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RCV May Be A Threat To The Establishment - But Is That Bad?

Category: IRV Voting
Posted: 12/20/13 02:04

by Dave Mindeman

Eric Black, at Minnpost, postulated that there is a DFL establishment dislike for ranked choice voting...although not a public dislike.

I think that is very possible.
Ranked Choice allows for stronger minority opinions. It allows an opportunity for a real populist movement. Under our current voting system, the establishment politicos can filter those populist movements. Minority movements have to push against the grain for 2 to 3 cycles to ever get a foothold....and sometimes the establishment will simply absorb some of the populism to block full progress.

Ranked Choice gives minority populism a full hearing. They get a full campaign to establish and defend their ideas...and because of the 2nd and 3rd choices, the negative campaigning gets thwarted as well....keeping all of it more issue oriented.

I think the biggest obstacle to ranked choice is not its threat to party establishment, but rather the need for better technical mechanics to implement it. Granted, the Minneapolis Mayoral race was a logistical nightmare with so many candidates - but there certainly can be an approved software mechanism to make the counting more user friendly.

Black talks about some establishment feelings regarding RCV....not for full public consumption, but still out there.....

The deep permanent DFL establishment crowd dislikes RCV. Some think it's bad for the DFL as a party, some think it's bad for the power of the establishment within the DFL.

It is probably more of a "bad for the power of the establishment" reasoning, because of course they would automatically think that if it is bad for them, then it is also bad for the Party. They don't like it because it can't be controlled as easily as our current rigid Party structure. Things are orderly and more predictable in our current system, but RCV lets the wild cards play. Sometimes that's good and sometimes its bad - but it always allows issues to dominate....and frankly, that seems more like real democracy.

Black points out a number of reasons for establishment mistrust of RCV, but most of them use the Minneapolis mayoral contest as the means for that reasoning. The reality is that a race like that - with that many candidates - is more of an anomaly than an example to derive any long standing ideas from.

Before we draw any deep conclusions about RCV, we need to watch it work in more races. The cities and school boards are the likely testing grounds. So let us watch and learn.

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