Fredreka Schouten of CNN interviews Rick Pildes. Here’s a highlight:
RCV … encourages the election of candidates with the broadest electoral appeal. It also makes it likely that candidates who win will have the support of a majority of voters. A factional candidate might get 30% of the vote, but if that candidate doesn’t attract wider support, they won’t succeed in an RCV system. The system encourages candidates to reach out to voters who might not prefer that candidate as their first choice, but whom the candidate still wants to persuade to rank them second or third. In that way, it also encourages less hostile forms of campaigning. I do not want to brutally tear down an opposing candidate, because I want their supporters still to think well enough of me to rank me second or third.
RCV also reduces the risk of spoiler candidates and so does not force voters into artificial choices. Suppose a moderate and a progressive (or staunch conservative) are running. I might prefer the progressive, but worry about whether that candidate is electable, and I have to decide whether to vote my sincere preference or vote for the more electable candidate. But with RCV, I can rank the progressive first and if they do not have enough votes, my vote will transfer to the moderate candidate….
There has definitely been an upsurge in adoptions of RCV even in the last few years. I think that’s a reflection of frustrations with how polarized our politics and choices have become. Whether it continues to spread elsewhere will probably be a function of how it’s perceived to go in high-profile races and places, such as in Alaska or Maine.