The Truth is Powerful

The Maine Idea: Fusion voting challenges political parties to deliver

Last week, I outlined the limits of the open primary and ranked-choice voting in reforming our electoral system. Now, I’ll present an alternative that would achieve the goals of these better-known measures, while reinvigorating our moribund political parties – an equally vital task.

It’s called fusion voting.

To my knowledge, only one state – Vermont – has ever used the system fully, and it was abandoned long ago. Yet chronic discontent with our political parties, in Maine and the nation – and frustration over government action, and inaction – suggests it’s time for another look.

The basic concept is simple: Make it easy to form new political parties, and then reward them for their ability to attract voters through the power of their ideas.

The current system can’t do that. The Republican and Democratic parties, election after election, campaign primarily to preserve their power, or figure out how to get it back.

The results are, frankly, ugly. There’s almost no attention to what might benefit the state, and nation, and a constant focus on making the other side look bad.Reformers attempt to overcome the hammerlock the two major parties have wielded for two centuries, and in Maine a few “independents” are usually on the […]

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