[EM] Why I think IRV isn't a serious alternative 2

James Gilmour jgilmour at globalnet.co.uk
Thu Dec 25 06:55:23 PST 2008

Abd ul-Rahman Lomax  > Sent: Wednesday, December 24, 2008 5:59 PM
> > At 05:18 AM 12/22/2008, James Gilmour wrote:
> >But, of course, if it were possible to elect a "no first
> >preferences" candidate as the Condorcet winner, such a result
> >would completely unacceptable politically and the consequences would 
> >be disastrous.
> No example is known to me. It's easy to see examples in small direct 
> democratic situations where this compromise could clearly be the best 
> result. We know that sometimes the best candidate, for example, 
> doesn't make it to the ballot, even. Suppose there is a majority 
> requirement, two candidates on the ballot. But so many voters would 
> prefer candidate C, that some of them write it in, causing majority 
> failure. If it's top two runoff, and write-ins are allowed, and 
> *especially* if the runoff method doesn't cause a serious spoiler 
> effect, the write-in can win the runoff *with a majority*. Or, in 
> spite of the obstacles, with a plurality. Given the obstacle of not 
> being on the ballot, it's quite likely in that case, that a majority 
> would ratify the election.

Abd, you are a great wriggler.  My comments were not in the context of "small direct democratic situations".  The discussion was
about major public elections - city mayor, state governor, perhaps even the ultimate goal of direct election of the President of the
USA.  Nowhere was there any suggestion there would be or could a "runoff", nor was there any suggestion of a "write-in".

Incidentally, my personal view is that there should be no provision for "write-ins" at all in public elections.  If I am not
prepared to declare myself as candidate and be nominated in the same way as all the other candidates, I cannot see any reason why
anyone should take me seriously.  If my "friends" think I would be the best person to do the job, they should come and tell me and
persuade me to stand, nominate me, and then campaign like fury to get me elected.

> How would this be "disastrous?"

Leaving your alterative scenario aside as irrelevant to the actual discussion, I cannot imagine the election of a President of the
USA as the genuine Condorcet winner with zero (or very few) first preferences as being anything other than disastrous.  If you
cannot immediately see that, your experience of practical politics must be very different from mine.  Although we live on different
sides of "the pond", nothing I read about US politics makes me think it would be significantly different on your side from how it is
on mine.


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