greg (grysar) wrote,

A new hope for third parties

Sandy Levinson points out a trend that could prove the basis of improved voting systems in America. Namely, Libertarians are starting to act as spoilers for Republicans. In the past Greens, most notoriously Nader, sometimes denied the margin of victory to Dems. The ever-wily Republicans proceeded to provide support for some Green campaigns. That's smart and fair, we should do the same things for the libertarians. The typical bipartisan solution to third parties is to make it harder to run as a third party. But given the fairly independent mood in the country, I think an overt crackdown would be met with voter complaints.

What we could have instead is a move to something like an Alternative Transferable Vote. In that system you rank candidates so there's an instant runoff your #1 pick goes down. That's Sandy's solution of choice, but there are a good number of others that are all improvements over the current system. So long as the Greens were the main spoiler, Republicans have little incentive to support such reforms. But if both sides are spoiled, there's a chance for reform.

As should be obvious to any readers, I'm a partisan Democrat. However, the two party system is obviously calcified. We haven't had a major party swap since the civil war. Just because my desires are met doesn't mean others shouldn't have the chance too. So for those disengaged or not represented by the two parties, I'd greatly encourage boning up on the various voting systems out there. Practically speaking, federalism is the most likely to get this stuff implemented. A few successful state experiments that make voters happy by providing more options would go a long way towards national reform.

Anyhow, back to reveling in my side's ass-kicking. (Side note, Allen's concession was classy. Props)
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