[EM] Chicken Dilemma--To whom is it a problem? (pt 1)

Michael Ossipoff email9648742 at gmail.com
Wed Oct 16 19:47:44 PDT 2013

On Wed, Oct 16, 2013 at 7:58 PM, Kevin Venzke <stepjak at yahoo.fr> wrote:


>> 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
>> parties.
> I didn't mean to imply that Democrats would be considered by you to
> be "progressive," just that a mutual majority including Democrats
> and Greens might be possible in some situation.

Certainly. I think that there are Green-preferrers who prefer Dem to
Repub, enough to express that preference in a ranking. I'm just saying
that I wouldn't be in that mutual majority. But I feel that, if voters
read a few platforms, there would be a mutual majority among

> Your last paragraph is thought-provoking though. You are a voter
> who won't accept a mutual majority with Democrats. Would you consider
> doing so, under Benham/Woodall?

No. Not even with IRV. Dem isn't worse than Repub (Though it's been
often said that Clinton and Obama are worse than Nixon, that's partly
because of a general overall Republocrat worsening). Sometimes Dem
seems to offer a few things a little better, during campaigns. But
there's never much, if any, truth to the difference that they claim.
"Progressives in the campaign, Republicans in office." Other than
Bush, how many Republicans have presided over as much massacre as
Obama has? Even a Congressmember, Cynthia McKinney, referred to Obama
as a war criminal.

Though Dem isn't worse than Repub, it's largely a matter of principle
with me, to not endorse the Republocrats by voting for any of them. A
matter of aesthetics too.

> Surely even among the parties you
> deem progressive you will find find some voters with the same type
> of insistence, that some other progressive candidate is no better
> than the worst evil, and they'll never vote for him, etc.

Yes, I'm ;afraid that you're probably right. And that's regrettable
and mistaken on their part, because, as I was mentioning, the
progressive platforms are remarkably similar. I'd rank almost every
one of the progressive parties over all of the non-progressive
parties.( "Almost"? There might be one or two that are so hostile to
other progressives as to keep me from voting for them--not for
strategic reasons, but because it brings their desirability into

But yes, there could be some progressives who feel as you describe.
...or think they do. Maybe, confronted with a no-chicken-dilemma
method, they'd realize that they _do_ like that other progressive
party better than the nonprogressives, and realize that they don't
want to elect the Republocrats for the sake of expressing angry

If they really don't, then of course they won't be coerced to help
them, or penalized if they don't.

I'm hoping that the progressives are a mutual majority, and that
they'll vote accordingly.

> Is it actually the case that your motivation behind Benham/Woodall
> is to try to compel voters as principled as *yourself* to accept a
> compromise?

It wouldn't work.

If they reallly don't like think my party is better than the
Republocrats, then they suffer no penalty by defecting, and they
experience no coercion to co-operate. But yes, part of my motivation
is to discourage frivolous defection that doesn't result from
genuinely-felt indifference. ...But also to _allow_ sincere voting.
For me, as well as others.

It's a serious question: Are principled voters the
> solution or the problem?

The solution, especially right now, with Plurality. With Benham or
Woodall, refusal, on principle, to rank genuinely-unliked parties,
over worse ones, isn't really of great practical importance. But
principle would never be a problem. If the Greens refuse to rank the
Pirate Party on genuine principle, Benham or Woodall won't be able to
change their mind.

>>>  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.
> Broadly, if it was the Greens declining to support Democrats rather
> than the other way around, then the outcome is ruined for
> 1. The Greens, because another method (an SDSC-compliant one) would
> in fact have *elected* the Green; and
> 2. The Democrats, because they could at least have won a Green
> victory, if they hadn't voted for the Democrat or had pressured him
> to drop out.
> A fairly typical spoiler situation.

That will take more examination. I'm not, right now, qualified to
comment. But let me make a few offhand unqualified comments:

The Greens have no right to expect to benefit from a mutual majority
that doesn't exist (because they genuinely don't like Dem better than
Repub), or one that exists but is defected-from by them.

In the simple 3-candidate examples, the defector who can't win is the
smaller (favorite of fewer) of the two mutual-majority candidates, and
the pairwise-loser among those two candidates.

The larger of those two candidates is the one who would have won if
no-one defects, and s/he is the one who can win if only s/he defects.
(...because s/he pairwise beats the other, and pairwise beats the
Republican too (with the help of the other, non-defecting, faction),
and thereby wins as CW, in Benham or Woodall.)

>>>  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
>> run.
> Interesting. So I guess one might guess that supporters of Democrats
> would be more willing to form a mutual majority, than a group of
> progressives would, since the progressive policies must be more
> diverse.

Probably (If there really even are any Democrat-preferrers). But,
really, the progressive platforms are so similar that the
progressives, too should mutually prefer eachother to the
nonprogressive Republocrats.

> I don't know. Just remembering the possible Republican presidential
> nominees in 2012, it seems there's strong incentive for one candidate
> to claim a contrast between themselves and the other candidates, even
> similar ones.

Sure. But refusing to support a mutual-majority candidate whom you
really like better than Worst wouldn't be a good idea.

Michael Ossipoff

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