Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Where to begin? First off, it's not the existence of swing states that's a problem with a more federalist electoral system. What is a problem in the States is that there are fewer and fewer swing states, as polarization of the electorate has been steadily increasing. But you can't blame that on the federalist system. And under any kind of electoral system, there is always a particular segment of the population that is more in play than others - it just so happens that under a federalist election systems, that sought-after segment has a geographic definition. And you're saying that the swing states wield more power in a federalist system - well gee, doesn't that mean in the worst possible case you're replacing one geography-based imbalance - the one I'm complaining about here, which heavily favors the German conservatives, with another? Meaning, in the worst possible case at least you're not doing any worse than you're doing now? What's more, swing states at least gain there special status because their vote is not a foregone conclusion. The German system gives disproportionate power to a few states whose vote is absolutely predictable. I would not consider that a structural advantage - nor would I consider it more democratic. And then, the fact is, if Germany had an electoral college - and please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it should adopt one, see below - Schroeder would have crushed Merkel tonight. Now do you consider that a bad outcome? Just asking.

But all this is a discussion I didn't really mean to get into. I wasn't making a point about Germany's electoral system - I was just trying to point out that I'm really pretty darn impressed with the SPD's performance in these elections, and I think there's something to be said for the legitimacy of Schroeder's claim of a mandate.

If you can't convince them, confuse them. (Harry S. Truman)

by brainwave on Mon Sep 19th, 2005 at 01:23:55 AM EST
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