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Reading List October 03, 2020

Voting Is Underway, But Our System Is Broken

BR writers on how we can fix it.

Today marks exactly one month until Americans go to the polls in the 2020 presidential election. But while we were expecting televised debates and (virtual) rallies in key battlegrounds, what happens in the next thirty days is anyone’s guess as Trump announces he has been diagnosed with coronavirus and fears for Joe Biden’s health grow in turn.

As confusion mounts, we are taking a moment to zoom out from the current race and look at the current flaws in our system as a whole—from the problems with the Electoral College and winner-takes-all elections, to the barriers holding back women and third parties. As Archon Fung notes, there are serious issues in our basic framing of elections too. “A problem with our democracy is that the ability to vote is something the political parties are competing over,” he writes. “They should compete over issues and principles and policies, not over who gets to vote and who doesn’t.” Whichever way you look at it, our electoral system is broken. This reading list offers some solutions. 

Yochai Benkler

The party’s fifty-year strategy has reached an electoral dead end.

Reed Hundt Joshua Cohen

Donald Trump's winning strategy.

Justin H. Vassallo

Without pressure from social movements, they won’t produce meaningful and deeply needed reform.

Jan-Werner Müller

Some candidates who lose elections strengthen democracy, but others threaten the democratic system itself.

Sam Rosenfeld

To combat the new normal of two-party gridlock in U.S. politics, many call for more political parties. But what works in parliamentary governments might not help in our presidential system.

Reed Hundt

We must institute a method of electing a president that is sensitive to the votes of Americans everywhere.

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Kenneth A. Taylor

The Electoral College once served an urgent political purpose. The time has now come to abolish it.

Ariel White

Voter ID laws burden minorities, but discrimination starts well before they reach the voting booth.

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