America’s electoral system is essentially first-past-the-post. Some experts believe that this has contributed to strengthening the current two-party system. As this system comes under more scrutiny for being broken and leading to political and legislative processes out of touch with ordinary citizens, there are more and more expert voices questioning if it wouldn’t be much better to adopt a proportional representation system. This article in the McGill International Review is by Amy Rosenbluth, Max Clark:
Political polarization is at its worst in the United States since the Civil War. This polarization, among many other factors, has been driven in large part by the two-party system, wherein the current electoral rules —First Past the Post for Congress and the Electoral College for the Presidency — have encouraged the growth of two dominant parties with which fewer voters truly identify.
In addressing this issue, an interesting hypothetical comes to mind: what would come of our political climate if tomorrow, the US passed legislation to reform the executive and legislative branches into a proportional representation system? A system where the Presidency becomes diminished in importance, akin to Austria or India; with Congress becoming a unicameral legislature where national vote share determines the number of seats a party wins? What are the potential outcomes of this fundamental shift in governance, and would essentially abolishing the two-party system amount to a net positive or negative?
Read the full article here. For more information on election methods, Democracy Chronicles conducted an exclusive interview series with an international group of election method proponents including prominent signers of the Declaration of Election-Method Reform Advocates. The best place to start off is the Democracy Chronicles introduction and then take a look at each of these interviews:
- Richard Fobes – Election Method Reformer Speaks With DC
- Aaron Hamlin – Interview With President of Center for Election Science
- Andrew Jennings – Redistricting, Vote Splitting and Honest Voting
- augustin – Writer Discusses Election Reform and New Website
- Michael Allen – Election Method Reformer Seeks Radical Changes
- Jameson Quinn – Election Expert Discusses Reform in US and Guatemala
- Michael Ossipoff – Democracy Chronicles Author Discusses Approval Voting
- Robert Bristow-Johnson – Expert Demands Reducing Money in Elections