How the Condorcet Method Could Save The GOP

The RNC’s Autopsy report wants to do away with caucuses and conventions, replacing them with regional primaries. But I’ll propose a different reform that will make candidate selection more interesting, whether in a caucus or a primary.

A Word About The Autopsy

The idea of compacting the primary season and eliminating caucuses has some merit, but also a lot of downside. On the plus side are splashier events to showcase the party, fewer Tuesdays littered with politics, and, believe it or not, some economies as candidates can focus on one geographical region at a time. On the downside are some scary issues, like eliminating insurgent candidates, cutting out activists and grassroots, and favoring candidates with huge war chests. In short, the system would favor Establishment candidates.

FreedomWorks and other grassroots groups are furious over the the recommendations. They see the report as an attempt to eliminate the grassroots from the process, letting big money candidates favored by the Establishment to run the table quickly.

But I think a more basic problem with the presidential candidate selection system is the way we vote. I mean, aren’t you sick of seeing grassroots voters split their votes among three or four or six candidates allowing the Establishment’s candidates to skate through?

What If We Had To Vote On Every Candidate?

Instead of choosing one person from a field of six, eight, twelve candidates, why not vote for each pair of candidate in a head-to-head race?

Yes, each voter will need to punch more chads or touch more buttons, but each decision should be very quick. Here’s what it might look like, using some presumed candidates for 2016.

Let’s assume these are the candidates in the Missouri primary in 2016:

  • Rand Paul
  • Marco Rubio
  • Chris Christie
  • Paul Ryan
  • Ted Cruz
  • Bobby Jindal

Under the current system, voters select one candidate and move onto the next race. But under the Condorcet method, each voter would vote for each pair:

  • Paul vs. Rubio
  • Paul vs. Christie
  • Paul vs. Ryan
  • Paul vs. Cruz
  • Paul vs. Jindal
  • Rubio vs. Christie
  • Rubio vs. Ryan
  • Rubio vs. Cruz
  • Rubio vs. Jindal
  • Christie vs. Ryan
  • Christie vs. Cruz
  • Christie vs. Jindal
  • Ryan vs. Cruz
  • Ryan vs. Jindal
  • Cruz vs. Jindal

I realize that I just turned one vote into 15 votes, but I’ve also forced the voter to actually think about each possible pairing. Additionally, voters will actually stack rank the candidates, which could be invaluable information for VP selection. And it really won’t take much longer to get through the list.

A Condorcet Sample Scorecard

The Condorcet winner would be the candidate with the lowest maximum votes against.  In a precinct with 200 votes cast, here’s how the scorecard might look:

image

Jindal wins with the lowest maximum votes against.  In other words, Jindal is unacceptable to the smallest number of voters. Put another way, Jindal has the lowest negatives when actually comes to voting.

Rand Paul came in second, followed by Rubio, Ryan, Cruz, and Christie.

(For the record, I just made up these numbers. They don’t reflect my expectations of an actual vote.)

Condorcet Voting Gives Insurgents A Chance

This voting method would allow the RNC to impose its regional primary format while negating some of the advantage of big money. Think about it.

Suppose the RNC favorite is Chris Christie. He goes into the primaries with lots of cash and buys lots of ad time. He has the highest name recognition by far.

In our current system, people walk in, scan the ballot, see the name they recognize, and punch it.

In the Condorcet system, they can’t do that.  They actually have to look at each name and compare Christie to every other candidate.  Since most voters are low-information voters compared to the readers of this blog, this may be the first time they realize a person they like is even on the ballot.

And because the winner is the candidate with the lowest votes against in any match-up, Christie is likely to rack up a high votes against total in at least one of the match-ups.

This gives insurgents a chance because name recognition alone isn’t enough to run the table.

Best Of All, Condorcet Eliminates The Problem Of Divided Votes

Do you really think Romney would have won the nomination if we added up the voters who didn't want him?

No. Romney won because conservatives (of various stripes) split their votes across a range of preferable candidates. In most of the early primaries, Romney never got above 30 percent. Romney was nobody’s second choice, but no other one candidate was anybody’s first.

In the Condorcet method, you get to vote for all your preferred candidates. Plus, as in the example above, you get to vote against Chris Christie five times in one day!

The Condorcet Method Spices Things Up

Besides leveling the playing field and forcing voters to actually consider the pairings, the Condorcet method would breathe new life into the system.

Sure, some will balk at the extra votes to cast. Many people hate to think. But we really don’t want them voting, anyway.  Not in a primary.  Caucuses weed out the casual voters because of the time and energy commitment.  Primaries make voting too easy.

By making voting a little harder, you’re going to favor the true base of the party and discourage the casual or cross-over voter from messing things up.

Injecting a little thought into the voting process will make primaries a big more like caucuses, punishing candidates with high negatives, and rewarding candidates to appeal to the the broader base, not necessarily the broader electorate.

I say let’s give this a try in 2016.  What do you think?

Ed Martin’s Grit Overwhelms Establishment’s Power

In a blow to the old guard establishment, the Missouri Republican State Committee elected Ed Martin Jr. as its new party chairman.

Ed Martin Addresses First St. Louis Tea Party 2-27-2009

Roy Blunt and all six Republican members of Congress from Missouri lobbied the new state committee over the past few weeks to block Ed and retain the establishment’s choice, David Cole. Jo Mannies of the St. Louis Beacon wrote:

Cole’s loss appears to be a setback for Missouri’s GOP establishment. U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt and all six Missouri Republicans in the U.S. House had signed a letter backing Cole’s re-election.

Martin’s win was seen as a victory for the Missouri GOP’s more conservative factions, including some tea party groups – notably the St. Louis Tea Party, whose founder Bill Hennessy had endorsed Martin.

The victory demonstrates the power of grit—one of Ed Martin’s most valuable qualities. Ed narrowly lost his bid to unseat former Congressman Russ Carnahan in 2010.  In that race, Ed came closer than any Republican in recent memory to taking Missouri’s old 3rd District away from Democrats. Ed’s gritty campaign solidified his standing with grassroots tea partiers.

Grit is the most important factor in success according to human behavioral scientists. As Jonah Lehrer explains:

After analyzing the data, Duckworth discovered the importance of a psychological trait known as grit. In previous papers, Duckworth has demonstrated that grit can be reliably measured with a short survey that measures consistency of passions (e.g., ‘‘I have been obsessed with a certain idea or project for a short time but later lost interest’’) and consistency of effort (e.g., ‘‘Setbacks don’t discourage me’’) over time using a 5-point scale. Not surprisingly, those with grit are more single-minded about their goals – they tend to get obsessed with certain activities – and also more likely to persist in the face of struggle and failure. Woody Allen famously declared that “Eighty percent of success is showing up”. Grit is what allows you show up again and again.

 Ed put in the 10,000 hours of practice. His dogged campaigns in 2010 and 2012 gave him the courage and earned him the privilege to show up.

After losing his bid to unseat Attorney General Chris Koster last November, a lot people wanted Ed to give up politics. But Ed’s no quitter. Instead, he rallied his considerable charm and tenacity to take on a role that is well suited to Ed Martin’s skill and experience.

Missouri’s Democrats and even some conservatives mockingly said “Ed  finally won an election.” The Democrats should be very worried that a talent as gritty and popular as Ed Martin now chairs the Missouri GOP. Conservative might want to review Abraham Lincoln’s electoral history before mocking the resilience of a man who never gives up.

Congratulations, also, to Trish Vincent, Auditor Tom Schweich’s chief of staff, elected Chairwoman, or co-chair in today’s PC-speak. And a special congratulations and thanks to Frieda Keogh of Missouri Precinct Project and a new member of the Republican State Committee. Frieda’s efforts to advance grassroots causes and candidates is a gift to Missouri and America.

Excellent Commercial by Ed Martin for Missouri Attorney General

Ed Martin’s new TV commercial is excellent for many fundamental marketing reasons. Ed’s energy, commitment, and love of people shines through. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzJS2bqIlyY]

Still, the commercial is a waste of time and money unless people see it.

Here’s how you can helpbuy air time. If you want an Attorney General who will protect Missouri’s sovereignty and treasury, you can simply buy air time for this ad.

And there’s more you can do. Get involved in GOTV projects. Visit the Victory Fieldhouse in Valley Park (141 at I-44), the AFP Field office in St. Peters, MO, or the St. Louis Tea Party-Madison Project Liberty HQ in South County.

  • Put bumper stickers on all your cars, front and back
  • Put up yard signs for Ed Martin, Todd Akin, and other great candidates
  • Call some of the 1.2 million Missouri conservatives who don’t vote consistently
  • Go door-to-door to get out the vote of people who believe what you believe but don’t always vote
  • Donate to conservative candidates who don’t get big checks from billionaires

If you weren’t the kind of people who work hard to keep America strong, I wouldn’t bother asking.

St. Louis Tea Party’s HQ is open Noon to 8 pm Monday-Friday and Noon to 3 Saturday.

See you there!

Tell Two People in West County About The After Party This Thursday at Sky Music Lounge

A friend from Dallas just called me.  He said he met two conservatives from Ballwin who’d  love to be involved in movement conservatism . . . but don’t know how. I was shocked. And a little embarrassed. How can someone in West County not know about St. Louis Tea Party Coalition and The After Party?  '

AfterPartyLogo_LG

Clearly, I’ve done something wrong.  I’m sorry.  But I can’t just throw my hands up and walk away.

We’re STILL fighing against Obamacare.  We’re STILL fighting against government growth.  We’re still fighting for a Constitutional Republic. We’re still fight FOR the American Ideal.  And we’re still the Tea Party, dammit!

So here’s the help I need from you. Bail me out.  Please. 

Don’t assume anyone knows anything.  Tell them to come to Sky Music Lounge on Kehrs Mill at Clayton Road in Ballwin, MO, this Thursday.  Arrive before 7:00 to get a great seat.

Bring strangers.  They don’t have to be Tea Partiers.  They don’t have to be registered voters.  They don’t have to be Republicans.  They just have to be open to the ideas of liberty, freedom, fiscal responsibility, and national defense.

We have a special badge for the first 100 people—commemorating 12 months of After Parties.

With Paul Ryan on the ticket, with the election 90 days away, with the conventions about take over TV and the news, with the USA dominating the medal count at the Olympics™, I’d be shocked if Sky Music Lounge wasn’t overflowing on Thursday.  Shocked and disappointed.  And embarrassed.

The next Tea Party After Party is this Thursday, August 16, at Sky Music Lounge in Ballwin.  Here’s the map.

Jason Plummer Steps In It

When you’re the Republican Establishment’s candidate, you have one simple assignment: don’t screw up.

gop-elephant-deadJason Plummer, a 29-year-old lumber heir, is the GOP Establishment’s appointed candidate for US Congress in Illinois’ 12th Congressional District.  He’s facing a shockingly tough race from former police detective and former Belleville Mayor, Rodger Cook.  (Never underestimate a detective’s tenacity.)

In a debate last week, Plummer failed his one simple assignment.  Despite a nearly unlimited war chest from his family’s fortune and the Illinois GOP treasury, Plummer said something stupid.

Jason Plummer accused FamilyPAC of taking bribes. 

FamilyPAC is one of the most active conservative political action committees in Illinois. Republicans for every office look to the organization for its pro-life stamp of approval.

Plummer failed to impress FamilyPAC’s endorsement when he ran for Lieutenant Governor 2010. According to the stltoday.com, Paul Caprio, head of FamilyPAC, was unimpressed with Plummer:

“I had the feeling he was green, politically,” Caprio said. “. . . I just came to the conclusion that this young man is not ready to be running for lieutenant governor.”
Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/illinois/conservative-group-demands-apology-over-endorsements-for-cash-allegation/article_bdb4ca20-6d5c-11e1-995f-001a4bcf6878.html#ixzz1pHooDJWb

When Plummer failed to gain FamilyPAC’s nod, he went berserk according to Caprio:

“He was very irate. He was threatening, `I’m never going to forget this, I’m going to get back at you,’ ” said Caprio.

FamilyPAC appears poised to sue Jason Plummer for defamation, according to stltoday.com.

Plummer has also drawn criticism from grassroots groups for refusing to release his tax returns.  He is the only candidate who’s refused to do so.

Rodger Cook has already earned Adam Andrzejewski’s praise, in part because of Rodger’s transparency. By highlighting the Rodger Cook’s maturity and integrity, Plummer’s latest gaffe may bring on even more high-profile conservative endorsements for Cook.

RebootCongress.com has Rodger Cook’s reaction to Plummer’s latest gaffe.

The Illinois Primary is next Tuesday, March 20.  Rodger Cook and the other GOP candidates hope to replace long-time Democrate, Jerry Costello, who is retiring after this term.

Relate to This, Mitt

The liberal press cannot issue a story about the Republican presidential race that does not refer to Mitt Romney’s need (and inability) to “relate to” conservatives. Puke.

Relate to this: if Mitt Romney’s a conservative, I’m a Hottentot

mitt-romney-tsa

By “relate to,” the media and Romney’s handlers actually mean  “hoodwink.”  While Romney might secure the GOP nomination without conservative support, his campaign will go down in flames without conservative grassroots boots on the ground from Labor Day to Election Day.

The only way Romney can win the hearts and minds of conservatives is to relive the past 20 years of his life.  This time as a conservative.

Romney might win more favor among conservatives by simply acknowledging who and what he is: an East Coast, Blue Blood, Rockefeller Republican with severely elitist views of government’s role in people’s lives. (And by “people” I include corporations.)

Why Can't the Establishment Fix America's Problems?

America has but one political party capable of winning races on a scale large enough to change government practices: the Republican Party. When the GOP takes Washington (or Jefferson City), things don't seem to get better. Wonder why?

Let's take a little stroll down memory lane.

"To secure the nomination, the Dewey forces spent money and made deals and promises that Taft would never make. Offers were made of Federal jobs that Delegates could not resist. Mississippi's delegation was headed by a Taft man, but his Delegates voted the other way. After the vote, one Delegate ran for a train and died of a heart attack on it. He had $1,500 in fresh money on him and the other Delegates claimed it should be divided among them."                                    --Phyllis Schafly, A Choice, Not an Echo

Little has changed since 1948, the year Mrs. Schlafly described above.

In 2012, the Republican machine, in races all across America, will nominate candidates chosen by the Kingmakers.  This year, those kingmakers are making their investments.  Wisely.  They're buying just the right people with just the right promises and just right access to just the right celebrities.

The Grassroots Problem

Kingmakers laugh at grassroots candidates and activists.  We amuse them with our principles and idealism, our willingness to work for free, knocking on doors, sweating in the summer, shivering in the winter.

Kingmakers don't deign to knock doors and meet ordinary people--they have deals to cut. They have staff to do the dirty work of meeting voters.

But the grassroots stress the kingmakers, nonetheless. When a big movement like the tea party rises up and dares to challenge the established powers, the kingmakers scowl. They understand that enough tea partiers with enough time and enough energy and the right candidates could--just might--upset their plans. And then what?

What if another Reagan reached the White House?  Another Taft in the Senate?  Imagine the horror of another Rand Paul or  Paul Ryan stirring up the rabble. What if someone actually ended crony capitalism?

So the Mr. Potters of the GOP crawl into their cobwebby dens and spin their plans. And their plans begin and end with money.

Money Is the Problem

Establishment Republicans operate on a single principle: government is money.  For that matter, Democrats operate on the same principle.  Both parties use government precisely the same way.  They borrow against future generations to buy more power from contemporary friends.

When it comes to Constitutional limits and fiscal responsibility, the only real difference between Democrats and establishment Republicans is who gets the spoils.

Money--and the establishment view of money--is the reason things won't get better just because a Republican wins an election.  The kingmakers don't want fiscal responsibility in Washington.  They just want the debt laundered through their banks and spent on their businesses.

The GOP establishment doesn't want to cut regulations; it wants regulations that favor their donors' businesses.

The GOP establishment doesn't to strengthen America's image in the world, but to make more money overseas.

In 2011, the established Republican Party works overtime to regain the Senate and the White House. If it does, it will reward its friends with our grand-children's fortunes as surely as the Democrats have rewarded their friends.

In short, the establishment can't fix our problems, because the establishment is the problem.

But there is another way.

Anti-Establishment Candidates

In almost every race in America, voters have a choice. A real choice, like the ones Phyllis Schlafly wrote about in 1964.

Candidates like Ed Martin and Todd Akin in Missouri, Richard Mourdock in Indiana, and Rodger Cook in Illinois. These candidates don't have money with which to buy allies. They don't get invitations to royal balls.  Instead, they rely on ordinary men and women to walk neighborhoods, banging doors, and asking relatives to vote.

If these  conservatives are to win their primaries, though, the grassroots must remain strong against the seductions of the establishment.  In tough economic times, those seductions--almost always monetary--will be strong.

But the tea party that carried Rand Paul and Marco Rubio to the Senate can surely win one more for the Gipper, can't we?

Mrs. Schlafly told us how the grassroots prevailed in 1964 against establishment tactics of smears, intimidation, and bribes:

These tactics were not successful because in 1964 the majority of Convention Delegates were independent citizens elected in their districts who sought — not personal advancement or political jobs — but only the nomination and election of a candidate who would end the America Last policies of the past 30 years.

Amen, sister. Amen.

If we're to reverse America's drift toward socialism, away from the Constitution, we must rekindle the spirit of '64 and the Reagan Revolution of 1980.

In both of those years, "independent citizens" rose up and slapped down the Republican establishment.  They said "no" to the jobs and the bailouts the kingmakers offered.  The Goldwater and Reagan delegates stood by their principles, putting America's future before their own egos and wealth.

Yes, Goldwater lost. But Reagan won. And Reagan's victory owed much to the lessons conservatives learned in 1964.

For history to judge us well, we tea partiers must drive a stake through the heart of the establishment.

If not us, who?

If not now, when?

 Note: These views do not necessarily reflect the views of St. Louis Tea Party Coalition. But they should. ;-)