Tom Edsall NYT column:
Has a bloc of voters emerged that is not only alien to the American system of governance but toxic to it?
“The central weakness of our political system now is the Republican Party,” Daniel Ziblatt, a political scientist at Harvard, said in an interview with Vox on Jan. 13, a week after the storming of the Capitol.
“The American Republican Party looks like a European far-right party,” Ziblatt continued. “But the big difference between the U.S. and a lot of these European countries is that the U.S. only has two parties and one of them is like a European far-right party. If the G.O.P. only controlled 20 percent of the legislature, like you see in a lot of European countries, this would be far less problematic — but they basically control half of it.”
A central question, then, is how distant from the rest of the American electorate the voters who align themselves with the radical wing of the Republican Party are….
Several political scholars and strategists argue that the fault lies in our political system, that the unique way America has combined its government structure with the mechanics of its elections serves to exacerbate conflict in a deeply polarized country. These scholars have produced a variety of proposals, many involving the creation of multi-member congressional districts and the encouragement of proportional representation to replace the current single district, winner-take-all system.
Gretchen Helmke, a political scientist at the University of Rochester, wrote that Bright Line Watch — a group of political scientists that conducts surveys of experts and the general public — found that there was
quite strong support among political scientists for the proposal to repeal the 1967 law mandating single member districts for the House so that states have the option to use multi-member districts on the condition that they adopt a nonwinner-take-all election model. Of the more than 500 expert respondents, 73 percent either moderately or strongly supported the proposal.