Can Ranked-Choice Voting Change U.S. Elections?


Washington is
totally broken. Washington is broken, Washington
right now is broken. Nothing will get
done in Washington this year because Washington
is broken. For years now, politicians
have been telling the American public that they
can’t deliver their campaign promises because of
the gridlock in Washington. But with so
much at stake, from health care to education
to Social Security, it seems there is more
than just ideological differences standing in the
way of social progress. At times, it
seems like the whole system is set up to fail. But two researchers are
claiming that the industry that spent $6.5 billion in 2016 and
five point seventy three billion in 2018
is flourishing. The parties, the
political industrial complex, which works very well
together in one particular way, and that is to rig
the rules of the game to protect themselves jointly
from new competition. Politics isn’t broken. It’s fixed. A movement
has been growing across the country to change
how the system works. Places like Maine, San Francisco
and Santa Fe are changing the way their
representatives are chosen to allow voters to
rank their preferences instead of choosing only
one representative. Initial surveys of ranked
choice voting in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Cambridge show
voters are more satisfied with the conduct of
local campaigns than in similar cities with plurality
winner takes all. Voting could ranked
choice voting save Washington? In 2002, the
late Senator John McCain campaign to support instant
runoff voting, also known as rank
choice voting. Hello, this is
Senator John McCain. I’m calling to urge
your support for ballot measure 1 on August 27,
ballot Measure 1 will adopt a fairer
voting method. It will lead to
good government because Alaska will elect leaders who have
the support of a majority of voters. And that same year,
then Senator Barack Obama introduced SB 1789 that
would have created instant runoff voting for
Congress in state primaries as well as
authorized it for local elections. Ranked choice voting
is an alternative way for citizens to vote
for who they would like to represent them
in office. You pick your favorite.
Just like always. But then if you want, you
can also say, this is my second choice, my
third choice, my fourth choice and my last
my least favorite choice. The polls close and now
all the first place votes are counted. And if that
candidate has a true majority, meaning over 50
percent while the election’s over and
that candidate wins. But if after the first
place votes are counted, none of the five
has over 50 percent. Then the candidate that is
in last place is automatically eliminated from
the race. And voters who had
selected that candidate first now have their second
place votes counted. Instead, we rerun the totals
and you continue on that process until the
election produces a true majority winner. Mean you were always going
to elect the candidate with the broadest appeal to
the most number of voters. You could vote for
me as your number one, knowing that you could
vote for Hillary Clinton or whoever your
safety is. As your number two
researchers, Catherine Gale and Michael Porter,
claim, Democratic and Republican candidates have no
incentive to work towards societal greater
good because they’re beholden to the party
more than their constituents. Instead, they
argue, the parties are operating in
a duopoly prohibiting independent candidates from
achieving success, creating a formula
that rotates different figureheads and limits
opportunities for innovation. A duopoly is
an industry where there are two dominant competitors,
and in the politics industry, we, of course,
have the Democrats and the Republicans as our
two dominant rivals. Think of Coke and Pepsi,
as mentioned in a recent Freakonomics podcast
episode. It’s in their best interest
for Dr Pepper never to gain the notoriety of
the other two sort of brands, the Democrats
and Republicans. They are a
combined duopoly. They dominate this space. There’s a reason why
people like Mike Bloomberg, Howard Schultz and whoever
else you can name that’s considered running as
an independent has not won. Oh, you call
it unfair, but that’s just the way our
political system. That’s what it’s turned
into. Now you’re looking for a perfect process. That’s not what
democracy is. And if you’re looking for,
you know, everyone to come out a winner, that’s
also not what democracy does. Not
generally T-ball. Everybody gets a prize. There are winners
and losers. And how you vote shapes who
wins and who loses in today’s climate. There’s
incentives for, you know, people to be partisan
in every single moves being tracked, every word they
say from the time in before they announce
a president is being tracked, recorded monitors,
it’s impossible to try and suddenly change
your way halfway through a campaign. You’re gonna get
called out on it. And many of these call
outs are done by members of the candidate’s
own parties. The vice president has
still failed to acknowledge that it was
wrong to take the position that he took
at that time. If you want to do well,
running for office in a ranked choice voting election
and you want supporters of other candidates
to rank you as their second choice, then
there’s an incentive to be a little nicer to
those candidates and maybe not attack them. The
idea that somehow elections are going to get less
rancorous, that’s just not going to happen. We are
in a state in this country where people
have fundamental disagreements about very
important issues. That’s not going to
change just because you change the way candidates
are chosen in the voting process. Rancorous
voting is compelling for a number of reasons.
I think in today’s politics, it’s most compelling
isn’t just allow us to have more than
two choices to allow new players to sort of enter
the marketplace of ideas and to be considered and
evaluated and voted upon for what they’re saying
and what they’re offering, rather than the sort
of a horse race partisan impact of what
they might mean for splitting votes and
so on. The third party candidate
ultimately just siphons off votes. A third
party candidate ultimately undermines the the nominee
of a particular party. And in this case, if
it’s the Green Party running, a third party
candidacy will have the same impact that it did in
2016 or when Al Gore ran and Ralph Nader was
the spoiler in that race. A third party candidacy
is a spoiler. I want to see
an alternative political party. At least two political
parties are telling these Americans have nowhere to
go and people don’t like choices like
Tweedledum and Tweedledee. If you have more choices
and more opportunity for new players to get in
the arena, that that can ultimately create better,
better products for consumers. And I think that
that’s the same the same basic dynamic
in politics. Galen Porter argue that
candidates and elected officials may be able
to get bipartisan laws passed, but there is no
reward for not supporting the party, because if you
vote against the party line, you won’t receive their
support in the next election. Ranked choice voting
would change that because voters can be more
or less supportive of elected officials based on
their actions, not just their policies
and positions. If you solve anything in
a bipartisan way, you likely won’t make it
back through your primary. When a lot of crap you
know, I hear that argument from so many Democrats
and Republicans that they say they’re getting burned
at home because they’re working across the
aisle and not working across the aisle.
They’re posturing. Right. I’ve never seen
a politician lose an election because they
build a bipartisan coalition and
accomplish something. I think they do lose
credibility when they show themselves to be hypocrites
and in a political climate where there’s no
reward for coming in second. The party’s support can
make or break a candidate. Imagine a market
where you as an emerging business could only
make your first dollar when you were the
biggest company in that market. Right. So that so
that you can’t grow like like if you start
up at 10 percent, you’re making nothing. 20 percent,
you’re still making nothing. 30 percent,
you’re making nothing. Finally, get up to 40
percent or whatever it is. And you can actually make
all the money I make. Right. But it but
it’s like really hard. So the market is
very dualistic that way. When you look behind the
scenes, we find that Democrats and Republicans work
very well together in one particular way, and
that is to cooperate. Some would say collude to
set rules and practices that protect the industry
from themselves, that protect themselves jointly
from new competition. That’s one of the reasons
Maine chose to adopt ranked choice voting. Then you have the state of
Maine, which is for us the next thrilling story. It’s a state that
has advanced first voting, first on the local level. Then they have moved in
that used different for congressional elections and
all their primaries in 2018. And now they’ve
adopted it for president Maine, as you
know, last year. So the 2018 election
had the first federal election ever, a congressional
race using the ranked choice
voting system. That race shows why ranked
choice voting is not a good idea. The candidate
who got the largest number of votes, the
largest plurality in the first round of tabulations
did not actually win the race. And because
there were multiple rounds of tabulation, apparently
thousands of ballots cast by voters
were thrown out. However, supporters of the
process claim it gives more power to the voters
by making votes for third party candidates. Count when the tally moves
to an instant runoff. Think of the duopoly example
of Coke and Pepsi. Just because a voter
prefers Dr Pepper, it doesn’t mean that he or
she doesn’t want soda at all. This change in
the process challenges the duopoly of the two
parties and reforms the industry. Opponents argue that
this requires too much of the voter. You
talk to the average voter about this, and I think
the average voter has the same feelings that
former California Governor Jerry Brown has. They find ranked choice
voting to be confusing and overcomplicated virtually
without exception. It’s been a very
positive, supportive eye reaction from voters saying,
I liked this better than I what I did
before, the very strongest supporters from people under 40
who are not sort of used to a single
choice ballot, they’re like. Of course, this is better to
be able to to rank rather than vote for one. According to an exit poll
conducted by the Bangor Daily News in Maine, over
74 percent of people said ranking choices was
either somewhat easy or very easy in the US. It’s been used
in Minneapolis, St. Paul and Santa Fe with
five new cities using it in November.
Twenty nineteen. And then the fact that
you can’t get elected for president next year without
winning or competing for electoral votes in Maine,
and you won’t be elected for president
without learning something about rancorous voting because you
have to win in Maine. Other countries like
Australia and Ireland use a version of
ranked choice voting. And while some claim
the process favors progressive ideals, the
conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison,
won re-election in Australia. All of these
rules, practices and norms have been created
outside of the Constitution. And therefore, the
good news is that as dysfunctional as so
much of this politics industry is, it’s invented
and we, the citizens can force changes
in that invention.

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