Paul Jacob

If I told you that a major rock-n-roll celebrity had thrown his hat into the political ring, you’d probably reach for your wallet. Or your revolver.

The candidate is Krist Novoselic. He may be a rock legend, but he lives in the country, grows vegetables and raises chickens, and belongs to the local Grange.

Besides, he’s running for the County Clerk position in Wahkiakum County, Washington. The county boasts less than 4,000 citizens. If he wins, he can’t do much harm.

Especially since he pledges to resign, if elected.

What’s going on here?

Krist Novoselic, bassist for the late, great grunge band Nirvana, and, until recently, bassist for the punk band Flipper, doesn’t exhibit your standard celebrity shallowness. When we hear of some Hollywood actor or rocker going political, we think “limousine liberal.” But for Novoselic, politics is not flash. Or power.

He’s more interested in procedural issues.

He wants to save our democracy.

He’s been a prominent proponent of Instant Runoff Voting (IRV), a fascinating — and promising — reform that aims to increase voter influence on elections and break the hold of insiders on the political process. Novoselic believes that IRV would increase voter participation and interest in elections.

So, though he hails from a left-of-center segment of the political spectrum, he’s someone whose way of thinking I can understand. As I see it, procedural issues are key. Ballot access, initiative and referendum rights, term limits — these reforms have been my main interest for years. I support them, in part, for the reasons Novoselic supports IRV.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.