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#4552 Jan 15 2018 at 8:39 PM Rating: Decent
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Friar Bijou wrote:
gbaji wrote:
We're perfectly ok with criticizing rulings that benefit us if they are also arrived at via the wrong reasons.Um... Except this very very rarely happens, for the reasons I've argued above.
Give 3 examples. I'll wait.


Love when folks strip away a part of my post and then demand something that would be clarified if only they'd included it. This very rarely happens. I can't think of three examples off the top of my head.

Tell you what though. Why don't *you* come up with three examples of judicial activism on the part of conservative judges, and I'll be glad to address them, discuss whether they actually count as activism or not, etc. Remember though, my definition of judicial activism is that the judge in question is putting the value of the outcome of a decision to his own personal political ideology ahead of the method used to derive that decision. Specifically, he'll rule in opposition to the language of the constitution, or previous interpretations of that language, and often come up with extreme linguistic gyrations (or just doesn't bother to address it at all) in order to arrive at a ruling where the primary result is the furtherance of some social or political cause he or she supports.

So, for example, ruling that the individual mandate in the ACA was constitutional, despite it quite obviously being in direct opposition to the constitution, and with even the claimed precedent being so much more narrowly defined than the mandate they were upholding. The reason for the ruling? Because it they ruled differently, it would have immediately made the entire funding apparatus of the ACA invalid, ensured that it could not be solvent at all (well, less than it was anyway), and force the entire thing to be re-written, at a time when the political power had shifted and it would thus be scrapped. They also weighed the impact this would have, given that in the years since passage of the ACA, and the ruling itself, enough of the components had been implemented that this would result in a significant negative impact on those systems.

The ruling was made, not because said mandate was remotely constitutional, but because to rule otherwise would have destroyed the ACA. They wanted the ACA to exist, so they made a ruling that would allow it to continue to exist. No other reason than that. That's judicial activism.

I can list others, if you want. Again though, if you want to discuss rulings which you think constitute conservative judicial activism, then you'll need to provide the examples.
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#4553 Jan 15 2018 at 8:48 PM Rating: Decent
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lolgaxe wrote:
gbaji wrote:
You call it weird. I call it a pattern.
Okay, it's a pattern how they seem to only be inconsistent and unfair when they rule against your political party?


Except it's not about them ruling "against my political party". It's when they rule "against what the constitution says". I have zero problem with liberal judges who make rulings that are consistent with the constitution, even when those rulings may be something I don't personally agree with. It's not about what I like or don't like. It's whether the ruling itself flows from the language and meaning of the constitution.

This form of activism pretty much always occurs on the left side, because one of the core tenants of modern US conservatism is basing actions and rulings on a strict interpretation of the constitution. So you're going to see close to zero cases of conservatives violating that condition (I'd say zero, but I don't like to speak in absolutes). You're also going to perceive it as "whenever liberals rule against your own interests", but that's selection bias at work. I'm only going to complain about a ruling when it takes the form of such a violation. So you only hear conservatives complaining about judicial activism in these sorts of cases. Since we don't raise the issue in the hundreds of cases that are ruled on every year that don't involve this activism, you perceive this as us constantly opposing "liberal judges".

It's not about the side folks are on. It's not even the positions they take. It's how they arrive at those positions, how they defend them, how they justify them, etc. If you can find a good, solid, valid constitutional justification for what you are doing, then I'm ok with the ruling. But when it's either completely fabricated to meet the needs of the case in front of them, or such a stretch of precedent as to be absurd (mandates on producers of goods now justifies mandates on consumers of goods? No one can see the inherent difference and danger in crossing that boundary?), then I'm going to call foul.
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#4554 Jan 15 2018 at 11:58 PM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Why don't *you* come up with three examples of judicial activism on the part of conservative judges, and I'll be glad to address them, discuss whether they actually count as activism or not, etc

I can't imagine anything more fun than that.
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#4555 Jan 15 2018 at 11:58 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
Friar Bijou wrote:
gbaji wrote:
We're perfectly ok with criticizing rulings that benefit us if they are also arrived at via the wrong reasons.Um... Except this very very rarely happens, for the reasons I've argued above.
Give 3 examples. I'll wait.


Love when folks strip away a part of my post and then demand something that would be clarified if only they'd included it. This very rarely happens. I can't think of three examples off the top of my head.
Then you lied.

Again.


Here's an example of bullshit like your preceding BS:

"I know gbaji raped 7 goats. I can't say where or when, but I know it happened."

Get it?

List 3 - right now - or post right here that you were wrong or deliberately lying.

I'll wait.


Edited, Jan 15th 2018 11:03pm by Bijou
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#4556 Jan 16 2018 at 8:29 AM Rating: Good
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Samira wrote:
How's 2018 treating everyone?
Haven't killed anyone yet, but I'm pretty sure I'm one Lego away from breaking that particular New Years resolution.
gbaji wrote:
I have zero problem with liberal judges who make rulings that are consistent with the constitution, even when those rulings may be something I don't personally agree with.
Well, you have zero problem because of how it's weird "a pattern" how according to you they never make rulings consistent with the constitution when it comes to rulings you're supposed to disagree with based purely on party lines.

Edited, Jan 16th 2018 9:39am by lolgaxe
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#4557 Jan 16 2018 at 10:58 AM Rating: Excellent
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******* ******* wall of text. Smiley: lol

gbaji wrote:
Huh? Remember, we're talking about gerrymandering, which only affects the makeup of the House of Representatives.
It's a relevant concern just about anywhere we draw districts.

gbaji wrote:
I no longer have any power to choose the person who represents me.
That's correct.

gbaji wrote:
So where do they sit?
In chairs presumably... Smiley: dubious I'm not arguing for changing that part.

gbaji wrote:
Who do they represent?
The people that voted for them, and that funded their campaign. Same as now.

gbaji wrote:
They just get assigned a seat somehow?
I mean, I have nothing against an open seating plan, but okay sure.

gbaji wrote:
Who makes that decision?
Are you volunteering to do the seating chart?

gbaji wrote:
And how is that fair to the district who gets to be represented by the guy from a political party that garnered .8% of the total nationwide votes, and that's just enough for one seat, and your district got "chosen" to be represented by said tool.
There's no districts at this level. You're represented by who you vote for (assuming they can get a small fraction of the overall vote.

gbaji wrote:
You'd effectively disconnect the concept of each seat representing a single specific geographical area, in favor of just handing political power to political parties in proportion to their total national votes. That's a massive power grab by the political parties and loss of representation by the people.
As opposed to now when you have 2 parties controlling 99% of the representation... Yes, they might actually have to share power with other potentially powerful parties with different ideas than them. Perish the thought. Smiley: rolleyes

gbaji wrote:
Even if my district rep isn't in my party, he still represents me. I can write to him, ask him to do things, petition him, etc. And since I'm part of a smallish number of people who get to vote for his re-election (and no one else in the nation does), he's going to listen to me far far more than a guy who was selected to fill one of the X number of seats his party won in the last election.
Again, you have money able to come in from outside a district, people being beholden to political parties, and people free to move districts to run elsewhere if they so choose. Because of those things "being able to write letters" seems more like smoke and mirrors. We'll probably just have to disagree here.

gbaji wrote:
Because I simply don't see how your idea can possible work.
It only works for 90-ish countries around the world. It's not like we're pulling something out of thin air here.

gbaji wrote:
Even if the representative was air lifted into the district in order to run, he's still tied politically to that district. His re-election is based purely on people voting in that district. So he's got to do well representing the people of that district.
No they don't. If they don't get re-elected they can just move somewhere else and run anew in a couple of years in a friendlier district. Heck, you can even run in multiple districts at the same time if you want.


gbaji wrote:
Perfect proportional representation by party nationwide isn't that important. Ensuring that each voter has direct representation is.
I'd disagree. I'd rather have my values indirectly represented, then have a candidate represent someone else's values on my behalf.

gbaji wrote:
You can force people to physically vote. You can't force them to educate themselves on the issues, or do any more than just randomly fill in the fields until they are done. You're not really fixing anything here, just adding a lot more static into the process. Ironically, mandatory voting would likely make any sort of "fair" redistricting more difficult, since the ability to predict how any given ratio of voters in any given geographical area will vote becomes less accurate, not more. So now you're replacing "wasted votes" with "meaningless votes".
Not really seeing the problem here. After the first election with different rules it wouldn't be any harder than normal to predict the outcomes. Extra noise is just extra noise, and generally more data points makes things more predictable, if you're really concerned about that.

[quote=gbaji]If you think a system that occasionally elects a populist like Trump to office is "bad", you're effectively advocating for one that will significantly increase the odds of such outcomes. [/quote]No I think it's good, and would like to see more of those outcomes. If I don't like Trump it's because I just happen to disagree with his political stances, I have no objection to electing a populist outsider.

Quote:
I'd argue that redistricting on an algorithm would be giving the voters more influence, as you could likely predict the influence of the vote on the district boundary, whereas there's less ability to directly effect the process through representation.
How? [/quote]The line wouldn't be drawn by a member of a political party, it would be done in a transparent way.

[quote]Accurately drawing maps to do what you're trying to do first requires accurately predicting how the population in a given area will vote in future elections. [/quote]No, you base it on past elections and redraw every 10 years.

[quote]predict how the population in a given area will vote, and just assume they did vote that way, right?[/quote]Right, that's what people do when they gerrymander now. The difference is when a computer does it to try and keep the outcome more fair, instead of favoring their party.

[quote]The mere fact of bothering to go through the time and trouble of having people vote is based on the assumption that we can't always accurately predict this. I'd argue that we can almost never accurately predict this. [/quote]Um, if we couldn't predict how people would vote this wouldn't be a problem in the first place, since it'd be impossible to gerrymander a district.

[quote]Bath water and babies, right?[/quote]Still have a wet shirt from last night, speaking of which. Little one doesn't care much for being clean it seems. Smiley: oyvey

Edited, Jan 16th 2018 9:25am by someproteinguy
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#4558 Jan 16 2018 at 11:03 AM Rating: Good
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How would you deal with independents in a system like that?
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#4559 Jan 16 2018 at 11:28 AM Rating: Good
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The same way we deal with them now? Give them a seat at the kiddy table and ignore them for the most part.
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#4560 Jan 16 2018 at 11:30 AM Rating: Excellent
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Uglysasquatch wrote:
How would you deal with independents in a system like that?
Proportional Representation I'd assume you'd simply start your own party. For the other thing, redrawing a voting district map with 3 major parties should be possible, but those kinds of systems likely would be inherently unstable in a winner-takes-all format anyway.

Edited, Jan 16th 2018 9:57am by someproteinguy
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#4561 Jan 16 2018 at 2:37 PM Rating: Excellent
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someproteinguy wrote:
Uglysasquatch wrote:
How would you deal with independents in a system like that?
Proportional Representation I'd assume you'd simply start your own party. For the other thing, redrawing a voting district map with 3 major parties should be possible, but those kinds of systems likely would be inherently unstable in a winner-takes-all format anyway.

Edited, Jan 16th 2018 9:57am by someproteinguy



The point of redistricting is, or should be, to remove any reference to how the district population votes. Stop drawing districts based on voting patterns, start drawing them based on population, and then let voters have proportional ballots so you get a true score for each candidate.

My goal, if I were in charge of this, would be to make political parties obsolete except as a brand. Start at the local level with redistricting, move on to proportional ballots, and eventually end up with campaign finance reform.

Boy, there'd be some resistance along the way. Glad it's not my job.
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#4562 Jan 16 2018 at 3:00 PM Rating: Excellent
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Samira wrote:
someproteinguy wrote:
Uglysasquatch wrote:
How would you deal with independents in a system like that?
Proportional Representation I'd assume you'd simply start your own party. For the other thing, redrawing a voting district map with 3 major parties should be possible, but those kinds of systems likely would be inherently unstable in a winner-takes-all format anyway.

Edited, Jan 16th 2018 9:57am by someproteinguy



The point of redistricting is, or should be, to remove any reference to how the district population votes. Stop drawing districts based on voting patterns, start drawing them based on population, and then let voters have proportional ballots so you get a true score for each candidate.
The whole thing reminds me a little of the affirmative action debates. Do we do something unfair in order to obtain a fair outcome? Or do we have a fair process and live with potentially unfair results?

Edited, Jan 16th 2018 1:03pm by someproteinguy
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#4563 Jan 16 2018 at 6:44 PM Rating: Decent
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Friar Bijou wrote:
gbaji wrote:
Friar Bijou wrote:
gbaji wrote:
We're perfectly ok with criticizing rulings that benefit us if they are also arrived at via the wrong reasons.Um... Except this very very rarely happens, for the reasons I've argued above.
Give 3 examples. I'll wait.


Love when folks strip away a part of my post and then demand something that would be clarified if only they'd included it. This very rarely happens. I can't think of three examples off the top of my head.
Then you lied.


You have an odd definition of lie. If I say something in the form of:

If X then Y.

This statement is not untrue, much less a "lie", even if the number of cases of X equals zero. That's part of what "if" means. For someone to disprove the statement they (that's you in this scenario) must find an example of X being true while Y is not true. It's not up to the person making the statement to disprove themselves. It's your job to do so, if you wish to disprove it.

In this case X is "conservative judge makes an activist ruling in violation of constitutional principles" and Y is "I would disagree with it and argue it was a bad decision".

See how that works? The fact that I can't think of an example of X does not disprove my statement. I get that actual logic and logic as it's assumed to work by most people is dramatically different, but you can't blame me for doing it right.

Quote:
Here's an example of bullshit like your preceding BS:

"I know gbaji raped 7 goats. I can't say where or when, but I know it happened."

Get it?


Except that the correct statement (to follow your analogy) is: "I know gbaji did *not* rape 7 goats". "I can't think of any example of it happening, so I'm sure it didn't happen".

Your absurd response is that since I can't think of any examples of something happening, my statement that I don't think it happens must be somehow... false? How the heck does that work in your head?

Quote:
List 3 - right now - or post right here that you were wrong or deliberately lying.


You're.... kidding right?

If you disagree with my statement, it's kinda on you to find examples, not me. The fact that you can't does seem to support my position, doesn't it?

But for the fun of it, here's another example of a liberal activist judicial ruling

See how I have no problem finding examples of liberal activist judges? In this case, the judge ruled that a president has no power to use an executive order to undo an executive order by a previous president. Um... Which flies in the face of 200+ years of precedent. An executive order is not legislation. It has no binding power in law, but is simply something the president does as part of his power as the president. It does not last past his presidential term, unless the next president chooses to keep the order intact. That's how they actually work.

The unconstitutional aspect of this was Obama enacting DACA in the first place. Instead of working with congress to get immigration reform, he just wrote an executive order basically saying "I'm going to ignore what the law says and do my own thing". Regardless of how you feel about the issue itself, the ruling by this judge was wrong. Not just a little bit wrong. Massively wrong. It's doomed to be overturned, but he doesn't care. I'd say it would buy some time, but it doesn't even do that. The timeline for actually stoppage of DACA (March) is going to be farther back than it'll take to get his ruling overturned.

So he's basically just using his bench to pontificate. Which is kinda not what judges should be doing.

Edited, Jan 16th 2018 6:41pm by gbaji
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#4564 Jan 16 2018 at 8:24 PM Rating: Decent
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someproteinguy wrote:

gbaji wrote:
Huh? Remember, we're talking about gerrymandering, which only affects the makeup of the House of Representatives.
It's a relevant concern just about anywhere we draw districts.


But congressional district maps only affect the US house. You veered off onto a screed about the EC, which isn't relevant to gerrymandering at all. All but 2 states use a "winner takes all" method, so how the districts are arranged within the state doesn't matter one bit. You're free to argue the flaws of the EC, but gerrymandering isn't one of them.

Quote:
gbaji wrote:
I no longer have any power to choose the person who represents me.
That's correct.


That's a problem, since it's somewhat fundamental to the concept of "House of Representatives". They aren't just supposed to represent their political parties, but also the people living in specific geographical regions. You're arguing for a pretty radical change here.

Quote:
The people that voted for them, and that funded their campaign. Same as now.


Except that they people aren't voting for *them*, at least if I understand your argument for proportional representation. The people are voting for a "party", and the party seats their representatives in proportion to the total votes they got nationwide. So you don't get to pick *any* of the actual people who are supposed to represent you.

If I've got that wrong, please clarify.

Quote:
There's no districts at this level. You're represented by who you vote for (assuming they can get a small fraction of the overall vote.


Again though. Is the "who" an actual person? Or a party? I'd need a lot more details on how you think this would work. Are you actually suggesting that thousands of people just throw their hats into a big nationwide election, and we pick people to vote for? And the top X number of people get seats? That's pretty odd. And almost guaranteed to be worse than what we've got now. For a whole host of reason.

Again though, I'd need you to provide far more detail on this. I'm not totally opposed to possible alternatives, especially as a mental exercise, but I'm honestly not sure what exactly you're proposing here.

Quote:
Again, you have money able to come in from outside a district, people being beholden to political parties, and people free to move districts to run elsewhere if they so choose. Because of those things "being able to write letters" seems more like smoke and mirrors. We'll probably just have to disagree here.


But if you eliminate even the existence or relevance of districts, then you have all those same problems, only worse IMO. I think you are grossly underestimating the degree to which the specific issues of voters in a specific geographical area has on the positions of their representatives. You remove that, and the representatives basically become cookie cuter examples of their national party platform, and nothing else.

I'm also dubious that this would increase third party representation much, if at all.

Quote:
gbaji wrote:
Even if the representative was air lifted into the district in order to run, he's still tied politically to that district. His re-election is based purely on people voting in that district. So he's got to do well representing the people of that district.
No they don't. If they don't get re-elected they can just move somewhere else and run anew in a couple of years in a friendlier district.


Sure. But I don't care about that, since he's no longer representing my district. He is, by your own statement in a "friendlier district", which presumably means a district where the majority of voters agree with his policies (or him/her personally, more than the folks in my district. You're putting way too much weight in party ratios in congress as a whole, and not nearly enough on "I get to vote for the guy who represents me". The latter matters. A lot. I get that you disagree, but I suspect you are in a very small minority on that.

Quote:
Not really seeing the problem here. After the first election with different rules it wouldn't be any harder than normal to predict the outcomes. Extra noise is just extra noise, and generally more data points makes things more predictable, if you're really concerned about that.


Then why bother?

Quote:
The line wouldn't be drawn by a member of a political party, it would be done in a transparent way.


It's done transparently now. We know who is drawing the lines, and we know which party has the power to make those decisions, and we know that they're going to do so in a way that benefits them, and... more importantly we know all of this when voting in the state elections to decide which party has that power in the first place. It's not perfect, but it's certainly transparent. We know exactly what power we are giving them when we vote for them.

Any other system will be less transparent. We won't know who's involved with the decision making, how it's arrived at, what definition of "fair" was used to make the lines, what rules were programmed into the district map drawing software to arrive at a "fair" representation, etc, etc, etc. It's what we call in the computer industry a "black box". It gives you an answer, but you don't know how it arrives at it. They're generally bad. Someone's always going to be making the decision, this just conceals this a lot more.


Quote:
Right, that's what people do when they gerrymander now. The difference is when a computer does it to try and keep the outcome more fair, instead of favoring their party.


And who programs the computer? Who defines what "fair" is? Sorry. I have a very healthy distrust of such systems, because they have historically been used specifically to do things that are "unfair" while making it harder to see the unfairness. Just labeling something "fair" doesn't make it so. I'd much rather we have a system in which the results are biased towards the party in power, where at least we know exactly who has that power, and how they got it, and what we can do to remove it if we don't like what they do with it, than one where we put our trust in some unelected band of "top men" who decide what fair is, how it's going to be applied, etc.

Let the people vote to decide who has that power, and let the chips fall where they may.
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#4565 Jan 16 2018 at 8:36 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
If you disagree with my statement, it's kinda on you to find examples, not me.
If you claim to have a functioning extraterrestrial craft, offering no proof, it's up to me to prove otherwise? Huh.


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#4566 Jan 16 2018 at 9:00 PM Rating: Decent
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Friar Bijou wrote:
gbaji wrote:
If you disagree with my statement, it's kinda on you to find examples, not me.
If you claim to have a functioning extraterrestrial craft, offering no proof, it's up to me to prove otherwise? Huh.


Except that's not what I actually said. The equivalent to your example would be me saying that IF I found a functioning extraterrestrial craft THEN I would accept that aliens exist.

You're countering with the bizarre argument that since I can't provide proof of a functioning extraterrestrial craft, I must be lying about what I would do if I did find one. You can't possibly make that claim. You can only make it if you can provide a functioning extraterrestrial craft for me to observe, and then I continue to insist that aliens don't exist. That's the only way to disprove my statement.

IF a conservative judge rules in an activist manner, THEN I will disagree with his ruling.

This really isn't that complicated. If you don't believe that's what I'd do, then you need to find an example of a conservative judge ruling in an activist manner, and then have me respond to that by not disagreeing with the ruling.


It's like you're not even trying here man. The correct method to attack my statement is to provide any random conservative judicial ruling you disagree with, declare it to be "conservative activism", and then when I argue it's not actually activist in nature, go "Hah! I knew you wouldn't condemn a conservative activist judge!". Then jump up and down declaring victory. And when I try to explain why it's not activism, label everything I write as "backpedaling".

It works for most of the posters around here. Simple enough formula really. I'm actually quite surprised that wasn't your first go to response. It's kinda the low hanging fruit here.


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#4567 Jan 16 2018 at 9:43 PM Rating: Decent
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Samira wrote:
The point of redistricting is, or should be, to remove any reference to how the district population votes.


This is somewhat the crux of the issue though. What exactly is the purpose of redistricting? Because most of what smp has been suggesting requires taking how the population votes into account, and shuffling the district lines to ensure a proportional party representation of the whole in a given state (or nationwide).

Quote:
Stop drawing districts based on voting patterns, start drawing them based on population, and then let voters have proportional ballots so you get a true score for each candidate.


I suspect you'd get less proportional outcomes if you actually drew the lines with no regard to previous voting patterns though. A random drawing of lines based purely on some combination of geography and population would almost certainly clump large numbers of urban dwellers in a small number of districts, and would likely massively skew things in favor of the GOP. Note, I'm arguing against something that would almost certainly benefit my party here.

This is one of the reason why I kinda chuckle at the entire "OMG! GOP is redistricting to their benefit!!!!". You basically have to gerrymander the heck out of a state to *not* disproportionately stack Dem voters in a small number of urban districts. You have to make a conscious effort to take a chunk out of an urban area and stretch it out over a larger rural area to get a somewhat "close to even" distribution of voters within the district. What we're seeing right now is a fight over a few percentage shifts in those counts. That's not perfect, but I can see a lot of worse ways to do things.

The objectives of making districts more competitive is counter to the idea of eliminating voting history from consideration.

Quote:
My goal, if I were in charge of this, would be to make political parties obsolete except as a brand. Start at the local level with redistricting, move on to proportional ballots, and eventually end up with campaign finance reform.


Sure. Admirable goal. The Devils in the details though.

Quote:
Boy, there'd be some resistance along the way. Glad it's not my job.


I think that while political parties have some negatives associated with them, they have a number of positives as well. There's something to be said about a party apparatus that exists to make sure members "stay in line". I'm not sure that mere re-election pressure alone would provide the same pressures. I suppose you could say that's bad, and you'd certainly be right in some case. I just suspect that you'd be wrong in some too.

I think that political parties force politicians to publicly take positions ahead of time, and make it harder for them to weasel out of them after being elected. Not impossible mind you, just harder. Absence of such might increase the rate of politicians running on very thread bare populist platforms (well, a few planks anyway), with most voters not really knowing what they're getting until after it's there in many cases. At least with a large political party, you have some confidence that any random member is likely to vote mostly with the party on most of the party's platform issues.

Dunno. There's something to be said about knowing what you're getting ahead of time. Some might consider that boring, but what's the old curse? May you live in interesting times? Eliminating parties would be "interesting", that's for sure.
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#4568 Jan 17 2018 at 8:46 AM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:
"I know gbaji did *not* rape 7 goats"
We have no reason to believe you raped 7 goats, but we also don't have any reason to believe you didn't. We don't actually know whether or not you did.
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#4569 Jan 17 2018 at 9:40 AM Rating: Excellent
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lolgaxe wrote:
gbaji wrote:
"I know gbaji did *not* rape 7 goats"
We have no reason to believe you raped 7 goats...

Slow down. Let's not say things that we're just going to feel foolish about later.
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#4570 Jan 17 2018 at 9:56 AM Rating: Good
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Schodenger's Goat Anus. The dick is, and isn't in it until proven one way or the other.
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#4571 Jan 17 2018 at 10:50 AM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
But congressional district maps only affect the US house. You veered off onto a screed about the EC, which isn't relevant to gerrymandering at all.
I was think more on the state level, not EC, but each state will have their own rules there, of course.

gbaji wrote:
They aren't just supposed to represent their political parties
I agree, shame that doesn't seem to happen much. But when that's who is giving you money it's hard to blame people.

gbaji wrote:
You're arguing for a pretty radical change here.
Not really, just calling the wolf in sheep's clothing a wolf. Party line votes are more common than ever before.

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So you don't get to pick *any* of the actual people who are supposed to represent you.
I mean that really doesn't happen now. If you're a party member perhaps you get a couple of options, but if not you get to choose between 2 candidates that basically just toe the party line. The person is almost an afterthought, unless they're monkeying around with teenage girls or something similar.

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Again though. Is the "who" an actual person? Or a party?
Party, choose democrat, republican, or whatever.

gbaji wrote:
I'm also dubious that this would increase third party representation much, if at all.
I mean you don't have to doubt, most countries with the systems will have 3-6 major parties represented. Here's Brazil, Italy, and Australia as some examples with slightly different processes and outcomes.

gbaji wrote:
But I don't care about that, since he's no longer representing my district.
Well I hardly blame you for that, but figured you might care if he was ignoring you while he was supposed to be representing you.

gbaji wrote:
I get that you disagree, but I suspect you are in a very small minority on that.
Well we could look at the percentage of voters that'll vote party line to get a decent estimate. That's around 33-40% of voters depending on how and who you ask. Then there's people who vote primarily for issues and values (abortion, health care, economy, immigration, etc). Every election is different, but as much as issues and values get hyped in the media I have trouble seeing how that's less than an additional 10%. There's certainly people who do vote primarily for a person, of course, but I don't see how I'm in a very small minority here. At minimum it's a large minority.

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We won't know who's involved with the decision making, how it's arrived at, what definition of "fair" was used to make the lines, what rules were programmed into the district map drawing software to arrive at a "fair" representation, etc, etc, etc.It's what we call in the computer industry a "black box". It gives you an answer, but you don't know how it arrives at it. They're generally bad. Someone's always going to be making the decision, this just conceals this a lot more.
That's why you publish the code, and describe the algorithm. There's a point for making a black box if you're trying to protect a propitiatory algorithm, but there's no reason to do so in this circumstance. There's no reason the program code shouldn't be made available to both parties, the public, experts, etc.

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Let the people vote to decide who has that power, and let the chips fall where they may.
It's hard to do that when those with power try to influence the vote. We're not starting from a blank slate, and people don't vote in a vacuum.

Edited, Jan 17th 2018 2:32pm by someproteinguy
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#4572 Jan 17 2018 at 3:51 PM Rating: Good
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gbaji wrote:

You have an odd definition of lie. If I say something in the form of:

If X then Y.

This statement is not untrue, much less a "lie", even if the number of cases of X equals zero.


So, If it rains, then Gbaji murders a small child is not a lie, even if it never rains in San Diego?
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#4573 Jan 17 2018 at 8:44 PM Rating: Decent
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someproteinguy wrote:
gbaji wrote:
They aren't just supposed to represent their political parties
I agree, shame that doesn't seem to happen much. But when that's who is giving you money it's hard to blame people.


It happens a lot. Especially at the federal level. Members of districts with narrow majorities absolutely have an effect on the legislation their party puts out there. There's a reason why GOP Senators from Maine (for an easy example) regularly vote against the GOP on a number of hot button issues. There's a reason why there are disagreements within any given party over any of a number of policy positions. There are Democrats who are in favor of building the wall, and Republicans who are against it. Heck, immigration reform alone has members all over the map, and not remotely "in line" with some kind of monolithic position held by their party.

This happens precisely because the voters in different geographical areas care about different issues differently. What resonates with voters in Detroit, doesn't with voters in Austin. This means that in order to win in those areas, you have to not just be a cookie cutter member of your party, but show that you're addressing the things that the people in that district/state want addressed. Which absolutely may not be in lock step to what the national party wants, for either party for that matter.

There's a reason why, right now, there's a discussion about government shutdown over failure to pass a budget bill, almost entirely over whether something unrelated to that bill is addressed as well (DACA). And there's a reason why the current narrative is that if the shutdown happens, it'll be 100% the fault of the GOP, because they control both houses of congress and the White House, and thus should always be able to pass a bill, right? Except that there's no guarantee that 100% of the GOP will vote in lockstep with the party. If they can't pass a bill on their own, it'll be because they couldn't caucus within their own party to reach an agreement.

Which kinda proves that what you are claiming is not true. If it were, then the GOP members would simply pass the bill in the house, hand it to the Senate where the 51 GOP senators would vote for it, where the only way it couldn't pass is if the Dems use the filibuster. Which, would make the shutdown the Dems fault. 100%. They're literally counting on the GOP *not* being able to get enough of their own party to support the bill so they can blame the shutdown on the Republicans.

Your system will ensure that every representative of each party will always vote 100% with the party. Because you've removed any other influence on their vote. They wont care if the voters in any given geographical region disagree with what they did, because they're not directly voted on by them. They only care about the national ratio of votes for their party.

In one to one district to representative scenario, that representative can easily be in a party which a very narrow majority in his district, meaning that if he does anything that turns off voters in that district, he may lose his seat, even if that action is wildly popular among voters for his party nationwide. IMO, this is a very very good thing. I just don't see the value in abandoning it. Doubly so since you claim that your reason is that the representatives are already too much in lockstep. What you're proposing only makes it worse.


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Not really, just calling the wolf in sheep's clothing a wolf. Party line votes are more common than ever before.


So you want to replace it with a system that will ensure party line voting all of the time instead of just most of the time?


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I mean that really doesn't happen now. If you're a party member perhaps you get a couple of options, but if not you get to choose between 2 candidates that basically just toe the party line. The person is almost an afterthought, unless they're monkeying around with teenage girls or something similar.


Again. I think you are grossly underestimating just how significant district specific issues are to a representative being able to win and keep a seat in congress.

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Again though. Is the "who" an actual person? Or a party?
Party, choose democrat, republican, or whatever.


Again though. How on earth does that reduce the degree to which representatives are just cookie cutter party members? It will make the very thing you are complaining about worse.

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I mean you don't have to doubt, most countries with the systems will have 3-6 major parties represented. Here's Brazil, Italy, and Australia as some examples with slightly different processes and outcomes.


There are more reasons than just proportional voting for that though. This, once again, veers off into a discussion of the electoral college, and far far away from the original issue of gerrymandering though. Um... It's also almost entirely a semantic difference too. The same range of issues and positions exist in both scenarios. The difference is that in one, you have a bunch of smaller parties, each representing a portion of that range. In the other, you have two large parties, which jockey for support of voting blocks, which would otherwise be separate parties themselves in a more parliamentarian style system.

I happen to prefer the method the US has precisely because it requires the parties/majorities to be more transparent about their policies before the people vote. In both cases, a majority is required to pass a bill. The difference is that in the US the people vote to determine which party will make up that majority, with the party having to create a range of positions and platform positions which will gain them enough support to win that majority. In a multi party system, the political party representatives jockey with each other after being elected, to determine which combinations of policies and planks win "a majority" and thus get implemented into law.

Think of parties in those systems as "interest blocks" within the two major parties in the US. Those blocks pick positions and align with one or the other party ahead of time in the US system. The change position and alliances after the vote in the other. So when you vote for GOP or DEM in an election in the US, you know ahead of time which combination of positions are going to be in majority if that party wins. In other systems, you don't. You know that the one party you voted for, with its relatively narrow set of planks may gain some increased influence. Maybe. But you, as a voter, have no clue how those various parties will arrange themselves later to form a majority in the government.

Neither is terrible, but I wouldn't absolutely say one is objectively better. I have a preference, but that's just my personal opinion. Others can have different preferences. But that doesn't make either method "broken". just "different'. We're just changing how a majority position on any given set of policies is arrived at. At the end of the day, a majority will always be formed.


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Well I hardly blame you for that, but figured you might care if he was ignoring you while he was supposed to be representing you.


I do. And if I, and those in my district, have 100% of the say over whether that guy who's ignoring us keeps his seat, then we can do something about it if he ignores us. If his seat is based on some conglomeration of voting nationwide, then we have zero say about it. I'm honestly not sure what virtue you're claiming here. You're literally arguing for a system where no representative will ever care at all about the people he's representing directly. I can't see how that can ever be anything but worse than a direct "one district; one representative" process that we have now.

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Well we could look at the percentage of voters that'll vote party line to get a decent estimate. That's around 33-40% of voters depending on how and who you ask. Then there's people who vote primarily for issues and values (abortion, health care, economy, immigration, etc). Every election is different, but as much as issues and values get hyped in the media I have trouble seeing how that's less than an additional 10%. There's certainly people who do vote primarily for a person, of course, but I don't see how I'm in a very small minority here. At minimum it's a large minority.


I meant in the minority in terms of wanting to eliminate the ability of people living in a given district and only the people living in that district having the power to elect the one person who represents that district. I think that somewhere near 99% of voters like that system. The fact that a high percentage of them vote on party lines isn't the point. They know they have the power to vote differently if they want. The fact that most of the time, someone who agrees with the platform of partyA is going to vote for the guy running from partyA doesn't change this fact.

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That's why you publish the code, and describe the algorithm. There's a point for making a black box if you're trying to protect a propitiatory algorithm, but there's no reason to do so in this circumstance. There's no reason the program code shouldn't be made available to both parties, the public, experts, etc.


It's not just about the code. It's about the data the code uses to make decisions. Someone will get to decide whether "average income" is weighted as much as "education level", or "wears white after labor day", or any of a zillion possible facts about the people in a given area which might be used to decide how to draw lines. Do we follow or not follow school district lines? Do we take into account geographical differences? How much so? Do we take into account city boundaries? County? Incorporated versus unincorporated? Do we weight for police jurisdictions? Different local legislative regions? Etc, etc, etc, etc.

Someone (or a group of someone's) is going to be making those decisions. And it's a bewildering array of them. And at the end of the day, the value to manipulate those decisions and weighting factors is just as great as it is right now. The difference is that instead of allowing the party who won sufficient majorities in the state elections to have the power to do so, we give it to... who? People we didn't vote for? We don't know their loyalties? We don't know how they were selected? There's no such thing as an "unbiased process". At some point, when you take enough steps back there's some point in the process where bias will always be used to influence the outcome.

I didn't mean black box in terms of the actual code, but the methods used to define the criteria used for district line drawing in the first place. GIGO, right? Whoever gets to determine what goes into the process, determines what comes out. A great example of this is my own state of California, which went to an "unbiased" group of people to draw the lines. I've researched the selection process. It's pretty strange. In theory, the panel has like 5 democrats, 5 republicans, and 4 "non-partisans", and requires a majority of a set number of each of those three groups to agree on a map change. Sounds great, right? Except who chose who is on the panel? Basically, when you drill back in time on this, the party in power put in place a selection panel (which I'm sure was totally unbiased), who them dug through tens of thousands of applicants for each of these three groups, and selected a small subset of "the best". Then they went through another round, trimming it down, until they got the final panel members.

How conservative do you think the GOP members on the panel are? How does one make that determination? How "unbiased" are the non-partisan folks? How do you make that determination. We're just supposed to trust that a group of Democrat appointed selectors would fairly make sure to put actual non-partisan people in the non-partisan group, and make sure to put really staunch conservatives in the GOP group, right? Yeah. I've got a bridge to sell you.

The result was a number of seat that shifted to the Democrats (I think it was like +4 after all was said and done). So the non-partisan alternative to the old method actually increased the power for Democrats in the state. Hmmm... I'm sure that was all just coincidental, right? The saddest part is that at least before, you could directly know who drew the lines and why. You could point at them and say "this party did this", and this may or may not influence people, outrage them, amuse them, whatever. Now, the process is hidden behind a non-partisan veneer. Anyone who questions the results is met with the response about how it's all non-partisan, the party had nothing to do with it, yadda, yadda, yadda.

I'd rather have the transparency of knowing that the party in power draws the lines, and is thus responsible for them, both gaining power by drawing them in their favor, and possibly losing favor if they are perceived as being too unfair. That's part of what democracy is about. Balancing what the voters want, and what you do with the power they give you. I see this no differently. Let those who won have the power to do what they want (within the limits of said power, of course). Let them also take responsibility for the result. That's "fair".

Hiding behind process isn't a good idea IMO. It is still subject to just as much partisan meddling, but it's harder to see when it happens.


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It's hard to do that when those with power try to influence the vote. We're not starting from a blank slate, and people don't vote in a vacuum.


Those in power always have the ability to influence the vote. The difference is to what degree people are aware of it. You're not eliminating that influence. If history is any indicator, you're just making it easier for them to hide it. I don't think that's a good thing at all.

Edited, Jan 17th 2018 6:51pm by gbaji
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#4574 Jan 18 2018 at 8:56 AM Rating: Good
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Professor stupidmonkey wrote:
So, If it rains, then Gbaji murders a small child is not a lie, even if it never rains in San Diego?
Sounds about right.
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#4575 Jan 18 2018 at 10:42 AM Rating: Excellent
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gbaji wrote:
Which kinda proves that what you are claiming is not true.
No it's true. Party line votes have increased from approximately 60% in the 1970s to around 90% today.

gbaji wrote:
Quote:
Not really, just calling the wolf in sheep's clothing a wolf. Party line votes are more common than ever before.
So you want to replace it with a system that will ensure party line voting all of the time instead of just most of the time?
By adding additional voting blocks to the mix, yes. There's no reason we need to rely on people having to jump ship to support a party that's the polar opposite of their own just to have a decent amount of dissent.

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Again though. How on earth does that reduce the degree to which representatives are just cookie cutter party members? It will make the very thing you are complaining about worse.
The point is that the two cases are close enough that it doesn't matter much. Other than a few minor cases of dissent, made at the risk of alienating the party as a whole, there's very little of this happening. I appreciate that you went through the trouble of pulling up cases of dissent, but those are becoming increasing rare, and much less relevant than they were 50 years ago.

gbaji wrote:
Quote:
Well we could look at the percentage of voters that'll vote party line to get a decent estimate. That's around 33-40% of voters depending on how and who you ask. Then there's people who vote primarily for issues and values (abortion, health care, economy, immigration, etc). Every election is different, but as much as issues and values get hyped in the media I have trouble seeing how that's less than an additional 10%. There's certainly people who do vote primarily for a person, of course, but I don't see how I'm in a very small minority here. At minimum it's a large minority.
I meant in the minority in terms of wanting to eliminate the ability of people living in a given district and only the people living in that district having the power to elect the one person who represents that district.
Right, but 33%-40% of them are primarily concerned that they have the D or R in font of the name. If you aren't willing to change your vote from one party to the other (and many people consistently vote for one party of the other) than does it even matter if the person is representing "you?" At that point there's no need to tailor the person to the district's culture at all, you only need them to be less offensive than the opposing side.

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I think that somewhere near 99% of voters like that system.
You know, if you could at least try to find a source for this claim it'd make this whole discussion a lot easier. Smiley: tongue

I'm not going to be some nutjob and demand proof of everything you say in a friendly forum debate, but this one kind of stymies discussion a bit.

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I didn't mean black box in terms of the actual code, but the methods used to define the criteria used for district line drawing in the first place. GIGO, right?
So at worst it's exactly the same as now, where we don't know how much average income, education level, wears white after labor day, geographical differences, police jurisdictions, etc. affected the outcome. All we know is that people who are acting in their own self-interest made those decisions maybe using some of what's above, and maybe not, behind closed doors. Except we're trying to do it in the open, in a way the fairly represents both parties, instead of favoring one over the other to an unnecessary degree.

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Hiding behind process isn't a good idea IMO. It is still subject to just as much partisan meddling, but it's harder to see when it happens.
In the end you put in place objective criteria to determine when it's gone too far. Which is what the supreme court is weighing in on right now. Having a metric to determine if the districts are drawn fairly is half the battle.

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It's hard to do that when those with power try to influence the vote. We're not starting from a blank slate, and people don't vote in a vacuum.
Those in power always have the ability to influence the vote.
Thus we need to make sure there's sufficient ability to transition between those in power, and cycle new groups into the mix. Perhaps think of it this way: Trump is the first real outsider to be in office in generations, and while I may disagree with his policies, having some 'fresh blood' in the politics is good for the country. How do we make the system more amenable to people like him getting elected?

Edited, Jan 18th 2018 9:10am by someproteinguy
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#4576 Jan 18 2018 at 12:28 PM Rating: Good
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someproteinguy wrote:
You know, if you could at least try to find a source for some of your claims it'd make this whole discussion a lot easier.
Enjoy your op-ed.
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