[EM] The responsiveness of Condorcet

Alex Small asmall at physics.ucsb.edu
Sat Jul 12 10:33:02 PDT 2003

A comment and a question.

First, a comment:  If a party is perceived by the electorate as being in
the "center", i.e. a decent compromise, and Condorcet awards it far more
seats than the percentage of voters rating it as their favorite would
dictate, the best remedy is Proportional Representation.  A different
single-winner method isn't really a solution to that problem.

However, as long as you stick to single-member districts, the centrist
dominance is probably the most desirable result.  Suppose the legislature
were divided 40% left, 40% right, 20% center, and this distribution more
or less reflect the percentage of voters favoring each party.  On any
given issue, the center would hold the balance of power.  Now, if you got
a legislature with a centrist majority by using Condorcet, the end result
is the same.  It's not the fairest way to achieve that result (PR is,
IMHO) but it's not a drastic distortion of what the final legislative
product would have been either.

Next, about the Liberal Democrats:  I understand that in Europe, many
political parties, be they left, right, or other, include the word
"Democrats" in their name.  I also understand that in the UK the word
"liberal" does not really denote "left" as it does in the US.  I read the
Economist, and the editors use the word "liberal" to denote free markets
and civil liberties.  So, am I correct in assuming that the Liberal
Democrats in the UK are not at all what America's liberal Democrats would
be?  Is their platform more of a mix of free markets and social

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