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View Full Version : Election Reform: Is it time for supermajority or coalition style government?


Acid Lamp
08-23-2011, 07:21 AM
"the will of the people". "The people have spoken", etc... We hear this a lot these days from politicians and talking heads, but I'm not certain we are truly reflecting anything remotely akin to a real representation. Now in a small town with only a couple of hundred or even a few thousand residents, it could be safely said that a candidate who wins with 55 % of the vote is reflecting a reasonable accounting of the politics of the region. It is probably likely that the opposition was not terribly different in viewpoints anyway, both being locals who share a similar subculture and values set.

However, it just doesn't scale up.

As a whole we are so diverse, culturally, ethnically, politically, etc that it can hardly be fairly stated that in districts of hundreds of thousands, and over 300 million as country that a 51% victory is reflecting anything meaningful. Add in the divisiveness of politics and perhaps it is time for a change.

I suggest the following: For all congressional and presidential elections a candidate must win a super majority of no less than 66% of the vote to be elected as the sole holder of the office. Those elections that do not produce a widely supported candidate should then be co chaired by the two highest scoring candidates as a joint coalition.

Coalition seats need not be represented in session by both persons, but votes must include the non present member. Given today's technology this is possible with minimal fuss and expense. Further, in positions like state governor, joint resolutions must be passed. Legislation cannot take effect without agreement between the chairs.

Now I expect that such a system would handicap the effectiveness of government in some respects, but I suggest to you that it would produce a more moderate, accurate representation of the will of the electorate while preventing the most egregious abuses of power.

For example, If we had Joint Presidents, congress would be foolish to waste time making political statements with legislation since they likely have a guy in office already. There is no point in grandstanding. Instead, they are going to produce legislation that should be far closer to meeting with wide approval. Lefties won't get anything overly left passed, and righties will be in the same boat. If they want to avoid that reality, they will need to field a candidate that can win broad support from across the electorate.

Acsenray
08-23-2011, 09:31 AM
This is simply crazy.

Now I expect that such a system would handicap the effectiveness of government in some respects, but I suggest to you that it would produce a more moderate, accurate representation of the will of the electorate while preventing the most egregious abuses of power.


1. It wouldn't just "handicap the effectiveness of government in some respects." It would essentially shut down the government altogether.

2. There are a lot of districts in which candidates routinely win by supermajority. These officials tend to be the most extreme and uncompromising.

3. One of the big problems in our electoral system already is that there is too much insulation between the act of voting and the implementation of policy. This proposal makes the space between the two even larger. If anything, I would suggest the opposite, more of a parliamentary system, in which the majority gets its way until it is voted out of office, combined with a strong party system in which parties choose their candidates (no primaries) and can punish representatives who vote contrary to the party platform. Then you will have a stronger connection between voting and policy. The vote will mean more, people will vote based on the actual policies they favor, and voting a party or coalition out of office will be meaningful.

Acid Lamp
08-23-2011, 10:57 AM
This is simply crazy.



1. It wouldn't just "handicap the effectiveness of government in some respects." It would essentially shut down the government altogether.

2. There are a lot of districts in which candidates routinely win by supermajority. These officials tend to be the most extreme and uncompromising.

3. One of the big problems in our electoral system already is that there is too much insulation between the act of voting and the implementation of policy. This proposal makes the space between the two even larger. If anything, I would suggest the opposite, more of a parliamentary system, in which the majority gets its way until it is voted out of office, combined with a strong party system in which parties choose their candidates (no primaries) and can punish representatives who vote contrary to the party platform. Then you will have a stronger connection between voting and policy. The vote will mean more, people will vote based on the actual policies they favor, and voting a party or coalition out of office will be meaningful.


1. It can't get much worse as it is. I don't really see this idea as increasing the problem, but rather taking away the rewards for patisanship.

2. Agreed, and they should remain so. If the district is won by super, then nothing changes from the current system. Those that are split or blended will be more more accurately represented.

3. That sounds great, but direct democracy doesn't work in large groups. People as a whole are too self serving and short sighted to be trusted with decisions that can affect us for decades to come. It isn't a bad idea, but I'd like to see some heavy checks on time limits for policy implementation. Your system sounds like it would reward rash, reactionary thinking rather than well thought out compromise.

Acsenray
08-23-2011, 11:08 AM
1. Of course it can get much worse than it is. I think you're suffering from a lack of perspective.

2. Your proposal doesn't "take away the rewards for partisanship" at all, so far as I can tell.

3. Supermajority districts are part of the problem and you're proposing them as a solution. Rather, I would take redistricting out of the hands of the people who are directly affected by it and instead require that districts be drawn geographically and blind to the political leanings of individual residents.

4. I'm not advocating "direct democracy." I'm advocating a system in which voting for a particular representative has direct policy implications. Give the majority the power to implement its agenda and people will decide very quickly whether they want to keep that majority.

5. "Heavy checks"? We have a surfeit of checks on our government. In order for them to be held accountable, they have to actually have the ability to act. The more you restrict their policy implementation power, the less accountable they will be.

6. Proportional representation with top-off from party lists and instant-runoff preference voting would work a lot better than what you're suggesting. In fact, I think that what you're suggesting wouldn't work at all.