What we should expect at tonight's GOP debate
Many are speculating about what the candidates are going to say tonight during the first GOP presidential primary debate. Even though they don’t take the stage for several more hours, we already know how it’s going to play out. Our system of plurality-winner partisan primaries means that candidates only need to speak to about 1% of the whole electorate in order to win the nomination.
That means, as Unite America Executive Director Nick Troiano said to Yahoo!’s Jon Ward yesterday, we should “[e]xpect the primary debate to favor the bomb throwers and sideline the problem solvers.”
That, in a nutshell, is the Primary Problem in American politics today: An unrepresentative minority of the population picks the candidates for the rest of us. In 2016, ~1.3 million Republicans cast ballots in the all-important early states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. That’s a mere 1% of the 137 million Americans who voted in the November general election.
A better system is possible — one that ensures both nominees reflect the majority of the electorate, or at least a majority of voters within each party. Unite America co-chair and former Fortune 250 CEO Kent Thiry recently penned a piece in The Hill with a powerful solution: requiring instant runoffs (using ranked choice voting) for presidential primaries.