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Fnord
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06 Mar 2012, 8:23 pm

Those who favor a system with more than two parties favor minority rule, plain and simple.

Besides, the U.S. of A. already has an electoral system with more than two parties. It's just that most voters favor candidates from either the Democratic Party or the Republican Party, and consider all of the rest as "Also-Rans", if they consider those candidates at all.

These Also-Rans have the onus upon them to raise both their profiles and reputations in the eyes of the electorate, especially with those of us who claim no political affiliation whatsoever. They have to do more than take out back-page ads or buy air time at 3:00 a.m. on some ethnic or independent UHF station. They have to actually accomplish something outside the political arenas - something that the electorate will recognize and appreciate, and that the electorate will permanently connect with a particular Also-Ran party.

Until then, each major election will be a two-horse race ... with a pack of stray dogs yapping in the dust behind them.



AstroGeek
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06 Mar 2012, 8:41 pm

To be fair, it costs so much money to get someone elected in the US that only the two established parties can really do it.

And I did of course know that you have third parties. I was just referring to the fact that effectively you have a two party system.



enrico_dandolo
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06 Mar 2012, 9:07 pm

AstroGeek wrote:
They are useless in a two party system. But in a multiparty system they might serve some purpose: I might really like Party A and give them 3/4 of my vote. But I know that only parties B and C stand a serious chance of winning. As I really hate C, I give the remaining 1/4 of my vote to B to help that party out against C. That said, I still think that instant runoff voting would work better in this situation.

I did not talk about two party systems at all, actually; or rather, I only referenced it.

Splitting votes is very nice and all, but it doesn't change the fact that it is an inefficient way to vote. It would be better to vote for one candidate and retain all your voting power.

To be precise, two party systems are not something that "happens" or "is" magically, it is a consequence of the FPTP voting system. "Vote splitting" wouldn't change anything, because it would still be better to give all one's vote to one candidate.

We could take Canada for example. If, in the last election, the people who liked the Liberals a lot and the NDP a bit split their vote 75%-25%, and the people who like the NDP did the same, the results would be very similar to what we have seen. It contested seats where both parties had the same number of votes, it would be identical. For everyone involved, it is better to reduce the number of candidates; it is better to vote for one winner than to give kudos to several losing parties.

I don't like FPTP, but this is not a solution.

Fnord wrote:
Those who favor a system with more than two parties favor minority rule, plain and simple.

In two-party systems, elections are basically about choosing the lesser of two evils, as neither party really represents anyone.

Having multiple party doesn't mean a minority will rule. It all depends on how it is done. If they collaborate and form coalitions, they can easily represent the majority -- not just the majority of ballots cast, but also the majority of actual opinions. This is especially a blessing for Green parties, as they generally want to raise one issue, not govern the country.

(Canada is not an example of this, of course. There is much silliness in our political system.)

Fnord wrote:
Besides, the U.S. of A. already has an electoral system with more than two parties.

"Two-party systems" are not as formally established as "one-party systems". They exist de facto; there always are useless third parties. If none have a chance at being elected or even just relevant, then it is a two-party system. For all practical purposes, the United States have two parties, and have had the same since the Reconstruction, unless I am gravely mistaken.



anarkhos
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07 Mar 2012, 7:19 am

How about not voting.

It's the same as voting, but you use your time more productively.



Roman
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07 Mar 2012, 8:54 am

enrico_dandolo wrote:
Splitting votes is very nice and all, but it doesn't change the fact that it is an inefficient way to vote. It would be better to vote for one candidate and retain all your voting power.


Here are the examples where you want to split votes.

1. Suppose you have 3 candidates: Obama, mcCain and Hitler. In this case you are a lot more concerned about preventing Hitler from winning election than choosing between Obama and mcCain. So in my case (I was voting for mcCain) I would give Obama 0 points, mcCain 1 point, and Hitler -9 points (remember I mentioned ''negative'' points). On the other hand, if I were to use ''full vote'' for mcCain then there would be no way for me to indicate that I am against Hitler a lot more than against Obama.

2. Even though I support republicans over democrates, I also think Green Party got some good pionts. Now, if I can't split votes, I know that Green party won't be elected anyway, so I just cast my vote to republicans. On the other hand, if I could split vote, I would give 2/3 of vote to republicans and 1/3 to Green party. Now if a lot of people were to do it, then all of a sudden Green party would receive 30% of the vote. Since things will begin to look more promising for green party, next election people will give it half a vote rather than 1/3 of votes, and then perhaps few elections down the road we would have Green party president.

enrico_dandolo wrote:
To be precise, two party systems are not something that "happens" or "is" magically, it is a consequence of the FPTP voting system.


Well other countries with similar voting system have a lot more than two candidates who are on approximately similar levels.

enrico_dandolo wrote:
We could take Canada for example. If, in the last election, the people who liked the Liberals a lot and the NDP a bit split their vote 75%-25%, and the people who like the NDP did the same, the results would be very similar to what we have seen. It contested seats where both parties had the same number of votes, it would be identical. For everyone involved, it is better to reduce the number of candidates; it is better to vote for one winner than to give kudos to several losing parties.


What you seem to assume is that if people in party A are willing to give 25% of vote to party B then people in party B will be willing to give 25% of vote to party A. THis might not be the case. Suppose the candidate in party A is "more diplomatic" than the one in party B. As a result, party B candidate manages to scare off party A to the extend that tehy are only willing to give him 5% of the vote. Then the candidate from party A clearly wins. In other words, there will be additional pressure to ''please'' the ''competting'' parties in order to obtain more of the split vote.

enrico_dandolo wrote:
Having multiple party doesn't mean a minority will rule. It all depends on how it is done. If they collaborate and form coalitions, they can easily represent the majority -- not just the majority of ballots cast, but also the majority of actual opinions. This is especially a blessing for Green parties, as they generally want to raise one issue, not govern the country.


They don't have to form coalitions to the point of having joint agenda. The better course of action is to agree on the important things that would please majority of people and, at the same time, bring some of their own stuff to the table. That additional stuff is something most people wouldn't think of, but at the same time it is something they would be indifferent-to-positive about once they do hear it.

enrico_dandolo wrote:
"Two-party systems" are not as formally established as "one-party systems". They exist de facto; there always are useless third parties. If none have a chance at being elected or even just relevant, then it is a two-party system. For all practical purposes, the United States have two parties, and have had the same since the Reconstruction, unless I am gravely mistaken.


Vote splitting can quickly bring green party and others to the forefront since they will receive a lot of split votes in the first election whch would ultimately encourage them to receive ''bigger'' split-votes or even full votes in subsequent elections.



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07 Mar 2012, 9:18 am

enrico_dandolo wrote:
No it wouldn't.

If the Republicans give part of their vote to the Democratic candidate, they also help the Democratic candidate to win over the Republicans to start with. They would prefer one Democrat over another, but they still don't want either.


Yeah but they also live in the real world and they realize that a democrates might well win; so don't they want to take care of the situation IF they do? Suppose one of the "democrates" is so far left that he is actually a blatant communist. Now, even if you are republican, don't you want to spend at least fraction of the vote making sure that if one of the democrates wins it won't be that notorious communist?

enrico_dandolo wrote:
It is like asking: "Would you prefer an ice cream, a banana muffin a kick in the face or a stab wound in the chest?"


The reason this question sounds silly is because no one is going to kick you in the face or stub you. But let us now assume we are at war and you were one of the soldiers being asked to go into location A which is dangerous in one way or location B which is dangerous in another way. This kind of "voting" would no longer be as silly.

Remember -- you don't get kicks in the face every day. But democrates/republicans have to face their opposing side being elected every second election. Thus, to them, it is a real issue to try to "smooth out" the negative outcome, if one is to occur.

enrico_dandolo wrote:
I may want the ice cream more than the banana muffin, and prefer the kick to the stab; but if helping the kick over the stab hinders my chance of getting either ice cream or muffin, why would I even consider it?


Again, your implicit assumption is that either kick or stub is extremely unlikely to occur. If, on the other hand, you were to receive kicks/stubs daily, then this might, in fact, be even more important issue than ice cream/ muffin, and well worth spending part of your vote on.

enrico_dandolo wrote:
Even more: if I don't really like muffin and love ice cream, and both have equal chance of winning, why would I even vote for the muffin if it hinders my chance of getting ice cream?


You will vote for muffin in order to take care of the situation if other people like muffin more. In this case, ice cream won't win anyway. So if you spend all your vote on ice cream then "kick on the face" will win, but if you spend part of the vote on muffin then hopefully muffin will win over "kick in the face".

Now I am not saying ice cream is losing. You don't know if it does or not. But you want to "take care" of the case IF it does; hence you spend part of your vote on muffin in order to "take care" of the situation of ice cream losing, and part of the vote on ice cream in order to "take care" of the situation if ice cream has winning chance.

enrico_dandolo wrote:
A way to make your objective more workable would be to involve Republican voters in the Democratic primaries, and vice versa


That would actually be a very bad thing to do. In this case, if Hitler is one of the republicans then he will get all of the democratic vote on a primary. After all, if Hitler were to win the republican primary, then on the general election most of the republicans will vote for ''lesser evil" -- that is, a democrate -- and democrates will win. So, since democrates want to win in general election, they would be strategically voting for Hitler on republican primary if they were allowed to do so. That is probably why competing parties don't, and shouldn't, participate on each other's primaries.

On the other hand, the above issue would NOT occur on a general election. In fact, if there was NO primary altogether, and BOTH Hitler and the other republican were to participate in general election, the democrates would give split vote to the other republican in order to vote out Hitler. Since democrates would probably be more passionate in voting out Hitler than republicans are, the "split vote" from the democrates will clearly help.

This brings me to somewhat unrelated issue -- regardless of whether we have split votes or not, I don't understand why there are primaries altogether? Why does each party have to put forth just one candidate? Why can't we, instead, have SEVERAL democratic candidates and SEVERAL republican candidates ALL participating in general election? That would, for example, give an apportunity for independents to favor one candidate of each party over the other, which can't be done in the primary.



Roman
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07 Mar 2012, 9:30 am

Speaking of Green party, this is one example when my system is better than preferential voting. In case of preferenial voting, the "second votes" that Green party would receive would not help it win. After all, in order for them to count, one of the parties that receive the corresponding "first votes" (which would be either democrates or republicans) need to "miserably lose" -- to the point of being BEHIND Green party -- which won't happen.

On the other hand, in case of my system, people would spend 1/3 of their vote on Green party and that one vote WILL count. True, Green party will still only get 30% vote and won't win the first such election. But 4 years later people will look back, remember that green party had 30% of the vote, and "take it more seriously"; thus they will start casting their full votes to Green party 4 years later and it WILL win then.

But in order to "get hte ball rolling" we need that first election when the Green Party gets 30% of vote. This can only happen if people can make "split votes" -- that way they won't be thinking that they are "wasting" their vote whenever they vote for Green party.



enrico_dandolo
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07 Mar 2012, 10:30 am

Roman wrote:
enrico_dandolo wrote:
Splitting votes is very nice and all, but it doesn't change the fact that it is an inefficient way to vote. It would be better to vote for one candidate and retain all your voting power.


Here are the examples where you want to split votes.

1. Suppose you have 3 candidates: Obama, mcCain and Hitler. In this case you are a lot more concerned about preventing Hitler from winning election than choosing between Obama and mcCain. So in my case (I was voting for mcCain) I would give Obama 0 points, mcCain 1 point, and Hitler -9 points (remember I mentioned ''negative'' points). On the other hand, if I were to use ''full vote'' for mcCain then there would be no way for me to indicate that I am against Hitler a lot more than against Obama.

2. Even though I support republicans over democrates, I also think Green Party got some good pionts. Now, if I can't split votes, I know that Green party won't be elected anyway, so I just cast my vote to republicans. On the other hand, if I could split vote, I would give 2/3 of vote to republicans and 1/3 to Green party. Now if a lot of people were to do it, then all of a sudden Green party would receive 30% of the vote. Since things will begin to look more promising for green party, next election people will give it half a vote rather than 1/3 of votes, and then perhaps few elections down the road we would have Green party president.


I would agree with negative votes. But there no point in overly dividing it. As I (kind of) said, it would at best be ternary: there would be vote +, no vote and vote -; and the best choice would be many no vote, and one vote +/-.

I think you maybe have a point with the Green Party, but it would be more useful to make them credible in the long run than to make your voice heard in this election. As most people who would like the Green party would be Democrat, if, on average, they gave 10% of their votes to Green and 90% to the Democrats, then there would be 10% less votes to the Democrats -- bang! Republican president.

However, even if it might be better than the present system, the point is that there are better ways to do this. Many of them. There are many variations of preferential voting, there is the idea to use proportional representation for elected chambers, you can use several rounds (like the French presidentials), you can use elements of random selection, etc. -- all of which are more sensible than "split votes", which are useless.

Roman wrote:
enrico_dandolo wrote:
To be precise, two party systems are not something that "happens" or "is" magically, it is a consequence of the FPTP voting system.

Well other countries with similar voting system have a lot more than two candidates who are on approximately similar levels.


Canada is one. Since 1867, there have been two different ruling parties (well, save for the 1917 election, but the Unionist were basically wartime Conservatives). However, the NDP is a credible force at the moment, we have (had?) a regional party in Quebec, etc. But then, as even one MP for a minority party can be actually useful on his own, it is different from the presidential elections.

That doesn't mean it is theoretically ideal. As I said, most of the past 150 years, it has been Conservatives vs Liberals, with occasional wild card thid parties to bring minority governments.

Roman wrote:
enrico_dandolo wrote:
We could take Canada for example. If, in the last election, the people who liked the Liberals a lot and the NDP a bit split their vote 75%-25%, and the people who like the NDP did the same, the results would be very similar to what we have seen. It contested seats where both parties had the same number of votes, it would be identical. For everyone involved, it is better to reduce the number of candidates; it is better to vote for one winner than to give kudos to several losing parties.


What you seem to assume is that if people in party A are willing to give 25% of vote to party B then people in party B will be willing to give 25% of vote to party A. THis might not be the case. Suppose the candidate in party A is "more diplomatic" than the one in party B. As a result, party B candidate manages to scare off party A to the extend that tehy are only willing to give him 5% of the vote. Then the candidate from party A clearly wins. In other words, there will be additional pressure to ''please'' the ''competting'' parties in order to obtain more of the split vote.


In my example, there was an implicit winning Party C (the Conservatives). It wins neither more nor less with vote splitting. + I was talking on average.

You seem to assume that people are already convinced before anything happens. Most are not. It is already useful to appeal to people not exactly on your side yet -- to get their full vote, not symbolic tenths. There is no point appealing to people who already vote for you...

Roman wrote:
enrico_dandolo wrote:
Having multiple party doesn't mean a minority will rule. It all depends on how it is done. If they collaborate and form coalitions, they can easily represent the majority -- not just the majority of ballots cast, but also the majority of actual opinions. This is especially a blessing for Green parties, as they generally want to raise one issue, not govern the country.


They don't have to form coalitions to the point of having joint agenda. The better course of action is to agree on the important things that would please majority of people and, at the same time, bring some of their own stuff to the table. That additional stuff is something most people wouldn't think of, but at the same time it is something they would be indifferent-to-positive about once they do hear it.

Coalition governments don't need joint agenda. What you describe is basically it.

Second post:

Roman wrote:
Yeah but they also live in the real world and they realize that a democrates might well win; so don't they want to take care of the situation IF they do? Suppose one of the "democrates" is so far left that he is actually a blatant communist. Now, even if you are republican, don't you want to spend at least fraction of the vote making sure that if one of the democrates wins it won't be that notorious communist?

Then they should vote entirely for they lesser-of-two-evils Democrat. Or just make sure there is only one candidate on the Republican side -- oh, wait, they already do.

Roman wrote:
The reason this question sounds silly is because no one is going to kick you in the face or stub you. But let us now assume we are at war and you were one of the soldiers being asked to go into location A which is dangerous in one way or location B which is dangerous in another way. This kind of "voting" would no longer be as silly.

I said we must assume, in my example, that many people like pain where I live. The point was to compare several goods and several evils.

Roman wrote:
You will vote for muffin in order to take care of the situation if other people like muffin more. In this case, ice cream won't win anyway. So if you spend all your vote on ice cream then "kick on the face" will win, but if you spend part of the vote on muffin then hopefully muffin will win over "kick in the face".

Now I am not saying ice cream is losing. You don't know if it does or not. But you want to "take care" of the case IF it does; hence you spend part of your vote on muffin in order to "take care" of the situation of ice cream losing, and part of the vote on ice cream in order to "take care" of the situation if ice cream has winning chance.


Why should I take care of the issue if I don't know? It is better to make my candidate win that to make it lose.

Remember, the point of primaries and of party-affiliated candidates is to avoid "ice cream or muffin?" situations. Groups of people with similar opinions (parties) make sure beforehand that they have only one option for their side, ideally one who will give them the best chance at election, and then put forward this one person.

Let us say 50% of the population like pain, and will vote for either kicks of stabs. The rest like food, and will vote for muffin or ice cream. Let us say those who like pain form the Sufferer Party, and they decide to only present offer a deep stab in the chest. The food people are not organized, and don't, so there is both muffin and ice cream on the ballots. What will happen?

Under standard FPTP:
Deep stab in the chest -> 50%
Ice cream -> 25%
Muffin -> 25%

With split votes (let us say, on average, that food people give 90% for their choice, and 10% for the other):
Deep stab in the chest -> 50%
Ice cream -> 25%
Muffin -> 25%

It might give different results with negative votes, but I don't see why they would have to be split in the first place. I don't see why there couldn't just be several full votes.

Several full votes:
Deep stab in the chest -> 50%
Ice cream -> 50%
Muffin -> 50%

Roman wrote:
That would actually be a very bad thing to do. In this case, if Hitler is one of the republicans then he will get all of the democratic vote on a primary. After all, if Hitler were to win the republican primary, then on the general election most of the republicans will vote for ''lesser evil" -- that is, a democrate -- and democrates will win. So, since democrates want to win in general election, they would be strategically voting for Hitler on republican primary if they were allowed to do so. That is probably why competing parties don't, and shouldn't, participate on each other's primaries.

That is what I meant when I said: "helping the other party choose a moderate would help them win too, so it is unlikely it would work." Sorry, it might not have been clear, it was a very secondary point.

Roman wrote:
Speaking of Green party, this is one example when my system is better than preferential voting. In case of preferenial voting, the "second votes" that Green party would receive would not help it win. After all, in order for them to count, one of the parties that receive the corresponding "first votes" (which would be either democrates or republicans) need to "miserably lose" -- to the point of being BEHIND Green party -- which won't happen.

On the other hand, in case of my system, people would spend 1/3 of their vote on Green party and that one vote WILL count. True, Green party will still only get 30% vote and won't win the first such election. But 4 years later people will look back, remember that green party had 30% of the vote, and "take it more seriously"; thus they will start casting their full votes to Green party 4 years later and it WILL win then.

But in order to "get hte ball rolling" we need that first election when the Green Party gets 30% of vote. This can only happen if people can make "split votes" -- that way they won't be thinking that they are "wasting" their vote whenever they vote for Green party.

Why would the split votes help them more? Whatever happens, they will miserably lose. The second votes might very well be enough to get the ball rolling, just as the split votes. If they were the second choice of everyone... I think it does make them more credible.

(Of course, this all depends on what form of preferrential voting is used.)

In any case, the Greens are credible forces only where there is proportionnal representation, AFAIK. They could hardly form a government in their pure form of issue party, only be part of it.



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10 Mar 2012, 1:50 pm

enrico_dandolo wrote:
Roman wrote:
enrico_dandolo wrote:
Splitting votes is very nice and all, but it doesn't change the fact that it is an inefficient way to vote. It would be better to vote for one candidate and retain all your voting power.


Here are the examples where you want to split votes.

1. Suppose you have 3 candidates: Obama, mcCain and Hitler. In this case you are a lot more concerned about preventing Hitler from winning election than choosing between Obama and mcCain. So in my case (I was voting for mcCain) I would give Obama 0 points, mcCain 1 point, and Hitler -9 points (remember I mentioned ''negative'' points). On the other hand, if I were to use ''full vote'' for mcCain then there would be no way for me to indicate that I am against Hitler a lot more than against Obama.

2. Even though I support republicans over democrates, I also think Green Party got some good pionts. Now, if I can't split votes, I know that Green party won't be elected anyway, so I just cast my vote to republicans. On the other hand, if I could split vote, I would give 2/3 of vote to republicans and 1/3 to Green party. Now if a lot of people were to do it, then all of a sudden Green party would receive 30% of the vote. Since things will begin to look more promising for green party, next election people will give it half a vote rather than 1/3 of votes, and then perhaps few elections down the road we would have Green party president.


I would agree with negative votes. But there no point in overly dividing it. As I (kind of) said, it would at best be ternary: there would be vote +, no vote and vote -; and the best choice would be many no vote, and one vote +/-.


Well, what if there is one really good candidate, one really bad one, and the rest in-between. If you want to ''vote in'' a really good one and ''vote out'' a really bad one at the same time, that is one thing vote splitting can accomplish. Another example, like I mentioned, is green party. More on it below:

enrico_dandolo wrote:
I think you maybe have a point with the Green Party, but it would be more useful to make them credible in the long run than to make your voice heard in this election. As most people who would like the Green party would be Democrat, if, on average, they gave 10% of their votes to Green and 90% to the Democrats, then there would be 10% less votes to the Democrats -- bang! Republican president.


Well how about another situation. Suppose there is some party -- call it Party X -- that equally appeals to both democrates and republicans. Now X is still a third party, so both democrates and republicans are reluctant to vote for it. But, if you split vote, it is possible that each democrate decides to give 2/3 to democratic party and 1/3 to party X, while each republican will give 2/3 to republican party and 1/3 to party X. Now if the members of party X will decide to give most of their votes to their own party, then party X will win an election! This would have never happened if it wasn't for split vote.

enrico_dandolo wrote:
Roman wrote:
Speaking of Green party, this is one example when my system is better than preferential voting. In case of preferenial voting, the "second votes" that Green party would receive would not help it win. After all, in order for them to count, one of the parties that receive the corresponding "first votes" (which would be either democrates or republicans) need to "miserably lose" -- to the point of being BEHIND Green party -- which won't happen.

On the other hand, in case of my system, people would spend 1/3 of their vote on Green party and that one vote WILL count. True, Green party will still only get 30% vote and won't win the first such election. But 4 years later people will look back, remember that green party had 30% of the vote, and "take it more seriously"; thus they will start casting their full votes to Green party 4 years later and it WILL win then.

But in order to "get hte ball rolling" we need that first election when the Green Party gets 30% of vote. This can only happen if people can make "split votes" -- that way they won't be thinking that they are "wasting" their vote whenever they vote for Green party.

Why would the split votes help them more? Whatever happens, they will miserably lose. The second votes might very well be enough to get the ball rolling, just as the split votes. If they were the second choice of everyone... I think it does make them more credible..


If green party gets all the second votes, people would say ''so we know that everyone likes it since it gets second votes, but it would never win election because these are never first votes'', hence they woud continue give it only second votes and things will stay there. On the other hand, if Green party gets split votes, people would say ''Wow, because of the split vote it is no longer as far behind; in fact it would have won election if only our split vote was 1/3 rather than 1/6". So next election they would give it 1/3 split vote and it would, in fact, win (after all, democrates and republicans would get 2/3*1/2=1/3, and greens would be ahead due to the ''margin'' created by Greens giving most of their votes to their own party).

enrico_dandolo wrote:
In any case, the Greens are credible forces only where there is proportionnal representation, AFAIK. They could hardly form a government in their pure form of issue party, only be part of it.


I think Greens probably do have some vision of their politics regarding other issues -- after all, they do try to become president, so they must have something in mind. But even if they didn't, still my point would stand regarding other third parties.

enrico_dandolo wrote:
However, even if it might be better than the present system, the point is that there are better ways to do this. Many of them. There are many variations of preferential voting, there is the idea to use proportional representation for elected chambers, you can use several rounds (like the French presidentials), you can use elements of random selection, etc. -- all of which are more sensible than "split votes", which are useless..


I am aware of proportional representation when it comes to congress. But in this post I am specifically discussing the election of a president. In this case it is hard to imagine ''proportional representation'' since president is just one person

enrico_dandolo wrote:
Roman wrote:
What you seem to assume is that if people in party A are willing to give 25% of vote to party B then people in party B will be willing to give 25% of vote to party A. THis might not be the case. Suppose the candidate in party A is "more diplomatic" than the one in party B. As a result, party B candidate manages to scare off party A to the extend that tehy are only willing to give him 5% of the vote. Then the candidate from party A clearly wins. In other words, there will be additional pressure to ''please'' the ''competting'' parties in order to obtain more of the split vote.


In my example, there was an implicit winning Party C (the Conservatives). It wins neither more nor less with vote splitting. + I was talking on average.


Are you trying to say party C wins because parties A and B split supporters while party C doesnt split? Well, from what you told me before about Canada all three parties win from time to time? Anyway I don't know much about Canada so I just go by what you said. But, the point is that IF parties A and B both win often enough, then ''splitting of vote'' would make one of them win more often than the other. For instance if party A is willing to ''split vote'' with party B more than party B is willing to ''split'' with party A (both ''splitting'' happen in order to vote out C) then party B will be winning more often. That was the point I was trying to make. In your original example you said that each party would ''split'' exactly 25%. Do you actually KNOW it or are you just guessing? Because the fact that these two numbers would so closely coincide is actually pretty hard to believe.

enrico_dandolo wrote:
You seem to assume that people are already convinced before anything happens. Most are not. .


I was simply trying to simplify things as much as possible in order to emphasize my point. But if people don't have minds made up it doesn't invalidate any of what I said. It simply brings forth another dimension.

enrico_dandolo wrote:
It is already useful to appeal to people not exactly on your side yet -- to get their full vote, not symbolic tenths. There is no point appealing to people who already vote for you....


But we are talking about statistics here. In our present situation, you are statistically trying to appeal to independants, while in the split-vote situation you might end up appealing to people already-affiliated with other parties. Now, yes, it happens that democrate gives full vote to republican; but that is rare. So from STATISTICAL point of view, democrates will have ''more'' influence on republicans in cases of split vote -- after all ''democrate willing to give FRACTION OF VOTE to republican'' (especially since third party and others will now become REAL players whom democrate might be trying to vote out) will be more likely than a ''democrate giving full vote to republican''.

enrico_dandolo wrote:
Roman wrote:
The reason this question sounds silly is because no one is going to kick you in the face or stub you. But let us now assume we are at war and you were one of the soldiers being asked to go into location A which is dangerous in one way or location B which is dangerous in another way. This kind of "voting" would no longer be as silly.

I said we must assume, in my example, that many people like pain where I live. The point was to compare several goods and several evils..


And if they do, then it would make sense to try to ''vote out'' the pain by voting partly for ice cream and partly for muffin. Thus, whichever of the two will ''happen'' to be ''borderline-winning'' will ''actually'' win because of your vote, which would allow you to avoid pain.

enrico_dandolo wrote:
Roman wrote:
You will vote for muffin in order to take care of the situation if other people like muffin more. In this case, ice cream won't win anyway. So if you spend all your vote on ice cream then "kick on the face" will win, but if you spend part of the vote on muffin then hopefully muffin will win over "kick in the face".

Now I am not saying ice cream is losing. You don't know if it does or not. But you want to "take care" of the case IF it does; hence you spend part of your vote on muffin in order to "take care" of the situation of ice cream losing, and part of the vote on ice cream in order to "take care" of the situation if ice cream has winning chance.


Why should I take care of the issue if I don't know? It is better to make my candidate win that to make it lose..


Because you are a lot more concerned about avoiding pain than about the kind of desert you will eat.

enrico_dandolo wrote:
Remember, the point of primaries and of party-affiliated candidates is to avoid "ice cream or muffin?" situations. Groups of people with similar opinions (parties) make sure beforehand that they have only one option for their side, ideally one who will give them the best chance at election, and then put forward this one person.

Let us say 50% of the population like pain, and will vote for either kicks of stabs. The rest like food, and will vote for muffin or ice cream. Let us say those who like pain form the Sufferer Party, and they decide to only present offer a deep stab in the chest. The food people are not organized, and don't, so there is both muffin and ice cream on the ballots. What will happen?

Under standard FPTP:
Deep stab in the chest -> 50%
Ice cream -> 25%
Muffin -> 25%


Okay, now I understand why primaries are important. Basically, ''not'' having a primary would put a given party at a huge disadvantage, per what you just explained.

However, if we will have Green party in the picture (after all, as I explained earlier, partial vote will ''help out'' Green party immensely) then ice cream and muffin might end up being two different parties; in this case there is no way to do primaries accorss parties so we would still have ice cream or muffin situation.



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11 Mar 2012, 5:22 pm

Roman wrote:
Well how about another situation. Suppose there is some party -- call it Party X -- that equally appeals to both democrates and republicans. Now X is still a third party, so both democrates and republicans are reluctant to vote for it. But, if you split vote, it is possible that each democrate decides to give 2/3 to democratic party and 1/3 to party X, while each republican will give 2/3 to republican party and 1/3 to party X. Now if the members of party X will decide to give most of their votes to their own party, then party X will win an election! This would have never happened if it wasn't for split vote.

But then why would the Republicans and Democrats give away a third of their vote? Are you saying that only the members of Party X are actually capable of comprehending the electoral system?

You seem to always assume that the voters are irrational. Well, that is not untrue, but they are not so blatantly irrational that they will waste the power of their decision so much. That is basically why most most states send Great Electors favorable to only one candidate, no matter how slim the margin of victory: because splitting your power is losing your power.

Roman wrote:
If green party gets all the second votes, people would say ''so we know that everyone likes it since it gets second votes, but it would never win election because these are never first votes'', hence they woud continue give it only second votes and things will stay there. On the other hand, if Green party gets split votes, people would say ''Wow, because of the split vote it is no longer as far behind; in fact it would have won election if only our split vote was 1/3 rather than 1/6". So next election they would give it 1/3 split vote and it would, in fact, win (after all, democrates and republicans would get 2/3*1/2=1/3, and greens would be ahead due to the ''margin'' created by Greens giving most of their votes to their own party).

Once again, why would anyone give away part of their vote is beyond my understanding. At least, second choices would be mandatory.

Split votes would make the whole thing more fluid than standard FTTP, but not enough for it to make a difference.

Roman wrote:
enrico_dandolo wrote:
In any case, the Greens are credible forces only where there is proportionnal representation, AFAIK. They could hardly form a government in their pure form of issue party, only be part of it.


I think Greens probably do have some vision of their politics regarding other issues -- after all, they do try to become president, so they must have something in mind. But even if they didn't, still my point would stand regarding other third parties.

Yes, but they are still a single-issue party at their core. They have other opinions, but either as a side-effect of the population drawn to them, which is overwhelmingly left-leaning, or as a way to become slightly more credible.

Roman wrote:
enrico_dandolo wrote:
However, even if it might be better than the present system, the point is that there are better ways to do this. Many of them. There are many variations of preferential voting, there is the idea to use proportional representation for elected chambers, you can use several rounds (like the French presidentials), you can use elements of random selection, etc. -- all of which are more sensible than "split votes", which are useless..

I am aware of proportional representation when it comes to congress. But in this post I am specifically discussing the election of a president. In this case it is hard to imagine ''proportional representation'' since president is just one person


There are still better ways: instant run-off, two-round elections, etc. I also posted earlier the system used for the Venetian ducal elections, which was used for five centuries with good results. (I have not, however, found my nice charts.)

Roman wrote:
Are you trying to say party C wins because parties A and B split supporters while party C doesnt split? Well, from what you told me before about Canada all three parties win from time to time? Anyway I don't know much about Canada so I just go by what you said.


No, Canada has seen 150 years of Conservative (under many names) and Liberal government. More variation than in the US, however. There are also useful third-parties from time to time, which can cause minority governments, but they have never formed a government. Also, individual MPs have some independence in critical situations, and a government elected with majority can lose it and be overthrown in Parliament. In the past two decade, the Bloc québécois had most seats in Quebec, which was at the root of several consecutive minority governments. Also, the latest election saw the Liberals almost eliminated, and the NDP as official opposition, but nobody really knows what will happen the next time. The Liberals and NDP might merge, or one of them might disappear, but whatever happens, it is an extraordinary situation.

Roman wrote:
But, the point is that IF parties A and B both win often enough, then ''splitting of vote'' would make one of them win more often than the other. For instance if party A is willing to ''split vote'' with party B more than party B is willing to ''split'' with party A (both ''splitting'' happen in order to vote out C) then party B will be winning more often. That was the point I was trying to make. In your original example you said that each party would ''split'' exactly 25%. Do you actually KNOW it or are you just guessing? Because the fact that these two numbers would so closely coincide is actually pretty hard to believe.


I was just guessing. To be honest, some Liberals would also be sympathetic to a Conservative government. It has little effect on the fact that it is useless to split in the first place, however.

Roman wrote:
But we are talking about statistics here. In our present situation, you are statistically trying to appeal to independants, while in the split-vote situation you might end up appealing to people already-affiliated with other parties. Now, yes, it happens that democrate gives full vote to republican; but that is rare. So from STATISTICAL point of view, democrates will have ''more'' influence on republicans in cases of split vote -- after all ''democrate willing to give FRACTION OF VOTE to republican'' (especially since third party and others will now become REAL players whom democrate might be trying to vote out) will be more likely than a ''democrate giving full vote to republican''.

Once again, why would anyone split their vote?

Roman wrote:
And if they do, then it would make sense to try to ''vote out'' the pain by voting partly for ice cream and partly for muffin. Thus, whichever of the two will ''happen'' to be ''borderline-winning'' will ''actually'' win because of your vote, which would allow you to avoid pain.

No. You would be ensuring that the vote on the "food" side would be unnecessarily divided.

enrico_dandolo wrote:
However, if we will have Green party in the picture (after all, as I explained earlier, partial vote will ''help out'' Green party immensely) then ice cream and muffin might end up being two different parties; in this case there is no way to do primaries accorss parties so we would still have ice cream or muffin situation.

Apart from the fact that it wouldn’t help the Green party immensely, it still doesn't make sense. Remember, no one votes for a party, only for what it represents: positions in different issues, individual talents, values, etc. Muffin and ice cream would most likely not form different parties, because they represent the same things: avoidance of pain and research of pleasure and nutrition, with only slight differences in the meaning of pleasure and nutrition. The reason the Green party exists is that it feels it doesn’t represent the same things as the Democratic party, in a more complex way than can be seen in the simple food-pain axis. It is still a disadvantageous choice, and even though I am thoroughly sympathetic to any Green party in the world, I still believe they are useless or dangerous in FPTP systems, and Green-leaning people should instead form factions within parties rather than independent groups without.

What I meant to say is that vote splitting still the same as standard FPTP and that it doesn't solve its problems; all that, while being more difficult to process than even many better alternatives. It still creates a need for prior organization, and it would not even work at all.

Also, I don’t understand why you don’t just allow every voter to just… vote for several candidates with a full vote. It would be entirely reasonable to vote both for the Democrats and the Green Party if voting for the Green Party didn’t reduce the influence of the vote for the Democrats. It would also reduce the need for primaries, or at least reduce their importance, since there would be less need to only have one candidate. There are problems with that method too, and it is not perfect, but it is still better than splitting the votes.