Highlighting Hope for Real Reform: Missouri

We've already talked at great length about political polarization in the US: why it's bad, where it comes from. It's a pretty bleak landscape to be honest.

The middle ground of the United States is suppressed in favor of political extremes due to Wedging.

Partisans hijack the parties through primaries, with the tail wagging the dog. This leads to Americans fleeing parties that no longer represent them. This means the parties are actually more in the hands of stronger partisans. Highly unfavorable candidates like Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton can win the primaries this way. Because we have a First Past the Post system of voting, people are stuck voting against the candidate they happen to find more unfavorable, rather than voting for someone they actually like.

There's a downward spiral.

Culturally this is hard to change. Calling for civility won't work, because the incentives are wrong. But we've talked about ways to fix these incentives. They are structural changes. Open Primaries would mean non-party members can vote in a primary and break some of the partisan power. Ranked Choice Voting means you can actually vote for who you want without worrying about creating a spoiler effect.

Missouri's On Top of It

Missouri's trying to tackle both at once. An organization called Fair and Open Elections Missouri is building a ground game to campaign for both structural changes in their state. Not sure how many of them read Wedged yet, but it's great news. Here's their video:

 
 

Structural reform like this is something I of course strongly encourage everyone to get involved in where they can. I certainly have done so. It's a much better use of your time than just arguing on the Internet. While that may at times be entertaining, wouldn't you rather put your time towards helping save the country?

--Erik

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Erik Fogg

We do politics, but we don't do the thinking for you.