661: Two-Party System
Title text: I favor approval voting or IRV chiefly because they mean we might get to bring back The Bull Moose party.
Ponytail is running for class president, but gets shouted down by Billy the Political Activist (or at least, he thinks he might become one some day). Someone on the Internet must have told Billy that all he has to know about politics is that America's two-party system is broken. Because we all know the problem with believing what you read on the Internet.
The United States uses Plurality voting, where each voter may make one vote per office. In most democratic countries, this system tends to reinforce the top two political parties and marginalize smaller ones, such as the Bull Moose Party, which only lasted from 1912 to 1916.
Approval voting (AV) and Instant-runoff voting (IRV) are alternative voting schemes that allow support for multiple candidates. Such systems might make it easier for 3rd parties to field viable candidates. AV is a simple extension of plurality voting where each voter "approves" as many of the candidates as they wish. The winner is the candidate with the most votes. Approval voting tends to favor moderate candidates with broad appeal. IRV is a form of Ranked choice voting where a voter is allowed to select multiple choices, but must assign a rank or weight to each choice. If a candidate receives more than 50% of all 1st choice votes, they win as in a traditional election. If no candidate has a majority of 1st choice votes, the candidate with the fewest 1st choice votes is eliminated, and those 1st choice votes are replaced by their respective 2nd choice option and the resulting totals are compared for a 50%+ winner. This process is repeated until a winner is determined.
- [Ponytail stands at a podium behind a lectern, giving a speech.]
- Ponytail: And if I'm elected, I'll try to fix some of these problems.
- Boy, off-panel: Yeah, right!
- [A boy in the audience is standing on his chair.]
- Boy: The real problem is the corporate-run two-party system. Until we fix 'that, we'll have no real change!
- Ponytail: Billy, I'm running for class president. We don't even have political parties.
- Billy: That's because the two-party, uh... estab... uh.
- Ponytail: Billy, did you learn about politics from the internet?
- Billy: I thought that one reply was all I ever needed!
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