An excellent piece. Yet another reason - as if more were needed - for multi-member districts and proportional representation.

But what about those folks - parties, politicians, candidates - whose political futures depend on keeping voters unhappy, fearful, even angry? Sure, proportional representation and multi-member districts would minimize their numbers, but we don't have those yet. Hopefully our antiquated electoral system will be up to the task - its record is mixed - of keeping those folks in check. To paraphrase a former Secretary of Defense: We have to work with the system we have, not the one we wish we had and might have in the future.

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Mar 31·edited Mar 31

I too am a PR advocate and I don't think we have much democracy without it, but, as I have indicated in a bunch of my Hornbook reviews--as well as my book on the subject--I am suspicious of what might be called "arguments from outcome correlation." And it's not that I deny the correlations or claim that's all they are (rather than being causative). My point is that if one makes anything but authentic democracy the summum bonum. there will always be a danger that people will insist we bypass the democracy part in favor of simply getting those more important ends as quickly and efficiently as possible.

What I believe democracies have to do is force governments to make sincere attempts to get what their citizens want (as indicated by frequent, fair plebiscites). If a jurisdiction does that, then it really doesn't matter at all whether we happen to believe its populace has a high level of well-being (according to some preferences we happen to share). If they don't, we will just have to choose what to exalt. I choose democracy.


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