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NEW REPORT: How the U.S. Electoral System Advantages Authoritarianism

WASHINGTON, DC — A new report released today by Protect Democracy, Advantaging Authoritarianism: The U.S. Electoral System & Antidemocratic Extremism, finds that powerful but often-ignored features of our electoral system are systematically rewarding political extremism.

Despite a global surge in extremism, America’s authoritarian faction is both more extreme and more successful than similar movements in most other advanced democracies. Why?

In Advantaging Authoritarianism, Protect Democracy examines the links between escalating antidemocratic extremism and America’s single-member plurality electoral system—one “uniquely translating limited factional support into outsized political influence.” The report examines specific system features that are structurally favoring the authoritarian movement: for example, by exaggerating one party’s electoral wins, diluting minority voting power, weakening competition between the major parties, preventing an electorally viable new center-right party, and rewarding minority factions at the ballot box, among other effects.

“The U.S. is an electoral system outlier,” said Grant Tudor, report author and policy advocate with Protect Democracy. “No other democracy on earth elects its officials like we do. This report critically examines how our peculiar, outdated system is systematically advantaging America’s ascendant authoritarian faction—and how absent reform, extremism will escalate.” 

One year after the January 6th insurrection, the authoritarian movement is gaining strength, not weakening. Advantaging Authoritarianism interrogates our electoral system’s role in aggravating this extremism and how various changes could help to turn the tide.

For press inquiries, please reach out to [email protected] For more information about the report, visit the Advantaging Authoritarianism: the U.S. Electoral System project page.