Race & US History

Race is joined with US History on this site because they've been inextricably joined in reality, from before there was a United States, and ever since.

The effects of winner-take-all elections and a two party system are but a small subset of James Baldwin's observation that “The story of the Negro in America is the story of America. It is not a pretty story.” But for electoral reformers, it's a critical one.

Race, US History and Political Dysfunction: Tracking the Source of the Problem in Order to Properly Fix It

PR Voting supports the idea that there is an urgent need to bring the "principle of proportionality" into the American electoral experience in order to help heal it, but much of the material below offers an important addendum: we've always needed PR.

Our country's current political dysfunction does not stem from plurality elections, or primaries, or parties, or runoffs, or gerrymandering - we have a winner-take-all problem. That's been true no matter who was allowed to vote, and who was excluded, at any time along our long historical timeline. Yes, we have a reasonable "excuse" that in 1787 there was very little representative democracy in the world, let alone better models for electing representatives, but "early adopters" can and should be on the lookout for advances in the marketplace of ideas. On that, the United States has failed both history and ourselves.

The price for stubbornly keeping our winner-take-all electoral blinders on has been steep. The time for PR is now, but the reason for PR is history. And because race matters.

Origin Story_ Winner-take-all Elections in the United States and its mentor, Great Britain.pdf
What if_ US Senator Charles Buckalew challenged winner-take-all in the 1860s.pdf
Proportional alternatives have been available for 170 years.pdf
Other countries have racial and ethnic conflicts, too; multiple political parties in PR systems help mitigate them.pdf
Voter suppression thrives in winner-take-all elections.pdf
“Racial voting” was evident in the US earlier than you might think.pdf
Bipartisanship Doesn't Mean Much Without Representation.pdf
Race, runoffs, and majority requirements in winner-take-all elections.pdf
From Goldwater to Trump_ Racism as Republican campaign strategy, 1964-2021.pdf
E pluribus unum_ Celebrating a measure of diversity in post-colonial America.pdf

Note on PR as a neutral political reform: It is exactly that - what else can be said about an electoral system that provides for diverse political perspectives (parties) to be fairly represented in proportion to the votes it wins from voters? That demands and accepts a true majority for democratic decision making, with all voices heard - even those with which we strongly disagree?

Much of this page is about the interconnection of race and US history, and specifically how winner-take-all elections both exploit and exacerbate the racism that clearly persists in this country. Some of the material here and elsewhere calls out the contemporary GOP because the ball of racial division, which bounces between parties over time, has now landed squarely in the Republicans' court, with too many party leaders being far too comfortable wielding it for calculated electoral advantage in a winner-take-all environment.

There are many newly disaffected Republicans that are realizing that the descent into election madness in their party is about a lot more than Donald Trump. What will make the difference is when they are able to look beyond individuals and the next election, by stepping away from the no-win debate about "taking back their party" versus starting a new one. Those who reasonably say that their political views could not and would not find a home in the Democratic party must realize that limited choice is precisely the problem, for which multiparty democracy is the solution. PR is a neutral reform - it might even save the Republican party from itself, by allowing it to devolve into its logical and politically coherent components; same for Democrats. PR by itself wouldn't end racism in America, but neither would it allow winner-take-all elections to continue to be its combustible accelerant.