Friday, July 25, 2014

Fixing the Florida Legislature, pt6

This continues from Part 5.
Or to start from the beginning, here is Part 1.

            In the last entry we used this map.
Still just links to the nursing site.
            And we yielded this chart.
Region                       Seats
-> North West:            11
-> North Central:        15
-> North East:             15
-> East Central:           36
-> West Central:          45
-> South East:             20
-> South West:            12
-> South:                     46­­__
Total                            200

            This was to determine how seats in a hypothetical 200 seat parliament would breakdown in the State of Florida.  But how would those seats break down by party?  Well, there is no easy way to answer that.
            While it is true that Republicans and Democrats are by far the most dominating parties in Florida, with no third party candidate holding any state office, those are not the only parties, they are just the only ones who can win.  As I covered in part 1, the state is carved up to insure each district is distinctly in the favor of one party or the other, and on the macro scale very much titled in favor of Republicans, but part of the glory of parliament politics is that you can have more than two viable parties.
            Currently there are 13 minor parties in the state of Florida, and as I pointed out before in Part 3 more than 20% of people have no party affiliation.  You have America's Party, Constitution Party, Ecology Party, Socialist Workers, Green Party, Independence Party, Independent Party, Justice Party, Libertarian, Socialism and Liberation (the Socialism and Liberation site which is linked is not the same as the dead link on the Division of Elections site list), Peace & Freedom, Reform, and the Tea Party (which considering that their name is supposed to be an acronym, should be listed as TEA or Taxed Enough Already Party, though that linked website seems to be run by a crazy person and I am unsure of his validity, even though it is the listed link for the Florida Division of Elections).

There are more than 3,000,000 voters in Florida that are neither Republicans nor Democrats, and yet there are no 3rd party representatives in either the House or Senate.  Hell, there are more registered Democrats but far less Democratic representatives... That is CORRUPT.
            That also ignores how people just do not bother to vote in state elections.  72% did vote in the 2012 election which was a high for Florida in a historical sense (64%), and compared to the national average of about 60%.  But that is not even 3/4 people who could vote.  It also ignores felons and illegal immigrants which are barred from voting.

            Now there really is no way of knowing how many people refuse or neglect to vote because they see it as pointless or dislike that only the major parties win.  At least you can't tell this without research (that I am willing to do if someone pays me).  But you have to assume that a system in which someone from the Green Party or the Socialists Could win, then they very well Will win (at least occasionally).
            These lesser parties will still not win in great numbers because they lack the national support network of the big two, but they will often enough to grab a few seats, and in some cases they could devastate a big party's chance of taking real control of the state.  The TEA Party could split the Republican party in Florida (though that in turn might make the Republican's a moderate enough choice to draw in more Independents, again there is no clear way to tell).  What could also happen is that several of the third parties could mold into only a handful of larger third parties which would again undercut the big two.
            Now I also mentioned that this in some ways might hurt Florida, the reason is this: on the national stage Florida would be alone, other states would not understand the system, and as a result might have less trust in electing Florida's political representatives to President, or helping them get leverage in the Federal Congress.  Florida currently cultivates certain candidates, you start them off in the House of Representatives, if they show an aptitude you might run them for the Senate position.  Those offices might then be the guys who get drafted to run for the Congress in Washington.  At least that is the hypothetical way of doing things.  If Florida has a fundamentally different system than other places it might hurt the state's credibility as a proving ground for national candidates to the big two parties.
            To put this in perspective, the only other state that would have anything resembling this new Florida Parliament would be Nebraska, which has a unicameral and non-partisan state legislature, it is also the smallest with only 49 members (but there are also less than 2,000,000 people in the state so smallness is less an issue).  Nebraska has not had a serious Presidential contender since Williams Jennings Bryan, who was a third party candidate that supported a more democratic system (more so even than what I am suggesting for Florida).  He was trounced while running for office by bank lobbies because of his ideas on the Gold Standard (a thing we no longer use, but his system might have been worse... So, who knows if that was fair).  Point is, not a lot of executives are elected from states that have unique systems.
            In my mind this is a very thin criticism, I only mention this because I think that it will be a refrain argument from those currently in power as to why they should be allowed to stay in power (the same reason things like the NCAA still exists, people don't want a better system because the old system has a reputation they are holding up as to why they should keep their reputation, rather circular logic).  I actually think the parliament has broader appeal to small parties (which are fringe) and moderates than the current system, because it would allow them to elect candidates that are less likely to pay lip service or simply vote their conscience.  And really if you think that potentially losing a presidency is a reason to derail effective state government, then you are almost certainly someone who thinks they will be running for President one day with Florida as your home state.
            Right now I do not really understand how certain groups vote certain ways because many candidates either do not follow thru with their promises, or are so unwavering that it actually handicaps progress toward those goals (a mentality of, "better nothing than a compromise," a deeply stupid position to take).
            If I were to add one more thing to the system it is this, compulsory voting.  The best way to make sure the system is representing people, is to make those people participate in the system.  It will be difficult, we need to extend early voting, we need to make election days holidays, and we need to make sure that precincts are logically drawn out (good god if anything in the American system's traditions that is more obviously corrupt than the suppression of voter turn out by restricting these things I couldn't find it).
            Ideally the end of the road is a near 100% turn out, with numerous parties that can serve to counter the big two, a system that cannot be unfairly allocated thru creative map manipulation.  How could this not a dream come true for those who want a better democratic government in Florida?

Just for Reference, this is the current Senate map by party.  Those blue districts in the middle of the state are so twisted that they look like little monsters.
            If you have a criticism of what I have written, please comment.  If you like what I wrote, please share this on your various social networks and +1 it on Google+.  I would like more people to be aware of the failings of not only Florida, but State Governments all over the US, and this is as best attempt I can muster to illustrate the problems while still having enough humor that people can stomach reading the whole thing.  Thank you.

No comments:

Post a Comment