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Sen. Tom Cotton Is Big Mad, Blames Ranked-Choice Voting for Sarah Palin's Loss

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | September 1, 2022 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | September 1, 2022 |


Last night, a Democrat won yet another special election for a House seat. Mary Peltola, the first Alaskan native to ever be elected to Congress, defeated Republican Sarah Palin and Nick Begich. It was another big win for Democrats, although all three candidates will have to go through the process again in November to gain a full two-year term.

The wild card here is ranked-choice voting, and this is what Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton is big mad about.

Let’s interrogate Tom Cotton’s complaint. I live in a state that also does ranked-choice voting, and every great once in a while — in a city race with multiple candidates — it’s resulted in a hinky outcome (once, exactly, to my recollection). Ranked-choice voting is also designed to make it more difficult for extreme candidates to win (here in the blue state of Maine, Republican mini-TFG Paul LePage won two terms as governor because the Democrat and Independent split the vote).

Alaska voted for ranked-choice voting in 2020, and if the goal is to prevent an extreme candidate from winning, it did exactly that. However, in this case, Mary Peltola would’ve won in a traditional voting system, as well, because the Republicans split their votes in the first round.

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It is true that Republicans won 60 percent of the vote in the first round, but that doesn’t mean that Peltola would have lost in a head-to-head in a run-off with Sarah Palin. Why? Because more of those Nick Begich voters preferred Peltola to Palin. More ranked Peltola second, and Palin third, and those who ranked Peltola second would probably have voted for Peltola over Palin anyway.

Alaska, of course, is notoriously independent; Lisa Murkowski won her Senate seat six years ago as an independent after losing in the Republican primary. Ranked-choice voting basically honors Alaska’s independent streak and allows candidates popular with both parties a better opportunity to win. It also encourages third parties to run and allows citizens to vote for third-party candidates without fear of spoiling a race.

Tom Cotton’s argument is bullsh*t.

But even if Cotton were right — and he’s not — about ranked-choice voting disenfranchising voters, then how does he square that with the Electoral College? Republicans have won the popular vote exactly once since 1992 and yet control the Supreme Court. Explain that one, Tommy? Why did TFG get to appoint three Supreme Court justices even though he lost to Hillary Clinton by 2.6 million votes?

This is the problem with extreme-Trump candidates in Purple and/or states with independent streaks. They may have a stranglehold on the Republican party, but independents are often more likely to vote against them, too.

Also, I just don’t understand how weenies like Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley, and Ted Cruz continue to win in red states like Arkansas, Texas, and Missouri. It’s like choosing Wes Bentley’s Jamie Dutton over Kevin Costner’s John Dutton for Governor in Montana. Why do you keep choosing these blue-blooded Ivy league assholes while calling Democrats elitists? Make it make sense!