[EM] Approval voting based on better-than-expectation perception. Using what we have.

Michael Ossipoff email9648742 at gmail.com
Sun Apr 22 13:36:11 PDT 2012

I've been saying that, to judge whether a candidate is
better-than-expectation, you could ask yourself,
"Would I rather appoint hir to office than hold the election?"

But (as someone pointed out a long time ago), of course you don't have the
power to appoint candidates
to office,and so it isn't a question that you'd really have a feel for.

Better, because it relates to your actual situation, and is more direct
anyway, would be to simply ask,
"Do I expect a better result?" If not, then vote for hir.

There are various ways of saying that, and some of them may be better than
the above. For instance, it could be said:

Vote optimistically.

If you felt that the contest were effectively begween X and Y, then your
expectation is between them ( in terms of merit). If those are
the Democrat and the Republican, then there isn't much _room_ between them,
of course  But that's still where your
expectation would be, if you believed that they were the only winnable
candidates. In that case, when you then approve the Democrat,
you're approving a _little bit_ optimisitcally.  (Disregarding the extreme
pessimism of the assumption that the Democrat and Republican
are the only viable candidates).

When you're approving a good candidate whom you expect to succeed in
electing, that candidate can't
really be called "better-than-expectation". Well, the better-than-expection
suggestion doesn't really say how to treat a candidate who is _at_
expectation, and so you aren't violating better-than-expectation if you
approve hir.

You might say, "What if a very good candidate is at least a little less
than what I expect in the election results?" First, I believe in voting as
you feel. If you
really like hir, then approve hir.  ...even if it's contrary to
what better-than-expectatioin strategy would seem to suggest. Of course, if
s/he were acceptable, and those worse than hir were unacceptable, then
s/he'd be better than your expectaton--contrary to our assumption. I say
that because, when I speak of acceptable and unacceptable, I'm referring to
two sets of candidates such that the merit differences _within_ the sets
are negligible compared to the merit difference _between_ the sets.That's
consistent with what we all mean by "acceptable" and "unacceptable".

I feel that we have such a situation, or something very close to it: When
there are unacceptable candidates who could win, I call that a u/a
election. Our elections are u/a. The unacceptable candidates who could win
are called Democrats and
Republicans, or just "Republocrats". But if you don't think that
boughtness, corruption and dishonesty are unaccepable, then you might not
that the Republocrats are unacceptable.

By the way, I don't agree with the common media claim that only the
Democrat and Republican are viable. As I've asked elsewhere, how viable
would those largely unliked candidates be if we could fully support all of
the candidates whom we really like?

The media seem to want you to believe that money and media coverage decide
who's viable.

By the way, I've been emphasizing that it might be a while before we get a
better voting system. In the meantime, at least we could be making better
use of the voting system that we now have, Plurality. Vote for whom and
what you like. For one thing, we don't have sufficiient information for
strategic Plurality voting. In a 0-info election, Plurality's strategy is
to vote for your favorite. I mean your actual genuine favorite.

Sure, at first we'll have split-vote. The progressives would be splitting
their vote between a maybe-large set of candidates. But, when the results
show a majority who want something better than Republocrats, then there
will be incentive for progressives to somehow agree on where to combine
their support.

Further, this experience will bring public awareness to the desirability of
repealing Plurality's requirement to insincerely give bottom rating to all
but one candidate.

Anyway, if you vote for your favorite, or at least for one of your
favorites, you'll feel cleaner, and better about yourself, the election,
and the prospects for
the country. And that feelling will soon be reflected in the country and
the world.

Somone said "If you vote for a lesser-evil, you'll get an evil."

Someone said, "It's better to vote for what you want and not get it, than
to vote for what you don't want and get it."

Mike Ossipoff
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