[EM] Conceiving a Democratic Electoral Process
km_elmet at lavabit.com
Wed Jul 18 06:23:12 PDT 2012
On 07/16/2012 12:23 AM, Fred Gohlke wrote:
> Good Afternoon, Kristofer
> re: "Strictly speaking, clones are candidates that are so alike
> each other that every voter ranks them next to each other
> (but not necessarily in the same order)."
> "More generally speaking, a clone could be considered a
> candidate that's very close to an already existing candidate
> and whose presence changes who wins."
> Thank you. That's a clear explanation.
> Even allowing for my general ignorance of the topic, cloning seems to be
> more significant for multi-party systems than for the two-party system
> that dominates U. S. politics.
> Nah. I guess that opinion is wrong. In the U. S., a third party probably
> can't avoid cloning some portion of a major party candidate. If so,
> eliminating clones probably increases the distance from a two-party
> system to a multi-party system. Anyway, wouldn't we be better served by
> conceiving a way to advocate the common interest instead of worrying
> about whether or not a clone will harm the parochial interests of
Well, in a working party system, Republicans (say) who don't like the
direction the actual Republican party is taking could go form their own
party. Since they're closer to R than to D, one might call them clones:
everybody (or nearly so) who has a preference for Republicans first
would put the "insurgent Republicans" above the Democrats; everybody (or
nearly so) who has a preference for Democrats would put the Democrats first.
However, since Plurality isn't cloneproof, that splits the Republican
vote. While the insurgent Republicans don't agree with the Republican
party, they like the Democrats even less, and they don't want to give
the election to the Democrats. So they usually don't form breakaway
parties, and if they do, the voters won't vote for them for the same reason.
This (among other things) makes the party system worse than it could be,
and might be why Plurality leads to two-party rule. As a contrast, IRV
is cloneproof and doesn't start to behave oddly until the breakaway
party becomes large enough. Instead of Plurality's two-party rule,
Australia, which uses IRV, has two-and-a-half party rule.
Maybe Condorcet could lead to multipartyism even with single-winner
districts - this would depend on whether it can deal with multiple
viable parties without denying parties' growth into viable alternatives
(as Plurality does) or starting to behave strangely (as IRV does). I
think it could, but I have no direct proof.
In any event, Plurality's lack of clone resistance makes it really hard
to start third parties - and so would make party-based government look
worse than it could be. There's nothing inherent in the concept of
parties that limits the voters to choosing between only two options. The
system does that.
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