[Election-Methods] RE : Re: Primary Elections using a "Top 2/Single Transferable Voting Method"

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax abd at lomaxdesign.com
Mon Dec 17 09:28:06 PST 2007

At 09:33 AM 12/17/2007, Kevin Venzke wrote:
>--- Abd ul-Rahman Lomax <abd at lomaxdesign.com> a écrit :
> > My own opinion is that state parties should directly elect delegates,
> > not Presidential candidates. Then the delegates make the choice, at
> > the convention. They can actually .... *deliberate*. What a concept!
>I'm skeptical that it would be feasible to be elected as delegate without
>being willing to commit to voting for a specific presidential candidate.

Indeed, that is the problem. However, without 
something like this, the public will continue to 
be at the mercy of sophisticated marketing 
campaigns designed to influence the opinions of 
people who don't have the time to actually 
research and understand the issues. At some 
point, as Bob Dylan wrote, "You gotta serve 
somebody," which, in this context means "You gotta trust somebody."

Voting for pledged electors is technically 
trusting them to vote as promised, it is not 
generally legally binding that they vote a 
particular way (I think this varies from state to 
state). However, "faithless electors" are rare. 
But, more to the point, it is trusting the named 
candidate to appropriately function in the office.

However, a critical trait for a good President is 
the ability to make good choices in delegating 
power. Voting for a free elector is equivalent to 
voting for someone to hold and apply one's own 
power. The principles behind the choice are the 
same. In the original Asset, one is voting for 
candidates, and, presumably, one is voting for 
the candidate whom one thinks will make the best 
President. This same opinion should translate to 
being the best one to exercises one's vote to choose the President.

We don't trust politicians, generally, because we 
know that they will (*they must*) engage in these 
marketing campaigns; out of despair, we may vote 
for the candidate whose lies we like the most, 
hoping that he or she will then act in accordance 
with those lies, which we think better than if 
the opponent, with lies (or sincere claims) we 
don't like so much, is elected. Obviously, this can break down!

Yes, Virginia, there are (relatively) honest 
politicians, but we tend not to like them, 
because they tell us stuff we don't want to hear.

I don't see any resolution to this problem except 
breaking down the scale, so that people can 
choose representatives in the process whom they 
could know well enough to make an intelligent 
decision to trust them. As readers may know, I 
favor breaking it down to a very small scale, 
through delegable proxy. However, as to the 
electoral college, the *original* concept was 
that electors would be chosen *not* pledged to 
candidates, but to represent the interests of 
their states. They were to be chosen by the 
legislature of each state, which is, an indirect 
election; ultimately, the people would control it 
through electing trustworthy legislators. 
However, the Constitution did not specify any 
method of choosing electors, leaving it entirely 
to the various state legislators. (The convention 
could not come to an agreement, so they punted.)

When political parties arose in the U.S. it did 
not take the parties long to notice that if they 
controlled the state legislature, simple 
majority, they could set up a system whereby all 
the electors from a state would be pledged to a 
particular slate of candidates, and, naturally, this would be their candidates.

*The people did not originate this change, they 
did not demand the right, at that point, to vote 
directly.* It is still a fact that state 
legislatures could decide to appoint electors, no 
vote at all is required. This would have been, 
for example, a solution to the Florida impass in 
2000, and is a reason why the Supreme Court 
intervention in that case was bogus, for the 
precedents were clear. But, of course, that is another story.

How do we get from here to there? I find the 
solution obvious: implement delegable proxy in 
small peer associations (or large ones, if one 
can get past the power structures that will 
typically have arisen in them, which militate 
against change in power balance). If the theory 
of DP is correct, these associations will be 
stronger and more unified, and thus the 
technology will be perceived as successful, and will spread.

Asset Voting is, of course, another approach. If 
there is an Asset election for electors, people 
still ahve the option of voting for pledged 
electors, but votes for other electors are no 
longer wasted. Thus the argument that people will 
want to be able to vote for pledged electors is 
finessed. They still can. This principle, in 
general, that increasing the freedom of voters is 
an improvement (provided that the votes are also 
reasonably interpreted!), is of general 
application. The voting system that give maximum 
freedom is high-resolution Range, but Asset 
Voting is another approach, since, with it, one 
may vote for *any* candidate -- including, as I 
would have it, oneself -- without wasting the 
vote. In that form of Asset, the succeeding 
stages take place in public, not secret ballot, 
so voting for oneself (presumably this would take 
some form of registration, or the ensuing chaos 
would be a problem) is equivalent to becoming a 
public voter or public elector, who can then 
participate in subsequent process deliberatively 
(through various systems that could manage 
large-scale deliberative process, of which 
delegable proxy is probably the most practical 
and least vulnerable to corruption.

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