[EM] Replies to Saumur

Lucien Saumur aa447 at freenet.carleton.ca
Sat Mar 2 21:16:46 PST 1996

In an article, dfb at bbs.cruzio.com (Mike Ossipoff) writes:

>Earlier you said that it doesn't make any sense to speak of how
>beaten a candidate is. That means that you're saying that it
>doesn't make any sense to speak of how many people ranked
>Clinton over Buchanan, to say that they want to defeat Buchanan,
>and would prefer Clinton to him. I disagree, and I say that it
>matters very much what a majority want, and it matters that
>majority wishes are respected.

          Yes. It matters very much what a majority wants,
but a majority, that produces a circular tie, has been
ambiguous in expressing its want. I interpret a circular
tie as meaning that the majority does not have a
significant preference and I suppose that the majority
would not have expressed itself ambiguously if it had had
the option of expressing equal preference.

          The voters who produce a circular tie are like
the car buyer who walk into a car dealership to buy a car.
When asked if he wants to buy a red car, the buyer says
that he prefer a blue car to a red  and when told that
there is a blue car in stock for him, he says that he
prefers a white car to a blue car. Finally, when he is then
told that there is a white car in stock for him, he says
that he prefers a red car to a white car.

          The electoral officials, who would be confronted
with a circular tie, would be faced with the same kind of
problem as that poor car salesman. I do not think that such
a situation will happens very often, if ever, and that we
should not be too concerned with the possibility that it
will happen.

          aa447 at FreeNet.Carleton.CA

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