20.9.05

THE DOWNSIDE OF PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION. The United States Constitution apportions representation by states. Many other republics apportion representation by political parties. Successful political parties in the United States engage in coalition building to capture median voters, a reality that frustrates true believers of all sorts. (Read around the weblogs: the discontent of business Republicans with evangelicals, or of labor Democrats with pacifists, is there.) Successful political parties in parliamentary republics are able to appeal to their true believers -- who do not have to live in contiguous districts such as Berkeley, or Emporia -- to obtain seats in proportion to the true believers' share in the vote. But then comes the challenge: to form a government. No Oil for Pacifists works through the arithmetic for Germany, as well as the history. One wonders if the Germans won't soon be petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the recounts. Betsy's Page lays out the nightmare scenario for the U.S.
Can you imagine some situation in America when we would have to have a coalition government of Republicans and Democrats running the government together. I'm not talking about divided government between Congress and the president. I'm talking about running the executive branch together. It is just unimaginable. The reason we have two parties is because they disagree fundamentally on how the government should run. And thinking of some coalition between a major and minor party would just move that party more to the extremes.
I don't even want to contemplate the potential for blocking coalitions.

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