The Australian Party System

After charting the history of American parties in Congress, I decided to make a similar chart for Australia’s party history. For each federal election from the first in 1901 to the latest in 2016, the presence of each party is represented by a colored rectangle sized in proportion to its number of seats in the chamber […]

Evolution of the Two-Party System

The chart below shows the history of American political parties in Congress, from the 1st (1789-91) through the 114th (2015-17). It is only part of the story of parties in the United States, as many have never won any seats at the federal level. These include the modern Libertarian and Green parties as well as the early abolitionist Liberty Party, to name just a few. […]

Multimember District Representation in the US and in the States

Americans are used to electing our representatives from single-member districts. Since the 1970s, all members of the US House of Representatives have been elected this way. But in many cases prior to that, states elected some or all of their federal representatives from multimember districts, where two or more people represented the same geographical area. In […]

The Jospin Scenario: Why Top-Two and Two-Round Voting Systems are Fatally Flawed

In 2010, California adopted a “top-two” open primary system, in which the primary is nonpartisan and open to every voter. The top two vote-getters—regardless of party—advance to the general election. This was the result of voters’ approval of Proposition 14, which was designed to overcome the extreme gridlock from which the state government had suffered. […]