CEO, Harvard prof: “US politics rigged”

They tell how the “political industrial complex” hurts us; but I tell how we can fight back.

Recently, Katherine Gehl, a former CEO, and Michael Porter, a Harvard Business School professor, wrote a report about “why competition in the politics industry is failing America — a strategy for reinvigorating our democracy”.

The problem (according to Gehl and Porter)

Their overall thesis is that US politics is failing voters not because it isn’t working as designed, but because it is. In this case, they’re not talking about how the founders designed it, but how the details of the modern system have been designed by its participants — politicians, lobbyists, and above all, parties. These groups have designed a system that serves them at the expense of voters. In a partisan duopoly, parties have more market power than voters, and they have used that power in a way harmful to voters.

The solution (according to me)

Gehl and Porter devote considerable attention to how government is supposed to work and to how we can turn it around and point it in that direction. Government, they say, should deliver four things:

  • Practical and effective solutions—solutions that are grounded in reality, not ideology.
  • Reasonably broad-based buy-in by citizens over time—if solutions work, then people should tend to like them.
  • Respect for the Constitution and the rights of all citizens—not tyranny of the majority.
  • Single transferable vote (STV) methods as used in Ireland or (in a few elections) Australia involve asking voters to rank their choices in order of preference. These methods are great for voter choice, but the complex ballots can be a pain, and as with MMP, Democratic incumbents would worry about losing their seats in a chaotic transition.

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