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Dragotta & Pudner Agree on 90%; Though Not Final Five

Updated: Feb 26

Blaze orange-clad hunters at the Shooting Sportsmen-endorsed Milford Mills Hunting Lodge chatted in the lead-up to one of the most sought-after monthly presentations statewide – the 5 Riders event. Next week, it will feature a Hillsdale College presentation on the Constitution, and last month, it featured a moving presentation on human trafficking by Jamie Counsell. 

February’s presentation featured President John Pudner as well as Ken Dragotta of True the Vote, both of whom’s full speeches will be posted on the 5 Riders page, and where you will also see 90% agreement on a variety of issues. However, we always believe it is more helpful to our readers if we focus the video segments and transcript excerpts on the other 10% - where the speeches diverge. Ken does want to emphasize to all that he disagrees 100% on Final 5 and RCV, opposing both strongly as is clear from the video we included of his full comments on the matter.

Unfortunately, we do not have video of 5 Riders leader Lou Kowieski’s excellent event kickoff.

Photos: To be clear the hunts here are for pheasants - it takes a couple of days to drive to the nearest polar bear like the one over John's shoulder in the first photo. In the second photo John documents how Soros’ backed candidates tried to kill Final 5 because they realize it stops candidates from winning like left-wing Harry Reid did - by splitting the conservative vote.

To give our readers both sides of the Final Five argument, we included the entire uncut, uncensored, and unedited segment of Dragotta’s excellent speech on the reasons he gave for wanting to stop Final Five along with any other use of ranked ballots. In turn, we’ve also included a segment of John’s speech explaining why he understands the conservative wish to ban New York-style ballots asking a voter to rank an unlimited number of candidates, but why he believes the use of a limited ranked ballot, such as in the case of Final Five, is different and a positive for conservative-minded voters.

We especially appreciate Dragotta’s comment that he did not believe there was any nefarious intent behind Pudner’s push for Final Five, but that, like his opposition to Article V Constitutional Convention of States, he did not think the system would work. He also did not use the - weak in our view - “confusing ballot” argument we’ve often heard from our numerous testimonials at the Wisconsin Legislature as well as across our Republic at numerous events. While this criticism certainly applies to New York-style ranked ballots asking voters to rank as many as 34 candidates, Final Five forbids any ranked ballot of six or more candidates for this very reason.

The crux seemed to be that Dragotta and Pudner reached different conclusions through their analyses. John believes most Libertarians, who want limited government, would pick the Republican candidate second, as would most Constitution Party and Pro-Life Solidarity voters. Dragotta differs in that he believes most Libertarians are more focused on legalizing marijuana than on limiting government, and thus would vote Democrat second, while most Constitution Party voters simply will not give a second choice. Both are fair arguments, and neither side can definitively prove this hypothetical as of yet.

We appreciate the discussion, particularly since we learned that the big anti-RCV event, a natural arena for more reasoned debate like this, has been scheduled for the day of the Big East Championship, which anyone who knows John recognizes this as the one day he’s guaranteed to be found courtside at Madison Square Garden (see Reflections from the floor of Madison Square Garden). We will keep looking for opportunities to advance conservative policy where there is agreement on issues like Voter ID, immigration and protecting women’s sports–and to continue to have robust discussions like this one, where conservative appreciation of the First Amendment sets the stage.


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