What has given me hope is that come 2024, there would probably be more discussion about ranked choice voting. If there is no guarantee of that happening, then the rest of us American people need to make it so. What makes ranked choice voting different from the standard plurality choice voting used in American politics really has to do with the decision-making mindset behind it. The way you would choose between–say–one flavor from the other four is either you choose that flavor or you don’t; when the decision that people would realistically make is that they would like one flavor, but would not have a problem with the other flavors if that one flavor is not available. The worst case scenario in this case is that their fourth most desired flavor is available.
How ranked choice voting works is that every ballot has multiple candidates, but also multiple voting options which range from first choice to fourth choice, as an example. Once each of the four options are filled out, the electing process begins with rounds of estimating which candidates received the least amount of first choices. That candidate is removed and anyone who voted in first place for that candidate has their second choice counted. When the next round continues, the process repeats itself. The candidate with the lowest counts is dropped and the voters who gave that candidate the first choice have their second choice counted. The process continues until there is only one candidate who can peak past the 50% threshold.
This video explains it better:
What makes this incredibly important is that it removes the political duopoly of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party and gives third political parties, like the Libertarian Party and the Green Party, more representation, especially since the majority of voters would want a third party to have more representation. In a plurality vote system, third parties are considered a “stolen vote” because the vote could have been went to giving a major political party more edge in fighting against the other major political party. This type of demonization is what alienates third-party voters, but at least their politicians are not beholden to Super PAC’s or a cult-like base; rather they are beholden to their own ideologies. Can they hold their own in a debate between Democratic and Republican nominees of any political race? I do not know because I have yet to see such a grand political experiment be conducted outside of Russia Today.
Those politicians in those third political parties are willing to risk ridicule, condescension, and scapegoatry in their own daily lives in order to pursue their own values. If you ask me, they have far more integrity and have better sleep at night than the politicians and their supporters who are willfully churning within the machine that is the political duopoly.
This is especially relevant among Republican politicians who stood opposed to Trump during the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections who ended up supporting him. If Trump wants to run the country like his business, then it is clear that they have become the yes-men looking for that promotion and none (save Justin Amash) have the self-respect to leave and establish their own start-ups. If they already hold public office, they do not have the option of joining the Libertarian, the Constitution, or the Prohibition Parties, since neither of those parties are highly represented in American politics. It had less to do with the principles that the Republican party upheld in their policies and more about the bottom-line; which would be retaining their own public positions by placating the base. The reality is that the base was already there waiting to pick the right candidate for themselves, no matter how much he contradicts the party’s values in his personal and political life.
If cynical pragmatism and personality cults are the ways to negotiate within a major political party rather than upholding a coherent system of values, then a departure from it and into a third political party should be the ultimate middle finger to the establishment. This was especially the case with Republican politicians, such as Gary Johnson and Justin Amash. However, they are exceptionally rare. You would have to find a politician that is willing to have his own principles outweigh his need for power, which it turns out the majority will not do–which reveals the cynicism behind American politics. As such, this encourages politicians to stay in their trench and become actively hateful of the ones from the other trench.
The argument for ranked choice voting specifically has to do with the fact that plurality voting encourages divisive rhetoric, rather than united rhetoric. If a ranked choice voting system was put into place, then it would encourage running candidates of the major political parties to avoid hyper-partisanship because they would need to think a little more carefully if they do not want their vote to be put in the third or fourth choices. However, thus far, this system has only applied to local and state elections, with the Maine congressional race being the most prominent. I am not sure if the problems of entrenched partisanship will go away any time soon if ranked choice voting was applied at a national level. Although I can imagine that third political parties will definitely become more represented and less marginalized, in the first RCV races, the two major political parties will still be dogmatically supported.
I would definitely like to see RCV implemented in the Rust Belt states, since they are strategically important in presidential races. If Pennsylvania and Michigan started using RCV in their municipal and even their gubernatorial races, then the rest of the country could potentially follow suit and it would ultimately influence politics in the national scale.
While much of the hyper-partisanship comes from the Republican Party, this article will not let the Democratic Party off the hook either. I noticed among Democrats how they will vote for any candidate who they hope will beat Trump and expecting people on the fence to join them.
I found it interesting that before he passed away, Michael Brooks from the Majority Report joked about how Ben Shapiro–who decried comedian Michelle Wolf for an abortion joke and explained that that was his rationale for supporting any Republican candidate–was willing to deliver a “blank check” to let Trump do whatever he wants; and failed to see any equivalence in the Democratic Party. Although it was tragic that he could have been a great voice-actor, you need not look far to see fear as being the rationale behind voting patterns in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party in terms of supporting Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden.
While the fear rationale behind Democratic voting is not based on something as frivolous as a tasteless joke made on the other side, it is still fear nonetheless. More specifically, it is one that is rooted in the inability to foresee a clear future or trajectory. It is entirely possible that Biden could lose the 2020 election, or he could win; no one really knows and no amount of polling will precisely indicate that when Election Day arrives.
Can this fear rationale be dispelled with the implementation of RCV in the election process? Probably, but as mentioned before, it will not go away anytime soon in the macrocosm of American politics. So long as COVID-19 and climate change continue to exist, there will always be a fear rationale behind any vote.
What is clear is that the actions of the present can influence the future. As far as what I am doing as of writing this article is supporting the side that is normally not heard or criticized. Not only the present but also the past can be brought into focus. A clear example is noting that the Libertarian Party received its largest amount of votes in the 2016 election in their entire history as a political entity of 4 million. It may not be much, but it is an evident indicator that people are becoming increasingly impatient with the status quo.
Of course, even though I will support political parties both left and right, even I have my own perspective. At this point, I would consider myself a parliamentarian leftist. I pretty much coined that label for myself–probably one that YouTube political satirist Jreg would talk about. What I mean by parliamentarian leftist is supporting the equal vocalization of all political parties whose sole purpose is to benefit every person in America without benefit or detriment to any one, particular group of people.
I am in support of this transparent free exchange of ideas, though not one that is usually within the vein of Dave Rubin, who invites guests who he feels are disenfranchised because of their views–often which are extreme–onto his own show and not even do diligent research to challenge their views. I am sure that personally he is a nice guy to talk to, but politically he is irresponsible.
I am aware that there are third political parties that are within the actual fringes–and not in an abstract way. There are parties that are extremists, such as white nationalists and black nationalists; and they are identified as such by the Southern Poverty Law Center and avoided because I am aware that not everyone who engages in politics is doing so because of some noble pursuit of knowledge and innovation, rather they engage in politics out of extreme pathos (such as anger and spite) and they will try to actualize it through violence–either politically (through state action) or physically (as individuals). I could joke about how they could make their own political cases among each other on an island with crates of weapons shipped in by helicopters, but I would digress.
I would hope that when this winter of our discontent is made glorious summer, we as the voters can finally have a discussion about ranked choice voting, because it may be the only option left in making American politics sane.