proportional representation

Brett Knowlton brettk at
Tue Aug 29 08:21:38 PDT 2000


>thank you thank you thank you. i asked this question about two years
>ago. i fail to see how proportional representation is any sort of
>answer. it seems to me that such an approach presumes that groups of
>people think alike, based on identity.
>i guess i just think it's the height of ignorance to presume that black
>people think alike, or latinos, or whathaveyou. i mean come on! the elian
>controversy? are all asian-pacific islanders alike? what about
>women? (the question i asked last time was with regard to that issue.)

Various groups do think alike, and although their shared beliefs _might_ be based on identity, they certainly don't have to be. The main point is that blocs of voters agree on how to implement social policy on a range of issues. Even if all ethnic minorities were hopelessly fractured politically, PR would still be a good idea since it would allow (ethnically diverse) political minorities to have a much more representative voice in government.

>not even to mention that it seems a ridiculously divisive move given the
>backlash politics we're dealing with.

The opposite could be argued. As the article Art McGee posted to the list suggested, PR could reduce divisiveness by focusing more attention on the merits of various policy issues, as opposed to the silly and counterproductive "death penalty = tough on crime" confrontational soundbyte politics we see now.

Besides, I suspect race and class divisions, historical considerations, etc., are much better predictors of social divisiveness than the electoral system. And it certainly isn't empirically obvious that countries with PR systems suffer from a greater degree of social conflict than countries with winner-take-all systems.


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