[EM] Hitler-Stalin-Middle Example Again

Rob Lanphier robla at eskimo.com
Fri Mar 1 00:53:01 PST 1996

Demrep, I'm honestly beginning to wonder if you are trolling us here.  
You don't reply directly to arguments, and you don't seem to read any 
rebuttal we throw your way.  Are you trying to waste our time, or are you 
seriously trying to figure this out?  I'm more than happy to continue 
explaining this to you if you are genuinely trying to understand our 
support of Condorcet's method.  On the other hand, I'm going to refuse to 
answer any more of your posts until you *specifically* address the points 
I raise in this rebuttal.

On Fri, 1 Mar 1996 DEMOREP1 at aol.com wrote:
> Condorcet fans seem unable to comprehend that with 2 of 3 candidates being
> "extremists" on a ballot that each "middle" voter will be in a tough
> situation about what to do about their second choice vote (if any).

You seem unable to comprehend that in a three-way race between 2 
extremists on opposite ends of the spectrum and a small number in the 
middle, *it doesn't really matter who the people in the middle vote 
for*.  It is whether or not the supporters of the extremists will vote 
for the middle candidate.  Under Condorcet's method, they are encouraged 
to because it doesn't weaken their first preference.  Under Approval, 
they are discouraged because there is no distinction made between first 
choice and second choice.  If you want to talk about wacky hybrids, feel 
free, but don't call them Approval or Condorcet's, because they are 
neither.  Also understand that the MSC method you proposed is really 
Condorcet's method, not Approval, if I understand it correctly.

> A middle voter may hate one extremist by "absolutely" minus 99.9 percent and
> hate the other extremist by minus 100 percent- a "relative" differance of 0.1
> percent. 

So they can leave the two extremes unranked.  When the middle has such
weak support that extreme voters won't even rank them second, they won't
get elected under any method, so the only way their vote counts is in
picking which extreme gets elected.  At least under Condorcet's, they get 
to pick their poison.

> If the middle voter votes for either extremist as a second choice, then such
> extremist may get elected with a majority and claim he/she has a "mandate"
> (to go politically crazy).

If an extremist gets elected, there is no telling what they will do.  
That is not a function of the electoral system.

> If the middle voter does not vote for either, then one of the extremists may
> get elected with a plurality.

Well, so?  Voters from one extreme can stop the other extreme by ranking 
the middle candidate *without hurting their own odds of winning* under 
Condorcet's.  If they don't do that, they aren't making even remotely 
rational decisions.  No voting system is going to save people from 

> Since all middle voters will probably not be alike, then each of them may
> strategically ask what are the other middle voters doing ?

Why?  They only need to ask *themselves* which extreme they would prefer 
if the Middle won't win.  

Besides, *The middle is not as important as the extremes*.  Repeat this 
to yourself until you understand it. 

> An example again (50 votes for majority)--
> Hitler         Stalin            Middle
>   42              41                  16    First Choice votes
> Does any voter dare vote for a second choice ?

Sure they do.  Out of fear that the other extreme will win.  All it would
take is 27 of the 41 Stalin voters to vote for Middle as their second
choice.  There is no strategic reason for them not to, unless they prefer
Hitler to Middle.  There is no strategic reason for the Hitler voters not
to rank Middle as their second choice, unless they prefer Stalin to Middle. 
Hitler supporters' ranking of Middle only hurts Stalin.  It doesn't hurt 

You assume that all voters will collude to produce a poor result.  There 
is no system that can save you from that.

> The approval voting remedy remains to encourage the voters for the extremists
> to vote also for a middle candidate who hopefully could get a majority.
> Hitler         Stalin            Middle
>   45              46                  51    Approval votes

Approval voting does *the opposite*.  If these same voters are afraid of 
ranking Middle second (as you said above that they are), then they will 
*definitely* be afraid of approving Middle.  In Condorcet's method a 
ballot of (Hitler, Middle) does not dilute the Hitler vote.  An approval 
ballot of (Hitler, Middle) weakens the vote for Hitler.

Rob Lanphier
robla at eskimo.com

More information about the Election-Methods mailing list