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Direct vs. Proportional Representation

Imaginedangerous posted this thread...
Feb. 14, 2013 at 9:59 pm

We talked about this in my Political Science class the other day, and I wanted your guys' opinion.
Direct representation: Each seat in a legislature has a district, and the people in that district choose who fills the seat. This system tends to marginalize third parties and minorities, but it does allow the people to choose their leaders directly. This is the system used by the United States.
Proportional representation: The entire country votes for the entire legislature via parties. If Party A gets 49% of the votes, Party A gets 49% of the seats and chooses who will fill them (with some input from party members and the general public). If Party B gets 26% of the vote, they'll get 26% of the seats; if Party C gets 1% of the vote they'll get one or two seats. This system makes the parties much stronger, but also means that third parties have an actual chance to participate in the political process. Since the parties want to be balanced and put on a good public image, they put many more women and minorities into the legislature. This system is used by Germany and several other European countries (almost all with mulitparty systems).
Discuss. Which is better? Why?

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Feb. 16, 2013 at 6:50 pm

I think the Proportional Representation sounds like a better idea, purely because of the inclusion.  

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Feb. 17, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Scratch that, I just discussed this with my stepdad (who's a history professor) and after some discussion found why proportional representation would not be ideal in all circumstances.
The reason being is that in such a diverse country as America, the amount of third parties and differing opinions would create such a division of legislature that it would not be nearly as efficient.  
So basically it would become so split up that nothing would get done.  

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Imaginedangerous replied...
Feb. 17, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Wait... does Congress anything get done now? :)
On the other hand, in proportional representation the parties have a lot more incentive to work together, form coalitions, and tone down extreme rhetoric. You wouldn't see as much gridlock.
That being said, I prefer direct represention just because I prefer being able to choose my leaders directly. If I voted for a party, and then that party picked a person to fill the seat but I didn't like that particular person, there would be nothing I could do. Proportional representation requires voters to put a lot of trust in the party leadership and organization, and I have to admit I have no confidence in either for any American party.

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Eceerb9 replied...
Feb. 18, 2013 at 12:44 pm

lol, true true.  
I agree with your last sentiment especially, I don't have very much faith in any of the American Parties at the moment.  (Or the politicians themselves for that matter)

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