I've been paying some slight attention to the campaigning down south, partly because I'm worried, partly because a lot of those on my f-list are worried, and partly because it's long since descended into utter lunacy and it's funny.
I mean, "Bush looks like a monkey!" "Yeah, well, Kerry looks French!" is not exactly scintillating debate, people.
And then there's the whole Nader problem, which is also stupid. Everyone's afraid he'll steal away votes from Kerry, and you Americans will be stuck with another election like the last one. And, okay, ignoring for the moment recounts and court orders and general chaos, what happened was that Bush got about 48% of the vote, Gore got about 48% of the vote, and Nader got a little over 2% of the vote. And then Bush was president, and That was That.
'K. Now, that, right there, is the problem with the Winner-Take-All election approach. It only, only, works for a two party system. In Canada, there's, um, more than two anyway. Four or five country-wide political parties, IIRCC, and then extra bits like the Marijuana party and such. People put together new ones if they can't find any that they agree with, and old parties fade and die, and they steal each other's demographic all the time.
So, in Canada, having the winning party obtaining less than 50% of the vote is not all that unusual. We even have a phrase for it: Minority Government. And, what happens in a Minority Government is that the political parties with the most in common team up. So if, just for an example, our ostensibly left-centrist Liberal party won the election with 37%, they'd make a compromise with the leftist NDP (16%) so they'd have enough seats to put through their decisions.
If, however, the Conservatives had won this year's election with 37%, the Liberals would have still teamed up with the NDP (and the Bloc and the Green party, I'm sure. We've got pretty much just the one right wing party), and when that government would have tried to put forward a bill to, say, take back Gay Marriage from the provinces that have it (or whatever), they'd have been blocked 'cause they'd only have 37% of the votes.
And then the government would fall apart, and we'd have a new election. Minority Governments, historically, do not have a very long life span.
And something similar should have happened in the States, really. I know you guys have other checks and balances, but unless I'm just not understanding your system (very possible), you're kind of stuck with just the two parties you have now - forever and ever unless something drastic happens.
And, BTW, the one time a Canadian political party (then in charge) made fun of the opposition leader's appearance, there was such a backlash that the then opposition is *still* in power. Just a thought.
Next time: GO fic!