Last night on Stossel, the show’s eponymous host reminded his panel that Ann Coulter wanted to drown folks who vote for Libertarian candidates in close races where the Republican victory could be hurt. Deroy Murdock came down on Coulter’s side, saying that Libertarian votes did sometimes harm Republican candidates, as just happened, he said, in Virginia.
Stossel wonders if that’s true; there are reasons to suspect that Libertarian “third party” candidates draw also from Democrats and mostly from independent voters — and that many of the latter wouldn’t have voted at all.
But Stossel and his panelists did not bring up a simple solution to the whole problem, something I wrote about last year in my column “In Defense of Spoilers.” The Libertarian Party seems here to stay. And if Republicans want to do something about it, they could “open up the electoral system”:
They should work with open-minded, fair-play Democrats and end first-past-the-post elections in the United States. There are several ways to go: ranked voting methods, from Instant Runoff Voting to proportional representation, ending the election of Representatives from gerrymandered districts, electing them, instead, “at large.”
Ranked Choice Voting, especially, has advantages. We vote our preferences, and our preferences are counted.
If you prefer the Libertarian over the Republican, and the Republican over the Democrat, you vote that way, and your preference for “best” doesn’t destroy your support for “the good” or the possibly “good enough.”
Democracy doesn’t need to rest on the insane rubric of “the best is the enemy of the good.”
So, Republican majority, change it. And stop complaining.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.