Ranked choice voting means that voters can indicate their first, second, third and more choices in order, basically engaging in multiple run-off ballots in which the candidate with the least-support is dropped in rounds of counting.
Ranked choice voting should be adopted in all partisan primary elections. The two established parties should offer incentives to states that adopt RCV. One idea would be to increase the number of delegates sent to the national presidential nominating conventions from states that enact RCV in time for the 2020 cycle.
Consider the idea from the viewpoint that almost any of the other candidates for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination would have been a better choice for the Republican Party and for the country than Donald Trump.
In its primaries this summer Maine will use RCV.
Kevin Johnson and Rob Richie write in the Daily Beast that “recent RCV elections in Minneapolis, Santa Fe and St. Paul resulted in the highest mayoral turnouts in more than a decade.” In the Santa Fe election, with five candidates running for mayor, 99.9 percent of voters cast a valid ballot.Johnson and Richie estimate that in 2018 Congressional primaries where often less than 15 percent of eligible voters turn out, there will be at least four or more candidates in 212 districts and five or more candidates in another 146 districts. They note that “crowded fields cause vote splitting among mainstream candidates, clearing the way for candidates backed by only a fraction of the electorate to move forward to the general election.” And thus the candidates and elected officials will be beholden to a minority partisan base.
So Republicans need RCV if they are going to continue to be a national party. Democrats need RCV because they now have so much primary enthusiasm, that they could lose their general elections including the presidential election in 2020.
If in 2020, bearing in mind the role of the electoral college, Trump runs again as a Republican or as an independent or a third-party candidate, there may well be an anti-Trump “Republican” party also on the ballot, and with three or more presidential candidates, the winner could easily represent a minority partisan base.
The two major political parties should jump at the opportunity to re-establish themselves among all the voters.