opinion | You want to clean the house? I also think

Many of you responded strongly to last week’s newspaper discrediting most of the Senate’s powers. No negative feedback, necessarily – you had so many ideas! And as it happens, I agree with many of those views. Perhaps the most common one is less related to the Senate than the House of Representatives. Many of you were adamant that if the goal is to bring back the power of policymaking, the House should be more democratic than that, and that part of making the House more democratic is eliminating partisan gerrymander Is.

I agree! But I think we should go further. Even if you eliminate partisan gerrymandering for House (and importantly state legislative) elections, you are still left with the real culprit for many of our political faults: single-member districts and ” First Past the Post” Voting. As long as you elect individual members according to the individual district, there is a risk of disturbances. And as long as you have “first past the post” voting – where candidates can win with a plurality of votes – there’s no chance that a third party can be successful in the election (something I think of in my most recent election). in the column).

The only solution is to eliminate the districts completely. Or if you prefer to keep districts, divide each state into several multi-member districts, in which voters elect a number of candidates using a form of preference voting. Rank-choice voting has made some inroads here in the United States, but I’m a fan of approval voting, in which voters can vote for as many candidates as they want on the ballot. Whoever gets the most votes – or in a multi-member district, the one with the most votes – wins a seat in Congress.

Now, approval voting is a bit more complicated than that – and there are different forms of approval voting, for example, allowing voters to mark the intensity of their choices – but these are the basics. One advantage of approval voting is that it is more likely to produce winners with wider support from the entire electorate. Another advantage is that it allows third parties to compete without “spoiling” the election in favor of a candidate who does not have the support of a majority. (However, in some circumstances, approval voting can produce a plurality winner.)

In any case, an expanded House (again, to a minimum of 600 members) without gerrymander and with a multitude of parties would be a great counterpart to a Senate that could amend legislation, but not veto it. could. Readers, thanks for the feedback, which I found very helpful as I think through these ideas.

The My Friday column was a skeptical look at the new third party proposed by Andrew Yang and his colleagues and analyzed the success of third parties in the United States, using FreeSoil Party as my case study.

Why am I so confident that the Forward Party will be nothing? because there Is A recipe for third-party success in the United States, but neither Yang nor his allies have the right ingredients.

I was also A guest on the Five-Four podcastwhere I discussed the response of the Democratic Party to the Supreme Court’s decision to reverse Roe v. Wade.

Harold Meyerson Makes a case for the US possibility to abolish the state senate.

Dan Kaufman On Wisconsin’s War on Democracy for The New Yorker.

Finton O’Toole What Ireland can tell Americans about the efficacy of abortion restrictions, for The New York Review of Books.

Several generations of UVA students have eaten many greasy hamburgers at this location. This is an authentic organization.

Sandra A. This recipe, provided by Gutierrez, “is from”Beans and Field Peasversion of taste the south Cookbook series. She says it comes from the book”Matzoh Ball Gumbo: Culinary Tales of the Jewish Southby Marcy Cohen-Ferris, and it’s traditionally served with a Sephardic dish of rice and tomatoes. I’ve inherited this dish served with “bloody butcher” red grits Deep Roots Milling In Nelson County, Va. It was great food. It makes six to eight servings as a side dish and three to four servings as a main course.

A few notes: I’ve adjusted the recipe a bit to suit my tastes. I should also point out that when I made this, I took the fat off a few slices of bacon and cooked the vegetables in bacon fat instead of using olive oil. If you eat pork, I recommend going that route.


  • 2 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1 large tomato, peeled and chopped

  • 1 tsp fresh thyme

  • tsp kosher salt

  • tsp freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 1/2 cups fresh or frozen black-eyed peas (about 20 ounces)

  • 1 1/2 cups water or stock, with more as needed


In a large, heavy saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook until softened, stirring often, about five minutes. Add tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper and cook until tomatoes soften, stirring constantly, for another five minutes. Stir in peas and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, partially cover, and simmer until peas are tender, about 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning. Serve over rice or grits.

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