Perhaps this is the wrong place to offer some friendly advice to Tea Party Republicans, but I am a strong believer in democracy as a value. Just as I think conservatives should support making fair voting laws, even if it seems to hurt their cause, so, too, will I suggest that it is in the best interests of Tea Partiers to support instant run-off voting.
TPers seemed to be among those on the right who held their nose and voted for Romney because he was not Obama, while wishing they had a more principled candidate who was a better fit for their values. IRV is more likely to deliver what they want. If IRV had been used to determine the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney may not have been the GOP standard-bearer.
Here are some reasons why instant run-off voting would help the Tea Party.
IRV tends to favor extremists over centrists and to favor candidates with strong rather than weak intensity of support. The Tea Party is on the right-wing extreme of American politics and has very passionate supporters. When America chooses to go in a more conservative direction, IRV will make that choice more likely to be a truly severe conservative rather a center-right moderate. Compromise candidates who no one deeply loves will be weeded out early and the election will often end up as a contest between a true conservative and a true liberal (because hard left candidates will be favored over center-left moderates on the other side).
IRV is the sort of electoral reform that will raise the esteem of the Tea Party among those voters who believe that the two-party system is broken. IRV gives supporters of third parties a chance to feel that they are not outsiders to our political process.
If you are concerned about spoiler candidates, including allegations of fake Tea Party candidates funded by the left to divide Republican voters, IRV prevents that effect. Voters have an opportunity to cast a vote for third-party candidates as a form of protest without feeling that they are wasting their vote or casting a de facto for the major party candidate they loathe the most.
This is something that disaffected members of both parties, as well as independents outside the two parties, can push for in order to have a greater voice against out-of-touch party establishments and the Washington insiders who support them. I invite those who embrace the Tea Party label to channel whatever disappointment they may feel about the recent election and join the ranks of those who support this electoral reform.