[EM] Fair and Democratic versus Majority Rules

fsimmons at pcc.edu fsimmons at pcc.edu
Sat Dec 11 16:42:25 PST 2010

Admittedly this example was selected for its simplicity for illustrating the main ideas, and NOT for its plausibility.

----- Original Message -----
From: Raph Frank 
Date: Friday, December 10, 2010 5:30 am
Subject: Re: [EM] Fair and Democratic versus Majority Rules
To: fsimmons at pcc.edu
Cc: election-methods at lists.electorama.com

> Another issue is the fact that the resulting legislature would 
> end up
> using majority rule for making decisions.
> A legislature of
> 60) A
> 0) C
> 40) B
> gets the A faction almost all of its policies and the B faction 
> nothing.
> Replacing that by
> 0) A
> 100) C
> 0) B
> means that the A faction loses some of its policies, as C compromises.
> Thus the A faction will refuse.
> Control of 60% of the legislature is better than 60% chance of control
> of 100% of the legislature.
> I think to make it so the compromise works, you still need the random
> element. It is the threat that the "other-side" could win everything
> that causes compromise.
> If power was actually shared in the legislature, then that issue goes
> away. For example, the rule could be that the national budget is
> shared equally between all legislators. A funding bill might require
> support from 1/3 of the legislature in addition to legislators willing
> to pledge a portion of their funding allocation. Another option would
> be to give legislators a finite number of votes and allow them cast
> more than 1 per motion.
> Alternatively, you could introduce a small random element. The fall
> back could be standard list-PR, however 1/4 of the seats are reserved
> as bonus seats and given to one party. The odds of a party getting
> the bonus would be proportional to the number of votes it receives.
> This means that a faction with 1/3 or more of the votes who wins the
> lottery will have a majority. They would get 1/3 of the 75% standard
> seats + 25% of the seats from the bonus, giving them more than half.
> However, a minor faction would still need the support of other
> parties, even if they win the lottery (though their influence 
> would be
> greatly enhanced for that 1 term).
> Another issue is that it would make parties much harder to 
> manage. A
> party couldn't offer potential legislators the potential of being
> careen politicians. This may or may not be a good thing. 
> However, it
> does mean that the degree of representativeness of the legislature
> would vary over time. Sometimes there would be wide representation
> and sometimes there would be narrow representation.
> One option would be to make the bonus seats the only seats that are
> subject to the lottery/compromise system. This means that there is
> more stability.
> The voting system could be
> Each party submits a list
> The votes would be
> - voter marks at most 1 party as favorite
> - voter marks any number of parties as approved
> - voter marks any number of parties as acceptable
> If the most approved party is acceptable to 90% of the voters, 
> then it
> is given the bonus seats.
> Otherwise, a party is picked at random using the favorite votes and
> that party is given the bonus seats.
> I haven't been keeping up to date on Jobst's latest single seat
> proposals, so there could be a better way to handle the specifics.
> Another problem is one legislature taking decisions that bind later
> legislatures. For example, a legislature could increase the national
> debt or enter in long term agreements. A party which is 
> unlikely to
> have power after the next election is likely to try to take as many
> irreversible decisions as possible.
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