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I posted a couple of long comments on the differences between political participation in the US and Europe in that thread. The meaning of party registration is one of them.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:23:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I also made the point above in the story.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:30:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It must be frustrating to have elections you are not allowed to participate in.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:41:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If they wanted to, they'd joined said party.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:43:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But they told me that joining a party isn't just a matter of registering, but you have to pay dues and be active in the party.  I think it is insane that you have to pay a party money to be able to vote.  Insane.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:48:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean, is it that you guys really don't care who the candidates are or have you just given up on the idea that you should be allowed to pick them?  So passive...

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:49:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why should voters in general be called on to pick a party's candidate?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:52:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Uh, so people like Hillary Clinton don't end up running the country?  (I don't know what the equivalent candidate is in France.)  So the people have a say.  So that political parties represent the will of the people and not the will of career politicians.  

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:57:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Imagine:

  • If the Democrats would be like an European party and party members rather than Beltway idiots would pick the leader, Hillary wouldn't stand a chance.

  • Even if yes, if the USA would have an at least partially proportional system, voters would be able to pick from more than two candidates in the elections.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:02:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
<sigh> Is this going to be another America/ Europe scrap?
<sigh>
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:03:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is important, both for Americans and Europeans, to understand that things don't need to be the way they are.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:05:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sigh, sorry I dare bring up anything that makes France look bad.  Mea Culpa.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:05:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It makes France look different. You still haven't explained why it's "good" that the Secretary of State has the political affiliation of every registered votter on file.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:08:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't change the subject, Mig.  It makes France look bad that people have to pay to vote in the primaries.  Or are we all going to pretend that charging a fee to vote is a good thing?  

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:11:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Which part of "an internal party selection process is not an open primary" don't you understand?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:22:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No no, do not apologise. You raise valid points.

The thing is that this is not a primary, it is an internal process of an european party.

Because we are in general not restricted to choose between two parties, choosing the candidates is seen as a legitimate internal process. If the parties choose the wrong candidates you can simply vote for another party.

In the french presidential election round one of the elections is more like your primaries as it is (generally, though I assume that you win it all if you get more then 50% in round one) there the two main competitors are elected. Of course, this has it drawbacks too (need I mention Le Pen?).

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:16:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Also allow to apologize for boring you with my concerns.  I happen to think they are valid and important but you are certainly entitled to your own opinions...

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:14:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Methinks afew expressed fear of another shouting match with people feeling hurt.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:34:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's exactly what I was hoping we might avoid.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:40:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of Europe doesn't have a first past the post electoral system. Or a district-based system at all. This changes pretty much everything, in terms of political calculation.

There is always a risk of a 'breakthrough'. An equivalent of Ross Perot anno MCMXCII would earn 20% of the parliamentary representation in most of Europe. And hang on to it for up to four years. This is sort of what happened with Pim Fortuyn in the Netherlands in 2002. Keeps politicians on their toes.

(Except Fortuyn was murdered and his party subsequently ousted after barely a year. But had he lived he might have hung on to those seats).

A system of proportional representation makes open primaries largely redundant, and maybe even dangerous.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 08:17:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I'm not a socialist.
by glomp on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:15:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why? How else is a party going to support itself if it's not through membership dues?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:56:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Have the dues, but don't require people pay to vote!  I guess because I am American it's implicitly a bad idea...

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:00:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You require people to pay dues to be a party member, and you require party membership to vote in the party's internal selection process.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:01:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It has nothing to do with requiring people to pay to vote.

This is an internal party primary in which card-carrying members of the party choose the party's candidate. To be a member, you pay a membership fee. You also don't just show up and take out a card to be able to vote. You have to be a member from before (I don't remember which date) and to have met and introduced yourself to your local party section so you are known in the party as a member.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:08:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To supplement afew: in Europe parties are supposed to be about groups of people sharing an ideology or general outlook. It's not for anyone to vote on who represents their views best. If someone doesn't feel represented, s/he could (in theory) form his/her own party. (In practice though, a lot of less obvious obstacles exist.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:11:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it is insane that you have to pay a party money to be able to vote.  Insane.

Why?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:00:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pay to vote?  What if a person can't afford it?  Who represents the poor?

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:01:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Nobody represents the poor. Who represents the poor in the US? A poor candidate getting poor votes?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:03:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No one has top fucking pay to vote, that's for sure.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:05:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A distinction without a difference.

Well, actually, a very big difference. Primaries are "free" for voters, but they are hardly free for the contestants. In addition to which, in the US, actually getting the central party blessing requires a combination of money-generating prowess and ass-kissing, toe the corporate line behavior, demonstrated over a significant period of time. US federal candidates, if they want to stand a chance, bascially have to take a catamite aptitude test, pass it, then hope no one else passed it better.

What's more, this is just the PS internal selection. Nothing stops a candidate from the PS to present himself in the presidential even if they lose here, there's been especially worries about Fabius in this regard. And running as an independent (ie non PS, UMP or a la limite the PCF, the Greens or the UDF) of modest means in France does not mean you are consigned to the dustbin of electoral hopes. Speaking for the left, in the first round in '02, the PS standard bearer got 16% of the vote, PCF and Greens another 7 or 8, and left splinters (Laguiller, Chevenement, et c) got actually like 20%. And that vote, the "real" left primary, was indeed free.

Additionally, you don't have to be a millionaire to get into the Senate in France, though it doesn't necessarily hurt. In the US, being a regular guy, as opposed to wealthy, is the exception, not the rule at nearly all levels of Federal politics.

Unsurprisingly no one has represented the poor in the US since roughly 1968.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 05:31:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But you have to tell the government your political affiliation.

Now seriously, can you explain the difference between

  • registered Democrat voter
  • Democrat donor
  • Democrat activist/volunteer
  • Democratic Party "member" (card-carrying?)
  • What is the DLC?

Is there anything to prevent someone who is not a registered democrat from running in the Democratic party primary? The way I see it, the Democratic Party primary is about winning the party's endorsement. You can see how much that was worth to Lieberman, who still went on to win as an independent and caucus with the Dems retaining his seniority.

If you want the Socialist [or any other] Party candidate to represent you, you join the party [which may or may not include paying dues]. If none of the parties' candidates represents you, you can form your own party.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Nov 17th, 2006 at 04:01:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But you have to tell the government your political affiliation.

That bothers me, too. Also, it semi-institutionalises the two-party system.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Nov 18th, 2006 at 11:54:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The poor people's party. It is down to the party's internal rules how much and who should pay. (Communist parties of course allow the poor in.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:03:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Regarding differences between the internal rules of parties, I note the German Greens have a much looser structure than other parties, and only around 3,000 card-carrying party members but much more activists, who can take part in the party's life.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:05:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]

I think it is insane that you have to pay a party money to be able to vote.  Insane.

You don't pay to vote. You pay to be a member of a party, and then yo uget to participate in that party's internal decisions.

Voting for candidates is free. You don't need to be supported by a big party to get votes. In 2002, the two candidates from the 2 big parties got 36% of all the votes.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 05:56:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not an election, it's an internal party selection process.

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:55:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He called them "primaries."

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. -Voltaire
by p------- on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 03:58:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With scare quotes.

We also had "primaries" in the Socialist Party in Spain a few years ago. They were only for party members. The PSOE considered opening a register of "sympathisers" but I don't think they ever did.

By the way, why should a primary in the US be restricted by voter registration, and moreover why should people's voter registration be in the election roster?

Those whom the Gods wish to destroy They first make mad. -- Euripides

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:00:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I called them "primaries", so that meant they must be what you know in America as primaries? But the text above specifically explains that is not so. Did you read it?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:22:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It could be frustrating if I were a socialist, which I'm not. Just like I don't want to give socialists the right to influence my baby party's politics, I don't intend to influence theirs.
by glomp on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 04:26:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's the first time any political party in France has ever chosen this route to select its candidate (it used to be done by the apparatus).

It's not an election, it's just one party choosing its candidate via an internal choice. There are plenty of parties in France, and plenty of candidates to vote for in the presidential election (6 or 7 already announced on the left, for instance).

Using the word "primary" was just a way to make it understandable as a concept, but it's not exactly the same process as in the USA. The roles of the various institutions are just so different form country to country, even (especially) in Europe, that it's hard to compare at times.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Nov 16th, 2006 at 05:53:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure I know what you mean by "the apparatus"?  The leadership of the party picked the candidate?

And I don't think it's strange that only party members in good standing pick a party candidate rather than have "primary election" open to anyone. Some states in the US do that by having a caucus system rather than a primary system.  My state used to.  In some ways it was better. You actually had to show up at party meetings and stand up and support someone.  I'm not sure that they checked to make sure you'd payed your dues though.  But I wouldn't have objected if they had.

by Maryb2004 on Sat Nov 18th, 2006 at 12:14:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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