There are 10 Democrats running for president at the present time and another 15 are seriously considering it.

The way Adam Friedman sees it, with that many contestants in the field, it will be mathematically possible for one of them to win a primary with only 5 to 6 percent of the vote, but more probable to win with only 10 to 20 percent.

In other words, candidates will be winning state primaries and getting delegates for the party nomination when 80 percent of Democratic voters didn’t want them.

That is one of the reasons Friedman is leading a drive to get ranked choice voting adopted in Massachusetts.

Maine already has the unique system and other states are considering it.

Ranked choice voting means voters rank candidates by their second to last preference in addition to voting for their favorite.

If no candidate gets 50 percent of the vote, the last place candidate is eliminated and his or her votes go to the candidates selected as the second choice. The process keeps going until someone has a majority.

Friedman said the extremely crowded primary helps make his case for ranked choice voting. Otherwise, someone could win with say 30 percent of the vote and that is undemocratic, he said.

It also relieves the pressure on voters to make a selection between the lesser of evils.

Often voters are told they are wasting their votes and playing the part of a spoiler if they vote for someone with no chance of winning rather than an acceptable, but less desirable, second choice.

Friedman said many Republicans wanted a more moderate candidate than Donald Trump in 2016, but the crowded field meant the anti-Trump votes were split many ways among other candidates.

The late George H.W. Bush might have beaten Bill Clinton in 1992 if ranked choice voting was in place because independent Ross Perot drew votes away from Bush.

A candidate with less than a majority could win in 2020 if a third-party candidates runs, he said.

Friedman said 82 Massachusetts legislators support ranked choice voting and he is hoping it can become the law in the state before the March 2020 presidential primary here.

State Sen. Paul Feeney, D-Foxboro, is among those who back it, saying it would make the system more democratic.

“Ranked choice voting would ensure that candidates that better reflect the majority of voters are elected,” he said.

“Our country is polarized and little gets accomplished because of it. Ranked choice would encourage coalition building, compromise and respect while ultimately empowering working class voters.”

Elsewhere in politics:

  • Former GOP state Rep. Dan Winslow of Norfolk was always a bit of a maverick, but it was a little surprising to see him tweet his support of former Gov. Bill Weld, who on Thursday announced his Republican primary challenge to President Trump.
  • Supporters of public schools were dealt a setback by new state Senate President Karen Spilka when she took the Education Committee chair away from Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, the top advocate for more state funding for schools.

Jim Hand may be reached at 508-236-0399 or jhand@thesunchronicle.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @TSCpolitics.

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