"None of these candidates" beats Nikki Haley in Nevada's GOP primary. Trump wasn't on the ballot

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2024/02/07/none-of-these-candidatesbeats-nikki-haley-in-nevadas-gop-primary-trump-wasnt-on-the-ballot.html


Well shit, why didn’t somebody tell me earlier that “none of these candidates” was an option for the Republican nomination? Where do I donate to their campaign?


Sadly, what that really means is those people wanted to vote for Trump, but he wasn’t on the ballot.


Ha ha so sad!

So here’s an idea - now hear me out - what if, to spice up these binary choice elections, everybody gets two votes? And they can be “for” or “against”? Like, if I really like choice A they get 2 “for” votes but if I like A and hate B then A gets a “for” and B gets an “against”, but maybe they both suck and they both get an “against”, or maybe A sucks but B is even worse so 2 “against” for B. Could be interesting…

Whaddaya think, sirs?


You’ve described voting in Australia. Except it’s not two up/down choices: you list your preferences, 1 to whatever. If your number 1 choice doesn’t make it, your number 2 choice gets your vote, and so on until one candidate gets a majority of primary + preferences.

Among other things, it means that your vote doesn’t get wasted if you want to vote for a minor party that really doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in Hades. They might not win, but your vote then gets transferred to your second choice who is likely your “realistic compromise” candidate. And the winner gets a message directly from the electorate about how many voters like “x” policy, which was supported by the non-winner.

Additionally: voting is compulsory in Australia, it’s on a Saturday, and employers are required to give staff time off to vote.

It’s far from perfect, but it’s good.

Here’s a cartoon to help Australians understand how it works


That’s ranked choice voting, and Maine and Alaska have gone to that in the US. It helped a couple of Democrats take seats previously held by Republicans in 2022. I would love to see it become the norm everywhere, but the Republicans will fight it.


A form of that idea is sometimes mooted by centrist technocrat types on the grounds that disillusioned voters could at least vote to keep extreme parties out. Which says more about the delusions of third-way libs, but anyway it doesn’t get much traction because, like many exotic voting proposals, it has formal problems. (I.e. it can theoretically produce unusable or bizarre outcomes).

Systems of voting are a whole interesting field, but IMO it’s kind of red herring when we’re talking about the broad state of democracy. FPTP is fine if you have earnest, policy-driven politicians and engaged voters; and ranked-choice voting (or whatever) is no help if you have a systematically corrupt political class and voters who just want to burn the whole thing down. In a healthy democracy, voting itself would be almost irrelevant – it’s the handbrake of democracy, not the steering wheel. Our culture doesn’t really have a steering wheel, and to the extent that it does, it’s gripped exclusively by Capital.



As I recall Richard Pryor spent nearly $30 Million trying to get out the word back in 1985.


We used to have ranked choice for some types of elections here in the UK but the Conservative government recently got rid of it because it increased the chance of an incorrect result.

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An “incorrect result” in this context being “the election of anyone other than a Tory”?


Indeed so.


Unfortunately I wasn’t born in the US, or I’d happily change my name to “Generic, Other Candidate” and enter the GOP primary. Hell, I’d be happy to wear a giant question mark mask and do the debate. “Whats my views on ?” “Thank you for the excellent question. Obviously I’m concerned about all the negative partisanship, loud voices, and extremism on all sides of this issue. We need to support the common sense consensus - that which the majority of Americans support. Americans expect us to get on with the job of legislating, and not get bogged down trying to demagogue these wedge issues. It’s time to get tough on the real problems we face - and work hard for the people of this fine country”

(Actually now that I’ve written it, isn’t this basically what the freedom party is trying to do, sans the name change. Maybe that’s their problem)

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Season 9 Reaction GIF by The Office


I don’t entirely buy that, not unless there was no write-in option

There was no write-in option. Probably because it was a non-binding primary and Nevada actually chooses its winners through a caucus.


Ranked choice voting is periodically touted as a good voting method in Canada, always by the major party not in power. As soon as they get into power, they drop the issue.

While this is technically true, I would argue that FPTP voting makes the latter situation more likely, and ranked-choice voting makes the first situation more likely. People often talk about wishing we had a viable third party in the US. That is nearly impossible with FPTP voting. That voting method usually comes down to a binary choice, so we end up with only two viable parties. Ranked choice voting should enable a third, or even fourth party, to get enough votes to actually win elections. Also, with ranked choice voting, everyone will feel like their vote actually matters. Right now, if you’re a Democrat in Alabama, you probably feel like “What’s the point in even voting for President? My vote won’t count.” Ranked choice voting could change that, even if we don’t get rid of the electoral college nonsense. A moderate, old-school Republican could run as an Independent or Third Party candidate in the general election, and pull enough votes to prevent either Trump or Biden from getting 50%. And they’d probably get most of the second place votes from Trump voters and Biden voters, leaving one of those two out in the recount, hopefully Trump. Biden probably still wouldn’t win a state like Alabama, but it damn sure would keep a candidate like Trump out of the White House.


Did he quit, or did he “suspend his campaign”? (Same thing except in the case of a Trump hamberdercide before November?)


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That was a good movie; I need to watch it again.

So between the Dems in NH and the Repubs in NV, “The parties are doing their own thing and ignoring how states have set the rules for the nomination process” seems to be a thing this election season. I may not like all the reasons, but I’m all for it in principle. Never really understood why the states got to set rules for primaries, instead of parties getting to decide for themselves how to choose nominees (and think the modern primary system in general promotes more extreme candidates and needs overhauling). Though I guess then the states could change the general election rules to only allow candidates to appear who won or appeared on the state-sanctioned primary (or caucus, etc.), regardless of national party actions. That would be an interesting mess that might jolt people into actually reforming our seriously inadequate voting system.