[EM] Parliamentary compromising strategy

Richard Fobes ElectionMethods at VoteFair.org
Sat Mar 23 13:59:49 PDT 2013

On 3/21/2013 2:05 PM, Kristofer Munsterhjelm wrote:
> On 03/19/2013 03:08 AM, Richard Fobes wrote:
>> I continue to fail to understand why citizens think of politics as a
>> left-versus-right tug-of-war. That's what it used to be before special
>> interests hired election experts to advise them on how to take advantage
>> of vote splitting.
>> Now, the much bigger gap is up-versus-down. The vast majority of
>> voters are "up" and the biggest campaign contributors are "down."
>> (The "downers" are also known as special interests.)
> Here, it seems that up vs down compresses a lot more, i.e. resolves
> itself. We're not perfect (by any means), but if income inequality is
> any metric, Norway's Gini coefficient is at around 26 while the United
> States exceeds 40 (and is around the same level as China last I checked).

You seem to be picturing a vertical (up-versus-down) dimension that has 
rich people at the top and poor people at the bottom.  That is different 
than what I'm describing.

To repeat:
 >> Now, the much bigger gap is up-versus-down. The vast majority of
 >> voters are "up" and the biggest campaign contributors are "down."
 >> (The "downers" are also known as special interests.)

It's true that there are no poor people "down" among the biggest 
campaign contributors.

However, there are some very rich people at the top of this vertical scale.

In other words, some rich people would be at the top, and some would be 
at the bottom.

The rich people at the top (who share the political goals of the 
majority of voters) may or may not give campaign contributions to help 
offset the money from special interests.  Yet their total contributions 
pale in comparison with the businesses/people at the "bottom" who give 
the largest contributions (also known as special interests).

In other words, _votes_ attract political parties upward, toward the 
majority of voters, while _money_ (in the form of campaign 
contributions) pulls the parties downward toward special interests (who 
then get tax breaks, legal monopolies, government contracts, etc.).

Here is a link to such a "map" of politics:


For each campaign-contribution dollar given by someone at the bottom of 
this dimension, they and/or their business typically gain many times as 
many dollars.  One accounting revealed that a specific business gained 
about $400 for each $1 they gave as a campaign contribution (including 
money spent on losing candidates).  That ROI (return on investment) is a 
huge percentage, something around 40,000% !

That's why special interests spend so much on elections.  It's a drop in 
the bucket compared to how much they gain.


>> To further reduce the relevance of coalition-building backroom deals,
>> VoteFair negotiation ranking would be used by the parliament to make
>> laws on an issue-by-issue basis, rather than on a backroom-deal (by the
>> coalition leaders) -by-backroom-deal basis.
> Okay. So just to see if I got it right, you're saying that instead of
> PR, you'd have larger groups, and then these groups would negotiate
> among themselves, in the open, using the VoteFair method?

In this context, each participant using VoteFair _negotiation_ ranking 
(which is different from the other, election-based VoteFair methods) 
would be an MP -- minister of parliament.

The VoteFair negotiation ranking calculations do not identify any "groups".

Also, the algorithm is completely unaware of the notion of political 
parties.  (This makes it useful in yet other contexts.)

VoteFair negotiation ranking starts by approving the most popular 
proposal.  Then it begins the process of also approving "proposals" that 
are the most popular among the voters (MPs in this case) who have not 
yet gotten as much as they deserve.  Of course that process cycles back 
to approving majority-supported proposals as needed to maximize (within 
limits) all the voters getting represented in the final list of approved 

The software allows any voter (MP) to view the ranking provided by any 
voter.  Current parliaments would probably want to keep these rankings 
private (not public), but in the distant future, when government 
transparency becomes more common, each MP's ranking would be made public 
(for those who care to analyze the details).

Here, unlike other kinds of voting, any participant can propose any new 
proposal, and that proposal is initially ranked as neutral (neither 
liked nor disliked).

The final result is a list of approved proposals that can be combined 
into a proposed law, and that law is likely to be approved by a majority 
of the MPs.  If not approved, the negotiation process continues, which 
means that the MPs would change their rankings and possibly add new 
proposals to resolve the details of conflicts.

All of that is done in real time, which means there are no "rounds" of 
voting.  Anyone can change their ranking at any time.  And the 
calculations are done whenever someone wants to view the current result.

Does that clarify how VoteFair negotiation ranking eliminates the need 
to form coalitions?

Richard Fobes

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