The Iowa caucuses are over and the 2008 primary season is in full swing. Obama and Huckabee come out strong and now head to New Hampshire. Commentators are pointing out that participation this year was quite impressive for this quirky experiment in nomination politics.
Conor Clarke, however, hates Iowa and says the caucus system is profoundly undemocratic and one of the poorest ways to elect leaders. For all the talk about direct and personal democracy, it is full of practices that go against norms and practices understood to be representative of developed democracies, Clarke argues.
There is a lot of talk recently about the structural problems with the way the United States votes for its executive. Now some states are planning on big reforms that would essentially undermine the Electoral College. Maryland recently passed the National Popular Vote Law which mandates that a state's Electors must cast their ballots in line with the popular vote. Illinois and New Jersey are likely to follow in the next few months. This would essentially strip the Electoral College of its power and mean that the president would be the person chosen by a majority of the voters, not the majority of the Electors of the College. With such a reform in place earlier, we might now be looking at the end of President Gore's second term!