John Rensenbrink: How liberals and progressives in all parties can save our state

John Rensenbrink: How liberals and progressives in all parties can save our state

A repeat political disaster awaits our state on Nov. 6.

Once again we face the consequences of a flawed voting system. The race for governor will again be dogged by the spoiler card. With four people running, this means that liberal and progressive voters in all parties will split their votes among Democratic candidate Janet Mills, and two independents, Alan Caron and Terry Hayes, both of whom are progressives. This gives clear sailing to Shawn Moody, a Republican who touts the dead-end politics of Gov. Paul LePage. This also means that with four people running, the winner in all probability will not be able to govern with a majority of the people behind him or her.

So we liberals, progressives and non-LePage conservatives lose again even though we are in the majority. How long are we going to put up with this? Or do we just sigh, call it fate, and endure the ever-worsening status quo?

But there is a way forward. I especially urge the many liberal, progressive, and non-LePage conservative candidates for the state House and Senate to give dedicated priority in their campaigns to Ranked Choice Voting. Make it a major issue.

First, I urge them to declare their own strong support for RCV.

Second, I urge them to promise, when elected, to fight for the constitutional amendment to have the elections for Governor and State Legislature be governed by the provisions of RCV — just as the races for federal offices (U.S. Senate and House) are already so governed, starting this year.

Third, I urge them to assure their constituents that they hear and heed the establishment of RCV by a solid majority of the people of Maine in two referenda: the general election in November, 2016 and the primary election this past June.

True enough, these actions do not yet correct this year’s races for governor and state Legislature on Nov. 6. But they are a strong start for getting our legislature to pass a constitutional amendment for RCV next year to cover the races for governor and state legislature from now on.

There is also this: I know it’s asking a lot, but it would be widely and deeply appreciated if Alan Caron and Terry Hayes were to step aside and encourage voters to vote for Janet Mills, thus enabling her to win. Alan Caron has already hinted that he may do so if the polls reveal a very close race between Mills and Moody. If they do, they would and should be honored as saviors of the public good. We live in unprecedented times. We can, and must, pull together.

We in the Maine Green Independent Party are not running a candidate for governor this year, freeing us to vote for a candidate to our liking. The MGIP has not as yet taken an official position on the gubernatorial race, and I am speaking only for myself at this point. We are deeply concerned to bring to an end the very harmful policies of the present governor and Shawn Moody’s commitment to continue them.

John Rensenbrink is a Maine Green Independent Party and U.S. Green Party co-founder and adviser. He lives in Topsham.