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Can someone explain to me in simple terms. USA elections

415 replies

ihatethecold · 31/08/2012 07:44

What are the main differences between Obama and romney?
Is Obama like labour and Romney like very right conservative?

Why does Romney say he will get rid of the healthcare bill that Obama brought in.

Did it not work?
why wouldn't you want people without insurance to access healthcare ?

OP posts:
YokoUhOh · 31/08/2012 17:55

I studied US politics at A-level so I have some understanding of the system of checks and balances and the way in which elections work (despite their suspicion of government, Americans have elections for every imaginable post in every stratum of society).

What has always puzzled me is the Republicans' insistence on tiny government juxtaposed with their obsessional interest in preventing women from having access to abortions; it's totally contradictory.

FishfingersAreOK · 31/08/2012 17:57

Wow. Thank you for this. Feel more informed now.

TheCunningStunt · 31/08/2012 18:00

Forrest gump would be a better candidate than Romney

HmmThinkingAboutIt · 31/08/2012 18:11

In all honesty Romney was definitely one of the better, if not the best, option for the Republican party given the candidates.

ihatethecold · 31/08/2012 18:59

Well thanks everyone. I now have a bit more of an understanding. Wink

OP posts:
Vagaceratops · 31/08/2012 19:06

Romney is definitely the pick of a bad bunch.

At least he isnt part of the Tea-Party!

nightlurker · 31/08/2012 19:36

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ItsaTIARA · 31/08/2012 19:57

Massachusetts Romney seemed fine by Republican standards. Republican Presidential Candidate Romney is scary as hell. President Romney?????

The abortion thing is the one thing that does make sense to me actually. If I believed that hundreds of thousands of babies were being murdered in cold blood every year (and government money was being used to promote that happening, in this country and abroad) then of course I'd get out and vote for whoever promised to stop that - or at least maje it illegal (and I would not be convinced by the argument that illegality will drive it underground - not if we're talking about infanticide). In America a significant minority do believe exactly that, and they will vote for whoever is most likely to restrict abortion - hence they get to call the shots in the Republican party. It's not dissimilar to the maths that got fox hunting banned in the UK, except, thank heavens, that there are equally strong feelings on the other side, and some very bad consequences to prohibition which are visible to neutrals.

HmmThinkingAboutIt · 31/08/2012 20:11

President Romney frightens me. I found his remarks about Israel and Iran petrifying. Only this week he's said "President Obama has thrown allies like Israel under the bus" and has made remarks about allowing Iran to continue with its nuclear programme. Its chilling.

I wonder what happens to the US's ally the UK if it were to start a war with Iran? I can not see us having the appetite for it at all. That said I think talk like that has the potential to backfire domestically for exactly the same reason - domestic policy and the economy is THE issue - Americans don't really care abouts going on in the rest of the world right now and they certainly don't want to be embroiled in someone else's battle.

I asked an American friend just how close it was between Romney and Obama as I don't think we get an unbiased view of things here; the UK is too pro Obama. He said he thought it was too close to call. And I've just looked at an opinion poll of 'likely voters' - Romney is on 44% Obama on 42% but this week has been a Republican party conference and they were trailing Obama at the start of the week by 4%.

Really goes to show how getting the 'unlikely' voters out could be the really crucial bit.

FairPhyllis · 31/08/2012 20:14

Yoko There is a saying here that Republicans want small government ... small enough to fit in a woman's uterus, that is.

It's also important to remember that most presidential elections are decided by a small number of swing voters in a handful of swing states like Florida. In 2008 if 450,000 voters in the seven swing states had changed their vote, McCain would have won. The margins are very small.

Neither candidate will bother to campaign in California or Texas, say, except perhaps to support congressional candidates, because they are solidly for one party or the other. The swing states otoh will be bombarded with adverts, telephone campaigning, and appearances from the candidates.

FairPhyllis · 31/08/2012 20:17

I should have said - the best example of this was in 2000, when if 269 people in Florida had changed their vote, Al Gore would have won the presidency. This was the smallest ever vote difference needed to win an election in the US.

midnightisaplace · 31/08/2012 20:24

Just a question which has been puzzling me. Obviously Obama and Romney are now the two candidates for President, but is it theoretically possible for someone who is neither a democrat or a republican to become president of the USA? I have never really heard anything about any other political parties in the States. Do they exist? Is there more choice in local politics?

nightlurker · 31/08/2012 20:40

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HmmThinkingAboutIt · 31/08/2012 20:42

George Bush actually had fewer votes than Al Gore in 2000. But because its done by seats in each state rather than a popular percentage vote across the nation, Bush got the Presidency!

The swing states for 2012 are supposed to be Florida (29 electoral votes), Ohio (18), Virginia (13), Wisconsin (10), Colorado (9) Nevada (6), Iowo (6) & New Hampshire (4).

There aren't really any other parties in the US which have a real change of election. They do exist but they are minority parties - the three biggest are the Constitution Party, the Green Party & the Libertarian Party. I honestly know nothing about them other than what their names suggest. This is in part due to how much it costs to run for election and also because politics are even more tribal than in the UK.

They have to put up fees to run in each State, and since the only way to win the presidency is to win as many states as possible, this is a real hurdle. The few third party candidates that have stood in the last century, have often not put themselves up for election in every state as a result. Ross Perot did run in 1992 and got 18.9% of the popular vote, but carried no states - thats the best result in the last century.

HmmThinkingAboutIt · 31/08/2012 20:46

Iowa even.

germyrabbit · 31/08/2012 20:46

on telly this morning, they raced two piglets, so that's how they decide who is president i think

TalkinPeace2 · 31/08/2012 20:47

THe other problem with this election is that certain states like Florida (Goveronor one Jeb Bush) have made voter registration much harder for certain groups - who just happen to be traditional democrat voters.

Everybody wants small goverment -
and yet the US spends eyewatering amounts on Military spending,
locks up nearly 1 in 100 men under draconian three strikes laws
and the government underwrite all mortgages against default (no PPI needed there)

state schools are firmly secular - so the religious home educate and the two never cross paths
even up to University level - there are private Bible Universities

the agriculture of California is totally reliant on illegal immigrants - who Arizona would like shot on sight ....

and the news on TV radio and the printed press is so divided and narow minded that the problem is just getting worse

FairPhyllis · 31/08/2012 20:52

There are other political parties - there's a Green Party and a Libertarian Party, and a lot of smaller parties that perhaps only exist at state or smaller regional levels. I have a friend in the Socialist Workers Party. They maybe win some seats in state legislatures and mayoral offices, and there are two independents in the Senate, who caucus with the Democrats (but one is a prominent former Democrat, Joe Lieberman). There have been independent state governors too.

You can run for the presidency in a number of ways - as a member of a particular party, as an independent candidate, or as a write-in candidate (someone who is not named on a ballot paper, but who can be elected if enough people write their name down in place of voting for one of the named candidates). A guy called Ralph Nader has run for the presidency 6 times using all these methods and is the best 3rd party performer so far. He was widely blamed in 2000 for splitting the vote and taking votes away from Gore, who might have narrowly won otherwise. There are always other tiny parties who go on the ballot for presidential elections too. But there is no realistic third party candidate for president short of Abraham Lincoln rising from the grave and running for office again ...

nightlurker · 31/08/2012 20:53

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TalkinPeace2 · 31/08/2012 20:56

THe other surreal thing about US elections is the fact that candidates cover all bases on the ballot form
when I voted for Obama there were over 20 parties on the ballot paper but only five actual names
and they all have little pictures to help the illiterate

HmmThinkingAboutIt · 31/08/2012 20:59

US spends eyewatering amounts on Military spending

Apparently the USA's military spending accounted for 41 per cent of the world total in 2011, followed by China with 8.2 per cent, Russia with 4.1% and the UK and France with 3.6 per cent each.

Ponders · 31/08/2012 21:00

\link{\this analysis of Paul Ryan's speech made me FURIOUS!!!!}

The Republicans are such fucking hypocrites Angry

(excuse me)


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FairPhyllis · 31/08/2012 21:00

Crossposted with ThinkingAboutIt - I forgot about Ron Paul and Ross Perot. Perot has got the biggest share of the popular vote as a 3rd choice, but other independents have gotten electoral college votes without as big a share of the vote. George Wallace in 1968 carried five states in the South.

FairPhyllis · 31/08/2012 21:06

Ponders Yep, we are living in a post-truth political world. You can say anything you like and it will be true!

nightlurker · 31/08/2012 21:06

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