Governance

Electoral College - Is It Time To Get Rid Of It?

Abstract

We know United States as a leading democracy in the world.  However, closer examination of its presidential election process reveals that, at a minimum, it is a severely flawed democracy.  It breaks the basic tenet of democracy - giving equal weight to each citizen’s vote. This paper highlights the problems, and points out a solution to make the US a true democracy.

Key Points:

  1. Electoral College gives undue extra weightage to smaller, less populous states. For example, a vote by a Wyoming resident is more than 3.5 times as valuable and effective as one by a California resident.

  2. With “winner-takes-all” rules practiced by 48 states and District of Columbia, election outcome in most states is almost pre-determined. In practice, this essentially leaves “democracy” in the hands of voters in only a handful of so-called “battleground” states with less than 25% of the national voter population.

  3. With extreme polarization (as is fairly commonplace these days), outcome of an election boils down to the “swing voters” in these battleground states. That is about 8% of the national voter population!

  4. It is theoretically possible for a US president to get elected with less than 23% (yes, twenty three percent) of the popular vote.

  5. “Winner-takes-all” severely handicaps and restricts attempt by any legitimate third-party candidate. It thus perpetuates the two-party domination of American politics.

  6. “Winner-Takes-All” should be abolished by all states.

Read our paper on Electoral College.

Video

The following video clip is from a presentation made at Parents' Weekend at Sierra Nevada College on October 13, 2012.

 

Term Limits – Should They Be Abolished OR Adopted Broadly?

Abstract

At present, the only significant position in any of the three branches of United States government with a term limit is that of the US president – a maximum of two 4-year terms.  There is a widespread belief and movement to introduce terms limits to other positions at federal, state, and city levels of government, ostensibly to improve governance.  This paper examines pros and cons of term limits and concludes that governance is likely to improve if term limit on the US presidency is removed and the movement to expand term limits to other positions is abolished.  Instead, the paper suggests, other safeguards and procedures can and should be introduced to achieve improvement in governance at all levels.

Key Points:

  1. Most people who favor term limits do so to avoid being stuck with a bad leader for too long.

  2. There are better, more democratic and civil ways – for example “motion of no-confidence” as practiced in many other successful democracies - to get rid of a bad or incompetent leader. In fact, this process allows for removing a leader even before his/her term is over.

  3. An obvious and significant downside of term limits is that it restricts good leaders from staying and serving beyond their limited term.

  4. Term limits also discourage leaders from taking on issues that are particularly thorny and have payoffs only in the long term well beyond their maximum term. We believe this is one of the main reasons issues like Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid have not been addressed for a very long time.

  5. Term limits should be abolished. Instead, easier and quicker procedures for recalling politicians should be adopted. This will also have an indirect effect of reducing influence of money in politics by shortening election cycles.

Read our paper on Term Limits.

 

Other Governance-related Topics We Plan To Address In The Future

    Lobbying and Effect of Money

    Role of Federal vs State vs City Governments

    We Welcome Other Suggestions from YOU!

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