How the two big parties got an iron grip on power — and turned off voters

REUTERS/Mike Segar
Balloons drop over the Ohio delegation at the 2012 Republican National Convention.

This the third story in a series comparing the U.S. system of politics and elections with other democracies around the world.

So, yes, voter turnout in the United States is an embarrassment. In the previous installment, I listed some of the small, technical explanations that political science comparativists have suggested contributed to poor turnout, mostly having little to do with the motivation of the electorate. True, a motivated citizen can generally vote. And, surely, some of the gap in U.S. voter participation, compared to other nations, must have something to do with motivation.

Many of those comparativists believe that the way certain fairly fundamental aspects of the U.S. elections are organized and conducted also leave many U.S. voters wondering whether voting is worth the effort. One of the unusual features of U.S. democracy that may contribute to low turnout is what we might call the Republicrat duopoly — and the structure of the U.S. system that reinforces it.

The Duopoly

Since the Republican Party emerged in the 1850s, and replaced the (relatively short-lived) Whigs as the chief alternative to the Democrats (a party that dates back either to the Jeffersonian or the Jacksonian era, depending the version of the history you prefer), the Democrats and Republicans have totally dominated the U.S. political scene.

No president has come from outside those two parties and only once has a candidate from outside the duopoly even finished second. (That was Teddy Roosevelt in 1912 when he attempted a comeback with his short-lived Bull Moose Party, but he had been a lifelong Republican. And the new party disappeared almost immediately after his candidacy.) In fact, no third party presidential candidate has carried a single electoral vote in 46 years. (The last one was George Wallace’s racist American Independent candidacy, which carried five deep-South states in 1968.)

Likewise, no other party since the onset of the duopoly has come anywhere near organizing a majority in either house of Congress. The number of senators and representatives from outside the duopoly are stuck in single digits, and even those (for example, Sen. Angus King of Maine, an independent centrist, and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, a Democratic Socialist) have to caucus with one of the major parties in order to function. The last time third parties in Congress cracked into double digits was 1936, when 13 members of the House came from outside the duopoly (and, of local note, 12 of those 13 were either Farmer-Laborites from Minnesota or Wisconsin Progressives from, you guessed it, Wisconsin).

In the current picture, yes, it’s true: Minnesota does have the Independence Party, which is legally classified as a major party and which did win a gubernatorial election. (Does the name Jesse Ventura ring a bell?) And during the 1930s and ‘40s, the Farmer Labor Party actually dominated state politics (eventually merging with the Democrats and forming the DFL, which now functions as the Minnesota branch of the national Democratic Party). But these are rare and, in the big picture, minor exceptions to the rule.

Americans may think that this level of duopolism is normal in a democracy, but it is not. No other democracy in the world comes close to matching the United States for a durable two-party system, with the same two parties practically forever, and with the two big parties holding such an iron joint grip on power. (I’ve written about this before, on the very slim chance that you want even more.)

Duverger’s law

But if you are wondering why this is so, it turns out that a French political scientist named Duverger coined a law (called, by an amazing coincidence, “Duverger’s law”) which holds that if you want to have a political system in which two parties will dominate, you should organize your parliamentary (or, in our case, congressional) elections around the principles of single-member districts and plurality winners. (Duverger wasn’t particularly recommending the plan, just noting that such a system was most likely to produce a duopoly.)

Just to nail those terms down a bit, single-member districts means each member of parliament (or the U.S. House of Representatives) represents one geographical district and doesn’t share the district with anyone else, and plurality winners means a candidate can win a seat by getting the most votes, even if it is not a majority. This last feature is also known as “first past the post.” (That weird term for it, by the way, is a Britishism taken from horseracing.)

These features are so familiar to Americans that many of us probably don’t even think of them as features, just how democracy works. But, again, relatively few democracies employ them. There are a lot of other ways to organize a democracy. In Israel, for example, there are no districts at all. Each party puts out a list of those it will put into the parliament (Knesset). Voters vote for the party they prefer. A party that gets 10 percent of the national vote gets 10 percent of the seats and those seats are occupied by the top names on the party’s list. (In the United States, a party that got 10 percent of the national vote in House elections would likely end up with nothing, unless most of the voters were concentrated in a few districts.) In Israel, 12 parties are currently represented in Knesset; no one has a majority, so a coalition is necessary to govern. There are various systems in between, but most of them end up with more than two parties able to play a meaningful role, either as part of a coalition or in opposition.

There are many alternatives to first-past-the-post, including the one called “ranked-choice voting” recently adopted for municipal elections in Minneapolis and St. Paul. In that system, a mayoral candidate who is listed as first choice by the largest number of voters isn’t guaranteed to win if he or she is not the choice of a majority of all voters. Part of the justification for this system is that it allows a citizen to vote for the person they most want to support, even perhaps one who has little chance of winning, without giving up his or her chance of influencing the final outcome. In a race for Congress, a voter whose top choice is from the Green or Libertarian Party faces the “wasted vote syndrome” and may decide not to vote.

Which brings us back to turnout. At least some voters are less likely to bother voting if they feel that the candidate or party they most support has no chance.

In a list of 31 democracies ranked by turnout, the four that have single-member districts combined with first-past-the-post voting all rank in the bottom nine.

Discouraged voters

Why does single-member-district-first-past-the-post discourage turnout?

A lot of reasons.

If you are not a strong supporter of the Democratic or Republican Party but would be more enthusiastic voting for a smaller party, you have little hope that your first-choice party can win. In fact, the party you really prefer is likely to end up with nothing at all, which is itself an invitation to not participate. If you vote for that party, your vote is likely to be “wasted” in the sense of not affecting the outcome, since the outcome depends on which of the two major parties gets more votes in your district.

Under a proportional representation system, a party with 10 percent support across the whole national electorate is likely to get somewhere near 10 percent of the seats in the parliament, and your vote will count, on the margin, toward getting that party one more seat.

But even if you are a loyal Democrat or Republican, single-member-first-past-the-post-ism is also a turnout turnoff in many cases. In House races, single-member seats require dividing a state into artificial districts every 10 years, which invites gerrymandering if one party is in a position to create a map. Gerrymandering creates safe seats in which the outcome is pretty much known in advance, which is hardly an inducement to turn out and vote.

In late-September, as I write this, the pundits who handicap political races believe that about 35 U.S. House races are, to some degree, competitive. That means 400 are not. If a voter might be motivated by the belief that their vote in a U.S. House race might make a difference in the outcome, 92 percent of them live in districts where the race for U.S. representative is pretty much over. (Even if you favor the candidate who is destined to win, it’s hard to convince yourself that your vote will affect the outcome.)

Senate elections are not gerrymandered, since the vote is statewide. Because of the (again, very unusual, on a global basis) feature of the U.S. system in which Senate seats are staggered, there are races in just 33 states (two states have two Senate races, so there are 35 races in total). By a fluke of the schedule, three of the five most populous states (California, New York, Florida) don’t even have a Senate race this year. The other two of the top five (Texas and Illinois) have Senate races this year, but both of those are considered completely safe for the incumbents who are up this year. There are plenty more states with no Senate race or an uncompetitive race, but just those five big states represent 36 percent the U.S. population in which there is not a competitive Senate race to stimulate turnout among those who need such stimulation to go to the polls.

Typically, there end up being only a few toss-up Senate seats in every cycle. As of this writing, Stu Rothenberg of the Rothenberg Political Report rates just three of the Senate races to be pure toss-ups. Add in the four Senate races that Rothenberg rates as only “tilting” (meaning they remain quite close), or four that he rates as  “leaning” (less close than tilting, but still somewhat competitive), you get up to 10 Senate races around the country in which the outcome is currently in some level of doubt. (Minnesota is not one. Rothenberg rates Sen. Al Franken as “likely” to be reelected, which is not safe, but the next category over from safe before you get to the closer categories.)

Even when we have a race for president, and even when that race is quite close, the Electoral College system divides it into 50 separate state races (plus one more for the District of Columbia), which are themselves each decided on a first-past-the-post basis and in which most of the outcomes are known long in advance. Furthermore, in the late days of a presidential campaign, the handicappers reduce the meaningful races to five or six states that are truly in play and in which a modestly motivated voter might be convinced that his or her vote might be important in determining the outcome.

Look, I favor eligible voters voting. I’m not interested in promoting excuses for non-voting. But, in the real world, it would be silly not to acknowledge that some voters are more likely to vote if they believe that their vote might actually make the difference in a close race for some important office. For those voters, our strange system provides a lot of excuses to stay home.

Coupla final points or facts or thoughts:

The U.K. also has plurality elections. In fact, of the 31 developed democracies, the four nations that use first-past-the-post (U.K., United States, Canada and India) all derive from British tradition. By a huge margin, the most recently developed democracies have not chosen first-past-the-post, and of those that have switched their systems on the subject, all switched away from it. None switched to single-member districts and plurality winners. Here’s a piece by a couple of Brits from a progressive think tank analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of first-past-the-post-ism and generally arguing that it has a lot of problems.

If you’re wondering whether this aspect of the U.S. system is rooted in the U.S. Constitution (and therefore couldn’t be changed without a constitutional amendment), the answer is mostly no, it’s not. The Constitution (Article 1, Section 2) establishes the House, deals with how seats will be apportioned by population (originally including the hideous “three-fifths” provision that provided for slaves to be counted as partial persons), and requires that members of the House be elected, but says nothing about districts, single-member or otherwise, or how the votes are to be counted.

In the early years of the Republic, multi-member House districts or at-large seats were common and the system varied from state to state. Since 1967, single-member House districts are required by federal law. So that law would presumably have to be changed to experiment with multi-member districts, but it wouldn’t take a constitutional amendment. A national organization called FairVote has developed a complicated system that would utilize multi-member districts again, which I’ve written about before.

Comments (15)

  1. Submitted by Steve Carlson on 10/06/2014 - 09:48 am.

    Simpler explination

    The fact that we have a relatively strong executive and that you need an absolute majority of the electoral college more or less guarantees a two-party system.

    In this country, if you have no hope of taking the executive there’s no hope for your party.

  2. Submitted by E Gamauf on 10/06/2014 - 11:34 am.

    What would a third party align around?

    The simple fact is that a third party has to endure losing elections for awhile. And redistricting.
    That is hard to accept in America where everyone has a big foam “We’re No.1” glove.

    Which means that it would have to be based on immutable ideologies to set itself apart from the existing parties. Have ideas that no one else can usurp & endure a loss or two.

    The Independence Party isn’t so very independent much of the time. What their core tenets are – well, if there are any, they are invisible to the voting public. This is why it took a feather boa wrestling celebrity / former UDT member to galvanize a third party for one cycle.

    The Greens trend liberal, though single-mindedly separate from the Dems, they can’t muster a strong presence; enough votes to achieve majority party status. Recycling isn’t enough.

    Scouring the web, there is a prevailing idea found:
    We keep hearing that the Tea Party is unique. That they have immutable core beliefs, yet…

    They run as Republicans?

  3. Submitted by Karen Sandness on 10/06/2014 - 11:45 am.

    An even greater problem is that the two parties

    each mouth their stereotypical and carefully spun talking points instead of coming up with concrete, transparent proposals for tackling real problems. Each party has its own set of wealthy donors and powerful supporters in the media, and the voters feel as if they are forced to choose between Bad and Not-Quite-So-Bad.

    The first vote I ever cast was for McGovern, and since then, I’ve seen instance after instance in which primary candidates who actually stood for something and spoke to people’s real concerns were quashed by their own party’s establishment and ignored or ridiculed in the mass media. The election of Paul Wellstone was downright miraculous in those circumstances.

    I am not looking forward to the 2016 presidential election. On the Republican side, we have a bunch of fantasists who still believe, despite all evidence, that cutting taxes on top earners, making lower-income people pay more taxes, cutting social services, and writing a blank check for war-making is the route to national prosperity. On the Democratic side, we have Hillary Clinton, who is “far left”in the fevered imaginations of the AM radio crowd, but is actually a complete corporatist and foreign policy hawk, if you look at what she has done instead of what people say about her.

    All of our recent presidents have been minority presidents, in that fewer than 50% of eligible voters voted for them. Yet the winners all act as if they won by a landslide and have a mandate. That’s the trouble with non-voting: the abstainers literally count for nothing. Even if participation dropped to 10%, with one candidate getting 6% of potential voters and the other getting 4%, the candidate with 6% would still boast about having a mandate.

    It would be disturbing and yet fascinating to wake up one November morning and find that nearly 100% of Americans had voted but that 50% of them had voted for one of the third parties.

    Perhaps a shock like that would force Congress to reconsider our voting system.

    • Submitted by John Ellenbecker on 10/06/2014 - 06:31 pm.

      Parties do more than simply mouth talking points

      ObamaCare is much more than a talking point, it is a very real attempt to resolve a very real issue facing many of us – lack of access to affordable health insurance. Making Minnesota’s tax system more progressive by increasing the top income tax rate was much more than a talking point – it was very real action with very real results that impacted the state’s ability to balance its budget in a responsible manner. Borrowing from public schools to balance the state’s budget wasn’t just a talking point – it had very real consequences. Shifting costs from the state to school districts, counties and cities had a very real impact on the state tax system, shifting funding from the state income tax to local property taxes, which was much more than a talking point. The ability to fund all day kindergarten statewide isn’t just a talking point – it is a very real issue for many people. Marriage equality isn’t just a talking point. Proposals that would restrict a person’s access to the voting booth is more than a talking point. The list goes on and on.

      • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 10/07/2014 - 03:16 pm.

        Yes, of course there are differences between the two parties

        but they do not always communicate that to the voters, and they sometimes go against their own stated principles if wealthy and powerful forces object.

        For example, opposition to funding the new Vikings’ stadium was strong along the entire political spectrum, and yet the DFL chose to go along with corporate welfare in its purest form.

        A national issue that crossed party lines was opposition to unconditional bailouts of the nations’ banks in 2008. It was a Bush administration policy, and yet many Republicans were angry at Bush for doing this. Then Obama came along and implemented this policy, just as the Bush administration had designed it, without penalizing the bank executives in any way. He even allowed them to keep their bonuses, saying “contracts are sacred,” but when it came time to bail out the auto industry, the contracts of the rank-and-file auto workers were somehow not “sacred,” and they had to take cuts in compensation to pay for the mismanagement of their companies’ executives.

        Renewing the Patriotic Act, launching new ventures in the Middle East (each of which only makes the situation worse than it was before), browbeating the Progressive Caucus into accepting a fully private health insurance “reform” instead of browbeating the numerically smaller Blue Dog Caucus into accepting a public option–these are the things that voters see.

        They don’t see the behind-the-scenes changes in the state’s finances.

        We do see distinct differences between the parties in Minnesota, but voters in many states are not so lucky. When I go online, I see complaints from voters in the South, for example, where the Republicans are running a “pro-business” (i.e. pro-corporate welfare) candidate who advocates for “family values” (meddling in people’s private lives), “a strong defense” (a blank check for the Pentagon, but not necessarily more funding for veterans), and “personal responsibility” (making life even more difficult for the working and unemployable poor). In response to this, the Democrats ought to be trying to pick up disaffected voters by focusing on problems that the right wing ignores, but instead, they have it in their heads that only conventionally conservative candidates can win in the South, so they run Tweedledee to the Republicans’ Tweedledum and then wonder why they lose.

        Those of us who are to the left of Richard Nixon feel disrespected by the DFL. The Republicans cater to their base, but the DFL and other state Democratic parties seem to want us to sit down and shut up until it’s time to give money or go door knocking.

  4. Submitted by Arvonne Fraser on 10/06/2014 - 12:08 pm.

    parliamentary systems vs. ours

    Comparisons are difficult and not especially valid when the two systems are so different. Again in a country that is as big and diverse as ours demographically and geographically, it is good to remember Tip O’Neill’s–I hope I have this right–observation that all politics is local. Finally, I’m unsure what the goal is here–just to get more people voting?? Or does Black really think we should try to change to a parliamentary system?

  5. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 10/06/2014 - 03:38 pm.

    Political zealots won’t work for everyone.

    Political zealots appear to voters as cartoon characters, but that is what we are offered as voters. It used to be a piece of legislation would be worked on by both party’s if it needed fixing. Now the only solution one side can come up with is repeal. Repeal without any alternative other than we are working on it. Vote for me and I will tell you what I actually stand for is the GOP stance. The GOP is nothing but hollow promises. Straying from their talking points means being drummed out of the party. That is the only way the GOP party can operate because they are leaderless. Asked who their leader is, the GOP response is they have many leaders. What you see in the GOP is the results of many leaders, no one is in charge.

  6. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 10/06/2014 - 04:22 pm.

    Two parties are normal

    We get off in the wrong direction in thinking we’re unique in having two parties. All Democracies tend toward two parties. Multi-party systems generally deny any one party a majority, and require parties to form blocks or coalitions to gain majorities. These blocks tend to be stable. There are some small parties or independent members of the legislature that are unpredictable, but in general, voters know who the blocks are. Our system causes the coalition forming to happen at the level of the two big parties taking in a lot of separate interests rather than small parties winning some seats and then forming coalitions, with the largest party in the coalition getting the leadership role.

    It seems the most representative system would have one house elected by district so we have come congressman responsible to us, basically the House as it is, and the other house chosen proportionately by party. That, along with RCV in partisan races, would make is possible for small parties to compete.

    • Submitted by Philip Fuehrer on 10/06/2014 - 11:04 pm.

      Fourth Estate perpetuates two parties

      I would like to see MN move to your system Eric – House of Reps kept as is, plurality vote and the Senate elected via PR.

      But, to Mr. Black’s question – I place a fair piece of the blame on his Fourth Estate. The media will first and foremost report “the horse race” and will return to that given the slightest chance. It means that alternative voices (third party and independent candidates) do not receive coverage. It leads to the “if a tree falls in the woods” question. If a candidate is running for office but no one reports about it is he really running?

      Largely ignore a campaign/candidate and they’ll stagnate – capping out at 3 or 4% or so. Give nearly equal coverage and they may fall generally into a 6 to 12% range, but they may also spark/connect with the populace and far exceed that – the press, though, won’t give that equal coverage often or consistently enough. Instead, they run for the cover and ease of the horse race and the two party duopoly continues.

  7. Submitted by Martin Owings on 10/06/2014 - 04:59 pm.

    Great Writing

    Mr Black I have to admit I’ve always enjoyed your writing, but perhaps more importantly I respect it. Thank you for pulling all this together and writing about such an important issue, I really appreciate it. Excellent job sir.

  8. Submitted by John Ellenbecker on 10/06/2014 - 06:38 pm.

    What our system actually lacks is accountability

    Our system is designed to create roadblocks – we call it checks and balances. But what these roadblocks actually do is prevent accountability. When we have one party holding the executive branch and another party holding control of the legislative branch (or one house of the legislative branch) nothing gets done, and each side simply blames the other. Voters never know who to hold accountable for the lack of action. With a parliamentary system you have actual accountability. One party controls the legislative process and the executive process – if they fail you know who to blame, if they succeed you know who to reward. Accountability is clear. It is time to move us to a modern parliamentary system at both the state and national level.

  9. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 10/06/2014 - 08:06 pm.

    Democracy’s glitches

    I don’t hold a chair in political science at Harvard, so it’s quite possible I’m way off base (again), but it seems to me entirely possible that “democracy,” as we generally think of it, only works reasonably well within a set of not-very-flexible parameters. I’m thinking here especially of economics and population size.

    The essence of democracy is citizen participation in their own government, which makes much of this discussion more than a little ironic. A nation that prides itself on being “democratic” with a small D, yet makes it more difficult for citizens to take part in the government than most other nations with political systems that also qualify as “democratic,” is suffering from some degree of cognitive dissonance. Just how much depends upon the particular time period and circumstance, but as we enter yet another election cycle, with concerted effort on the part of Republicans to limit who can vote, while simultaneously supporting the prima facie ridiculous notion that a corporation is a person so that said corporation can contribute massive amounts of money to favored political candidates, all the while pretending that the dominant form of political speech – the television commercial – should be paid for (thus limiting said speech to very wealthy individuals or groups), seems… um… just a little bit crazy.

    My inclination is to think of voting as the bare minimum of citizen participation and investment in the society, yet the society makes it difficult – sometimes only moderately so, other times extremely so – for citizens to vote. That continues to be the case if you’re a relatively new citizen, or if you belong to an ethnic or racial group that the local power structure doesn’t like. Moreover, the act of voting, held sacred by a good many, myself included, has been disparaged or ignored by a host of people who’ve had quite a bit to say about politics and the American political system. Thoreau, for one, regarded voting as essentially worthless, and not only believed that the government that governs least is the best one, but carried that notion out to its logical extreme and supported the idea that no government at all was probably best. He and Grover Norquist would probably be besties if he were alive today. I’m surprised he’s not quoted by Tea Partiers and Libertarians more regularly, though, of course, what he suggests is simply anarchy, and I’m not aware of any successful societies that operated on that basis historically.

    I don’t know this to be true, but it occurs to me that size may have something to do with it as well. Current U.S. population is about 318 million – just slightly more than the combined populations of the largest members of the European Union (the U.K., Germany, France, Italy and Spain total about 316 million). While the governments of those individual countries are at least minimally functional most of the time, those same individual countries are dealing with only a small fraction of the population of the U.S. The E. U. has already had some major issues, and it has so far not had to deal with a major challenge to its existence – of the sort that major climate change, or some sort of war that I can’t even think of at the moment – might bring. The largest E. U. nation in terms of population, Germany, has only 80 million people, and while it’s far more diverse than it was a century ago, Germany still has a population far more homogeneous than our own country. Culture matters, and a shared culture makes something approaching democracy a lot easier to operate successfully.

    Investment in the culture and its traditions (specifically a popularly-elected government) also matters, and once again, while I don’t know it to be true, I suspect the kind of personal, emotional investment in a society that active political participation requires is easier to make if you believe that your own vote and your own political participation actually make some small difference. In a society not only dominated by the 1% economically, but where the 1% get to buy the government, and then write rules to benefit themselves (the 1% have done this since time immemorial, and in every society, regardless of the “official” political structure, so it’s not unique to the present, or to the U.S.), it should come as no surprise that many in the remaining 99% are, shall we say, less enthused about politics, and their influence on even local government. If you’re convinced that your vote and/or your participation in the political process in other ways makes no difference, you’re far less likely to go to the polls on election day.

    • Submitted by Karen Sandness on 10/07/2014 - 03:29 pm.

      Homogeneity does not guarantee public participation

      Japan, with about half the population of the United States, is more homogeneous than any European country and has a multiparty parliamentary system, and yet its voting rate is at U.S. levels.

      Why?

      First of all, its voting districts still represent the population patterns of earlier years, so that the vote of a resident of a dying rural village in the mountains counts for much more than the vote of a resident of one of the world’s largest cities.

      Second, all the parties, with the exception of the Communists, have had serious and publicly played out corruption scandals.

      Third, the Liberal Democratic Party (actually one of the most conservative parties in the country) has dominated for so long and set up such a bureaucracy that it’s hard for would-be reformers to change anything.

      New political parties are born and die, and for the most part, they have no particular ideology but are just factions of LDP dropouts. Occasionally a new political figure seems ready to break the mold (e.g. Koizumi) but he either doesn’t change anything or makes life worse for the average person.

      Local governments seem to function quite well, but it’s hard for Japanese people to get excited about anything the national government does.

  10. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 10/06/2014 - 08:18 pm.

    In America’s two party system, the Democratic party in the 20th century became the party of progressive politics, while the Republicans became the conservatives. There were two branches to that progressivism, the liberals and the socialists. The socialists dominated in the first half of the century, but the liberals came on strong 1960-1980 and achieved sweeping victories in minority and women’s rights as the baby boomers came of age. The socialists made much smaller gains in that period of Democratic dominance, and in the Republican counter-reformation that followed (led by Reagan), the Democrats defended the gains of liberalism successfully, but only by giving ground on the socialist side. For two generations the Democrats have been the party of personal rights and freedoms, and all of the Roosevelt socialists have died off. As a party striving for economic justice, redistributive taxation, and power to the workers, the Democrats totally lost their edge long ago. Blame the baby boomers. Until they no longer hold the keys to power, the Democratic party will not have an effective political program for social justice. They’ve spent 30 years unsuccessfully trying to pretend that socialism and liberalism are the same things; well, they aren’t and to argue it makes them hypocritical. Meanwhile, the Republicans keep their illiberal base happy by fighting long-lost fights that they can’t win (e.g. abortion, school prayer, the drug war), while using the mantle of ‘economic freedom’ to attract enough of the liberal wing of the Democratic party to defeat any socialist initiative. The Democrats taught America to vote for freedom and rights. Reagan changed the definition of the words. We’re all still voting for freedom, but for the foreseeable future that will mean voting against strong government, higher taxes, and a social safety net.

  11. Submitted by Vici Oshiro on 10/08/2014 - 10:25 am.

    turnout

    As usual, Arvonne Fraser hit the nail on the head. Black did mention the parliamentary system near the end of first article. I’m not ready to recommend that we change to parliamentary system, but do believe voters more likely to vote in that case. I do strongly support impartial drawing of district lines.

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