Political Reform and American Democracy

The 2016 election brought into sharp relief the anomalies and imperfections of our democratic institutions. Trump, beating out a crowded field of primary candidates, won the election having lost the popular vote. Despite intense media coverage, the party primaries were still low-turnout events, and party infighting undermined the legitimacy of the final candidates. Third-party candidates who stood no chance of winning nonetheless drew significant votes in swing states. Translating frustration with the political system into an agenda for political reform is difficult in any established democracy. Americans have been fed up with gerrymandering, campaign finance, and two-party monopolies for years. But “reform” often gets a bad rap as a way to seek partisan advantage. The For the People Act 2019 (H.R. 1), the Democrats’ first agenda item after the 2018 midterms, was derided as the “Democrat Politician Protection Plan” by Mitch McConnell when it reached the Senate, writes Didi Kuo in The American Interest. Read here.