Generally, I support a clean money/clean elections approach to campaign funding. However, the American program of graft is extremely well ingrained in politics, and too many people would have too much to lose if that program changes. I’d like to see a legislature more resembling European parliaments, where representatives from myriad parties work together to forge policy. But I cannot say that such a blueprint would operate less corruptly than our own national legislature. People willing to sell their votes to the highest bidder will do so regardless of political philosophy, because that choice has more to do with the seller’s moral compass and the culture surrounding them. So while Hirschhorn’s idea of a competitive third political party sounds pretty good, the reality is this design would have to leap some huge hurdles before making significant progress.
Still, Delusional Democracy is worth reading. Hirschhorn’s recognition of the problems American democracy faces are well researched, and illuminating to those who may be reading this kind of book for the first time. Hirschhorn’s writing manages to move the reader along at a good pace, and doesn’t get bogged down with a dense, academic approach to his subject. Hirschhorn is deadly serious about his subject matter, but he conveys his message with a light touch and an often wicked sense of humor.
Perhaps someday the prescription Hirschhorn recommends in Delusional Democracy will have a positive effect on our dysfunctional government. But I wouldn’t wait for the physiological and psychological changes America would have to go through in order to make it work in my lifetime. And neither should you.