Three Discussion, about 200 words each..
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1. DISCUSSION QUESTION:
The U.S. stands out among the former British dominions that share Britain’s electoral system, commonly known as ‘first past the post’ or ‘winner take all.’ The U.S. version is called single-member plurality system.
This system does not provide effective representation to minority views or people that are more or less evenly distributed across the country and as Duverger’s law suggests, it ends up in a 2-party system. Especially when socialist movement is weak unlike other former British colonies such as Canada and India, the parties turn into big tents of quite divergent, even conflicting ideologies. As a result, what goes as social democrat in Europe, goes as liberal in the U.S. Even further, with the absence of alternatives, minority views and people, such as African-Americans do not have leverage as they would have in a multi-party system, where more than just Democratic Party would have tried to represent their interests, and this would have created competition among parties to get their votes.
In your opinion, should do U.S. change the electoral system to Proportional Representation for better representation and a more balanced national politics where different ideologies and positions can be represented under new parties instead of being locked into only two parties? What would be the effects on the Presidency if the U.S. had more than 2 parties both during election time and during different presidential administrations?
- State your position and provide a clear reasoning and justification. You can give logical justifications and illustrate your position by examples from current or past politics.
2. DISCUSSION QUESTION:
The U.S. boasts longest popular government and a constitution with a bill of rights that has some of the most protected civil liberties in the world history. Yet, elections are often marred with controversies. In the past, those were more about blatantly discriminatory practices such as racial gerrymandering , poll tax, literacy tests, all-white primaries. Today most people think those problems have been solved with the Civil Rights era. But there are still some widespread practices that are debated:
1. Strict voter registration requirements as opposed to automatic voter registration.
2. Elections held on a work-day where millions will have to forego their daily wages in order to vote.
3. Voter purging and voter caging.
4. Reduced numbers of polling stations in black-majority neighborhoods and reduced hours that do not accommodate people who do not get out of work early.
5. Felons and ex-felons stripped off their right to vote.
6. Immigration sweeps whereby newly naturalized citizens are often intimidated.
7. Limiting early, absentee, and mail-in voting.
8. Challenging the credentials of voters at the polling stations and intimidating ID checks.
Even after all these challenges, the efficacy of one’s vote may be seriously curtailed by i) Census practices that undercount poorer, wage-laborer, and less literate citizens ii) Redistricting that is done by state legislatures to favor their own parties rather than independent agencies as in many other countries iii) The institution of the Electoral College where faithless electors can simply vote for the other candidate.
Given these governmental policies that deliberately target racial minorities, poor citizens and immigrant communities and with an already less representative system of single-member plurality method, to what extent can we talk about free and fair elections? Especially do minorities and working class people have a say in government as much as the majority white population? Is there a one-person one vote principle established in the U.S. government as it is the basic minimum of democracy?
Depending on whether your answer is there are still free and fair elections or there are not, how can we either rectify this system or make it better?
State your position and provide a clear reasoning and justification. You can give logical justifications and illustrate your position by examples from current or past politics.
3. DISCUSSION QUESTION:
Among the welfare state policies that are hotly debated these days is Universal Basic Income (UBI). But even before that debate, the U.S. is quite involved in a highly partisan debate on universal healthcare. The U.S. is known in the world for its overpriced, private, for-profit healthcare system that often fails to deliver adequate healthcare except the few rich or the few lucky lower-middle classes who happen to get jobs with good benefits that include a decent healthcare coverage. Even in those cases, healthcare costs and prescription drugs are still much more expensive than either other advanced industrialized countries or even many underdeveloped countries. As a result tens of millions of Americans are either uninsured or underinsured.
*But how can this issue be solved? Should the U.S. have universal healthcare? For instance, it could be organized by the government with a public insurance program, where government negotiates with doctors, medical equipment, and pharmaceutical companies directly for the best price as in most parts of Europe. But neither of those companies nor the for-profit health sector would easily agree with this and they would block those efforts as long as they do not make profit with government contracts. Then what can be done?
In short, would you support universal health care? If yes, why and what kind of system do you have in mind?
If not, why not? What are the pros and cons?
*Second, do you think the government should go further to provide universal basic income to eradicate rampant poverty and economic inequality in the U.S. as in some parts of Europe? Would that work in the U.S. given the “political culture of self-reliance” and strong convictions about “personal responsibility of the poor”? Is it a good idea for the U.S.? Why or why not?
1. State your position and provide a clear reasoning and justification. You can give logical justifications and illustrate your position by examples from current or past politics. In this discussion, you can definitely defend only universal healthcare and not UBI, only UBI and not healthcare, both, or neither.
If need any reference, PDF you can use as one of it.