winner-take-all v. proportional representation

Third parties don’t work in the USA by design, albeit unintentional.

Some time ago, a friend sent me this article from Common Dreams. The premise is essentially, “Don’t vote Ralph or W will win.” However, what I found most interesting about it was a clear and concise explanation of the whys and wherefores of the differences between the USA representative democracy setup and most of the rest of the free world’s setup. We are a winner-take-all democracy that by its very nature only works in a two-party system. Third parties are almost never moderate, and therefore are likely to be pulling from only one of the two major parties, no matter what Ralph may want you to believe. When the setup is Major Party 1 at 41%, Major Party 2 at 39%, and Third Party leaning towards Major Party 2 at 20%, the Major Party 1 will win, even though they are a minority and do not truly represent a majority of the people. In a proportional representation system, the percentage of votes would translate to the number of seats won by each party, and thus coalitions would have to be formed in order to get a true majority. If the USA changed to this system, more people would feel that their interests are represented in the government and we wouldn’t be worrying about spoilers.

2 thoughts on “winner-take-all v. proportional representation”

  1. WInner-take-all is indeed a disturbing system, and doesn’t allow for adequate representation of the broad range of political thought in society. There is no way that two parties can adequately cover the different points of view — and nuances — and yet with only two parties, everything is all-or-nothing. How primitive.

  2. Hi there!

    Oops … When I posted this on Sunday I meant to post this on the page through which I could receive a gmail invite as well … would it still be possible?


    Andres in Europe

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