Although I object to the slanderous title of this article, I still felt compelled to share it with everyone. Even though the author is a centrist and abhors conservatism, he at least realizes the need for government to become more centrist than it is today. In short, he at least recognizes that the system is broken. As Larry Diamond, a Stanford University democracy expert, once wrote, "If you don't get governance right, it is very hard to get anything else right that government needs to deal with." No truer words have been spoken. The author goes on to say, "My definition of broken is simple. It is a system in which Republicans will be voted out for doing the right thing (raising taxes when needed) and Democrats will be voted out for doing the right thing (cutting services when needed). When your political system punishes lawmakers for doing the right thing, it is broken. That is why we need political innovation that takes America's disempowered radical center and enables it to act in proportion to its true size, unconstrained by the two parties, interest groups and orthodoxies that have tied our politics in knots."
So how do we break the two party oligarchy? He suggests two innovations. First let every state emulate California's recent grass-roots initiative that took away the power to design state electorial districts from the state legislature and put it in the nads of an independent, politically neutral, Citizens Redistricting Commission. It will go to work after the 2010 census and reshape California's state legislature districts for the coming elections. Henceforth, districts in California will NOT be designed to be automatically Democratic or Repulican - so more of them will be competitive, so more candidates will only be electable if they appeal to the center, not just cater to one party. (There is a movement pressing for the same independent commission to be given the power to redraw Congressional districts) Second, get states to adopt "alternative voting". One reason independent, third party, centrist candidates can't get elected is because if, in a three-person race, a Democrat votes for an independent, and the independent loses, the Democrat fears his vote wil have actually helped the Republican win, or vise versa. Alternative voting allows you to rank the independent candidate your #1 choice, and the other Democratic or Repulibcan choice #2. Therefore, if the independent does not win, your vote is immediately transferred to your second choice. Nothing has held back the growth of independent, centrist candidates more, said Diamond, "than the fear that if you vote for one of them you will be wasting your vote." Alternative voting, which Australia has, can overcome that.