“[They] haven’t lost their way. They have, instead, found it. And it has led them straight toward unabashed white supremacy and fascism.”

From her cover story in The New Republic.

So how do we decrease the polarization?  Make space for candidates who appeal to the moderate middle?  The sensible center?

Candidates who are willing to cooperate?  Seek common ground?  Compromise?


Part of the answer is to end gerrymandering, as hard-fought ballot initiatives like Florida’s Fair Districts initiative have largely done.  If districts are not safely red or blue, candidates who appeal to the middle will have a chance to beat those who appeal only to the right or left fringe.

Part of the answer is to make primary voting easier — so you simply have to drop your ballot in the mail.  When it’s hard to vote, only the most committed on both sides — who are often the most extreme — take the trouble.

Part of the answer is ranked-choice voting (also called Instant Runoff Voting), forcing candidates to appeal to a broader group and an incentive not to run negative ads. (Say you were running for office in a ranked-choice election.  Knowing that each of your rivals has some strong fans, and hoping to be those fans’ second choice, would you be more or less likely to smear them?)

And part of the answer is “open primaries,” as importantly described here.  Also known as “final four” voting.  (And, yes, you could still have an R or a D by your name, so someone who wanted their party to retain the gavels could be sure her or his vote was going to a candidate of their favored party.)

As you probably know, Ambassador James Hormel has died.

A lovelier man, more generous of spirit, I have never known.

Every day is precious.

Have a great weekend.


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