Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Not A Lament - More An Explanation

Our country was not designed to be a two party system. This system organically grew out of a "first past the post" system, and now the two party system and the governmental rigidity each feeds the other. Let me explain my thinking.

If you think about it, most other countries do not have a two party system. Why? Well, most countries (including those like Japan and Germany where the United States personnel helped write the rules) allow collations to run the government. In a proportional system, national elections usually award more than 1 seat per "district".

Let's take an example like Florida. They have 27 House Members (16R 11D) - 6% of the US House of Representatives. Each one is elected in a single district with the person who gets the most votes winning. 

Now let's pretend we are in Germany. Those 27 members may be elected from only 5 districts with each of the top 5 or 6 vote getters becoming representatives. In this case, you might easily become a Representative with only 10% of the vote (or less). This allows for parties that are more narrow and that might favor conservative economic values and liberal social values (or vice versa).

Once they get to the legislature, these minor parties (think The Greens, or Libertarians) can form blocks that help the most popular items pass.

Other countries (like Israel) don't have districts at all. You vote for a party or slate of representatives in the nation. After the election, the government awards each party a proportional number of representatives (although you have to get at least 3.5% of the vote to get a representative).

In these cases you get more parties and they have to work together to build a coalition. And there is a price for failure.

In most countries (including the UK, which looks a bit more like the United States in its elections), the length of the government varies. If a government introduces a bill that doesn't become law, the government can fall. This happens when a serious issue doesn't have the backing of all the coalition and doesn't pass or when a party calls for a "vote of no confidence" and the coalition doesn't win.

But in our system, failure has no cost. We use Congressional losses as a catalyst for anger, money drives and posturing.


So, if a new party - let's make up the Jackalopes of the western states that want public land turned over from the federal government to the states want to run candidates in Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and Montana. To get any into the legislature, they have to get 51% of the vote in a district. And then, in Congress, they have no natural allies.

But let's say the Jackalopes run in Germany. If they get 15% of the vote they would get a fair number of representatives in Congress. This is literally how the Greens started in Germany. A tiny party that cared about nature and grew and grew.

Now our Jackalopes are in Congress. Maybe only 10 of them out of 435. But if there are tight votes, then our Jackalopes can help, sot hey mitigate the divide. Now the winning party has to bet things done.

The United States system REWARDS not getting things done. And so, they don't get done.

Tomorrow - Why Most Countries Don't Have a President.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting, jackalopes sound better thsn the jackasses that are there now’

    ReplyDelete

What is too much Taylor Swift

 This much ... when the singer is used to send a message about POSSIBLE future problems?