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Barton Discusses the Root Cause for Political Dysfunction in the US on NFRPP Webinar

March 13, 2024

Network for Responsible Public Policy,

Richard Barton

Richard Barton

Richard Barton, assistant teaching professor of public administration and international affairs, participated in a Network for Responsible Public Policy webinar titled "The Problem With Politics Isn’t What You Think It Is. And Neither Is the Solution." 

"In some states they're siphoned off into two separate elections. One, a Republican primary where Republican partisans are the main base and who tend to determine who the winners are. And then the same thing on the Democratic side. And so, those independent and more moderate voters—even when they can vote in those primaries—they’re split up into two separate elections and they sort of lose that political power. And what you get are candidates that are further to the left or further to the right of the average ordinary voter," explains Barton.

"This is particularly problematic because most general elections in the United States are not very competitive," he says. "The vast majority of members of Congress—83 percent of members of Congress—come from safe districts that are decidedly red or decidedly blue. And so the primary election is the only consequential election that those members run in and if those elections are determined by nothing but their partisan base, it's a pretty clear through line to how that really distorts our politics."

Barton also authored the article, "3.2 million disenfranchised New Yorkers deserve a say in primaries," published on

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