Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Reason For Brian Schatz

I was initially perplexed when Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie nominated Lt. Gov Brian Schatz to fill Daniel Inouye's Senate seat, but after talking to some Hawaiians it seems to be a reasonable move. The other major option was Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who was Inouye's choice. If Abercrombie had appointed her, though, there would've been a special election to fill her House seat. Until then, the seat would've been open, leaving House Democrats below full strength for important votes early in the next session, most likely including the fiscal cliff.

Also, there's some possibility that a Republican would've won the special election, since those special elections don't have primaries in Hawaii. In 2010, Neil Abercrombie vacated his House seat to become Governor. Republican Charles Djou then won a three-way race against Democrats Colleen Hanabusa and Ed Case. The vote total was 39.4-30.8-27.6.  It's a perfect illustration of why two-party systems make sense. Nearly 60% of Hawaiian voters wanted a Democrat, but they were split evenly between two candidates, so the Democratic majority didn't get its way and a unified Republican minority won.

If Hanabusa wants to be in the Senate, though, she'll have an opportunity to run in 2014. I imagine that she'll be a formidable candidate, especially with Inouye's blessing upon her. 


Anonymous said...

Minor quibble: That three-way-split result doesn't show why two-party systems make sense. It shows why you guys need to use a voting system that wasn't designed by morons.

Anonymous said...

Gotta agree with Edmund here. It shows why we need a runoff of some sort built into the system when nobody gets 50%, not why we need a two-party system.

And yes, our voting system acts as if it was designed by morons. A system where we're effectively stuck in perpetuity with the two parties we've got is, IMHO, one of the root causes of the dysfunction of our political system. And it's the absence of a runoff that makes third parties self-defeating.

Neil Sinhababu said...

If you use the primaries properly, it's actually a perfectly good system! Unfortunately, the Republicans go overboard with primarying their moderates, and Democrats don't even seem to know that they can do it.