The Divided States of America

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Media Outlet: New York Times

Lee Drutman wrote for the New York Times about the two-party system and electoral reform:

Reading the nonstop coverage of what may well be a close presidential election, one might be forgiven for thinking that political competition is alive and well in America.
But look at the majority of states and congressional races, and a different picture emerges: In most places, meaningful two-party electoral competition is nonexistent. Rather than being one two-party nation, we are becoming two one-party nations.
Most large cities, college towns, the Northeast and the West Coast are deep-blue Democratic. Ruby-red Republican strongholds take up most of the South, the Great Plains, the Mountain States and the suburban and rural areas in between. Rather than compete directly against each other, both parties increasingly occupy their separate territories, with diminishing overlap and disappearing common accountability. They hear from very different constituents, with very different priorities. The minimal electoral incentives they do face all push toward nurturing, rather than bridging, those increasingly wide divisions.

Author:

Lee Drutman is a senior fellow in the program on political reform at New America. He is the author of The Business of America is Lobbying (Oxford University Press, 2015).