What If California Adopted Proportional Representation?
39 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2010 Last revised: 4 Jun 2010
California's budgetary crisis has prompted calls for major institutional reform. We evaluate the argument that adoption of a mixed-member proportional (MMP) electoral system for the California state legislature would result in a more representative party system with potentially greater governing capacity. Party fragmentation is modeled as a function of district magnitude and assembly size, and these institutional constraints are then integrated with voting data on state initiatives to predict what the emergent party system would look like. While the Democratic Party would lose its dominant status in the state legislature, it would still be a major player in a two-coalition system dominated by the two major parties. The composition of the legislature would more accurately reflect the diversity of the California electorate, which could facilitate governing capacity, dependent on related reforms to California's hybrid democracy.
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