Re:[EM] How to vote in Approval

Forest Simmons fsimmons at
Thu Mar 28 11:55:18 PST 2002

The mix and match quality of Approval (that Alex so eloquently describes
below) is one reason that I prefer PAV to STV.


On Wed, 27 Mar 2002, [iso-8859-1] Alex Small wrote:


> On the topic of Approval and "Centrist Weasels":
> One nice thing about Approval is that a centrist who decided to take firm
> stands on issues, but side with the Dems on some issues and the GOP on
> others (e.g. fiscally conservative/socially liberal, or fiscally
> liberal/socially conservative) would do quite well.  His supporters might
> cast "cross-over votes" for the Dem or Republican, but they would likely
> divide more or less evenly.  On the other hand, any Dem or Republican who
> cast a cross-over vote would likely vote for the independent.
> The reason I call that a nice thing is NOT my own bias toward fiscally
> conservative/socially liberal candidates.  The nice thing I see is the
> chance to (a) mix-and-match issues, resulting in more freedom of choice,
> and (b) break away from the left-right spectrum.
> If most candidates conform to one of two molds, it's easy to get
> polarization and acrimony.  You get Senators reflexively rejecting people
> nominated by the president based largely on party affiliation.  You get
> those cable news channels where they bring in a liberal and conservative to
> shout at one another on any given issue.  You get lowest-common-denominator
> policy rather than best-of-both-worlds policy.
> It's likely that the guy appearing on Fox News tonight to yell in favor of
> gun control will appear on MSNBC tomorrow to yell against oil drilling in
> Alaska.  Nothing wrong with either position, but the predictability and
> polarization is bothersome.  If I can predict most people's stance on a tax
> proposal based on what they think of abortion, it signals that there's
> really very little discussion or thought in America, because the lines have
> been drawn.
> A system that helped candidates who mix-and-match issues from the two
> traditional camps might bring in truly new and innovative ideas.  I truly
> believe that America would be a better place if we could just break the
> duopoly and bring in fresh new ideas, or at least innovative combinations
> of old ideas.
> Alex

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