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

James Gilmour jgilmour at globalnet.co.uk
Thu Dec 25 14:31:35 PST 2008

Aaron Armitage   > Sent: Thursday, December 25, 2008 7:40 PM
> To: jgilmour at globalnet.co.uk; election-methods at lists.electorama.com
> Subject: Re: [EM] Why I think IRV isn't a serious alternative 2
>  > I do not think you have to be anywhere near the zero
> > first-preferences Condorcet winner scenario to be in the sphere of 
> > "politically unacceptable".  I am quite certain that the 5% FP CW
> > would also be politically unacceptable, and that there would political chaos in
> > the government in consequence.  The forces opposed to real
> > reform of the voting system (big party politicians, big money, media
> > moguls, to name a few) would ensure that there was chaos,
> > and the electors would have an intuitive reaction against a weak Condorcet
> > winner so they would go along with the demands to go back
> > to "the good old ways".
> > 
> That depends on how soon after the switch this election happens.
> Getting "5% of the vote" is not a meaningful concept in a Condorcet
> election; the meaningful concept is getting X% vs. a particular other
> candidate.

Nowhere did I or other previous contributors to this discussion say anything about getting "5% of the vote".  What I (and others)
wrote (as shown above) was 5% of the first preference votes.  That is an important difference, but your next comments suggests that
you may not think so.

> It's only by thinking in terms of plurality that this looks
> like a problem, because in plurality you're "voting for" one candidate
> rather than ranking them, a conception of voting that IRV 
> retains despite the fact that it allows multiple rankings.

It is not a question of my thinking in terms of plurality  -  that is where our electors (UK and USA) are coming from.  It is my
experience (nearly five decades of campaigning) that UK electors attach great importance to their first preference.  You may say
that's the result of bad conditioning, but if we want to achieve real reform of the voting systems used in public elections, these
are the political inconveniences we have to accommodate.

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