Franklin Countys First News

Politics & Other Mistakes: We need a new drug

Al Diamon

Ranked-choice voting is the methamphetamine of politics. Once you start using it, you can’t stop, even though your teeth fall out, your internal organs fail, and you develop skin conditions so gross they’d cause Dr. Pimple Popper to run screaming from the room.

But like meth addicts, fans of ranked-choice are resolute in their belief it makes their dreary lives worth living. They insist it assures a majority winner, even though it does no such thing (Jared Golden won the 2nd District congressional seat last year with about 48 percent of the vote). Those hooked on RCV claim it forces candidates to be more civil, even though that aforementioned 2nd District race was the nastiest Maine campaign in decades. The delirious drug users mumble that it reduces the influence of big money, ignoring the fact the 2nd District contest was the most expensive in the nation. And instant runoff addicts proclaim it allows fringe candidates a voice in the process, when all it really does is cause folks like independent Will Hoar, who barely bothered to campaign for the 2nd District seat, to clutter up the ballot.

Nevertheless, we’ve got to learn to live with it (Suboxone, anyone?). Ranked-choice is state law, at least for primary elections and congressional races. In fact, we might have to live with even more of it, because those poor souls RCV has reduced to wretched dependence will almost certainly attempt to amend the Maine Constitution to infect both gubernatorial and legislative races with this deceptive drug. And in Portland, where ranked-choice is already used to elect the mayor, there’s a move to extend its reach to City Council and school committee races.

Legislative Republicans have just enough votes to block a constitutional amendment expanding RCV, but are otherwise as toothless as meth addicts. When it comes to ridding us of instant runoffs, the GOP gets delusional (meth is apparently a bipartisan drug). Former Gov. Paul (Florida Boy) LePage urged his party’s state committee (new motto: Now With Even More Trump) to pursue a referendum repealing ranked-choice. According to LePage, “In order to succeed, we cannot sit by and allow the [Democrats] and out of state money to rob us of our way of life.”

Since RCV has already won two statewide votes (would you care for some crystal meth with your ballot?), there’s little likelihood such an approach would succeed. That leaves opponents with one alternative:
File a federal lawsuit.

That’s been tried before, too. Ex-Congressman Bruce Poliquin, after losing his seat to Golden in 2018, went to court challenging the constitutionality of ranked-choice and asking to have the election invalidated. U.S. District Court Judge Lance Walker, an appointee of President Donald (I don’t need no meth to act like I’m on meth) Trump, told Poliquin there was almost no chance he’d win on the constitutional issue and no grounds to toss the election results. Poliquin announced that it would be “completely irresponsible” if he didn’t pursue his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. Then, he dropped it.

A common side effect of meth addiction is loss of focus.

There is, however, nothing to stop the GOP from picking up where Poliquin failed to follow through. There’s never been a definitive high-court ruling on the constitutionality of RCV, and it would be worthwhile to clear up its legality.

After which, we can all sink back into our drug-induced delusions about democracy.

Breaking bad? Email me at

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

27 Responses »

    Yup,, it's the law now, but wrong.
    If you filled out more than one candidate for any one office on your ballot,,, you lack conviction in your choice.

    R CV is for those who either can't make a decision or are simply interested in screwing a certain candidate and don't really care who wins...(the old lacking conviction thingy again,,,That's you, the farce).

    Are you happy with your choice,??
    Oh wait, you didn't really make one.
    Dum dum dumb..

  2. This is funny..
    Even Liberal Al can't ignore the obvious Hoax called RCV.

    Hilarious are those who come on here stamping their feet demanding that we accept "their" fact that "voting for more than one on your ballot does not mean you voted for more than one"....
    Must be another version of "new math".

    It's a hoax.
    Good one Al.

  3. "Drug-induced delusions about democracy" I couldn't have said it better myself. While many delusional people think the government works for the betterment of the common man in truth, not all but many in both the Democratic and the Republican parties have been bought and paid for by the real power that be. Who are the powers that be? To name a few Big farma, Big corporations, the weapons industry and insurance companies and the owners of the major news media just to name a few.

    Of course neither party wants ranked choice voting after all how many times have you voted for the "lesser of two evils" or did not vote for a third party candidate because you didn't want to "throw away your vote". Now with RCV you can vote for the person you want without fear of doing that and I am sure it rankles both parties.

    But before we get all giddy about RCV we need to realize that both parties will do what ever it takes to get rid of RCV. We also need to realize that the true powers that be (a few names above) control the media, the money and for the most part the way we think. So we'll see how long RCV lasts. It may be pretty short lived.

  4. I want a drug that I can get a good sleep from and will carry over in the a.m. until my n. daily anti bitch about everything meds take hold and over and I can get some good chuckles from Al's detractors

  5. Words can't describe it. Al has seen the light. A glimmer of hope that somewhere deep down he still has some common sense. Its going to be a good day!

  6. Al:

    After the instant runoff eliminated the two other candidates, Golden won with 50.53% of the vote (139,231) to Poliquin's 49.47% (136,326). (Sun Journal 11/15).

    RCV in this case was really three separate (but "instant") elections to determine a majority (not plurality) winner. This is what RCV was designed to do.

    RCV is less expensive to administer than a traditional runoff, supported by the majority of voters from the State of Maine, and upheld in Federal Court.

    Any GOP court challenge would have an uphill battle just to hurdle the issue of standing, much less prevail on the issues.

  7. Farce: No one has to have conviction in their choice. That's a silly statement. If people can vote for who they really want first, knowing it won't be wasted, then it's a good thing. It is also a decision - I decide to vote for who I really want first, rather than choose the lesser of two evils in order not to "waste my vote." If you don't like it, that's fine. But it's a perfectly legitimate system and voters who "lack conviction" for their "lesser of two evil" votes are fine - again, one doesn't have to have "conviction."

    You either don't understand the system, or you've just got sour grapes.

  8. Yes seamus any gop challenge would, we will see what happens when the dnc doesn’t like the outcome.

  9. Seamus your providing my point. You have thrown out and disenfranchised a number of voters to come up With a manufactured majority. If you want to agree with the foolishness called RCV that's fine, but let's stick to the facts. Nobody got a majority of votes cast. And if you want to say there were three "elections" then your also saying a large number of voters were not allowed to vote. Only those who voted multiple times counted in many cases. That's not fair to the voters who were confident in their decision.

  10. Joe - I don't think anyone who voted for Poliquin or Golden got disenfranchised. The only votes that went to "instant run off" were votes for candidates who had no chance to win. Even there, their votes were announced after the first round, so they were counted. It is as if there were a run off, and people could chose to go vote or not vote. Run offs are chosen because people want to avoid someone winning a plurality without considerable support due to numerous candidates. Ranked choice (or Single Transferable Vote) is a cheaper way to do run offs. My personal preference would have been to maintain the plurality system, and I voted that way in the referendum. But I understand why people want to try to create the opportunity to vote for an independent and still not waste their vote by having the equivalent of a run off. This doesn't benefit either major party disproportionately, and in fact both major parties I"m sure would rather have plurality voting, this only helps third party and independent candidates.

  11. One of your best Al. So right, RCV has got to go and it will. It is like..." well, let's see, maybe I'll take this one and i if I can't have it I'll take this one or this one or this.." can't make up your mind or don't have one?

  12. mr erb = liberal speak

  13. Awww is right, the only reason the dems are defending rcv tooth and nail is because they got the outcome they wanted. Lets see what shemus and Erb say when the pendulum swings the other way and a rep sneaks out a win with rcv.

  14. Old Maineiac - calling me "liberal speak" is cute, but very lame. You don't counter any point. You just call names. That is what people do when they don't have an argument but still want to make noise. I pointed out I voted against rank choice voting, but that it is a legitimate system that doesn't inherently benefit either party. Do you have a point, or do you just want to fill space?

    Jose - this system doesn't benefit one party over the other. In fact, Golden would have probably won if it had been a plurality vote (the independents would have had fewer votes). You show your hand when you make it about partisanship - you are only upset because your guy didn't win. I still believe a more complex system like this is not a good idea, but it is a legitimate system.

  15. RCV is simple. Select your first choice first, your second choice second, your third choice third ..... Why is that confusing? If your first choice looses badly wouldn't you rather have your second choice have another chance? Also if your candidate is centrists they have a better chance to win which to me is better because it means that they will help get something accomplished as they are more likely to compromise when in office. RCV in theory, should push the parties closer together which needs to happen so that our government can function. We are now electing extreme right or left and it's not working.

  16. One Person = One Vote
    It's that simple!!

  17. @Douglas W Allen your or their theory that rcv will make a campaign better is false and this last fall proved it. Big money from both sides was slandering and calling out the opponent in a severe way. The same as money spent. Rcv needs to go unless they fix it so it does what they claim it would.

  18. Mr Erb, we disagree about RCV. A LOT of people disagree with you about this. You might want to get used to it. But, Go Gettum' Doc.
    Did you resort to name calling?
    It was our beloved Al Diamon who said "Liberals are very tolerant, until you say something they disagree with".

    Convictions..ah yes u don't understand. Surprise.
    Convictions are not the liberals strong suit as they are going off in every direction at the same time..
    Example, to them what sex you are is a Multiple Choice Question.
    So why wouldn't they want Multiple Choice Voting too....
    They say inclusion, I say confusion.
    Another farce.
    I'm not confused,
    I'm good with my own convictions, thanks for asking.

  19. Elections aren't simple unless you're a party line voter. RCV should inspire people to look closer at all candidates. Big $ is here to stay unless the courts cut it off.

  20. Douglas,
    A Big Party Candidate "won" (with less than 50%)...
    Huge Big Party Money was spent on behalf of the "winner"..
    Please tell me how RCV solved anything?

    Be honest,,, if the goal was to get rid of Mr Congeniality POLIQUIN , Then mission accomplished.
    I didn't like him either but,, (not a sour grape in the bunch over here)....
    RCV solved none of these other corruption issues.
    Let's be honest about that.

    I left the GOP years ago but can't stomach the Dems platform either,90% of the time.
    I long for the same change you talk about.
    RCV gave me no better options as an entrenched independant voter on this one.
    When the independent choices are a bunch of props only there to make one of the big boys lose, that's no solution.

    My hat is off to any legit and honest person running against the 2 party monster.
    We'll know them when we see them, and cast one strong vote for real change.
    But wait, now we have this RCV mess in the middle..

    How has RCV solve the 2party monster problem again???
    Erb is right, a lot of us don't understand.

  21. Golden won with RVC because he is more to the middle. Poliquin was too far right. There were two other options but they were left of Golden so everyone knew their second and third choices were going to Golden. The next election if the Republicans find a more centrists option, Golden will have a difficult race. Independent candidates can't compete unless, like Angus, they bring enough experience and apparently high enough approval ratings from previous offices they've held. RVC is not going to solve $ issues or two party problems. I just hope it moves us all to the middle.

  22. Again, for the record, I voted against ranked choice voting. My point is not that it’s better, but that it is a legitimate system that does not violate one person one vote. It is a method of having the effect of a runoff election without the cost of a runoff election. The only ones helped by this are independent and third-party candidates. I’m almost certain that Golden would have one if the election had been a traditional plurality election. As for the issues of sexuality that one commentator brought up, well, the culture is changing. It always changes. It doesn’t go backwards. The older generation often has trouble accepting change, but change is inevitable. When I was a kid it was rock music that was going to destroy society!

  23. Douglas,
    One option to the far right,, 2 props to the far left,, the winner leaning left. Is this the middle? Lol.
    My concern is how do you prevent political collusion. I know I know....but I believe RCV is used as a tool to accomplish exactly that.
    Politics is often dirty business,, deals with lobbyists,, back room deals super partisan sell outs, have always happened.
    I guess my view on this particular race was that there was a gang against the one. I believe one of the far left props admitted they were only in it for the monkey wench effect.
    I have no sympathy for POLIQUIN but this was a sad ploy.
    He really lost because he was not a very good representative. Justice was served to him for his performance in my opinion.

    I guess RCV looks like another tool for dirty politics to me.

    Can't we just Fire every one of them and start all over again?

  24. Erb,
    And the younger generation knows everything already..
    I know I sure did .

    But then I got better.(not backwards as you call it).
    After I got away from college life.
    Now "that" was the a very good change.

    And the best part is,, the majority of these know it all youngsters will also get better and look "BACK" shaking their heads at some of the crap they were taught...

    Change really is inevitable...and good.
    To each their own interpretation as to which way it goes.
    I'm old and I accept that just fine thanks.

    Oh look there,, the pendulem is moving....

  25. Douglas
    Well said, if people think we should have people elected that less than 50% of the people want in office, all I can say is I'm glad they are in the minority.

  26. Back - I wasn't going to reply, but I do want to apologize if I seemed dismissive of old folk - I'm pretty old too! My first political action was as a kid canvassing for Richard Nixon's re-election campaign. I was at the 1980 Convention that nominated Ronald Reagan (met him, and some other bigwigs in the GOP, as well as Ted Koppel), as I was the South Dakota College Republican State Secretary. I've changed, mostly due to travel and learning more about how the world works. I like to think I can understand and respect opinions on all sides of an issue - most people share core values.

    I do think on issues of sexuality many of the changes are irreversible. It's part of a long term process - first it was ending slavery, then giving women the right to vote, then interracial marriage was accepted, then the civil rights movement and more rights for blacks and women (especially in the work place) I think acceptance of different forms of sexual identity is just another step in the process - I may not completely understand it, but who am I try to control others? I also see changes I don't like - our society's over-emphasis on "safety" really irritates me - life is unsafe, and things that make life really enjoyable entail risk! But that's just me.

  27. Putting ending slavery and women’s right to vote in the same progression as confused about what sex one is (check in your pants) is absurd!! Liberals never cease to amaze!!