Politics Thread


Here is a recent article that discusses the many parallels between the 1850’s and today in politics.

Everyone should keep in mind that we are still a long ways away from the guerrilla warfare and strife of Bloody Kansas, but realize that we should look at history’s lessons more than we do



I am not American or European and I have no emotional investment in their politics. However I must say that Trump has proven so far to be “Hilarity Ensues (TM TVTropes): the President”.


If I’m not mistaken it seems to call for Tim-Kaine-esque “Democratic Centrism”, that is really quite heavy conservatism that would mean a hugely pro-corporate agenda including endorsement of money=speech, financial de-regulation, full-throated endorsements of the current TPP and TTIP model of “free” trade and staganation, or at least halting advancements on LGTBQ rights.
About the only thing it doesn’t seem to call for is overt neo-con foreign policy or super strong 2nd amendment protection of gun rights.
But most of those things are what a good chunk of the Democratic base is in their own revolt against.


As of this moment, even in the most progressive strongholds (California) it is a good chunk … for example: in California, the leadership failed to endorse Fienstein, yet she garnered 70% more support than the “progressive’s choice.”

The article I linked is more to emphasis that while alarming and with real consequences these parallels that @Havenstone and others point out, we are still a long way from challenging the Rule of Law or even breaking it down as some suggest we are.

It also shows that there is an American centrist pathway to embrace more of the populace within the system as a bigger tent approach.

You all know my views on most things but even I do not embrace the circular - firing squad that a loud segment of Progressives seem bound and determined to force on their party.

One other thing:

Most of those that would be embraced follow more of a “the state stays out of the bathroom and bedroom” viewpoint with corporate policy dictating acceptance and diversity as the path to higher profits. So I do not see this; at least in blue-states and purple-states.

As I’ve said before, both civil rights and health care for women are going to be challenged in the extreme and by every concievable methodolgy in the red states. @P_Tigras does not believe abortion will be illegal in these red states but I do, even if it is restricted to the point where it is legal in name only.


Yes, the perils of FPTP, over here 30% support would certainly be enough for your own minor party and that minor party can exert Overton pull in a way not possible in the US and other FPTP systems. FeinStein is also a wealthy, long-term incumbent, which still carries significant advantages even over here and is why most of our parties have internal term limits on who they will nominate for what office. Though I will say that even we have not yet adopted a law that would strictly limit political terms as a matter of law and the most recent attempt about six years ago failed by two votes I believe.

Which is troubling because some of the central tenets of that currently seem to be an all-out war on the poor and disadvantaged in the pursuit of corporate greed. It has already been proven that the Democrats market-based solutions (and those of our own Liberal Party) tend to work very well for the 9.9% but not so great for the fast majority of people.

Again that seems to be close to our own liberal party and that works very well…for the gay elite. Much like their straight counterparts the gay 1% or even the gay 9.9% or (20%) are not all there is to gay culture, even if they do soak up most the (media) attention. Gay people growing up nearer to the bottom, like yours truly (at least in part, I’m a bit of weird case) face a quite different set of challenges in many ways.
I’d say that in the Netherlands it’s more like the 20%, rather than the 9.9%, but we are certainly not free of our own increasing class divides and the scourges of nearly stagnant wage growth for most and the myriad of other deleterious effects of neo-liberal economic policy over the last few decades over here or in Europe.


California’s modified open primary system appears to make it significantly more difficult for the Democratic party base to dictate the outcome. Unlike in most other states, Republicans and conservative-leaning independents, recognizing that it was pretty much impossible for one of their own people to win, were free to vote for Feinstein as the “lesser evil”.

I do believe that @Havenstone’s point (or one of them at least) is that by shifting power away from the legislative branch to the executive and judiciary branches, and encouraging both the President to legislate via executive order and the courts to legislate via creative reinterpretations of existing law, progressives in their haste to enact their goals as quickly as possible have politicized the judiciary, damaged its credibility and created precedents that weaken the checks and balances that prevent the US from becoming a dictatorship. Those fears all seem ridiculous when it’s your party that controls the presidency and the judiciary is supportive of many of your goals, but become potentially disastrous in a very big way when the tide eventually turns.

There’s also the issue that both major parties are vulnerable (although the Republicans more so) to a take-over by a populist with dictatorial impulses and you do not want him to have those additional powers making it easier for him to become a dictator, or a court whose credibility is so damaged by partisanship that it is easily ignored when it attempts to stand up to him.

Ironically enough, the Democratic party’s less democratic presidential primary system which empowers a large number of establishment insiders as super-delegates gives it a greater degree of resistance to populism.

California’s modified open primary system is an interesting creature that seems to increase the odds of a more centrist candidate winning, centrist for California that is, which is center left for most of the rest of the country. Feinstein would have had a far more difficult fight on her hands if Calfornia had a closed primary with only registered Democrats able to vote.

I concur.

That’s not quite what I said. I actually agree with you here. While I don’t believe the current SCOTUS + Kavanaugh will overturn Roe, and so all those anti-abortion laws currently held in abeyance will not suddenly be going into effect, I do agree with you that the reddest of the red states will attempt to restrict abortion rights to the point “where it is legal in name only”, and the court will probably let them. This is the “death by 1000 cuts” that @idonotlikeusernames and I have discussed previously.


That is centrist, FeinStein is centrist, whoa…look at that Overton window. :astonished:

That aside if the system continues on its present course of not working for what is now a majority of the people (and that is not only a problem in the US but here in Europe as well, though the US does seem to be at the vanguard of it) you are either going to have some sort of reckoning sooner or later or you’d need to turn increasingly authoritarian, which usually only delays the reckoning and makes it that much more severe once it does happen.


The US no longer has a near-monolithic post WW2 culture or a common enemy like the Soviet Union to rally against. The old melting pot analogy has given way to a patchwork quilt where the patches make political allies of some neighboring patches while declaring war on others. The patches in your coalition of patches are lionized to strengthen the coalition while those in the opposing coalition are demonized to drum up donations and increase voter turn-out. That demonization is facilitated by increasingly partisan news sources and it is leading to hyperpartisanship and an increasing fear of the other side, where character matters less and less since everyone on the other side is a demon, and virtually everyone on our side is better than a demon. Instead it’s all about the issues, and more recently, who is appointed to the supreme court. We may not be there yet, but if we continue down this path eventually we’ll get to the point where a potential dictator who agrees with us on the issues will seem better than allowing those evil demons on the other side to win a fair election.

People will not see a potential dictator on their own side as a potential dictator however. They will just ignore the warning signs, rationalizing them away, because it’s those demons on the other side that are harping on and on about them, so they must be fake news.


Dumped this in politics as it is remarkably off topic even for Guns.

Well…2016 was supposed to be a snoozefest of a Bush v Clinton rematch, had it been up to the US’ chattering classes. Just with Hillary instead of Bill and Jeb instead of W.

There was a surprisingly “fun” scenario I saw about that somewhere on the internet (probably alternatehistory.com but I’m not really sure) not too long ago. Basically Bernie and Warren decline to be figureheads for any progressive insurrection in a presidential year thus several younger, smaller figures try to go against Hillary and are swatted aside, O’Malley lasts slightly longer but overall Hillary has her coronation. On the Republican side “the Donald” suffers a heart-attack, not impossible since he is old and has rather bad eating, sleeping and exercise habits so he is unable to campaign leaving Jeb to slowly slog his way through the heavily contested primary and come out bruised and battered, but ultimately with the nomination on the other end.

In the general turnout is low, below 50% nationally the Libertarians are the main beneficiaries of a somewhat increased protest vote, but in general all manner of protest votes receive a bit more votes and (media) attention from the US Green Party to Joe Exotic. In the end the election comes down to a 269/269 “dead heat” meaning that Jeb “wins” on the back of Congress and the successful 2014 Republican mid-terms despite winning less of the popular vote then Hillary but reaction to this more muted because none of them received over 50% of the popular votes cast.


more muted than what? Hillary didn’t get over 50% of the popular vote in the actual election against Trump either.


Sorry just describing from recollection here, I presume it had to do with all sorts of protest vote candidates eating up more of the vote from both sides as well as the low(er) turnout. Of course now that I try to find the original source scenario again Google isn’t being its most helpful.


So. Compromised U.S. President. That’s new.


The conspiracy theories of the 1790s finally are coming true - except the evil puppeteer is Russia and not France.


14 years old, Right leaning libertarian, patriotic.

Lot of views, but to summarize,

Government bad
America as a people, good


The more likely scenario is that Putin is playing Trump just as he did Obama. Remember the famous ‘reset with russia’ that Obama and Clinton touted complete with corny reset button? Remember how Obama chided Romney for saying Russia was still a threat? Remember when Obama got caught on that microphone he didn’t know was on secretly promising Putin he’d scrap the European side of the US’s anti ballistic missile defense system after he won re-election? And this was all after Russia had invaded Georgia which had been trying to get into NATO.

Putin is an ex-KGB colonel. He doesn’t need to necessarily obtain dirt on foreign leaders in order to use their own weaknesses against them given the extensive psych profiles he compiles on all major foreign leaders. Just as Putin recognized that he’d always win a game of chicken with Obama given Obama’s at times paralyzing fear of conflict, and that Obama’s scolding would never be backed up by force, he also recognizes that Trump’s narcissistic craving for praise makes him vulnerable to manipulation in a very different way.


I would not recommend California’s “jungle primary” where the top two candidates regardless of party are the only ones to advance to the General Election as a good cure to extremist candidates. Five-thirty-eight had an article pointing out the risks of the system. Even in districts heavily favoring one party over any other, if the vote for the leading party there is split enough ways then it is possible that the leading party may not get any candidates onto the ballot for the General Election. Furthermore voter turnout depends heavily on the top-of-the-ticket so being shut out of the top-of-the-ticket would have negative effects on all down-ballot races.

I personally would recommend instead some kind of preferential voting where voters rank all candidates in order of preference and the last place candidate is eliminated with those votes being redistributed until someone has a majority. The state of Maine is trying just that this year. This avoids the election result where a candidate wins with a plurality but is opposed by the majority of the electorate.

Another change that I think might help is electoral fusion where multiple political parties can nominate the same candidate so voters can vote for whichever of those parties suits them best without wasting their votes on someone that cannot win the election. Electoral fusion was once more widely used in the United States but the two major American political parties both opposed its diverting votes from them and banned it in all but eight states.


I don’t mean Putin has the dossier that Fox keeps using as a straw man, although I suppose that’s possible. I mean Trump has decided, regardless of anything else, that if Russia is going to help him and his party win future elections, then he is not only okay with that, but he had better say “yes, Putin” to everything.

This is not just like Obama, at least not in magnitude. This was the most bizarre summit press conference ever. Trump accomplished nothing, forgave everything, and at every opportunity to criticize Russia, he criticized the United States or both countries instead – even though we’re not the ones who are hacking elections, invading sovereign territory, or poisoning enemies with banned toxins. There was a question to Trump about whether he held them accountable for … anything at all. And the answer was basically no and we should consider how bad the United States is too. Read the transcript, if you haven’t (you can skip to the unscripted Q&A). Every answer is an astonishing reply from a U.S. president, even moreso in light of his week spent attacking longtime allies as “foes” and such. I see what you’re saying about Putin playing to the weaknesses of other world leaders and that he sometimes succeeded in playing Obama as well, but the scope of the hold on Trump on display here is really remarkable, regardless of exactly how the hooks sunk in.


All true, however with Trump he may also have quite a bit of other leverage.
Didn’t the Soviets of all people already “invest” in Trump as far back as the 80’s and they were right to do so as a wealthy businessman with the vain, venal and vulgar disposition of Trump is a very useful idiot to have indeed and the line seems to extend all the way from the Soviets (to the point I’m surprised Cruz and Rubio didn’t lean more on the “red threat” to mobilize against Trump) to Paul Manafort, whose own claim to fame is being the political consultant of the Moscow-backed strongman in the Ukraine.
So, as this Politico article states Trump is heavily involved with the Russians and vice-versa so it is not inconceivable they have some very damaging intel on him so he just might be a compromised president and that doesn’t rule out Putin using his normal tactics in addition to all of that too.
Trump does appear to have the prima facie evidence arrayed against him at the moment.

That would be a damned sight better than the current FPTP system the US uses but if we’re talking ideals I’ll always prefer the proportional vote system, just let the US get used to coalitions and having more than 2 parties in Congress.

Has the huge disadvantage that party platforms aren’t all that influential in the US and the same candidate remains the same candidate whether you elect Hillary from the Democratic ballot, the Justice ballot or the pro-choice party ballot ultimately makes very little difference.

That is putting it mildly some might say it is tantamount to treason.


One benefit of electoral fusion would be the effect it has on public funding for minor political parties. In order to receive General Election funding from the Federal Election Commission, a minor party must have received at least 5% of the popular vote in the previous General Election. The added funding also effects whether the names of minor party candidates can even appear on the ballot.

I do agree that a proportional vote system would probably be an improvement on first-past-the-post.