Minor Party Presidential Candidacies Spark Talk of "Spoilers" -- and Solutions to the "Spoiler"
In a New York Times commentary on July 5, 2000, CVD president John B. Anderson reflected on lessons from his 1980 independent presidential candidacy candidacy and touted the idea of instant runoff voting as a means to banish the concept of "spoilers" from our politics. John Strawn, a long-time member of CVD, wrote a very good letter in the Washington Post that also touts "IRV."
The media and political observers currently are focusing on Green Party candidate Ralph Nader's potential impact on the presidential race, with particular attention focused on how his candidacy could "take" votes away from Democrat Al Gore in some key states such as California. But there soon will be more attention focused on likely Reform Party nominee Pat Buchanan's impact on George Bush in some states.
Instant runoff voting would reverse all calculations of "spoiling" -- candidates like Buchanan and Nader in fact might help the presidential candidate closest to them in views, as Buchanan and Nader could generate higher turnout among voters who then might rank a major party candidate second. Note that for a better description of the system than permitted in these short commentaries, see the instant runoff voting
- Strawn letter
- Anderson op-ed