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12 October 2013 @ 08:07 am
I wished we had the British system so we could quick call an election before vast chunks of the electorate forget what turds the Republicans are, but I learned that the British don't have the British system anymore.
Andrew Duckerandrewducker on October 12th, 2013 01:29 pm (UTC)
The problem with the British method was that whoever was in charge had more control over when to call an election, which made it easier for them to hang on to power by playing political games.

Presumably in the US you'd have to get it past both the Senate and the House, and right now they wouldn't be able to do so.
nojaynojay on October 12th, 2013 01:40 pm (UTC)
How often did calling a snap election in the UK actually work for anyone who actually tried it? Maybe one of Maggie's elections was won that way but the other snap elections I have recollections of it was the case that the incumbents were in trouble and decided to roll the dice and they lost, sometimes badly. If things are running smoothly then the temptation to call an election just isn't there, if times are bad and you're being blamed for it then holding an election is going to get you turfed out. The only advantage is when the five-year clock is running out, they can decide to go now if the conditions are good (unemployment low, good wages, no big problems, good weather forecasts) rather than wait until the last minute when things might have changed.
Andrew Duckerandrewducker on October 12th, 2013 01:44 pm (UTC)
Oh yes, I agree. It's not the "We'll call an election after two years" that does it, it's the "We'll call an election at some point in the last 18 months of the term, at the point that's most likely for us to win".
Kalimackalimac on October 12th, 2013 02:09 pm (UTC)
"Striking when the iron was hot" certainly worked in the Khaki Election of 1900, the Coupon Election of 1918, and most famously in the election of 1931 which was called by a coalition government that had come into office promising not to call an election. Also on several later occasions, most notably for Labour in 1966 and 1974, when elections weren't anywhere near due.

Edited at 2013-10-12 02:10 pm (UTC)
John M. Burtjohn_m_burthotm on October 12th, 2013 06:21 pm (UTC)
So, a "snap" election is a lot like a revolution: just because you started it doesn't mean you get to finish it.
Or as they used to say in Russia, a time to separate the mensheviks from the boysheviks.*

*Credit to Richard Armour.

Edited at 2013-10-12 06:22 pm (UTC)
nojaynojay on October 12th, 2013 06:37 pm (UTC)
Occasionally, reading what some incumbents wrote afterwards in their tell-all books, the snap election is a decision that all hope is lost and it's time to give up and go home. They still go through the motions of pretending to want to win the election they just called because that's what they do but sometimes they just know there's no reshuffle or new policy initiative that will stop the pain, the voters aren't going to forgive them and it's time to quit and hand the keys to the Other Guys.
dd-bdd_b on October 14th, 2013 07:39 pm (UTC)
Wait, you mean some of your politicians actually have some insight into how much damage they can do, and care about the health of the country they govern?

How weird!
nojaynojay on October 14th, 2013 07:52 pm (UTC)
Most representatives (aka members of the polity or politicians) are competent, intelligent people who care about what they do and the people they represent. I've seen a few folks comment on how they hate and despise all politicians, apart from their own representative who they think does a decent job in a very tough world since they've actually met them, had them deal with a problem for them, heard them speak at a meeting etc. but as for the rest, well... of course other folks who don't know them regard the same politician as being a stupid hack while giving their own MP or Congressman a pat on the back.

A given politician may have the wrong idea about what their support or opposition for a position will achieve or may be deluding themselves and some are raging egomaniacs and self-publicists but they stand out as exceptions and rarely last. It's not usual for British politicians to be there for the monetary rewards -- an MP's salary is about half that of a US Congressman's and getting elected and being an MP means a lot of hours spent both in the House as well as attending to constituency business. Mostly if they're competent enough to get elected they'd probably do quite well in business or commercial positions earning a lot more with less effort and greater job security.