Richard Rider: IRV Would Have Given Trump a Majority
Past Libertarian Party gubernatorial candidate, Richard Rider, looks back at the election and compares the results versus how it might have worked had we had Instant Runoff Voting, also known as Ranked Choice Voting. For those unfamiliar with IRV, it's where you vote by ranking candidates in order of preference. It's used in some Bay Area cities for municipal elections. Rider thinks, had we used IRV in the recent presidential election, Donald Trump would have won a majority of the vote rather than a plurality:
"Looking at the votes for the Libertarian and Green candidates (the LP candidate got over double the Green/Socialist candidate's vote), it's apparent that under ranked voting, Trump would have won with a majority of the votes, as he would have been a more likely second choice than Hillary."
I'm somewhat surprised at that idea, thinking at first it must be another libertarian fantasy dream of the power of the libertarian vote. It actually doesn't have anything to do with that. As he points out, it has more to do with who would have been most people's second choice, and he may be right.
I've often said (mostly in libertarian circles) that Republicans would generally choose a Democrat over a Libertarian if they had to make that choice. I suspect the reverse might be true with Democrats, most of them wanting to vote as close as possible to maintaining the status quo.
In normal elections I'd say that's the way it would work, but this time we had two candidates who were generally very strongly disliked- Trump and Clinton. Whether so many Democrats would make Trump their second choice despite their hatred for him, I'm not sure. If the situation were reversed, and we'd used IRV, would most Republicans had chosen the highly disliked Clinton over the LP candidate? I have no idea.