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Ross MacDonald

Ross MacDonald is a contributing editor of VQR. He is the author of three children’s books: Bad Baby; Another Perfect Day; and Achoo, Bang, Crash: The Noisy Alphabet, each named a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year.


Politics: America’s Missing Constitutional Link

Summer 2006 | Essays

n so many respects, today’s political system is broken, and there is currently no reasonable prospect of fixing it. Our schedule of presidential primaries and caucuses is a front-loaded mess, and the Congress, the parties, and the states refuse seriously to tackle its reform. The Democrats are currently tinkering at the edges of reform, just as the Republicans attempted to do in prior years, but little will come of it because of the powerful interests with heavy investments in the status quo. Our scheme of campaign financing incorporates the worst of several worlds, and with each election cycle the process deteriorates further. Our partisan procedure for drawing legislative districts enforces vicious polarization rather than encouraging moderation and compromise. Are these calamities our fault? Certainly. But all these disasters can be traced back to the writing of the Constitution—not so much what was included in the text, but some items foolishly or thoughtlessly excluded from it.


Election 2004: What Happened?

Summer 2005 | Essays

[Editor's note: This essay was originally delivered as a lecture at the Miller Center for Public Affairs at the University of Virginia and appears by their courtesy and the author's.] I have no way to prove it statistically, but the 2004 President [...]