Fixing Elections: The Failure of America's Winner Take All Politics

Fixing Elections: The Failure of America's Winner Take All Politics

Fixing Elections: The Failure of America's Winner Take All Politics

Fixing Elections: The Failure of America's Winner Take All Politics

Synopsis

Steven Hill argues that the US geographic-based, Winner Take All political system is at the root of many of America's worst political problems, including poor minority and majority representation, low voter turnout, expensive mudslinging campaigns, congressional gridlock, regional balkanization and the growing divide between city-dwellers and middle-America. Fixing Elections is a refreshing blueprint to resurrect the democratic vision of America's founders by adopting common-sense changes already instituted in other democracies. It will change the way you think about American politics.

Excerpt

Ex Uno Plures

“One System, Two Nations”

UnElection 2000: Paralysis in the Presidency

But the static of UnElection 2000 that hissed in the territories of Bushlandia and New Goreia was just a sideshow for the main event. in the state of Florida, stranger things occurred, courtesy of not only voting machines, but also our Winner Take All voting system.

Recall the taxonomy, so strange and exotic-sounding: Pregnant chad. Butterfly ballots. Dimpled punch cards. Votomatics. the new vernacular and vocabulary will no doubt redound in the national consciousness, history books, and tv game shows for years to come. Glued to our television sets, radios, and Web news pages, we watched the American republic spasming in crisis, as a presidential race hung in the balance in Florida. Ballot after ballot, lawsuit after lawsuit, the nation braced and we held our collective breath, as we lived through another breathlessly historical presidential moment.

The memory of the impeachment trial, which had carved a valley of shadow down the middle of the American soul, still throbbed in the not-so-distant-past. the ghosts of two expunged House Speakers, of relentless congressional investigations unmasked as political muggings, of “drive-by” confirmation hearings—all in all an unsettling decade of partisan civil war that the nation had wished to lay to rest—suddenly was stomping again around the national stage, refusing to the. We wondered if our political institutions, and some sense of our national comity, would survive intact. These kinds of thing aren't supposed to happen here, not to the American democratic paragon, not to the lone remaining superpower, not at this time with the nation enjoying its longest economic expansion in history. What had gone wrong?

The events in Florida were like a national Rorschach test—held up to the national gaze, a person could see anything she or he wanted to see. If you wanted to see Vice President Gore winning, you focused on 19,000 spoiled butterfly ballots in Palm Beach County, on antiquated punch card voting machines in Miami-Dade County that failed to count another 10,000 ballots, or on the fact that Gore won over 500,000 more votes nationwide than George W. Bush. If you wanted Bush to win, you focused on the vagaries of chad and the partisan leanings of Democratic Party county commissioners, holding disputed ballots to the divining light, searching for dispensation for their candidate. Despite being the world's lone remaining superpower, and the most technologically advanced nation in the history of the world, we were not up to the simple task of

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