After well over a year campaigning and an estimated $6 billion spent (including by SuperPacs), we ended up with the same president and roughly the same Democratic-controlled Senate and GOP-controlled House. The status-quo prevailed, ultimately, so it looks like we can look forward to two more years of stalemate.
A lot of people are wondering what happened in District 5. The story is pretty straightforward. The supporters of the three progressive candidates failed to support each other, and so the progressive vote split allowing London Breed to win.
I am happy to report that we were able to beat back the attacks on Ranked Choice Voting in both San Francisco and Oakland. These were very serious and well-coordinated attacks by conservative forces.
This new consensus seeks to elevate growth and job creation to equal status with fiscal consolidation/austerity, and so in that sense truly represents a new wind of change blowing across Europe.
The ultimate irony is that Sean Elsbernd himself is the poster child for what’s wrong with the old December runoffs and what’s right with RCV. Look at the results above for District 7: Supervisor Elsbernd won in 2004 in an “instant” runoff race with nearly 50% more votes than his predecessor Tony Hall had in 2000 in a delayed December runoff, 13,834 votes versus 9333 (in comparable turnout years). And Elsbernd had 43.7% of the “whole contest” vote total compared to 30.9% for Hall. No matter how you want to count it, more District 7 voters were able to have a say in who their supervisor is because Sup. Elsbernd was elected with ranked choice voting in a much higher turnout November election.
To understand the effectiveness of RCV, it is helpful to compare how this extraordinary race in District 10 would have unfolded using other electoral systems, specifically a plurality (“highest vote-getter wins”) system or San Francisco’s previous two round (November-December) runoff cycle.
By Steven Hill Editor’s note: The following article has been excerpted from Mr. Hill’s forthcoming book: Europe’s Promise: Why the European Way is the Best Hope in an Insecure Age (University of California Press), which…