All tagged presidential elections

Electoral College reform has been debated since the institution’s inception, but there has always been little political will for change. The Democrats and Republicans appear to have held a tacit “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” agreement on the subject, but it is becoming increasingly obvious that the American electoral system is broken.

As his first term approached its end, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomintang Party (KMT) was pitted against Tsai Ing-wen, a member of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the first female presidential candidate in Taiwan. The January election, restoring incumbent Ma as president, captured international attention as many anticipated a resulting shift in the precarious relationship between Taiwan and China.

“You can sleep after election day,” I heard one volunteer say, and this battle cry seemed to capture a truth of the 2008 presidential campaign — that the election mattered, not only because of the president it would elect, but because of the sense of belonging and meaning citizens gained from their participation in it. But it also hinted at another truth: that come November 4th, for most people, the work would be over. Even though this year’s presidential primaries marked the highest voter turnout in over three decades, less than one-fifth of Americans expect to be involved in political issues after the election. It would be Obama’s job from there on out.

On the Campaign Trail ‘72, a remarkably entertaining and, more often than one would expect, insightful account of the campaign, from the fight for the Democratic nomination to the race between George McGovern and Richard Nixon for the presidency. For Democrats interested in winning the 2004 election, Thompson’s analysis of the ‘72 campaign is a must-read, especially in light of the frequent comparisons between McGovern and current frontrunner Howard Dean that one hears from commentators left and right these days.