The purpose of a large democratic system is to give the public the illusion that they have a real role in running their country, and that their vote actually counts.
In the U.S. this is very obvious, primarily when ones learns of the Electoral College. However, abolishing of the current system will not lead to more voters with any real influence. On the contrary, instead of focusing on swing states, (or “battleground states,” as the news networks here have decided to call them), campaigns will then only focus on the largest media markets. In that case, voters in New York, California and Chicago might actually be courted by campaigns, but New Hampshire, Iowa and all of the “flyover states” can forget about ever mattering again.
In Israel, the average vote actually carries much more weight, both because of the relatively small size of the country, and because there is actually a real state-wide general election. However, a voter in Israel cannot vote for the person of his or her choice. Rather, the arcane parliamentary system, based wholly on lists, wrests any power a voter might have had from his hands and delivers it promptly into the laps of the corrupt members of the various parties. Thus, Knesset Members are accountable primarily to the members of their parties, and corruption ensues (see: Likud with Ariel Sharon at the helm in 2005).
Israel must adopt a system of regional representation. No, it will not eliminate the danger of corruption, but it will make elected officials slightly more accountable to the people they are, in theory, supposed to be serving. Maybe that way the Negev and the Galil might actually get the attention they deserve. Maybe Jerusalem will be more than just a symbol, and move towards being more of a real city than simply a tourist attraction. I know, I know, but one can dream…
Back in the western hemisphere, Sarah Silverman has decided it is a great idea for young American Jews to schlep (her choice of words, not mine) down to Florida, to try and convince their grandparents to vote for Obama. Apart from the initial chutzpah, implying that the only reason the Jewish elderly would vote for someone like McCain is because they are misguided and need to be educated of their wrong views, the overall tone of the video is just plain insulting, and wrong on more than issue. Nevertheless, it appears that if she wants to encourage mass migrations of Jews across America in order to convince people to vote for Obama, it appears she should actually get Florida’s Jewish senior citizenry to try and influence their children.
That doesn’t change the fact that the average vote in most places in America does not matter at all. Referencing Sarah Silverman’s gall, Gail Collins wants her vote to matter. “While it’s not clear that many of these trips have actually taken place, it is probably a bad sign that we have not heard any talk about McCain urging retired WASPs in Arizona to go to Wisconsin and try to talk their grandchildren into voting Republican.”