Three things to think about this April 27th
Oh, Congress. They can’t seem to agree on anything, even when the stakes are this high. Take this week’s all too familiar partisan stalemate surrounding the debt ceiling. Both sides have their approach, but ultimately there was little in the way of compromise. The debt ceiling was eventually raised, avoiding a crisis, but it was done mostly along partisan lines (four Republicans voted for it), but we’ll soon be back to do it all over again.
As always, though — just consider a world in which we don’t have to.
At a time when a near-record number of voters identify as independent, and the overwhelming majority of Americans continue to be dissatisfied with Congress, there’s no doubt that the country is frustrated with Washington’s inability to do even the things we take for granted.
The path to avoiding even the threat of unforced errors — and ultimately to a government that gets the challenging stuff, not just the token stuff, done — is the path to electoral reform. Bear that in mind as you read through three other things to consider this week …
Let's face it, the current primary voting system is like a bad road trip where the majority ends up disappointed with the lunch spot. But with ranked choice voting (RCV), we can finally make decisions that leave everyone satisfied.
A recent Newsweek article presents the following scenario as a framework for understanding the merits of this system in presidential primaries:
“Consider nine students on a road trip. They vote on where to have lunch: Four want McDonald's, but the other five are vegetarians. They split their votes between Sweetgreen and Panera Bread. If America's primary voting system were in place, the nine students would be eating at McDonald's, disappointing five of them (the majority). But, if they ranked their votes, the Panera and Sweetgreen voters would combine on the second round, and the nine would eat in a restaurant that the majority actually favored.
A bipartisan group of more than three dozen election officials, former members of Congress, Cabinet secretaries, and national security leaders have come together to petition Congress for $400 million in additional U.S. election security funds in advance of next year’s election. And they're not the only ones worried about the issue: a recent poll from Issue One, conducted by Citizen Data, found that 70% of Americans, including 66% of Republicans and 74% of Democrats, agree that the federal government should play a larger role in ensuring our elections are properly funded.
With the ongoing threat of disinformation, cyber attacks, malignant finance operations, and other targeted system disruptions threatening the legitimacy of our elections, these officials are making it clear that increased funding is crucial to ensure the security and integrity of our electoral process. As they put it, "running an election is not an every two or four-year job" — it's a seven-days-a-week responsibility that requires a concerted response from every level of government.
As hinted at the top, a recent poll from Gallup found 49 percent of Americans identifying as independent has created some waves in political circles during the last few weeks. The Dispatch’s Sarah Isgur (who talked to our executive director Nick Troiano about electoral reform last year) had this interesting and relevant take:
“[H]alf of American voters may no longer identify as R or D, but 84 percent of congressional races were decided by more than 10 points, which means they were decided in the partisan primary that these people feel no attachment to and in some states would be barred from participating in. As a result, we’d expect the two candidates in general elections to be less and less representative of their constituents. As we discussed above, this will drive Congress further to the extremes. But it also could alienate more people from voting at all. Except we’ve seen the exact opposite in recent cycles—voter turnout in general elections has been sky high. Why? Because that 49 percent may not want to identify with either political party but they also believe that one of the two “extremists” is an existential threat to their way of life. Yikes!”
(The article is behind a paywall.)