Wrestling with Democracy: Voting Systems as Politics in the 20th Century West
The following is an excerpt from the new book Wrestling with Democracy: Voting Systems as Politics in the 20th Century West, which examines why voting systems have or have not changed in western industrialized countries over the past century.
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So you want to stop Harper. Happily, you stand with a solid majority of Canadians, who are unhappy with what he represents. His government has the support of only about one Canadian in three.
Unfortunately, the opposition to his regime, a.k.a. one-man rule, is divided. Four opposition parties share prospective anti-Harper voters. Not everybody who wants to stop Harper is as engaged politically as Brigette DePape, the page who was terminated for brandishing a Stop Harper sign on the floor of the Senate.
People remember 1929 as the year of the stock market crash and the beginning of the Great Depression, the global economic disaster which remains the only one in history that dwarfs the one in which we now find ourselves. It was also the year Martin Luther King Jr. was born, who wouldn't live to see 40 years. And it was the year that Langston Hughes graduated from Lincoln University, outside Philadelphia.
Hughes, the grandson of abolitionists and voting-rights activists, was an African-American writer. His poem "A Dream Deferred" begins:
"What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?"