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Thread: How do you fix the US?

  1. #1
    antaeus's Avatar Whataboutery
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    Default How do you fix the US?

    Liberals think conservatives are sailing the US down the river to a white supremacist anarcho-dictatorship, complete with Pinochet-esque militia death squads... Conservatives think liberals are coming to collectivise their families, force-abort their foetuses and send their children into LGBTQI re-education camps.

    Facetious yes... but those of different opinions within the US all seem to agree that people who think differently to them are destroying their country.

    So let's suspend reality for a moment. If you could put forward a set of proposals that would repair the US, what would those be? Imagine a clean slate. You can reshape institutions however you please. Imagine you have the votes necessary to amend the Constitution, to redesign the Senate, to reframe the President's powers or modify the SCOTUS, to abolish the Electoral College, to ban hijabs or remove freedom of speech or anything. Putting your money where your mouth is, what would you do?

    Disclaimer: I don't think the US is broken - but this thread isn't really about that. More of a what-if wish list if you had the numbers. If you think everything is ok as-is, well this thread is going to seem like fairy tales so you've been warned.
    IN PATROCINIVM SVB MARENOSTRUM

  2. #2
    Legio_Italica's Avatar Lost in Limbo
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    Default Re: How do you fix the US?

    How to fix the US: follow the law rather than see how far this or that side can stretch it to meet ideological priorities without causing a constitutional crisis or political suicide.

    https://www.archives.gov/founding-do...ion-transcript

    y people will ruin any system. We were warned.

    Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other. - John Adams

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    Hypothetically doable changes:

    Repeal the 17th and 22nd Amendments.

  3. #3
    Vanoi's Avatar Dux Limitis
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    Default Re: How do you fix the US?

    Really don't see how doing away with term limits nor letting partisan state legislatures pick Senators is going to help.

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    Protector Domesticus
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    Default Re: How do you fix the US?

    It's not easy to fix a nation. It can take a while, but it all starts in the home and in the schools. Ultimately, there's no substitute for individual responsibility. Each individual needs to act as if the whole struggle depended on him alone. When you have strong individuals, then you'll have a strong nation.

    "To adjust the balance of this age we must seek another remedy. We do not need more material development, we need more spiritual development. We do not need more intellectual power, we need more moral power. We do not need more knowledge, we need more character. We do not need more government, we need more culture. We do not need more law, we need more religion. We do not need more of the things that are seen, we need more of the things that are unseen. It is on that side of life that it is desirable to put the emphasis at the present time. If that side be strengthened, the other side will take care of itself. It is that side which is the foundation of all else. If the foundation be firm, the superstructure will stand."

    - Calvin Coolidge, June 19, 1923
    Last edited by Prodromos; September 27, 2020 at 08:02 AM.
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    Cope's Avatar 777777777777777
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    Default Re: How do you fix the US?

    Off the top of my head:

    1. Add a constitutional amendment recognizing zygotes, embryos and foetuses as human beings with a right to life.

    2. Add a constitutional amendment prohibiting affirmative action on the basis of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation.

    3. Add a constitutional amendment banning corporations/companies from hiring lobbyists, organizing to influence state policy, running political/politically oriented advertisements or donating to political parties.

    4. Repeal the 26th amendment and add a new amendment raising the voting age to 25 (with exceptions for military personnel) in federal elections.

    5. Amend the Civil Rights Act to protect political speech in limited circumstances.

    6. Break up the big tech and media monopolies (Google, Facebook, Twitter, AT&T etc.).

    7. Treat tech/media companies as publishers if they curate content in a politicized fashion.

    8. Prohibit the use of gender reassignment treatments which cause physiological alterations on any person under the age of 18.

    9. Nationalise all prison/jail systems.

    10. Reinstate the queen as the head of state, adopt the flag of the Thirteen Colonies and replace the national anthem with "Rule Britannia!"
    Last edited by Cope; September 27, 2020 at 08:06 AM.

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    pacifism's Avatar see the day
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    Default Re: How do you fix the US?

    Quote Originally Posted by antaeus View Post
    So let's suspend reality for a moment. If you could put forward a set of proposals that would repair the US, what would those be? Imagine a clean slate. You can reshape institutions however you please. Imagine you have the votes necessary to amend the Constitution, to redesign the Senate, to reframe the President's powers or modify the SCOTUS, to abolish the Electoral College, to ban hijabs or remove freedom of speech or anything. Putting your money where your mouth is, what would you do?
    Build a wall. Not to keep outsiders out, but to keep America in.

    Just kidding, of course.

    I think that I have two main problems with the American political system:
    - we're punished for having third parties
    - more and more responsibilities have been delegated to the executive branch, but the executive branch has not become more responsive to the people to go along with it.

    The two parties are trying to do the job of a party coalition in parliamentary system. My hunch is that only two real political options means that you have to vote to support 100% of one or the other's agenda. It drives an us-vs.-them among Americans, a "you are either with us, or against us". More than two parties means that there are more than two sides on an issue. I would implement either a single transferable vote or an open-list mixed-member proportional system of voting for all elections. I slightly favor S.T.V. over M.M.P..

    Hmm, what else could improve democracy in the U.S.? Abolish the Electoral College, because I think its outlived its purpose. We could revise the Reapportionment Act of 1929 to allow about a thousand members in the House of Representatives. If more proportional voting systems still don't fix the Senate filibusters and rural bias, just switch the House and Senates' responsibilities, I don't know.

    I think my most far-fetched wish would be a much higher quality public education. We have so much information at our fingertips that recall is less important, but discernment and proper critical thinking is more important than ever. Now, we need to learn to learn and be thoughtful. I'm not convinced that problems with our political culture are not also problems with our citizenry.

    Quote Originally Posted by Legio_Italica View Post
    Hypothetically doable changes:

    Repeal the 17th and 22nd Amendments.
    I'm a little surprised that you think the problem with America is that there's too much democracy. Why does this fix America?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cope View Post
    10. Reinstate the queen as the head of state, adopt the flag of the Thirteen Colonies and replace the national anthem with "Rule Britannia!"
    "Oceans rise, empires fall,
    It's much harder when it's all your call.

    "All alone, across the sea,
    When your people say they hate you
    Don't come crawling back to me!

    "You're on your own..."

    - King George III, after the signing of the treaty of Paris in 1783

    I understand that this is the pipe dream thread, but it's not happening.
    Being a little bit more kind and nuanced on the internet can go a long way.
    ---
    “Unfortunately, we’re all ‘someone else’ to someone else.”

  7. #7
    Legio_Italica's Avatar Lost in Limbo
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    Default Re: How do you fix the US?

    Quote Originally Posted by Prodromos View Post
    It's not easy to fix a nation. It can take a while, but it all starts in the home and in the schools. Ultimately, there's no substitute for individual responsibility. Each individual needs to act as if the whole struggle depended on him alone. When you have strong individuals, then you'll have a strong nation.
    Coolidge was a total baller. Channeling Reagan?
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 




    He was a great speaker.

    There are and will always be strong individuals, but the culture of Life, Liberty and Property, the culture of Calvin Coolidge, is dead. The perennially recent travesty is a symptom of various tribal or political cleavages fighting over the corpse. Whether it’s the fashy types on the right or the pinkos on the left who get the biggest pieces going forward, the Republic as you and I might like to remember it, the one Reagan brags about on YouTube, is gone. Protestant Christianity may have been the bedrock of America, but religiosity isn’t going to patch that. Take or leave the religiosity of one of my favorite sermons, if one can have those; it’s an encouragement in troublesome times:
    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Danforth
    To excite and stir us all up to at- tend and prosecute our Errand into the Wilderness. To what pur- pose came we into this place, and what expectation drew us hither? Surely, not the expectation of ludicrous Levity. Not the expectation of Courtly Pomp and Delicacy. We came not hither to see men clothed like Courtiers. We came not hither to see a Reed shaken with the wind. Then let us not be Reeds, light, empty, vain, hollow-hearted Professors, shaken with every wind of Temptation: but solid, serious and sober Christians, constant and stedfast in the Profession and Practice of the Truth, Trees of Righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified, holding fast the profession of our Faith with- out wavering.
    https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/v...libraryscience
    I don’t have what I would call faith, but as someone who’s spent a night or two in a cold wilderness, I’ll drink to that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Her Majesty’s Good and Faithful Servant View Post
    10. Reinstate the queen as the head of state, adopt the flag of the Thirteen Colonies and replace the national anthem with "Rule Britannia!"
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    It’s catchy, sure.

    I like this one better.

    Bonus points.
    Quote Originally Posted by pacifism
    I'm a little surprised that you think the problem with America is that there's too much democracy. Why does this fix America?
    No way to do anything but speculate here. That said, partisanship is a transcendent problem in American politics. Bloomberg had a recent piece that speaks to one particularly timely issue therein:

    The more substantive complaint was that old system resulted in state elections being dominated by national party politics. Voters who favored the Democrats nationally, and wanted a Democratic senator, would vote for Democratic state legislators even if they favored Republican positions on state policy.
    This was basically correct. State and even local elections were becoming increasingly nationalized, but the popular election of senators did little to stop that trend. That’s because the ultimate cause was the rise of an integrated economy, mass media and the tendency for tribal allegiances to form around the biggest and most salient national news of the day.

    Indeed, this very trend has turned the Senate from a body of elder statesmen and women into 100 mini-presidents vying for national attention. It is the worst of both worlds. Any individual senator’s vote has only a small chance of changing the actual outcome of legislation — but a senator’s perceived stance on the most contentious national issues is crucial to her political survival.

    As a result, senators in solid red or blue states are locked in a permanent presidential primary in which their survival depends on appealing to the base. Senators in purple states, by contrast, are fearful of taking any controversial votes at all. Moreover, because the defeat of even few senators can lead to lasting swings in the balance of power, Senate leaders are disinclined to make vulnerable members go on the record.

    Add it all up, and the result is a legislative body that is fearful and reactionary rather than august and careful. One way to change this would be to return the election of the senators to state legislatures, perhaps with the additional provision that senatorial selection happen in odd years, when fewer legislatures host elections.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/ar...en-institution
    For what it’s worth, Congressmen acknowledge polarization as the salient issue facing Congress as well as state legislatures, and suggest the latter may be less susceptible to this in practice:

    Most of the members of Congress said they believe that their state legislature performs better than Congress. But not all. One member of Congress who had been in the minority in her state legislature but in the majority in Congress thought that Congress worked better. The same was true of a member from a state that had experienced significant stalemates and one who had had to deal with ideological, uncompromising governors. Several of them pointed out that most bills in Congress pass with overwhelming support, just as state legislators reported.

    When asked to compare their state legislative and congressional experiences, a few themes emerged from their comments. Compared to Congress, state legislatures or their members:

    * Operate on a substantially smaller scale and with a more homogeneous polity. “There are 201 legislators in Minnesota compared to 535 in Congress; 5 million people compare to 300 million,” said one. “There’s a whole difference in magnitude between Virginia General Assembly and Congress,” said another.
    * Are more collegial and less partisan. Members of Congress who had served both in the minority and majority in their state legislatures said that minority members were more effective there than in Congress. “In Tennessee I was friends with members from both parties. It’s hard to make friends across parties in Congress except when we go on international trips together,” was one of several comments about how “congressional delegations” (also known as CODELS) are one of the only ways to get to know members of Congress from the other party. Members also said that the leaders in their state legislatures were more collegial across party and chamber than congressional leaders.
    * Have more genuine debate on the floor and in committee. “The art of debate mattered in my Legislature,” said a former Maine leader. Speaking of his experience in Colorado, another member of Congress commented, “We were on the floor together and had real debates, not one-minute speeches.” A Virginian said, “Our debates in Congress are not real. It’s a loss.”.
    * Have governors who are more involved in the state legislative process than the president is in Congress.
    * Use earmarks as a tool to get compromise and bridge gaps on the budget.
    * Are lower profile and face fewer demands, especially for campaign fundraising. “There’s much more demand for my time and attention in Congress,” said a freshman member from Washington. “I didn’t have to sit on the phone all the time to raise money in St. Paul,” said a congressional veteran.

    We also asked the members of Congress what practices from their state legislative experience they would like to see adopted by Congress. Following are some noteworthy responses:

    * One member of Congress said that he would like to see Congress give every bill a hearing and a vote. Another version of this from a different representative was to give every member the right to get a vote on a bill without having a formal requirement of a vote.
    * A former state house majority leader said he thought that Congress should act promptly, both in committee and on the floor, on bills before them. He added that members of Congress should be expected to stay on the floor until their business is done. “Forcing members to stay in session is a better way of controlling amendments than having the rules committee block them,” he said.
    * Several said that Congress should conduct open debates on issues. “What would be the harm?” asked a former state senate majority leader.
    * A Republican House member said that she thought there would be greater trust in Congress if it devoted institutional resources to building personal relationships across parties. A freshman representative said that his class has held periodic bipartisan meetings and that this practice needs to be adopted and expanded by other subgroups in the Congress.
    * Regarding budgets and appropriations, almost all members of Congress suggested reinstating earmarks as a tool of negotiation and compromise. Republican members, though not Democrats, said that they thought a federal balanced budget requirement would force Congress to act in a more timely and effective manner on the budget. One member also suggested that Congress get rid of its separate budget and appropriations processes.

    Our small sample size of 12 members of Congress did not allow us to draw hard conclusions about practices that might help that institution improve policymaking in the face of polarization. However, the comments offered by congressmen who have served in state legislatures suggested that they are a rich source of ideas for strengthening the institution. Their perspectives also reinforce key themes we gleaned from our ten case study states.

    https://www.ncsl.org/Portals/1/HTML_...isanship_1.htm
    This is in line with other findings suggesting political polarization is not a driver of gridlock at the state level, despite increasingly polarized voters. The concentration of power at the national level in the hands of the executive is a long running phenomenon exacerbated by a dysfunctional Congress in a sort of feedback loop. Fixing Congress means fixing the Senate. This seems to bear out at the state level, where states with more assertive governors correlate with weaker and less productive legislatures.
    And what seems to work against productivity?
    1. Interest Group Organization: Where lobbyists are better organized and resourced, they are usually able to prevent more legislative action.
    2. Gubernatorial Power: When governors are stronger, legislatures tend to be weaker and less able to push through an agenda.
    Hicks and Smith find that polarization does not appear to undermine productivity in any consistent way. To the contrary, more polarized states are slightly more productive, in part because the majority party tends to be more ideologically coherent and has a more specific governing agenda in a polarized system.

    https://psmag.com/social-justice/pol...he-state-level
    Given that the state election results for president and Senators tend to politically correlate anyway, I don’t see major downsides to allowing the Senate to serve its original purpose. Whatever original complaints about the need to avert collusion of party politics may have been, popular election hasn’t resolved it, and if anything, has created incentives to work every issue toward popular appeals and messaging that can be turned to whipped votes and thus popular electoral advantage as Senators leverage high profile and deliberately provocative positions.

    https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tan...dential-votes/

    As for removing presidential term limits, recall these were established by one political party’s fear of another’s popular president. Why not let the states decide?

    You may guess I’m staunchly in favor of the electoral college. The president is selected by electors who are selected by the state political parties. Political parties have proven adept at preventing faithless electors, and there is no Constitutional provision requiring them to adhere to the popular vote in their respective states. The College is a mechanism that seeks to prevent tyranny of the majority the Founders believed to be inherent to democracy, as well as sectional instability posed by states of vastly different sizes. Figure out how to fix gerrymandering, and we the people have our House. The states pick the president through electors. States used to pick senators too through legislatures. The US is a union of states and both the college and the selection of Senators by state legislatures are part of that design. Will it “fix the US?” None can say. Maybe the states can help.

  8. #8
    Abdülmecid I's Avatar ˇAy Carmela!
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    Default Re: How do you fix the US?

    Tyranny of the majority sounds like a great euphemism for when the faction you dislike wins the elections. Its goal is supposed to prevent the arbitrary use of the legislative power from the absolute majority against a minority that is not represented in the government, not to install an intermediary body between the voters and the elected officials, whose sole purpose is to distort what is the core principal of democracy, the popular mandate of the governments. It is usually employed in countries, whose demographics are divided along ethnic and religious lines, such as Lebanon or Cyprus, not the homogenuous United States. What the Founding Fathers (itself an inherently paternalistic and undemocratic term) meant is that rural communities were more reliable in maintaining the favourable status quo than the large, urban centers, so they were granted extra electoral privileges, in order to prevent the rise of politicians that may threaten the interests of the elites that had profited from the revolution and part of which the Founding Fathers were.

    Looks a tad oligarchic to me and encourages both Democrats and Republicans to pander to specific States, while also discouraging millions of American citizens from exercising their most basic, civic right and obligation. The reactionary obsession with 18th century documents, speeches and historical figures is, in my opinion, one of the main reasons for why the US seem to be stagnating, during the last years. They might have been visionary and innovative, back in their time, but they did so, precisely because they recognized that changing times punish ultra-conservatism and traditionalism, an obvious irony, which however many of the most ardent Constitutionalists fail to grasp. They remind me of the Wahhabists of the Saudi dynasty and clergy, whose earlier generations sincerely believed that Arabia would economically and militarily surpass Europe, by reverting back to the era of Prophet Muhammad and the Rashidun Caliphate. Both groups resort to essentially the same, logical fallacies, although they would probably scorn each other as delusional.

    Anyway, back to the topic, Cope has a point, because, if the system is rotten from within, the most efficient, long-term solution is to rebuild it from the foundations. However, Cope makes the mistake of assuming that the start was the mutiny against King George III, but the seeds of discord had actually already been planted during the last year of his predecessor's reign, when the carefully demarcated international lines that are nowadays included in Canada and the US were sacrificed in the altar of expansionism and aggression. Families were separated, peoples were merged together, communities were traded back and the imperial mosaic of America was irremediably profaned. The negative impact of 1763 was somewhat rectified in 1783, but neither decisively nor permanently. In the light of this argument, I suggest the following:

    1. South Georgia, Florida, everything west of the Black Hills and perhaps the Vancouver Island (pending the verdict of the arbitrary committee about the Nootka Crisis) is given to the Kingdom of Spain.

    2. Pretty much everything between the aforementioned lands of the Spanish Crown (including central and eastern Canada, Nova Scotia and New Foundland) and the median line of the modern states of New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Carolina are offered to France. No referendums or committees, in that case, the ignorance of the scientists and the inherent authoritarianism of the masses cannot be trusted with truly important decisions, like that.

    Through the benevolent administration of Paris and Madrid, we hope that the authorities will instill into the psyche of the inhabitants of New France (collective term encompassing the overseas departments of Montreal, Quebeck, Trois-Rivičres, Plaisance, Acadia and Louisiane) the noble concepts of democracy, altruism, Catholocism, discipline, loyalty, frugality and Gallic ancestry.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: How do you fix the US?

    Its not up to us, its up to the 1%.

    At present they are harvesting the cash from the nicely fattened US state. If the whole shebang looks like burning down you have to hope that one of them plays the demagogue (like Roosevelt did) and shares a few peanuts with the plebs, while fattening up the state again for a later harvesting.

    Its not that the US is Hell on earth, its a bit freer than a lot of other places, but its not what it pretends to be either.

    If you want a real revolution put the First Nations in charge. Tear up the silly modernist frenchy constitution and hit the sweat lodges. You'll have to water the tree of liberty with the blood of Trump, Clinton, Bloomburg, Gates, the Kochs, the Zucc etc etc, reintroduce mandatory torture of prisoners (an Iroquois specialty I believe), Three Sisters, and Great Washing Ceremonies but perhaps not scalping (which may have been introduced by Europeans, not sure).
    Jatte lambastes Calico Rat

  10. #10
    Legio_Italica's Avatar Lost in Limbo
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    Default Re: How do you fix the US?

    Alexander Hamilton, a bastard orphan whose intelligence was so widely recognized as a child that his local community took up a collection to fund his education in the coastal elite town of New York City, had this to say about the proposed process of electing the President and Vice President, later known as the Electoral College.
    Quote Originally Posted by Federalist 68
    The mode of appointment of the Chief Magistrate of the United States is almost the only part of the system, of any consequence, which has escaped without severe censure, or which has received the slightest mark of approbation from its opponents. The most plausible of these, who has appeared in print, has even deigned to admit that the election of the President is pretty well guarded.1 I venture somewhat further, and hesitate not to affirm, that if the manner of it be not perfect, it is at least excellent. It unites in an eminent degree all the advantages, the union of which was to be wished for.

    It was desirable that the sense of the people should operate in the choice of the person to whom so important a trust was to be confided. This end will be answered by committing the right of making it, not to any preestablished body, but to men chosen by the people for the special purpose, and at the particular conjuncture.
    This notion of sober deliberation checking what Madison called “the intemperance of a multitude” on one hand and “too easy a combination for improper purposes” on the other in Federalist 55, rather than being an anomaly or externality of a broken system, was a was a central theme to the Founders’ idea of checks and balances in the construction of a balanced constitutional Republic. Over time, this dynamic in the context of the Electoral College was proxied by political parties, which have amassed for themselves related aggregative roles, in a manner that has ironically made the electors de facto loyal to the popular vote in their respective states, rather than being the oligarchic caricature painted by detractors, like those who fashioned the 17th Amendment out of allegedly democratic concerns. Recall that it was anti-Trump fervor, cosigned by millions of people online, which suggested electors tell the voters in their respective states to go to hell in 2016 “for the good of the country.” The term “Hamilton Electors” was in direct reference to his concept of a deliberative check on populist demagoguery, an effort hamstrung in part by state laws requiring electors to concur with the popular vote therein.

    While those seeking electoral advantage may wrap themselves in the mantle of democracy to attack constitutional procedures they don’t like, it’s worth noting the recent examples of this feature political elites upset with what the people and their constitutional proxies decided: Democrats in 2020 trying to pack SCOTUS and abolish the Electoral College because they wouldn’t have lost in 2016 based on a national popular vote rather than the current state by state popular vote, or 2016 Republicans delaying the Garland nomination because they lost in 2012. There’s also Republicans calling the House’s constitutional oversight power undemocratic 2016-2020 because the people chose Trump and that’s that. Democrats in their turn routinely lambasted House oversight when Dems were the minority there. Republicans spearheaded presidential term limits in the 40s because they couldn’t bear the thought of the people electing another FDR indefinitely. Etc.

    Curious that so many forward thinking reforms billed as democratic “fixes,” or systemic criticisms ostensibly in the popular interest, are looking backward, while the procedural framework established by the Founders, derided as archaic, unfair and inflexible, was designed with an eye toward the future. As Hamilton said, “I.... hesitate not to affirm, that if the manner of it be not perfect, it is at least excellent. It unites in an eminent degree all the advantages, the union of which was to be wished for.” The stagnation inherent to the slaughter bench of history is a state of nature which pre-existed the Constitution, not a result of the latter’s failure, the event of which, if anything, would indict our Revolution’s egalitarian premise that all are created equal with guaranteed inalienable rights.

  11. #11

    Default Re: How do you fix the US?

    The main problem is the upper crust of society, a functional oligarchy, that wields extraordinary political and economic power without having to deal with acquisition of popular mandate. So your average US citizen can choose between Politician A or Politician B, but he can't chose the oligarch that has both A and B in his pocket. Severing that connection between professional politician puppets and oligarch puppeteers is crucial in task of preventing US from eventual collapse and maintenance of functional democracy.
    Electoral college is fine, since USA is not a homogeneous country - it can be divided into 11 functional nations with their own cultural and political outlooks, and EC helps prevent that by not allowing popular vote to be sole determinator of the elections in such a non-homogeneous nation. Hence why removal of electoral college would mean tyranny of more populated areas over less populated ones.
    What we see now is that oligarchical upper crust views ubran population as more keen on supporting existing status quo - hence why the attack on electoral college isn't there to give more rights to politically immature urbanites (whose polittical convictions stem from emotions rather then facts or logic, since such policies rarely benefit them either), but rather to prevent the rest of the nation's population from voting against the existing status quo that only benefits the rich elite upper crust. So calls for abolition of Electoral College is just a modern-day reboot of "let them eat cake" mentality.
    What US needs and is long overdue for is to limit the powers of the oligarchy - legally and politically. What Founding Fathers included in Constitution was technically enough - but had they lived in times where Internet exists and a number of private individuals can legally control what can be said in the society as a whole - they'd definitely want to prevent that from being exploited.
    Certain reforms are necessary to ensure that society's constitutionally-guaranteed capacity to exchange ideas isn't impeded by censorship imposed by corporate oligopolies like Google or Facebook. Essentially sacrificing the "right" of Silicon Valley CEOs on what is essentially controlling most of public interactions online is necessary to prevent control over public discourse being held by partisan interests.
    It shouldn't be questionable to enforce neutrality on platforms that are used by majority of population.

  12. #12
    antaeus's Avatar Whataboutery
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    Default Re: How do you fix the US?

    I don't necessarily see hyper partisan institutions or a non representative electoral college as being a problem in themselves. Nor donations from oligarchs. The thing that keeps the US democratic, is that these institutions and processes largely function independently of each other (with exceptions based on establishment and management).

    The fact that there could be a Democratic president, senate and house while having a staunchly conservative SC is good for the separation of powers, which is good for democracy. In Poland and Hungary, parliamentary majorities have allowed for the dissolution or stacking of dissenting institutions and and thus an erosion of democracy. The requirement for supermajorities, the various convoluted approval processes through Senate, House and President and the messed up demographic representation actually make a slide into authoritarianism very difficult.

    The irony I see in the US is not that democracy is failing, but rather that the primary institutions are doing their job too well. The senate is less representative than what it was 50 or 100 years ago, because of the movement of people away from rural states hasn't been accounted for by reallocating how seats are allotted - giving usually conservative rural populations as much as 40 times more say than those in big cities (Wyoming vs California). Of course the whole point of the Senate was to counteract popularism in the house, so this imbalance is purposeful and probably a good thing, but it's just gone too far. Similarly, in the house, gerrymandering has led to more polarised electorates making wild swings less likely.

    Demographic changes have made it virtually impossible for a supermajority to be achieved in the Senate, or at least, much much less likely to be a supermajority that might favour urban voters. Which entrenches the status-quo. This makes the US less responsive to changing global situations and more dysfunctional. Business can still get done by government through negotiation, but it leaves key levers of the government unable to change, ever. So for example, where the Democrats threaten that if they take the senate, they'll make Puerto Rico a state... this is mere air - because there are structural and demographic pressures rendering their obtaining a supermajority impossible, and polarisation prevents cross party work on anything that has demographic consequences. Let's not even talk about amending the Constitution - a process that was designed to occur as required.

    In this void of inactivity over the big picture items has (as others have noted) led to power grabs by the President over the years - to mixed and short term results, and leaves the US in a state of constant patchwork temporary budget extensions and a permanent threat of soldiers going without pay.

    So what would I do to fix the US? I think something needs to be done to rebalance the Senate to give the government the ability to meaningfully respond to changing circumstances. Perhaps this might require the establishment of a new independent body responsible for managing electoral demographics - that could also work on gerrymandering. Otherwise the structure of government is fine by me - once it is able to address supermajority issues responsively again, most other things would iron themselves out.
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  13. #13

    Default Re: How do you fix the US?

    Donations from oligarchs are the major issue behind erosion of democracy. Again, oligarchs can just pay the politicians to form their policy in their interest, while they themselves don't need popular mandate to essentially dictate the policy. This connection needs to be severed one way or the other.
    In the same way, oligarchs that own social media oligopolies should lose their "right" to censor content on them, as they end up being a monopoly that essentially has an ability to determine what can be said in public online based on partisanship of the owners.
    Without reforming the above-mentioned issues, establishing new governmental bodies won't prevent democracy from eroding.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: How do you fix the US?

    I'm not buying the premise that the US is somehow broken. Its working as intended. A government of rich men, for rich men, by rich men. Same as almost everywhere.

    Its definitely not perfect. One measure to preserve the oligarchy is the pretence of choice. Occasionally the mask slips a little (eg when both major parties colluded to keep Sanders from getting the democrat nomination) and occasionally the system delivers odd outcomes (eg when Trump used trash TV cred to get elected ahead of the professionals-nvm he bent the knee anyway).

    As I say its not particularly evil. The "billionaire class" in the US has a strong philanthropic tradition. Its tax deductible, sure, but that's the generous ones encouraging the mean ones to join in. US self absorption means they often leave other countries alone, much more often than they wag them for the domestic media newsfeed. More often than not people are allowed to earn a bit because that makes for more dollars in the market place; can't work a donkey without feeding it, and US donkeys are usually well fed (although relatively less so recently, hence the riots). A bit of racism, a bit of fake choice in the polls, keeps the dogs biting each other and not the hand that feeds. A little social mobility prevents too much inbreeding; its a little like recruiting prisoners into the prison guard class.

    There are strong and persuasive narratives stating the US is a special unified place with a special mission founded on a perfect or near perfect constitution: the the same moment the US is presented as torn by a battle between two stark opposing camps. The constitution is perfect, always has been. The Republicans stand for all that is evil, but wait, that's the Democrats. Best to suspend disbelief I guess.

    I recall a quote from some idiotic Gore Vidal book, he was name dropping about chatting with JFK (at least as big a donkey as Trump in my view but some people worship him because I guess getting killed by your own party make you a saint?) who asked him "how a sort of backwoods country like this (13 colonies in the 1700's), with only three million people, could have produced the three great geniuses of the 18th century: Franklin, Jefferson and Hamilton".

    My own country's heroes are smaller, its a smaller place, so we're less likely to float such vapid nonsense.
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    swabian's Avatar igni ferroque
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    Default Re: How do you fix the US?

    This has got to be the most deplorably cynical crap that i've ever read.

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  17. #17

    Default Re: How do you fix the US?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
    I'm not buying the premise that the US is somehow broken. Its working as intended. A government of rich men, for rich men, by rich men. Same as almost everywhere.

    Its definitely not perfect. One measure to preserve the oligarchy is the pretence of choice. Occasionally the mask slips a little (eg when both major parties colluded to keep Sanders from getting the democrat nomination) and occasionally the system delivers odd outcomes (eg when Trump used trash TV cred to get elected ahead of the professionals-nvm he bent the knee anyway).

    As I say its not particularly evil. The "billionaire class" in the US has a strong philanthropic tradition. Its tax deductible, sure, but that's the generous ones encouraging the mean ones to join in. US self absorption means they often leave other countries alone, much more often than they wag them for the domestic media newsfeed. More often than not people are allowed to earn a bit because that makes for more dollars in the market place; can't work a donkey without feeding it, and US donkeys are usually well fed (although relatively less so recently, hence the riots). A bit of racism, a bit of fake choice in the polls, keeps the dogs biting each other and not the hand that feeds. A little social mobility prevents too much inbreeding; its a little like recruiting prisoners into the prison guard class.

    There are strong and persuasive narratives stating the US is a special unified place with a special mission founded on a perfect or near perfect constitution: the the same moment the US is presented as torn by a battle between two stark opposing camps. The constitution is perfect, always has been. The Republicans stand for all that is evil, but wait, that's the Democrats. Best to suspend disbelief I guess.

    I recall a quote from some idiotic Gore Vidal book, he was name dropping about chatting with JFK (at least as big a donkey as Trump in my view but some people worship him because I guess getting killed by your own party make you a saint?) who asked him "how a sort of backwoods country like this (13 colonies in the 1700's), with only three million people, could have produced the three great geniuses of the 18th century: Franklin, Jefferson and Hamilton".

    My own country's heroes are smaller, its a smaller place, so we're less likely to float such vapid nonsense.
    You don't really seem to understand how the US Federal system is suppose to work. The Senate is not aupposed to be representative of the demographics of the US and never was. Tiny Rhode Island got the same number of votes in the Senate as big New York, so proportionally the people of Rhode Island have much bigger say than those of New York, and.that has always been true.

    It is the House of Representatives which is intended to be representative, not the Senate. Your ideas won't work at all, essentially you are proposing that the US should completely scrap its federal system. Since the US still has one thr oldest functioning democracies in the world, and the oldest currency still being used (British currency has been changed) - technically, you could still use a dollar or quarter from the 20's.

    I agree there is nothing wrong with the US system, the problem is the country is heavily divided, with conservatives and liberals, with liberals dominating many power centers such as the media and all branches of education and the top echelons of corporate America, but there is a lot of conservative sentiment on other levels of society. Liberals in the US don't understand this, which is why it was a huge shock when Hillary lost, despite the total backing of her by the mainstream media.

    The divisions run deep, the 2 sides don't even read the same sources. Conservatives havd utter contempt PBS, NBC, CNN, and liberals constantly criticize Fox, the lone totally not left major.traditional media outlet. Liberals hate the fact that Americans are increasingly no longer getting their news from traditional media that liberals control, but the internet that liberals don't yet control (but they are working on it). There is only so much any system can do to compensate for that division.

    The liberals used to constsntly cheat the system, by using the Supreme Court to get their way - desegration in schools, gay marriage, abortion, and a host of other liberal agenda item were achieved by Supreme Court decissions thst overruled all the laws made by state and national legislatures. But now that they no longer look like they will continue to control the Supreme Court, they are furious and terrified. That is why liberals use every sleazy technique in the book to block.conseravite judge nominations.

  18. #18
    antaeus's Avatar Whataboutery
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    Default Re: How do you fix the US?

    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    You don't really seem to understand how the US Federal system is suppose to work. The Senate is not supposed to be representative of the demographics of the US and never was. Tiny Rhode Island got the same number of votes in the Senate as big New York, so proportionally the people of Rhode Island have much bigger say than those of New York, and.that has always been true.
    This thread isn't about how it works now, but how it should work.

    And I guess this is one of the key issues that some in this thread, myself included are getting at. The purpose of the original Senate was to protect the country from mob rule democracy. It filled a similar role to the House of Lords. But that doesn't mean it has to remain as originally designed to fulfil this role. It has already iterated to become more representative. The Senate has been made up of elected officials since 1913. Which started to remove it from it's original democratic counterweight role. (We're seeing similar changes occur over time to the House of Lords and other upper houses)

    When the Senate was established the population difference between states was much much lower and I doubt that it's founders anticipated a situation where demographics are so out of balance and where those populations so overwhelmingly vote for a particular party. It's this combination which has led to the situation where the Senate can no longer do one of it's key functions - secure a supermajority for major change - for example to amend the Constitution - which was designed as a living document. It no longer serves as a balance for the popular vote, but rather a complete handbreak on it - which is not what it was designed to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    It is the House of Representatives which is intended to be representative, not the Senate. Your ideas won't work at all, essentially you are proposing that the US should completely scrap its federal system. Since the US still has one thr oldest functioning democracies in the world, and the oldest currency still being used (British currency has been changed) - technically, you could still use a dollar or quarter from the 20's.
    You're heading into hyperbole. Changing the Senate wouldn't mean breaking the federal system. That would require disbanding the states. There are dozens of federal countries with fully representative Senate houses that adequately perform their role as a balance for the lower house. All it really takes is a separate voting cycle and a different base for representation. For example, Australia's Senate, which was largely based on the US Senate, has been proportional to some degree based on state since the 1940s. Because it is proportional, it is much more friendly to independent politicians and small parties who often hold a balance of power. It is this that has allowed it to be an effective, but difficult counterbalance to the lower house.
    Last edited by antaeus; September 30, 2020 at 01:22 AM.
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: How do you fix the US?

    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    You don't really seem to understand how the US Federal system is suppose to work.....
    Thanks for the insight. I feel the same.
    Jatte lambastes Calico Rat

  20. #20
    Settra's Avatar the Imperishable
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    Default Re: How do you fix the US?

    The US needs comprehensive reform in several areas. Imho these should be the most important points of reform:

    1. Ban lobbying and lobby groups. Whenever you hear a government horror story coming out from the US, where it is congress allowing Dupont to dump toxic sludge in water basins, or laws that favor immoral corporation over the citizen, a lobby group is behind it.
    2. Comprehensive education reform: standardized testing goes out the window, alongside multiple choice quizzes and no child left behind. The SAT's are now a fully written exam, where you have to know the subject instead of just guessing the answer. Colleges are no longer allowed to pick and choose and must accept students on academic performance alone. Advance the curricula for each grade by several years. Right now 6th grade mathematics in the US is the equivalent of 4th grade mathematics in Romania. Not good.
    3. Centralise and nationalise police training. Extend the police academy to two full years. Require every policeman dedicate 10% of the work week to leadership training and dangerous situation resolution training. Right now every state has its own academy, with a mismatched patchwork of standards, practices and quality. There needs to be a unified police training curricula and unified police procedure code that creates a uniformity between the police forces of the various states and regions. Ideally there will be a single national police force run by a Quaestor or General divided into state branches which are further divided into regional, local and precinct levels.
    4. Force the media to present all reasonable points of view with a news story not just left or right. The divide in present American society was accused almost exclusively by the media promoting and pushing partisanship. The American public arena has become an echo chamber for Fox News and CBS fans where everybody is talking but nobody is listening to the arguments from the other side.
    5. (Fantasy) Attempt to break down the big parties and create a multi-party system with a much finer granularity of platforms and beliefs. Right now you are either red or blue. There needs to be a bunch of shades of purple as well.
    6. Nationalized healthcare insurance. Instead of paying monthly premiums to eye gouging insurance companies that do their best to dump you the moment you get sick, you will pay a monthly premium to a federal run institution. Anybody who insured can go to any hospital anywhere in the country. People who do not want to be part of the public insurance scheme can opt out and continue to pay premiums to private companies, however they will be limited to privately run hospitals in turn.
    7. Reform the electoral system. Elections need to be based on popular vote alone. Right now 3 states deter mine the result for the entire country, and you can mathematically win the election with only 39% of the popular vote due to the electoral college system. That is not fair. That is not acceptable.
    8. Comprehensive anti-trust laws. Major corporations are no longer able to own other major corporations. Each company must have one and only domain of work. If you make cartoons, you have no business also making computer parts or providing internet services. Any corporation that exceeds a flat revenue ceiling for 3 years in a row or 6 years of the previous 10 gets broken up into two distinct entities.
    9. End for-profit business in key humanitarian sectors. No more for pay prisons, no more for profit churches, no more for profit schools - except for private schools which will be required to maintain a maximum profit margin.
    10. Ban politics from classrooms. If it's math class talk about math not about Suzi's former boy parts or Biden's dementia.
    11. Unified teacher training and vetting. This can also extend to teachers. A teacher from Dumpstown West Hampshire should get the same training and possibilities as a teacher from Los Angeles. People should not be allowed to teach without graduating a 1-2 year pedagogical training course.
    12. Same as 11 but for public servants.


    And the hardest one of all

    13. Get Al Bundy to take a shower.
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