Debate Magazine

Ranked Choice Voting--Be Careful What You Wish For.

Posted on the 10 February 2021 by Doggone

I have no illusions about Ranked Choice Voting (RCV). Europe has had run off elections for a while now, which is a longer version of what is called ranked choice voting. The person with the most votes wins. It's pointless if you have a single party, or two undistinguishable parties. Some places in the US only have one candidate running. Case in point, I voted in an election in DC where my choices were the "Democrat", Marion Berry, or the Socialist Workers Party.
I voted Socialist Workers Party.

The point is that Marion Berry won, but I was able to vote against him. Likewise I have said that I would have voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 if RCV had been in place. Sure, I would have voted (1) Jill Stein, (2) Gary Johnson, (3) write in for my dog, and (4) Hillary Clinton. Not sure how I would have done it in 2020, but Biden would NOT have gotten my vote even with RCV.

The point is that RCV makes it easier for alternative parties to get into the game, which is why people like me and other reformers are interested in it. The mass of people who DON'T vote because they feel that their votes don't count. Or that they are voting for parties which don't represent them. I shouldn't have to vote AGAINST a candidate, but FOR a candidate I believe represents me.

On the other hand, some seriously conservative candidates can still end up winning. I remember sitting in an Antwerp Coffee shop after the Vlaams Blok won the election! Emmanuel Macron topped the ballot in the first round of voting, and was elected President of France on 7 May 2017 with 66.1% of the vote in the second round, defeating Marine Le Pen making him the youngest president in the country's history.
For the Americans out there who don't know who Marine Le Pen is, She was involved with the Front National, a French, far right party (like really far right, a party like that would really push US politics to the right).  She is the youngest daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, the former leader of the Front National, and the aunt of former FN MP Marion Maréchal. Marine Le Pen joined the FN in 1986. The FN has changed its name and toned down a little, but most people on the left would go apeshit if a party like this had national prominence in the US.
FN and Vlaams Blok aren't neo: they ARE Nazi! Well, maybe they are the political descendants of the Nazis: Vlaams Nationaal Verbond and Action française

Get the point?

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green ain't got nothing on these people, or might seem like what the FN has become. But having dealt with FN members when I was living in Belgium, the US would be in for some REAL fun if a party this far to the right joined the political fray. People would be nostalgic for Trump.

The point is that the latest incarnation of the FN was up against Emmanuel Macron. That's a bit like Bernie Sanders running against David Duke.

While it might result in a left wing candidate winning a seat: that isn't totally a possibility. I supported Lisa Savage's run in the Maine Senate election which was run under RCV. The upshot of that was Susan Collins was reelected. This was despite a lot of outstate support for her Democratic Opponent, Sara Gideon.

In other words, it may be helpful to conservative candidates. I mean Marine Le Pen and the Vlaams Blok do well with this type of election. Which is why I say be careful what you wish for, you might get it. 

AOC could lose a future election to someone so far to the right she would move to Cuba.


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