“The False Promise of Party-Centric Reform”

Seamus Allen:

But what change to pursue? For the vast majority of the public, the end goal is clear: we want a democracy that provides representation for all. To accomplish that, the US needs to adopt some form of proportional representation (PR). How PR is to be achieved, however, is an open question.

In recent months, a conversation has ensued among a group of political scientists and democracy advocates centered around the dichotomy of “party-centric” reform vs. “candidate-centric” reform. There are compelling reasons to believe this dichotomy is a false one, since a number of democracies around the world as well as US states have strong political parties even as voters select individual candidates. Even so, it is worthwhile to examine the political viability of the party-centric approach.  Should this become a guiding philosophy for the reform movement, it ought to be one that allows us to seize this moment and make lasting change. 

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