[EM] Chicken Dilemma--To whom is it a problem?

Michael Ossipoff email9648742 at gmail.com
Wed Oct 16 14:21:36 PDT 2013

On Tue, Oct 15, 2013 at 8:24 PM, Kevin Venzke <stepjak at yahoo.fr> wrote:


You wrote:

>> I think it's a major problem, likely to
>> be solved mostly by parties pressuring their clones > > against running in
>> the same election.
>> [/quote]
>> Yes, if those parties are mutually co-operative and amicable. But I
>> don't think that that's the case. These groups aren't going to say,
>> "Ok, you run a presidential candidate, and we won't, and we'll vote
>> for your candidate."
> I don't guess that internally parties are mutually cooperative and
> amicable, just that a consensus (among voters and commentators on
> strategy) will tend to find that it's too dangerous not to settle on
> "the" clone who's the "primary" nominee of the bloc.

Yes, but that's still a serious strategy-need, and that's what we want
to get rid of, with the best voting systems.

> Certainly, I don't think everyone will go along with this.

That's the problem. Look at the progressives. That category, as I've
defined it by policy-preferences, ranges from non-socialist
progressive, to democrataic socialist, to communist.

Non-socialist progressive parties include Green Party U.S., Justice
Party, Pirate Party, and probably Working Family.

Democratic socialist parties inlclude Greens/Green Party USA,
Socialist Party USA, Scialist Labor Party, and California Peace &
Freedom Party.

All or most of the other U.S. socialist parties are communist.

I'll avoid expressing preference, but the non-socialist and socialist
progressive parties have long been strongy criticizing eachother, to a
degree that could make it unlikely that they'd trust eachother for
mutual support in an election. In fact, there's been strong criticism
even among some of the socialist parties.

So I agree that preferrers of those parties, to a large extent,
wouldn't participate in co-operation. In fact, likely their leaders
often wouldn't call for co-operation, in a chicken-dilemma-vulnerable

You continued:

> It is not
> hard to imagine a Green and a Democrat, considered as representing a
> single large bloc, where neither candidate will drop out and neither
> loses all of their voting support to the other.

I just want to briefly interrupt to say that the Democrats aren't
progressives, even by the broad behavioral and policy definition that
I've been using.

GPUS, G/GPUSA, Justice Party, Pirate Party, Working Family, SPUSA,
CPUSA, etc. might at some point be found to comprise a mutual
majority. Even if many of those people condidered the Dems not as bad
as the Repubs, the important mutual majority is the smallest,
innermost, one.

If there's a mutual majority that includes progressives, and,
additionally, Democrat-preferrers, I'm not a member of that mutual
majority. As I said, the Democrats aren't progressive. I don't vote
for them in public elections, and wouldn't vote for them even  they
and the Repubs were the only candidates. I never include them in my
ranking or approval-set, in polls regarding political candidates or

> But I don't think
> those candidates are likely to be clones either, not if you ask the
> voters. I expect plenty of Green supporters would deny that the
> Democrat is a second preference at all, and vice versa.

I agree.

But is there really any such thing as an informed Democrat-preferrer?
Someone who has read some alternative party platforms, and still
prefers the Democrats' policies to what the progressive parties offer?
Polls have shown that the public are considerably more progressive
than their rulers--I mean their "representatives". Doesn't most
everyone justify their Democrat vote as a lesser-evil vote? If people
didn't vote for an "evil", then would the Democrats get any votes?

> Suppose in that situation that between the Greens and Democrats
> there is a pairwise majority over the lone Republican, but it's not
> a mutual majority, due to a lack of preference sharing. In that case
> an approach that wants to punish defections and elect the Republican,
> has to assume that there was actually some deliberate defection in
> the voters' minds. If that's not so, then the outcome is being ruined
> for no reason. (At least, I can't imagine we would be seeking to
> compel voters to list compromise choices that they don't actually
> consider to be such.)

Wait a minute: For whom is the outcome ruined? To me, the outcome is
ruined if a Dem or Repub wins. A Repub doesn't ruin the outcome
anymore than does a Dem.

For people who sincerely despise the candidates of the other
"non-mutual-majority" voters--for voters who truly don't like A any
better than C--where's the penalty? The only person who is penalized
by the Repub winning instead of the Dem,  is someone who actually
prefers Dem to Repub.

> It seems like for defection punishment to be safe, the candidates
> within a (potentially majority-strength) bloc, and the voters
> supporting them, would need to acknowledge, in some spirit of
> cooperation, that they are indeed a single bloc, and that the
> election is "(all of) us vs. them." Maybe you agree. It's just odd
> to me that you don't fail to use terms like "mutually uncooperative"
> to describe a progressive bloc.

Sure, I admit that it's odd to speak of a mutually-uncooperative
mutual-majority. The uncooperativeness is in regards to _which_ of the
mutual majority's candidates should win. We both quite strongly prefer
A and B to C, whom we both despise. But what If I've been namecallng
your candidate, and lambasting your policy-proposals?

Given the perceived or claimed enmity among progressives, I don't
think we can count on cooperation.

Maybe sometimes a coalition could be worked out (but sometimes maybe
not), but a voting system should make difficult strategy unnecessary.

>> You continued:

>> The practical reality is that the progressives consist of many
>> mutually un-cooperative and (in their perception) inimical parties and
>> factions. But surely all progressives would rather have some
>> progressive party in office, instead of the Republocrats--even though
>> they have no agreement or cooperation regarding which one. Each party
>> says, "We're the alternative. We're the answer."
> Would this change if they managed to comprise a majority?

Sure, then there might be more accomodating talk, and some coalition
effort. But it with a chicken-dilemma-free voting system, that would
all be automatic.

> I have
> trouble seeing why this situation is different from e.g. having
> several Democrats who want to run against a single Republican (say,
> an incumbent).

One difference is that there are genuine policy-differences. Another
difference is that all the Democat candidates are owned by pretty much
the same bribers, and beholden to the same party for being chosen to

>> People at EM tend to have a different approach to voting systems. They
>> seem to regard it as more of a game, with no relation to the question
>> of what could accomplish something,  if anything could. Since almost
>> surely, nothing will be accomplished, it's only a game anyway. It's
>> just that I'm playing a more realistic version of it than most EM'ers
>> are.
> It is a bit like a game, sure. I do think that the specific rules
> of the political system mostly determine the nature of the outcomes,
> meaning (if true) that it's safe and preferable to stick to
> considering election methods in an abstract context that can be
> studied with simulations, etc.

But not too absract. I don't know if GPUS, democratic socialists, and
communists would trust and cooperate in a chicken-dilemma-vulnerable
voting-system, even though their platforms are remarkably the same, in
regards to physical improvements, as opposed to structural issues.

Sending this part 1 now. Continuing later.

to be continued...

Michael Ossipoff

(my computer or e-mail account won't let me highlight and delete the
rest of the text, which I'll reply to when I return to the computer)

>> You continued:
>>>  You seem to be focused on a very specific scenario, where it is very easy
>> to tell (from the scenario definition) who's defecting from which camp and
>> how to punish them for it.
>> [/quote]
>> Well, the trouble is that you can't know for sure that the other party
>> will defect, or that they won't.
> What I mean is, if you tell me that B and C are the Green bloc and the
> B voters don't support C, I know that's defection, but only because you
> told me that B and C are in the same bloc. Normally, elsewhere, I would
> not have that information.
>> Anti-defecion strategy consists of partial defection. Forest suggested
>> that anti-defection strategy a few years ago.
>> That partial defection, as an anti-defection strategy, would always be
>> difficult guesswork. The guess would often be wrong. Often it would
>> fail to prevent successful defection. Often it would give the election
>> away to the Republocrats, even if both parties "co-operated" to the
>> extent of trying for the optimal partial defection (which is also
>> partial co-operation).
>> The strategy would only have deterrrent effectiveness if it created a
>> strong probability of Republocrat win, in the event of the other
>> party's defection. But, in order to ensure that, there would also be a
>> significant probability of giving it away to the Repulocrats even if
>> both parties did the partial cooperation/partial defection.
>> As you suggested, that problem is further compounded by the fact that
>> there aren't just 2 players in that chicken-dilema game. There are
>> lots of progressive parties, with many rivalries and animosities, at
>> various different levels of the progessive family-tree.
>> That anti-defecin stategy, therefore, hardly qualifies as a solution,
>> but it's all that we'd have, with a chicken-dilemma vulnerable voting
>> system. Much better to just not use a chicken-dilemma-vulnerable
>> voting system.
>> That's  why the progressives would need a chicken-dilemma-proof
>> method, such as Benham or Woodall.
>> Sure, you might say that if we could elect a progressive with
>> Plurality, by using, as a progresive-primary, the first presidential
>> election in which progressive votes constitute a majority, then we're
>> co-operative enough to not need a defection-proof voting-system.
>> But the whole point of better voting systems is to improve on
>> Plurality, to reduce strategy-need. The progressives will want to be
>> able to vote sincerely, without intra-progressive strategy, even if
>> they can somehow overcome it to initially elect a progressive govt via
>> Plurality.
> Sure. If they can enact a system that ensures they always have
> incentive to vote as a mutual majority, then they don't have any
> need of e.g. SDSC.
> But this is a long ways off. Isn't there a sense in which it's
> "more realistic," as you say above, to be concerned about whether
> methods satisfy SDSC, or other criteria which could be useful to
> parties that can't win in the short term but want to at least
> collect their share of the votes? I tend to think that there must
> be many progressives who care about being able to support the
> "lesser evil" compromise, and who wouldn't be able to accept your
> advice to just vote sincerely, no matter what.
> Kevin Venzke
> ----
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