a good question
A friend just posed the following question:
If everyone had two votes, and you couldn't vote for the same person, do you think politics would be better in the US?
I emailed the following response and figured I might as well post it here too...
Maybe slightly better, but I don't think it would fix much. The problem as I see it is an electorate that is generally too stupid to govern itself, and giving voters more votes might help but wouldn't solve it. People for the most part would just count the second vote as a throw-away. We'd probably see an emergence of more parties very similar to the ones we have now; like Dems and Reps they'd talk the talk but when it comes down to records and pandering there wouldn't be much difference. And people want that kind of baseless, easy-to-agree-with politics so they'd just get more of it. Political parties have to be that way to appeal to a broad enough base to be taken seriously so they either have to keep giving in on more and more issues or be content to never be in the mainstream (and thus have very little chance of ever fielding a popular candidate) for the foreseeable future.
Methinks to fix the problem you need to hack away at the roots. But when the vast majority of voters are educated (or not educated) by the pathetic system we have now and are getting their views of the world handed to them by the big media folks it's kinda hard to do much about it. I think the Founding Fathers had it right with limiting the vote to a select few that had (for the most part) proven that they were intelligent and capable of making decisions based on reason and not emotional appeals. It wasn't perfect but I think it was a heck of a lot better than the chaos we have now. But how to fix it...that's the hard part. I have plenty of ideas but I'm not convinced any would actually work.
A barely related book plug: "Amusing Ourselves to Death" by Neil Postman. Non-political, talks about how culture in general and TV in particular has dumbed down the populace over the past few generations. Good stuff.
Anyway, guess I'd better get back to studying for another one of those pesky weekly exams. But add this issue to the list of things I'd love to write a lot more about sometime in the near future...