Beyond political gridlock: What’s next?

The US election is over, but gridlock still looms. We asked Zintro experts for their thoughts.

Levi Moore, an expert in public affairs and government relations, thinks that the GOP will dismantle the blockade. “Republicans cannot risk being viewed as the problem if political gridlock returns. If they are, this will pay in the mid-terms elections and put the House in play for the Democrats,” he says.

Rex Widerstrom, a government and public affairs expert, says countries like New Zealand and Australia, which also have electoral systems, frequently result in Parliaments where no one party has a clear majority and must thus form coalitions with smaller parties in order to govern. This is also commonplace in parts of Europe. “Those coalitions can be basic; the minor party may agree to support the government on money bills, but reserve its right to treat every other issue on a case-by-case basis. That gives the government stability enough to govern, but forces it to consult and compromise on other issues. Or coalitions may be more comprehensive, covering a range of issues on which both parties can agree. Sometimes the governing party must, or simply chooses to, sign agreements with several minor parties,” Widerstrom explains.

“The result is that issues tend to be genuinely debated, and policies honed through this process tend to better reflect the views of a greater portion of the populace. So unless the US wanted to introduce proportionality to House races, the quickest way to introduce more diverse voices into the debate would be to vote for third party and independent candidates.”

By Maureen Aylward

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Comments

  1. Almost all the Republicans have signed a pledge to Grover Norquist promising they will not raise taxes. Obama is firm that the top marginal rate will rise for those making over $250K per year. I can see that a bill keeping the Bush tax cuts in effect for those making less than $250K might pass, either before or after January 1, but I do not see much chance of either side budging an inch on raising taxes for those who make more than $250K.

    Third parties have sometimes been “spoilers” in US elections, but they rarely gain any traction. The two major parties are essentially coalitions of strange bedfellows anyhow, forming these coalitions prior to elections, whereas European style parliamentary systems sometimes form them after elections if no party wins a majority.

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