In the latest episode of Patriot Act titled ‘We’re Doing Elections Wrong’, Hasan Minhaj talks about American democracy, the elections and the constant tussle between Republicans and the Democrats. Here’s more.

2020 is a mess

Minhaj rightly says that 2020 has been seriously messed up. What with the virus, police brutality, a sliding economy, we’ve been going through some rough times. Things don’t get any better, he believes, when you realise that people are now going to be voting for either Donald Trump or Joe Biden. “How did we get here?” a flabbergasted Minhaj asks.

Majority vs plurality

One of the most misunderstood concepts, Minhaj explains, is “majority rules”. When it comes to elections in America, it’s plurality that rules. Plurality means that a candidate gets more votes than any other candidate and thereby, wins. Even Trump, he says, won on the basis of a plurality vote and not a majority.

Why winner-take-all is a no-win

Voting in America runs on the “winner-take-all” philosophy. The candidate either wins everything or loses it all. Such “all or nothing” elections end up with Republicans and the Democrats attacking each other in any way they can. He says that winner-take-all elections create a two party system. What happens then is that you know you can’t waste your vote, so you end up voting for candidates you think will win, instead of the one who represents the values you stand for. Trump, Minhaj quips, exemplifies what winner-takes-all does.

Ranked choice voting is the answer

As always, Minhaj offers a solution: ranked choice voting. Through this system, voters can rank the candidates in order of their preferences. Those who get more than 50 per cent of votes, win. This, Minhaj stresses, is what “majority rules” should look like. With this kind of voting, there are no wasted votes and even other parties stand a chance to grow.

This episode provides insight into the American voting system. It’s informative, crisp and Minhaj has a knack of explaining complicated processes in an easy and humorous manner.

Creators: Hasan Minhaj, Prashanth Venkataramanujam
Cast: Hasan Minhaj
Streaming on: Netflix