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?

Dear Conservatives: We Are Already Losing 2016

If you need to blame someone for our election losses, blame me. blame-me

I Let You Down

I could have done more. I could have spoken up sooner. I could have been more honest with you about the mistakes we made and the opportunities we ignored. I could have worked harder on what I saw as the most important work we could do.

I let you down. I focused on petty issues of the day, too, instead of working on a different future.

It’s Time To Look Ahead

But it’s Sunday morning. Obama’s been re-elected. The debt is growing as fast as ever. People lose personal power every day.

It’s time to stop blaming bogeymen for the 2012 election and start building a coalition for victory in 2014 and 2016.

Young Voters Matter

Between 2008 and 2012, 9.8 million Americans died. The vast majority were over 65, voted in every major election, and voted Republican over 60 percent of the time.

They were replaced by 16.8 million young people who reached voting age. These new Millennials are much less likely to register and vote, but the ones who do cast votes for Republicans less than 40 percent of the time.

If we do nothing between now and the next presidential election, six million Republican voters will die and 7.2 million kids will become Democrats.  The next election will be over long before November 8, 2016.

We Have Hope

Several surveys late in 2012 found that younger Millennials—between 17 and 21 years old—are far more fiscally conservative than old Millennials. On social issues, especially same-sex marriage, they remain liberal.

As young workers struggle to find meaningful jobs, as their debt burden continues to swell, as the world becomes more dangerous, expect this trend to continue.

If we are serous about restoring the balance of power away from central authorities and toward the people, we have to stop fighting the last election and start helping young adults.

Here’s What You Can Do Now

I’ll write more about this over the next week, but here are four things you can do right now to help win future elections.

Stop:

  • Blaming the election on vote fraud
  • Talking about social issues unless they obviously tie to economic issues
  • Hanging around in conservative echo chambers
  • Talking about secession, nullification, and disrupting the Electoral College vote

Start:

  • Helping young people find jobs
  • Treating young adults like adults
  • Explaining the virtues of being free to choose
  • Subtly explaining the failure of planned economies

That may not seem like much, but it is. Especially the Stops. If we don’t stop turning off potential allies, we’ll continue to lose election after election.

Build On These 4 Pillars

That doesn’t mean we change what we believe. It means we advance the ideas that don’t turn people off. We have many such ideas like:

  • A strong economy
  • A smaller government
  • A safer world
  • A sustainable immigration policy

We can build Big Ideas from these four pillars. We can take on the other problems later.

Please check back here tomorrow to find out how our passions are making us sound ridiculous.

The Conservative Base Is Dying And Taking Your Freedom With It *CORRECTION*

Consider these numbers:

  • 9.8 million
  • 11.6 million 16.8 million
  • 55%
  • 61%

Between the 2008 and 2012 elections:

Between those years, neither the GOP nor conservative leaning organizations did anything significant to deal with this demographic cliff. We know the cost.

What was Obama's popular vote margin?  About the same as the difference between deaths and new voters. (1.8 million difference in dead voters vs. new voting age, and 1.07 difference in vote.)

For the next four years, there is only one objective: inform the kids.

On this front, there's a glimmer of hope. According to a Harvard Institute of Politics survey, the youngest of those 11.6 million new voters, are becoming fiscal conservatives:

In one poll, for instance, he found that 42 percent of 18- and 19-year-olds identified as "conservative," compared with just over one-third who said they were "liberal." By comparison, those proportions were nearly flipped for 22- to 24-year-olds: 39 percent said they were "liberal," and a third called themselves "conservative." It was much the same for older twentysomethings.

Obama's disastrous economy has a lot to do with this "schism" between younger and older Millennials. Though 51% of voters blame the nation's economy on George W. Bush, the 18- and 19-year-olds were 14 or 15 when the economy crashed.  They were less aware of the good times of the 00's and more aware of Obama's inability to fix things.

Crush Sensibilities

Knowing these facts--the death of aging conservatives, which will continue, and the matriculation of school-trained Democrat voters--I see no reason to consider the past. It's time to focus exclusively on the future.

The future I see involves a three-pronged strategy to reform conservative politics:

  • Marketing
  • Psychology
  • Messaging

This is a moral duty. I won't waste more of my time placating the sensibilities of the establishment. That's both the GOP establishment and the Tea Party establishment. (Yes, there's a Tea Party establishment, and it stopped helping the situation in 2010.)

I need your help. 

If you want to help advance liberty and slow tyranny, statism, authoritarianism, whatever, then follow this link and tell me. Tell me you want to help.

**UPDATE**

I'm not the only one talking about the Republican problem of targeting seniors instead of talking to kids. Allahpundit:

 The advantage of relying heavily on senior citizens, as the GOP does, is that they turn out reliably on election day. The disadvantage is, er, that they die, just as 18-year-olds — most of whom are pro-Obama — are coming onto the rolls.

The GOP needs a Cadillac-like makeover, and it needs one now.

*Based on data from US Census Bureau

How To Maximize Your Election Influence

Here's What To Do Today And On Election Day Tuesday is the most important election of your life, but voting is never enough. You can have a bigger impact by using social proof to increase your influence. I'll tell you how, and it won't take you long.

First, though, make sure nothing gets in the way of exercising your duty to vote.

Studies have shown that you are more likely to vote if you answer these questions before Election Day:

  1. Do you see yourself fulfilling your duty to vote? (Answer "Yes." Write it down.)
  2. What time do you plan to vote? (Write it down.)
  3. Where will you be coming from? (Work, home, etc. Write it down.)
  4. What will you be doing immediately before you go to vote? (A meeting at work? Dropping the kids off at day care? Write it down.)

Have a friend who might not vote? Ask him these four questions, and he's more likely than not to show up at the polls. But don't ask these questions of friends if you don't know they'll vote right.

Immediately After Voting

Voting empowers you with remarkable influence and credibility. You'll waste that power, though, if you don't put it to work. Here's what you need to do immediately after voting.

For each candidate or issue you support, tweet: "I just voted for [candidate] for [office]. [hashtag] #stltpc #election2012"

Examples:

I just voted for @MittRomney for President. #POTUS #stltpc #election2012

I just voted for @EdMartin4Mo for Attorney General. #MOAG #stltpc #election2012

I just voted No on Prop A. #PropANo #stltpc #election2012

Next, repeat the process on Facebook in a single post, but omit the hashtags. Studies show that twitter-style hashtags turn off Facebook users, making them less likely to Like, share, or comment.

Tell People You Voted

Finally, tell 3 people you voted and for whom. Check this out:

Even when we control for alternative sources of similar behavior, such as having the same income, education, ideology, or level of political interest, the typical subject is about 15 percent more likely to vote if one of his discussion partners votes [emphasis added].

Christakis, Nicholas A.; Fowler, James H. (2009-09-09). Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives (p. 185). Hachette Book Group. Kindle Edition.

You've just maximized the power of voting. Your influence will spread to at least 3 degrees of separation reaching hundreds or hundreds of thousands of people, depending on how connected your network is.