Monday, April 30

runoff politics

Another fun thing to do here in Texas is to play the Runoff Politics Game when voting in an election. The goal of the game is to select a weak opponent for the person you really want to win the (final) election. Texas doesn't require us to designate a party affiliation, so this makes it much easier to cross party lines and effectively gerrymander an election without rigging district boundaries.

Here's how to play (the rules are simple enough that even products of the Texas Education System can participate):

1- Consider the final race, not the current one.

2- Choose the candidate least likely to win against your desired winner of the general election (it helps if this is a partisan race, but is not required.

3- Make sure that General Election Loser is well funded enough (or well organized enough) to place 2nd, so that he'll make the cut for the runoff but stand almost no chance against the desired winner.

This is how the Republics win most races here. In the first election they cross party lines and vote for a weak challenger to their desired election winner. The only trick is to not overdo it, since you still want your candidate in "the finals".

An example is the 2007 race for Dallas Mayor (mostly a figurehead position, since the mayor here has the same vote -- 1 of 15 -- as any City Council member). There are ten candidates. The chance of any of them getting 50% of the vote in the upcoming (May 12) election is zero .. simply because none of them have broken away from the pack (an apropos metaphor, given Saturday's Kentucky Derby). Mathematically, it's possible they could each receive 10% of the vote, but odds are that the Dallas Southern Sector (mostly black) will support the only serious black candidate (who happens to be under an FBI Cloud Of Suspicion, but that's another rat hole). I fully expect those precincts to have high turnout because the (underlying?) City Council seats there have attracted many candidates and voter interest is high. The rest of the city will split their vote among the top 3 White Christian Republicans and one of them will run in the June 16th runoff election.

So, that's how I'll cast my vote: for the candidate who will provide the weaker opponent for the winner of the upcoming May 12 vote. Golly, this is such good sport. Speaking of good sports .. the Dallas Stars lost in the first round of the hockey playoffs, and the Dallas Mavericks are now poised to do likewise in the basketball playoffs. Like anyone really cares.

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