Would The Democratic Party Be Improved If The Leaders Of The Party Were Chosen By Rank Choice Voting?

I always check out Esrati’s website. In his newest post — Why our political candidates generally suck — David advocates that there be a change in the Dayton Charter so that Dayton City Commissioners are elected through rank choice voting.  Esrati writes:

“We are starting the 501(c)(4) Reconstructing Dayton to try to bring sanity and better candidates and forms of government to Montgomery County, we’ve just founded a 501(c)(3) The Modern Policy Institute to work on plans and policies to create a system that actually provides us a chance to select from the best and brightest to make decisions that will affect us all.”

David Esrati explains his rank choice voting proposal in his youtube video — Let’s Improve Dayton Elections.

I like David’s rank-choice proposal but I can’t agree that our democracy would be improved if candidates for office were required to pass a test demonstrating their preparedness. David writes:

“Maybe it’s time that we create a test for public office, to make sure that candidates actually know something about the office they are running for, what their responsibilities are and what rules apply to them as elected officials….We don’t require proficiency in Roberts Rules of Order, which most public bodies nominally follow, nor do we require any understanding of public finance (it’s not the same as either business or personal for a multitude of reasons), nor do we have any kind of standing job description or “company handbook” available to help them do their job well. It’s almost as if we want our politicians to fail. There are no other jobs that affect this many people and risk so much, that require no preparation, training or qualification. “

To me, that sounds anti-democratic. I responded:

The only way to get a higher quality of elected officials is to somehow repair our dysfunctional system of democracy. Democracy demands: Let the people decide. If the people want to act like asses, then elected asses are what we get. It’s a small matter that a candidate might not be proficient in Robert’s Rules, or whatever. The big factor that has the largest impact on the quality of the official’s work is the official’s overall character.  Democracy means we have faith in a system that an informed and engaged citizenry will have the  discernment to choose leaders of good character and good motive. An informed and engaged citizenry is the only hope for our republic’s survival — an alarming thought.

I agree with Esrati that implementing rank choice voting would be a big improvement. Of key significance is its potential to engage and empower many rank-and-file citizens who are now on the sidelines. Implementing a rank choice structure, I believe, could help repair our dysfunctional system.

Now that David Pepper has resigned as Chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, a new leader must be selected. I’ve got to think that if the ODP used a rank choice system, Ohio Democrats would get a more effective leader. (Whatever the voting method, only the 148 Democrats on the ODP Executive Committee will get to vote on the leader for 1.5 million registered Democrats in the state, of these only 66 are directly elected.)

In 2022, the newly elected Central Committee of the MCDP Montgomery will meet at the quadrennial MCDP Reorganization Meeting and, by majority vote, will approve changes to the MCDP Constitution and will elect (or reelect) party officers. I wonder if there could be consensus among Montgomery County Democrats that it would be an improvement to change the MCDP Constitution so that at the 2026 Reorganization Meeting, the new chair and other officers would be chosen by a rank choice voting method, rather than a simple majority method?

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2 comments to Would The Democratic Party Be Improved If The Leaders Of The Party Were Chosen By Rank Choice Voting?

  • I’m glad to hear that you support ranked-choice voting. Just in case you were concerned, the idea of a candidate preparedness test is not part of the petition. In 2021 when the pandemic begins to abate we will circulate the petition for signatures. I hope we can count on your support!

  • I have been a proponent of ranked choice voting. I believe it would have prevented the election of aa always minortity choice like Donald Trump. He would have been weeded out early in the primaries. Of course, it likely would have cost us a Lincoln in 1860 (maybe the popular vote second place Douglas or electoral vote second place John Breckinridge?) but it would also have at least postponed a civil war saving hunreds of thousands of lives… and unfortunately slowing emancipation.
    Still, overall, with a ranked-choice system in the 21st Century, I think we will have better candidates who will seek to win first place votes AND second and third place votes and thus be encouraged to more civil and, I think, more useful debate.

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