There is a general consensus that Washington is badly broken. Little gets done, and the public is angry and frustrated by this gridlock. Many politicians talk about trying to end gridlock, but more often than not their solution is to elect more rigidly partisan politicians to fight for their narrow set of ideas. Unfortunately, this only causes more fighting and even less gets done. Partisanship is out of control, and starting to have a negative impact on the nation. There needs to be some way to break out of this viscous cycle.
I have a number of ideas about how to do this, but the main solution, in my opinion, is to restructure our elections to allow the meaningful participation of third parties. I discuss this in detail below, but the first thing we need to understand is the root causes of the problems of partisanship.
Essays on Destructive Partisanship
I explore some of the causes of extreme partisanship in the following essays:
The Roots of Poisonous Partisanship: what is it in American culture and politics that has created the current out of control partisanship? This essay explores some of the causes.
The Roots of Conservative Rage: This essay focuses on how and why conservatives have gotten so angry that they are unable to work with liberals.
Reductio ad absurdum: Our national political debate has gotten so silly and simplistic that it is difficult to address solutions to real problems in a meaningful way.
The Destructive Duality: Every issue in politics is placed in an arbitrary, erroneous, and destructive duality of liberal versus conservative, Democrat versus Republican.
The Plan to End Partisanship
Partisanship is not just a political problem. As noted in a few of the previous essays, it is also a cultural and media problem. We tend to treat every issue as if it were a simplistic head to head fight, and we tend to treat every political or public policy issue as if it were a fight between the Democrat’s position and the Republican’s position. This is silly. In my opinion the best way to get past this destructive duality, and simplistic partisanship is by recreating the political systems that we once had in this country that allowed third parties to exist.
There are two major components to my proposal:
1. Create multi-seat Districts and allow proportional voting.
This will allow minor or third party candidates to win elections. This was the system in place in many states in the early days of the nation, and existed in some states until the 1960’s.It is time to restore that system. For more, click: Multi-Seat Districts.
This system will not work in some states that have only one or two Representatives. So in order to make the system work better I also propose increasing the number of Representatives.
2. Increase the Number of members of the House of Representatives.
The Framers envisioned that the number or members of the House of Representatives would increase as the population of the nation increased. This happened after every census in U.S. history until the 1920 census. Since then the number of Representatives has remained stuck at 435. The United States, which was once one of the most representative of all Western Democracies, is now one of the least representative. It is time to restore the framer’s vision and increase the number of members of the House of Representatives. To find out more, click: Increase the number of Representatives.
A Few Minor Ideas for Reducing Partisanship
The following ideas would go a long way to reducing the extreme and destructive level of partisanship in the nation. But I honestly do not think that they are sufficient, which is why I have developed my more detailed and extreme plan to end partisanship, which is set out below.
Eliminate Gerrymandering: Gerrymandering, or drawing political districts of bizarre shapes to create safe political districts, contributes to the poisonous atmosphere in American politics. Safe districts allow more partisan (read extreme) candidates to win because there is no need to appeal to voters of other political persuasions. I am proposing a Constitutional Amendment to eliminate partisan redistricting, which is the cause of gerrymandering.
The learn more, click: Eliminate Gerrymandering (Coming Soon)
Right to Vote Amendment: I support a pending bill in the House of Representatives to amend the Constitution to explicitly include a right to vote. This would make it difficult for state politicians to enact laws burdening the right to vote.
To learn more, click: The Right to Vote (Coming Soon)
National Popular Vote: I support pending legislation to ensure that the Presidency goes to the candidate that wins the majority of the popular vote. This bill would eliminate the Electoral College. This would significantly alter the dynamics of Presidential elections, and would force candidates to campaign around the country rather than focusing on a handful of battleground states.
To learn more, click: National Popular Vote (Coming Soon)
Modified Term Limits: I do not support strict term limits because it would shift power from elected representatives to lobbyists and bureaucrats. But I do support a modified version of term limits where a Senator could serve no more than two consecutive terms or a Representative serve more than five consecutive terms. But after sitting out an election they could run again. This would reduce the power of incumbency in elections, but would not strip the elected legislative branch of needed expertise.
To learn more, click: Term Limits Without Drawbacks.