Krist Novoselic II, perhaps best known for his years as Nirvana’s bassist, is doubling down behind the organization FairVote.org for an alternative fix for Washington: proportional representation.
Novoselic, who sits on the group’s board, spoke to POLITICO about how FairVote’s proposed changes to how politicians get elected could fix Congressional gridlock.
“If you give people a winner take all system, they can do block voting and this majority will just sweep all the seats,” Novoselic said. “What we’re doing with FairVote is we’re promoting American forms of proportional representation. So, imagine a three seat district and voters get one vote to elect three seats. … What would be the effect of that? The majority would elect somebody, but the minority would elect somebody, also. So you would have districts, with say, two Republicans and one Democrat or two Democrats and one Republicans.”
Novoselic said that plan wouldn’t disperse the vote, but instead spreads it around so different kinds of voters get a chance to elect somebody.
”That means rural Democrats and rural Republicans. You would have more southern Democrats … and you would have more northern Republicans.”
Novoselic and FairVote have been at this for decades, but that doesn’t mean he’s pessimistic.
“I came out of the alternative music world. I remember in the 1980s, like ‘What’s this alternative music stuff?’ And it took the world by storm. We just needed to tell people.”
And that is part of the problem; whereas many people place the blame for inaction firmly at the feet of career-preserving politicians, Novoselic says the people need to play more of a role.
“A lot of it has to do with awareness. People don’t really know about fair representation voting, that we have these alternative voting systems in the United States.”
And for those politicians nervous about changing the voting system, Novoselic says there’s something in it for them, too.
“Democrats have just given up on all these Democratic voters all across the nation … They’re just trapped [in Republican districts].” (Novoselic said the same was true for Republicans). “There’s a lot of space for new ideas and people are looking for new ideas right now because Congress is broken, people are frustrated. When I was in a band in the late 1980s and the early 1990s, we came out of this grunge, alternative world. We never thought we were going to be on MTV or a huge band. But things change.”
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