A Note from Todd Connor, CEO, Veterans for Political Innovation
The results are in and could not be clearer: getting thoughtful leaders elected, or re-elected, that represent the majority of their constituents does not require a cosmic intervention, hundreds of millions of dollars to back ‘moderates’ in primaries, a total re-envisioning of the polarized news environment, or tearing down the government or political parties as we understand them. It just requires different election systems that create better incentives for people to vote, run for office, and govern. It’s simply a system design problem, and each state has the authority to fix that if they choose to. Partisan primaries are the problem, and Final Five Voting is the answer.
“On Tuesday, two Republicans who voted to impeach or convict Donald Trump of impeachment, and faced challengers endorsed and promoted by Trump, were on the ballot. One lost by almost 40 points, while the other easily moved onto the November general election. The difference? One, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, had to run in a traditional party primary, while the other, Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, faced voters in the state’s new top four ranked voting system.” - Amy Walters, Jessica Taylor, and David Wasserman with the Cook Political Report
We started Veterans for Political Innovation because we became intellectually convicted – based on the research – that Final Five voting can shift the incentive structure for politicians to act like responsible leaders, govern to get things done, and represent the broader interests of their constituents. It’s the answer, in our view, to polarization and the crippling dysfunction of the two-party system and politicians running to receive the embrace of the most extreme voters in closed partisan primaries.
The evidence is overwhelming about how partisan primaries have become the primary problem in this country. ‘Being primaried’ is the existential threat amongst incumbents that has them do things and say things that, in private, they’ll often confess they’re only doing because they don’t want to get challenged by their own party in a primary election in which only a small fraction of voters participates. And if there is a frustration that my co-founders and our state leaders hold, it’s that too many people think that fighting polarization, removing extremists and upholding democracy is an unsolvable problem. Or worse yet, as we also often hear, “this is just the way it is.” Neither of those things is true. Reasonable people are waking up to the possibility of election reform and ranked choice voting in elections. The people who have figured out how to weaponize our politics for their own gain are getting nervous. I’m asking you to become an evangelist for Final Five Voting with us.
Doug Goodman, Army veteran and our leader in Nevada, where voters will get to vote for Question 3 in November, said it best in his Op-Ed in the Reno Gazette Journal: “Critics want you to think this is confusing. If you believe making choices, something you do several times every day is confusing, then they are right. However, I believe none of us find making first, second and third choices of what to wear or where to go for dinner difficult. Neither do the millions of voters in more than 50 cities, counties and eight states who vote by ranking candidates in some form. Approximately 80% of voters find the process easy and preferable to our current process.
If the process was confusing, political parties would not use ranked choice voting for internal decision-making. Hundreds of businesses would not use it for planning business strategies. Elected officials would not use it to poll constituents. The Oscars would not use it to select the best motion picture winner. And the Nevada Democratic Party would not have used it for those who voted early in their 2020 presidential caucus.”
There is a solution to fixing our politics: eliminate partisan primaries, open up competition, and let voters rank their choices. It doesn’t benefit Republicans or Democrats, but it definitely disadvantages fringe candidates on both sides who do not have broad appeal to the general election population. It gives independent voters, the fastest voter block in this country, a voice. Please read about the good things happening for this movement across the country. If you’re also convicted, please consider donating and joining us in this fight. Thank you to all of the volunteers across the country who have committed to serve again through Veterans for Political Innovation. Get involved with us and join our movement: we’re looking for military-connected leaders who want to fix our politics. This our generational assignment – sign up here. We hope you enjoy our August update!
Todd Connor - CEO
Educating Wisconsinites on the benefits of political innovations
Marine Corps veteran and VPI volunteer Josh Wilson and his wife, Amber Wilson, attended the Pierce County Fair to discuss Final Vote Voting and how it will improve politics in Wisconsin. Josh used different Starburst flavors to show attendees how Ranked Choice Voting helps amplify voter preferences at the polls.
New York may be ready to make closed primaries a thing of the past
Kudos to Glomani Bravo-Lopez, a Marine Corps veteran and VPI volunteer in New York, for helping amplify veteran voices as New Yorkers consider political innovations (Imagine truly democratic primaries - NY Daily News, 8/15/202).
For those in NYC, check out Open Vote NYC - an effort to take the partisanship out of primary elections.
Nevada progress continues
Check out Doug Goodman’s op-ed in the Reno Gazette Journal. Here's one of our favorite quotes from Doug:
“Critics want you to think this is confusing. If you believe making choices, something you do several times every day is confusing, then they are right. However, I believe none of us find making first, second, and third choices of what to wear or where to go for dinner difficult. Neither do the millions of voters in more than 50 cities, counties and eight states who vote by ranking candidates in some form. Approximately 80% of voters find the process easy and preferable to our current process."
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Country First is the organization and movement founded by supporters of Congressman Adam Kinzinger. They are focusing their efforts on: recruiting and training “country first” candidates, repairing and restoring democracy through election reforms and mending political divisions in our country.
On August 9th, Veterans for Political Innovation CEO Todd Connor participated in a panel at the Country First Summit in Bluffton, South Carolina. The topic was “Unrigging the System Through Political Innovation.”
There were a number of political reform skeptics in the room who claimed the solution to our political crisis is to “elect more moderates.” Todd made a very strong case for why structural reforms (such as nonpartisan primaries) that reshape the political battlefield should be prioritized over candidate-centered strategies.
Why are we doing this work? Here's one way to answer:
"So far only 6.6% of all eligible voters have cast ballots in primaries that effectively decided 70.3% of Congress."
Follow along as they keep tracking.