Consider Proportional Representation

Man Writing When not gambling on college hoops, suave Dose honcho, Dave Segal, is actually a grown-up with a job representing the good people of District 2 in the General Assembly.  He is also a thoughtful and persuasive writer and has a fine piece in this morning’s Providence Journal suggesting that the master lever/straight ticket voting issue is not as detrimental to our democracy as the winner-take-all system we use.  He makes an interesting point. (Still, we could get rid of the lever.)

I would like to add one thought.  Mr. Segal suggests that the Governor’s veto power provides a check against the Democratic hegemony of our General Assembly.  But that is hardly the same as creating a healthy democracy, as when opponents debate issues before an election, and incumbents know they may have a challenger for their seat. In fact, Mr. Segal’s reference to the “bottomless well of ink” filling the Governor’s veto pen, suggests a stalled-out and ineffective form of governance altogether.  Sure, it’s a check, but we never get anywhere.

3 thoughts on “Consider Proportional Representation”

  1. joe bernstein

    Steve-most of Europe also uses the Parliamentary system.It leads to unstable government.There is such a thing as too stable a government-we call that a dictatorship.
    I think the Federal system is a good solution.It’s not broken.It’s just occupied by a very slimy group of opportunistic maggots who forget why they went to Congress,the Statehouse,the City Council(take your pick)two minutes after they’re sworn in.
    Interestingly,most of Latin America follows our model to one degree or another.(When they’re not under a Caudillo)

  2. steve risher

    Proportional representation in elections is the norm in the world outside the US, Canada and the UK. Israel and the Netherlands have rather extreme forms of PR. In Israel a party needs only 1.5% of the vote to be represented in the parliament(Knesset) ; in the Netherlands less than 1% is required.

    The current economic crisis is a bipartisan production of what the credulous refer to as “the two-party system” -it’s time to try something else. Since RI doesn’t even THAT mythical system maybe it could lead the way to something better.

  3. joe bernstein

    The US is not a direct democracy.I am unaware of any country which is.We are a constitutional republic.The state of RI,as every other state,follows the same model to a greater or lesser degree.RI actually has a very weak executive,and removing the veto would cause even more imbalance.Maybe that is precisely what Segal wants.
    Altough the Democrat Party is overwhelmingly powerful in RI,Segal’s more left wing positions don’t find that much currency with majority of the aprty.

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