[EM] Obvious Approval advantages. SODA. Approval-Runoff.

Kevin Venzke stepjak at yahoo.fr
Sun Mar 11 15:57:43 PDT 2012


De : Abd ul-Rahman Lomax <abd at lomaxdesign.com>
>À : Kevin Venzke <stepjak at yahoo.fr>; election-methods <election-methods at electorama.com> 
>Envoyé le : Samedi 10 mars 2012 8h30
>Objet : Re: [EM] Obvious Approval advantages. SODA. Approval-Runoff.
>While discussion of strategies whereby a political party might attempt to manipulate Bucklin/runoff is interesting, we should be careful not to treat these "hazards" as if they were facts, unless there are facts to back them.
I'm assuming the question is more "is this a method that would be good to spend effort advocating" not
"is this a good method if we can magically just have it implemented."

It is a "fact" that the method's logic makes no effort to pick a representative final pairing. It's quite possible
for the final round to be meaningless to most voters. In the method's defense one can speculate that
it would probably never be an issue. But the thing is that I don't think that's a very strong defense, particularly
considering that (as far as I can see) there's no strong reason to use this specific method.

It sounds like you somehow view this as a "free" reform. If you know how to enact this method for "free"
then by all means, give it a try.

Personally I don't care for it because it doesn't seem anyone knows what it would be, or is supposed to be.
I understand that in theory you're taking standard Approval and adding a step to the end. But in practice that 
isn't what you have, because the first round of the runoff doesn't have the same incentives as Approval. The 
incentive to get it as right as possible in one round doesn't necessarily exist. That's the incentive that drives 
Approval's outcomes towards the center. I'm concerned that the runoff, similar to a standard runoff, will
pick its finalists too arbitrarily.

This is *not* a major problem in real elections. Ties occur for other reasons, i.e., factions in the electorate are divided. It's the opposite of cloning. It's not a major problem because political forces don't favor it. True clones will have the same set of supporters, largely, and those supporters will select one of them. If the clones fight each other and don't cooperate, then they aren't clones, and the supporters will take one side or another. (And weaken the faction's power. This narrow selfishness has natural consequences.) The political forces favor complete cooperation, and it won't be done by fielding both candidates in the public election, when that choice can be made much more efficiently and effectively within the faction.
In real elections we generally have the sense not to enact methods that encourage cloning. I agree there are 
some inherent disadvantages to deliberate cloning, but I wouldn't assume that these disadvantages will outweigh
any other incentive we can come up with. For instance, I don't think a Borda proposal will ever get off the 

>> Number three. The strategy assumes that there will be no rivalry between the two candidates. Even if they are in cahoots, their supporters may not be.
>> You'd pick a second candidate who doesn't have supporters.
>Who therefore doesn't have a prayer. Put them on the ballot, supporters will appear. The original candidate, through this silly strategy, has split his own party. Brilliant. Next case.
>> Number four. Who gets the campaign funds?
>> It's a single campaign, so it doesn't matter. Presumably the serious nominee gets them.
>Single campaign? No, there are two candidates. Sure, they could share ads. "I'm running for dogcatcher, but I'd also like to recommend my friend, here, Ralph. Ralph, would you like to say a few words about how we are equally qualified for the job, and would you like to ask the public to vote for both of us?"
>As a voter, I'd think, these guys are nutty. If they are both equally qualified, why didn't they just decide which one of them should run. Toss a coin or something, and spare us the election process.
>Remember, if both these guys make it into the runoff, they have wasted the city's money on a useless runoff election. Sorry, this strategy is a blatantly losing one. Political suicide, like a lot of theoretical methods of manipulating voting systems.
The main candidate doesn't attempt to claim that his companion is also running for the job. He says vote for us so
that I can win, in place of risking losing in a runoff. His companion doesn't claim to be trying to win.

You speculate "put them on the ballot, supporters will appear." Well, I do believe that e.g. Huntsman and Perry 
received a few votes in Ohio recently, but at least they had hoped to win in the past.

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