[EM] [SW] Hitler-Stalin-Middle Example Again

Rob Lanphier robla at eskimo.com
Mon Mar 4 08:22:47 PST 1996

On Sun, 3 Mar 1996, Steve Eppley wrote:
> Rob L. wrote:
> >It just doesn't seem to be a very useful mechanism, since extreme
> >voters will most likely classify moderate compromises as
> >unacceptable.  Could you outline a specific set of numbers where
> >NOTB helps?
> It's simple to come up with an extreme case, like a two-way race
> between Hitler and Stalin.  NOTB forces a new election with better
> candidates.  

No, it forces a new election.  The second election could be even worse.  
It could be used as a tool to drain the resources of small parties who 
can't afford an extended race of two, three, or four elections.  I think 
it is misguided to assume that the grass is greener on the other side.

> The 1996 Republican Presidential primaries offer a current example,
> though.  The voters appear to want someone who isn't running, like
> Colin Powell.  If the entire field was rejected early, then Kemp,
> Bennett, Cheney, and maybe even Quayle would give it a go.

Or maybe just Quayle, along with Jesse Helms and Pat Robertson.  There is 
no guarantee the good ones will step in if they didn't in the first 
place.  Having second elections also gives potential candidates a reason 
to avoid joining the first contest (to avoid the battering of the first 
election, while appearing to be a hero when they do step in to "save" 

> >Holding second and third elections doesn't make a lot of sense to
> >me.  If the voters are undecided the first time, there isn't much
> >that will change their mind.
> New candidates?

The problem is that while a second or third or whatever election is held,
the incumbant stays in power, who could be totally unacceptable as well. 
Secondly, a write-in "draft" of someone like Colin Powell is much easier
in Condorcet's method, because people no longer have to worry about
wasting their votes.  If Powell still declines after being elected, the 
vote still transfers.

Having one ballot and one ballot only encourages everyone, candidates and
voters, to really think about what they are doing.  Having NOTB only gives
people an excuse to write off the field, and hope a hero will come along
and save them.  Now, if a candidate who loses only to NOTB wins the
election, I might be in favor of limiting their term.  But I really think
a second balloting should be discouraged when people are given a perfectly
adequate way of expressing themselves with one ballot. 

Rob Lanphier
robla at eskimo.com

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