Roll Call: “[Fix Our House] believes proportional representation is the key to ending gerrymandering, breaking up congressional deadlock and reducing partisan divisions.”
“In a proportional representation system, voters have the chance to elect multiple candidates to represent them.”
“[I]t’s an idea that’s long intrigued American political scientists, who generally see it as more representative and supportive of consensus-based politics.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In case you missed it, on Friday Jim Saksa reported in Roll Call on the recent launch of Fix Our House, a new campaign for proportional representation in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the growing movement for proportional representation. In a proportional system with multi-winner districts, representatives would be elected in proportion to their party’s amount of support, allowing differences among voters in a given district to be reflected in Congress, and opening the door to viable third parties.
The full story is available online here at Roll Call and is excerpted below. Read more about Fix Our House and proportional representation here.
“[Fix Our House] believes proportional representation is the key to ending gerrymandering, breaking up congressional deadlock and reducing partisan divisions. The group argues that the nation is being driven to political extremes by an electoral system that might have worked before cable news, social media, super PACs and modern campaigning but now rewards those who promise to burn it all down. . .”
“Congressional contests are currently decided by a winner-take-all system that declares the candidate with the most votes (or, in some states, a majority of the votes following potential runoff elections) the winner. In effect, voting in a single-member district means the voters who backed the loser also lost — they remain unrepresented. (In the red, rural parts of California, there has long been a proposal to split off from the coastal part of the state, born out of this frustration over a lack of representation; Republicans in Eastern Oregon recently launched a similar effort). . .”
“In a proportional representation system, voters have the chance to elect multiple candidates to represent them. For example, right now all nine of Massachusetts’ House delegation members are Democrats, even though about a third of Bay State voters backed Trump in 2020. In a proportional system, Massachusetts would elect something closer to six Democrats and three Republicans to the House — at least in theory. . .”
“There are lots of ways of doing proportional representation, and the exact mechanics can have a dramatic impact on the results. But, for now, Fix Our House doesn’t want to get bogged down in the details. . .”
“'We are much more focused on making the case for proportional representation, generally, as a first step — for people to understand why this is important, to understand why the current system is broken,' said [Fix Our House Co-Founder] Zupnick. . .”
“As younger democracies shaking off the vestiges of monarchy in the early 20th century considered what electoral systems to adopt, most opted for proportional representation, as did those recovering from fascism later on. . .”
“It’s not hard to imagine our two-party system splitting into four or five separate parties — the Socialists, center-left Democrats, maybe a few Problem Solvers in the very middle, center-right Republicans, and the Freedom Party (neé caucus). . .”
“The proportional representation push does have some things going for it that other democratic reforms do not. It could be enacted by passing a law rather than a constitutional amendment (which would be needed to change how Senate elections work). It’s also presumably constitutional, unlike many proposals for overhauling the campaign finance system that would face a hard time in a Supreme Court that has equated money with speech. Those who lament how fragmented media ecosystems and disinformation on social media drive the electorate apart similarly have First Amendment issues to contend with. . .”
“Many states are now experimenting with ranked-choice voting, a reform that Fix Our House applauds but doesn’t think goes far enough. If these elections go well, it could lower voters’ and lawmakers’ worries about more dramatic experiments. [Fix Our House Co-Founder] Drutman hopes they can set the stage for some kind of blue ribbon commission to explore proportional representation, something akin to the Royal Commission that led to New Zealand’s change. . .”