syria. Republicans didn't force the disgusting drone strikes. Republicans didn't arm what eventually became ISIS. Republicans didn't force a republican healthcare bill. Republicans didn't force the current D "frontrunner" to advocate for the Iraq war. Republicans didn't force her to support the Patriot act. I know you like to blame them for everything in a cowardly fashion but the candidate you are suggesting is what the public wants is the epitome of what the large majority of Americans disapprove of in congress. Democrats are being their typical weak selves. Undying allegiance to moderate politics. No one wins. Everyone loses in equal proportions.

You don't seem to understand that the general public overwhelmingly despises the current government and their policies. People on both sides are sick of it. You can keep repeating your indoctrinated bull#hit until you're blue in the face.

Conservatives do not have a problem with the so called polarization. In fact, they are disgusted with the moderate politics that they feel are serving no one but the government and their puppeteers. The same goes for Liberals.

This polarization claim is nothing but another cry to return to moderate politics(where we already ******* are). "Elect the moderate Republican with the D next to her name" is the translated cry.

There's some respect for Republicans. At least they go for what they want. They aren't stupid enough to start at their settling point and negotiate down.

Pulling statistics out of your a$$ or citing other corporate sponsored sources does not change the reality of what we have been getting. What we have been getting is NOT the result of polarization. It is the production of moderate republicans masquerading as democrats. Now, you just want a scapegoat.

If the people were so moderate, it wouldn't be half of the nation that are supporting far right and far left politicians. Throw on some charts and some articles from the purchased media sources, it will never change the actual facts of reality. Polarization had less to do with the obstructionism than the President's race. You can't sit here for years and argue that the anti-Obama movement is mostly racial and turn around in the next cycle and claim that it's just political extremism. That dog won't hunt. You also won't convince people outside of your own circle that eliminating choice(eliminating primaries) results in more choice. Trying to bury people in word confetti can never overshadow the fact that you are now advocating for total nomination control by the problem the people seek to change.

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1 hour ago, JDaveG said:

Also, I'm curious -- what would you have in place of primaries?  Or are we talking about eliminating primaries only for President?

I'd personally replace all primaries for all offices with candidate lists created by the state parties for state offices and the RNC/DNC for Congress.  For president, it would be the convention delegates who decided the nominees.  So in other words, the parties would provide a list of candidates to the Secretary of State, who would then place those names on the general election ballot.  

I would also be open to a hybrid system where the party leaders provide a list of 2-3 names of primary candidates and the voters choose among those names during a primary election.  The voters can still weigh in but the party at least gets to limit the choices only to candidates that are acceptable to the party.  That would prevent a candidate from winning that is strongly opposed by the party itself.

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1 hour ago, Andras said:

The ACA is the result of lack of polarization. Democrats couldn't agree to typical democratic ideals. "Too liberal." :lol:

I've mentioned the ACA in another post, but I'll just add that a much, much more liberal health care bill passed the House of Representatives.  The Senate Democratic caucus is not significantly less liberal than the House Democratic caucus.  So I wonder why the more liberal health care legislation that passed the House couldn't make it through the Senate.

Is it possible the answer is that things are more complicated than "both parties are exactly the same and just alike"?  

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4 minutes ago, Andras said:

You don't seem to understand that the general public overwhelmingly despises the current government and their policies. People on both sides are sick of it. You can keep repeating your indoctrinated bull#hit until you're blue in the face.

I'll respond to the rest of your posts later today, but I will point out that I'm basing my claims on empirical evidence and peer-reviewed social science research rooted in sophisticated statistical analysis...much of which I've published myself in various Political Science journals.

When you say things like, "you don't seem to understand that the general public overwhelmingly despises the current government" or "you can keep repeating your indoctrinated BS", it demonstrates that you don't have the first clue about who you're talking to in this thread.  I've been respectful to you throughout this thread even when others have not.  But I will point out that I make my living by publishing research in social science journals on this very topic.  I am an expert on the subject of polarization in American politics.  You are not.  

If you want to disagree with my normative conclusions or my prescriptions for remedying the polarization, that's fine.  My opinions regarding ending primaries or the normative implications of the polarization that's occurred are no more valid than anyone else's.  But if you want to respond to my posts - which are based on dozens of studies by political scientists - by calling it "indoctrinated BS" or suggesting that I don't understand the status of public opinion in America, then you're going to look like a f***ing idiot.

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FFS, what is the approval rating of congress again? The congress that can only pump out moderate policies? So much for the moderate America.

You admit to being the foolish establishment? Is that supposed to be an endorsing claim? I'm sorry, you are not the authority on life. Nearly every single person making their living through the double talkin' jive of politics is a waste of space. You think you're the special snowflake. I think you're the epitome of what is wrong. Keep trying to reel people into the moderate world. It surely is looking good, huh? Maybe you can try it with some charts.

Maybe you can quit being a wimp and actually address the latest reports of the oppressive ACA fines and repayments. You are not above error. You sat here for years being it's constant defender but now that it's being exposed for the failure that it is, you want to move on to a new topic while pretending to be an authority? LOL for real, bud.

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2 hours ago, Green Ranger said:

 

There were Jews who worked with the Nazis.

There are Palestinians who work with the Israelis.

This isn't a new phenomenon. The Trump supporter in this video CERTAINLY doesn't represent the majority of Black people.

The people who are arguing with him gave me a MAJOR headache. Not one intelligent thought in the whole video.

F the "liberals/Democrats"

F the conservatives/Republicans

The entire system is poisoned and needs a reset.

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8 minutes ago, Leon Troutsky said:

I've been respectful to you throughout this thread even when others have not.

He's a bully and doesn't deserve anyone's respect, IMHO. 

3 minutes ago, Andras said:

Maybe you can quit being a wimp

Case in point.  Surprised he didn't call you a *****. 

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1 hour ago, Billy Ocean said:

I think if primaries were eliminated you'd likely see support for third parties and independents grow, which would be great.

On the other hand, without primaries we would've already gotten our Hillary presidency back in 2008. HpGSh10.png?1

Seriously, does there have to be a Hillary presidency at all?  Just because she thinks in some way she has been preordained to get the job doesn't make it so...

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23 hours ago, Andras said:

^Handing over the reigns to the enemy of the people.

Once again, Republicans were right. A lot of so called Liberals are truly seeking primary government control. Nothing more.

You dodged the question.  Why did a more liberal health care law pass the House of Representatives but couldn't make it through the Senate?  Perhaps the issue isn't as simplistic as your "the two parties are just alike and Democrats are more conservative" narrative.

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22 hours ago, Andras said:

FFS, what is the approval rating of congress again? The congress that can only pump out moderate policies? So much for the moderate America.

You admit to being the foolish establishment? Is that supposed to be an endorsing claim? I'm sorry, you are not the authority on life. Nearly every single person making their living through the double talkin' jive of politics is a waste of space. You think you're the special snowflake. I think you're the epitome of what is wrong. Keep trying to reel people into the moderate world. It surely is looking good, huh? Maybe you can try it with some charts.

Maybe you can quit being a wimp and actually address the latest reports of the oppressive ACA fines and repayments. You are not above error. You sat here for years being it's constant defender but now that it's being exposed for the failure that it is, you want to move on to a new topic while pretending to be an authority? LOL for real, bud.

Approval ratings of Congress are in part a consequence of the dysfunction we've seen from gridlock and hyper-partisanship among its members.  All of the evidence demonstrates that the public wants Congress and the President to work together to solve national problems.  They do that with bipartisanship.  There is no evidence that the public wants extreme left or right policies enacted, and in fact plenty of evidence that it desires the opposite.  So once again, your claims are not based on evidence but instead on loose "logic" such as, "well congressional ratings are low so obviously Americans want Bernie Sanders' policies".  

Regarding the second paragraph, once again WTF are you talking about?  "Double talking jive of politics"...you think that I'm a politician?  "Special snowflake"?  I'm citing the empriical research of several prominent political scientists as evidence to support my claims.  Your response is incoherent buzzwords combined with unfocused aggression.  

Democracy means that policy bears some resemblance to the will of the public.  All of the evidence shows that the public does not want extremist policies from the right or the left.  It wants bipartisan policies that are moderate relative to the ideological extremes. So public policy should reflect their desires.  What you are suggesting is that leftist policies should be forced upon the public against their will...because it's for their own good and if only they see the benefits they will learn to like those policies.  That's the same mentality that far-right conservatives espouse when they talk about "if only we nominate a true conservative, we'll win".  It ignores what the mass public wants and the types of candidates they are likely to support in a general election.  And it's an authoritarian mentality that puts your personal ideology above the desires of the mass public.  

As I explained in this thread, I support a much different health care system that resembles the Japanese system.  But I am aware enough to realize that the majority of the public would not support banning insurance companies from making a profit.  So while I think the public is wrong, I recognize that the mass public should get the type of government it wants even if they are wrong.  You don't seem to understand that the majority of the public disagrees with your ideological view as well as the ideological view of Bernie Sanders.  

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15 hours ago, Billy Ocean said:

Great analysis.

 

SUNDAY, MAR 13, 2016 11:50 PM EDT

Bill Clinton’s odious presidency: Thomas Frank on the real history of the ’90s

Welfare reform. NAFTA. The crime bill. Prisons. Aides wondered if Bill knew who he was. His legacy is sadly clear

 

Evaluating Clinton’s presidency as heroic is no longer a given, however. After the bursting of the dot-com bubble in 2000, the corporate scandals of the Enron period, and the collapse of the real estate racket, our view of the prosperous Nineties has changed quite a bit. Now we remember that it was Bill Clinton’s administration that deregulated derivatives, that deregulated telecom, and that put our country’s only strong banking laws in the grave. He’s the one who rammed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) through Congress and who taught the world that the way you respond to a recession is by paying off the federal deficit. Mass incarceration and the repeal of welfare, two of Clinton’s other major achievements, are the pillars of the disciplinary state that has made life so miserable for Americans in the lower reaches of society. He would have put a huge dent in Social Security, too, had the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal not stopped him. If we take inequality as our measure, the Clinton administration looks not heroic but odious.

The good/not so good times

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