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POLI330N Week 4: Elections

This is a graded discussion: 20 points possible

WEEK 4: ELECTIONS

Good morning Professor and Class,

Single member districts are electoral system where one member of government is chosen to represent the entire district.  This process is less likely to lead to extremism.  If the leaders stay away from mainstream views, they are voted out as it is intended the leaders elected by popular opinions carry the same ideals as the public majority.  Single member districts are known as majoritarian systems for this reason and because of that, winner takes all.  It generally falls within popular public opinion; however, that is not always the case as interest groups and other outside influence persuade voters to cast “safe” votes leaving politics considered “safe but dull” and not very representative of what all voters want. (Roskin, p.62)

Proportional Representation different from single member districts in that they use a multimember government with several representatives are chosen to stand for the entire district.  There is no winner takes all approach in this government because this style of system is more likely found in small states, provinces, countries.  Elected parties are required to win a certain percentage in order to hold the seats prior to the elections.  PR (Proportional Representation) is an accurate showing of public opinion without outside influence.  This differs from single member districts because there is no people pleasing agenda within the PR system; the public pleases itself with their common interests and views.  Because there are multiple members with the same position and control, splintering within the system can occur.  There can be a divide when deciding important issues leading to instability within the structure. (Roskin, p.64).

These groups are effective in representing the interests of the members by incorporating popular opinion either into their winner takes all, majority style balloting or whether the mainstream views leads to the number of house seats available prior to another major election.  Additionally, the support the systems provide is evidenced in how powers are divvied once the electoral process is complete, as one example.  When plurality wins, the presidency is assigned to one party while Congress is afforded to the opposing party to prevent a one-sided government.  And when there is a multimember government in place, the differing opinions among leaders encompass all the views of the voters.

– Dana

Roskin, M., Cord, R. L., Medeiros, J. A., & Jones, W. S. (2014). Political science: an introduction (13th ed.). Pearson.

 

Do different types of representation result in different types of outcomes?

Let’s begin this discussion by defining each of these terms (single-member districts and proportional representation) and providing an example of a jurisdiction that uses each.

What is a single-member district? Provide an example.

What is proportional representation and provide an example of where it is used?

Which do you believe is more effective and WHY?

Single member districts such as the Congressional districts where plurality wins even in marginal cases. Win by a nose as they say. This Leads to a two-party system since the smaller third party is overlooked. The candidate that can get the majority on his side tends to win. If there are two candidates that split a party then the other party will win as the votes are divided up. This is why the two major parties tend to combine for the party. This has also created the factions that the founding fathers did not want to see. (Roskin,p 184)

Proportional representation encourages multiple parties or splits. In this system with several groups all fighting just or their ideas you end up with several members representing. This makes it difficult to move forward on policies as you have so many different ideals all fighting for a small percentage.

With the two main parties in the U.S. there have started to become more centrist over the years. This has also been seen worldwide. Single member is effective in that it takes the opinion of majority and passes laws with that in mind. If they don’t they could be voted out the next election. Proportional representation could prove to be more difficult since the views are split among more groups and you don’t have an obvious majority. This type can create extreme views and the people in the groups won’t receive the representation they deserve. (Roskin,p184)

Reference:

Roskin, M, Cord, R, Medeiros, J, & Jones, W. (2014). Political Science:

         An introduction (13th ed). Hoboken, N.J.: Pearson.

Hi Travis! I agree with your opinion on how the proportional representation is too widely varied in their opinions to make a decision for the whole. Single member districts do carefully weigh in with the best option as to what serves the people the best overall. It makes me think of that old saying of too many chiefs and not enough Indians. I feel like that old saying best describes a proportional representation district. You need to have a majority rule type of scenario in order to provide what is best for the people. If you cannot please everyone, you must try to at least please the majority.

A single-member district is an electoral district or constituency having a single representative in a      legislative body rather than two or more. The US uses this system but with a system called pluralism.

Proportional representation is a method of voting by which political parties are given legislative representation in proportion to their popular vote. It is being used in Israel for example. 

I think proportional representation is more effective because each party gets what they deserve. Proportional representation gives the most political participation by voters compared to the single member district system

Reference:
derived from website http://www.dictionary.com
Edited by Michelle Okorie on Nov 15, 2017 at 2:23pm

 

Professor,

A single member district is an electoral system that elects one person per district to represent them. (Roskin, Cord, Medeiros, & Jones, p. 61, 2014) An example of this would the United States Congress. On the other hand, a proportional representation is a system in which each district sends several representatives bases on the party’s percent of vote. (Roskin, Cord, Medeiros & Jones, p. 63, 2014) An example of this system is used within Germany, Poland, Sweden & Italy. In my opinion, I believe that a proportional representation is more effective. The reasoning is because it allows for better representation of district’s opinion then a single-member district. Although in a single member district the majority vote by a district is used in order to chose a representative, there is no guarentee that that person’s opinion really reflects that of the district. Also in the long run, that person has the last say and could change their opinions when faced with overwhelming circumstances.

Resource

Roskin, M., Cord, R., Medeiros, J., & Jones, W. (2014). Political Science:

         An introduction (13th ed). Hoboken, N.J.: Pearson.

 

Hey Marissa,

Thanks for that interesting post and the different examples help digest the points. I do agree with you on the point a proportional representation is more effective. when the district sends several representatives a huge percentage of the population is represented allowing for uniformity. However, a single member district is where a single person represents the interest of all the members of the district. When faced with certain circumstances, the representative may opt for a different view that might not favor the interest of the district

Hello Marissa,

Ill start by saying very good post and interesting read.  I did want to say that while both systems have their pros and cons. I have to say that I feel like with proportional representation there risk for more conflict between different views.  At least with single member district systems you have one direction and if you don’t feel that representative lead the way you believe you have a chance to vote them out the next term.

~Kyle

Professor Terwilliger and Classmates:

We have read about the Electoral systems that are here in the world and it gives nations the ability to form a government that is stable for its people. In the US we use “Single-Member Districts.” These districts are formed so that only one member is a winner and is placed in the political seat.  The member might just win by one vote, but they are placed in that seat.  This member usually tends to be in the center or the political thoughts everyone is thinking.  This sometimes inhibits growth and if the member is out of touch with the middle they will usually lose.  This type of systems usually forms into two parties that can cause factions, which James Madison wrote about and did not want to happen to the American government.

The other system is “Proportional Representation,” this allows many members from a district to be sent to the government.  The parties each get a party list of candidates to fill the seats.  These seats might not be fifty-fifty, but undivided and the party would fill the seats with its percentage.  It might be six to four, all depending on the voters.  This system most accurately represents the public opinion in its parties’ strength. There is no middle that the party must get like in the “Single-Member Districts.”

In comparing these two systems I can see some advantages of each, but having the “Single-Member District,” is the way I have learned all my life.  I feel it be more effective because this person can be voted out the next election if they do not do what the center believes. In reading about interest groups and lobbying I can see how a person could go off the center like the majority voted them into the seat.  Their beliefs could be strayed by them and be completely different by the time their term is up.   The terms can be from two years to 6 years depending on what branch they were voted into. If we must wait to get them out, they might only get stronger with their views and be completely different from when they got voted in.  They would not be for the people at that time.

Rory

Reference:

Roskin, M, Cord, R, Medeiros, J, & Jones, W. (2014). Political Science:

         An introduction (13th ed). Hoboken, N.J.: Pearson.

Hi Rory,

I found your post very interesting.  I agree that in the proportional representation that sometimes those elected do not share the same goals of those that elect them. Another thought on the PR system is that larger states are geographically zoned, so it’s only allowed an select number of seats when representing. The drawback on this is that the person elected to represent your zone may have a different political agenda than the constituents from this group.  Elections and the way they come about from our discussion this week make me believe that money leads elections and not really the issues but the leadership being displayed during the campaigning that get people elected.

Thanks, A’lon

A’lon,

I found your response relate-able.  In reading this week and also just politics over these last few years, I agree that money drives elections and at times the results rather than the actual issues. Public policy has been betrayed as being able to be bought,  Roskin (2013), notes, “Critics fear that money politics is out of control” (p.161).

Michelle

References:

Roskin, M. G., Cord, R. L., James A. Medeiros, Jones, W. S. (10/2013). Political Science: An Introduction, 13th Edition. [Bookshelf Online]. Retrieved from https://online.vitalsource.com/#/books/9781269724821/

Greetings Rory,

A single member districts is a electoral system where one member of government is chosen to represent the entire district (Roskin et. al. 2017).The system is used to elect legislatures, and is the system that United States uses. I appreciate this system because it uses one individual to represent the ideas and opinions of several individuals which makes all people feel as though they have a voice in government interaction.

Reference

Roskin, M, Cord, R, Medeiros, J, & Jones, W. (2017). Political Science: An introduction (14th ed). Hoboken, N.J.: Pearson.

Hello Rory

Great read and very good post.  I have to say I agree with you on the single member system feeling like the better way to go.  I have also grown up with this system in place and feel it works well most of the time.

~Kyle

Professor and class, Single member districts is defined as an electoral district or constituency having a single representative in a legislative body rather than two or more. An example of this is the US congressional districts. Proportional Representation systems use multimember districts and assign parliamentary seats in proportion to the percentage of votes in that district (Roskin, 2014). An example of where Proportional Representation is used is Israel. I think single member districts are more effective because they weigh whats best for the whole. In my opinion, PR may have too many different opinions and this may lead to bigger issues, especially if all the representatives can’t get on one page. I think this may be a disadvantage to the people they are representing. They were elected for a reason and I don’t think they will do their jobs efficient with too many differences of opinions.

References

Roskin, M., Cord, R. L., Medeiros, J. A., & Jones, W. S. (2014). Political science: an introduction (13th ed.). Pearson.

Professor Terwilliger

A single member district is an electoral district that returns one office holder to a body with multiple members such as a legislature. Generally, only voters who reside within the district are permitted to vote in an election held there. Roskin (2014 Ch. 4 Pg. 62).

Winner takes all is considered as a single-winner voting system. Not representative of a decision made for the entire country.

Proportional representation is multimember representatives that are chosen as a voice and are chosen to represent an entire district. It represents a voice from all constituents. Roskin (2014 Ch. 4 Pg. 64).

Reference

Roskin, M., Cord, R. Medeiros, J. & Jones, W. (2014). Political Science: An Introduction (13th Edition) Pearson: Hoboken, NJ

 

Hello professor and class.

By definition, single member districts are electoral system where one member of government is chosen to represent the entire district.  This system is used by the United States. Proportional representation is a system by which political parties are given legislative representation in proportion to their popular  vote, Italy uses this system.  I personally prefer the idea of single member districts.  I feel like there are sometimes  to many conflicting opinions which can cause problems,  with the proportional representation system.  I feel like with the single member districts that the election process allows the people to vote in or out who they feel will do the best job at representing their needs and beliefs.  

Reference:

Roskin, M, Cord, R, Medeiros, J, & Jones, W. (2014). Political Science:

         An introduction (13th ed). Hoboken, N.J.: Pearson.

 

Hello Professor and classmates! According to Roskin, “single-member districts are an electoral system that elects one person per district, as in the United States and Britain” (10/2013, p. 62). They win by gaining the majority of votes. This system attempts to combine political factions and interest groups into two big parties. Leaders must be in touch with mainstream views in order to control the party. Also, coalitions are rarely needed because of the majoritarian approach, which is when the majority of seats are given to one party. A disadvantage of a single-member district is that it creates a majority and public opinion or voting strength is not depicted accurately or fairly so this system does not effectively represent its people’s interests. Another disadvantage is that the winner takes all so if there are two parties, the losing party gets no representation (Roskin, 10/2013, p.62).

            As for a proportional representation, representatives get elected by a percentage of votes. In this system, public opinion and party strength are accurately represented so the people’s interests are effectively represented. If a small percentage of the population believes in something, they can run as a party and accomplish seats; they do not need the majority of votes. A disadvantage of the proportional representation system is that it does little to combat party divisions so it often leads to multiple parties.

Legislature makes sure that both single-member districts and proportional presentation maintain the agreement of the party systems of which they arose from.

Reference:

Roskin, M. G., Cord, R. L., Medeiros, J. A., Jones, W. S. (10/2013). Political Science: An Introduction, 13th Edition [VitalSource Bookshelf version]. Retrieved from https://bookshelf.vitalsource.com/books/9781269724821

Kandice,

Nice job describing each group! There are definitely pros and cons to each system. With single-member districts, it is easy to lose the opinions of the minority group to the group with the largest amount of supporters. Their voice does not get heard where it matters. They do not get to have a say in what policies are created or what laws are set in place.

In proportional representation, all voices are heard. However, it is very difficult to obtain a majority vote due to so many differing opinions. Each group gets an opportunity to represent, but then what does that achieve if they cannot reach a majority decision for that groups agenda if other groups do not agree with their opinions?

As each system operates, it can either succeed with the support of the people, or it can potentially implode because there is not a good balance between one and the other.

Leona

Hi Leona! I couldn’t agree more with what you stated. It is a very fine balance between both. I however, feel that while both single-member districts and proportional representative districts are needed, both are what can give everyone a sense of feeling like they make a difference in government and politics. It would seem that more people would feel involved in a single member district because their voices are represented by one of the many groups. In a proportional representative district, however, it can feel as if your voice gets lost because only the majority rules. Again, I do feel that both are needed. The single-member districts may be able to get out some issues that others were unaware of and get them to be recognized and taken care of. The proportional representative districts can take care of the majority of larger issues within an area. It’s a fine balance and it seems to work for some, but not all countries.

 

Kandice,

Absolutely! Single member districts can voice the opinion of the people living in their region better because there is one voice proclaiming what they believe and have one opinion. With proportional representation, there seem to be too many voices at one time trying to get their own agenda across, without ever reaching a majority decision on many issues. Within one district, there could be several different representatives, but all have a different view point because they were all elected by those who supported their individual agenda. But, then, if you have two that believe one way and one that believes the opposite and one that is indifferent, how will a decision ever get passed to solve that issue? I know I sound pessimistic, but to me, there are pros and cons to both. One will work for one country while the other works better for the neighboring country. Neither way seems totally wrong because they both work for their respective countries. However, if one country decided to force their system on the other, that system may not work well for the other country and it could cause destruction to their government system and create chaos.

Leona

Professor Terwilliger and Class,

What is a single-member district? Provide an example.

A single member district is where one member is chosen to represent the entire district by winning a plurality of the votes. A U.S. congressional district would be an example of a single member district because the single candidate with the plurality of the vote, more votes than for others, but not necessarily the majority, gets to represent the entire district.

What is proportional representation and provide an example of where it is used?

Proportional representation according to Roskin (2014), is a system based on multimember districts. Each district sends several representatives to office, not just one. If the district is entitled to ten seats, each party offers voters a “party list” of ten candidates. Each voter picks one list and the party gets seats in proportion to the votes it receives. This model is used in much of Europe. Israel also uses this system.

Which do you believe is more effective and WHY?

Each system has its benefits and drawbacks. The proportional representation system works well in countries with many political parties. One distinct advantage of having so many parties is that it provides representation for multiple causes, such as environmentalism (Green Party). However, it has a major drawback. If a party does not win half the seats, it must form a coalition government. Coalition governments are often unstable. We see this form of government in Europe, as the many varied cultures there find the need to have a multiparty system to represent diverse historical and cultural backgrounds.

I believe the single member district is more effective. The single member district provides for more of a “middle of the political spectrum” form of leadership, preventing extreme political views from becoming the rule. We don’t see many smaller (third) parties, with diverging interests, competing with each other. This provides for a stable form of government. Government coalitions are rarely needed as one party takes the election – Winner take all. A drawback is that the two party system allows for one party to control the executive branch, congress, or both, with a simple majority of the vote, potentially leaving the other 49% without representation. This is not proportional representation. However, with single member districts, a single person is accountable to the public and can be returned to office or voted out by the constituency. Also, this is a “tried and true” form of government in the U.S. It has worked well over time.

The dominant culture ultimately determines the type of government that works best. In Europe, proportional systems may work (at least temporarily), but I feel that the single member district works best in the U.S. because we culturally, are more united than other parts of the world where ethnic, religious, and geographical issues are more pronounced.

Thank You,

Gordon

Reference:

Roskin, M, Cord, R, Medeiros, J, & Jones, W. (2014). Political Science:

         An introduction (13th ed). Hoboken, N.J.: Pearson.

Gordon, 

Great post, I agree with you that the dominate culture ultimately decides the governmental system that works best for them. We have seen time and time again where countries try to enforce their government system to other states or countries and they fail miserably due to major differences in opinion or beliefs.

 

Hey Gordon,This was a really informative and great post! I agree with you that single member district is better than proportional representation. I like the winner takes all approach and I agree that it provides a more stable government. I think it cuts down all the difference of opinions, this can make for a difficult decision making process. Great Post!

 

Gordon, Great post!

You have a great thought on determination of type and I think I agree.  The cultural, logistical, religious and so many more contributing factors really guide the cultures.  In the end, the more powerful and influential will win.

Michelle

Gordon:

I really enjoy your post and how informative they are. I also agree that the single-member-district is much more effective for the public. It gives the public more of an opportunity to have their voice heard and to understand what the politician wants to try and promote for his/her district.

Thank You

Rory

Professor and class,

What is a single-member district? Provide an example.

A single member district is an “Electoral system that elects one person per district, as in the United States and Britain (Roskin, 2014).” This type of district practices the merge or lose method. The unelected parties often merge to create a larger voter base to help win the next election. The winner of these elections wins by plurality not majority votes.

What is proportional representation and provide an example of where it is used?

“Proportional Representation (PR) systems are based on multimember districts; that is, each district sends several representatives to parliament, not just one (Roskin, 2014).” Israel is an example of a government that uses this system. Each district is entitled to a set number of seats. Each party presents a list with that number of names. The voters choose which list they prefer. The percentage of votes each list receives is the number of constituents that party can send. An example is if a ten-person list received twenty percent of the vote, two members of that list would be sent.

How effective is each electoral system in representing its people’s interests?

With single member districts, they “tend to the center of the political spectrum, for this is usually where the most votes are (Roskin, 2014).” This represents the majority of the people, and allows for extremism. Leaders must stay up to date with majority views or they risk not being elected. This keeps the current interest of the people in the forefront. Proportional representation varies from single member districts. “Parties do not have to capture the big middle of the electoral spectrum as in Anglo-American systems and can thus articulate ideologies and principles more clearly because they do not try to please everybody (Roskin, 2014).”

How do they support the party systems around which they arose?

With both types of electoral processes, the support they provide is monitored by the government and the people. In our government, the diversity of house and congress helps to maintain a balance.

Which do you believe is more effective and WHY?

I believe the single member district is best for our country. We have a more level playing field. Smaller areas have the same number of representatives and thus the same voice as larger areas. With the proportional representation system, I feel like too many representatives can create chaos and too much disagreement. This can also lead to little to no progress on issues that need addressed.

Reference:

Roskin, M, Cord, R, Medeiros, J, & Jones, W. (2014). Political Science:

         An introduction (13th ed). Hoboken, N.J.: Pearson

Scott

Dear Professor and Classmates, 

 “Proportional representation (PR) systems are not based on multimember districts; that is, each district sends several representatives to parliament, not just one” (Roskin, 2014, pg. 63). In layman terms, the percentage of votes a party receives will be divided into an exact percentage of seats at parliament. If the percentage divides into a fraction then a specific formula would be used to determine who had the additional seat in question, therefore with the PR system you would have multiple parties per district represented at the Parliamentary table.The PR system is a type of multiparty system which are often called unstable due to multiple ideals having trouble making final decisions. With the PR system the house or parliamentary seats are divided within the district so the true opinions of the public are all represented within them making this an advantage for their system. The major disadvantage of a PR system is that they tend to have many parties who split into multiparty systems. “Proportional representation (PR) allows and perhaps even encourages parties to split” (Roskin, 2014, pg. 184). These coalitions have been known to be unstable and have a hard time coming to resolution on tough decisions.

“The simplest electoral system is the Anglo-American single-member district, wherein one member of Parliament or of Congress is chosen to represent the entire district by winning a plurality (not necessarily a majority) of the votes” (Roskin, 2014, pg. 61). Single-member districts are a type of two party system or a two-plus party system. Within these types of systems there are two main parties competing and usually a few smaller third parties that have different political ideas and tend to win over those that are not happy with the two majority parties. “Some observers argue that new political ideas come mostly from third parties, as the big parties are too stuck in their ways” (Roskin, 2014, pg. 182). The PR and the single-member district have their own unique advantages and disadvantages. One of the advantages of the single-member district is that the person who wins the plurality is usually at the center of the political spectrum and in touch with the mainstream ideals. When the leader is in touch with the same ideals as the general population then this helps to prevent the outbreak of extremism. On the opposite side of that, one of the main disadvantages of a single-member district is that the party who wins, no matter how close the race, takes the entire district, which may not accurately reflect public opinions and ideals. “One of the most important institutional choices a country can make is between an electoral system based on single-member districts of on proportional representation” (Roskin, 2014, pg. 184).

References:

Roskin, M, Cord, R, Medeiros, J, & Jones, W. (2014). Political Science:
An introduction (13th ed). Hoboken, N.J.: Pearson.

Hey Brandy,

Thanks for that interesting post. I do agree with you on several points. A proportional representative usually have the interest of the population at hand. This is because several people are selected to represent the interest of the district. Even though they might have divided opinion or take long to make decisions, the district always comes first. This is opposed to the single member representative where a single person represents the interest of the whole district. The decisions are final and not questioned by the district.

 

Hello professor and class,

Elections are happening all around us during this time of year. We’ve all seen the news regarding an upcoming election and the person running is accused of inappropriate behavior. During presidential elections the ads are nonstop and can cloud the true issues. There are different types of electoral systems one is single member districts. In single -member districts there is strong representation to help maximize accountability. A disadvantage is many communities are zoned to keep the population the same and will be represented by those that don’t understand the needs of the community. It is also a majority rule system, so the single-member district type of electoral system tends to promote a strong stable government (acrproject.org, 2017). To compare and contrast another electoral system let’s look to the proportional representation (PR) type of system. With proportional representation it is based on a multimember district according to Roskin (2017, p. 62). The representatives are elected by the percentage of votes they receive. An advantage to this type of electoral system is that it’s representative of the public opinion (Roskin, p. 63). The biggest disadvantage is splitting of parties creating an electoral system that is really a multi-party system. The U.S. uses a single-member system and represents the people quite effectively.

Thanks, A’lon

Source:

Roskin, M., Cord, R. L., Medeiros, J. A., & Jones, W. S. (2014). Political science: an introduction (13th ed.). Pearson

The Electoral Knowledge Network. (2017). http://aceproject.org/main/english/bd/bda02a01.htm (Links to an external site.)

A’lon,

     Thank you for your thought provoking and interesting post. I appreciate the fact that you bring up the topic of communities being zoned for political gain. Politicians are always looking to get the upper hand in order to stay in power. Gerrymandering is one of those stealth (pronounced ”deviant” by some) ways in which politicians can manipulate voting districts in their favor. This arbitrary redrawing of geographical maps has led to litigation in several states and has also ignited a movement to ensure fair and equitable representation of communities by ensuring that districts are delineated by contiguous and consistent geographical lines, as opposed to fragmenting a district for political favor. As Chen & Rodden (2013) point out, districting reformers in many states have advanced various statutory and constitutional proposals to prohibit partisan gerrymandering and enforce more neutral, objective criteria and procedures in the redistricting process. This is especially important in a single member district form of representation, since the candidate with the plurality of the vote will be representing the interests of the entire district. It is vital that the district represents the cross section of the populace in that geographical region, not simply those who “fall within the lines” of a Gerrymandered district.

Thank You,

Gordon

Reference:

Chen, J. & Rodden, J. (2013). Unintentional gerrymandering:

Political geography and electoral bias in legislatures.

Quarterly Journal of Political Science. Retrieved from

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/ac9d/47478af14d31b38d3174c8ec4d874bc373cc.pdf (Links to an external site.)

 

A’lon, great post! You have a point when you speak about this time of the year and elections. We do have the commercials and newsletters that come to the mail box every day. I agree there is so much information presented to the public, we really don’t know what to believe. I do favor single member districts but I also agree with you when you speak of the disadvantage of having a representative that really doesn’t know what the needs of that community. I think that can really destroy a community that feel theirs needs are not being met or heard. This is what makes me favor the PR system. I favor this part of the system because as you stated it is represents the public opinion, which is very important. This was a great post, thanks for sharing.

 

Alon

It is as I’ve been saying. Social Media can cloud anyone’s bias. That is why I say the people have to be an informed and knowledgeable individual in order to make a conscientious and factual vote. It will always be a disadvantage to those who have no idea as to why they are voting for anyone running. Once the wrong party is in, the dirt comes when it is already too late and this is not how our country should be led. I appreciate your info on The electoral knowledge network (2017) Has a lot of good information.

Damaris 

I agree that voters should fact-check the candidates. Candidates should also learn to do as they say.  In our democracy, voters have a right to select a candidate who not only will perform the actions that they approve, but also one who shares their principles. This right is necessary to genuine self-government. No campaign can cover all the issues that might arise during the term of office a president will serve. Voters therefore reasonably want to know that a presidential candidate shares their deepest moral convictions, so they can be assured that he will approach these future issues in a way they would approve. Therefore, candidate is obligated to tell the truth and not leave the voters wondering if he/she is going to keep to promise or not.

 

Money is a powerful factor in politics. Does it have to be? Who is to blame for money playing such a large role in the electoral process? Is it the candidates who raise the money for campaign purposes? Is it the voters who only respond to the candidate who spends the most on campaigning?

Is there an obligation on a voter’s part to educate themselves about the political process, the candidates, the issues, and then vote based on their efforts? If so, then why does money have to be such a powerful influence in the electoral process? If you could implement a statutory scheme to regulate money in politics, how would you do so without violating the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution?

 

Professor Terwillinger:

Money does play a great role in the election process. It is unfortunate that it does, but I feel that we as the public do not take the time to completely educating ourselves in the political process, about the candidate, or the issues.  It is easier for use to listen to the advertisements that they put on and it seems that those that have more of those get the votes.  The unfortunate thing about money, the person that has the most gains from it as they use it wisely.  The government has tried to control the money but in court cases they feel it has violated the 1st amendment, so they can not control it.

We as the public have to better educate ourselves in the political issues and the candidates. The issue is how do we assure that we are learning the correct information. I know that being a member of this class I have learned alot so far and I was scared about it.  The big concern in the education, is how do we make sure that people educate himself about it and have them understand that it is important to our society.

Rory

I totally agree that US citizens MUST make educated decisions for our country. Money changes everything in all aspects of daily living. Getting the right candidates in office will make the difference on whether this country sinks or swims.

Damaris

Rory, 

Good post and I agree with you.  It is our responsibility to educate ourselves but often times people don’t.  It is just easier to form their opinions based off bias social media posts, commercials, ads that show up in their mailbox or on the front door.

I also relate with your concern with questioning how we know that we are learning the correct information.  Public schools are often teaching corrupt or incorrect information because text book companies get bought out by certain organizations pushing agendas.

I am grateful that we have the internet today where we can do lots of research and look at many sources of information.

Christina 

 

These are very good questions Professor.

Unfortunately, I would say money does have to be a powerful factor in politics. Or at least in American politics as it stands. Since our country is so large, and a candidate has to try to reach everyone now, that means millions of dollars spent in billboards, trips, presentations, news coverage, and internet ads. Campaigns are expensive because it takes so much to reach everyone now, and it only continues to grow as the population does.

Regulations on how much money can be spent on elections would help this issue, but that would go against the 1st Amendment. In my opinion, there may need to be an amendment that allows for the regulation of this spending for anything meaningful to come at this point. As for voter education, some voters don’t educate themselves on the candidates or issues. They will simply vote based on what they’ve heard through the media. Therefore, the concept of money being so powerful in elections still stands because the ones who put their name out there the most are the ones who get the votes.

I wish money wasn’t an issue when it comes to many things but life costs money. Money playing such a big role in the electoral process has become a bigger and bigger issue. There seem to be records broken with each election on who spent how much. I think the voters, candidates and the price of advertising are to blame. I think the voters because we have a short attention span and want to be spoon fed information. I don’t know anyone that does research when it comes election time on who they are voting for. This last election I tried to read over the information pamphlet sent to me which was supposed to have objective input on what platform the candidates are running. It was in black and white print, small type, and incredibly cumbersome to try and read. The candidates because they try to outdo each other and advertising. It is so expensive to run commercials, print paper and get information out there.

The First Amendment guaranteeing the freedom of speech and expression is what keeps money in the elections. It’s what the campaigns hide behind. There have been laws limiting who can contribute to a campaign but there are always ways around them. I’m not sure what would work without violating the First Amendment and money in politics.

Angelica

Angelica,

I too wish that money didn’t play such a big role in life and more political life. However, that is not the same. The in seems to that wealth blindsides the public and can actually sway the publics’ outlook. How many have we watched on television or read in the newspaper that a deathly person committed a crime big or small. Well, I am sure that at least once most us have probably said “no way, I cannot believe that”.” I am sure they have the wrong person, there is no way they could have done that”. When we those statements are made, are we thinking clearly? As humans are we have the ability or to see things for what they are without being blinded by the rays of a persons wealth. I don’t think that most of us can. I see a society that has lost or is losing its value to money and power.

Money is the most powerful factor in politics and I think it has to be. Look at our electoral candidates, they either have money, come from money or is backed by money. Political campaigns are filled by money, no money, the candidate drops out. If I were to implement a scheme statutory scheme to regulate money in politics it would not be in harmony with the First Amendment -freedom of speech and expression. Money, wealth and power is expression of speech without even speaking.

I think that everyone is to blame for the large role that money play in politics. Not just the voters, the politicians, the candidates, but also everyone else that puts value in money. Money does not have to be a powerful factor in politics, but it still plays a role regardless. This is for all the hard work everyone that is part of the electoral process put in. If voters educate themselves about the political process, the candidates, and the issues then money will not be a factor for the voting for the proper candidate. Money should never be a factor on how anyone is elected but because we do not live in a perfect world we see money running the show.

I do not know how to regulate money in politics, but what I do know is that if voters are more responsible, and do not depend their votes on who can give more money, we would see better qualified people in office.

I absolutely agree thatevery single person including us are to blame for money being so important. The glitz and glam that it takes to make the voters eyes pop is crazy. I feel that if everyone focused less on the presentation and more on the issues at hand it would be a more productive society. In my personal opinion, I do not feel it ever will,as you could present a rotten apple covered in diamonds and it would be chosen over a plain edible banana. This is really just another example of human nature, we like bling.

 

Hello,

Money is a powerful factor in politics.  Media has a lot to so with that.  The more money you have to get you face, voice, or message out, the more influence you have over the electoral process.  It is the obligation of the voters to be informed on the issues, the candidates, and their platforms.  It is also vital for voters to understand how changes will affect them on a personal level.  I don’t know if it possible to implement a statutory scheme that will not violate the 1st amendment.  If you to told candidates that they could not run ads that were untrue or contain slander, they would calm violation of freedom of speech.  If you put a cap on the amount of money that could be spent, someone will claim that is not fair or not their fault that they may have more resources or be a better fund raiser.  It would be hard. The person that regulates it would have to be completely neutral with nothing to gain, and can not be bought.  That person would me impossible to find.

Robyn

Great start to the discussion!

To summarize our discussion so far, single-member districts largely support a two-party system, whereas proportional systems allow for a multiparty structure. This is due to the power they must obtain to be elected. To receive a majority of the votes in a plurality system, where the winner takes all, the platforms of smaller parties must band together to become viable contenders in the race. This calls for the emergence of two strong parties as a means of obtaining enough votes to win the election. However, in a system where a portion of the vote goes to the percentage of votes received, two-distinct parties are not essential to being represented. This allows the smaller parties to retain their distinctive agendas during the election process, although it is important to note the need for coalitions in this structure.

This raises the issue of joining forces in order to effectuate a political “win”. So, Is fairness required in an election?

Think about this. The process itself, i.e., making sure that all eligible and legal votes that are cast are counted, i.e., no voter fraud, is critical to a democratic process whether it is a “true” democracy or a representative democracy.

However, is the process of going about to get votes based on fairness? Could a candidate with less money to campaign claim that a candidate with more money has an unfair advantage? And if so, so what? Isn’t fund-raising part of the political process and doesn’t it go without saying that a candidate that is better at raising money is probably better at representing various constituents?

Explain your answer.

Professor Terwillger and Classmates:

Getting the voter out to vote would be the best way to get everyone’s opinion and make it fair and assure that they are all counted.  We have experienced the illegal votes, the bad scanners, the inappropriate count of ballots and so forth.  Is some of this the candidate trying to pay it off to get in to represent us and voice their opinions. Investigations on the investigation will probably not find the answer on this.  The statement of the candidate that raises the most money is probably better than the one that does not, is not fair.  The person that might not have the backing might have excellent points on the platforms and they are voicing them during the campaign, but it is limiting because of the money.  We all have the right to try.

The Supreme Court ruled on spending and what can be given to a candidate, political parties, and political action committees.  They ruled on a five to four vote that a limit violates the First Amendment of the constitution. Elizabeth Wydra, chief counsel at the Constitutional Accountability Center stated, “It’s very troubling that with today’s ruling in McCutchen, and the Citizens United, coupled with the Roberts court’s ruling gutting the Voting Rights Act, the court has made it much easier to spend money in an election and much harder to actually cast a vote for a Fair Election.”  My feeling is that this ruling does make it unfair to the lesser candidate that cannot raise the most money. We better like what the candidate that raises the most money because they will have the better campaign efforts to get their thoughts out to the public and get them elected.

Rory

Supreme Court Strikes Down Limits On Campaign Spending

 

Thank you for the information on the Supreme Court. I agree with you that the candidate with the most money will most likely win. Most likely because it’s a numbers game, the more exposure the more votes. It’s simple math. I don’t think it’s fair but it seems to be the way it is. They have tried to put limits and laws on campaign spending but there are ways around them. Money has always talked and always will. Look at the Super PACs and the Tea Party. It’s all big money getting the message out loud and clear. I don’t think it’s a fair system. Why can’t they be given a budget that they all have to adhere to, wear the same suit/or dress so there is no biased opinion on their appearance or do it like the show The Voice…we listen without seeing them and vote on who makes the most sense to us and the value system we believe in.

Angelica

Good point Rory, if the choices we have are because of the candidates money that got them into that position, we had better like them! It is unfortunate that we possibly might miss out on a great leader because there is no funding to that specific campaign. It would be nice for future elections on all levels to “level the playing ground” on campaigning so that the people could see all of their options.
professor,

In today’s society it can easily be said that votes are not based on fairness. Those who are more “popular,” or have more money, tend to gain more votes than those who are not. The reasoning for this is that those with more money are able to afford a larger campaign. With that they can then reach more populations by being able to travel, create advertisements, and so forth. In addition to this, in the world of politics today, in order to be looked as the best fit you must be of money. Whether it is right or not, many people associate those with money as being more intelligent, and able to make better decisions. Also, those with little money, or who come from nothing, can also be seen as unintelligent unless they have proven otherwise. No matter the class, all politicians should be judged based off of their views and goals, not towards where they come from. This all being said, can conqure that money does make for an unfair advantage in politics. There comes a point when being a candidate is more about “buying the votes” then actually standing up for what you represent.

I agree with this wholeheartedly.  Money is the root of all evil and unfortunately I believe a lot of candidates with money win elections because they have money and have groups that “pay” them to push what they believe in.

 

Professor Terwilliger

There has been much to say about President Trump. Trump has been noted to have quoted “I don’t need money. I’ve got enough, much more than I’ll ever need. I do it to do it. Deals are my art form. What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each new twist of fate.” (New York Times 1980).

1980 quotes: “I’m not big on compromise. I understand compromise. sometimes compromise is the right answer, but often times compromise is the equivalent of defeat, and I don’t like being defeated. How can our great society tolerate the continued brutalization of it’s citizens by crazed misfits? Criminals must be told that their Civils Liberties End When An Attack On Our Safety Begins”.(Life Magazine January 1989).

Election Money Raised:

Hillary Clinton: $623.1 million from Hillary Clinton campaign

Donald Trump: $334.8 million from Donald Trump campaign

Both parties had different campaign views and tactics. Hillary was inaccessible, had no message for the people as to why she was running and stated she could not come up with one and left the US citizens guessing and Trump was confident,loud, he was going to make America great again.

Corruption can be kept in check-but never fully cured. Parties are not what they used to be. In most democracies, party membership is down, and Voters are less loyal. (Roskin 2014 Ch.11 Pg. 184-185)..

So in answer to your fund raising question Professor, Money can definitely assist or change a person in any aspect of life, but it is up to the people of this country to know when to vote and when not to vote. A prepared voter will always know why they voted for a constituent and an unprepared voter is ignorant and will vote for whatever falsified fabrication they fancy. Does it mean they are wrong? In my opinion I would hope they were voting for America to be the country we all respect and are proud to live in. I want a President who is fair and for the people.

Reference

Roskin, M. G., Cord, R. L, Medeiros, & J.A., Jones, W. S. Political Science: An Introduction 13th Edition 20

Hi Damaris!

Great post, and very eye opening.  I love that you included quotes from way back when, which shows Trump had an arrogance long before he ran for office.  As I said in week 1, I’m not very big on politics and dislike that it brings out the worst in so many people.  The difference in the amount of money that raised by each party was completely mind blowing to me.   This does show that just because a party can raise almost 2x more than the other, doesn’t necessarily mean they have an advantage and will win.  I believe it boiled down to the campaign views, tactics, and how each candidate sold themselves.  Like you said, Clinton was inaccessible to the public and was unable to produce answers to very relevant questions.  Was this also because of an arrogance? I don’t know, but she did carry an ignorant cockiness with her where ever she went.  It seemed to appear that she believed she had won the race before it had started.  But what Trump did, which many of our past Presidents have not, was listened.  He listened to what people were interested and what the public wanted, and he even listened to those that opposed him and rioted out in the streets to express their dislike of him.  Although many were not happy with his election, many American’s felt that our prior President didn’t listen and only did what fit him and his focus group best.  So for me, it doesn’t boil down to how much money one can raise, it’s about the words that come out of the mouth of a candidate and the history that they carry.

I’ve included a picture that outlines the amount of money spent per candidate per election.  According to this graph, the candidate that spent the most money, with the exception of 2016, 1976, and 1964, has won the election.  So does this correlate to the money raised over the last 56-years, or should the question be, whoever spends more in the election has an advantage?

Image result for 2016 election spending comparison

 

Resources:

Image obtained form: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/56-years-of-presidential-campaign-spending-how-2016_us_5820bf9ce4b0334571e09fc1

Amber,

Nice post. The picture put things into perspectives better as far as the numbers side of it. It’s crazy to me how much money elections actually raise and that raising more money seems to correlate with winning/losing the election, hm.

I also agree with you on what you had to say about both Trump and Hillary as far as how they carried themselves throughout their campaign. I really do believe that Hillary thought she had Trump beat because of how much it seemed he had dug himself into a hole with the American people. Not saying he didn’t with a large amount but obviously he appealed to enough of the others.

Amber:

Thanks. The graph gives me a better understanding of the power of money in the political process. The more you spend the greater chance you have to be the person that is representing us in the government. We have had some smart politicians that have listened to the people and have sat back and stated what the people wanted to hear, like President Trump. Just  The people just listening to what is heard or do they study and educate themself about the issues.  We will never know what the next person does. We can only hope that they know what and why they are voting for the person.

Currently we can see that President Trump is learning and listening to what is presented to him.  He has changed some of his views about the process. It seems he is starting to understand that it is not like his business that he has built over the years.

Thank You.

Rory

Amber,

Wow! The graphics really put things into perspective. It is amazing how much money a campaign can spend. There is a huge contrast in the amount spent over time, even taking inflation into consideration. One must wonder how one party can raise so much money. And wonder how much of that money was raised legitimately. If only that amount of money could be raised for other issues.

Amber

The proof is in that graph! Fantastic evidence and that is what the people need. Show us facts and quit the frenzied venomous lies. Hillary was cocky and threw herself around as if she had already won. Hillary did not focus on what the people wanted to hear. Trump listened to what the people wanted and that was his strength over Hillary. Thanks for a visual that speaks truth. Images help.

Damaris

A candidate with less money should realize that money earns one the chance to advertise broader and gaining votes as a result. There’s no separating money from politics. Money and its potentially corrupting influence is at the very heart of complaints about politics in the United States, and every two years, many candidates promise voters that they’ll try to reform a system that they say has been broken by congressional inaction and the Supreme Court.

The problem of money in politics is so universally recognized that even Donald Trump, the ultimate capitalist, and Bernie Sanders, a self-described Democratic socialist, agree on it. Sanders has spent his career railing against the corrupting influence of wealthy and corporate donors, while Trump has unmasked the game by admitting that he gave money to politicians to curry favor with them. The success of both of these politicians suggests the degree to which Americans are fed up with the influence of money on politics. If we don’t reduce that influence, our system risks losing its legitimacy.

Can money be separated from politics? The answer to that is almost certainly no. At their core, democratic elections are a battle of personalities and ideas, and the only way to inform voters about their choices in an election is make sure that the messages of candidates reach them. And just about any way you cut it, that’s going to cost money—whether it’s to pay for advertising, to set up and run a website, to hire people as staffers, or to hold rallies or events that the media will cover. Campaigns for local office can often be run on the cheap. Candidates rely on volunteers to run their campaigns and on social media, rather than paid advertising, to spread their message. But they’re never totally free.

Reference:

Berman, Russel (2016 March) retrieved from http://www.the (Links to an external site.)atlantic.com

Hello Professor and class,

Are the elections fair is a question that would need too many different perspectives to answer? The electoral process is set up to provide as much fairness as possible but as we have shown money and perception often play a big role in who’s elected. The question is asked if politicians should tell the truth during campaigns of course we believe we want the truth but really, I think that we want to hear is a resolution to all the problems in our country. Trump triumphed because he spoke about the issues loud and promoted a confidence when he coined the phrase “Make America Great Again”. We all want to live in a great country, but media misrepresents so many issues that we have to decide individually what is truth and who we want to stand beside.

Thanks, A’lon

Hello,

Fairness is not required in an election. Over the past few elections there has been concern about voter fraud. Trump raised concerns about people who were not eligible to vote, voting in the last election.  There has also been concern about gerrymandering and how drawing of district lines are unfair.  The candidate with the most money usually wins.  They can by more television, radio, newspaper, and internet ads.  They are also able to launch the better simmer campaign against their competition.  Funding raising is part of the political process, but you have to be able to afford the dinners and fund raising.  Like the old saying, It takes money to make money.  I don’t think the candidate that is better at funding raising is probably better at representing various constituents.  They are usually not in touch with the common people, the working people.  They have no idea how the average American that he represents lives.  He’s never had to have a blue collar job, or get his hands dirty.  This can be said about a lot of the politicians.

Robyn

Professor Terwilliger,

To address your question regarding fairness in elections, I have a current topic in mind.  In my city, there was just an election for city DA.  The primary in May consisted of about 10 politicians running, including former ADA’s, judges, former defense attorneys, civil attorneys, etc.  The winner of the Republican candidacy was a former ADA with over 20 years prosecutorial experience, including supervisory positions in many different departments of the office.  The winner of the Democratic candidacy was a former defense attorney who had the financial backing of many wealthy supporters throughout the city.  His case history includes, allegedly, partaking in the cover up the murder of a witness placed in protective custody during the trial.  Just two weeks ago, the Democratic nominee won the DA’s race in the general election.  So, how was this man elected knowing his position and history?!  Was it because of the financial backing he had throughout his campaign when the Republican nominee had very little?  He has no prosecutorial experience and has been widely disliked by many ADA’s over the years.  How?!  The position now of many ADA’s in the office is to leave when he takes office in January.  And the position of many police officers in the city is to move outside city limits.  Again, how is this man the winner?

I believe the election was fair.  Voter turnout MUST have been in his favor.  His financial backing afforded more commercials, more campaign rallies, more visits with the constituents in the rundown portions of this big major city.  On the other hand, I do not believe those who raise more money via fund raising, or however they obtain resources whether legal or not, are necessarily the better candidate for the position.  The elected official won the seat fair and square and had a means to do it, but to look at his background and history, I am still puzzled as to how.  I am curious to see what happens to crime rates, prison rates, how many cases against cops are prosecuted in the city as it appears the new DA has always rallied against police and favored criminals.  In summary, fairness IS required in an election.  It does not always seem fair based on the winner and loser, but fairness is required in the election process to ensure unbiased decision making.  Now, let’s see how the city changes over the duration of this candidate’s reign…

Dana, 

Wow! This post was one that caught my eye being that you used a real life example and one so close to home, literally. I also believe that fairness is required in an election whether that is portrayed in who the winner was or not. The people who voted for the Republican nominee were I’m sure quite upset, and understandably so, as this is outrageous to think about. Who voted for this man and why?? Unfortunately, this does happen and the Republican supporters’s ‘loss’ would absolutely be confusing. It seemed the Repub would have had it in the bag but this is further proof that candidates with more money and clout often do come out on top. As perplexing as that may be.

For me, this situation is similar to my opinion on why Hillary Clinton was allowed to continue on in her race for the presidency even after she was accused time and time again of less than ethically sound actions. I understand that everyone is innocent until proven guilty but how did she come out of all that still being technically ‘innocent’? What role did the Clinton name and family wealth have to do with that? You have to wonder. I am a firm believer that even the accusations on their own were too much for many Americans to handle as far as giving her their vote and this was probably her demise.

Regardless, I hope your city does well and prospers during his reign. Maybe there’s some unexpected good to come. Best of luck.

Dana

I agree to disagree with your post. Trump has the money that is a fact. What I like about Trump is that having the type of money he has no one can coerce him or fool him into being bought to turn a blind eye on anyone tat is corrupt. He by background is a businessman which is a fact, however, I wouldn’t want a corrupt politician to run this country so I am going to maintain optimism. Look at what ex DNC Donna Brazile just came out with. A book detailing enough info to enlighten us as to how crooked his running opponent is and has been for years. So to be fair I think everyone has to have a fair chance in cleaning up what others have left behind and the countries demise is not by his doing and is far greater than we are allowed to have knowledge of. Just my opinion.

Damaris

Dana and Demaris,

I agree with several things that both of you have voiced. Dana, I feel that while your city saw all of the public debate over the candidate  who won, what was not being told about the candidate that you thought should have won? It is a well known fact that those with more money and power are also more publicly criticized and shamed. Demaris, I agree with you as far as Trump being voted into office on some aspects. What do we as the public, who only know these candidates based on what the media tells us really know about any of them? One may appear one way on TV, but then be a completely different person behind the scenes.  Would we rather have a possibly corrupt politician take the office or a proven business man who’s private life has been very publicized to all? This is a question that i think many people debated during the last election and probably will discuss for years.

Brandy,

I agree with your post. Many high profile business people and politicians are constantly under the microscope. This can be a blessing and a curse at the same time. While being in the public eye can be a good thing for one trying to get their message out, it can also cause harm. These people’s personal lives are put on display for everyone to see. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I can only imagine how hard this must be for them. Also, it must be tough for them to deal with false accusations. It would be bad enough defending the things that you did do, but to defend something that you did not do has to be frustrating. This is all a part of being a politician in today’s society.

Dana and Damaris:

I enjoyed very much reading both our your posts and views/opinions and can relate to both to some extent.  At the end of the day, I believe money is a powerful powerful tool in so many aspects of life and to our discussion, politics.  Monies spent on advertisements and political communications are so influential in that the more a message is drilled into us, some begin to believe regardless.  Its the power of repetitive influence.

Michelle

I agree Brandy,

We are never shown everything that happens behind the scenes. It is very interesting to see the debate between to individuals and the different point of views. A little off topic, however this proves the point that it is extremely hard for us to simply take the facts without using our own personal opinions to debate. I can see how each persons views are completely different and can see how each person sways away for the others opinion. Just interesting is all.

Damaris,

Great points and I can appreciate your opinion. My example is one that appears money drove the win; however, who is to say money actually captured the win.  There is no way to determine that, at least not in my position anyway.  I do agree the winning candidate in my city had a fair shake at winning and cleaning up as strongly as he did; however, I don’t agree with how it appears he won.  Or maybe I just simply do not like that he won.  Maybe both.  But, let’s hope the next few years do not turn out the way the city’s residents expect it to and I can reflect on this post having been typed out of fear and anxiety.  Thanks for your input.

Dana

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