[EM] (Kevin Venzke) and Richard Fobes.
km_elmet at lavabit.com
Thu Feb 23 10:55:22 PST 2012
On 02/20/2012 04:03 AM, Richard Fobes wrote:
> On 2/19/2012 1:04 AM, Kristofer Munsterhjelm wrote:
>> On 02/19/2012 06:04 AM, Richard Fobes wrote:
>>> Here is a link to a "map" of the U.S. political system as I see it:
>>> "If the Republican party and the Democratic party are at opposite ends
>>> of a pencil, most of the voters are way above the pencil. Both parties
>>> are pulled down away from the voters by the money coming from the
>>> biggest campaign contributors."
>> I like third parties, so let me use a business metaphor. Say you have a
>> monopoly. This monopoly has market-making power, so it can set prices as
>> it wants and produce worse goods than it actually would.
> > ... <more below>
> I agree with your point that monopolies are weakened by competition.
> And I agree that a third party could weaken the two main parties.
If you agree with all of that, then why do you propose rules that would
make it harder for third parties to grow? Single-member districts based
on majority rule give representation to the majority, not to the
minorities from which a third party might grow. Even a "real" majority
method (like Condorcet) would have this property -- because it handles
multiple candidates better, more may run, but it would still exclude
some of the positions.
On the other hand, multiwinner rules (and systems similar in spirit if
not in mechanism, like MMP, Fair Majority, and PAL) try to achieve
proportionality not just of the majority view, and so can give third
parties the ability to enter without having to start at the exact proper
position to attract a majority right off.
It's unfortunate that the U.S. third parties don't understand the
opportunity that they could get if they adopt advanced methods. Yet that
should strengthen the case for a proportional system, so that when a
party that does things right comes along, it is not hindered by the
system itself. Ideally, political judgement should come from the voters
alone. That kind of perfection is not attainable in practice, but some
methods are better at getting out of the way of what the voters want.
> I'm not discounting the power of third parties.
> Rather, I'm picturing how things will be later, after the transitions
> have occurred. How will things be done after the dust settles, when
> things have (relatively in terms of the issues we are now dealing with)
I see that, and I understand that national rules favoring major parties
could make true multipartyism seem unappealing to the voters. If the
system or Congressional rules badly break when there are more than two
parties, then when one gets more than two, the new viable third parties
could get the blame.
On the other hand, we pretty much know the big two won't alter the rules
to be more supportive of the third parties. They've got nothing to gain
and everything to lose. So if national rules really are a problem, it'd
seem one could get around it by adopting a strategy similar to that of
the old PR leagues: that is, to try on a local level. If the reform
manages to survive there, and people start asking for the same things to
happen on a closer to national level, then I think it'd be a lot more
likely that the rules would change than that the blame would be assigned
to the new entrants. The people would (after all) know that a situation
of multiple parties did work locally.
That strategy is not perfect, either. Just as what happened with PR, the
vested interests may hit back while the reform is in its early stage.
But if the chance that they'd succeed is less than the chance that the
reform would be destroyed by rule incompatibility when going
national-first, one shouldn't go national-first. I don't know US
politics enough to say what is the best strategy, or rather, what
opposition would hit the reform hardest.
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