“The two-party doom loop”

Lee Drutman and Farbod Faraji Boston Globe oped:

Our antiquated system of single-member, winner-take-all elections — if a candidate wins 51 percent of the vote, she wins 100 percent of the representation — is not up to the extraordinary challenges facing our nation today. The US electoral system needs a more modern system of representation — proportional representation, which elects multiple representatives in each district in proportion to the number of people who vote for them — to better represent both the diversity and pluralism of the nation and, more practically, to allow for more shifting coalitions that could find creative compromises on issues like immigration. Because proportional systems tend to create space for more parties — and more opportunities for fluid coalition-building across them — they are associated with less dangerous degrees of polarization and tend to be at a lesser risk of political violence. Unlike other changes that require constitutional amendments, American elections can switch to proportional representation through a simple statutory change.

By contrast, winner-take-all systems like the United States’ are associated with higher levels of polarization and a greater risk of political violence. Re-legalizing fusion voting — where multiple political parties can nominate the same candidate on the ballot — would also be a powerful step toward a multiparty democracy and would allow for a uniquely American version of proportional representation within the context of existing single-winner elections.

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