[EM] IRV Psychology

Anthony Simmons asimmons at krl.org
Tue Apr 24 20:17:07 PDT 2001

>> From: Blake Cretney <bcretney at postmark.net>
>> Subject: Re: [EM] IRV Psychology

>> True, but Green party supporters may reason that although
>> IRV may give the victory to the Republicans, it might also
>> give it to the Greens. It all depends on the second choice
>> of the Democrats, in your kind of example.  Of course, the
>> Green voters may cower, and vote Democratic out of fear,
>> but then again, they might not, if they feel they have a
>> good chance of winning.  Of course, an argument can be
>> made that in such a situation the Democrats should win,
>> being at the center of public opinion, but I can see why
>> this wouldn't appeal to Green party members.

Good, good point.  For someone from a party that isn't smack
on the fence, is a method that favors centrists such a big

Is that what anyone really wants?  How would we feel about a
whole House of Representatives made up of nothing but exact
center members?  It certainly doesn't match the ideal that
motivates proportional representation -- that if ten percent
of the voters are in the nut fringe, then ten percent of the
Members will be from the Nut Fringe Party.

>> Also, I think it's pretty clear that for Greens to
>> actually win, some of them have to vote for the Green
>> candidate alone.  They can't win as long as they all vote
>> for the Democrat too.  And voting only for the Green
>> introduces a risk that the Green candidate will act as a
>> spoiler.  That seems to me to be a pretty similar
>> situation to the one described for IRV.

Yes, in the case of Greens voting for Democrats to make sure
the Republican doesn't get elected, the Democrat is very much
like a spoiler.  But then perhaps this problem is
unavoidable, since independent of system, giving strength to
one faction at least has the potential to work against all

Very good points you bring up.

An aside:  I didn't reply to some responses about whether a
jury is voting on matters of pure fact.  I received two
responses, showing different viewpoints, and pretty much
balancing each other.  And both showing how slippery the
question is.  I can't think of anything to add, except that I
don't think the situation is clear-cut at all.  (e.g. is a
dermination of guilt a matter of pure fact?  If there are
technicalities, are these distractions from fact, or parts to
it?  Etc.  It could go on forever.)

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