it has come to my attention that many of our global neighbors don’t understand why leftists in the u.s. talk about voting for liberals

in the united states there are two mainstream parties. apart from smaller local offices about 99.6% of elected officials represent either the democrats (liberal/left) or the republicans (conservative/right)

in the past 20 years, third-party candidates have won governorships or u.s. senate/rep seats 11 times out of nearly 3000 elections

before the general elections, the two mainstream parties hold ‘primary’ elections to determine which candidates will represent them. in the example of the 2020 presidential race, leftist candidate bernie sanders ran against joe biden but ultimately lost. therefore if history is an indication, joe biden is the left-most candidate with even a sliver of a chance of winning the 2020 presidential election

when voters go to the polls in november they can vote for one (1) presidential candidate

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a lot of other countries have systems like preferential voting which allow for a greater diversity of candidates

i’m not certain exactly why the u.s. system still uses this weird, draconian voting method. if the u.s. were to change to a different voting method, those changes in laws would be enacted by politicians who currently far-overwhelmingly represent the interests of the two major parties

basically the democrats and the republicans hold a duopoly on all the major elections in the u.s.

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the democratic party is traditionally very liberal. most leftist angst in the u.s. electoral system stems from having to demonstrate solidarity with liberals to get democrats elected

leftists candidates do also win democratic primaries though. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib all currently hold seats in the house of representatives via democratic nomination

this month ed markey defeated u.s. royalty joe kennedy iii in the primary for a u.s. senate seat

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@red I would love for the US to have ranked/preferential voting. But you're right that there's no incentive for the major parties to do it if they want to hold onto power, which they of course do :(


... and we in the US would LOVE that to be different, but those same two parties hold the collective monopoly on legally passing the laws that would change that system.

u.s. electoral weirdness 

@red It's tricky because voting systems are determined largely at the state level. Maine recently adopted a ranked-choice system and Massachusetts has a standing proposal for one. But for it to really make a difference in federal elections we have to finally get rid of the Electoral College too

u.s. electoral weirdness 

@lunasspecto @red and we're a couple states away from sorting the electoral college part

@red I don't really understand the modern computer age. Even the process of talking seems far more baroque then when I was young and people took offence if you didn't give them the correct hierachical title. I don't mind getting blocked coz it seems to happen so often. But the last chap before they did so pointed out that Hilary was a fascist also a liberal or neoliberal sometimes called libertarian. So maybe you should define what liberal means these days in amurka. I never found out what Trump

@red Trump was because I got blocked. I don't think it's as simple as people don't understand a two party system. They don't seem to agree on what the choice is between or whether they wish to be part of the system anymore. And it's like asking people to change their religion. They aren't going to be convinced by reasonable arguments or even be interested is such a conversation. I'd love to read something explaining the modern world before it changes the rulz again.

Even using this system, though, other countries do a better job of getting more than 2 parties elected. For example, Canada has single-member ridings for their parliament elected with FPTP, and yet they consistently have more than 2 parties elected. Because if voters were rational, when they think about a "two party system" they'd have to then ask "OK, but what are the 2 parties in *my* district" and no one asks that.


FWIW in my district(s) the answer would probably be Rep & Dem anyhow, but there are some weird districts where one of those two parties doesn't even bother running anyone.

@john one thing i learned while researching for this post was that the democrat and republic parties are kind of like coalitions of different regional parties. for example Ilhan Omar was technically nominated in her state by the minnesota democratic-farmer-labor party which is a merger of the local democratic party and the farmer-labor party, but which is affiliated with the national democratic party


There's also fusion tickets, where the same candidate is nominated by multiple parties, though I think NY may be the only state left doing that.

@john @red

in NY the biggest other players I've seen are the Working Families Party to the left of Democrats and the Conservative Party to the right of Republicans

California got open primaries only after I had moved back away.


"liberal" is a problem. In some contexts it means what some would consider right-wing anarcho-capitalist, laissez faire or libertarian but in North America particularly it is considered left-wing, but what much of the world might describe as social democrats.

Thus US Republicans, UK Conservatives & Australian Liberals might get along on the right while US Democrats, UK Labour & Canadian Liberals on the (ever so slightly and only very relatively) left.

@red I am not convinced that is the problem. Many people follow the US elections and its new coverage. It's one of the few countries where the results are felt to impact other countries. There appears to be a case of if the chap i was cheering for is excluded then I won't support either of the remainders. The choice is not one of grand principle but which old white guy is going to be less misogynistic and racist. So it loses a bit of its charm the US elections that is. But I've seen VEEP

@red And Clint Eastwood was elected Mayor so he could get planning extension on his restaurant. There was a wax works figure of him where tourists could pose for photos. This stuff makes international news.

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