Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Democratic condescension

This particular trope isn't limited to Democrats, but they happen to be the perpetrators in this instance.

In today's Star Tribune, Lynnell Mickelsen calls on supporters of independent Peter Hutchinson to stop deluding themselves and vote for the Democratic candidate for governor, Mike Hatch. Her closing line:

So, my dear friends, on Nov. 7, buck up and get over yourselves. It's not about you this time. It's about all of us.

Mickelsen has a point: independent candidates, if they don't win, tend to ensure that the candidate most despised by the independent voter will get elected.

But in this case, tough. Pawlenty, while not exactly deserving of a second term, has not been a complete disaster. And Hatch is simply not that impressive. I think he'd do fine as governor, but the gap between him and Pawlenty isn't alarmingly large. The risk of seeing Pawlenty re-elected is worth the chance of putting Hutchinson into office.

But my personal strategy is twofold, because Hatch would, indeed, be my second choice. So if he wins, I'm going to write him and say "This race was far closer than it had to be thanks to Hutchinson siphoning off votes. That's why you need to pass a law legalizing instant-runoff voting. Because in this state, it will almost always be the GOP that benefits from a three-way race. Unless you want to keep seeing GOP candidates win with pluralities, you need to allow voters to prioritize their choices."

Logic would suggest that a Democratic state administration would pursue IRV out of self-interest. I intend to put that logic to the test.

If Pawlenty wins, I'll send the same note. But I won't expect any results, because the GOP knows that the current situation benefits them more than the Democrats. It's not perfect, but it's a risk I'm willing to take.

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