[EM] My diffs w. Kristofer are not anti-reason.

David L Wetzell wetzelld at gmail.com
Sun Jun 30 12:16:32 PDT 2013

I've argued that the combination of aspects of the US political system in
our constitution, namely the import of winner-take-all
presidential/senatorial/gubernatorial elections(obviously hard to change),
+ habits built up among many US voters( used to 2-party dominated system,
inequalities in the quality/quantity of eduation) + bounded rationality of
voters make it wise to assume the continued two-party domination of the US
political system.   I have argued more recently that in addition that
economic factors involved with running for an important single-winner
election tend to reduce the number of competitive candidates and in
combination with the likely continued 2-party domination reduce the
feedback loop from a change in election rule to increased numbers of
competitive candidates in single-winner elections.

My next arg was that if the average number of competitive candidates
wouldn't be likely to grow too much with the adoption of a, Condorcet-like
or Approval-like or IRV-like election rule that it would lower the
value-added from Condorcet-like or Approval-like rules relative to a
variant of IRV.

I then have argued that if the short-run probability of widespread
implementation of an IRV-like rule in our current US system with all of the
previous conditional factors plus the first-mover marketing advantage of
IRV-like system out weighs the short-run probabilities of other
alternatives to FPP then it doesn't per se matter if there is some
value-added from such alternatives relative to IRV.  The diffs in ps out
weigh the diffs in xs, at least in the short-run with the short-run
bolstered by the same conditions that tend to reinforce the existence of a
two-party dominated system in the US.

As such, I disregard the usefulness of hypotheticals or thought-experiments
based on presumptions of large numbers of competitive candidates in the
determination of what the alternative to FPTP should be, as opposed to the
status quo alternative, a variant of IRV.  The sort of experiment that
would prove me wrong is the widespread adoption of Condorcet-like or
Approval-like rule for important single-winner elections in the USA, but
that experiment is unlikely to happen.  The much more likely experiment in
the short-run is the use of IRV which if it did prove dysfunctional for the
reasons given on this list-serve would then prove useful in the discernment
between it and other alternatives.

So I take offense at having my views characterized as "religious" or
anti-reason when I made clear the diffs between me and Herr Kristofer were
epistemic, simply not easy to reconcile from evidence readily available.

I will add that my backbone for the support of variants of IRV stems from
my experience-based view that the US's democracy has been declining in the
past 40+ years due to the past successful GOP use of the Nixonian Southern
Strategy that pits less-educated whites against minorities.  This strategy
"worked" for the GOP in the past due to the use of FPTP.  It would not have
worked with IRV, since IRV is good at increasing the number and the voice
given to non-serious candidates/parties that experience has proven in turn
can successfully introduce new issues or reframe old issues.  Thus, they'd
have been far more likely to reframe the cultural wars wedge issues that
the leaders of neither major party have an incentive to reframe.

IOW, IRV wd "fix" what's enabled capital to aggressively game the US system
since the early seventies.  I'd never push for IRV alone, but IRV alone +
American forms of PR that serve a variety of good purposes other than
ending two-party domination seem the best way forward from the morass the
US democracy has been falling into in recent years.  If the GOP falls into
a civil war then there'd be scope for more experimentation, but given how
the system is constitutionally staged to favor the emergence a different
set of two major parties, it's best to play political jujitsu to get
important reforms sooner than later rather than insist on reforms that'd
bring about a multi-party sytem.  And people who think we need a
multi-party system in the US because of how poorly served we are by our
current 2 major parties don't appreciate how different the new 2 major
parties would be with a better set of rules, even if their names don't
officially change.
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