I’m a board member of an educational nonprofit. The commentary by J. Scott Thomson reminded me of a discussion we had regarding changing systems to address issues of racism [“I scrapped my N.J. city’s whole police force, and it worked,” June 21, Opinion]. We discussed how the systems that reinforce racism are first and foremost human systems. We cannot just make technical changes, only altering policies and processes. We have to change the beliefs and attitudes of the people who create and carry out those policies and processes.
One way to affect this in our political system, which impacts all other social systems, is through ranked-choice voting (RCV). With RCV, voters rank the candidates in order of preference, so if their first choice doesn’t win, their vote still matters. Candidates will reach out beyond their base to earn that second-choice vote. This encourages candidates to be less polarizing and divisive, and, when elected, they will work with others who have different opinions.
Instead of gridlock, we can get back to where humans in the system work together to solve problems rather than reflexively rejecting ideas from others because they are not in our party. By getting the right people in the system, we can change the system to the benefit of all.
Hugh Flint, Buckley