|<<>>|7 of 32 Show listMobile Mode

Choosing an electoral system

Published by marco on

Updated by marco on

Americans have, once again, noticed that the electoral college is odd. And undemocratic. And odd.

There are much more democratic systems out there. “First past the post” is not one of them. YouTube and CGP Grey to the rescue.

The Trouble with the Electoral College by CGP Grey (YouTube) and Re: The Trouble With The Electoral College – Cities, Metro Areas, Elections and The United States by CGP Grey (YouTube)
These two videos combine to explain how the electoral college works and how it’s undemocratic. That is, regardless of whether it happens to have produced results that you agree with, it’s a ticking time-bomb of unfairness.
The Problems with First Past the Post Voting Explained by CGP Grey (YouTube)
This video explains why the U.S. should not be totally boneheaded about it and replace the electoral college with a “first past the post” system. This system is also undemocratic, regardless of how many more votes your candidate won in the popular election this time around. It inevitably leads to a two-party system and you’ve seen how absolutely awesome that’s turned out.
Gerrymandering Explained by CGP Grey (YouTube)
This video discusses the dangers of allowing representatives to choose their own electoral boundaries, even in a system that has local representatives.
Mixed-Member Proportional Representation Explained by CGP Grey (YouTube)
This video shows how it’s done in a real democracy (e.g. Switzerland). Proportional representation is the goal and this system achieves it as closely as can be expected.
Politics in the Animal Kingdom: Single Transferable Vote by CGP Grey (YouTube)
Finally, this video shows what a world with instant-runoff, single-transferable-vote elections could look like. Instead of voting for a single candidate, you rank your choices. This also achieves very democratic results. Jill Stein was pulling for this system because it would let the States get away from the two-party duopoly.

So what does would I recommend?

  1. Pass a constitutional amendment to replace the electoral college with IRV/STV for president.
  2. Or, replace the president with a council of 7 or 11 or whatever sounds appropriate (e.g. like Switzerland). Essentially, let us elect the cabinet.
  3. In the same constitutional amendment, replace all parliamentary (senate/congress) elections with MMPR to encourage third-party candidates and get away from the insipid, tedious and elite duopoly we have now.

What’s going to happen?

Probably nothing. The U.S. will just keep the electoral-college system and bitch about it again in four years.