May 11, 2004

I believe it's a natural law that whenever one discusses Ralph Nader, the subject of Instant Runoff Voting must be brought up (I believe a plague of frogs is the penalty for failure). Putting aside the fact that IRV will always be a fantasy as long as two political parties are dominant, I'm not convinced that IRV would really be a boon to third parties and/or iconoclastic independents. Let me suggest a different alternative, as outlined by Mark Schmitt, namely fusion voting.

In New York, the only state where fusion is both legal and commonplace, Kerry and Kerry's slate will appear on both the Democratic Party line and the line of the Working Families Party, a party formed with union and community organization support that is considerably more liberal and creative than the Democratic establishment. Likewise, Bush and his slate will appear on the line of the state's long-standing Conservative Party, and votes for the two Kerry and the two Bush slates will be aggregated. Often, as in the case of Senator Clinton's election in 2000, the votes on the Working Families Party line exceed the margin of victory, giving the party considerable and constructive influence over elected officials. Every so often, when a Democrat is objectionable or to provide an alternative to a corrupt process such as the selection of judicial candidates in Brooklyn, the WFP will run its own candidates or even endorse a Republican, an option which strengthens its influence.

I presume things are a bit different in NY since I was living there, as I recall a "Liberal" party rather than a "Working Families Party", but the rest sounds like what I remember. What appeals to me about this is that successful politics is about building coalitions, and with fusion voting, you can be sure that your coalition gets the credit it deserves for its hand in the results.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 11, 2004 to Show Business for Ugly People | TrackBack

"I presume things are a bit different in NY since I was living there, as I recall a "Liberal" party rather than a "Working Families Party", but the rest sounds like what I remember. ."

Things have indeed changed.

The Liberal Party's last stand was the election and re-election of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (yes, you are reading that correctly), where party boss Ray Harding put Giuliani on that party's line as a boost to his candidacy. Unfortunately, scandal broke out as Ray Harding's son was convicted of embezzeling funds while working at a NYC job.

The party failed to get 50,000 votes in the last election, therefore, it is off the ballot for this year.

Meanwhile, the "Working Families Party" began as a means to counter to Giuliani and his policies. The party is more left of center than the traditional Democratic pary, however, it almost always endorses the Democratic candidate. It's greatest success to date is the election of Letitia James to replace James Davis as city councilman in Brooklyn after he was shot and murdered last year. James defeated Davis' brother Charles in a landslide.

Posted by: William Hughes on May 11, 2004 1:24 PM

Actually, some states could pull it off. Any state which can amend the state constitution through the initiative process -- and doesn't need to get help from the duopoly in the state legislature -- has a chance. If they can fight off the big party money that would lobby to sink it, anyway.

Now where you need help from the state legislature, you do have a fox-and-henhouse situation and it becomes more difficult.

Posted by: Tim on May 11, 2004 3:24 PM

Working Family votes for the Democratic candidate are counted in NY elections, so I generally vote their line, insofar as they run people I like.

What can I say? I like them, they push the candidates to the left and as third parties go, they're the ballgame for liberals in NY now that the Ray Harding Family Full Employment Initiative has gone the way of the ideologically corrupt dinosaurs.

Posted by: julia on May 12, 2004 9:08 AM

er, the 'Liberal' party, which supported Giuliani and the later Republican version of Koch. Inexplicably, members of the Harding family (Ray Harding ran the Liberal Party) were then given jobs they weren't qualified for in city government.

They did not do them well. Like, multiple investigations not well.

Posted by: julia on May 12, 2004 9:11 AM

It might be possible to get at least one of the two major parties on board. The url below is to a blog has some interesting ideas.

Posted by: Jeff on November 12, 2004 5:30 PM