[EM] A dissent for Ben

Benjamin Grant benn at 4efix.com
Sun Jun 16 13:57:19 PDT 2013

I think before I can really sink into and "get" the ideas expressed here, I
need to do what I am doing and take myself to Voting System 101 school,
starting with mastering the basics truths and nuances of Criteria.


I mention this because it is my absolute plan to read your thorough post,
absorb, and respond, but first I need to get my feet underneath me, so to
speak.  So I will keep this post in my box as I try to learn the basics -
which could take a while - but then, I will return to it, if that's alright.


Thanks! :)


-Benn Grant

eFix Computer Consulting

 <mailto:benn at 4efix.com> benn at 4efix.com



From: election-methods-bounces at lists.electorama.com
[mailto:election-methods-bounces at lists.electorama.com] On Behalf Of David L
Sent: Sunday, June 16, 2013 4:13 PM
To: EM
Subject: [EM] A dissent for Ben


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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