Friday, August 31, 2012

More about Instant Run-Off Voting

Interesting.  I didn't realize that there was some serious interest by some politicians (though not many  prominent ones--naturally) in instant run-off voting.   This has been an interest of mine  for some time.
Sometimes I wonder though, whether we would have been less likely to have elected Ronald Reagan.   The same system that gave us the wild-eyed socialist Barack also gave us the "wild-eyed conservative kook" Ronnie. 
I would like to see this applied to our Representatives and Senators as well.  Frankly though, I would prefer that the states had leeway in determining how their Senators are appointed.  Leaders in the Progressive Movement at the turn of the (20th) century dismissed the Founders' wisdom in having the Senate represent the States and state interests and decided that it should be a popular contest.  At most, I would say that the States should have the say-so on what their Senators represent. (The 17th Amendment  leaves no such option.)  I'd follow that up with an amendment to the state constitution that requires at least one of them to have 10 years experience running their own business  (perhaps this senator should be chosen by the legislature), and requiring that they both pass rigorous tests with regard to knowledge of the Federalist Papers and Anti-Federalist Papers.  (Hey, teachers have to pass standardized tests, but then, the course of our nation is a much less important enterprise.)
The Founders would probably have disliked even this concession on letting the states decide, since the 10th Amendment and the localization of power was very important to them.  State legislators would be more likely to pick senators who would protect state authority from encroachment by federal laws, not from wisdom but from old-fashioned self-interest.  The populace is more easily manipulated into voting for Senators who will vote for laws that consolidate power in D.C., allowing them to take care of their constituents in return for votes.  I fear the 17th Amendment forever disrupted an important aspect of checks and balances.  It would be easy to interpret the 17th Amendment as a deliberate attempt to undermine the checks against federal power--which was a recurring interest of the Progressive Movement.

However, since the people have become addicted, er, I mean, accustomed to direct representation in both Houses, IRV should be applied to the elections of both houses.

I believe we'd see a lot more political party diversity in the Houses.  There would be a lot more competition as more political parties burst in on the scene.

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