The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

8 May 2005

First past the post

What do South Belfast and northeast Tulsa have in common? Michael Bates explains:

In Thursday's [UK] vote, unionist parties received 51.1% of the vote, while nationalist parties received 41.3% — the rest of the votes went to three minor parties which are neither unionist nor nationalist. Even though a majority of voters supported unionists, the winning candidate was a nationalist. Most of the nationalist votes went to the SDLP [Social Democratic and Labour Party] candidate, who took 32.3% of the vote, while the DUP [Democratic Unionist Party] and UUP [Ulster Unionist Party] candidates split the unionist vote almost down the middle — 28.4% and 22.7% respectively. If there were a runoff, the DUP candidate would almost certainly have won, but there isn't going to be a runoff — just a "winner" who had two-thirds of the voters against him.

And this relates to Tulsa how?

Tulsa's upcoming City Council special election — no primary, no runoff, no majority required — has the same flaw, only to a greater degree.

And in Bates' worst-case scenario, the two reform-minded candidates will wind up in a virtual tie for second place while a representative of Business As Usual waltzes into District 5 with a minority of the votes but enough to finish first.

In Oklahoma City, this is the sort of situation that produces a runoff, but not in Tulsa. I have to wonder if this isn't the sort of divide-and-conquer business that's kept the Tulsa power structure in power all along.

Posted at 8:18 AM to Soonerland