First is the worst, second is the best: benefits of ranked voting

Posted on 05 December 2017 by Ian Schrauth

Why the electoral college stunts third party chances and limits popular representation in office

 

By: Ian Schrauth
Online Editor

 

5Donald J. Trump is the forty-fifth president of the United States. Of course, there are some people who don’t want to accept the results because they wanted Hillary Clinton, but even Clinton said that those who don’t accept the results of the election are threats to our democracy.

Clinton won the popular vote, but Trump won the electoral college vote. This may seem common, but it is unique to America. To prevent this sort of discrepancy from happening again, America should change its voting model.

Take Australia, for example. Though it is still ruled by Queen Elizabeth II, America could look to them and perhaps copy their voting system. They use the ranked voting system.

Instead of voting for one person, each citizen ranks their list of candidates from most liked to least liked. When the votes are counted, someone must receive at least 50 percent of the vote to win. If this threshold is not reached, the lowest-placing candidate is removed, their percentage added to the second lowest candidate. This repeats until only one candidate is left, or someone reaches 50 percent.

There are plenty of situations where a ranked system would be useful. Bernie Sanders, the Independent senator from Vermont, told news outlets that campaigning as a third party for the House of Representatives is exceedingly difficult. Doing so in a presidential election is next to impossible.

Or take the election of 1992. George H.W. Bush was seeking reelection, and Bill Clinton was trying to win the seat in  the oval office. But there was one other candidate who had a chance. His name was Ross Perot, an independent billionaire from Texas and was once leading both Bush and Clinton in the polls. A lot of Americans wanted him, but due to the current system, America ended up with Clinton.

If Perot had won, history would have been very different. We might have a balanced budget, America would have pulled out of NAFTA long ago, and we wouldn’t have heard one of the most famous lines from a president: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

If America had used the ranked voting system in 2016, Sanders, Clinton or even Gary Johnson could have won. Furthermore, it would have given other third party candidates a chance to be in the public eye. Few people heard of Rocky De La Fuente and Laurence Kotlikoff, Independent candidates during the 2016 election, and while they received votes, they didn’t stand a chance against the major parties.

I am a strong believer in America using the ranked voting system to better accommodate voter diversity. If the first two options are depressing and a third option sounds good, it will enable America to have a president the people want, instead of a president only 35 percent of people want.

Studies show that more than 45 percent of Americans identify as an independent, and yet they don’t have a voice. I am sick and tired of the two-party system limiting new voices that have the potential to help people. Third parties ought to be in office so they can bring in fresh ideas and change the nation. If we want to “make America great again” we need to listen to everyone, not just a small percentage.

 

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