[EM] Democratic Electoral Methods

Fred Gohlke fredgohlke at verizon.net
Mon Jan 9 08:40:31 PST 2017

Good Morning, Jack Santucci

Have you had an opportunity to read the 2014 study by Martin Gilens at 
Princeton University and Benjamin I. Page at Northwestern University[1]? 
  They concluded that "America's claims to being a democratic society 
are seriously threatened."  They point out:

   "... the nearly total failure of 'median voter' and other
    Majoritarian Electoral Democracy theories.  When the
    preferences of economic elites and the stands of organized
    interest groups are controlled for, the preferences of the
    average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero,
    statistically non-significant impact upon public policy."

Is that not a natural and inevitable result of party politics?

It certainly bears out Robert Michels finding, described in his 1911 
book, Political Parties[2], that "... the oligarchical and bureaucratic 
tendency of party organization ... serves to conceal from the mass a 
danger which really threatens democracy."

You note on your site that you care about all levels of American 
government and are broadly interested in party and institutional change. 
  Would your interests include consideration of non-partisan 
alternatives to party-based systems?  Ought not the discussion on an 
Electoral Methods site include thoughts on a democratic bottom-up 
political process that lets the people actively participate in the 
conduct of, and impress their moral sense on, their government?  Should 
we consider the rejection of the established political parties in the 
2015 elections in Frome in the U.K. an indication that non-partisans 
need the ability to limit the excesses of party-based systems?

Fred Gohlke

[1] Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest
     Groups, and Average Citizens.  Martin Gilens and Benjamin
     I. Page

[2] Political Parties: A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical
     Tendencies of Modern Democracy

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