We’ve come some distance from where we started. The destination has none of the trappings advertised and, it seems, we are nowhere near the place we were promised to be. This was not in the brochure.

With the 2nd Congressional District race breaking records for the amount of money spent, Mainers are wondering why they find themselves burdened with more of everything that ranked-choice voting promised to eliminate. The grandiose, utopian promise of a kinder, gentler and fiscally spartan campaigns have proven to be as fraudulent as the “everyone-gets-a-trophy” voting platform it’s built on.

The fundamental premise of ranked-choice voting is flawed and its genesis is suspect. The idea that any candidate other than the two major-party candidates is a spoiler candidate is bereft of any respect for the right of the individual. Furthermore, to prejudice toward two final choices flies in the face of the tenets of our republic, which promises that any person who qualifies may aspire to public office.

The frustration with “spoiler candidates” is not new. Republicans were livid with Ross Perot for what they perceived was a sabotage to President George H.W. Bush’s second term and paved the way for the Bill Clinton machine. No matter what side of the political divide cries foul, the republic has always afforded an avenue for all voices to call for power and that the candidate who emerges from the din with a majority wins.

Maine has even had a spoiler candidate for a governor. Angus King somehow emerged from the shrouds of spoilage to gain the plurality of votes. With Gov. King, for this conservative, the temptation to try to delegitimize a duly elected official based on the current political climate is real, but in fairness, that’s left to a Donald Trump-crazed media and … ranked-choice voting.

Andy Torbett


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