Updated: Mar 31
Another needless shooting. More families and communities are devastated. It happens so often, we almost become numb to it. Almost - but not really. We could not imagine the horror of it happening to our loved ones. We pray it doesn't but we worry it is getting closer.
The next graphic shows a perspective on how we fix this. It is a different approach. We do not discuss gun regulation or mental health. While those sorts of changes could be helpful, we consider them as addressing symptoms.... not the systemic root cause. Our root cause thesis: The U.S. voting system and the associated candidate incentives cause political candidates to prioritize party agenda over majority constituent needs.
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How to read this graphic:
Shows the deadliest shootings over 40 years until 2022. The number killed is shown in red.
The U.S. political system is dominated by 2 parties. Voting rules have been slowly adapted to enable an oligopolistic-based party environment geared to keep 3rd parties out of power.
Our founders consider the vote as the most important control to manage party power. The implementation of the primary and caucus system has been shown to a) increase legislative polarization and b) provide an incentive to weaken the voting power of normal people.
We provide recommendations to increase the voting power of normal people.
We offer a political system's view and solutions to help resolve America's gun culture challenge.
Political systems are tricky. We live in them so we naturally come to embrace them as "normal." Even if we recognize something is wrong, it is a challenge to understand how to change the system. We also naturally align ourselves with the systems of our life. Our biology is geared toward tribalism. Our tribalistic nature desires affiliation. This systemic affiliation may make us feel like we are somehow being disloyal when questioning a system. Frankly, our politicians leverage this feeling of loyalty.
As it stands today - a minority of political party insiders with little incentive to change are controlling the very large group of normal people that are desperate for change.
In our article, Your vote does not matter as much as it should! we address our weakening vote as the systemic root cause keeping us from making effective legislative branch-enabled changes. In this article, we address America's founders' intent regarding political parties, consider our own neurobiology, and investigate the impact of social media. We discuss "game theory" and how economists consider system or "game" rules to determine game theoretical equilibrium outcomes. Armed with this context, we then explore the 1972 McGovern-Frasier Commission recommendation to implement the primary and caucus system. We show how the primary and caucus system is the great unintended catalyst enabling political parties to cede our voting power for over 50 years. We show how the voting system created by McGovern-Frasier has elements of biological systems leading to cancer. We present the data that clearly shows the party-line congressional voting changes after the primary and caucus system was implemented.
We need to take our vote back. James Madison, John Adams, and the other founders fought to make our vote the cornerstone of our society. The vote is the foundation of a well-functioning democracy. A strengthened vote enables the accountability of our elected officials to consider, debate, and implement laws to reduce gun violence. In a 2020 article by the Brookings Institution [i], they suggested an approach to recast the primary and caucus system. The recommended approach enables the parties to act as a means of quality control. The parties would serve to vet the candidates to ensure they are fit for the primary or caucus process. This seems like a reasonable root cause-focused suggestion. It aligns with the balancing system architecture such as our 3 branches of the federal government or our bicameral legislature.
“[T]wo filters are better than one. Electoral and professional perspectives check each other’s excesses and balance each other’s viewpoints[.]”
Please check out our Empower Your Vote article series.
Infographic sources and comments:
1. Deadliest mass shooting source:
Statista Research Department, Number of victims of the worst mass shootings in the United States between 1982 and May 2022, Statista, 2022
2. The primary and caucus candidate selection change in 1972 source and comments:
We provide the analysis demonstrating the relationship between congressional party-line (aka - party unity) voting and the time period before and after the primary and caucus system was implemented in 1972. We also provide a reference to our primary data source called "Vital Statistics on Congress" as is provided by the Brookings Institution.
Hulett, Party The Big Pivot: How a well-intended political rule change weakened our vote, The Curiosity Vine, 2021
Previously, we provide a visual describing the difference in the political system motivation between the former party selection process and the primary and caucus system implemented in 1972. History shows the primary and caucus system implementation as a case of "Throwing the baby out with the bathwater" oversteering to prior party candidate selection practices.
For an in-depth discussion of the impacts of the McGovern-Frasier Commission recommendation to implement the primary and caucus system, please see:
Levitsky and Ziblatt, How Democracies Die, 2018
For a fascinating description of the oligopolistic competitive framework as applied to the U.S. political system, please see:
Gehl, Porter, The Politics Industry, 2020
3. Normal people v political industry participants' source and comments:
In our infographic appearing at the beginning of the article, we suggest "the vast majority" of people are "normal" with the remaining "small minority" being political industry members. This is intended to suggest most people are "middle of the road" when it comes to most issues, with a small portion at ideological extremes. In other words, most people would accept solutions to reduce gun violence, appreciating some negotiation between reasonable people working in good faith to develop those solutions. The political industry members are more likely to take hard positions, supporting party positions over good faith solutions. As it stands today, the small minority of political insiders without incentive to change are controlling the vast majority of normal people desperate for change.
This "minority controls the majority" split is loosely based on Pew Research data for the 2018 midterm election primaries.
deSilver, Turnout in this year’s U.S. House primaries rose sharply, especially on the Democratic side, Pew Research Center, 2018
4. Minority rule and renormalization source:
The misalignment of interests between the minority and the majority is at the heart of the challenge to change the U.S. gun culture. Renormalization is a word with a deep history in physics and quantum electrodynamics (QED). Renormalization more generally means "causing to conform to a normal state again." N.N. Taleb explores renormalization as the scientific basis for minority rule in the following book:
[i] La Rja, Rauch, Voters need help: How party insiders can make presidential primaries safer, fairer, and more democratic, The Brookings Institution, 2020