[EM] Democratic Electoral Methods

Jack Santucci jms346 at georgetown.edu
Mon Jan 9 10:32:57 PST 2017

Hi Fred,

The Gilens and Page study is compelling.

I am trying to account for the adoption, use, and repeal of PR in American
cities. In that project, I have found that partisanship and party
factionalism are useful frames for organizing facts.

Elsewhere I have found that partisanship explains outcomes in other
contexts (https://fruitsandvotes.wordpress.com/2016/11/17/

I make no claims about whether this is good or bad.


Jack Santucci
Ph.D. Candidate in Government
Georgetown University
202-681-5225 (Google Voice)

On Mon, Jan 9, 2017 at 11:40 AM, Fred Gohlke <fredgohlke at verizon.net> wrote:

> 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
> https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mgilens/fi
> les/gilens_and_page_2014_-testing_theories_of_american_politics.doc.pdf
> [2] Political Parties: A Sociological Study of the Oligarchical
>     Tendencies of Modern Democracy
> http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/econ/ugcm/3ll3/michels/polipart.pdf
> ----
> Election-Methods mailing list - see http://electorama.com/em for list info
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