Washington, D.C. — A new report from the Center for American Progress examines some of the most fundamental problems with the nation’s electoral system and recommends better ways to promote effective, representative government.
The report describes how states and localities—from Alaska and Maine to Nevada and Oregon—are embracing a range of solutions to improve how we elect public officials. These include fusion voting, ranked-choice voting, primary election reform, and methods of proportional representation.
Reforms such as these could help address two fundamental problems with the U.S. electoral system. First, our current electoral rules discourage problem-solving and reward conflict, because candidates are incentivized first and foremost to appeal to their own partisan base. Second, the current system often does not represent the country well, squeezing out political moderates and excluding diverse voices that don’t squarely fit within either political party.
“It’s clear that the current winner-take-all electoral system is a big part of what’s driving the dysfunction in American Politics,” said Alex Tausanovitch, a senior fellow at CAP and author of the report. “It’s time to experiment with electoral reforms that have the potential to break through political gridlock, reduce partisan animosity, and encourage lawmakers to solve the nation’s problems—to represent the American people instead of attacking each other.”
Unless the rules change, the report warns, American politics will remain a bitterly partisan exercise where two parties remain locked in ideological conflict and are only sporadically able to get things done.
Read the report: “It’s Time to Talk About Electoral Reform” by Alex Tausanovitch
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