Monday, December 5, 2016

“Political Moneyball: America’s Unfair Elections and the Republicans’ Art of Winning Them” ↦

Jason Kottke shares his thoughts on America’s electoral system (and some great C. G. P. Grey election videos):

More than anything for me, this is the story of politics in America right now: a shrinking and increasingly extremist underdog party has punched above its weight over the past few election cycles by methodically exploiting the weaknesses in our current political system. Gerrymandering, voter suppression, the passing of voter ID laws, and spreading propaganda via conservative and social media channels has led to disproportionate Republican representation in many areas of the country which they then use to gerrymander and pass more restrictive voter ID laws.

Exactly right. Take my home state of Utah as an example. Utah has 4 seats in the federal House of Representatives. Currently, all 4 of those seats are held by Republicans. Utah, while (in)famous for being a “deep red” state, is not 100% Republican. Based on the results of 2016’s statewide elections, Utah is “only” 64%1 Republican. Therefore, at least one of Utah’s seats should be held by a another party, if elections were to be actually representative of the will of the people.

If you, like me, are concerned about where our country is headed after this year’s election, working to defeat Trump in 2020 is simply not enough. Particular candidates like Trump are symptoms of the problem, not the cause. We need to fix America’s democracy at a much more fundamental level than just voting out a specific, distasteful demagogue.

  1. To arrive at the 64% figure, I averaged the percentage of Republican votes for all of the 4 Utah statewide offices up for election in 2016: Governor (66.75%), Attorney General (65.41%), Auditor (63.23%), and Treasurer (61.23%). As of Monday, December 5, 2016, the results have not been certified as final but I don’t think they will change much. I intentionally did not include the presidential race, as Evan McMullin’s independent run split Utah’s Republican votes for president.