Regular readers know I believe the two-party system in America is one of the root causes of the country’s many political problems: extreme partisanship (but weak parties), polarization, a politicization of the judiciary and an unwillingness by lawmakers to rein in presidents of their own party, to name the four most urgent.
What are moderates to do? I propose reform.
- Multi-member congressional districts, ranked-choice voting or French-style runoffs would allow third parties to thrive without playing spoiler and encourage politicians to appeal to the center rather than the extreme wings of their parties.
- Taking judicial appointments out of the hands of politicians (in most other democracies, judges appoint their own) could help depoliticize the judiciary and take the sting out of the culture war that keeps the two-party system in place.
- Shifting power to more populous states would help shrink the rural-urban divide — another cleavage of the culture war — and could make Republicans competitive again in the cities. Reform of the Senate is probably a bridge too far, but the Electoral College, which gives an unfair advantage to sparsely populated states, could either be abolished or expanded to more accurately reflect where Americans live.
Ideally, these various changes would break up the Democratic-Republican duopoly. Countries in Northwestern Europe prove that multiparty democracy produces better outcomes. Read more “Moderates in America Should Not Give Up on Political Reform”