Jon Stewart on the winner-take-all problem

by Jack Santucci // Published March 3, 2006
On Monday, Jon Stewart said this on Larry King Live:

"I"m leaving out [the Democrats] because I honestly don't feel that they make an impact. They have 49 percent of the vote and three percent of the power.

On this second point, he was right on target. For example, the Republicans hold a majority of Senate seats despite having received about 2 million fewer votes nationwide than Democrats.

It has less to do with currrent events than our electoral system. FairVote has since 1992 highlighted our uncompetitive Congressional elections that stem from America"s distorting, winner-take-all single member district system.

What if we elected Congress the way the Oscars choose movie nominations?

In contrast, the Oscar nominations are selected proportionally under a system called choice voting.

Hollywood uses it. Most democratic legislatures worldwide use something like it. For about 30 years, almost 30 cities in the United States used it. New York City used it to elect a school board until 2002. Cambridge, Mass. has used it since the 40s. If we used it to elect the Congress, Democrats would hold 49 percent of the power.