More primary elections today

These could be interesting, unlike the rather predictable Minnesota primary. It’s Trumpkins vs anti-Trumpkins.

  • Liz Cheney is expected to lose.

    Support for her has imploded since she first voted to impeach Donald Trump over the Jan. 6 attack, and then took a leading role in the ensuing congressional investigation. Wyoming voted for Trump in 2020 by 70 percent in the presidential election, and Cheney’s passionate invocations of Trump’s threats to democracy haven’t changed many minds there. In fact, Trump’s election lies have completely remade the entire Republican Party, a recent Pew Survey finds, to the point where most voters who identify strongly as Republican want to hear their elected officials parrot it.

    Either way, I lose. The only think I like about Cheney is her stance against Trump, but otherwise…just another evil Republican.

  • Sarah Palin is trying to make a comeback? I hope Alaskans have learned that she’s a useless flibbertigibbet.
  • Another race where I cannot see much hope: Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski is being primaried by a Trump fanatic. It hurts to hope a conservative Republican wins.

Also, I learned that Alaska has ranked choice voting. Why can’t the rest of the country do that?


  1. says

    Also, I learned that Alaska has ranked choice voting. Why can’t the rest of the country do that?

    How long have they had it, and what has it got them?

  2. Akira MacKenzie says

    I hope Alaskans have learned that she’s a useless flibbertigibbet.

    I think the term you’re looking for is “dumbass, backwoods, rube.” Considering the least populated and developed portions of our country are infested with dumbass, backwoods, rubes, I expect Palin to make a triumphant return to the national stage.

  3. Bruce Fuentes says

    This will be their first time voting since it was approved by voters in 2020.

    One of the reasons we do not see this method of voting is that conservatives hate it. More moderate right wingers tend to perform better with ranked choice. Google conservatives ranked choice and you will see all the regular players criticizing it. If RWNJ’s hate it then it is probably good for the country

  4. Akira MacKenzie says

    It hurts to hope a conservative Republican wins.

    Corporate Democrat: “GASP! You’re going to make the perfect the enemy of the half-assed good! perfect against the good! Heresy! Blasphemy! You’ll accept the lesser of two evils and you’ll love it! THE REPUBLICANS WOULD BE WORSE… wait… THE TRUMPIST REPUBLICAN WOULD BE WORSE THAN THE SIGHTLY LESS FASCIST REPUBLICAN!!!”

    (I await the usual beating by the liberal incrementalists out in the audience.)

  5. dbarkdog says

    We have had ranked choice in Maine since 2016, though legal challenges prevented its use until 2020, when we were the first state to use it for a presidential election. The main opposition is currently the Republican party. So far it has had no effect, except perhaps in some local elections. There was an effort to influence the senate election by a third party candidate, but Collins got a clear majority of first choice votes, so it did not matter. The only real point seems to be to make possible to cast a protest vote for a symbolic preferred candidate while still being able to cast a real vote for a potential winner.

  6. moarscienceplz says

    “Also, I learned that Alaska has ranked choice voting. Why can’t the rest of the country do that?”
    California does that.

  7. consciousness razor says

    How long have they had it, and what has it got them?

    They voted on Ballot Measure 2 in the 2020 election, which narrowly passed by less than 4,000 votes (50.55% to 49.45%). As you can see at the link, some (conservatives especially) have been trying to shut it down ever since.

    So it’s new, and this is when you might start to see something come out of it.

  8. christoph says

    Liz Cheney has presidential ambitions. Losing this election would make her a martyr and get her a lot of sympathy votes if she does run for president.

  9. robro says

    moarscienceplz @ #6 — I don’t believe California has RCV for state wide elections, but some citites do. Here’s the list per BallotPedia: Oakland, San Francisco, San Leandro, Berkeley, Albany (adopted for 2022 implementation), Eureka (adopted for 2022 implementation), Palm Desert (adopted for 2022 implementation).

    Interestingly, researching to confirm this I ran across an article about legislation proposed by Assembly member Patrick O’Donnell (D-Long Beach) to make RCV illegal in California. In the bill, O’Donnell makes a case that RCV has flaws. Amusing that many of the comments in the article I saw are accusing California Democrats of running a one-party state and that some how RCV does or does not help with that.

    I’m sure RCV has flaws and it can be gamed. As the GOP has done, just run a candidate as a Democrat to split the Democrat vote and increase the odds that the GOP candidate gets the most votes.

    Personally I lean toward no political party elections.

  10. robro says

    christoph @ #9 — Liz Cheney may have presidential aspirations, but it’s not clear how her current strategy would move her closer to that goal. At this point, she’s anathema to many Republicans and she would essentially be splitting the party…Hoorah! She could run as an independent but that’s political suicide in this country. Or, she could flip to Democrat. Of course, she has no base among Democrats and they would be deeply suspicious of her. Despite her principled stance on Trump, she has many positions that do not appeal to many Democrats.

  11. says

    Robro @10:
    That’s the same assembly bill I mentioned in my post @8; guess we cross-posted there.

    The scenario you describe–the Republicans running a candidate as a Democrat to split votes–wouldn’t really work to game the RCV system. In fact, that’s exactly the kind of potential issue with a winner-take-all system that the RCV system avoids. In a winner-take-all election, splitting the vote can be a problem; in a ranked-choice voting system, assuming that most of those voting for one Democrat candidate still put the other as their second choice, the Democrats still come out ahead.

    For a simplified concrete example, say 30% of voters put Dem Candidate 1 as their first choice and Dem Candidate 2 as their second choice; 25% put Dem Candidate 2 as their first choice and Dem Candidate 1 as their second choice, and 45% put Republican Candidate as their first choice (it doesn’t matter for this example what those voters put as their second choice). In a winner-take-all system, because the Democrat vote was split, the Republican candidate wins. But by the most common implementation of RCV, since no candidate got over 50%, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated–that’s Dem Candidate 2. Now the votes of those who voted for Dem Candidate 2 go to those voters’ second choice, Dem Candidate 1. That puts Dem Candidate 1 at 55%, so Dem Candidate 1 wins.

    I’m not saying there aren’t ways to game a RCV system, but that’s not one of them, and I do think it’s probably significantly harder to game (though I admit I don’t have anything to back that up).

  12. says

    (Er… this was probably clear, but just to be completely explicit, when I said in my previous post that “the Democrats still come out ahead” I meant assuming that they would have won if their vote wasn’t split, that is if they have the overall majority. My point was that in an RCV system splitting the vote doesn’t generally matter, assuming there’s enough party cohesion that voters for one candidate still rank other candidates from their party over candidates from other parties. Again, that’s not to say RCV systems can’t necessarily be gamed in other ways.)

  13. birgerjohansson says

    If we pay you enough to run as an independent conservative and split the vote, are you willing to sacrifice yourself? You look a bit like Gorka, so the fools are perfectly capable of falling for it.

  14. birgerjohansson says

    BTW I checked out the endless/infinite mega-thread XXIV but it ends at comment 500 August 1 when I try in on my cellphone.
    Is my technology faulty or is it something else?

  15. silvrhalide says

    “Sarah Palin is trying to make a comeback? I hope Alaskans have learned that she’s a useless flibbertigibbet.”
    I prefer to think of her as the Wasilla lemming.
    Lemmings breed prodigiously and aren’t too bright. But it’s a myth that they run headlong over cliffs to their deaths.
    Apparently they only do that when chased by humans with cameras. :D

    Highlights of her (so-called) political career?
    Built a mall. With no parking lot, no bathrooms and no road to actually get to the mall. (I’d link to the WSJ article but can’t find it online, sorry).
    Her tenure as mayor of Wasilla–a town of 5500 people–was marked by cronyism and incompetence. (It floors me that a town the size of a large high school needs a mayor at all, but hey.)
    “Despite the city’s flush accounts, the police department under the chief Palin hired to replace Stambaugh required women who said they had been raped to pay for examination kits themselves, a policy Palin now says she rejects. State legislation passed a year later required the town to pay for the kits.”
    “Wasilla City Council member Dianne Woodruff hears the same lament about her town all the time. “Everywhere in Alaska, you hear people say, ‘We don’t want to be another Wasilla.’ We’re not just the state’s meth capital, we’re the ugly box-store capital. Was Sarah a good steward of this beautiful valley? No. I think it comes from her lack of experience and awareness of other places, how other cities try to preserve what makes them attractive and livable.”

    The only people who actually liked her were the radical religious right who didn’t actually have to live with her or deal with her. I get the feeling Steve Schmidt would walk 20 miles out of his way to spit on her. But not if she was burning.
    “Palin does not always treat those ordinary people well, however—it depends on who is watching. Of the many famous people who have stayed at the Hyatt in Wichita (Cher, Reba McEntire, Neil Young), Sarah Palin ranks as the all-time worst tipper: $5 for seven bags.”
    “A onetime gubernatorial aide to Palin says, “The people who have worked for her—they’re broken, used, stepped on, down in the dust.””

    I have an uncharitable suspicion that she’s not going to get too many offers from competent managers/political support staff. I am equally certain that the opportunists and incompetent wannabes will come out of the woodwork though.

  16. silvrhalide says

    “Liz Cheney is expected to lose.”

    Liz Cheney will do just fine, regardless of whether she wins or loses. Possibly in a no-show veep job for fossil fuels or as a lobbyist for the same. Or maybe in finance. Wyoming isn’t known as the onshore offshore and the cowboy cocktail for nothing.

    But her sister Mary might not be so thrilled to see her around more often.

  17. birgerjohansson says

    We should help the incompetent ones to prevail against the more professional Republicans. Sarah Palin winning in the primaries would lead to some fun electoral debates downstream, compareable to dr Oz vs Fetterman.

  18. whheydt says

    As regards California and RCV… Not at the state level, as noted. What we do have is open primaries (aka “jungle primary”), except for presidential nominations (mainly because there, we’re stuck with having a nominee from each party).

    The result is that it may come down to a contest between two members of the same party in the general election. This has the result, in those districts (or the whole state for statewide elections) that are dominated by one party, you get to pick–potentially–which part of the dominant party you prefer. It also seems to disfavor the fringe candidates from both parties.

    Also worth noting that the Republicans are in third place, behind both Democrats and “decline to state”, voter registrations.

  19. whheydt says

    In other political news… Apparently, the FBI search of Mar-a-Lago collected Trump’s passports (yes, that’s a plural). News is that they’ve been given back. That may be a mistake. What are the odds that, if charged with a crime, he’d be a flight risk?

  20. silvrhalide says

    @22 Where would he go that wouldn’t send him back? Immediately, with or without the US federal government’s request? Russia? In the middle of an actual war? Him? Cadet Bone Spurs, the draft dodger? Or to North Korea, where Dolt 45 and Kim Jong Il can finally have that sleepover together… and do each other’s hair. :P

  21. chrislawson says

    Raging Bee@1–

    A fair voting system can’t compensate for the failings of the electorate.

  22. mathscatherine says

    JSNuttell @ 12, and various others discussing ranked choice voting
    I’m Australian, where this type of voting is the default (we call it preferential voting) with different minimum numbers of choices depending on the election (all of them for federal house elections, at least six party groups for senate elections, down to at least one for NSW state elections).
    Admittedly we have more parties here, but from what I remember about 30% of electorates the winner gets more than 50% of the first preference votes (so they win without looking at other preferences), and another 55% of electorates the candidate with the most first preferences goes on to win – so essentially the same result as first past the post. However in around 15% of electorates the winning candidate came second on first preferences, and once every ten years or so there’s an electorate where the winning candidate was in third place on the initial votes (Brisbane was an example in our most recent federal election).
    As for gaming the system, it can be done… but it’s definitely more complicated than with first past the post. One way is to try to convince your opponents not to write in any preferences (using adverts in the same colours as the electoral commission if you’re feeling really cheeky). Alternatively campaigns to “number every box and put the [nasty party] last” can also be effective if you think preferences will go your way. On a more individual level, if there’s a centrist candidate whose voters might go for the party you don’t like if they were eliminated while your preferred major candidate’s voters are likely to strongly preference the centrist over the nasty party, there can be benefits in putting the centrist at the top of your list – but you need to know quite a lot about other voters preferences for this strategy to make sense, and it only happens in a few fairly specific circumstances.

  23. says

    Instant Runoff Voting/Ranked Choice Voting/[whatever the trendy name is now] does nothing to address any of the actual problems that the US electoral system has. (For example, it does nothing to relieve second-guessing because of belief that a less-liked candidate would win where a more-liked candidate would lose — that still happens in Scotland and Australia, which use ranked choice voting.) (Yes, all right pedants: Scotland only uses it in Scottish Parliamentary elections, not UK Parliament ones.) Ranked choice voting solves fantasy problems which don’t actually happen in practice, and the only real guarantee it makes is that the winner of the election would be able to beat one other candidate in a 1-on-1 election — but neither candidate has to be the “best fit” to the choices of the electorate. A candidate who would beat all the other candidates in a 1-on-1 election can still lose using ranked voting if there are more than 2 candidates. And, to make things worse: unless every voter gives a complete list of preferences, technically ranked choice voting makes no guarantee about how well the result will match the preferences of the voters. As soon as you let people just give their first choice if they want, or only make them list the top 3 or 5, then you have no guarantees at all that even in the most pathological cases the result will be “better” than first past the post. Ranked choice voting is just a waste of effort.

    What actually might improve things would be proportional representation, which is widely used in Europe, but of course you can’t do that for a single office like the President.

  24. John Morales says

    A candidate who would beat all the other candidates in a 1-on-1 election can still lose using ranked voting if there are more than 2 candidates.


  25. mathscatherine says

    I’m not saying that Ranked Choice voting is necessarily the solution to all democracy’s woes, just that it’s better than first past the post.

    “For example, it does nothing to relieve second-guessing because of belief that a less-liked candidate would win where a more-liked candidate would lose — that still happens in Scotland and Australia, which use ranked choice voting.”

    In Australian elections, this kind of thing is rare. As I said in my previous comment, you need both (a) a very specific set of conditions where it would actually work, and (b) quite a lot of information about other voters’ preferences before the election to know you were in that situation. So the general advice is not to try, and political parties never advise it. The kind of campaigns you see are very much “number all the boxes and put X last” (or “just vote 1 for us” if that’s allowed) – or of course the more standard “vote 1 for so-and-so”.

    I vote in both ranked choice elections and first past the post ones, and believe me, the ranked choice elections don’t involve second guessing myself. At our most recent election, my first choice for both the lower house and the senate didn’t win (and to be honest I’m not sure my first choice in the senate is really ready to be a senator, but since they got 0.4% of the vote that wasn’t going to happen) – but I sent a message about the issues I care about, and both my second choices did win. And in three seats in Brisbane after years of Green party votes helping Labor, this year Labor preferences helped the Greens win.

    And proportional representation and ranked choice/ preferential voting are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Look up how we elect senators in Australia – we have 12 senators per state, electing six at a time, and use preferences to more accurately allocate the proportions.

    I’m not saying the Australian system is perfect – of course it isn’t. But it’s not hard to understand, and “no guarantees about it being better than first past the post” is daft – experience here says it typically is better about 15% of the time (maybe a bit lower if you don’t have to give a full list of choices) and the same for the rest, and as far as I can see that’s worth the extra few seconds it takes to write a few numbers instead of just an x.

  26. mathscatherine says

    I just realised I should clarify – the Labor party (oddly, US spelling) is the big centre-left (or just centrist) party, who are now in government. The Greens are (in addition to being about the environment) much more progressive and economically left.