Sept. 22, 2017
For Vox's Polyarchy blog, Lee Drutman explained why he blames the current problems in the Republican Party on flaws in the American democratic system.
I suspect even many elite Republicans would agree at this point. But the undeniable reality is that about half of the voting population has decided that even with its glaring flaws, the Republican Party is still the better of the two partisan options our political system offers.
At this point, it should be obvious that the Republican Party has gone insane. The pressing question now is: “Why has the Republican Party gone insane?”
My argument is that the modern Republican Party is a direct result of the design flaws of the American political system — our winner-take-all single-member electoral districts, our reliance on private money to finance elections, and our increasingly presidentialist system of government. You simply can’t understand the GOP’s pathologies without understanding the larger political system in which it operates.
It’s tempting to lay the blame on well-known destructive political leaders (Newt Gingrich, Mitch McConnell, Donald Trump, etc.). But why should politicians here and now be any more destructive than at any other time and place? What’s different here and now are the opportunities and incentives. That’s why we need a structural explanation.