[EM] Brief Comment on IRV debate

David L Wetzell wetzelld at gmail.com
Sat Jan 21 11:47:34 PST 2012

On Fri, Jan 20, 2012 at 3:59 PM, Jameson Quinn <jameson.quinn at gmail.com>wrote:

>> Like I wrote, the only way a non-CW can win w. IRV is if the two biggest
>> parties do not center themselves around the center.  This possibility is
>> what will goad them to recenter themselves more often.  That is what would
>> have happened in Burlington if the anti-IRV campaign had not succeeded.
> 1. This sounds to me like: "Sorry about your house. And your neighbors'.
> But actually, it's kind of good this happened. It will teach people in the
> future to leave enough space between their houses for us to fire these test
> missiles. And that way, they'll have room for bigger gardens." That is, a
> disaster is excused as good because it will encourage actions that will
> prevent later disasters and also have other benefits. To me, a disaster is
> a disaster.

dlw: There is no good reason to call the election of the Prog mayor in
Burlington with IRV a disaster.  It is an outcome whose effect would have
been to move the status quo to relocate the two biggest parties around the
true political center for Burlington.  If it was a disaster then you'd
think it would have been shot-down by more than just a little over 50%
after a very deceptive campaign funded by the defenders of the status quo.

Why are you giving oxygen to the tripe peddled by the lovers of FPTP or
Democracy In Name Only(DINO)?

> 2. Exactly who is supposed to move the center? First you have D vs R. Then
> the center moves left. D is quite happy with their permanent victories, so
> they won't move left; and so R has no room to. Then discontented leftists
> start P and pass R. The rational strategic response would be for D to move
> so far right that it crushes R and makes it into the final round, so that D
> and P are the new major parties. But center squeeze makes that hard; and
> also human nature makes it hard to respond to a new interloper from your
> left by moving right. It might also work R to move left, ignoring D, and
> hope that when D and R really are clones then D will be circumstantially a
> bit behind and so be eliminated first, so that R and P will be the new
> major parties. But that means embracing a 50/50 gamble. It's almost
> impossible for all of this to work itself out without at least one, and
> probably more, spoiled elections; and then we're back to point 1 above.

dlw: Yes, it's indeterminant who will be the new two major parties for the
local area, but either way they'll be centered around the true center.
 And, the "spoiled" election will be spoiled in the right (or center-ward)
direction rather than the wrong direction with FPTP.  And with learning,
it'll become more customary for the two biggest parties to adjust to the
moving center so that these sorts of "spoiled" elections are not likely.

> But it's inane to think that a particular third party is going to be able
>> to get as strong as the Prog party of VT in Burlington at the Nat'l level
>> w.o. getting coopted by the major parties, jealous to keep their duopoly
>> positions.  So the chances of this happening are nil in prez elections.
> Watching the Republicans repeatedly shoot themselves in both feet,
> throwing away what could have been a winnable election for them, doesn't
> give me confidence that major US parties will always embrace rationality.

dlw: The wages of FPTP are the game "Bloody the leader for a bloody long
time"... but it's only because of the lack of intra-party discipline that
their primaries are going on so long.  That can be remedied easily...

>> The problem with IRV in such elections wd be vote-counting and that is
>> fixed by IRV3/AV3....
> Well... OK, I guess, although it's still only summable O(Nˆ3), which is
> worse than any other polynomial-summable system I know of (except some
> summable RRV-like pseudo-PR systems I've invented and never published).

dlw: Dude, in real life, the difficulties of winning a single-winner
election(time/money commitments vs relative chance of winning) keeps N down
and so it's not useful to extrapolate....

>>> dlw: What about IRV3/AV3?  Like I said above, it's not easy for a third
>> party to get as strong as VT Prog was in Burlington at the state or nat'l
>> level... and the dynamics wd be towards a change in the nature of the two
>> major parties more so than the continuation of a competitive 3-way
>> election....
>  IRV3/AV3 doesn't fix spoilers. And as I said above... (see args 1 and 2).

It matters for the world who "spoils" for who.  The threat of spoiling
instills a center-ward dynamism that is abstracted from in most rational
choice theories of electoral rules because it's hard to model
deterministically, as you demonstrate above.


> Jameson
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