Washington Post Outlook: Proportional representation a big success in Democratic nomination process

by Rob Richie // Published May 11, 2008
This is a theme to which we'll be returning, as debate is rising about whether Democrats or Republicans have had a better nomination process, with a focus on the winner-take-all rules for allocating delegates that gave John McCain such a big boost to the Republican nomination compared to the proportional representation allocation rules that have extended the Democratic nomination.

FairVote is firmly on the side of proportional allocation of delegates, although there are ways it could be improved. For one, it has ensured that the delegate results more accurately reflect the popular vote in contests, making the Democratic race more like a national primary unfolding state by state. If winner-take-all had been used and and the popular vote had been the same in every state, Hillary Clinton would be far ahead despite trailing Barack Obama in the overall popular vote and being swamped in number of states won -- a questionable result no matter what one might think about the relative merits of Clinton and Obama.

Echoing and amplifying arguments (such as here and here) Imade on this blog, see Alan Wolfe's ode to the Democratic nomination process in today's Washington Post Outlook. Included in his piece is this quote:

For the Democrats, proportional representation, rather than producing chaos, underscored the party's commitment to inclusion. Democrats are more ikely to speak about equality, social justice and fairness in election campaigns than Republicans, and proportional representation is more compatible with those themes than a winner-take-all method. We live in democratic times in which people get to choose the churches to which they belong and the television stations they want to watch. Under such conditions, a party that opens itself up to its members invests them in its decisions -- not only in the election coming up this fall but in future contests as well. More people became Democrats in 2008 than became Republicans, and more of them were younger. Exciting and open contests can do that sort of thing.