Mapping the repeal of proportional representation in New York City

I may have more to say about this later.

Two sorts of hypotheses might explain the variation. One concerns third-party strength (Labor, Liberal, Communist). But ecological inference suggests a divided Labor Party!

The other sort concerns politics of urban renewal. This may help explain the pockets of opposition in Bronx and Brooklyn. Also in the book, I analyze the City Council roll-call record. Those data suggest a faction of the Republican Party feuding with the O’Dwyer (D) administration and other Republicans on budget matters.

Another point worth mentioning: this was one of few repeals (the only?) that increased assembly size. So, there may be a counterintuitive representation story too.

Feel free to comment if anything strikes you.

Some key points from “More Parties or No Parties”

These are posted on Medium.

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.

Continue reading “The reform wave in context”