It looks like Tammy Duckworth won the democratic primary and will be the candidate who runs this fall in the election to replace retiring Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R) in Illinois's 6th Congressional District.
She "won" with about 43% of the vote. She won, though she doesn't live in the district. She won, though most of the money for her campaign came from out of the district, with the help of Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Barack Obama.
In a Democracy, a winner of an election should get one vote more than 50% of the vote. It's easy to do. You just use Instant Run-off Voting (IRV.) Duckworth might still have won. Or maybe progressive candidate Christine Cegelis who got over 40% of the vote might have won, with the second choices of the voters who voted for "spoiler," Lindy Scott split between Duckworth and Cegelis.
I don't know enough about Tammy Duckworth to oppose or support her. I knew more about Christine Cegelis since she is one of a new breed of independent Democrat who has come through the cauldron of political awakening since the theft of the presidency in 2001.
It was an offensive outrage for Clinton, Kerry, Obama and other senate Democrat insiders to foist Duckworth on the 6th district, when they had a tough, strong campaigner in Cegelis. Now, the 6th will have a candidate who owes a lot to the party bosses. It stinks.
Worse, I have this nagging, probably paranoid idea that, just as Repubicans supported Ralph Nader, to help take away votes from Kerry, the spoiler candidate in this race received support and secret encouragement from the DNC and/or DSCC and/or the DCCC. It's easier to win an election when you have a third candidate who siphons off more votes from your opposition than from you.
It will be interesting to see how often this happens in Democratic primaries across the nation-- how many candidates win with a plurality due to a third candidate who pulls a much smaller percentage of the vote.
Whether my paranoia is justified or not, this outcome in Illinois suggests that the Democratic party should institute a policy that all democratic primary elections for national office should be instant runoff elections to insure that the winner gets a majority, not just a plurality of the votes.