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    Alty's Avatar
    Alty Posts: 28,318, Reputation: 5972
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    #1

    Mar 5, 2016, 09:11 PM
    Politics 101 for dummies
    As most of you know I'm a German citizen living in Canada. As a result, I can't vote. Because I can't vote, and because I really don't understand politics, and don't care to because I find it boring, I've never really been involved or interested in politics. My husband votes, my son will be 18 this year and he'll be voting in the next election. My daughter will vote in 5 years. Until I become a Canadian, I can't vote. Because I've never been able to in my 45 years, I've never really cared. Whoever they choose I accept. It's not like I can do anything about it, so I've never really given it a lot of thought or time or effort.

    Now, I do know that in Canada, when we have an election, we have different segments of government, same as you do in the US. You have Democrat or Republican, right?

    In Canada when you vote, all you have to have is ID to show you're 18 and a citizen of Canada. You can vote for whoever is running, despite the faction of government they're representing. If that makes sense. In other words, if we had Democrat or Republican, we could vote for either at election. You do not have to pick one before the vote.

    My question is this, because I've seen people posting about registering to vote in the US, and choosing either Democrat or Republican. Do you not get to choose anyone on the list of people running? Let's say you register as a Democrat, does that mean you can only vote for whoever is running as a Democrat? What if the only person running as a Democrat is an idiot that shouldn't be allowed to run a convenience store much less a country? What then? Do you simply not vote and hope that the other people that registered as Democrat, don't vote either?

    I'm an idiot when it comes to politics, I freely admit it. I'm not stupid, but when it comes to politics, I am, so really, I'd like a crash course, and make it 101 for dummies, because politics and me, we don't like each other. I just don't get it, can't wrap my head around it. It makes no sense to me at all.

    From what I'm reading, it looks like there's a very good chance that Donald Trump will win. Now I won't complain. Donald as president can only mean good things for Canada. He'll destroy the US, and as a result our dollar will go up, and we'll thrive, while the US is ruined. That's pretty darn good for me and my family, since we live in Canada. But why would anyone in their right mind vote for him? Is it because they have no choice because that's how they registered?

    Just really don't get it. Can someone explain it and dumb it down for me?

    Please don't turn this into some debate about who should win, or why, and all the evils and all the other crap I see on the politics forum. I'm not giving you a platform to do that. I just want someone to tell me how it works in the US, because it really doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
    DoulaLC's Avatar
    DoulaLC Posts: 10,488, Reputation: 1952
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    #2

    Mar 6, 2016, 05:34 AM
    Very basic: In most primaries, which is much of what you are seeing now, voters are voting for the person they would like to see become the candidate who represents that party. This is why Democrats can only vote between the Democrat choices and the same for Republicans.

    Once you have one person from both parties declared, they then will be the choices for the general election, which will occur in November. At that time, anyone can vote for either one, regardless of their party affiliation or no affiliation.


    P.S. don't be surprised if you receive comments after sharing your opinion on Trump!
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
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    #3

    Mar 6, 2016, 07:26 AM
    Canada uses a Parliamentary system of government. The US uses a Federation system.

    In a Parliamentary system, executives are chosen by the party in power. I don't think you actually vote for Prime Minister you vote local MPs (Members of Parliament), the majority party then elect a Prime Minister.

    In the US, people run for office as a member of a political party. There are two main parties (Democrats and Republicans), but several others as well. When multiple people want to run for the same office they seek the endorsement of one (or more) of the political parties. In many cases, a primary is held to let voters decide who should run under that party's banner. In such primaries only registered party members can vote for candidate for that party's nomination.

    Then we get to the general election. At that time party affiliation doesn't matter. A voter can vote for any candidate on the ballot (or write in their own). So Dems can vote for a Republican candidate and vice versa.

    In the case of a presidential election, each state holds a primary (or caucus) where delegates are assigned to a candidate who then vote in a national convention. It is the national convention that decides who will run as a candidate of that party. At the convention delegates are pledged to support a candidate based on the results of the primaries. However, if no candidate wins enough delegates during the primaries, there could be a fight. After a number of votes with no candidate winning, delegates will be free to vote for anyone not just the candidate they were originally committed to.

    To further complicate this process. The president is NOT elected by popular vote of the citizenry. Instead, each state has x number of votes as part of the Electoral College. If you want to know more about the history of the EC I'll explain. Each state has an electoral college vote for each member of congress. The Electoral College votes for each state go to the winner of the popular vote in that state. So it is possible for president to be elected with less than a majority of the popular vote (George W Bush).

    Understand better now? ;)
    Catsmine's Avatar
    Catsmine Posts: 3,827, Reputation: 739
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    #4

    Mar 6, 2016, 08:27 AM
    Scott's explanation was as concise as possible on 200 years of gaming the system set out in the Constitution will allow.

    Your (and Smoothy's) comments about Donald Trump obligate me to point out that he has been a lifelong friend of the Clintons. He had to befriend them to get his deals done. Now the suspicions have arisen that he is seeking the Republican nomination in order to give Hillary Clinton an easy win in November. "The Political Apprentice" is definitely getting good ratings, so there's another bonus.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
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    #5

    Mar 6, 2016, 10:22 AM
    By the way, if you want a slightly fictionalized view of a presidential national convention, check out the Best Man (not the 1999 comedy with Taye Diggs, but the 1964 movie with Henry Fonda or the book it was based on). It has been a pretty long time since a presidential candidate did not emerge from the primary process with a clear delegate majority. But in bygone times, presidential conventions could be very contentious.
    Catsmine's Avatar
    Catsmine Posts: 3,827, Reputation: 739
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    #6

    Mar 6, 2016, 12:02 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by alty View Post
    please don't turn this into some debate about who should win, or why, and all the evils and all the other crap i see on the politics forum.
    Bwahahahahaha !
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
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    #7

    Mar 6, 2016, 12:16 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Alty View Post
    Please don't turn this into some debate about who should win, or why, and all the evils and all the other crap I see on the politics forum. I'm not giving you a platform to do that. I just want someone to tell me how it works in the US, because it really doesn't make a lot of sense to me.
    Allright, I moved the question to Government and removed off topic responses (including my own)!
    joypulv's Avatar
    joypulv Posts: 21,593, Reputation: 2941
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    #8

    Mar 6, 2016, 12:39 PM
    Speaking of registering to vote, I am registered as Unaffiliated, formerly known as Independent, a word still often used by candidates who start out neither Democrat nor Republican. Being Unaffiliated means I can't vote in my state's primaries.
    The US did not start out with any 'parties,' and I for one do not much care for either one of the two biggies, being a centrist, often called by that despised term, moderate. We are considered fence sitting wishy washy people. In all fairness, occasionally a liberal Republican comes along, and a conservative Democrat, but they are squashed almost instantly.
    I have tried to start The Dead Skunk (in the middle of the road) Party, and get much enthusiasm from others, but I'm too lazy to do anything but name it.
    catonsville's Avatar
    catonsville Posts: 894, Reputation: 91
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    #9

    Mar 6, 2016, 12:47 PM
    "I have tried to start The Dead Skunk (in the middle of the road) Party, and get much enthusiasm from others, but I'm too lazy to do anything but name it."

    Speaking of Dead Skunk:

    A very large black cat was hit and it laid in between the 2 yellow stripes of the road and some Live Skunk moved the cat onto my property and I had to bag it and dispose of it. Thanks Joy for the opening.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
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    #10

    Mar 6, 2016, 01:15 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by joypulv View Post
    The US did not start out with any 'parties,'
    That's not entirely true. The Federalist Party was formed from the founding fathers who wrote the Federalist Papers. George Washington was actually the only president not to be a member of a political party. John Adams was a member of the Federalist party. The different parties evolved over the years to the current Republican/Democrat dominated system.
    Alty's Avatar
    Alty Posts: 28,318, Reputation: 5972
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    #11

    Mar 6, 2016, 02:34 PM
    Thanks everyone. I understand it a lot better now.

    Now if someone could explain the Canadian government to me, I'd be all set. LOL.
    ScottGem's Avatar
    ScottGem Posts: 64,966, Reputation: 6056
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    #12

    Mar 6, 2016, 04:20 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by Alty View Post
    Thanks everyone. I understand it a lot better now.

    Now if someone could explain the Canadian government to me, I'd be all set. LOL.
    Do some research on Parliamentary systems. As I said, Canadians vote only for local MPs. Those MPs then elect a PM who then appoints Ministers to head the various departments. That's a boiled down version.
    joypulv's Avatar
    joypulv Posts: 21,593, Reputation: 2941
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    #13

    Mar 6, 2016, 05:40 PM
    catonsville, I can't give your dead cat story a greenie. So unfair! I don't even remember the last time I did!
    Catsmine's Avatar
    Catsmine Posts: 3,827, Reputation: 739
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    #14

    Mar 6, 2016, 05:51 PM
    Quote Originally Posted by joypulv View Post
    I have tried to start The Dead Skunk (in the middle of the road) Party, and get much enthusiasm from others, but I'm too lazy to do anything but name it.
    You mean This Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaN7xuAIjXI

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