[EM] Condorcet criticism

MIKE OSSIPOFF nkklrp at hotmail.com
Sun Nov 12 18:22:02 PST 2000

>There is basically one cogent criticism of all Condorcet systems, of which
>you're all aware; that it puts too much importance on middle preferences,
>especially when not all candidates or parties are known to voters.  
>In a two candidate race:
>A 51
>C 49
>C wins
>A and C are diametrically opposed, there has been a long and dirty smear
>campaign, so that C voters hate A and A voters hate C.  My dog, fluffy (B),
>joins the race at the last minute;
>ABC 49
>CBA 49
>BAC 01
>BCA 01
>Fluffy is the Condorcet winner!  This could mean concealing who you are is
>an effective electoral strategy.

This is an often-said argument against Condorcet. You dog Fluffy
wouldn't have any chance in Condorcet, because the voters know that
she isn't qualified. They like her more, sure, but she just doesn't
qualify for being President.

More realistically, some unknown human candidate might run.
If he refused to disclose information about himself, if he has
no history that he can point to, if we have no reason to trust him,
then I don't think people are going to think he's better than
their opposite candidate.

But say a newcomer runs, and people judge that he's probably better
than their other disliked candidate. That's for them to judge.
It isn't for us to say that they're wrong. They must weigh the
fact that he isn't a hated A or C against the possibility that he's
something worse. Again, that's for the voters to judge. They're
adults.  A little bit of uncertainty about B might legitimately
be outweighed by the extreme odiousness of A & C to eachother's voters.
And what--is B going to turn out to be a Hitler in disguise?
He takes issue positions between those of A & C. Maybe he's less than
honest to take those positions for strategic reasons, but maybe
A's or C's personality characteristics, including dishonesty, are
even worse.

But, you know, this is all beside the point anyway: The point is that,
if the people, wrongly or rightly, judge that B is better than the
opposite candidate, I don't want them to have to dump their favorite
to vote for B. I don't care if they're right to want B instead of
A or C. Just don't make them dump their favorite for B. Right or wrong,
they'll do what it takes to get B instead of someone they consider
worse. Let's let them do so without dumping their favorite.

I don't like Gore, and I'm glad we succeeded in making him lose.
I have no wish to protect a candidate like that, someone people
vote for because they hope, against reason, that he'll be better than
someone supposedly worse.

But I want the voting system to protect him, so that voters won't
have to protect him by dumping their favorite.

People will do what it takes to elect the voter median candidate,
the sincere CW. Let's minimize how much they have to degrade their
honesty in order to do so.

Mike Ossipoff

>It would make sense to have a primary vote quota.  Two options for a quota:
>the first is 50/n% (where n is the number of candidates) or even a droop
>quota if you want to be more savage in eliminating candidates; the second
>(my preferred alternative) is to base the quota on the candidate who gets
>the most primary votes - the quota being 25% of that candidate's total
>primary vote.  Note that this option would only knock out candidates with
>very low primary scores (like fluffy).  Eliminated candidates do not count
>in pairwise contests.

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