Straight party voting is the best way to hold politicians accountable. It sends a strong and clear signal that you prefer this set of policies over that set of policies. There’s no confusion over what the voters want the politicians to do.
The worst thing you can do, strategically speaking, is pick a President from one party and a Congressman from another.
The Congressman feels emboldened, believing his party’s view best represents the district, and the President gets the same message. What happens when opposing sides both have a plausible claim to represent the Will Of The People? Mature and moderate decision making? No of course not, we get gridlock. And gridlock, as we’ve seen since John Boehner took over as Speaker of the House, means lurching from crisis to crisis.
This bug in Presidential democracies, where competing sides can both claim to represent the majority of the voters, seems to leave these systems uniquely vulnerable to failure and military coups.
We need to be moving in the exact opposite direction of this bill from Charlie Dent and Jim Matheson to remove the option of straight ticket voting from the ballots. We need less ticket-splitting than we have, and more parliamentary majoritarian institutions. If we’re going to mess with the ballots, we should be taking the names of candidates for Congress off the ballot completely, leaving only a choice between parties. The way to improve American governance is stronger and more meaningful party labels, not No Labels.