In a promotional tweet for an article he published in early September on RIPR, Ian Donnis highlights the unseating of Rhode Island House Majority Leader John DeSimone as “evidence that elections in RI are not rigged.” But I’m not so sure the evidence supports the claim. Consider:
In a strong display of anti-incumbent sentiment, one-third of the 18 incumbent state lawmakers facing primary challengers went down to defeat. …
With 100 percent of the vote in, according to unofficial results, Ranglin-Vassell got 50.6 percent of the vote (677 votes), compared with 49.4 percent (660 votes) for DeSimone. That count includes mail ballots. …
Six of the 18 General Assembly incumbents facing primary challenges were defeated, reflecting anti-incumbent sentiment among voters.
So only about one-quarter of incumbents even had challengers. Six new faces in the General Assembly would represent turnover of 8%. And the highlighted case, here, involved a slim majority win for the challenger of 17 votes. About the best one can say about these results is that they prove Rhode Island’s electoral system is not perfectly rigged.
I’d go further, though. Ranglin-Vassell is a member of arguably the most powerful insider group in the state: teachers unions. Moreover, she and her five fellow victorious challengers won by peddling progressives list of vote-buying schemes like an unsustainable minimum wage and more paid days off from work. In other words, one big-government Democrat defeated another, effecting maybe a slight change in who gets the money they all rob from taxpayers and how they steal it.
That seems pretty rigged to me.