[EM] Consensus and PR methods

Rob Lanphier robla at robla.net
Sat Mar 10 19:35:16 PST 2018

Hi Jack and Robert,

Much more inline below

> Date: Wed, March 7, 2018 9:44 pm, From: "Jack Santucci" <jms346 at georgetown.edu>
>> Political scientists like their parties to be few and disciplined. This is
>> said to promote accountability.

Yes, this.  It's very easy to discount the value of a party
infrastructure, but political parties at their best provide valuable
vetting and coordination.  In a capitalist society, we are frequently
confronted by more choices than we know what to do with.  Party labels
provide branding marks that are as useful when voting as branded food
items are at the grocery store.

(and thank you for the Carey and Hix reference; that's going on my reading list)

On Wed, Mar 7, 2018 at 10:58 PM, robert bristow-johnson
<rbj at audioimagination.com> wrote:
> "few" makes sense if it is at least 3 parties that are viable and get people
> elected.  then it wouldn't always fall into that "If you ain't fer us, you
> agin' us!" syndrome of the two-party polarization. [...] and i certainly
> don't want it to be as few as 1 or 0.  that would promote no
> accountability.  if you toss in libertarians and communitarians and maybe
> some wing on the left or right (like Greenies or Vermont Progs or John
> Birch), "few" might mean 6 or 8.
> i like that we have parties (i just wish more than the Dems and GOP) and i
> think they serve a useful purpose in accomplishing sometimes difficult
> political goals.  they do this by consolidation and coalition, and with
> combined numbers, they can demonstrate political will and popular authority.

Agreed!  I think there is a big opportunity right now for the
Democrats to stake out a claim as the hub in a hub-and-spoke model of
party-based partisanship.  The Clinton New Democrats could be the
"let's not do anything too crazy" party at the hub of the system,
built around consensus-based leadership, with room for left-leaning
coalitions to split off who want a more concerted push for specific
policies.  Prudence and respect for governing expertise were taken for
granted prior to 2016, but we've all come to realize that it was a
norm waiting to be broken.  Having one honest broker party that
considers respect for governing and democratic ideals the *topmost*
priorities on their agenda would provide an anchor of administrative
continuity that we're lacking right now.  A good system would let a

> this is why i am an unabashed advocate for RCV decided by Condorcet.  It can
> demonstrate genuine mandate when such might be obscured by a polarized
> 2-party environment.

I've warmed up to Approval voting and simplified Score Voting (as
Kenneth Arrow seemed to like, with "three or four classes" or scores
to keep the strategic voting to a minimum)[1]
[1]: https://electology.org/podcasts/2012-10-06_kenneth_arrow

Being able to tell people "the candidate with the highest approval
rating wins" is powerful in its simplicity.  Plus, Brams' and
Fishburn's assertion that Approval almost always picks the Condorcet
winner[2] sounds compelling and seems intuitive

[2]: http://www.nyu.edu/gsas/dept/politics/faculty/brams/theory_to_practice.pdf

Still, methods that are guaranteed to conform to the Condorcet
criterion are still very appealing to me.  I'm thinking of revisiting
the "Copeland Majority" method I proposed back in 2005:

Rather than starting a new effort, an interesting possibility is to
amend many other methods which are more definitive (e.g. Score/Range,
IRV) but have boundary conditions that make people nervous.  A
"Copeland Majority" winner (i.e. a Condorcet winner) could be allowed
to challenge the IRV or Score winner, which would result in a special

So, for example, one could amend the law in a place that already has
IRV to avert the situation that happened in Burlington in 2009.[3]

[3]: https://wiki.electorama.com/wiki/2009_Burlington,_Vermont_Mayoral_Election

In that election, if a "Copeland Majority Challenge" was possible,
Andy Montroll could have issued a challenge to Bob Kiss, and they
could have had a head-to-head special election.  That would have been
better than what did happen, which was that they held an election to
eliminate IRV, and switch to top-two jungle primary[4].  Note that
Kurt Wright would not have been eligible to challenge

[4]: https://web.archive.org/web/20160409132306/http://www.wcax.com/story/12074080/burlington-voters-repeal-irv

Here in San Francisco, we're using IRV now (as is Oakland, Berkeley,
and San Leandro)  I'm not *aware* of anything as bad as the Burlington
2009 election happening here, though my understanding is that Jean
Quan's election in Oakland in 2011 may have had similar issues (and,
unlike Burlington, it may be that Oakland doesn't publish the
information necessary to analyze it).

There are many things I don't like about Copeland (either in it's
classic form or in the modification I proposed).  But the thing I like
a lot about it is that it's simple to explain to anyone who follows
[5]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017%E2%80%9318_NBA_season#By_conference

Would it be possible to come up with an addition like a "Copeland
Majority Challenge" to make Range and/or IRV more appealing to
Condorcet advocates? (besides myself)?


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