There's still discussion over the new Oakland Ranked-Choice Voting (RCV) system, with the latest article suggesting that a number of voters didn't understand it. Well, that's wrong headed and an insult to Oakland Mayor Jean Quan that's starting to sound like that high-pitched whine journalists make over the sale of The Huffington Post to AOL. Look, the November election's over and Quan won.
Moreover, Jean Quan won because a healthy number of voters did understand RCV - enough to product an incredible outcome.
In our election recap, Oakland City Attorney John Russo actually explained how Quan could win over Don Perata, who scored about 35 percent of the first-choice votes, before she won, then said that the possibility of Quan getting three-quarters of the second-place and third-place votes was so remote, it wouldn't happen. See this video:
But guess what? It did happen. Russo actually called it. Moreover, it means, once again, that Quan and Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan's gamespersonship worked. That's right. They smartly gamed the RCV system in telling their supporters to vote for the other person's candidate. Nice work.
And before you get upset over my use of that term gamespersonship, which was deliberate, calm down and consider the reverse. Don Perata didn't play the game. He failed to use a campaign strategy of working a deal to make sure even his supporters knew who to pick for second and third choice. Think of what may have happened if none of his supporters picked Quan as their second choice?
Now you see the point.
Even if all voters understood RCV, it would not have translated into a different outcome. The playing field was open to anyone willing to apply a little game theory and marketing. That's what Quan and Kaplan did.
Now Quan's the Mayor of Oakland. Get over it, please. We have too many problems and still not enough jobs for Oakland residents. We need more than a new retail store; we need a manufacturing plant. Our focus should be on Oakland's economic development, and not on ranked choice voting.
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