Chapter 10 The Fair Elections Movement in the United States: What is has done and why it is needed

Strategies for the Present – and Future

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Strategies for the Present – and Future
Many Americans are discontented with electoral politics, but few associate that discontent with one of its root causes: winner-take-all elections. To get people interested in PR, its advocates must convince them that winner-take-all elections are fundamentally inadequate for American politics in the 21st century. To that end, we have taken the lead in exposing the impact of winner-take-all elections on five pillars of a robust democracy: participation, representation, political discourse/campaigns, legislative policy, and national unity, most recently and fully in a book by one of us (Hill 2002). The central argument is that the geographic-based, two-choice/party characteristics of the winner-take-all system is fundamentally flawed and antiquated in the 21st century. This is particularly true as a result of the application of new technology (such as computer mapping of votes used for precise redistricting, and polling and focus groups used in campaigns for slicing and dicing the electorate). In addition, shifting regional and racial demographics have further exacerbated the negative effects of winner-take-all politics on each of the five democracy pillars. It becomes increasingly clear that without moving toward PR, campaign finance reform, the Voting Rights Act and other such democratic reforms, on their own, cannot bring the needed improvements.

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