2014-03-17 13:36





  1、What is the Electoral College? what is its basic function?

  2、Why does the author propose to abolish the institution of the Electoral College? What is the major cause of the American government’s dysfunction?

  3、Why does the author suggest replacing the members of the Electoral College with the House of Representatives? What is the problem with this remedy?

  According to the author, what is the “must reasonable” solution to end America’s divided government? What is the practice adopted in Iowa?

  读完题目后我们可以遇见出文章内容。文章的关键词是Electoral College。作者提议废除Electoral College。并由此引出美国政府体制的失常。废除Electoral College之后,作者评析了replacing the members of the Electoral College with the House of Representatives的方法。最后作者提出了一个最终的结论。


  As the wealthiest nation in history debates whether we're interested in paying our bills, it's time to unmask the true cause of our dysfunction: Neither Republicans nor Democrats are ultimately to blame. Instead, the problem lies at the antiquated core of the world's oldest, creakiest democracy. More specifically, we must abolish that most heinous of institutions, the Electoral College.

  I'm not sure I've ever met anyone with a kind word to say about the College, a seemingly vestigial group that meets every four years to formally elect the president we all already voted for. Other countries with well-functioning governments have similar mysterious organs in place (call them the tonsils of democracy), but with a crucial difference: We're the only nation on Earth to continue electing an executive president, as opposed to a figurehead, in this fashion.

  Why is this such a problem? I present you with Exhibit A: whatever's currently on the front page of today's Tribune. Exhibit B: yesterday's front page; Exhibit C: tomorrow's; etc, etc. The slow-motion brain-flatulence of a government shutdown is a perfect example of the problems inherent to divided government, where two co-equal branches are pitted against one another, run by opposing leaders with no incentive to compromise. This paralysis is an inevitable outcome of a system dominated by two ideologically distinct parties, elected separately to three institutions meant to check and balance each other.

  And yet, a simple tweak could dramatically decrease the odds of this division reoccurring, without requiring any major changes to our Constitution. Merely replacing the members of the Electoral College with the House of Representatives would ensure that, at least half the time, the president and the House were in alignment — and if we reformed the redistricting process to ensure truly democratic congressional elections, our government would function even more smoothly.

  In this scenario, every four years, voters would elect congresspeople who would then elect a president, similar to how parliamentary systems choose a prime minister. In those elections, congressional races would function as a proxy for the presidential race — as they largely do already. Congressional elections have become nationalized, as most candidates align themselves with their party's presidential nominee and run on national issues like the budget, gun control and health care, so this would be no great change.

  There would still be a chance for gridlock, of course — for one thing, the Senate is left entirely out of this equation. In off-year elections, it's possible that the president's party would lose a majority in the House, ensuring the same divided government we have today. But such division would be guaranteed to end after two years, a fact that would dramatically alter the incentives for congressional leaders.

  It's certainly true that this alone isn't a very dramatic reform, and that as long as we're talking about constitutional amendments, why not go all-out and adopt a parliamentary system like most well-functioning Western governments? That might be a great idea, and political scientists — from the late Yale political science scholar Juan Linz, to Slate magazine's Matt Yglesias — have long noted that presidential systems have a pretty terrible track record, with America being the sole exception to an otherwise unbroken string of failure. But it just doesn't seem politically possible to attempt such a wholesale revamp of our governance structure, particularly since the mere ratification of a constitutional amendment hasn't happened in 21 years.

  There is one objection to this idea that I take very seriously, however. Do we really feel comfortable putting the election of the president in the hands of America's most despised political institution, the House of Representatives? As currently constructed, of course not. For one thing, in 2012, Democrats won more than 1.7 million more votes than Republicans in the House, and yet Republicans retained a 17-seat majority. That imbalance is antithetical to any democratic ideal, and it has to be fixed, whether or not we also allow the House to elect the president.

  The solution that strikes me as the most reasonable is to inaugurate a national, nonpartisan redistricting agency, modeled on the one in place and working well in Iowa. That agency uses impartial software to automatically generate district lines that disregard all factors except population, boundaries then subject to approval by the legislature and governor. In Illinois, by contrast, a bipartisan committee draws those lines and, if the four Republicans and four Democrats on the committee can't agree on a map, a ninth member is chosen by drawing a name from a replica of Abraham Lincoln's hat.

  I wish I was kidding about that last bit. If our government is so badly broken that it all comes down to an idea seemingly stolen from a Harry Potter novel, is it any surprise that it can't do its job?







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