In style of a “point-counterpoint” dialogue for Inside Sources, FairVote’s Executive Director Rob Richie argues that the partisan divides in Congress are due to America’s current broken voting system, not social media.
Richie notes partisan division started way before social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter existed. In the early days of the nation, books, pamphlets and newspapers were used as partisan tools designed to sort out voters onto their respective teams. Later we saw rise of radio and television. Though the manner in which information is exchanged has evolved through the years, our compulsion to communicate has not.
“Social media is a convenient scapegoat, with its echo chamber that can make all news seem ‘fake’ if differing from what our friends think, but blaming social media is a classic case for shooting the messenger,” he writes.
The problem in our politics is not based on how we communicate, but instead how we choose our leaders. The current system of our winner-take-all, binary politics is the reason why government doesn’t work for the average American.
Richie writes that the solutions which would be emerge by reforms like the The Fair Representation Act and ranked choice voting would create more fair representation and a better politics. The way we communicate surely can be improved upon, but it's important to keep our eye on the target: fixing our broken voting system.
Read the full op-ed here.