« Freakonomics Radio

America’s Hidden Duopoly (Ep. 356 Rebroadcast)

2020-09-03 | 🔗

We all know our political system is “broken” — but what if that’s not true? Some say the Republicans and Democrats constitute a wildly successful industry that has colluded to kill off competition, stifle reform, and drive the country apart. So what are you going to do about it?

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This podcast dynamically inserts audio advertisements of varying lengths for each download. As a result, the transcription time indexes may be inaccurate.
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imagine a gigantic industry dominated by just one or two companies actually, You don't have to imagine Google as well ninety percent of the global search engine mark, so not quite a monopoly, but pretty close such cases are rare, but not so rare is the dew aptly when to firms dominated industry like in tell an AMD in computer processors, Boeing and Airbus jet airliners, the sharks and the jets fictional gangs from the fifties industry, but surely most famous do up. Is this one people will think young say absolutely the rivalry between Coca COLA, Pepsi COLA goes back to the nineteenth century. Cook was
on dominant, but in the nineteen seventies and eighties Pepsi gained ground and marketed hard to younger consumers. Cooks, internal research found that most people, even coke employees, preferred Pepsi, one thousand, eight hundred and eighty five, the abandoned their classic recipe in favor of new Coke, which tasted more like Pepsi. This did not work out burn donkey or president of the Coca COLA Company, when we but she was a new taste of coke. We knew that millions would prefer it and millions do what we didn't know, is how many thousands of you would phone and right asking us to bring back the classic case of original Coca COLA Cook we got rid of new coke altogether and, despite the flip flop, maybe because of it
and the attendant free media. In any case, Coke regained the top spot today even as soda consumption falls, the rivalry rages on with both companies, adding juices tease in waters to their portfolios. You can afford to make those big equity and when you ve got a ton of cash on hand when you're, one of just two companies sharing a huge market and theirs. Other advantage to being half of do awfully self perpetuation. This was cut pretty extensively in the media during the so called cola wars, while war above. I believe, the Coke and Pepsi together this cold war they ve been in for decades now actually help each other or sell an awful lot of product there. Plenty reasons. Why do up police exist and they're, not Sir all sinister in capitalism. Scale is really important for all sorts of advantages.
Do being big, which leads big companies to get even bigger, gobbling up smaller companies and essentially, dictating the rules of their market, not everyone likes. This trend in many quarters there's a strong appetite for smaller scale for mom and pop and indian artisanal. But let's be honest that smaller scale idea dispute, it's that's not winning, which winning dominance. Entire industries dominated by just a couple behemoths we ve already, given you a few examples from a variety of industries, but there's another do happily mighty one that you probably don't even think about as an industry. Which do happily am I talking about I'll, give you some clues. Let's go back over what we just discussed about de LA police.
Big institutions that take advantage of their size to get even bigger. I mean I'm talkin to consultants on both sides, many of whom have been doing this for a long time and they ve never seen this amount of money. As we said, not everyone likes this trend, but the opposition, not winning I'd like to see More competition you know competition is, it makes a better products, and this leads entire industry run by just two behemoths. Ladies and gentlemen, my mother, my hero at our next residents- and I could not be more proud tonight to present to you. Until all of America, my father, Our next president, Hillary Clinton, is a surprise you to hear a political system characterised as an industry, its approach, this coming,
absolutely never thought of it in those terms, and that's Michael Porter, the world famous business, strategist and ethics or if it is what we call the do. I believe, comparing our political system, the something like Coke and Pepsi, that can't be right. Can it no porter says it's worse than that? Coke and Pepsi dont control their market nearly as fully as the Republicans and Democrats do So you see even in soft drinks, we have a lot of new competitors, even though Coca, perhaps you're so big, They don't truly dominate, indeed Coke and Pepsi. Only control about seventy percent of the soft drink market. At least they ve got the doktor pepper, Snapple Alliance to worry about where as Republicans Democrats, you can take all the liberty regions and independence the Green Party Working Families Party, the American Delta Party, the United States Pirate Party, which is a real thing. You add them all together and there are even close to doktor pepper. For decades
we ve been hearing from both sides of the Isle that Washington is broken. Washington has broken. Washington is totally broken. This system is it's not working Washington is not working. Washington right now is broken. Mistress bigger Washington is broken, but what, if the washing in his broken idea, is just a line each reports even a slogan, but the industry approve, yeah what, if they're, just selling and we're buying what, if it's not broken it all that core idea here, is that Washington isn't broken. In fact, it turns out that Washington is doing exactly but it's designed to do today on Friday
radio. Is Washington really an industry just like any other how to get that way, and what's it mean and oh yeah, its election season in America forget to vote from stature and Dublin productions. This is greek radio. The path casket explores the hidden side of everything. Here's your host Stephen definite Once upon a time there was a dairy products company in Wisconsin called Gale foods. G h, oh, my name is Catherine Gale gale was the ceo of the company. It had been found did well over a century earlier by her great grandfather for years. Gale,
food sold the standard, dairy items, butter, milk, ice cream. Eighteen Sixty is they got into pudding and she sauces and more recently, gale foods kept keeping up with the Times high tech, food manufacturing, meaning low acid aseptic, processing and packaging using robots which creates shelf staple foods without the use of preservatives. The process is also useful for products like weight loss shakes and iced coffee drinks under Catherine Gale Gale foods had more than three hundred employees and was doing nearly two hundred fifty million dollars a year in sales. But there were a lot of challenges. Why? Because the food industry is incredibly competitive there new competitors all the time, also new technologies, new consumer preferences, so to plot a path forward. Gale turned to one the most acclaimed consult.
In the world. I Michael Porter, I'm up faster at Harvard Business School and I work most of the time on strategy and competitiveness. Porter. Is in his early seventies, as undergrad. He studied aerospace and mechanical engineering, then an mba and a Phd in business economics. So he understands both systems. And how things are made within those systems Britain Landmark books called competitive strategy and on competition, his sight, more than any other scholar in the field he's best known for creating a popular framework for analyzing. The competitiveness of different into, trees. The framework that I introduced many years ago, sort of says that there's these five forces, these five forces help determine just how competitive a given industry is. The five forces are the threat of new entrants, the threat of substitute, proud
Sir Services, the bargaining power of suppliers, the bargaining, power of buyers and rivalry among existing competitors. We're not there yet But if you want to jump ahead and consider how these forces apply to our political system, I'm going say them again: the threat of new entrants, the threat of substitute products or services, the bargaining, power of suppliers, bargaining, power of buyers and rivalry among existing competitors. Anyway, You can see why some like Catherine Gale, the ceo of a century old food company, might want to bring and someone like Michael Porter to figure out what to do next. It was a classic business strategy exercise now, gale, in addition to her family business, had another abiding interest, politics. Yes, I've certainly moved around in the partisan classification during high school. She was republican over time
She drifted left my daughter actually, when she was six came to me and said mommy, I think I'm a d publican or maybe a remark rat, and I think that gives a good sense of where things are at in our household in two thousand and seven hail, joined. The national Finance Committee of Barack Obama's presidential campaign should came one of his top fund razors couple. Here's after Obama was elected, gale joined the board of a government organisation called the overseas private investment corporation, which helps you S. Firms do business in emerging markets. And why was pain, a lot of attention of what was happening in Washington, DC and Gale did not like what she saw in Washington DC. Didn't like it one bit it became really clear to me that this fight was not about solving problems for
American people, this fight was about one party beating the other party and that the parties were more committed to that then to actually solving problems or Creating opportunities Eventually, I understood that it didn't matter who we elected it didn't matter. The quality of the candidates- and so once it became clear to me that it was a systems problem I switched from investing might time in searching for the next great candidate and turned an eye to the fundamental root cause structures in the political system that pretty much guarantee that as voters. We our perpetually dissatisfied, so choose raising money for non partisan organizations working towards political reform, and one of things that became clear is that There was no thesis for investment. Political reform in innovation, in other words, people didn't want to give money,
to non partisan organizations working towards political reform, the only one to give money to political parties and their candidates. In fact, Catherine Gale found that potential donors had hard time, believing that such a thing as non partisan political reform even existed. That's how can dish, they were to seeing the political system through a two party lens. It was around this time I'm the Catherine Gale begin meeting with Michael Porter. She had brought I mean to go, tell figure out the company's strategy going forward, keeping in mind his five famous forces about industry can but new rivals, existing rivalries, substitute products, supplier power and customer power, and while we were on that strategy I would consistently make the case to Michael that wow were analyzing, this industry of low septic food production,
which is business I was in all of these tools, are directly applicable to analyzing the business of politics. I frankly, I knew Almost nothing about politics, but the more I heard in the more we talk, the more it became clear that that we really need it to take a fresh look here, and so it was out of that crucible of analyzing a traditional business strategy and, at the same time, devoting so much time to political reform and innovation that it became clear that policy it was an industry, the industry was thriving and that all the tools of conventional business. Analysis were applicable here and that's where Looking at this is an industry starts to provide some power. Ok, so you came to the conclusion that politics is an industry much like many of the other industries that you in studying over your career. You never really thought of it in those terms before absently
never thought of it. In those terms of we always thought of politics as a public institution that the rules- we're somehow codified in the rule of law in our constitution but but we came to see, is that politics is really about competition between largely private actors and these actors are at the core of it- is what we call the duopoly obsolete, the duality, Republicans and Democrats and that count. Petitions has been sorted out. Structured, around a set of practices and rules and in some cases, policies that have been created over time, but large by the actors themselves I mean asked, the founders left, lot of you know lot of room in terms of how the actual plumbing, would work but
It was interesting. Multiple of our founders actually expressed a deep fear that parties would take over. In fact, John Adams set at one point. There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic and two great parties each arranged under its leader and concerning measures and opposition to each other, and if you take a look at washing hence farewell address, which he wrote in seventeen ninety sex. He talks dangers which could come in front of the republic in the future, and he specifically focuses on, one is foreign influence and the other is partisanship. The other danger is the formation of strong parties having
due to the conclusion that the political system operated more like a traditional industry than a public institution, Catherine Gale and Michael porters sit down their ideas in a Harvard Business School report. It's called why competition in the politics industry is failing America, when you read the paper right there under key findings. Is this sentence in bright red print? The political system isn't broken its doing what it is designed to do. In other words, it is no coincidence that politics had become self sustaining self dealing in self centered. They were the blue team in the red team, kindly Pepsi Cook. Essentially, they divided up and entire industry into two sides, and we ended up being that it wasn't just a pot. These competing. It's that they had created. You know
influence and in a sense captured, the other actors in the industry. So you have media and political consultants and lobbyists and candidates and power, seize all divided on to you. No one two sides: what you see is the system has been option. Most over time for the benefit of private gain, seek in organizations are to political parties and their industry allies what we together call the political industrial, complex and the industry has made it very very hard to play at all. If you now, playing their game. How does the political industry compare in size and scope dollars? employees direct and indirect penetration and influence, let's say to other industries that you ve studied pharmaceutical industry, auto industry, and so
well. It's it's a great question and we do have done enormous amounts work on it. It turns out to be very difficult to get what I would call a completely definitive n n, O Connor comprehensive answer. We estimate that In the most recent to your election cycle, the industry's total revenue was upon some sixteen billion dollars. This is the biggest industry and the economy, but its substantial, It be one thing if this large industry were delivering value to its customers, which are supposed to be us, the citizens, but
gale in Porto argue. The political industry is much better at generating revenue for itself and creating jobs for itself, while treating its customers with something close to disdain kind of, like the cable tv industry on steroids numbers back up their argument. Customer satisfaction with the political industry is that historic loads? Fewer than twenty percent of Americans currently say they trust the federal government in terms of popularity. It ranks below every private industry that includes health care pharmaceutical industries, the airline industry and yes, cable tv early in industries were customers are not happy, and yet the player, the industry are doing well, you'll see a new entrant you'll see new company come into business to serve those customers anew company, like Netflix or Hulu, were Amazon Prime
sling tv or you get the point so in today's world we have the majority of voters, saying polls that they would rather have the independent so Oh, you know in a normal industry, you'd have a whole new competitor coming up. That was about independence in oh to serve that unmet need, and yet in politics we don't see. Any new entrants other than you know, Democrats and Republicans. So why is that? Well, it turns out that our political parties work well together in one particular area. And that is actually colluding together over time behind the scenes to create rules and practices that essentially erect
the barriers to entry ways to keep out new competition in their report. Gale and porter identify the five key inputs to modern political competition, candidates, campaign talent, voter data idea, suppliers and lobbyists. Here's what they write increasingly most everything required to run a modern campaign and govern is tied to or heavily in by one party or the other, including think tanks, voter data and talent so Essentially what happened is the parties have now sorted divided up the the key inputs to political competition and and if you're, not a republican or a Democrat, then you're in trouble in in even finding campaign manager, much less getting the best up to date, voter data and the best analytics and so forth. It's not enough
to monopolize the campaign. Machinery Gale and Porter argued that the polluter Industry has essentially co opted the media which spreads their messages for free in this house, Donald Trump tonight there is a big big beginning to the end of what has been I, which, on the man in the White House is behaving now, like a character on that old, detective Show Colombo, perhaps most important. The two parties rig the election system against would be disruptors. The rules they set allow for partisan primaries Jeff.
Demanded congressional districts and winner takes all elections, so each side of the door, happily Republicans and Democrats and the players that are their plane for those teams effectively have over time work to improve their own sides fortunes, but collectively they also have come together. Other to improve the ability of the industry as a whole to protect itself from new competition from third parties that could threaten. Either of the two sides of the Jha play in this. Industry, because it's a duopoly, that's protected by these huge barrier century a session but the parties have done. Is they ve been very, very clever? They don't compete head to head for the same voters,
they are not competing for the middle. It's likely that we have a much more powerful centre, a much more powerful group of moderates. Then our current duopoly. Demonstrates. What they have understood is competing for the middle is a sort of distrust If competition, it's kind of a zero sum competition, so the parties have divided the voters and kind of sort of ignored. The ones in the Middle EAST, you, don't have to worry about them, because it is if If the middle voter is unhappy which most middle voters are today in Amerika, what can they do? The only thing either party has to do
to thrive to win the next election is to convince the public that they are just this much less hated than the one other choice that the voter has. When they go to the ballot, which means that that gives those two companies, essentially the Democrats and Republicans the incentive to prioritize other customers, and their target customer each side? Is the special interest in the partisans and they get a lot of resources and a lot of campaign contributions and and massive amounts of lobbying money to try to get there? You know support with whatever those partisan especial interest needs. Are There is now an entire industry of politics. It moves forward, independent of whether that
Industry actually solves problems for the american people. So what happened is that the more oh were the barriers to getting into this industry and providing a different type of competition have been built to enormous heights? which has allowed the parties to structure the nature of the rivalry among themselves in a way a that really maximizes their benefit to them, As institutions but doesn't actually serve the public interest, well, that's depressing is not in sight for perhaps but the pressing. Nonetheless, the less so do Catherine Gale and Michael Porter have any bright ideas for tackling this problem. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yeah. Oh my god, it's coming up red after this and don't forget,
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the business strategist, Michael Porter and see YO turn political reformist, Catherine Gale argue in a Harvard Business School report that our political system has been turned into an industry with no real competition. The industry's primary You're beneficiaries are itself and its many ancillary participants, including the media but the vast majority Americans who are somewhere in the middle, our feet very, very disaffected. The lack of vigorous competition, they argue has allowed the Democrats and Republicans to car about diametrically opposed this political basis, fairly narrow and extremely partisan. So years ago we created partisan primaries in order to actually take the selection of candidate out of this court. Unquote smoke filled back room and give the selection of the party candidate choice to citizens, so that was just
nine to give more control to citizens. It turns out. It has had a very deleterious effect on competition and has increased the power of the parties and the parties. Gale importer argue use those partisan bases to support the desires of the political industries. True customers and its wealthiest special interests industries like health care, real estate and financial services, all so labour unions and lobbyists in this do a listing business model. Polarization is a feature not a bug. We have a chart in our report that just select some we called landmark type legislation over the last fifty sixty years, and if you go back, you know even too,
There are thirty years ago the landmark legislation was consensus, for instance, the Social Security ACT of nineteen. Thirty five had ninety percent democratic support in seventy five percent Republican, the Civil Rights ACT of nineteen sixty four had sixty percent democratic support and again seventy five percent republican. Now, for the last decade or to that's, been the opposite pattern. The only way landmark legislation get past is one party has enough votes to pass that by itself the affordable care act, also known as a bomb care, was passed in two thousand ten, with zero republican votes in Congress, didn't trumped. Two thousand eighteen tax reform bill, zero, democratic boats,
so your diagnosis suggests that this industry serves itself incredibly well. It suggests that it serves us, the citizenry, really, poorly and also ass the more competition would improve the industry, as it does in just about every industry, but just having you no more competition in parties. Doesn't seem to be the answer alone in their. There are plenty of multi Party political systems around the world that have similar cases of dysfunction and corruption and cronyism like ours, the UK, comes to mind. Israel comes to mind so how direct a step or direct day I mean a prescription. Would that be well I think in our system in particular, where we have only two and they I've been able, through what the set of choices we discuss I've actually set up the rules of competition that reinforce their
partisan competition, dividing voters and so forth. The more competition think would be in an incredibly valuable, but it has to be a different kind of competition. You know it. It can't be just an other party. That's gonna split. Our electorate in the three parties and groups and so in our work we focus on what would it take to make the competition less about divide. In the voters, and how can we make the competition more around building up a more or choices for voters that were more about solutions by the way. Let me be clear? We are not against parties per se. What we are against is the nature of the competition that our existing
the dominant parties have created. Let me ask you this when you suggest that these rules were carefully constructed, I guess if I were thinking about something other than politics, the first thought they would come to mind. Then is well collusion right. If I can be one member of a duopoly, I actually hate my rival much less than I hate the idea of anybody else who would interrupt that rival weak as we're splitting the spoils now. Do you, have any evidence of collusion between the parties to create a system that essentially keep the rest out. Well, you know it. First of all that is the right word. It is collusion and I thought you know, there's a probably a legal definition of collusion, which I don't know you know I'm not a lawyer, but the effect is exactly the same. The parties have agreed on a set of rules that benefit but do openly and preserve of this nature, of competition. You can really.
Put rules into a number of buckets there. There's kind of theirs kind of legislative machinery as we call it, which is how the Senate and the Congress or run an and then there's the election rules having to do with. What is the primary process lie kin? What does it take to get on the ballot is an independent in the various key. Pain, financed stuff that that surround sir that's around elections. Has anyone ever considered filing? whether in earnest or not an antitrust suit. Against Republicans and Democrats, you know Stephen, that that's a great question, Gill, I have. We actually had you know a significant effort to see if that's feasible, where you know what the law is you looking at the initial statutes, but this is
absolutely what antitrust policy is all about it. It's it's creating in open effect Competition that serves the customer in the public interest in this, she cries out for that are used in the report. You discuss the the many advantages the two parties have mythic. We all recognize it. You know, there's real power in size and there's leverage, especially making your own rules for your own industry, and you write that you know they use those advantages to retain control into constrict competitions on. But it strikes me bit Donald Trump, really got around a lot of those advantages. So you write that the parties quote control the inputs, modern campaigning governing, but he'd Didn't rely on that. Really. You wrote that the parties co opt channels for reaching voters, but he kind of collected or may be took advantage of his own.
Channels, including free media and his own social media accounts. You write that the parties quote erect. I and rising barriers to new competition, but in the case of trump you know his own party tried as hard as they could to erect the highest, bury her and couldn't keep em out and and so on those fronts. It would strike me that the parties failed failed to construct a certain competitors, so I dont know how you personally feel about President Trump, but according to those advantages and his end run around them, it would sound as though he is at least one an example of the solution to the problems that you're describing well yeah. I think I think that is definitely a good question and we must take that on. I would say a couple of things. First of all, the best choice that the president Trump made worse.
Still run in a party. He had to pick one side of the door police because he knew he couldn't win as an independent, and he had actually explored running as an independent in previous years, but that in the current system is not, seen to be a winning strategy, the other I would say about him was that he had resources in the and he didn't have to use that many of them but innocent he could almost have cell finance and he was appealing to a certain subset of the partisans, maybe a somewhat neglected subset of the people. On the right and p had a very strong existing and identity so he was able to watch. You know get alot of recognition and coverage. Without having to spend that much on advertising, he represents a personality driven camp,
pain within a party, but we don't believe that he represents fundamentally transforming the structure of competition in the industry, but the real thing that I think you know Everybody has to understand is that in modern politics? The party is our more powerful than the President and Donald Trump has gotten very little done he's achieve. No compromise and his signature success got zero democratic vote and the game hasn't changed so far. Trump is just the third in a row president that may have said that he was going to do things differently and cut across lines and all that kind of stuff. But frankly he didn't Obama, and President Bush didn't, even though
prison Roma and President Bush campaigned on Bi partisanship and bringing people together. They failed. So I think that those those recent case studies I think her sobering. We should note that some political sign tests. Argue the gale and porters Analysis party power as it backwards these dollars say our political system is in bad shape because the parties have gotten weaker overtime. They argue that stronger parties could help, beat back special interests and produce more compromise and moderation. Muslim, interesting evidence for this parties are weak, are Think back to the two thousand sixteen presidential election. You had one
national party. The Democrats, the tried as hard as it could to the point of cheating, essentially to pre, select its candidate, Hillary Clinton, who then lost, and you had the other national party. The Republicans tries hard as it could to keep a certain candidate off the ballot, but they failed and he won its true there, The parties are not as strong as they were in the past, but both sides of the political industrial, complex Democrats Republicans are as strong as ever just that the power may not all reside within the party and, if part, these were stronger, that doesn't mean they'd, be moderating forces. That's what some people say. I don't really understand that argument. The stronger. They are, the less moderating they're gonna be given the nature of the competition has been created, and I think we are really asking for two little when we
day, let's tink around the edges and get stronger parties, so that we can, you know, have little bit of eighth, cleaner process instead. What we believe is we need to create structural reforms that were asked lay better align the election process and a legislative process with the needs of the average citizen. I so you ve, diagnose the problem in a really interesting and profound way by overlaying a template, that's more commonly applied to firms to the political industry, and of course it theoretically leads to a different set of solutions, and we ve typically been hearing. So then you discussing as for major solutions, let's go through them point by point number one. You talk about restructuring the election process itself, I'm gimme some really concrete examples of what that would look like and his end. I add also love to hear whether you
you see some evidence of these examples happening as it does seem. There has been some election reforming states and regions around the country. Yes, well, when we think about reform, we have to think about really two questions. Number one is a reform powerful. Will it actually change the competition? and a lot of what people are proposing now is actually not gonna, make much difference so term limits or a great example. We aren't fans, have term limits because We think that without changing the root cause, incentives, you'll actually just have different faces plain the same game soap number one Is we have to re engineer the election processes, the russian machinery, and there are three electoral reforms that aren't? Orton. We call it the election trifecta and you know the first and probably them single most powerful is to move to non partisan, single ballot primaries, currently figure
vote in the primary show up and you get a democratic ballot or republican ballot, and then you vote for who's going to represent, that party in the general election and the one that's on the furthest laughter, the one. That's on the far this right has a tendency to win, because the p, Will they turn out for primaries? Are a real We propose that the top for vote getters advance. The people that show up, because you know they're, really partisans and they really have special interests and they really really care about. You know, think somebody on the ballot debts, you know for them in a single ballot, non, partisan, primary all the candidates for anyone has no matter what party therein are on this a ballot, and we propose that the top for vote getters advance.
Out of that primary to the general election. In the reason, a single primary aware, everybody's in it is, is so important Is that view wonder when you want to appeal to as many voters can. Hopefully you no more people will vote in the primary and and therefore you get it a people that you know we're not just trying to appeal to their. In particular, in extreme the second part of the Gale Porter election reform, trifecta, ranked choice, voting, here's how rang choice! Voting works shall now have for candidates that made it out of the top for primary,
those four candidates will all be listed on the general election ballot and you come and vote for them in order of preference. So it's easy. This is my first choice, this candidates, my second choice. So my third choice. This is my fourth choice. When the votes are tabulated, if no candidate has received over fifty percent, then whoever came in last has dropped and votes for that candidates are then re allocated to those voters. Second, choice and the count is run again until one candidate reaches over fifty percent and a what that does? Is it gives a candidate of need to appeal to a broader group of voters and, very importantly, It eliminates one of the huge just barriers to competition
in the existing system, and that is the spoiler argument. So what happens currently is that if there's, let's say an attractive thing, third party candidate or an independent candidate. Both Democrats and Republicans will make the arguments that nobody should vote for them because they will simply draw votes away from the democratic, draw votes away from a republican and therefore spoil the election for one of the dew awfully candidates. Once you have rang choice, voting everybody can pick whoever they want as their first for a second choice. Third choice: no vote is wasted and no vote spoils the election for another candidate and then the latter, part of the trifecta is non. Partisan. Redistricting gerrymandering has to go essentially when parties control drawing the districts they can draw districts. That
we'll be more likely to tilt in favour of their party and they can end up having. A disproportionate number of court. Unquote, safe republican seats are safe, democratic seats by the way that they draw the districts, and we want to make that that go away. In addition to Election Lee Reforms, Porter Gale would like to see changes to the rules around governing, so Congress makes its own rules for how it functions and over time, these rules, customs and practices have been set in place to give an enormous amount of power to the party that controls the chamber But what happened it and this is sort of collusion in a way is when the other party takes over. They
with the same way pretty much. So we propose moving away from partisan control of the a day legislating in Congress and also, of course, in state legislatures as well. The third leg Their reform agenda- is about money in politics, but their analysis led them to a different conclusion. Then many reformers where we differ with so many people champion these reforms is that we don't believe that money in politics is the core issue: alternately The problem is really this nature, competition that led to this partisanship, and that's not at a money issue per se that structural issues, if you take money out of politics without
changing the rules of the game. You'll simply make it cheaper for those using the existing system to get the self interested results, that they want Without changing the incentives to actually deliver solutions for the american people, having said that, we You believe that there are benefits to increasing the power of smaller? donors, and so the reforms that we have suggested are primarily focused on increasing the power of small, smaller donors, for instance having the government itself. Match donations from small donors. We should note that most of the ideas Gale and porter are presenting here are not all that novel. If you follow election reform, even a little bit We pushed into a lot of them couple years ago an episode called ten ideas to make politics less rotten,
I guess it's one measure of how successful and dominant the political do aptly is that plenty of seemingly sensible people Have plenty of seemingly sensible reform ideas that, for the most part gain very little traction. It is deftly challenging the ground game, it we're not Kabila. Do this enough in a year or one election cycle, because the Resources that the current do awfully have to deploy to play their game are substantial, despite the rather depressing or at least sobering picture that you paint of the political industry throughout the report, you express quite a bit of optimism and I want to know why or how, because I dont see the avenue, I guess for optimism
well. You know I do think we have a basic optimism. We have no sense that it will be easy to change. The rules of this game for a whole variety of reasons, but The good news is, we ve had some progress with got some non partisan primary states now, including California. You know we ve got rang choice, voting in Maine. I think what seems too a building in America is a growing appetite and a girl. Wing recognition that this isn't working for our country and I think the younger generation in millennials are particularly outrage concerned and open to all kinds of new ideas. But I think it's going to take time. The most exe
eighteen strategy in this area that we champion is a strategy put forth by the central project and full disclosure, I'm on the board of the central project. Its now actually called Unite America, and this is the Senate fulcrum strategy. So here's the idea, let's a lacked five centrist problem, solving oriented Wes senators, who at that number five, would likely deny either party an outright majority in the Senate, which would make those five senators the most powerful single coalition in Wash intend DC able to serve as a bridge between the two parties or to align with one party or the other, depending on the issue in order or to move forward very difficult policy.
De solutions where previously there has not been the political well, so we don't need to wait to change the actual rules of the game to deliver politicians to office who can act independently, the existing political industrial complex. So that's it Trusting idea seeming. Many sensible, maybe even viable, but this whole conversation got me thinking if our political system really operates like an industry. Catherine Gale and Michael Porter argue. Maybe it should be treated like one in most industries, good products and services are rewarded, weakness and incompetence or punish Catherine Gale coming from the cutthroat food industry. Surely knows this first,
and constant pressure to modernize optimized bite off old, rivals and new, indeed not long after she brought Michael Porter in to consult future of gale foods. She decided to sell her company to a private equity firm in Chicago. Why? I absolutely loved running that company. She wrote to us later, but life sure, and I had other things I was also passionate about. I wanted the company to be in the best position to succeed, and so I focused on professionalized the company in developing a long term strategy that took into account the changing competitive landscape in that got me thinking, maybe
there is some private equity firm out there like to modernize a certain political party or to any buyers out there. You're too shy to approach the Democrats, sir. The Republicans directly drop us Align radio at for economics, dot com, we'll get things moving, that's or show for today. If you want to learn more Catherine, Gale and Michael quarter recently expanded their Harvard business. School paper into a book is called the politics industry. How political Vision can break partisan gridlock and save our democracy. When more note, members that the four economics radio network is expanding. In addition,
this show we also put out the weekly podcast new, stupid questions with me and Angela Duckworth, and we just launched people. I mostly admire with my free economic spreading Co. Author, Steve Levin, subscribed to all these shows in your face, podcast app up, and let us know how we're doing we're at radio frequency mix that come. We will be back next week until then take care of yourself, and if you can, someone else to reconnect with radio is produced by stitches in Dublin productions. This episode was produced by Gregg results be withheld from Zack Le Pen ski our staff also includes Alice Craig low Gregg, Ribbon, Matt Hickey, definite Chin married to Duke and Korean Wallace are in turn is immaterial. We had helped this week from Nellie Osborne and special thanks to a freak animals, radio listener title Watson for bringing the Porter Gale paper to our attention are theme. Song is MR fortune by the hitchhikers, all the other
music was composed by Louis Gara. You can subscribe to for economics, radio on Apple podcast or every get your pack ass. The entire archive is available on the sticker, app, FR economics dot com, where we also publish transcripts and show notes and more. We can also be found on Twitter, Facebook and in war. The email at radio at for economics that come freedom authority also play the most of your better and pr stations so check your local station for details. As always, thanks for this, teacher. Back, I'm through budgetary and I'm David Roth. We ve progress will not right now supports that you never called Strachan Available everywhere. Stick your father. Five apple goal was right after the distraction. Right now down do at least
Transcript generated on 2020-09-08.