Left May Split Vermont Senate Vote
Former Gov. Howard Dean, now the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said Tuesday night he is hoping that U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders can help persuade potential Progressive Party candidates to stay out of next yearÃ¢€™s races for the U.S. House and lieutenant governor. Ã¢€œWe all recognize that Bernie does not have the power to tell anybody who can and cannot run for office,Ã¢€ said Dean. Ã¢€œBut if we are going to work together, we should work together across the board.Ã¢€
DeanÃ¢€™s comments came in a telephone interview in which the former governor made it clear he has not yet endorsed SandersÃ¢€™ bid for the U.S. Senate. Ã¢€œBernie is going to be an extremely strong candidate, but I think it is a little premature for me to endorse him right this minute,Ã¢€ said Dean.
Dean and some state Democrats believe that if the Democrats agree not to run a big-name candidate for the U.S. Senate – and thus avoid splitting the vote with Sanders – that the Progressives – a party that Sanders helped to form but is not a member of – should stay out of some of the other races.
Fascinating. Such is the way with third parties in a first-past-the-post system: it guarantees a split in votes. Since a plurality is sufficient to win, it’s not inconceivable that a Republican candidate who would be the third choice of most Vermont votes could take the seat.
Imagine the following hypothetical outcome:
Republican – 33%
Progressive – 32%
Democrat – 30%
Libertarian – 5%
Even though the parties of the Left would have garnered 62% of the vote and the parties of the Right only 38% (and that’s assigning all of the Libertarian votes to the “Right,” a rather dubious call), the Republican candidate would take the seat.
Story via McQ