Palin can't win, that's why she lost

Former governor, former vice presidential candidate and perpetual self-promoter Sarah Palin now believes the old ways are the best ways when it comes to elections. She was the first Alaskan to sign a petition last week to put a repeal of ranked-choice voting on the ballot.

After losing her bid to serve in the U.S. House, Palin is attacking the election process rather than just admitting she isn’t that good of a candidate. It’s like a hockey player who can’t skate, blaming the ice for being too slippery.

“Ranked choice voting is the weirdest, most convoluted and most complicated voter suppression tool that Alaskans could have come up with. And the point is, we didn’t come up with this. We were sold a bill of goods,” Palin told a group gathered at an Anchorage church last week. Even though voters in 2020 approved the switch to ranked-choice voting, Palin figures Alaskans were unduly influenced by an expensive campaign funded by Outside money. She is right, there is too much money in politics, but wrong to believe another expensive campaign to overturn voting reform is the solution.

The answer to good elections is better candidates who appeal to a wide range of voters, not marginal candidates who can only win in a crowded field where no one needs to get 50% support.

Despite all her campaigning over the past six months, despite all her claims and pep rallies and Trump’s endorsement, her degrading comments about her Republican opponent, her attacks on President Joe Biden and anyone else she thought would get her a headline, Palin just didn’t get enough votes to win anything. Fact is, she received a lower percentage of votes (26%) in the Nov. 8 general election for U.S. House than she did in the August special election (31%) to fill the remaining five months of the late Don Young’s term.

Palin didn’t lose because of ranked-choice voting; she lost because three-quarters of Alaskans voted for someone else. She lost because her support declined between August and November. She lost because her campaign was nothing more than a string of personal attacks and simplistic explanations of complex problems.

She lost because tens of thousands of Alaska voters have turned against her in the 16 years since she won election as governor with 48% of the vote — almost twice the percentage she received in the Nov. 8 U.S. House election.

Advocates who want to toss out ranked-choice voting would need to collect more than 40,000 signatures from registered voters to put the question on a statewide ballot. That would be about as many votes as Palin received in the June special primary election for the U.S. House — the first of the three elections she lost this year.

Rather than lose a fourth time, it’d be smarter for Palin to drop her bid to overturn ranked-choice voting. Alaskans approved it in 2020; they used it this year and polling indicates most are happy with it; and other than a couple of sore losers, candidates seem to have accepted it as the way of future elections.

The best candidates who appeal to the most voters win under ranked-choice elections. That wasn’t Palin, and that’s her fault, not that of the election process.

 

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