Acknowledging those who came before

The past is not that long ago.

A card I got for graduation pictures two lost drivers asking a policeman for directions. All are dressed in 1950s clothing. The caption reads, “I took the road less traveled, and now I don’t know where the Hell I am.” An instant hit.

So, where am I? Where do I stand in the long arc of this game? Where does this project stand in relation to the discipline?

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The reform wave in context

Fractious, supermajority parties, then and now

This post is on the connection between oversized majorities and waves of political reform. Here I am thinking about ranked-choice voting in historical context, though one might say the same about direct primaries. I think reforms like this take off when:

1) Most people lean to one side of the ideological spectrum;

2) But that side of the spectrum has serious, internal cleavages.

The basic idea is that the logic of minimum-winning coalition is not holding in some way. The political majority is oversized, so much of the action is inside it. That fighting finds expression first as party splits, then as reforms to foster coordination. I have floated this hypothesis before. Others are starting to touch on it. Let’s look at some data.

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