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The United States has third parties libertarian. Green working families and more but none of them much matters at the federal level and many Americans don't feel well represented by either of the two major parties that alienating played a huge role in two thousand sixteen election making way for Bernie Sanders surprisingly good showing in the Democratic primary and even more so donald trump's shocking nomination the nation as the Republican candidate Lee Druckman is a political scientist at the new America. Think tank and he has a new book out called breaking the two party. Doom loop Lee thinks that it's both desirable and realistic for new parties. Spring up here in the United States and joins us now Lee. Welcome to the argument. Hey it's a it's a real pleasure to be here with you. We're going to try something new here in which you take a few minutes to lay out your argument without our interrupting and then Ross Michelle and I I will argue with you about it so we can make the case for third parties. The case I wanNA make is for proportional system of voting that allows for third parties to compete without being spoilers and to turn America into a multiparty democracy. Now I think the greatest threat to our democracy democracy right now is the hyper partisanship that is destroying our political institutions and breaking the shared sense of fairness and legitimacy that democracy mcreavy depends on splitting the nation essentially into this is not a sustainable situation. And it's really a feature of our two party system for for most of our political history. Those parties were overlapping. And we had something more like a multiparty democracy and I think that worked well with our institutions Russians which demand broad compromise and coalition building. And it's only really in the nineties that that kind of fell away and I would say by twenty ten We we had that dreaded. Two party system doesn't work with our institutions doesn't represent the diversity of America and it deprives a Lotta people of a meaningful vote because it means that most districts are lopsided One way or the other now the system that I propose We switched to is a system system that has been used in Australia has been used in Ireland and that would create modest multiparty democracy probably about four to six parties. It would mean multi member the district for the house combining The single district's now into probably districts of three to five members and ranked choice voting which is a system that ATN is now used in Maine New York City a bunch of other places in which voters get to rank their preferences and Candidates get eliminated from the bottom up until There are in a in a five winner system five winners in a single winner system one majority winter and I think it's totally a a feasible thing to do. We're we're seeing it in some cities and when I think about the broad history of American democracy I I see that we I've had these moments of of the reform. They've happened at times in which people have been incredibly frustrated with the status quo and I believe we can do it again. And I don't think there should be ARATU cool idea. Most countries around the world Most democracies use proportional voting systems. They have multiparty democracy's we had the Multi Party democracy within our two party system for a long time and that was the period in which American democracy worked reasonably well so the the truly radical experiment that we're running thing is having a genuine two party system with two parties representing fundamentally different values fundamentally different geographies and forcing every American to to make an artificially binary choice and so on and the system you imagine. Eat No five districts in Texas that right now all elect Republicans It might be that they said one Democrat and that the Republicans they now send become you know maybe there was Donald Trump Republican party and more of a Paul Ryan Republican Party and and and it would look more like that. I think that's that's exactly right. We would see probably a fracture into two or three parties on the right two or three parties on the left and then the parties would come together and build different coalitions on different issues and I think that would create a system in which. There's not one party that feels like it runs the risk of being permanently in the minority and not one party that that is trying to always try to win that elusive permanent majority and so much of the problem in our system. Is that neither party has a clear winning majority and both parties. Feel that if they fight hard enough they can be the majority and if they don't fight hard enough they're going to be in the permanent minority. So I I would say ninety. Five percent agree with Lee People who listen to this show before know that I've spoken really negatively about third parties because I think that within our system is currently constituted they can only play assertive nihilistic spoiler role and ensure that you know by voting third third party you make it more likely that the person who's ideologically farthest from you gets elected but yes if you have ranked choice voting in particular then it. It makes voting third-party feasible in Strategic and Multi member districts address. What I think is one of the biggest problems in American politics which is serve the increasing tendency towards minority rule by a rural wait a minority that is advantaged both by the structure of the Senate and the Electoral College but also just by the way that the populace is spread out so that you have kind of people in the cities really concentrated and Democrats and Democrats everywhere else Sort of impotent. Because you know if you're forty percent of a population you get zero representation but all that said what. I'm not sure I buy is the argument that it makes us less polarized because one thing that the two parties seem to do is sort of forced worst people who might be on the ideological edges into some sort of coalition before voting happens right so if there was is multi party democracy. Wouldn't you have a much bigger. You'd have much bigger kind of socialist representation and also probably a much. Bigger are far right nationalist style. You know kind of Marine Le Pen style party. I think all of that is true that you would have a broader diversity city of representation in Congress but I do think that there are some advantages to that One is that more people would feel represented and and the the big difference. Is that if you all. Politics is coalition building. And either you form the The coalition's before the election or after the election in multiparty democracy you form the coalition's after the election and what it means is that the coalition's can be more fluid inflexible We have two coalitions. Now they are distinct and non overlapping and there is very little flexibility in those coalitions. They're very rigid aged and neither has a clear majority in multiparty systems. You can form different coalitions at different times and those coalitions have to represent an actual majority now in the US. By winning. A plurality of a of a plurality party donald trump got total power and managed managed to take over the entire Republican Party and in the proportional systems in western Europe. Certainly there are far right parties but but they only wind up getting about fifteen percent of the vote and they don't go into coalition in government. Because nobody wants to form a coalition with them but to be but to be clear. I I mean a proportional system would change the way we elect. Congress wouldn't change the way we like the president would it No not immediately I. The president is still going to be of of one party but I think the president would have to get a majority in Congress and that would require more work. in a multi-party system. But it also would mean that if the other coalition was wasn't power in Congress the president wouldn't Defaced automatic gridlock that there'd be more bargaining and perhaps more coalition cabinets even And I think it would mean that Congress would be much stronger as an institution Shen because Congress In the in this two party system congress is either of the same party as the president in which case they just defer power entirely to the president or Congress of the opposite party of the president. In which case it's all gridlock and opposition which actually winds up just forcing the president to do stuff by executive action. So I think we'd have a system that is more like the system we had from been sixty s to the late eighties in which presidents built majorities in Congress. Congress was a strong institution committee base and we had a lot of landmark legislation during that period. Passed with broad bipartisan majorities. He's and and I would argue that because we had something more like a four party system during that period with liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats Alongside Liberal Democrats. Let's and conservative Republicans. And that's what I'm trying argue that we should have again. It's just that we can't get to it within our existing testing system of single winner first-past-the-post elections i. I WanNa talk a little bit about the comparison to Europe And and I should say that I would be delighted to have a multi-party system but it it seems to me that if you look at the very different electoral systems of western Europe right right now. They are in ways. That are sort of specific to Europe reproducing. A lot of the same political polarization that we have in the United States just Great Britain for instance has effectively a three party system with new parties popping up on the edges and it has just endured kind wrenching constitutional crisis and a period of total gridlock. It seems to me that reflects these sort of deep similarities between Western in countries where they're all increasingly polarized between kind of metropolitan liberalism. And a sort of blue collar hinterland conservatism. That feels left behind by globalization in various ways and that manifest itself differently in different places but in each country. It's the reason for for the rise of populism is the reason for polarization and so on and I guess my main skepticism about your proposal is it just seems to me quite likely that part of our polarization really reflects real polarization and not just a sort of something that's imposed by the particular accuser system. That we happen to have. Yeah I think that's It's fair to say that Western democracies are experiencing a lot of the same Issues and a lot of it stems from the urban rural polarization Now I think the the question then becomes what what political system is most likely to reach a resolution on these conflicts and the UK has the same first-past-the-post voting system. So it's basically basically a two party system with a with a few smaller parties that are spoilers and and and it it empowers minority rule the Conservatives won the last election with like forty three percent of the vote and yet they get total power. And it's reproducing the same binary conflict in the US. Now we go to continental Europe with with multiparty systems. And what you see..

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