one step at a time.

Saturday, January 05, 2008


I have questions for you USA readers about your political setup.

I wondered:
Why are there only 2 political parties in the USA?
Do you get to vote on policies your elected party put forward?

I only ask because it is so different to our system, where we have loads of choices of party but we have the House of Lords which is not elected and has the power to stop anything it does not like.

Also: (later addition to post...) I've finished my tea cosy (to go on the teapot we received as a Christmas pressie)! In the pattern it has a pompom on it but as it is multicoloured in the first place that would be unnecessarily fussy.
This is my first proper follow the pattern thing. As I have now been knitting for nearly a month I'm quite proud.


Bond said...

There are actually more than two parties but the Democrats and Republicans are the two strongest (We have a Libertarian and a Green Party but their support is weak)
By voting for the candidates you vote for their "policies"

TopChamp said...

Bond - I see. That would be the case here but there are LOTS of parties so there are lots of choices.

I suppose here you get to vote on the policies if you become a party member. I think. I am not a party member so I am not sure. However I have a councellor friend so I might ask him.

Why is support not there for the other parties? Is it because they don't stand a chance so you'd waste your vote?

Julie said...

Well this is very interesting..i hope more will be posted because I'm a little clueless in well as geography. Hmmm as I look back my geography and government teachers were kinda handsome...

the108 said...

Yes, there are more political parties such as the Green Party or the Libertarians or people can run independently and not affiliated to a party. What sucks about all of this is that someone fantastic might run from any of these other parties but everyone votes for a republican or democrat out of fear that a green party member, for instance, won't have the financial power or the influence to beat out the bigger parties. This is how it often happens that people are unhappy with all the choices.

Nowadays, people seem to vote less for who they WANT and instead are voting strictly to keep other people out of power. Like myself. I would love to vote for Kucinich but I know he won't win and we need to get the republicans out of office so I'm voting instead for who I think could beat a republican.

Does that make sense?

It's a terrible way to vote, but after all of these years with bush, I don't want to risk wasting my vote on someone who wouldn't beat the republican candidates.

As for policies, each candidate has their "platform" which is their promise to focus on certain areas. The democrats worry about putting an end to the war and fixing our economy and the republicans are worrying about keeping out the mexicans and making sure no one gets an abortion. The issues and the goals of each candidate on each issue becomes their platform and people vote on what they see are things needin change and the person they believe can do it.

Does that help?

Travis said...

Even though we may vote for the candidate whose ideas most closely match our own, we still may get very little say in the "policies" that govern our lives.

A President doesn't make the laws, he enforces them. And a President doesn't set policy, although he does make every attempt to influence it.

It's actually our elected Senators and Congressmen who create the legislation that impacts our lives.

Gattina said...

That's what I always asked myself two, why do they only have two parties in the States. Here in Belgium we have quite a lot even too many ! Your tea pot dress looks so cute you can be proud !
Today we celebrate Three Kings Day in Belgium, so come and have a slice of the "Galette" !

Gattina said...

Not two but too, lol !

Mrs Successful said...

Hi Gattina - I've read that at last a temporary solution has been found to end the 6 month crisis that threatened to pull Belgium apart over 3 issues ie,the economy, self-rule for Dutch-speaking Flanders and Francophone Wallnonia, and the scope of a Brussels-area voting district that a court declared illegal in 2003 (even a call for an independent Flanders). I don't usually get involved in political issues but I know this one must've be causing real problems and animosity - I wouldn't like to see Belgium divided, but it's not my country. Hope a permanent solution can be found real soon. xx

CountryDew said...

That's such a complicated question! I will add that we have an electoral college which also makes a difference - it is actually the electoral college which elects the president, not the masses who pull the levers. Essentially when we vote for president we're voting for electoral college members. This is better explained on Wikipedia:
This is how we can have a president with the popular vote (Al Gore) and end up with somebody else (George Bush). So if you vote for someone who is not in a majority party when you vote for president, you really are throwing away the vote, because those parties never get electoral college numbers. It is very complicated but I have always thought the electoral college lies at the root of our two-party system. YMMV.

Akelamalu said...

I'm clueless on American politics but I know about knitting - you did a great job! :)

TopChamp said...

Countrydew - that electoral college thing is CONFUSING! I don't understand... is it just a historical hangover that's due to be dissolved? Surely they could accurately count individual votes these days?

Mother of Invention said...

Love the tea cosy and you have a hat also if you lose yours!