Posted: 07/28/07 12:12
by Dave Mindeman
Last night on Almanac, the State Party Chairs of all 4 major parties in Minnesota were on. Only a few things were discussed but surprisingly, at least to me, the main topic ended up being IRV (Instant Runoff Voting). This has been a Green Party initiative for years but the conversation last night, started with the Independence Party chair noting that their candidate selection was done via IRV.
The Greens, Independents, and even the Democratic chair all concurred on their support for the IRV system. The city of Minneapolis has a plan in place and St. Paul is in the process of working towards that goal. However their was one dissenter -- Ron Carey, GOP:
"Brian, if the choice in the last election were Peter Hutchinson, Governor Pawlenty, and Marty Seifert...and you had to vote for two, who would you vote for? That's the problem with IRV; whether you are liberal or conservative, you're being forced, often times, to vote for somebody that does not share your values. And that's not representative democracy..to force people to vote against their values."
What the he** is he talking about? I'm not at all sure how he thinks Marty Seifert would be hijacking the DFL nomination in his scenario, but the first point is, his hypothetical could not happen. But is he trying to say that Republicans can only accept purity in their candidates? That they can't possibly think in terms of "the next alternative"? That he is afraid within the major party structures that no one else could come close to the GOP "values"?
Frankly, if IRV was the norm, I truly believe you would see a split in the GOP... the conservative wing would branch off. That is essentially what the Green Party has done....they are a liberal branch of the Democratic party in Minnesota. And if everyone was honest about it, it has led to some healthier debates about many issues, including IRV. But the GOP keeps patching itself together with this plurality coalition that can squeak out some elections with 46-47% of the vote, and then, only if it all holds together. If this state used IRV, the GOP would be hardpressed to put together a 50% majority. And that is the reason they oppose it... not on principal; on survival.
Just to make sure we weren't scratching our heads enough though, Ron Carey went on to say:
"There's a lot of research being done about the constitutionality of IRV because you are really disenfranchising people from being able to vote their values and I think that's dangerous."
Now he is making things up. Anyone know of a constituional right to vote "your values" ? Carey has no real argument against IRV, he simply has to oppose it. The electorate is shifting and it is not toward the Republicans. Splinter group parties are fine with Ron Carey as long as they are represented on the margins. Don't let their votes really count. His job is to keep the status quo -- make sure that a minority vote can win in Minnesota. It's his only hope.