[EM] Election-Methods Digest, Vol 92, Issue 89

David L Wetzell wetzelld at gmail.com
Sun Feb 19 12:04:55 PST 2012

On Sun, Feb 19, 2012 at 12:24 PM, <
election-methods-request at lists.electorama.com> wrote:

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> Today's Topics:
>   1. Re: STV vs Party-list PR, could context matter?
>      (Kristofer Munsterhjelm)
>   2. Re: Conditionality-by-top-count probably violates FBC
>      (Kristofer Munsterhjelm)
>   3. Re: Conditionality-by-top-count probably violates FBC
>      (Jameson Quinn)
>   4. Re: STV vs Party-list PR, could context matter? (James Gilmour)
>   5. Re Rich Fobes, Kristofer M, James G (David L Wetzell)
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Kristofer Munsterhjelm <km_elmet at lavabit.com>
> To: ElectionMethods at VoteFair.org
> Cc: election-methods at electorama.com
> Date: Sun, 19 Feb 2012 10:24:23 +0100
> Subject: Re: [EM] STV vs Party-list PR, could context matter?
> On 02/19/2012 06:18 AM, Richard Fobes wrote:
>> I have in mind European parliaments where coalitions are typically needed.
>> In my opinion, coalitions require back-room compromises that most voters
>> would not like (if they knew what those compromises were).
>> I have not seen any parliamentary democracies in which voters are able
>> to elect problem-solving leaders. Instead, special-interest puppets are
>> elected.
>> More specifically, European politicians seem to be as clueless as U.S.
>> politicians about what is needed to "create jobs" and restore widespread
>> economic prosperity.
> Let me just say that, as a Norwegian, that does not match my experience at
> all.

dlw: But you'll concede that a good deal of your country's prosperity comes
from its oil holdings, apart from its use of PR?
It's easier to let the pie get sliced into many pieces when it's a big pie
and you are a smaller, relatively homogeneous country.
Which makes it harder to discern what benefits are due to PR and then
there's the issue of what sort of PR gets used.

> Instead, I'd say that the European problem is that the ones in power are
> trying to bite off too much. The European Union, in growing so quickly, had
> to be built on compromise at all costs, and that compromise has led to many
> solutions that only go some of the way. The Euro matter is a good example:
> the management of the currency (along with attendant financial policy) is
> partially centralized, partially decentralized, and that doesn't work. They
> also have their undemocratic, bureaucrat-ruled past to deal with, though
> they've come some way by giving some of the Commission's power to the
> Parliament.

dlw: Or they don't follow thru with critical changes because their
coalitions don't last very long?

>  I agree that a lot can be accomplished without making this change.
>> I also agree that there are no "unchangeable" laws that would prevent
>> changing how voting is done in Congress.
>> Yet special interests -- i.e. the biggest campaign contributors -- will
>> never intentionally allow such changes -- because they know how to
>> control ("rig") the system under the current laws/rules.
> That seems to say that you can't expect the rules to change to favor third
> parties first, because under the current system, the campaign contributors
> would want the status quo to prevail.

> So you'd have to weaken the power of the campaign contributors. And how
> would you do so? Perhaps by competition?
> I guess the risky part would be that you get multipartyism, and then the
> rules don't work, and then instead of the coalitions altering the rules so
> that they *do* work (now that campaign contributors can't buy all the
> parties off), the people say "oh, it's not working, let's return to the old
> lesser-evil system -- at least that did work".
> Is that something like what you're imagining?

dlw: I don't think they'd get even to first base if that's what they were
aiming for.

3rd parties are not powerful at all in the US.  Thus, it's a lot harder to
get really third party friendly electoral reforms.  It's easier to go the
opposite direction with a "top two primary"....

This is why we observe FairVote pushing for electoral reforms that help 3rd
parties, but not a whole lot.
Unlike us dilettantes, they have very much at stake as an org in their
efforts for electoral reform and so they, IMO, try to choose their battles

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