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The Foresight Of Washington And Adams

TheHammer

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George Washington’s farewell address concerning political parties. Was he right?


However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion


John Adams said:


There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.
 

RJApple

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George Washington’s farewell address concerning political parties. Was he right?


However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion


John Adams said:


There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.

I totally agree. All too often, political discourse becomes, "But he's a Democrat!" or "But she's a Republican." Further, those in charge of the parties rarely seem to care what the voters actually want, the most recent example of this being the Democratic party's super-delegates. Their very existence should signal to the voters that the party cares very little about what the voters think. However, I'm not sure that there is an alternative. Parties seem to be inevitable byproducts of a republican system.
 

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I totally agree. All too often, political discourse becomes, "But he's a Democrat!" or "But she's a Republican." Further, those in charge of the parties rarely seem to care what the voters actually want, the most recent example of this being the Democratic party's super-delegates. Their very existence should signal to the voters that the party cares very little about what the voters think. However, I'm not sure that there is an alternative. Parties seem to be inevitable byproducts of a republican system.

Perhaps not if the R and D were removed from ballot papers and any official list of Congress seats and - perhaps most importantly - the only legal political donations were from individual citizens with full disclosure (rather than incentivizing institutional bribery and mechanisms such as partisanship which make it more effective).

Be thankful you don't live in Australia; here political parties are essentially mandatory in order to appoint a Prime Minister, since it requires a majority of seats in the House of Reps.
 

OrphanSlug

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George Washington’s farewell address concerning political parties. Was he right?

However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion

John Adams said:

There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.

In context both were right, and at the time they were dealing with the formation of the Federalist Party leading to the formation of the Democratic-Republican Party (and all the splinters that soon followed well before we even went to Civil War.) Major items such as relations with Britain and France, handling our independence, design of a national bank, etc. challenged the nation to form various political alliances to ensure support for this or that. John Adams ran under the banner of this party while it was still in its infancy, Washington "officially" remained party independent but it did not really turn out that way either.

The point is very early on in our nation's history aristocracy formed into various pockets of political influence in key areas, taking that formed power into becoming political parties organizing just about everyone else into more or less agreeing groups. It did not take long. By our 2nd President, who complained about it, we had one party formed and another on the way. By our 3rd President, there were at least 2 clear parties with a distant third unorganized group already out there. By the time of our 6th President, John Quincy Adams, we were well on our way to dividing southern States from northern States politically that forever changed the relationship of Democrats to Republicans.

Less than... 30-40 years ('ish)... into this nation's history we assured ourselves of the very "faction oriented" political thinking all of our founders were concerned about, and paved the way for a costly abd bloody civil war. Right down opposing aristocracy views of our future society and economy.
 

RJApple

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Perhaps not if the R and D were removed from ballot papers and any official list of Congress seats and - perhaps most importantly - the only legal political donations were from individual citizens with full disclosure (rather than incentivizing institutional bribery and mechanisms such as partisanship which make it more effective).

Be thankful you don't live in Australia; here political parties are essentially mandatory in order to appoint a Prime Minister, since it requires a majority of seats in the House of Reps.

Simply removing the parties' names from the ballot would not cause their existence to cease. More heavily regulating campaign contributions would not bring an end to the parties either. Political parties, and indeed all types of factions, are a result of the fact that humans are tribal creatures, and, when given the choice, we are likely to gravitate towards seemingly like-minded individuals. This is seen in school, in the workplace, and in politics. And, it is common in all these areas for one person or a group of people to rise to lead the 'tribe,' so-to-speak. In the case of politics, it is practically inevitable that these groups garner power. To amend my previous statement, as I feel it is somewhat in error, political parties are not explicitly byproducts of republican government, they are byproducts of humanity and our tribal nature.
 

Grand Mal

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Perhaps not if the R and D were removed from ballot papers and any official list of Congress seats and - perhaps most importantly - the only legal political donations were from individual citizens with full disclosure (rather than incentivizing institutional bribery and mechanisms such as partisanship which make it more effective).

Be thankful you don't live in Australia; here political parties are essentially mandatory in order to appoint a Prime Minister, since it requires a majority of seats in the House of Reps.

We have a similar Parliamentary system in Canada to that in Britain and the leader of the party with the most seats is the PM. I don't see why, though, it couldn't work without parties. The elected MP's could elect a Prime Minister from among them who would then appoint his cabinet, again from among the MP's. 'Course, parties would inevitably form but they wouldn't necessarily be part of the general election process.
 

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George Washington’s farewell address concerning political parties. Was he right?


However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion


John Adams said:


There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.



We have to remember that the founding fathers had a fear of direct democracy. Like royalty themselves, they did not believe the average American was capable of making choices in a political area; which is why in the beginning the people had no direct vote for the offices and senate. None of them could have seen the social changes coming, the effects of universal education and changing economics where people were no longer tied to menial jobs in agriculture.

The truth is the one party system cannot work. It didn't work once Thomas Jefferson got pissed off with the back room bull**** of the ruling class and formed his own party.

The US is alone in the world with two parties, which frankly are almost the same. Societies across the world are changing and the result has been many parties, some to the point of ridiculousness with up 25 parties. Having said that, the two party system is clearly not adequately meeting the needs of Americans, more likely making matters worse through the roadblocks set up by the parties themselves, resulting in no middle ground. There is so little separating them, those things do become major issues, founded and defended to the death as core ideology of the party to the point of being beyond reason.

Sorry to say this, but emergence of a third party is likely a long way off. In the states the blue print for forming a party is to run for president. However the voter does not easily give up his vote for president, and fears a situation of a president with no support in congress. In the early days, leaders saw the answer in a one party system.

But we have moved on. We are smarter, we have much more complex needs, and frankly neither of the two parties is delivering good government so consumed they are at warring with one another.

The way to build a party is to start at the grass roots. You run people for civic and state legislatures, for congress and senate and build from there. The best most recent model is the Canadian Reform Party of the middle to late 1980's through to the early 2000's, which then became The Conservative Party of Canada and won government under Stephen Harper.

I think Americans are looking for a savior or magic bullet that will come in, sweep up and put the country back on track in eight years. In order for that to happen you need control of at least two of the three divisions of government. Further, the system has become incredibly cynical, where as soon as a politician gets elected, his one and only objective is to stay elected, second is to fit in the congressional power structure in order to move up the ladder and ensure his position.

In the end, in a democracy, the people get the government they deserve.
 
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RJApple

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We have to remember that the founding fathers had a fear of direct democracy. Like royalty themselves, they did not believe the average American was capable of making choices in a political area; which is why in the beginning the people had no direct vote for the offices and senate. None of them could have seen the social changes coming, the effects of universal education and changing economics where people were no longer tied to menial jobs in agriculture.

The truth is the one party system cannot work. It didn't work once Thomas Jefferson got pissed off with the back room bull**** of the ruling class and formed his own party.

The US is alone in the world with two parties, which frankly are almost the same. Societies across the world are changing and the result has been many parties, some to the point of ridiculousness with up 25 parties. Having said that, the two party system is clearly not adequately meeting the needs of Americans, more likely making matters worse through the roadblocks set up by the parties themselves, resulting in no middle ground. There is so little separating them, those things do become major issues, founded and defended to the death as core ideology of the party to the point of being beyond reason.

Sorry to say this, but emergence of a third party is likely a long way off. In the states the blue print for forming a party is to run for president. However the voter does not easily give up his vote for president, and fears a situation of a president with no support in congress. In the early days, leaders saw the answer in a one party system.

But we have moved on. We are smarter, we have much more complex needs, and frankly neither of the two parties is delivering good government so consumed they are at warring with one another.

The way to build a party is to start at the grass roots. You run people for civic and state legislatures, for congress and senate and build from there. The best most recent model is the Canadian Reform Party of the middle to late 1980's through to the early 2000's, which then became The Conservative Party of Canada and won government under Stephen Harper.

I think Americans are looking for a savior or magic bullet that will come in, sweep up and put the country back on track in eight years. In order for that to happen you need control of at least two of the three divisions of government. Further, the system has become incredibly cynical, where as soon as a politician gets elected, his one and only objective is to stay elected, second is to fit in the congressional power structure in order to move up the ladder and ensure his position.

In the end, in a democracy, the people get the government they deserve.

If I may, the founders were rightly wary of direct democracy, because direct democracy is little more than mob-rule. Direct democracy often results in a tyranny of the majority and often leads to the majority voting away the rights, and sometimes the wealth, of the minority. In a republic, the people, seeing as most are not fit to run the country, are meant to elect officials for their good judgment, in the hope that they represent the people's best interest, not necessarily what the people want.

I do agree, however, that the emergence of a third party is a way off. And I also agree that most Americans are looking for a savior when they should be looking for a leader.
 

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If I may, the founders were rightly wary of direct democracy, because direct democracy is little more than mob-rule. Direct democracy often results in a tyranny of the majority and often leads to the majority voting away the rights, and sometimes the wealth, of the minority. In a republic, the people, seeing as most are not fit to run the country, are meant to elect officials for their good judgment, in the hope that they represent the people's best interest, not necessarily what the people want.

I do agree, however, that the emergence of a third party is a way off. And I also agree that most Americans are looking for a savior when they should be looking for a leader.


See bold, when and where has that ever happened? At the very least the word "often" is beyond an exaggeration
 

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See bold, when and where has that ever happened? At the very least the word "often" is beyond an exaggeration

I should apologize, more proper wording for what I was getting at would be: Direct democracy is often thought to result...

An example would be during the era of slavery in America, during which many people (northern and southern) sought to keep blacks in slavery. Had America been a democracy, they would have simply voted and that would have been the end of it, slaves may or may not have gotten freedom. However, thankfully, America was and is a republic, and thus slaves gained their freedom.

However, regardless, this topic of discussion probably branches a little too far outside the intent of this thread.
 

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I should apologize, more proper wording for what I was getting at would be: Direct democracy is often thought to result...

An example would be during the era of slavery in America, during which many people (northern and southern) sought to keep blacks in slavery. Had America been a democracy, they would have simply voted and that would have been the end of it, slaves may or may not have gotten freedom. However, thankfully, America was and is a republic, and thus slaves gained their freedom.

However, regardless, this topic of discussion probably branches a little too far outside the intent of this thread.



If, and another if and more speculation shows conclusively that direct democracy is dangerous. I could just as easily make a case that IF a plebiscite were held, a war may have been avoided.
 

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Simply removing the parties' names from the ballot would not cause their existence to cease. More heavily regulating campaign contributions would not bring an end to the parties either. Political parties, and indeed all types of factions, are a result of the fact that humans are tribal creatures, and, when given the choice, we are likely to gravitate towards seemingly like-minded individuals. This is seen in school, in the workplace, and in politics. And, it is common in all these areas for one person or a group of people to rise to lead the 'tribe,' so-to-speak. In the case of politics, it is practically inevitable that these groups garner power. To amend my previous statement, as I feel it is somewhat in error, political parties are not explicitly byproducts of republican government, they are byproducts of humanity and our tribal nature.

You're right, but removing all official endorsement for party affiliations might go further than you'd think. Would folk who favour greater civil rights but less government involvement in the economy identify, or vote for politicians identifying as Republican? If elections were no longer perceived to be two horse races, would there more likely be third and fourth candidates entering the running too? Folk might always have a tendency to identify as conservative, libertarian etc. and gravitate towards those with like-minded views, but the affiliation would be ideological rather than partisan, and potentially less susceptible to a politics of negativity and lesser of two evils mentality.
 

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We have a similar Parliamentary system in Canada to that in Britain and the leader of the party with the most seats is the PM. I don't see why, though, it couldn't work without parties. The elected MP's could elect a Prime Minister from among them who would then appoint his cabinet, again from among the MP's. 'Course, parties would inevitably form but they wouldn't necessarily be part of the general election process.

Yeah, but the redeeming 'virtue' of the way things are is that folk are at least voting for the party they want in government. Without parties, folk would be voting only for their local representative, and formation of government would have no direct democratic element at all. All the behind-the-scenes dealing and jockeying is bad enough within the parties as they stand; imagine it if it were a bunch of local representatives trying to decide who would be head of the nation, and consequently who would be in cabinet. Something more like a presidential system would be much better, I reckon.
 

RJApple

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You're right, but removing all official endorsement for party affiliations might go further than you'd think. Would folk who favour greater civil rights but less government involvement in the economy identify, or vote for politicians identifying as Republican? If elections were no longer perceived to be two horse races, would there more likely be third and fourth candidates entering the running too? Folk might always have a tendency to identify as conservative, libertarian etc. and gravitate towards those with like-minded views, but the affiliation would be ideological rather than partisan, and potentially less susceptible to a politics of negativity and lesser of two evils mentality.

You may very well be correct. There is a human element at play which is a little unpredictable. I'm not sure there is any way to know precisely how the public would react. However, I definitely agree that if elections weren't seen so much as two horse races that third and fourth parties would have a better chance of winning an election.
 

TheHammer

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See bold, when and where has that ever happened? At the very least the word "often" is beyond an exaggeration

Lynch mobs, and the cry to "crucify him" just to name a few.

Democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what to have for lunch.
 

TheHammer

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lWho would argue that the duopoly two party dictatorship controlling America's political scenery isn't a corrupt bribery scam?

Two private party institutions who have taken total control over ballot access, the national media, the national debate, all of the nation's special interest money and they have the guts to actually force by law the taxpayer's to finance their private party primary elections with taxpayer's facilities, utillities, voting machinery and even the printing up of their private party ballots for their private party candidates. No other party has such power and perverted intestinal fortitude. Special interest Lobbyist own them and bribe them. They spend halve of their time raising money and ignoring the duties of governing. They swear loyalty to the Constitution then their first order is to violate it.

America is a government of the bribery, by the bribery and fior the bribed. The duopoly party should be outlawed!
 
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