Mongrel wrote:Also it's worth remembering that America has fossilized into a two party state, which is the exception not the norm, globally.
That's largely down to Duverger's Law
: first-past-the-post means it's going to come down to two candidates. (Usually. There are rare instances where you'll see three candidates each polling around 30%.)
As a result, the US has always been a two-party system. The Democrats have been around since Jefferson's day; they were originally opposed by the Federalists, which were eventually replaced by the Whigs, which were eventually replaced by the Republicans.
I think the Republican brand is pretty toxic to most people under 50 (and most nonwhite people of all ages), and that's going to have long-term consequences. But in the short term, I don't see any realignment happening, let alone the party being displaced by some other alternative.
But, as I said, younger voters are less partisan than their elders -- they're partisan by default
because Republicans are terrible, but they're not really loyal Democrats. Maybe the tribalism won't last? It's really hard to say what things are going to look like in twenty years. I do think that if the Republican Party is going to survive another generation, it's not going to look much like it does today. But what the fuck do I know? I never thought we'd see anything like Charlottesville in America in my lifetime. (On the other hand, it sure looks like alt-righters aren't lining up to have another
Charlottesville anytime soon.)
I'd sure like to see a shift toward ranked-choice voting, which would end the FPTP dilemma. That's something that's going to take a very long time.
some effort in that direction in Maine -- have we talked about this? Maine, following its election of Paul LePage with 38% of the vote in a 4-way race, understandably decided that this whole first-past-the-post thing wasn't really working out for them, and passed a resolution switching to ranked-choice voting.
The problem is that it's unconstitutional; the state constitution explicitly allows statewide candidates to win with a plurality
, not a majority. So they're going to have to amend the constitution in order to actually put the ranked-choice voting system into practice for statewide offices.However
, there's no such constitutional prohibition on federal offices, so Maine is
using ranked-choice voting for those now. (If the Republicans ever attempt to oust Susan Collins in a primary, expect her to run as an independent; she might not win on first ballot, but it's hard for me to envision any scenario where she doesn't win on the second
ballot. In a three-way race, she'd be a lot of people's first choice, and everybody else's second choice.)
It's going to be interesting to see how it works out for Maine, which is a pretty unique state but might nonetheless provide a road map other states can follow. But I'm not talking about anything that's going to happen quickly; hell, even Maine hasn't been able to implement it statewide yet. I'd love to see a shift away from FPTP, but expect it to take decades if it happens at all. Attempting to reform gerrymandering is a lot likelier to yield results in the short run (the SCOTUS punted on gerrymandering last session, so there's more to come there, but even assuming the Court determines it's constitutional, nobody really likes gerrymandering except the people who get elected through it; I live in a pretty red state that nonetheless approved independent redistricting through ballot initiative ages ago, and I expect other states to follow suit if their legislatures don't take the initiative). Reforming the electoral college is also something that can't be done quickly or easily but at least is less esoteric and more easily understood than ranked-choice voting. Whether it's possible to implement -- well, by definition it would require Republican states to sign on, and the problem is that I don't see them doing that unless a Democrat loses the popular vote and wins the EC, and I don't see that
happening in the foreseeable future because the EC, by its nature, grants disproportional influence to rural states.
You'll never convince all the Republicans to jump ship, so abandoning the GOP means a party split which will just put Democrats in power until one of the Right wing parties comes out on top.
And you saw how quickly they all united behind Trump. Even people who were vocally condemning him during the primary.
In fact, as Thad and others have pointed out, many regions of the US are already a ONE-party state, and the real "election" is the primary.
So abandoning the Republicans isn't as simple as that. Leaving means abandoning a party with an effective political monopoly on large amounts of the US.
But in a lot of places, that monopoly relies on disproportionately high voter turnout among Republican-leaning demographics (read: older, white). Increased turnout among other demographics could break that monopoly, which is what we're hoping for in November. (I wouldn't put money on Democrats winning Tennessee or Texas, but it's pretty amazing that those seats are even in play -- at least, they seem to be.)
This is, of course, exactly why Republicans are doing everything they can to make sure nonwhite voter turnout doesn't
(That and the racism, obviously.)