[EM] Re: PR not representing median voter, and a system using best ofPR and single seat.

Stephane Rouillon stephane.rouillon at sympatico.ca
Wed Jul 23 15:05:27 PDT 2003

Mr Mead,

do you think SPPA could qualify for upper house in your model?

PS: A link reference is
(fourth post describes it all in english).
The IRV inner method can be replaced with ranked pairs to produce
weights as an output...

Clinton Mead wrote :

> >
> >
> >--__--__--
> >
> >Message: 4
> >Date: Wed, 23 Jul 2003 04:08:30 +0200 (CEST)
> >From: =?iso-8859-1?q?Kevin=20Venzke?= <stepjak at yahoo.fr>
> >To: election-methods at electorama.com
> >Subject: [EM] lobbyists not legislators; PR and the median
> >
> >
> >
> >On a different subject, I'm wary of PR generally, because I'm not confident that
> >the median voter is likely to be represented...  Do "median parties" really exist?
> >I want the electoral (and constitutional) method to guarantee that the median voter
> >has a veto.  (If it were possible, I would like to give a veto to every voter in
> >a certain central chunk.)
> >
> >
> >Kevin Venzke
> >stepjak at yahoo.fr
> >
> >
> >
> The solution is quite simple. One house elected by single seat method
> (preferably Condorcet to represent middle ground) and one house elected
> by proportional represention. This is close to what we have in
> Australia, in the upper house, 12 seats per state, 6 re-elected each
> election using optional party list STV (electors can choose whether to
> tick the party box or number preferences themselves, about 99% tick the
> party list box). The lower house are single seat electorates with equal
> population, elected via IRV. Its not Condorcet, but its better than
> plurality (loses monotonicity, but gains clone-proofness, and removes
> the lesser of two evil problem in voters minds).
> A condorcet single seat lower house guarentees representation for the
> middle ground. It would produce a strong and stable government around
> the centre of political thinking (to the exclusion of non-centre
> representation). Because of this, the lower house would be the driving
> force of policy. The upper house, proportionally represented, would act
> as a house of review. The government is unlikely to have a majority in
> the upper house (particularly if the centre doesn't do as well in
> proportional representation elections as you implied). Yes, extremists
> will be in the upper house, but in my opinion, extremists aren't a
> problem, as they only gain as many seats as the proportion of extreme
> people in your society. And if you've got a large proportion of extreme
> people in society, there's bigger issues to worry about. The upper house
> will provide a diversity of opinion, not only in the political sence,
> but also in the cultural sence, as parties a more likely to run a mixed
> range of candidates to attract maximum votes. It won't be stable, but it
> doesn't need to be, the lower house is the stable house. The worse that
> can happen if the upper house goes nuts is that nothing will happen, and
> similar if the government wants too much power, as the upper house will
> block. Both of these situations are not good, but nothing happening is a
> lot better than bad things happening.
> The situation described above is similar to the situation in Australia,
> except because the lower house is elected via IRV instead of Condorcet,
> hence it is slightly off-centre (as its advantagous to be off centre in
> IRV, to avoid the early elimation due to being "squashed in the middle
> with not enough first preferences" effect).
> One point I should make that I don't believe that has been brought into
> this debate is that PR methods do not elect independents. In my recent
> state election, with 100 lower house single seats elected using IRV, and
> 20 upper house seats elected using STV, 7 independents won lower house
> seats, no independents won upper house seats. I think independents are
> great for the political process, as they are usually high community
> spirited people who care for the people they represent. Only big parties
> have the resources to malipulate public opinion on a mass scale.
> Independents generally only have to resources to do some door knocking
> in their area. However, if an independent connects with a large minority
> of 40,000 or so voters he represents in each electorate in my state, he
> can beat the major parties. This is next to impossible in a proportional
> representation election, even if the quota is similar to a majority in a
> single seat election, simply because independents have so much more
> competition, and my states results support that fact. Note that also,
> the government gained around 60% of the seats in the lower house, hence
> the necessity of a proportionally represented upper house as a check on
> government power. Note that minor parties gained no seats in the lower
> house, but enough seats to hold the balance of power in the upper house.
> In summary, mixed systems, particularly with separate houses provide.
> Geographical representation (lower house) AND ideological representation
> (upper house).
> Potential for independents to gain seats (lower house).
> Potential for minor parties to gain seats (upper house).
> Protection from extremist forces (due to centralist lower house).
> Protection from power hungry government (due to diverse non-government
> controled upper house)
> A strong stable centralist government (lower house).
> An effective house of review, due to diverse opinion (upper house).
> I don't see what could be advantageous about single house systems over
> dual ones? Possibly the lack of potential for blocking government
> legistation, and if your the Chinese government, that may be a
> disadvantage. Modern democracies however have safeguards because they
> realise its better to get nothing done than potentially destroy the
> freedom and fabric of society. More seats aren't particularly nessecary,
> the upper house could get by with quite a few magnetudes less that the
> lower house. And even though its preferable, you don't really need
> another room, the upper and lower house could share as long as they
> agree not to make a mess. Despite all this, I see people arguing whether
> single seat or PR is better. Its a typical "lesser of two evils
> argument", because both options are bad, and not many seems to waste
> their plurality argument on the better "use a duel system with separate
> houses". But if people started, it might just get up.
> ----
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