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

Alex Small asmall at physics.ucsb.edu
Wed Jul 23 15:51:02 PDT 2003

Clinton Mead wrote :
> 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

When you say "upper house", do you envision that House as being more
powerful or less powerful than the Lower House?  I know that in most
countries the Upper House is the smaller one with longer terms, and it's
generally the weaker of the two Houses.  However, in the US the Senate is
actually the more powerful House of Congress.  It is essentially equal to
the House of Representatives in legislative matters, and it also has power
over treaties and judicial and executive appointments.  I don't know what
the situation is in Australia.

So, if your contention is that the more powerful House should be elected
from SMD, then in the US we would actually want the Senate elected by SMD
(which it is), not the House of Representatives.  However, virtually
anywhere else in the world you'd probably want the less powerful House
elected from SMD.

Personally, because I put priority on representing as many views as
possible, I'd want the more powerful House elected by PR.  I'd settle for
a less powerful House elected by SMD because I can't see Americans
completely abandoning SMD any time soon.  This might some day happen in
state legislatures (although I'm not holding my breath).

However, in the US Congress I see very little chance of ever electing the
Senate by PR in the US.  Changing the apportionment to elect the Senate by
nation-wide PR is impossible, and enlarging the Senate so every state
could elect a several member delegation by PR is incredibly unlikely.  So
the most likely situation that we can hope for is each state electing its
House of Representatives delegation by PR.


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