Nearly a parliamentary system

It’s Election Day in the US. At last. Thank whatever deity you believe in! The only people who will be upset about this are the local television stations, who have been raking it in with all the political advertisements. I’ve discovered that a lot of people don’t understand why the candidates often say at the end of the ads, “I’m Joe Blow, and I approve this message.” It’s because there are ads out there, sponsored by the political parties, or political action committees, supposedly (snicker) independent of the (chortle) political candidates.

As is my tradition, I will be voting as soon as the polls open, at 6 a.m. It’s not just that I am anxious to vote, or want to get it over with. It’s that, if I cast my ballot early enough, they won’t call me to make sure I get out there. Better get my wife to vote before work, too. I’m voting for an annoyingly large number of incumbents, which is NOT my tradition, historically.

It’s occurred to me that the US has, almost, become a de facto parliamentary system. Someone like Arlen Specter, who died last month, was a fairly moderate-to-conservative Republican from Pennsylvania, who annoyed members of both parties with his actions on the Senate Judiciary Committee, blocking the nomination of Robert Bork, but allowing for the ascent of Clarence Thomas to the US Supreme Court, brutalizing Thomas accuser Anita Hill in the process. When he became a Democrat in 2009, he hadn’t moved to the left; his former party had lurched to the right. I might have voted for him.

If I were living in Massachusetts, and Elizabeth Warren (D) weren’t running, I might have considered selecting Scott Brown for US Senate. As Republicans go these days, he’s relatively moderate. But then again, his re-election would have implications on party control of the Senate, so maybe not. In the olden days, even 20 years ago, bipartisanship and “working across the aisle” weren’t seen as traitorous behaviors.

Massachusetts, generally a Democratic state in recent decades, nevertheless has had a tradition of electing moderate Republicans. Edward Brooke was the first black member of the US Senate since the Reconstruction period after the US Civil War, serving from 1967 to 1979. And moderate Mitt Romney was governor from 2003 to 2007. Whatever happened to THAT guy, anyway?

I heard that 80% of the people voting for Obama or Romney this year will vote for the Senate candidate of the same party. And it’s 90% in House races. We’ve returned to straight-party voting in the US, which I understand, but don’t see as a necessarily good thing.

Here are my predictions: Wednesday at 11:59 p.m., we STILL won’t know who the winner is; might be days. Or weeks. Ultimately, Obama wins, with less than 50% of the popular vote, and the Republicans spend the next four years bemoaning that fact.

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14 thoughts on “Nearly a parliamentary system

  1. It’s sad to think that it takes a disaster to get our government to do anything. As was pointed out a disaster knows no political party.

  2. If Romney was the same guy (or at least appeared to be) that ran Mass moderately I might’ve had a tougher or different decision on who to vote for this election. He pandered to the conservatives though.

  3. First thing this morning I looked who won the elections and to my relieve it was Obama ! From what I have seen in the News of different European countries, they were all for Obama, Romney promised heaven on earth, but unless he would have put the money he spent for the election and his private fortune into the state coffers, what he promised he could never have kept and still. The Americans in Brussels (there are 15.000) had an election evening in a big hotel and obviously there were far more for Obama. For Americans once outside their country it looks different !

  4. Huh? Parliamentary system? I don’t get it. Last I checked we had a one party system with two heads. Did you hear about how presidential candidate Jill Stein, WHOM MR. ROGER GREEN BY HIS OWN ADMISSION MAY HAVE VOTED FOR, was arrested outside the very closed presidential debates and confined in solitary for some 18 hours, then released without charges? Can’t imagine that happening in a country with a working parliamentary system.

  5. Sunday morning rant:

    Make no mistake about it, Mr. Obama won for the same reason that Andrew Cuomo won the race for governor of New York State. Reasonable people were terrified of the Re-pub nitwit and wanted to shut him out. There was no significant anti-Obama vote outside of the Re-pub Party in 2012.

    And look at how most Re-pubs disliked Romney. Mostly they voted against Mr. Obama, not for their candidate. Go look at their reactions to the election results. They cried like babies, but they didn’t cry over Romney, that’s for sure.

    Look at how poorly Jill Stein did. She came in 4th behind the Libertarian candidate, including in her home state of Massachusetts. The Libertarian got about a million votes and Ms. Stein about half that, despite both of their names on the ballot. Neither came close to Ralph Nader’s tallies in the last three presidential elections, and despite the hype in 2000 even he had no significant effect on the races between the two Ruling Party candidates.

    Now, try to google results of 3rd party candidates for president for 2012. It took me ten freaking minutes this morning to find even vague statistics. That’s a very subtle way to push third parties out of mind. And considering Ms. Stein’s bogus detainment and the lack of outcry over what happened to her, I would have to say that third parties are now effectively outlawed in this country. Oh you can run alright, but you’re not allowed to run seriously.

    In fact, we now have a one party system like in the People’s Republic of China. And very soon we will have, like China, a top-down corporate government with a CEO “president” who has the powers of an absolute monarch.

    Roger, we are far, far from a parliamentary system. And we are losing our right to vote for anything but plutocratic servants.

  6. Dan- I think we have a definitional difference. I’m saying there was more party-line voting. there is no viable Green or Libertarian Party and never will be, without changing the way we vote.

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