In the North Country, where Babe the Blue Ox performed his wonders, logrolling was a respected occupation. In the fictional land called the United States of America people fear preferential voting because it can give rise to a severe case of logrolling. But I say, as I have said on other occasions, “What care I about antediluvian notions of propriety?” I say logrolling is good and preferential rank ordering is even better.
The way to minimize the threat of bad political logrolling is to take those preferential ballots seriously. A roll of the political log is very easy and quite dangerous where there are ten or fewer candidates, but why have such a preposterous limit? Let all the would-bes, could-bes and should-bes take part. If that seems cumbersome, then let us have preliminary nominations and cull the herd of prospective Leaders of the Free World down to a manageable number. Let’s say one million candidates. That’s not too many for good parchment paper. With only one million candidates to rank, the job can be done in a few days. Two months, at the most. The voters can be advised as follows: “From these million candidates, select your ten thousand favorites and rank them from 1 to 10,000.” Who is not up to that?
The results might be surprising. Very likely, the man from Bain would get only about 500 votes for 10th best candidate but he would get two million votes as the 450,000th best candidate, and that ain’t too shabby. I think the law professor from Chicago would do better but so would 110,000 other candidates. We would winnow the field down to a practical 100,000 after round one and by the time we got to round 20, we might be left with one thousand serious contenders. Don’t be surprised if, at that point, some unknown assistant political science professor at Winsocki U. is in the lead. The ultimate winner must have at least 10% of all the first place preference rankings. 30% of the bleary-eyed voters must have him in the the top 100. If this has not been attained at this point, let the serious logrolling begin.
We are, I think, now talking at this point, serious politics. Even Sidney Gendin may be bribed into posting his rank ordering. Of course, all known systems involve a degree of subjectivity. The only intelligent way around that is to appoint me to the post of Leader Of The Free World for the rest of my life. Some people might object. What care we about antediluvian notions of propriety?