Bill Nemitz tightly gave us one perspective on the gubernatorial race (May 9’s “Eliot Cutler facing up to ‘spoiler’ label”).

He outlined the scenario in which the spoiler candidate again aids and abets LePage stealing the election. As to all things Cutlery: Eliot knifes Mike Michaud in the back, spoon-feeds Paul LePage’s election efforts and forks over the governorship – again.

But Cutler isn’t the real culprit. With Mr. Nemitz shining the spotlight on him, we are distracted from the two more fundamental problems.

The first problem is the bad ballot. In a three-person race, two similar candidates split the votes of the like-minded voters. The third one can slip in with a mere plurality of votes.

But that winner often only draws a minority of the voters and, therefore, won’t represent the majority. To sidestep this first problem, we should be using ranked voting.

The second problem is partisan politics. Our two-party system kills communication, compromise and compassion. In Maine and in D.C., the winner-take-all games inevitably lead to too many budget crises, filibusters, gridlocks, shutdowns, vetoes, etc.

To sidestep this problem, we would benefit from either a multi-party system or the presence of a large number of independent politicians.

Imagine our Congress comprised of 40 percent Democrats, 40 percent Republicans and 20 percent independents. Issues would no longer be decided by which party is in power. Independent thinking would prevail.

But until there are enough independents elected, bad ballots and partisan politics poison the picture. It’s easy to say Cutler is spoiling things, but what if things are rotten to begin with?

Mike Berkowitz



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