The core problem is the voting system in which the “bad guy” is elected. In the many different forms of democracy, there are many ways of electing the law making body. In the United States, we use an electoral system which is a form of majoritarianism, called first past the post. This system needs to be reformed, because there is a better system available. The United States should adopt a proportional representation system, because this would lead to a more fair representation of the population, give power to those who are currently without, and lead to a more effective government.
There are certain objectives that every voting system should try to obtain. The first should be creating a system that represents the most people, whether they are in the majority or not. This is imperative to democracy because the better a government represents its people; the better it will be at creating laws that suit the demands of the population. Better representation is also important because it leads to a variety of diverse ideas. Encouraging diversity leads to advancement and change. Because times change, and people change, the government needs to change with them, and this is done by representing the people in the best possible way. Another objective that a voting system should strive for is giving more power to the majority, this is important because in order for the maximum amount of people to be satisfied with laws passed, they must be voted on. Since there will never be a system in which everyone agrees, satisfying the largest majority is the next best goal. A system that satisfies these objectives the best should be the one that is used.
The United States congress is elected in a form of voting called first past the post. This system has two parties and relatively no space for any third parties. It works by representing the majority of the voters because the first candidate to make it “past the post”, or win 51% of the vote, wins. The elected party with the majority can pass bills and laws without having to deal with coalition parties. This allows the party with the majority to accomplish more. This is not always an advantage though; the party in office with the majority can pass unwanted bills without question from opposing parties. This is one of the main problems with the first past the post system; it creates a system where third parties are not major political players because they usually cannot win enough votes to win the majority, and get elected. Another problem with this system is that is creates a disproportionate amount of seats that are won to the amount of votes that the party won. This type of system is also very susceptible to gerrymandering, or redistricting. Because each district elects one candidate, there is an advantage for the party in office to change the district lines to concentrate the opposing party into as few districts as possible. This system is not near perfect, in fact, I believe that there are better systems that are available to be adopted.
There are certain fundamental problems with voting in the United States. Some of these include low voter turn out, limited choices, no room for third parties, and a disproportional amount of power is given to parties that received a low amount of support, in relation to the entire population of the United States. Low voter turn out is one problem that there have been many proposed solutions to. In the United States the turnout is approximately 50 %. This is not particularly high or low in comparison to other countries, but it can be improved. Considering that the actions of the congress affect the entire nation it may seem odd that more people do not vote. Although, if the risk/ return ratio is looked at, it starts to show why there is a problem. The risk or disadvantages of voting, for example taking time to vote, time off work, and driving to the place, is usually more than the return. The risk of voting would be worth the return only if your vote was the deciding factor on who won the election, which is a very low chance. This would be less of an issue if the voter was voting for a party, which would be able to hold more seats in relation to the percent of votes that the party received. In other words, if the percent of votes that a party received were proportional to the amount of seats it is allowed in congress, the return would have a better chance that it was worth the risk. That may result in a higher voter turn out. For a voter to have to choose between only two choices is also a problem. For the amount of people and the vast diversity that the United States contains, there are many opposing viewpoints. All of the viewpoints cannot be contained in two parties without having parties that are fragmented and inconsistent. Having only two choices is a direct result of the first past the post system. Third parties in the Unites States do not have a chance to win the majority. With the current system, a person can be elected into a position without having the support of the nation, or even the majority of the votes. This system is unfair to the population that is being represented and there are better systems out there.
The proportional representation system is utilized by many nations throughout the world. It works by giving a proportional amount of seats to each party according to the amount of votes that they received. This creates a more balanced system because the power to create laws is shared by multiple winners from different parties. This system would be better in dealing with the problems associated with voting. The voter turn out would increase, since the chance that one vote will make a difference. There will be more parties that will be more representative to how people actually feel. This is the opposite of the first past the post’s two party systems, where people must decide on a party that may believe in some things that the individual is against. There would also be a better balance of power.
These two systems are fundamentally different; one is a majoritarian, and the other is more consensus style. The two systems can be evaluated for their effectiveness by comparing each one to outside controls which take into account how they represent the population, and the effectiveness of the government. Using the first past the post method, it is easy to see that the best represented group is the one with the majority, while the least represented groups are the ones excluded from the majority. This is due to the fact that there is only one winning party. The first past the post does well at representing the majority, but those who are not in the majority are very under represented. In the proportional representation system, those in the majority automatically have an advantage because they have the most support; however, those in the minority also are represented and have some power. The minority groups can also form coalitions to form a new majority and defeat the original majority. This is an example of how a proportional representative system can represent the greatest amount of people, even if they are not in the majority. This would be impossible in a first past the post system. Even small minority groups can become political players by forming coalition groups. In the proportional representation system, the population as a whole is represented, while only the majority is represented in the first past the post system.
The stability of the government can also be compared within the two systems. In the first past the post system, the people choose from two parties and the winners from each district are the ones who make decisions on the laws. There are two viewpoints that are taken into consideration and most of the debate is within these groups. The final decision is left up to a vote. One advantage to this system is that the party who has the majority can accomplish more by going unquestioned. This can also be a disadvantage because it further alienates those not in the majority. In the proportional representation system there are a number of parties that make a decision on a law. Because of this, the laws are more stable and they are more representative of the wishes of the population.
The Unites States is now using a voting system that has many problems, and many of the problems can be improved by using a different system. It is important for a country’s government to be representative of its population, and having a voting system that creates representation for the majority and minority is important. A proportional representative system would work better than the current system, because of the advantages discussed. The United States should adopt a proportionately representative voting system.