[EM] A dissent for Ben

David L Wetzell wetzelld at gmail.com
Sun Jun 16 13:12:56 PDT 2013

I am an apologist for the (at least) strategic support of IRV in the USA by
progressives/centrists, as pushed by FairVote as the leading alternative to
FPTP and what is to be taught to the low-info voters of the USA whose
interest in electoral analytics is significantly bounded.

I believe that the diffs among the infinite number of alternatives to FPTP
are often over-stated in a world where economies of scale in campaigning in
important single-member/winner elections plus cognitive short-cuts commonly
used by voters reduces the number of competitive candidates.

This is a major diff between my view and most of the others on this list.
 They believe that when the right single-winner election rule is adopted
that the natural number of competitive candidates will grow so that
there'll be a need for the right single-winner election rule.  I have a
different prior that is more conservative in how much the number of
competitive candidates will increase and that cares more about the
increased quality vs quantity of candidates.  I also am of the view that
the way of wisdom in a 2-party-dominated system that tends to tilt to
effective single-party-domination is to push for election rule changes that
won't end 2-party domination but will subvert the tilt and change the
nature of the 2-party domination, making it contested and open for small
local third-parties who specialize in contesting "more local" elections and
vote strategically togetehr in "less local" elections to proliferate.

This is why I also emph American forms of Proportional Representation, or
low-grade forms of proportional represetnation for "more local" elections
that o.w. tend to be chronically non-competitive.  There are feedbacks
between different elections and so the increased plurality caused by the
use of Am forms of PR in "more local" elections can make the single-winner
election rules in less-local elections be more competitive, since the
rivalry between the two major parties wd be handicapped.  Think of it as
like how there's ad-revenue-sharing in professional foot-ball but not
baseball and so there's more turnaround as to whose the top team in the
latter than the former and a higher percent of competitive, and thereby
interesting games.

IOW, we don't need to figure out the best single-winner election rule, a
souped-up version of IRV wd suffice to make things work a lot better.  We
need to persuade the US that we need a mix of single-winner and
multi-winner elections and that such can and has been done in a manner
consistent with our political traditions.  As such, I am apt to believe
that the first-mover marketing edge of IRV and the way our system currently
winnows down options, makes it wise to hold off on pushing for other
alternatives to FPTP or (top two primary).

This view is, of course, anathema to many of those who've invested a lot of
time, etc. into the array of electoral alternatives.
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