Wednesday, November 03, 2004

The Morning After

OK, this all may be a little naieve. On reflection, the American necessity of winning is what gave us the two-party system. So, ... a state by state remake of the national election process may be the last thing to change. While it looks like the Colorado initiative has gone down, the news from Maine is encouraging. Maine is the one state which casts its electoral votes by congressional district, with two votes reserved for the state. This makes sense to YM, but not yet the type of reform we're talking about.

Thinking about the possibility of more than one similar candidate on any state's ballot runs square into the advantage of the incumbent. Imagine a presidential race with, say two conservative candidates on the ballot against one liberal. The reverse of this happened in MD in 1966, when Spiro Agnew won the governorship. In the Democratic primary, two equally liberal candidates were pitted against a "Home is Your Castle" conservative. Splitting the vote nearly equally three ways the radical conservatived polled 35%. Clearly 65% of the electorate didn't want this person, but in the winner-take-all result, he became the Democratic nominee. His general election totals were no higher than his primary totals. Even an unbiased journal such as the US News and World Report could hardly call the support for Agnew "bipartisan". They had to acknowledge it was in reaction to something much worse.

This is the prospect we are facing today. We need to find ways to give expression to those other voices. State By State is not promoting an electoral overhaul. We are in need of creative ideas to reward significant, yet non-winning contributions.


Post a Comment

<< Home