Yes, American elections are dysfunctional

In light of today’s US Supreme Court ruling striking down a key part of the Voting Rights Act, Chuck Todd says,

Voting in general is a mess. A functional Washington would see today’s decision as an opportunity to do a big voting fix. But… Well…

Yes, indeed, but I suppose Chuck doesn’t mean as big voting fix as I would like to see. But he has the correct sentiment. Contrary to Jonathan Bernstein, I do see American elections and democracy as in need of some BIG fixes. I’d submit that Jonathan has an overly narrow definition of what constitutes dysfunction.

2 thoughts on “Yes, American elections are dysfunctional

  1. Observing from a hemisphere away, I confess I’m puzzled by a prima facie disjunction between:

    (a) “The Court told Congress to rewrite the VRA if it wants the legislation to be constitutional, but there is no chance in today’s gridlocked Washington that Congress will act…” (a comment by various pundits)


    (b) The VRA has been renewed numerous times under GOP PResidents – most recently Dubya – and by super-majorities approaching 90% in both Houses of Congress.

    Is it that the Republicans would agree to the status quo ante (which the Court has just invalidated) – one hears claims that the VRA helps both Republicans and black Democrats at the expense of white Democrats – but not to any variation?

    Or has Bush’s reputation become so toxic within his own party, after just a few years, that saying “Well, Bush supported this legislation…” would be like telling the GOP base that Nixon or Rockefeller supported it?

    Australian media are never terribly helpful when reporting on US politics – they succumb too easily to a sort of “Oh, those ghastly Yanks… Only in America!” eyebrow-raising. Between TIME’s ill-advised decision in 1987 to introduce an Australian edition, and the rise of the Internet around 1999, I had to consume news from America filtered through the local media – generally misinterpreted.

  2. Or (c) is it relatively easy to get 90+ Senators and 300+ House Reps to agree regularly to renew the existing law, no questions asked, but opening a can of worms to debate any changes to it?

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