Thursday, July 21, 2011

What Can Change in America: The Structure of Politics

A way out of our dysfunctional politics (By Fareed Zakaria, Washington Post/Opinions) What has steadily changed over the past three or four decades is not so much the ideological intensity (though it has grown) but the structure of politics, making it more beholden to narrow, specialized interests — including ideological ones — rather than broader national ones....

...It’s depressing — but the fact that our politics are the result of structural shifts means that they can be changed. Mickey Edwards, a Republican and a former House member from Oklahoma, has a highly intelligent essay in Atlantic magazine, suggesting a series of reforms that could make a difference. Some of them are large-scale, such as creating truly open primaries and handing over the power of redistricting to independent commissions. Others are seemingly small but crucial changes in congressional procedure and practice, for example, filling committee vacancies by lot and staffing committees with professionals rather than with political apparatchiks.... [more]

For more on this topic, read Jackie Salit's The Parties Are Over from NY Newsday, October 2010

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