Thursday, August 30, 2007

Rick Hasen on the Ragged System of Choosing a President

While I tend to disagree with Prof. Hasen on a number of matters involving election law, his latest column at Findlaw is a pretty good summary of the mess that has been made of our electoral system for choosing a president. Some of the problems simple facts that the law has not kept up with reality (see the Matching Fund program) or the "race to be relevant" in choosing nominees that is skewing the primiary system so bad as to be laughable, or simply blatant politics.

Hasen concludes:
We shouldn't be surprised, in the post-Bush v. Gore environment, that political actors will take every legal step to gain political advantage. The trick is finding the will to impose law and order so that individually-rational decisions by these political actors don't lead to irrational results for the country as a whole.
Our presidential election system is no longer rational to anyone, except maybe a crazy person.

My solutions:

1. Abolish the current matching system all together (preferred) or at teh every least set up the law for a regular review of real world costs of campaigning if limits are to be set.

2. Five regional primaries centered around the five biggest states and rotating through each cycle so no one region becomes dominate (or better yet) a lottery six months before the first primary, so no candidate can anticiapte where the primaries will start.

3. Either abolish the Electoral college by amendment (not likely to happen) or couple together redistricting reform and electoral college reform so that both are competitive.

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