WASHINGTON, DC — As Osita Nwanevu reported yesterday in The New Republic, the launch of Fix Our House reveals growing interest in proportional representation as a reform to offer Americans full and fair representation in the House of Representatives.
The story quotes Fix Our House co-founders, as well as Waleed Shahid, spokesperson for Justice Democrats, and Miles Taylor, prominent Never-Trump Republican and co-founder of Renew America, both arguing that proportional representation is a vital solution to make elections more competitive and better represent all Americans. Shahid and Taylor are both members of Fix Our House’s advisory board, which consists of political scientists, democracy reform advocates, and civil and voting rights experts ranging from progressives to conservatives who share an interest in fixing our broken democracy and sidelining anti-democratic forces.
The full story is available online here at The New Republic and is excerpted below:
“This is one of the central challenges and paradoxes of the democratic reform effort: We depend on Congress to reform the means by which we send people to Congress. Malapportionment in the Senate and gerrymandering have rightly troubled reform advocates and commentators for some time now. But the design of the House has attracted far less attention. Fix Our House, a new group launching this month, is trying to change that through advocacy for a reform that would wholly transform American politics: proportional representation. . .”
“[Proportional representation] would functionally put an end to solid-seeming red and blue districts rendered “safe” by ideological polarization, geographic separation, and gerrymandering. Our most Republican districts would likely send at least a few Democrats to Congress and vice versa, making votes cast everywhere truly meaningful. . .”
“The basic theory of Fix Our House is that our system is broken and that it’s only going to get worse,” Eli Zupnick, co-founder of Fix Our House and former spokesperson for the anti-filibuster Fix Our Senate campaign, says. “There are major structural problems with a two-party system where one party simply rejects democracy. And the only way it’s going to change is if we make the structural changes to pull us back from the brink. . .”
“Having a multiparty system in which progressives would be able to have our own Democratic Party and moderate Democrats would be able to have their own Democratic Party would strengthen and cohere the left and make the left a bit more disciplined,” Waleed Shahid, spokesperson for Justice Democrats and a member of Fix Our House’s advisory board, says. . .”
“Critically, none of this would require a constitutional amendment. Article I grants Congress broad latitude to determine how congressional elections are conducted. . .”
“[P]olitical scientist Lee Drutman, co-founder of Fix Our House and a longtime proportional representation advocate, is optimistic that the degradation of the federal system will force the issue. “If the system of voting is not really helping them to advance their priorities, and it’s also contributing to a binary zero-sum dynamic that’s destroying the very foundation of our democracy—which is the legitimacy of elections and a shared sense that we are all part of the same nation—is the Democratic Party as an entity really worth preserving?” he asks. . .”
“UC Berkeley’s Charlotte Hill, another Fix Our House co-founder, agrees. “There’s that famous AOC quote that she shouldn’t be part of the same Democratic Party as a Joe Manchin or other folks to her right,” she says. “I think we certainly see that on the right, as well, although at this point, so many of the more moderate Republicans have proactively retired or been defeated. So there are people who would be able to gain power in a new system. . .”
“Never Trump Republican. . . Miles Taylor, another Fix Our House advisory board member, thinks a broad ideological coalition on proportional representation can be forged. “If this was happening 10 years ago, I would’ve been in the camp that said, this is utopian political fantasy and I have no interest in getting involved,” he says. “But so much has changed in the last decade that whether we’re on the left or the right or the center—we’re seeing these same forces in our politics, the forces of extremism, and the resulting gridlock and a deep partisan animus. All these strange bedfellows are coming together and saying, ‘Look, regardless of what our ideology is, we agree that the system needs to be more competitive so that it reflects a diversity of viewpoints better than it does now. . .’”
“For all the talk in the air about “saving” American democracy, ideas like proportional representation illustrate how far the status quo is from a system that would truly reflect the democratic values we espouse; single-member districts that elect their representatives by pluralities are simply incompatible with the concept of majority rule and the intuition that all votes should matter. And even if proportional representation seems a long way off, advancing the idea will surely deepen our conversations in the here and now about what democracy can and should mean—that’s more than reason enough to root for Fix Our House’s campaign.”