mercredi, octobre 11, 2006

My Number Three Wish for the 2006 Elections, Part One: The Case for Instant Runoff Elections

This post is part of a series listing my ten wishes for the upcoming election. Each day I will post one wish starting with number 10 and working my way up to the wish I desire most. Because we should think globally and act locally, you’ll notice a Minnesota slant to my wishes. If you’re a progressive or a liberal or a left-wing nut job from another state, I hope your wishes come true too. And now, without further delay, here’s today’s wish…

3. Mike Hatch Defeats Incumbent Tim Pawlenty, Minnesota Governor

Two popular axioms – “united we stand, divided we fall,” and “the people, united, will never be defeated” are proven by the following mathematical truism:

44 > 54

That’s right, 44 > 54.

Let me explain by backing up a bit. In the year 2000, even though he lost the popular vote, George Bush “won” when the Supreme Court handed him Florida’s electoral votes. He then governed like he had a mandate.

We had our version of that here in Minnesota. Our governor failed to get 50% of the votes, but governed like he had a mandate.

Back to the math.

44 > 36 + 16 + 2, or

44 > 54

And now to state it in a narrative fashion, if one candidate receives 44% of the vote, and his three ballot-listed competitors receive 36%, 16% and 2%, the candidate receiving 44% of the vote will be declared the winner. He or she will then lead with humility, long remembering that 54% of the people who bothered to turn up to vote, wanted someone else to govern.

This, among other reasons, is why I support instant runoff elections*.

And guess what readers. We’re about to do it again.

2002 Election Results – Minnesota Governor:

Tim Pawlenty (Republican) 44%
Roger Moe (Democrat) 36%
Tim Penny** (Independence) 16%
Ken Pentel (Green) 2%

2006 Election – Minnesota Governor
Results Based on NPR Poll Taken September 21st:

Tim Pawlenty (Republican) 42%
Mike Hatch (Democrat) 39%
Peter Hutchinson (Independence) 5%
Ken Pentel (Green) 2%
Undecided 11%

In other words, we will go from

44 > 54


42 > 46.

My wish – that we’ll learn from our past mistake. Tomorrow, I'll tell you why.

*My reasons: the will of the majority emerges; it will promote and encourage alternative candidates to run, potentially leading our return away from the devastating two-party system; one party cannot undermine the other by propping up an opposition (Republicans in Minnesota give in buckets to the Independence Party to undermine the Democrats); and alternative parties who win a significant portion of the vote, will be in a position to bargain for consideration of their major issues.

**Tim Penny was a 6 term member of the United States Congress, he served his entire Congressional career as a…wait for it…Democrat. I’ll concede that a Republican or two voted for him, but everybody knows he pulled a lot of votes away from the Roger Moe. Peter Hutchinson, a fine man with a great tradition of service, here really stands to do the same thing. Hutchinson, in the past, has been aligned with Democrats. He will pull enough votes away from Mike Hatch to potentially hand the election to Tim Pawlenty. The outcome that the Democrats, the Independence Party, and the Green Party want the least. Instant-runoff elections would solve this problem.