What is Wrong with American Politics?

Patrick Kissel, Reporter

In America, it is largely considered that the democracy that governs it is one of the greatest democracies of all time, guaranteeing all those under its jurisdiction a vote, and a say in politics. But there is one major issue with American politics that helps and lower the ability of the actual will of the people to be represented:the usage of first past the post voting.

First past the post is where the voters simply put a mark next to one candidate’s name. This means that a candidate can become the representative of their constituency without being the truly favorite candidate in that district. A better system would be to vote using single transferable voting, where you rank  your candidates as favorite to least favorite. You then go through and eliminate the least popular candidate and transferring their voters’ votes to their next choice. This process is continued until one candidate gains a simple majority.

The reason for this system over first past the post is it allows for people to vote for a third party candidate. In first past the post, the voters are afraid to waste their votes on a third party candidate for fear of the greater of two evils winning the election. In single transferable vote, though, this allows for people vote for the third party without fear of wasting their vote. This will help break down the two party system that dominates American politics.

All elections in Missouri at the state and federal level use first past the post, which has led to the democrats and the republicans being the only two candidates to ever get a notable amount of votes, and forcing voters to choose between the lesser of two evils in the major political parties. Using single transferable vote will allow for populist movements to more quickly and more easily enter center stage.

America should move away from first past the post voting, and towards the even more representative democratic system of single transferable vote. America should continue the process of millenia as democracy has evolved from its original origins in Athens to become a system of representation that permits all voices to be heard, and requires the government has the consent of the governed.