At least for the next few days, pundits will be combing through the 2013 election returns for any signs and portents of 2014 and beyond. Let me offer a few words on what I think the results mean for one city.
Minneapolis has elected a new mayor. I did not vote in that election, having fled the City of Lakes some years ago to escape the high taxes, underperforming schools, and crumbling infrastructure. Many of my former neighbors followed. Unfortunately, they have continued to vote for the same politics in our new home city that produced the high taxes, underperforming schools, and crumbling infrastructure in our old one.
Minneapolis has elected a new mayor, despite the best efforts of its Ranked-Choice Voting experiment (RCV). Under RCV, you get to vote for up to three candidates for each office. Although the outcome of last night’s election is clear to all observers, election officials will continue to count votes for some time to come, carefully tabulating the 2nd and 3rd choices of voters choosing among the nearly three dozen candidates.
Consider what would have happened in Minneapolis under the old first-past-the-post system of voting, where a plurality is good enough to win.
There would have been party primaries to select nominees. Based on last night’s results our current Mayor-elect, Betsy Hodges, would have prevailed in the Democrat contest and Cam Winton in the Republican one. Ms. Hodges and Mr. Winton then would have engaged for months in a much needed, spirited debate on the political future of the state’s largest city.
Instead, we had a “debate” involving thirty-some shades of progressivism, plus Cam Winton. Each voice among the dozens succeeded in drowning out the next, so that vaguely “progressive” is all that we have to go on. All I know is that it will be getting more crowded on this side of the city limit, and soon.
One clue as to the city’s future can be found in the endorsements issued by mega-political charity TakeAction Minnesota. This progressive powerhouse endorsed Hodges for Mayor and winning candidates in four of the five city council races in which they backed a candidate (out of 13 wards). Almost half (6 of 13) of the City Council turned over last night. We are about to embark on an experiment in seeing what TakeAction would do if given an entire city to run. More bike lines and street cars for sure, but will capitalism in any form be allowed within the city limits? We will soon find out.
Cross-posted and comments wlecome at Bill Glahn.