Friday, July 5, 2019

Why Competition in the Politics Industry is Failing America

GehlPorter Site Logo representing a donkey (representing Democrats) and an elephant (representing republicans) stretching the country between them.

Read: Why Competetion in the Politics Industry is Failing America by Katherine M. Gehl & Michael Porter

Listen: America's Hidden Duopoly - Stephen Dubner interviews Katherine Gehl and Michael Porter on Freakonomics Radio

In Brief

There were three articles that provoked me to create this blog and they are represented in the first three posts. This is the most politics-oriented of the set. But, as Katherine Gehl and Michael Porter write, "This report is about politics, but it is not political."

In the Freakonomics Radio episode linked to above, Gehl and Porter tell their story of why they decided to analyze the political system as an industry. Using that lens has brought insights that haven't been found in other analyses. In particular, they argue that, "The political system isn't broken. It's doing what it is designed to do." Unfortunately for us, it's designed to benefit our major political parties and their industry allies rather the the broader public interest.

The problem is not Democrats or Republicans. Most individuals who seek and hold public office are genuinely seeking to make a positive contribution. The problem is not the existence of parties, per se, or that there are two major parties. The real problem is the nature of political competition that the current duopoly has created, their failure to deliver solutions that work, and the artificial barriers that are preventing new competition that might better serve the public interest.

In their analysis, they show that division and polarization helps preserve the existing party structure and is very effective in raising money.

Parties, then, compete to create and reinforce partisan divisions, not deliver practical solutions. The duopoly appeals to its partisan supporters based on ideology, not policies that work.

They conclude the report with a set of reforms that sit at the intersection of "Powerful" and "Achievable" though they point out that none of these are easy. For most of the reforms, there are existing advocacy groups that they recommend.

The website has two versions of the report. Though the Report Overview is a quicker read, I found it unsatisfying because I wanted to see the evidence behind the claims. The Full Report does an excellent job of that, every point, recommendation, and conclusion is backed up by solid evidence and research.

They are realistic in their expectations; this will take time. But they are adamant about the importance of reforming the U.S. Politics Industry.

No comments:

Post a Comment