Voices & Choices

FairVote Webinar Rewind: Innovating for a More Reflective Government

FairVote Webinar Rewind: Innovating for a More Reflective Government

On Tuesday, September 15, FairVote hosted the second webinar in our Fall series about The Future of American Elections. The topic of the webinar was “Innovating for a More Reflective Government.”

FairVote Senior Communications Fellow David Daley spoke with MapLight President Daniel Newman, author of Unrig: How to Fix Our Broken Democracy; and former Gehl Foods CEO Katherine Gehl, co-author of The Politics Industry: How Political Innovation Can Break Partisan Gridlock and Save Our Democracy

Their conversation highlighted the problems caused by having a two party monopoly in politics and how reforming our election systems can help solve them.

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  • Gehl describes the idea that there is a ‘political industrial complex’ that has become too powerful and does not adequately serve the needs of citizens (7:00)
  • Newman explains what it means for the political system to be ‘rigged’ - having a predetermined result due to the political industrial complex regardless of what everyday people try to do (9:00). He says that to unrig the system we need greater transparency and to rewrite the rules to make the system work better for everyone.
  • Gehl discusses how in a two party system without significant third party competition, the major parties do not feel a need to innovate and satisfy their constituents well (10:50). She goes on to explain why she believes top-5 primaries and ranked choice voting (RCV) general elections would increase competition to the two parties and incentivize them to serve the public more.
  • Newman says publicly funded elections would be a good reform to pass alongside RCV, reducing the barriers to running for office and increasing political competition (19:55).
  • Both panelists suggest that those who want to improve elections get involved with reform campaigns at the state level rather than just focusing on national reform movements (29:50).
  • Daley and Newman discuss how multi-member congressional districts with RCV could improve American democracy by achieving proportional representation that better reflects the preferences of the population (42:05). This is the aim of the Fair Representation Act currently in Congress.
  • Gehl says she doesn’t think multi-member districts would do enough to encourage legislators to come together and compromise on difficult issues (43:59).

The next webinar in this series, Redefining Representation for American Voters, will be held on October 1 at 12 pm EDT.  Daley will interview Danielle Allen, a political scientist and Director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics; and former two-term Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld. We encourage anyone who cares about the state of American democracy to attend. You can sign up here

If you missed the previous webinar, Making Every Vote Count, you can read this recap or watch the recording on our YouTube channel. 


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