Is this as good as it gets? Is it really just the Tea Party versus Harry Reid? John Boehner versus Nancy Pelosi? Sarah Palin versus Barack Obama?
Isn’t their more to our politics than the dumbed-down choices handed us by political consultants and a media that is more interested in pocketing money from campaign commercials than in covering campaigns in a serious way?
Of course, there is more. Green, Libertarian, Working Family, Vermont Progressive, Socialist and genuine independents are running some of the most provocative and important campaigns of the 2010 election cycle. But as Election Day approaches, attention to anything but Democrats and Republicans wanes. And we are left with a "choice" that in some cases is no choice at all—or, at the least, not a very appealing one.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
A simple election reform, the adoption of Ranked Choice Voting, could open up the process and allow for real choices in states across the country. Under Ranked Choice, voters don’t just tick the name of one candidate and walk away. They rank the various candidates—first choice, second, third, fourth and so on. If their first choice finishes out of the running, their vote is reassigned to their second choice. Thus, an Illinoisan who wants to back the strong Green Party gubernatorial campaign of attorney Rich Whitney could rank Whitney first. If the Green falls short, the vote could then shift to the total of Democrat Pat Quinn.
A Green pipedream? A Libertarian fantasy? Not anymore.
The former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Howard Dean, is saying this is this is a change that needs to be considered—and adopted.
Arguing for reforms that have been outlined and advanced by the terrific group Fair Vote, Dean is arguing that: "Democracy is more than what’s best for a party. It’s what best for voters. Among Americans’ inalienable rights should be a commitment of their elected officials to set aside partisan calculations when structuring the rules governing our democracy."
It is rare, especially in the closing days of a hot election campaign, for a prominent partisan to come out for real reform. But Dean is stepping up in an important way on this front—as he is on a host of other political and media reform issues.
Here’s what the former governor of Vermont and 2004 presidential candidate is saying:
Let’s Uphold Majority Rule With Ranked Choice Voting
By Howard Dean
On November 2nd, Democrats face immense challenges to hold onto their majorities in Congress and state governorships. As a partisan, I want my party to do as well as it can.
But democracy is more than what’s best for a party. It’s what best for voters. Among Americans’ inalienable rights should be a commitment of their elected officials to set aside partisan calculations when structuring the rules governing our democracy.