America’s in a bad place and democracy is under attack from Trumpian forces in a way American democracy has seen since the concluding days of the presidency of James Buchanan. The relentless optimist in me sees some hope for America, as The Economist notes that America is using ranked choice voting in some states and election, ranked choice voting is what we call the alternative vote, The Economist observes
There are few parts of America where the migration of salmon is a political issue. Alaska is one of them. On August 16th voters in America’s largest, wildest state went to the polls to elect their sole member of the House of Representatives, a seat vacant since the death of Don Young in March. Mary Peltola, the Democratic candidate, a fisheries manager, describes herself as the only politician “willing to fight back against the foreign and out-of-state trawlers that are decimating our king salmon”.
Ms Peltola’s chances, in what has been a reliable state for Republicans, have been improved by Alaska’s ranked-choice voting system, introduced by a referendum two years ago. Her Republican opponents are Sarah Palin, a former governor and vice-presidential candidate, and Nick Begich, a relative moderate from an Alaskan political dynasty. Mr Begich has called Ms Palin “self-aggrandising” and “uninformed”, accusing her of abandoning Alaska to “get rich and famous”. Ms Palin, who is backed by Donald Trump and the state party, has called him “Republican in name only”.
Such vitriol between the Republicans may weaken the party. Whoever comes third will have their second preferences redistributed to the remaining two. Ms Peltola will be hoping that she can sneak through if Mr Begich’s supporters give her their second preference over Ms Palin, says Amy Lovecraft of the University of Alaska. Predicting the outcome is hard. Such a system exists for congressional elections in only one other state, Maine, which first used it in 2020.
If more and more states roll out the AV system then it might be the best bulwark against Trumpian fascism that we narrowly avoided in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election as they attempted to steal the election. Also it isn’t hard to see in the next decade where the Dems win the popular vote by 10 million and still lose the electoral college vote, some fairness needs to be brought back into American politics and AV might just do that.
When betting on American politics it will be important to check what voting system is in place, this could be critical if you make a profit or loss. AV for the win I hope.