[EM] World Series and EC

Anthony Simmons asimmons at krl.org
Thu Jan 31 20:49:34 PST 2002

>> From: Alexander Small <asmall at physics.ucsb.edu>
>> Subject: [EM] World Series and EC

>> Regarding the post arguing that the world series was close
>> in number of games won but not in number of home runs:

>> I had this argument by e-mail with Alan Natapoff, who has
>> argued that the EC gives more power per voter than popular
>> elections.  The main difference is that elections pick
>> leaders, while baseball is serious business ;) Voters are
>> people with rights while homeruns are points scored in
>> games, so winning more voters but not many states is not
>> the same as winning more runs but not many games.

If you're going to point out differences between baseball and
voting, I'm surprised you didn't mention the absolutely
humongous difference -- that you win an election by
attracting a fixed pool of existing voters to your side,
while in baseball you create points and there is no way of
even knowing in advance how great the total will be --
something that only happens in elections in Chicago.  (And
it's really looking like it's going to happen in Zimbabwe
this time around.)

But the baseball thing was an analogy, not an identity, so I
was only pointing to one way in which they are similar --
that it uses a grouping of the votes/points which gives a
result that is different from just totalling over all
games/districts.  I wouldn't feel comfortable pushing it much
further than that.  After all, if baseball were really like
politics, it would be hockey with clubs, and umpires would
have to carry guns.

>> If a team scores a bunch of runs one game, but not in any
>> other, one can conclude that the team was just lucky that
>> night.  Overall they could not sustain that success
>> against the same opponent under the same rules. Winning a
>> bunch of voters but not in the right distribution of
>> states is different, because every state has different
>> demographics, concerns, etc. You can't really say that
>> each state posed the same contest, so the overall contest
>> is the only meaningful thing, not the individual,
>> heterogeneous state contests.

>> Alex Small

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