Alaska: A Test Case for Ranked-Choice?

Monday, July 11, 2022

At Hot Air is an interesting analysis of poll results that shows how Alaska's mixed-party, ranked-choice primary voting system could torpedo the House campaign of Trump-endorsed Sarah Palin -- and yet save the moderate Lisa Murkowski's Senate campaign:

Image by Tomruen, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.
If in fact Murkowski ends up winning narrowly while Palin ends up losing, it could have long-term consequences for how states in the lower 48 hold their primaries in the future. Ranked-choice voting has been touted as a moderating influence on elections for the obvious reason that voters in each party will prefer the moderate option in the other party as their second choice instead of fringier types. Murkowski getting reelected and Palin getting sent home would be proof of concept. Centrists in both parties will begin agitating for ranked-choice systems in their own states to try to keep the crazies on both sides out of office. [bold added]
The biggest caveat is that Alaska's larger-than-average share of independent voters might make this more likely to happen there than elsewhere.

This independent voter finds the idea tempting in the intermediate term since basically all of the "crazies" (read: most consistent and possibly most principled) from each party are extremely anti-freedom these days.

But consider what might happen in a generation or so, if pro-freedom ideas begin to take root widely-enough that the views of one party's "crazies" more closely resemble those of the Founding Fathers. Would ranked choice voting marginalize such candidates -- or would there be enough desire for freedom left in America that it would favor such candidates? I could see such candidates siphoning votes from both parties. That is an interesting question, and one I am hardly prepared to answer.

-- CAV

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