[EM] To D. Gamble, re: strategy

MIKE OSSIPOFF nkklrp at hotmail.com
Mon Jan 19 00:31:02 PST 2004

I'd said:

>Don't vote for Kucinich in the primary. Vote for Sharpton. Then vote for 
>Nader in the general election (or maybe Camejo if he wins the Greens' 

D. Gamble replied:

I seem to remember that in the 2000 Presidential election the effect of
voting for Nader was to allow the (probable) Condorcet winner Gore to be 
by Bush.

I reply:

No, that's not what happened. Gore probably won. Gore was "defeated" by  
Bush in the Supreme court only.

But you're making another mistake. If Bush had won the election, you'd want 
to blame that on the Nader voters. I'd suggest that the only ones to blame 
that on are the Bush voters (and maybe the voting machine programmers). 
Amazing announcement: Those who prefer Nader have no obligation to help 
someone else whom they don't like.

D. Gamble continued:

Mike, it seems very strange that somebody who writes as much on voting
strategy as you do should come up with something like this when faced with 
question of how to vote in a real election.

I reply:

Why is that, Dave? I've made it clear that my voting system goal is to get 
rid of the lesser-of-2-evils problem. At no time did I say that I'm a 
lesser-of-2-evils voter. I want a better voting system so that you won't 
feel a need to abandon your favorite in order to help a lesser evil. But I 
don't vote for lesser-evils.

Maybe you'll disagree, but I believe that there's such a thing as a 
candidate who doesn't deserve a vote. Usually, for me, that takes precedence 
over strategy.

Aside from that, though, my voting for people like Sharpton & Nader can be 
justified in terms of utility-expectation maximization strategy: As I've 
said, it seems to me that the public political elections have completely 
unacceptable candidates who might win. To put it differently, the candidates 
can be divided into 2 sets, such that the merit differences within each set 
are negligible compared to the merit difference between the 2 sets. Under 
those conditions, are you sure that you think that it would be good strategy 
to vote for a member of the worse set?

I know, you'll say that the probability that my vote could make or break a 
tie between Dean & Bush is greater than the probability that my vote could 
make or break a tie between Nader & Dean. But don't jump to the conclusion 
that Pdb(Ud-Ub) > Pnd(Un-Ud), or that the strategic value of Nader is less 
than that of Dean.

Candidate i's strategic value is the sum, over all j, of Pij(Ui-Uj).

Pij is the probability that, if there are 2 candidates between whom your 
ballot can make or break a tie, those 2 candidates are i & j.

In Plurality, one's utility-expectation maximizing strategy is to vote for 
the candidate with greatest strategic value.

In Approval, one's utility-expectation maximizing strategy is to vote (only) 
for all the candidates whose strategic value is positive.

In Plurality I vote for whichever acceptable is most likely to be able to 
take victory from an unacceptable.

In Approval I'd vote for all the acceptables.

Mike Ossipoff

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