'Would the U.S. Be Better Off With a Parliament?'

Ari Shapiro, writing for NPR’s It’s All Politics blog:

“You’re asking: Do other democracies have this problem? And the answer is: Not many,” says Jane Mansbridge, a professor at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Mansbridge just finished her term as president of the American Political Science Association. While in that position, she appointed a task force to spend the past year studying how agreements are negotiated in American politics. The group looked at why there’s so much stalemate in the U.S. right now.

One question they asked was whether this country can learn lessons from European democracies where there’s less paralysis.

“We tried to think about why it is that other countries have had less difficulty in negotiating agreements,” says Boston University’s Cathie Jo Martin, who was co-chairwoman of the task force. “You don’t see these kinds of stalemates happening elsewhere.”

Never in a million years would the United States move to a parliamentary system; doing so would effectively mean setting fire to the Constitution and starting over. (I,e., the arrogance over “it’s the American way”.) That said, it’s interesting to me that many Europeans see our system — and especially the government shutdown — as dysfunctional. Our healthcare system too.