If more swing states joined Maine in passing RCV, Democrats would not have to fear insurgent candidates splitting the anti-Trump vote and re-electing the president with a plurality. RCV mirrors an instant runoff: if no one reaches 50% on the first ballot, weak candidates are eliminated, and their ballots go to second choices until a candidate earns a genuine majority.
There’s plenty here for Republicans to like as well. It’s possible that conservatives like the former Ohio governor John Kasich or the former Arizona senator Jeff Flake could decide that the GOP needs to be rebuilt and rebranded beyond Trump’s image. The former congressman Joe Walsh might get enough steam in the primaries that he would want to take his case against the president to the general election. With RCV, a frustrated Republican not eager to put the Democrats back in power would be able to register his or her discontent, then perhaps rank Trump second.
It’s a tossup on which party would have benefited from RCV in 2016. Trump won 101 electoral votes from six states where he won less than half the votes. Clinton won seven states and 51 electoral votes from such states, with her margin of victory smaller than the number of votes earned by the Libertarian nominee, Gary Johnson, and the former Republican Evan McMullin in six.