Benjamin I. Page & Martin Gilens

Benjamin I. Page, Gordon Scott Fulcher Professor of Decision Making at Northwestern University, and Martin Gilens, professor of public policy at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, are authors of Democracy in America? What Has Gone Wrong and What We Can Do About It

Recent Articles

Response: The Trouble with Primaries

AP Photo/Richard Vogel, File Primary voters mark ballots at a polling place in the library at the Robert F. Kennedy Elementary School in Los Angeles. I n dark times it is especially important to recognize that change is possible and that efforts to make American democracy more equitable and effective can succeed. We are grateful to Drew Penrose for pointing to the many places in our country where the kinds of voting reforms we are advocating have been proposed or are already in use. We also applaud the work of FairVote in analyzing, publicizing, and advocating for voting reforms of the sort we discussed. We remain concerned that even with ranked-choice voting (RCV) in multi-member districts (as in H.R. 3057), separate party primaries would continue to empower candidates who appeal to the partisan fringes, the affluent, and organized interest groups. Partisan primaries inherently disfavor candidates with broad appeal to independents and members of the other party. Moreover, low, biased...