While Republican candidates, some tea partiers and state GOP head Dick Wadhams wail and gnash their teeth over Tom Tancredo’s entry into the governor’s race, Libertarian candidate for governor Jaimes Brown welcomes The Tanc into the race “with open arms” and adds that the reaction only underlines the need to reform the electoral system so voters aren’t stuck with the limited candidate choices put forward by the two major parties.
This year in Colorado, where conservative voters saw a rich opportunity to take the top spot in the state wither for being pinned to two less than compelling candidates, the age-old call to broaden U.S. voter choices may gain traction.
Brown’s appeal, sent around in an email release today, is thought provoking and entertaining and it may give his Libertarian candidacy some extra juice.
He’s talking about “approval voting” which basically means voting for several candidates and ranking them. The candidate who ranks highest overall wins. It’s not a perfect system, but anything beats the outdated “first past the post” system in place in the U.S. today.
As Anthony Gottlieb wrote in the New Yorker last week:
It’s clear that no country would pick first-past-the-post voting today. Of democracies with no significant British past, only Nepal now elects its national assembly this way.
And as Hendrik Hertzberg added:
Even some democracies with quite significant British pasts have dumped first-past-the-post. New Zealand switched to “mixed-member” proportional representation, the kind they use in Germany, in 1993. Australia switched to instant-runoff voting—where you rank your choices—way back in 1918. And the country with the most significant British past of all, Britain, has decided to decide whether it wants to do likewise.
If conservative voters, half the voters in the state, could simply vote for Brown and Maes and Mcinnis and Tancredo in order of preference, they would welcome the diversity. As it is, they have to choose one of them and the perceived effectiveness of the candidates as officeholders at this point is probably a mid- or low-level consideration.
As a Libertarian candidate for governor in Colorado, I have watched with amusement and wonder at the hand wringing that Republicans have gone through over the past two weeks with the entry of Tom Tancredo in the governor’s race.
Republicans have come out of the woodwork to condemn Tancredo for “splitting the vote”, being a “spoiler” or “wasting your vote”. As a Libertarian, we are typically painted with those descriptions, whether it is the perceived taking of votes from Republicans or Democrats.
The old saying “if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll keep getting what you’ve always got” applies here. People ought to vote for the best candidate, regardless of party affiliation.
To address this issue, Libertarians have been promoting awareness of “approval voting”. Approval voting allows you to vote for multiple candidates. The candidate with the most votes wins. Pretty simple. This method allows you to vote for your favorite candidate, but also vote for the other “lesser of the evils” if you think that you could prevent the worst candidates from winning.
The whole issue of Tancredo in this race would be a moot point for the Republicans, with approval voting. Plurality voting splits the vote of similar ideologies. Approval voting would encourage the nearly 50% of eligible voters who don’t bother voting because the two parties do not represent them.
Tancredo can only raise the level of the Governor debate, which I welcome with open arms.
Brown’s platform, according to this release, is heavily focused on liberating hemp and marijuana from the war on drugs as a cost saver. Among other things, he also would work to solve illegal immigration and to switch the state’s income tax revenue to sales tax revenue.