I’ve had the extremely complicated “ranked choice voting” explained to me numerous times. I’ve remained skeptical that it is a worthwhile innovation. In some ways it is similar to the complicated US presidential electoral system which when a minority candidate wins leads to much unhappiness. I do understand this system and can offer up reasons to prefer it to a pure majority vote winner.
The ranked choice method seems directed at diluting the power of extremists and flaky third parties.
I just read about another way which could neuter the crazies – a “jungle primary.” Minnesota is already half way there. Our primaries are open to any voter of any party. It has given me one of my most pleasing victories when Democrats flooded a GOP primary to vote for the serious Arne Carlson over an extremist Gubenatorial candidate.
I think this “jungle primary” where one primary pits everybody against everybody else sounds much simpler and is even more likely to cut out the wingnuts.
There was an interesting story on National Public Radio today on the world’s population trends. A demographer pointed out that the highest birthrates tend to be in nations with the most conservative (read: family oriented) nations. The elevated birth rate is encouraged by the “be fruitful and multiply” ethos of fundementalist Jews, Christians and Muslims. For instance, Utah; a state of, for, and by, the single-mindedly, family-oriented Mormans; has the highest birth rate in the nation.
What will happen to all the family oriented people when the world can no longer sustain itself was not addressed. The fear of being swamped with mass procreating aliens “yearning to breath free” is not new. The US was swept with fears about the “Yellow Peril” late in the 1800’s which led to the “Chinese Exclusion Act.” The fear of being overrun by Eastern European immigrants helped lead to the Eugenics movement of the early 1900’s. It also explains much of the fear about border crossings at the Mexican/American border today. (Ironic Note: it is conservatives not liberals who seem to be the most excercised by illegel immigrants)
The upshot of the NPR story was this: Liberals have small families and thus face a diminishing role in the politics of the future. Lest conservatives get too cocky they should read what Jared Diamond says in his latest book Collapse – How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. I just have one disc left to listen to in the book’s audio version. I read and loved his previous best seller Guns, Germs and Steel. Diamond’s new book is a descendent of the much panned sixty’s oracle: The Population Bomb. That book’s predictions of a starving future were postponed by the phenomenal success of Minnesota’s Nobel Laureate, Norman Borlaug, and his “Green Revolution” which showed how we could harvest vastly more food per acre than with older agricultural techniques.
A cynic could scold the apostles of the Green Revolution by pointing out that when no more food can be wrung from the Earth it will just mean that there will be more people to die of starvation. Its hard for the pragmatist in me to deny the truth that lays behind the cynic’s scolding. Diamond argues convincingly that the recent genocide in Rwanda was much more the result of people fighting for enough land to feed themselves than it was a war between Hutu’s and Tutsi’s.
I wonder if there are any liberals left in Rwanda?