For the past year, more than two-dozen presidential hopefuls, all hoping to win the hearts, minds, and primary votes of voters across the country, have presented themselves to the American public.
This process, which prominently spotlights fundraising figures and polling numbers (the two qualifications the Democratic National Committee considers for its debates), has ranged from light-hearted to dramatic to cutthroat.
But according to prominent New York Times columnist David Leonhardt, it is also a process that is “absurd” and “deeply flawed.”
In a December 30 column, titled, “The Presidential Nominating Process Is Absurd,” Leonhardt criticized a candidate selection procedure that often undervalues previous political experience and provides undue influence to unrepresentative subsets of voters.
To combat this “deeply flawed” mechanism, Leonhardt provided a resounding endorsement of ranked choice voting (RCV).
According to Leonhardt, RCV, a process that allows voters to rank their favorite candidates in order of preference, allows both parties to ensure that any candidate who receives their nomination is palatable to a majority of party members.
In fact, the state Democratic parties of Kansas, Wyoming, Alaska, and Hawaii will be using it for their primaries to proportionally allocate delegates.
If used more widely, RCV would prevent situations where an outsider candidate with a relatively small-but-fervent base capitalizes on the divided loyalties of the rest of the party to secure the party’s nomination.
Thus, because RCV rewards candidates with the broadest appeal, such a process produces nominees that are attractive to a majority of party members which, ultimately, strengthens the party’s chances in the general election.