Norm Ornstein, American Enterprise Institute fellow and co-director of the Election Reform Project, is one of the experts who will be providing analysis at the rollout event of our Monopoly Politics 2018 report on the roots of congressional election dysfunction later this week (more on that below). Ornstein also is a coauthor, along with leading political observers E.J. Dionne and Thomas E. Mann, of a new book, One Nation After Trump that reflects on Donald Trump’s rise to power and highlights the major elements of FairVote’s reform vision among its suggestions to change.
While the first half of the book focuses on their concern about Donald Trump, the authors devote the latter half on suggested changes. Among those are various structural reforms that could be made to strengthen our democracy, including several aimed at our electoral system. FairVote was thrilled to see that highlighted reform proposals include ones that have helped develop and champion: National Popular Vote agreement, ranked choice voting and fair representation voting methods. A few excerpts:
Ranked Choice Voting: “The instant runoff (ranked choice voting) would... empower third-party voters because they would know expressing their first choice would not automatically lead to the election of their least-favored candidate…”
Fair Representation: “Until 1980, state legislative districts in Illinois had three members, and voters could cast three ballots -- all of one candidate or split among three. Those in the legislature at the time said the cumulative system created broader representation, a better stream of candidates and more incentives for lawmakers to cooperate with one another… Congress would simply need to amend the 1967 federal law requiring single-member districts.”
National Popular Vote: “...is a promising path. It envisions the legislatures of states representing a majority of the Electoral College forging a formal agreement through state law to cast their electoral votes for the winner of the popular vote, thereby creating a de facto popular vote system.”
On September 28, Ornstein brings his expertise to our event at the historical Mott House in Washington, as we roll out our bi-annual report,“Monopoly Politics.” The work is an ongoing, in-depth analysis of U.S. House elections and the structural origins of the polarization, partisan bias, and striking lack of competition that plague congressional politics. The report will once again project winners in every U.S. House race (this time for 2018); it includes what FV believes are safe projections in more than 85 percent of seats using a model that has missed just a single race from 2012-2016.
Additionally, FairVote will share its new report on a simulation of congressional plans that would be established by H.R. 3057, The Fair Representation Act. H.R. 3057 would establish a combination of independent commissions, ranked choice voting, and larger districts that elect more than one seat. The simulations show it would: 1) create a level playing field for the major parties; 2) provide shared representation of both parties in nearly every district; 3) increase electoral opportunities for women and people of color.
Ornstein joins Anita Earls, executive director the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, FairVote executive director Rob Richie and Dave Daley, FairVote’s communications director, (whose book “Rat F**ked: Why Your Voice Doesn’t Count” is a preeminent telling of the 2011-12 redistricting horror story) at the event. We’ll be airing the event live at 9:15 am ET on the 28th on FairVote’s Facebook page.