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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Obvious and Less Obvious Remedies

Well, Dan Coats, former Senator, Republican establishment pick, won the Indiana Republican primary for Bayh's former seat. No surprise there, with four more conservative opponents in the race splitting the vote, three of them relatively fresh faces.

Coats won by slightly more than the combined vote totals of the two last-place finishers. In hindsight, it appears that the only way any of the challengers could have won was for all of them to get together and decide who should continue. I can see why neither Hostettler nor Stutzman wanted to make that move, but for weeks now, Behning and Bates must have known they had no chance whatsoever -- zero, nada, zilch -- of getting the nomination. Why didn't either of them withdraw and throw support to one of the stronger candidates? They couldn't know that would be insufficient -- and who knows, such a move by both of them might have changed the dynamics of the race enough that it would have sufficed.

Meanwhile, there's a relatively simple solution to this perennial problem. In multi-candidate races, the way to avoid splitting of the vote is a voting system that allows voters to choose more than one candidate. By far the simplest such system to understand and to implement is approval voting. In approval voting, each voter votes for as many candidates as s/he finds acceptable, and the one with the highest vote total wins. Voters who wanted a candidate with no Congressional experience could have voted for Bates, Behning and Stutzman; voters who wanted a strong candidate with small-government credibility could have voted for Stutzman and Hostettler. In two other Indiana races, State House District 60 and U.S. Congressional District 9, better-known politicos lost to relative newcomers (although in the latter, another split-vote situation almost gave former Congressman Mike Sodrel the victory). With approval voting, Coats might have gone down as well.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Sorta Like a Published Author

Well, one of my picture book manuscripts made the first cut at smories.com, a site that has children reading picture book MSS aloud. Follow this link to hear it:

http://www.smories.com/watch/where_do_fireflies_sleep/