On the big election day in American I often end up thinking how bizarre American president election is, which in my opinion does not make the best leaders possible being elected as well as causes all kind of other issues. Here are my two top concerns.
Electoral College based election Might be it served its purpose 200 years ago but I think with modern national wide reach of media it causes more hard than good. First it it makes it unfair to american citizens as some votes are more valuable than others – if you’re Republican in California or Democrat in Texas your vote makes essentially no difference compared to the votes in so called “swing states”. Second with election focused mainly around the few swing states it is unfair to the states as presidents are trying to court the voters of swings states much more of states voting traditionally which essentially promotes the special interest politics on state level. Popular Vote based election would be my solution even though I recognize it would require changes to constitution and there is unlikely enough will to do that.
Two candidates based election So there is candidate from Democrats, Republicans and no one else essentially matters. To have the chance to win majority of politicians need to align themselves with one of the two parties and try to win nomination, which frankly propels people who know how to work the system rather than strongest leaders to the top. Because of choice of 2 candidates people are often tempted to vote for lesser of 2 evils rather than supporting candidate they might really like which makes it hard for those candidates to get any visibility. This even can be seen on primary elections when it quickly becomes about 2 top contenders of each party as presented to us by mass media. As result all election is about picking someone from established elite with little new blood and new ideas entering the politics.
The solution I see is direct president election as exist in many countries with president candidacy essentially unrelated to the party, though party may chose to endorse the candidate of its liking. Some number of signatures might be needed for serious nomination so one can avoid candidates nominating themselves as a joke. When 2nd stage of election can be ran as needed if no one wins 50% in the first round.
Such process I believe allow for much better expression of people’s opinion as in the first round people will vote for candidate they really like rather than lesser of 2 evils. In addition to whomever wins it allows for better tracking for popularity of ideas which candidates represent. For example if we would have such elections we might have seen Ron Paul capturing say 5% or 15% of the vote so we would know how much popularity his ideas have – currently we have no clue as it was all hidden in the primary nomination game which does not even represent the full population. Showing group of people their ideas are getting traction allows them to better organize and get resources for next elections and allowing new ideas to be represented a lot better in the politics.