[EM] Re: Blake's margins arguments

Blake Cretney blake at condorcet.org
Mon Feb 24 18:53:16 PST 2003

On Sun, 2003-02-23 at 21:54, MIKE OSSIPOFF wrote: 
> Of course margins just counts different majorities.
> I reply:
> Of course, but  wv counts a majority that has electionwide meaning
> in an election with more than 2 people. As you define majority, with 3 
> candidates every pairwise defeat is a "majority". When all pairwise
> defeats are "majorities", majority has little meaning or value as
> a term.

It means the same as a pairwise defeat, just as you say. 

> Aside from the fact that a majority of all the voters is the
> widely-understood meaning of "electoral majority", such a majority

But you were arguing that this is what "majority" means, not what
"electoral majority" means.  I don't really know what "electoral
majority" means.  A search on Google suggests it is usually used to mean
a majority of the Electoral College. 

> matters because it's a group of people whose need for defensive strategy can 
> be minimized to a degree qualitatively better than
> can be said for a submajority group of people. As described by the
> definitions of the majority defensive strategy criteria.

That's a strategic, not a majoritarian argument.

> Now Blake will tell us what honoring majority is really about :-)
> Blake said:
> But let's review
> what this whole honoring majorities argument is really about.
> Normally, when we speak of honoring a majorities wishes, there is a
> majority (at least of those with a preference) and they want something
> done, and then you do what they want. But that's not what is going on
> here.

Actually, you were right that I misunderstood your example.  The
majority in your example was this kind of majority.  I just think there
are more important conflicting majorities.

> In fact, that's the usual form of the familiar lesser-of-2-evils
> problem: A majority prefer B to A, but they're split between factions
> who consider the middle candidate B or the nonmiddle candidate C their
> favorites.

I think the Mutual Majority Criterion that was discussed a while back is
a good way of viewing this problem.  A majority of voters are agreed
that they prefer any one of a set of candidates over any candidate
outside that set, but disagreee over who should win from inside the
set.  It seems to follow from majoritarian principles that someone from
inside the set should win.  Further, this principle can't lead to a

> So if Blake says that that majority doesn't matter, there are many
> who'd disagree. Of course it's still valid for Blake that it doesn't
> matter to Blake.

Of course I didn't say that, so it's all hypothetical.

Blake Cretney 

For more information about this list (subscribe, unsubscribe, FAQ, etc), 
please see http://www.eskimo.com/~robla/em

More information about the Election-Methods mailing list