[EM] Utilitarianism and Perfectionism.

David L Wetzell wetzelld at gmail.com
Tue Feb 14 07:26:53 PST 2012

 ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Juho Laatu <juho4880 at yahoo.co.uk>
>  dlw: But I'd argue that to make our two-party system work better, we
>> need to provide a constructive role for 3rd parties in it.  This wd be
>> accomplished by the use of 3-seat LR Hare in state reps elections.  If the
>> Hare quota is used in the "more local" election and the Droop quota is used
>> in the "less local" election, like the US congressional elections then
>> we'll keep a two-party system.   An analogous case could be made for the
>> use of Hare quotas in aldermen elections and Droop quotas in city council
>> member elections.  But without giving third parties a constructive role to
>> play, we're never going to be able to enforce regulations of $peech.
>> The kicker needs to be to separate the advocacy for such from a
>> perfectionist approach that presumes we need an EU-style multi-party system
>> ASAP.  When those are connected, too many people say it's not possible and
>> down-grade it's short-run importance as an issue.
>> JL:I agree. From tactical point of view one can drive the reform forward
>> in many more or less hidden ways. But if we talk directly about the
>> targets, I believe an attempt to establish an improved two-party system
>> where also third parties can survive, challenge the current parties, and
>> maybe even bypass them one day and become a new dominant party if the
>> current dominat parties are not good enough, will have a different
>> supporter basis than a proposal to switch completely to a multi-party
>> system with coalition governments etc.
> dlw: The kicker also is to figure out who'd benefit from a contested
> duopoly and get them to fund it's initial push.  The difficulty of doing
> such may be why FairVote seems to have dialed back its push for
> proportionality in representation, as indicated by Richie's NYTIMES
> editorial.
> JL:Unfortunately normally those parties that are currently in power
> benefit most of not making any changes to the system. That means that in
> additon to getting (automatically) the support of the third parties and
> independents you have to convince the general opinion, media, one of the
> major parties or some other major interest groups (money?).
> dlw: Well, I argued at my blog that the lesser of the 2 major parties in
> any given state would benefit from such a change.
> http://anewkindofparty.blogspot.com/2011/03/quis-beneficium-electionis-frugi-whod.html
> That point was not quite clear. If that lesser party is always in line
> with the national mother party and the state has different opinions, then
> that party maybe never wins. If the policy of that lesser party is
> independent of the mother party, then they might adjust their policy to the
> local needs and win 50% of the time also with FPTP.

dlw: Or it could be somewhere in between?  I tend to take a more
behavioralistic view of voters, whereby the party-in-power can leverage
that power to $pin the voters into keeping it in power.  The other major
party can upset this some with help from the nat'l party, but it's still
paddling upstream most of the time.  If the state party is independent enuf
of the nat'l party then it could support the use of quasi-proportional
elections when it suits their interests.

> One of the major parties might benefit of getting rid of a permanent
> spoiler problem.

dlw:Hence, the support of IRV more so...

Methinks if the current GOP has a meltdown and does very badly this fall
then its supporters will financially support the limited use of PR to
subvert the Democratic party machine.

> We got to convince them that they're wasting their money on CFR, since
> it's not enforceable w.o. first winning thru multi-winner election rules a
> constructive role for 3rd parties in our system.
> Political jujitsu entails making it advantageous for a stronger opponent
> to accommodate you than to defeat you.  This is the only game in town in
> the US.
> JL:IRV favours large parties, and also it can therefore be seen as a
> two-party method that allows third parties to run. Since it favours large
> parties, it is one of the easiest methods to market to the two old major
> parties. Proportional representation should be harder to sell to them since
> it changes the party space more.
> dlw: "less-is-more" PR is easier to market if enuf people recognize how
> crucial it is to subvert the cut-throat competition between our two major
> parties.
> JL:Yes, if they "see the light of" proportional represnetation. But if it
> is pure political power game, then the old parties might keep favouring
> rules that favour them.

dlw: If our system tilts strongly to single-party rule then the party out
of power will favor limited use of PR.
Plus,  just because the party leaders are favored by rules, doesn't mean
they can prevent their members from seeing the light.
There's typically an unstable balance between intra-party discipline and
intra-party democracy.  The latter lets PR be more likely to catch on.

>>> JL: The message I'm trying to carry with this, is simply that after one
>>> names the targets, it is much easier to discuss what the best methods to
>>> implement those targets would be. Is it a two-party system, a flexible
>>> two-party system, or a proportional system, and are the targets different
>>> at different levels and in different bodies.
>> dlw:I agree, would you agree that if we were to target a flexible 2-party
>> system that a modified form of IRV would be more acceptable for
>> single-winner elections than in an EU-style multi-party system?
>> Pure single-winner elections have a strong (fixed) two-party tendency. An
>> "approximately three-party" method would make the system more flexible.
>> Full proportional multi-party elections would be an overkill. If you want
>> to have a more flexible two-party system the ideal methods are methods that
>> are targeted to meet just these requirements. Proportional methods with
>> limitations to e.g. three candidates could do in some cases, no problem
>> with taht, but only if they happen to implement teh agreed "flexibel
>> two-party" targets well.
> dlw: You didn't really answer my question.  If PR with limitations
> inevitably gets coupled with single-winner elections in the pursuit of a
> flexible 2-party system then wd an Approval-Voting enhanced form of IRV
> help us reach the target?  Burlington VT shows that the top 2 parties can
> get changed by the use of IRV, and (at least part of) the former major
> party wd remain a sizeable minor party that could contest the duopoly
> relatively easily.
> JL: IRV can be said to be a flexible 2-party method (at least in that
> direction), and it can elect outside the two main parties. It has its
> problems, but it is a possible stepping stone towards better flexible
> 2-party methods.
> I'm not really a friend of Approval. The voters may face bad dilemmas when
> the support of a third party candidate grows to the level of one of
> the two old major parties. Because of its problems it may discourage people
> to continue the reform even more than IRV failures do.
> dlw: You know what I mean by IRV+, right?
> There was no "IRV+" in the text above. Maybe "Approval-Voting enhanced
> form of IRV"? You used somewhere also IRV+PR. Could you define those terms
> quickly and clarify the question?

Yes, I meant IRV+  which is the same as "Approval-Voting enhanced form of
IRV".  It's quite simple.  You let folks rank up to 3 candidates and in the
first stage you tally the number of times candidates get ranked.  The three
candidates who get ranked by the most voters go on to the 2nd stage, which
uses IRV.

My rubric is called "The Tri-Election Triage".
I advocate for PR in "more local" elections that o.w. tend to be rarely
competitive and IRV+ in "less local" elections that don't have that problem
and a revamping of the Electoral College so that we elect 3 finalists from
7 contenders and 3 electors(in each congressional district) in early
November and that the electors then choose the next president by first
meeting with each other and the finalists, listening to a final broadcasted
debate and voting until one of them gets a majority.  It would be an
exercise in "pure democracy" and also serve to make our nat'l election a
winner-doesn't-take-all election.

> Juho
> JL: Modified PR methods are ok too (as stepping stones). Maybe people that
> don't want to follow the PR path feel discomfortable with them (since they
> could be easily be modified to become full PR methods).
> dlw: Well, I argue that PR serves a purpose in 'More local" elections that
> it doesn't serve in "Less local" elections: making chronically
> non-competitive elections more likely to be competitive and meaningful.  In
> the US, with our difficulties in changing our constitution, I'm not worried
> about PR catching on at large.
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Kevin Venzke <stepjak at yahoo.fr>
> To: election-methods <election-methods at electorama.com>
> Cc:
> Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2012 15:01:16 +0000 (GMT)
> Subject: Re: [EM] i don't get why mixed member rules use FPTP???
> Hi David,
>    *De :* David L Wetzell <wetzelld at gmail.com>
> *À :* EM <election-methods at lists.electorama.com>
> *Envoyé le :* Lundi 13 février 2012 20h41
> *Objet :* [EM] i don't get why mixed member rules use FPTP???
> It seems like the awesomeness of using PR for part of the seats somehow
> makes up for the lousiness of FPTP for the rest of the seats.
> But why not use IRV+ for the rest?  I mean it's not unlike FPTP in how it
> tends to favor bigger parties.  According to George Eaton<http://www.newstatesman.com/uk-politics/2011/04/seats-party-election-majority>,
> it
> still lets there popular parties get a disproportionately large portion of
> the seats, but only when they're truly popular.
> So why couldn't Germany replace FPTP for its single-member seats with IRV?
> I got on this rant because I learned of the DPR
> <http://www.dprvoting.org/DPR_in_practice.htm>approach to foster
> multi-party system in the UK.
> I don't see any reason why 4-seat super districts that use 3-seat LR Hare
> and IRV+ wouldn't suffice?
> Maybe the use of PR might get more folks excited about the electoral
> reform this time...
> dlw
> I don't think there is much to be gained from doing that in Germany. My
> understanding is that in practice voters
> vote the single-winner ballot according to party, and then the PR part
> basically overrules anomalies as well. What
> I mean is, suppose you used Condorcet and some minor party won a ton of
> single-winner races. Despite this, the
> PR would adjust it so that the relative winnings are proportional to the
> party list vote. So the unexpected results
> on the single-winner ballot result in almost nothing.
> I think this would probably still be a problem in a setting with weak
> party discipline...

dlw: This is why I'm not attracted to Germany's MMP.  It doesn't really
hold together PR and single-member elections so much as make single-member
elections act more like PR.  It makes a fetish out of proportionality,
rather than increasing the number of competitive elections and potential
sources of new ideas.


> Kevin
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