How the Condorcet Method Could Save The GOP

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The RNC’s Autopsy report wants to do away with caucuses and conventions, replacing them with regional primaries. But I’ll propose a different reform that will make candidate selection more interesting, whether in a caucus or a primary.

A Word About The Autopsy

The idea of compacting the primary season and eliminating caucuses has some merit, but also a lot of downside. On the plus side are splashier events to showcase the party, fewer Tuesdays littered with politics, and, believe it or not, some economies as candidates can focus on one geographical region at a time. On the downside are some scary issues, like eliminating insurgent candidates, cutting out activists and grassroots, and favoring candidates with huge war chests. In short, the system would favor Establishment candidates.

FreedomWorks and other grassroots groups are furious over the the recommendations. They see the report as an attempt to eliminate the grassroots from the process, letting big money candidates favored by the Establishment to run the table quickly.

But I think a more basic problem with the presidential candidate selection system is the way we vote. I mean, aren’t you sick of seeing grassroots voters split their votes among three or four or six candidates allowing the Establishment’s candidates to skate through?

What If We Had To Vote On Every Candidate?

Instead of choosing one person from a field of six, eight, twelve candidates, why not vote for each pair of candidate in a head-to-head race?

Yes, each voter will need to punch more chads or touch more buttons, but each decision should be very quick. Here’s what it might look like, using some presumed candidates for 2016.

Let’s assume these are the candidates in the Missouri primary in 2016:

  • Rand Paul
  • Marco Rubio
  • Chris Christie
  • Paul Ryan
  • Ted Cruz
  • Bobby Jindal

Under the current system, voters select one candidate and move onto the next race. But under the Condorcet method, each voter would vote for each pair:

  • Paul vs. Rubio
  • Paul vs. Christie
  • Paul vs. Ryan
  • Paul vs. Cruz
  • Paul vs. Jindal
  • Rubio vs. Christie
  • Rubio vs. Ryan
  • Rubio vs. Cruz
  • Rubio vs. Jindal
  • Christie vs. Ryan
  • Christie vs. Cruz
  • Christie vs. Jindal
  • Ryan vs. Cruz
  • Ryan vs. Jindal
  • Cruz vs. Jindal

I realize that I just turned one vote into 15 votes, but I’ve also forced the voter to actually think about each possible pairing. Additionally, voters will actually stack rank the candidates, which could be invaluable information for VP selection. And it really won’t take much longer to get through the list.

A Condorcet Sample Scorecard

The Condorcet winner would be the candidate with the lowest maximum votes against.  In a precinct with 200 votes cast, here’s how the scorecard might look:

image

Jindal wins with the lowest maximum votes against.  In other words, Jindal is unacceptable to the smallest number of voters. Put another way, Jindal has the lowest negatives when actually comes to voting.

Rand Paul came in second, followed by Rubio, Ryan, Cruz, and Christie.

(For the record, I just made up these numbers. They don’t reflect my expectations of an actual vote.)

Condorcet Voting Gives Insurgents A Chance

This voting method would allow the RNC to impose its regional primary format while negating some of the advantage of big money. Think about it.

Suppose the RNC favorite is Chris Christie. He goes into the primaries with lots of cash and buys lots of ad time. He has the highest name recognition by far.

In our current system, people walk in, scan the ballot, see the name they recognize, and punch it.

In the Condorcet system, they can’t do that.  They actually have to look at each name and compare Christie to every other candidate.  Since most voters are low-information voters compared to the readers of this blog, this may be the first time they realize a person they like is even on the ballot.

And because the winner is the candidate with the lowest votes against in any match-up, Christie is likely to rack up a high votes against total in at least one of the match-ups.

This gives insurgents a chance because name recognition alone isn’t enough to run the table.

Best Of All, Condorcet Eliminates The Problem Of Divided Votes

Do you really think Romney would have won the nomination if we added up the voters who didn’t want him?

No. Romney won because conservatives (of various stripes) split their votes across a range of preferable candidates. In most of the early primaries, Romney never got above 30 percent. Romney was nobody’s second choice, but no other one candidate was anybody’s first.

In the Condorcet method, you get to vote for all your preferred candidates. Plus, as in the example above, you get to vote against Chris Christie five times in one day!

The Condorcet Method Spices Things Up

Besides leveling the playing field and forcing voters to actually consider the pairings, the Condorcet method would breathe new life into the system.

Sure, some will balk at the extra votes to cast. Many people hate to think. But we really don’t want them voting, anyway.  Not in a primary.  Caucuses weed out the casual voters because of the time and energy commitment.  Primaries make voting too easy.

By making voting a little harder, you’re going to favor the true base of the party and discourage the casual or cross-over voter from messing things up.

Injecting a little thought into the voting process will make primaries a big more like caucuses, punishing candidates with high negatives, and rewarding candidates to appeal to the the broader base, not necessarily the broader electorate.

I say let’s give this a try in 2016.  What do you think?

Ed Martin’s Grit Overwhelms Establishment’s Power

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In a blow to the old guard establishment, the Missouri Republican State Committee elected Ed Martin Jr. as its new party chairman.

Ed Martin Addresses First St. Louis Tea Party 2-27-2009

Roy Blunt and all six Republican members of Congress from Missouri lobbied the new state committee over the past few weeks to block Ed and retain the establishment’s choice, David Cole. Jo Mannies of the St. Louis Beacon wrote:

Cole’s loss appears to be a setback for Missouri’s GOP establishment. U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt and all six Missouri Republicans in the U.S. House had signed a letter backing Cole’s re-election.

Martin’s win was seen as a victory for the Missouri GOP’s more conservative factions, including some tea party groups – notably the St. Louis Tea Party, whose founder Bill Hennessy had endorsed Martin.

The victory demonstrates the power of grit—one of Ed Martin’s most valuable qualities. Ed narrowly lost his bid to unseat former Congressman Russ Carnahan in 2010.  In that race, Ed came closer than any Republican in recent memory to taking Missouri’s old 3rd District away from Democrats. Ed’s gritty campaign solidified his standing with grassroots tea partiers.

Grit is the most important factor in success according to human behavioral scientists. As Jonah Lehrer explains:

After analyzing the data, Duckworth discovered the importance of a psychological trait known as grit. In previous papers, Duckworth has demonstrated that grit can be reliably measured with a short survey that measures consistency of passions (e.g., ‘‘I have been obsessed with a certain idea or project for a short time but later lost interest’’) and consistency of effort (e.g., ‘‘Setbacks don’t discourage me’’) over time using a 5-point scale. Not surprisingly, those with grit are more single-minded about their goals – they tend to get obsessed with certain activities – and also more likely to persist in the face of struggle and failure. Woody Allen famously declared that “Eighty percent of success is showing up”. Grit is what allows you show up again and again.

 Ed put in the 10,000 hours of practice. His dogged campaigns in 2010 and 2012 gave him the courage and earned him the privilege to show up.

After losing his bid to unseat Attorney General Chris Koster last November, a lot people wanted Ed to give up politics. But Ed’s no quitter. Instead, he rallied his considerable charm and tenacity to take on a role that is well suited to Ed Martin’s skill and experience.

Missouri’s Democrats and even some conservatives mockingly said “Ed  finally won an election.” The Democrats should be very worried that a talent as gritty and popular as Ed Martin now chairs the Missouri GOP. Conservative might want to review Abraham Lincoln’s electoral history before mocking the resilience of a man who never gives up.

Congratulations, also, to Trish Vincent, Auditor Tom Schweich’s chief of staff, elected Chairwoman, or co-chair in today’s PC-speak. And a special congratulations and thanks to Frieda Keogh of Missouri Precinct Project and a new member of the Republican State Committee. Frieda’s efforts to advance grassroots causes and candidates is a gift to Missouri and America.

Excellent Commercial by Ed Martin for Missouri Attorney General

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Ed Martin’s new TV commercial is excellent for many fundamental marketing reasons. Ed’s energy, commitment, and love of people shines through.

Still, the commercial is a waste of time and money unless people see it.

Here’s how you can helpbuy air time. If you want an Attorney General who will protect Missouri’s sovereignty and treasury, you can simply buy air time for this ad.

And there’s more you can do. Get involved in GOTV projects. Visit the Victory Fieldhouse in Valley Park (141 at I-44), the AFP Field office in St. Peters, MO, or the St. Louis Tea Party-Madison Project Liberty HQ in South County.

  • Put bumper stickers on all your cars, front and back
  • Put up yard signs for Ed Martin, Todd Akin, and other great candidates
  • Call some of the 1.2 million Missouri conservatives who don’t vote consistently
  • Go door-to-door to get out the vote of people who believe what you believe but don’t always vote
  • Donate to conservative candidates who don’t get big checks from billionaires

If you weren’t the kind of people who work hard to keep America strong, I wouldn’t bother asking.

St. Louis Tea Party’s HQ is open Noon to 8 pm Monday-Friday and Noon to 3 Saturday.

See you there!

Tell Two People in West County About The After Party This Thursday at Sky Music Lounge

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A friend from Dallas just called me.  He said he met two conservatives from Ballwin who’d  love to be involved in movement conservatism . . . but don’t know how.

I was shocked. And a little embarrassed. How can someone in West County not know about St. Louis Tea Party Coalition and The After Party?  ‘

AfterPartyLogo_LG

Clearly, I’ve done something wrong.  I’m sorry.  But I can’t just throw my hands up and walk away.

We’re STILL fighing against Obamacare.  We’re STILL fighting against government growth.  We’re still fighting for a Constitutional Republic. We’re still fight FOR the American Ideal.  And we’re still the Tea Party, dammit!

So here’s the help I need from you. Bail me out.  Please. 

Don’t assume anyone knows anything.  Tell them to come to Sky Music Lounge on Kehrs Mill at Clayton Road in Ballwin, MO, this Thursday.  Arrive before 7:00 to get a great seat.

Bring strangers.  They don’t have to be Tea Partiers.  They don’t have to be registered voters.  They don’t have to be Republicans.  They just have to be open to the ideas of liberty, freedom, fiscal responsibility, and national defense.

We have a special badge for the first 100 people—commemorating 12 months of After Parties.

With Paul Ryan on the ticket, with the election 90 days away, with the conventions about take over TV and the news, with the USA dominating the medal count at the Olympics™, I’d be shocked if Sky Music Lounge wasn’t overflowing on Thursday.  Shocked and disappointed.  And embarrassed.

The next Tea Party After Party is this Thursday, August 16, at Sky Music Lounge in Ballwin.  Here’s the map.

Hey, Candy Crowley: Tea Party Groups Resemble the 13 Colonies, Not the Balkans

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Analogies say more about the speaker than about the subject.

Candy Crowley told KMOX Radio listeners on Friday that Tea Party groups resemble the Balkans without guns.

Wrong. Crappy analogy, Candy.  The diverse and autonomous, often quarrelsome, Tea Party groups remind me of the original 13 colonies.

The colonies were divided on just about every subject imaginable. The disagreed on slavery, on economics, on agraculture, manufacturing, cities, names — name it.  But they agreed one thing: they hated tyranny and loved liberty.

Our Tea Party groups don’t always get along with each.  We often disagree on tactics, on scope, on message.  Some want to do nothing but rally while others network and others clean up voter rolls.  We’re a mess.

Except for one thing:  WE ALL FRIGGIN’ HATE TYRANNY AND TYRANTS!!!  We LOVE LIBERTY!! And when we smell tyranny and tyrants, when tyrants attack our brothers in liberty, well, then, to quote Quentin Tarantino’s fictitious quote of Ezekiel 25: 17:

And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy My brothers. And you will know My name is the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon thee.

(You can just I hear Samuel L. Jackson, can’t you?)

Now, some background.

CNN’s Candy Crowley, a St. Louis native, talks politics on KMOX every Friday morning.  On May 4, 2012, she talked about the dust-up between Tea Party Express and several Missouri Tea Party organizations, including St. Louis Tea Party Coalition. Here’s what she was talking about.

The Tea Party Express planned to stop at the Victory Field House on Hwy 141 and I-44 in Fenton on Wednesday, May 2.  Ed Martin, Republican for Attorney General, and Cole McNary, Republican for State Treasurer, share the Field House as a grassroots HQ. Many GOP candidates have a presence there.

According to sources at the Field House, Tea Party Express planned to invite all Missouri candidates to the event.  The Field House made open access a condition, because TPE had already endorsed Sarah Steelman in the GOP primary for US Senate. My sources said they were assured that John Brunner and Todd Akin, Steelman’s opponents, would be invited.

As the event drew near, the Field House was unable to get hold of TPE.  Then TPE ran a series of ads on KMOX equating their visit to the Field House with Steelman.  That’s when Ed, Cole, and crew pulled the plug on the event and, instead, hosted a  little barbecue for volunteers.

I was late and had to stand in back. 🙂

Ed Martin addresses packed house at Victory Field House.

H/t to Craig Niehaus for the idea for this post.

Jason Plummer Steps In It

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When you’re the Republican Establishment’s candidate, you have one simple assignment: don’t screw up.

gop-elephant-deadJason Plummer, a 29-year-old lumber heir, is the GOP Establishment’s appointed candidate for US Congress in Illinois’ 12th Congressional District.  He’s facing a shockingly tough race from former police detective and former Belleville Mayor, Rodger Cook.  (Never underestimate a detective’s tenacity.)

In a debate last week, Plummer failed his one simple assignment.  Despite a nearly unlimited war chest from his family’s fortune and the Illinois GOP treasury, Plummer said something stupid.

Jason Plummer accused FamilyPAC of taking bribes. 

FamilyPAC is one of the most active conservative political action committees in Illinois. Republicans for every office look to the organization for its pro-life stamp of approval.

Plummer failed to impress FamilyPAC’s endorsement when he ran for Lieutenant Governor 2010. According to the stltoday.com, Paul Caprio, head of FamilyPAC, was unimpressed with Plummer:

“I had the feeling he was green, politically,” Caprio said. “. . . I just came to the conclusion that this young man is not ready to be running for lieutenant governor.”
Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/illinois/conservative-group-demands-apology-over-endorsements-for-cash-allegation/article_bdb4ca20-6d5c-11e1-995f-001a4bcf6878.html#ixzz1pHooDJWb

When Plummer failed to gain FamilyPAC’s nod, he went berserk according to Caprio:

“He was very irate. He was threatening, `I’m never going to forget this, I’m going to get back at you,’ ” said Caprio.

FamilyPAC appears poised to sue Jason Plummer for defamation, according to stltoday.com.

Plummer has also drawn criticism from grassroots groups for refusing to release his tax returns.  He is the only candidate who’s refused to do so.

Rodger Cook has already earned Adam Andrzejewski’s praise, in part because of Rodger’s transparency. By highlighting the Rodger Cook’s maturity and integrity, Plummer’s latest gaffe may bring on even more high-profile conservative endorsements for Cook.

RebootCongress.com has Rodger Cook’s reaction to Plummer’s latest gaffe.

The Illinois Primary is next Tuesday, March 20.  Rodger Cook and the other GOP candidates hope to replace long-time Democrate, Jerry Costello, who is retiring after this term.