Eight simple steps to fix American democracy

The New Statesman

How democratic is the United States? According to a poll released by the bipartisan Democracy Project in June, a clear majority (55 per cent) of Americans consider US democracy to be “weak”, with two-thirds (68 per cent) saying it’s “getting weaker.” Half of Americans believe the nation is in “real danger of becoming a non-democratic, authoritarian country”.

In February, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) classed the United States as a “flawed democracy” for the second year in a row. The US ranked 21st in the EIU’s Democracy Index, behind 20 “full” democracies including Germany, Canada and the UK.

Republicans in control of statehouses and governors’ mansions across the United States have gerrymandered their way to the “the most audacious political heist of modern times,” in the words of investigative journalist David Daley. Remember, as political scientist Lee Drutman, of the New America think tank, observed in January, “Gerrymandering is largely a US phenomenon … We’re the only country that uses single-member districts but doesn’t use independent districting commissions to draw them.” Americans from across the political spectrum have expressed their dislike of gerrymandering.

A bipartisan poll conducted by the Campaign Legal Center in September 2017 found that 71 per cent of respondents, including 65 per cent of Republicans, want the Supreme Court to define “clear, new rules” that end blatant partisan gerrymandering.

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