Le Sigh. Remember how the people of Maine voted last year to switch to Ranked Choice Voting for local and state offices? Remember how for a while it appeared that the Legislature there would overturn it, but didn't? Remember "that depends on what your definition of the word 'majority' is"? Well, now the duly elected representatives in Augusta have kicked that particular can waaaaay down the road.
According to an email blast (which you can also read here) from the Maine Green Independent Party, who worked hard to get that referendum on the ballot and passed, LD 1646 has passed both houses of the Legislature, bearing the title "An Act to Implement Ranked Choice Voting in 2021."
That title would seem to indicate that RCV will happen, although not in time for the next gubernatorial election as the voters had been led to believe. However, there is a multitude of tiny devils in the details.
Researching and writing this post has led to a most unfortunate flashback. It has me remembering how Samantha Bee bitched about how independent and third-party voters twice saddled the State of Maine with a governor who makes Rick Perry look smart, but then completely ignored that the people of Maine had taken the issue into their own hands.
Last November, the state of Maine instituted Ranked Choice Voting statewide by popular referendum. Despite a recent court decision, wherein the court held that the method conflicted with the state's constitution, Ranked Choice Voting is still in effect in Maine. Huzzah!
My joy in reading the Salon article linked above is matched only by my joy that Salon published such an article. The stub on WABI's website made it look as though this were a binding decision that canceled the expressed will of the people. But Paul Rosenberg informs us on Salon that there was no court case, so there was no official judicial review. How could there actually be a case anyway? RCV hasn't been used yet, so it can't have harmed anyone yet, and there can be no plaintiff. Even if you believe that RCV brazenly violates the constitution, you can't really take it to court unless you can show where on the political doll RCV hurt you.
Nevertheless, the Maine legislature is already at work on efforts to codify RCV—or to overturn it—up to and including amending the state's constitution. These efforts may produce some odd coalitions within both houses, since electoral reform is (oddly enough) not a strictly partisan issue. Even Republicans there don't want another Paul LePage elected governor, or anyone taking office with less than 40% of the vote.
This week, somebody on one of the Green Party Facebook pages posted a link to this little item (content warning: Language) from Yale University's not-as-famous-as-the-Harvard-Lampoon satire magazine. It is worth a giggle or two. However, I disagree with "James fucking Madison" regarding the utility of the Electoral College. Unfortunately, the real James Madison was too busy protecting the Republic from the excesses of the majority to see the wisdom of the Ranked Choice or Approval Voting methods.
In his time, Madison had no reason to fear that the majority of the population would pick some raving yahoo to be president. It was left to the several States to determine who was allowed to vote, and they mostly limited the franchise to white male property-owning US citizens 21 or older. As it was, the white landed gentry chose plenty of racists, misogynists, xenophobes, and Indian-killers to be their leaders and representatives.
Speaking of raving yahoos, the NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll released yesterday contains some a few interesting questions regarding "Pussygate."
Sorry the print is so tiny. [Insert clever joke about Donald Trump's fingers here.] To sum it up, only 3% of the likely voters polls are now more likely to support Trump following the release of the 2005 conversation with Billy Bush; 39% are less likely, and 56% say it makes no difference (as it would in my case, since the chance of my supporting Trump was already zero).
As to whether Trump should drop out of the race because of his comments, 39% said Yes, 59% said No. This question has more nuance than you would think: You can't just drop out of the race when millions have voted for you, your name is already on all the states' ballots, and early voting has already begun in some states.
So I wouldn't mind seeing Trump drop off the face of the earth, but I would answer that question No, I don't think he should drop out of the race. For the moment, I will enjoy the Schadenfreude of watching Republicans squirming with buyer's remorse—especially Ted Cruz, who, just two weeks before, very reluctantly drank the red Kool-Aid and endorsed Trump. Maybe after the election I will begin to feel sorry for them for being so thoroughly duped.
One of the exasperating aspects of reading poll results is seeing how professional pollsters leave ambiguous questions in their surveys—sometimes intentionally, mostly because they genuinely don't know. It's amazing, and a little disturbing, how a slight change of wording can produce a different result. It would have been more precise to ask if Trump should concede the race. Rep. Paul Ryan has already disinvited Trump and his running mate Gov. Mike Pence from campaign events in Wisconsin. It won't be the last place where influential Republicans will tell Trump and Pence that they are not fucking welcome.
The Quinnipiackers actually call it the Swing State Poll, and it's a poll of the three most populous swing states: Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
This week's presidential numbers for a four-way race in those three states:
Check out all the minute details here. Huzzah, Pennsylvania: 13% all ready to vote for minor-party candidates! Of course, about 12% of Keystoners either haven't made up their minds or prefer not to answer the question.
Blogging Sporadically since 2014
Here you will find political campaign-related entries, as well as some about my literature, Houston underground arts, peace & justice, urban cycling, soccer, alt-religion, and other topics.