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Communists Cheer Ranked-Choice Voting As A Weapon For Defeating Conservatives

Activists with the Communist Party USA endorsed using ranked-choice voting to elect more communist candidates to office.


If discarded ballots, inaccurate election results, and election outcomes that contradict the wishes of voters aren’t enough to make you distrust ranked-choice voting (RCV), then maybe an endorsement from members of America’s communist party will.

On Sunday, Drew Bradley and Ryan Krueger, two members of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA), penned an op-ed calling on the party to consider “ranked choice voting as part of the broad democratic struggle and an aspect of building a stronger Popular Front.” Under RCV, which critics often refer to as “rigged-choice voting,” voters rank candidates in order of preference. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of first-choice votes in the first round of voting, the last-place finisher is eliminated, and his votes are reallocated to the voter’s second-choice candidate. This process continues until one candidate receives a majority of votes.

Alaska, Maine, and various U.S. municipalities have adopted the system for their elections in recent years.

Bradley and Krueger used their article to note the “resurgence in interest for ranked choice voting,” which they claimed “has emerged as contradictions within capitalism have created the need for political parties outside the liberal/conservative dynamic.” The two further lamented how this “dynamic” has prevented “working class mass organizations [from having] the option of electing candidates outside of the two capitalist parties” and opined that RCV can be used to “back candidates that fully reflect their goals in the electoral arena.”

In other words, they support adopting RCV because they view it as the best tool to get CPUSA candidates elected to office. They suggested using the system will help them to “wrest political power from the billionaire finance capitalists.”

The communist authors also admitted that — even if their candidates don’t end up winning elections using RCV — the system can be used to thwart so-called “far-right” candidates (aka conservatives) to benefit Democrats in any given race.

“If our hypothetical anti-monopoly party ran in a race against a Democrat and Republican and did not garner a winning number of votes, our votes would simply be allocated to another non-fascist candidate,” they wrote. “Ranked choice voting will allow us to strengthen the anti-monopoly struggle without compromising the critical task of defeating the far-right in the electoral arena.”

Sure enough, in states where it’s used, RCV boosts Democrats’ electoral prospects. In Alaska, for example, Democrat Mary Peltola won the state’s at-large congressional seat in a 2022 special election even though “nearly 60 percent of voters [cast] their ballots for a Republican.” A similar scenario also played out in the 2018 race for Maine’s 2nd Congressional District, in which then-incumbent GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin lost to Democrat Jared Golden despite Poliquin winning the most votes in the first round of voting.

RCV has also worked to the advantage of establishment Republicans seeking to box out more conservative candidates. The system is largely responsible for helping Alaska GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski win reelection during the 2022 midterms.

An October study by the Foundation for Government Accountability found that RCV’s biggest backers are often Democrats. According to the analysis, of the 74 pro-RCV bills introduced in state legislatures last year, 57 “had only Democrat sponsors.” Meanwhile, “just eight percent of the total bills received bipartisan support,” with Republicans introducing 16 of the 17 bills opposing ranked-choice voting.

Speaking with The Federalist, Ken Cuccinelli, the national chairman of the Election Transparency Initiative, said it’s “no surprise that U.S. communists would view ranked-choice voting as a vehicle to help advance their interests and candidates,” and called on states to prevent the system from corrupting their elections.

“We already know that anti-election integrity megadonors are financing a nationwide campaign to promote the disastrous scheme intended to dramatically push our politics to the left, to elevate left-leaning politicians, and to weaken political parties to their benefit,” Cuccinelli said. “If state legislators don’t want the communists to win, ranked-choice voting should always be banned. It’s really a no-brainer.”

Alabama joined Oklahoma and Kentucky earlier this month in prohibiting the use of RCV in their elections. Other states to outlaw the system in years prior include Florida, Idaho, Tennessee, Montana, and South Dakota.

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