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[P]
Constructive Green party power in close elections

By simul in Op-Ed
Thu Nov 27, 2003 at 05:47:15 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

I spoke to some U.S. Green Party campaign organizers and to Ralph Nader this weekend about ways that the Green party could constructively exert its influence in close elections where Democrats and Republicans are the two dominant parties.


I had asked this question in front of a full audience at the conference, "Why doesn't the Green party issue a list of policies that a candidate must back in order to gain their endorsement? If the candidate refuses, the Green party can never be fully blamed for spoiling an election."

Afterwards, they challenged me to come up with a list of actions that a Green Party candidate could present to a Democrat seeking endorsement.

I've given it some thought and here is my proposed "Endorsement Policy" for the Green party:

  1. The party will accept requests from any candidate for any office seeking party endorsement

  2. The party may respond to the candidate's request for endorsement with a list of requirements. The candidate may be required to:

    • Publicly acknowledge the achievements of the party on one or more issue areas
    • Publicly endorse one or more selected charities
    • Make a public statement on one or more specific policy issues
    • Abandon a line of business or trade. For example: dismantling a timber business that the candidate personally owns
    • In the case of an incumbent, vote a certain way on one or more specific bills
    • Other specific requirements

  3. "Publicly" shall be defined as a certain percentage of voters eligible to vote for the contended office being made aware of the required statement or action, and the statement being recorded for public access.

  4. The party may refuse or deny any request for endorsement at its discretion and at any stage in the process.

  5. All statements, speeches and actions must be reviewed by and approved by the party prior to being performed in order to qualify.

  6. The candidate may counteroffer at any time.

  7. At all times during an endorsement negotiation, any and all correspondence may be made public.

  8. If the requests are followed to the satisfaction of the party, and the party chooses to endorse a candidate, the party will commit to withdrawing its opposition candidate.

  9. If the party chooses to reply to an endorsement request, the party will commit to producing a specific list of required actions.

I'm not a lawyer, so the language of this can be strengthened.

If the Green party agreed to such a policy, it would end the notion that the Green party is "spoiling" elections. Plus it would allow the Green party to wield its considerable power to produce specific, measurable results. In close elections, many Democratic candidates would agree to fairly drastic personal and political actions in order to get a Green endorsement and an assured victory. And in elections where it isn't close, then the Greens aren't spoiling anything, and may as well run. It's a win-win proposal.

This basic technique is also applicable to any party or organization seeking political influence.

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Should the Green party have a specific conditional endorsement policy?
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Constructive Green party power in close elections | 168 comments (163 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
Directions for Green Party members: (2.43 / 16) (#1)
by sllort on Tue Nov 25, 2003 at 04:36:45 PM EST

  1. Observe what has happened to America's greenery under bush.
  2. Re-direct all available resources towards getting the most electable opponent to Bush in office.

--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
Is this the old... (2.50 / 4) (#2)
by Timo Laine on Tue Nov 25, 2003 at 05:05:55 PM EST

"the enemy of my enemy is my friend" idea?

[ Parent ]
right (2.75 / 8) (#3)
by turnakit on Tue Nov 25, 2003 at 05:06:22 PM EST

great idea! just vote for the most electable official, nevermind his platform. nevermind that he could be exactly the same candidate, under a different party.

No thanks, I think I'll vote for the best candidate. Fuck everyone else if they don't think he's electable.

[ Parent ]

Right (none / 2) (#6)
by sllort on Tue Nov 25, 2003 at 05:17:09 PM EST

Show me a democrat running for office who believes god wanted us to bomb Iraq.
--
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
Show me a democrat who believes in anything (2.42 / 7) (#8)
by NaCh0 on Tue Nov 25, 2003 at 05:30:05 PM EST

You won't find one because the democratic strategy is to be contrarian, not to choose a good policy for the country. The candidate with the most vitriolic soundbite will get the party nomination.

Bush does something conservative and he has misled.

Bush does something socialist and he has not gone far enough.

It's no wonder that the average person doesn't follow politics.

--
K5: Your daily dose of socialism.
[ Parent ]

Pah (none / 2) (#11)
by QuantumFoam on Tue Nov 25, 2003 at 06:17:36 PM EST

Show me a democrat running for office who believes god wanted us to bomb Iraq

Show me a Democrat running for office who didn't vote in favor of the war in Iraq, or even one openly opposed it at the time.

- Barack Obama: Because it will work this time. Honest!
[ Parent ]

I can name two off the top of MY head. (none / 2) (#27)
by siobibble on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 02:29:05 AM EST

Of the Democratic Presidential Candidates, I can name Dennis Kucinich, who voted AGAINST it and Howard Dean who was VERY vocal against it before the war. I believe that Bob Graham also voted against it, but he's not running right now. Many of the other candidates have flipped their positions, saying they were lied to, didn't have enough info, etc etc etc. Oddly enough, the slimiest of the bunch, Joe Lieberman stands by his yes on war vote.

[ Parent ]
I'd just guess, dear sir (2.00 / 4) (#12)
by Hide The Hamster on Tue Nov 25, 2003 at 06:23:56 PM EST

that Joey Liebermann may hold that belief. He really strikes me as a Jewish George W. Bush.


Free spirits are a liability.

August 8, 2004: "it certainly is" and I had engaged in a homosexual tryst.

[ Parent ]
Tom Daschle (1.40 / 5) (#15)
by l33t1 on Tue Nov 25, 2003 at 08:47:45 PM EST

apparently, he certainly sucks dubya's dick on everything else.

[ Parent ]
Leiberman? (none / 1) (#44)
by fn0rd on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 09:10:07 AM EST

He voted for the war, he's a conservative Jew, so he must believe that the war was right in the eyes of God.

This fatwa brought to you by the Agnostic Jihad
[ Parent ]

That's the problem (none / 1) (#76)
by rhino1302 on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 05:04:58 PM EST

The Green Party's problem is in step 1:

Observe what has happened to America's greenery under bush.

I travel a great deal in the US, and I haven't observed anything bad happening to the greenery under Bush. I don't think anybody could truthfully say otherwise, except from a very localized perspective. I'm not saying that there aren't serious environmental problems in the US, but they aren't self-evident, and it's not at all clear that Bush's policies are making them worse.

The Green Party needs to define the problem, explain what its consequences are, and offer solutions that aren't worse than the problem itself. Otherwise they're just preaching to the faithful.

[ Parent ]

The green party doesn't have this already? (2.50 / 14) (#4)
by godix on Tue Nov 25, 2003 at 05:13:15 PM EST

Good lord, no wonder no one takes them seriously. It's been 3 years since they made a semi-serious run for president, you'd think the green party would have already figured out rules on how to run as a green......

Well, at least I shall die as I have lived. Completely surrounded by morons.
- Black Mage
Apparently, it's why a lot of people dropped out (2.80 / 5) (#7)
by simul on Tue Nov 25, 2003 at 05:25:23 PM EST

I know. Greens could have had Al Gore's butt over a barrel if they knew how to wield political influence. I guess sometimes you're so busy trying to save the world that you forget how to stick it to someone.

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]
How is this democracy? (2.37 / 8) (#9)
by livus on Tue Nov 25, 2003 at 05:54:13 PM EST

this is not a troll. Just please someone explain to me why this is democracy in action rather than corruption.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

Well, what is corruption? (none / 1) (#16)
by khallow on Tue Nov 25, 2003 at 09:43:05 PM EST

As far as I can tell, corruption is when you use government power to seize resources. The Green groups do it too, though they tend to think they're saving the world when they do it. However, since the members of the Green party have chosen to join the Green party, the current activity is a legitimate arm-twisting tactic as used routinely throughout various forms of democracy throughout the world.

Where is the corruption in that?

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

oh (none / 1) (#19)
by livus on Tue Nov 25, 2003 at 11:07:02 PM EST

I use "corruption" to mean something along the lines of "Perversion of a person's integrity in the performance of (esp. official or public) duty or work by bribery etc." so I can see that my question makes no sense to people who define it as you do.

I just found it really weird that a minority group getting a representative of a much larger group to act in minority endorsed ways wasn't fair to the people who would vote for the representative.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]

correction (none / 0) (#20)
by livus on Tue Nov 25, 2003 at 11:07:55 PM EST

I just found it really weird that a minority group getting a representative of a much larger group to act in minority endorsed ways and thought that it  wasn't fair to the people who would vote for the representative.


---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
My Understanding Of Corruption (none / 1) (#35)
by freestylefiend on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 05:55:49 AM EST

I thought that corruption meant inducement by improper means to violate duty. This certainly could include some seizing of property, but if the duty of government included seizing property (perhaps illegal poison), then not all seizing of property could be corrupt. If, on the other hand, the government's duty is to keep out of our business entirely (or not to exist) then any seizing of property could be corrupt.

If we deny that there is such thing as property, then would we have to also deny that corruption is possible?

[ Parent ]

Easy target... (none / 2) (#68)
by RareHeintz on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 01:52:25 PM EST

I think the fact that they'd (hypothetically, based on the article) be willing to make all correspondence on the matter public, and indeed are willing to go through the whole process in the public eye makes it all seem a little more honest and transparent.

"Corruption" to me would imply that they were looking for some sort of personal gain, legislative preference, etc. I'm not seeing that here. They're just stating what it takes to get their party's endorsement.

What's really unclear is why you see that as corrupt in the first place.

OK,
- B


--
http://www.bradheintz.com/ - updated kind of daily
[ Parent ]
-1, mention libertarians. (1.13 / 15) (#14)
by Fen on Tue Nov 25, 2003 at 08:29:24 PM EST

We are gods.
--Self.
How about (1.32 / 25) (#17)
by sellison on Tue Nov 25, 2003 at 10:04:18 PM EST

the green party leave to join their socialist brethren in Europe and leave us honest Americans in peace?

Heck, the dems are already far too liberal, the last thing they need is encouragement from the far out wackos.

No, I'd say it's better to run your own nutty candidate for your own nutty values if you insist on staying in our experiment in CAPITALISM with your incompatible statist values.

Hee hee, actually I guess either way you ensure another Republican landslide, either you help the dems put up the statist draft dodging Coward Dean or the loony socialist Leftsly Clark and watch the nation take another lurch to the Right side of things to get as far away from the crazy lefties as we can!


"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush

Statist Values (none / 0) (#106)
by skyknight on Sat Nov 29, 2003 at 01:21:37 AM EST

Based on your posting history, I would assert that you support an awful lot of statist values. The only difference is that the statist values that you hold dear are "rightist", and the ones you impugn are "leftist".

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
If you read his posting history... (none / 0) (#140)
by RyoCokey on Tue Dec 02, 2003 at 12:51:40 PM EST

...you should have known he was an obvious troll, and thus would have saved yourself from replying to his inane post.



The troops returning home are worried. "We've lost the peace," men tell you. "We can't make it stick
[
Parent ]
I've had many interactions with him before... (none / 0) (#141)
by skyknight on Tue Dec 02, 2003 at 12:53:53 PM EST

He is clearly a troll, but an amusing one at that. There is even speculation that he is turmeric reborn.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
We would like to open negotiation with the Greens (1.28 / 7) (#21)
by United Fools on Tue Nov 25, 2003 at 11:50:04 PM EST

To further our cause. We request that the Greens make outlawing intelligence-based discrimination part of the party platform and major issues in campaigns; in return we would endorse Green candidates in elections.
We are united, we are fools, and we are America!
The real spoilers ... (2.72 / 11) (#22)
by pyramid termite on Tue Nov 25, 2003 at 11:53:01 PM EST

... were the tens of millions of people who stayed home and DIDN'T VOTE. The Democrats need to quit blaming the Greens and blame themselves for not motivating the non voters enough.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
Yes, absolutely (1.06 / 15) (#23)
by sellison on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 12:08:28 AM EST

the dems need to get totally radical to inspire the downtrodden masses to rush to the polls, all 500 of them.

Meanwhile, its a good chance for the normal people to see how really crazy the dems are when they "take off their kid gloves".

No either way, the dems are in a lose-lose situation, either running the draft dodger Coward Dean will pull a few million new voters in on the left...and tens of millions of new voters on the right!

Or they run Leftsly Clark, and do pretty much the same thing.

Or they could run one of their old warhorses, in which case the few millions of new voters will stay home, and the outcome will be the same: another stunning Bush victory, overcoming the dem filibuster in the senate, and finally the nation will get back toward the Right side of things!

Its a great day for most of us, and for icing on the cake we'll have the increasingly desperate dems as entertainment!


"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush
[ Parent ]

Yeah go ahead and suppress me, newbie (1.00 / 13) (#28)
by sellison on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 02:49:11 AM EST

Perpetual Newbie 0

That is the way you dems love to treat anyone who disagrees with you.

Is it any wonder that real Americans are turning more and more toward the Right side of things, where traditional American values like a digust of censorship flourish!

And where we know that the liberal media routinely '0's the opinions of the majority.

Bet you just HATE that when you try to censor something here, there is no hiding it!


"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush
[ Parent ]

Draft dodger? HAHAHAHAHAHA. (2.25 / 4) (#101)
by magney on Fri Nov 28, 2003 at 09:14:00 PM EST

It's always good for a laugh when anyone who supports Bush calls anyone else a draft dodger.

Do I look like I speak for my employer?
[ Parent ]

Another stunning Bush victory? (none / 1) (#128)
by andamac on Sun Nov 30, 2003 at 06:57:02 PM EST

One of these words does not belong.

(Hint: it's "stunning")

[ Parent ]

Why Should We Vote? (none / 1) (#39)
by freestylefiend on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 06:22:10 AM EST

What advice do you have for those who might not vote because the candidates are indistinguishable (as far as they can tell) or who refuse to vote because they feel that the electoral system is undemocratic or that none of the candidates represent them?

Why You Should NOT Vote Under Any Circumstance

[ Parent ]

The government has no way of telling ... (none / 2) (#52)
by pyramid termite on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 10:09:37 AM EST

... your non-vote from one of someone who just doesn't care. Also, you could try running for office yourself.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Now that I've thought about it (2.82 / 17) (#24)
by godix on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 01:03:45 AM EST

Your efforts would be better spent figuring out what the Green party actually stands for. Every single Nader voter I've met in real life, and the majority of them I've seen online, were voting against Bush/Gore rather than voting for Nader. While the anti-whoever vote is an important group in most elections they aren't large enough to actually base an entire campaign around. The best thing you could do for the Green party is ask potential green candidates 'Do you support cause X, Y, and Z?' once you've actually decided what cause X, Y, and Z are.

Incidently, the other thing that the Green party really needs to do is to downplay Nader. Having a single person represent your party as completely as Nader does will lead to the Greens being nothing but a joke. For a perfect example of this, how long was the Reform Party taken seriously after Perot became a joke?

Well, at least I shall die as I have lived. Completely surrounded by morons.
- Black Mage

Spot on. (none / 3) (#31)
by rvcx on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 05:11:15 AM EST

I think this is the real problem with the Green party. Like so many groups on the political fringe, it only really gets respect because no-one ever looks straight at it. It's great to protest against "professional politics" and donations by special interests. That's where the Green party gets most of their votes. But in truth, Nader is among the worst of the professional politicians, intentionally drumming up mass hysteria based on ignorance, and the Green party can afford to avoid financial donations simply because they don't really need to compete with anyone.

[ Parent ]
hah. (none / 1) (#55)
by pb on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 10:21:32 AM EST

I was doing both, actually... I thought Nader was a better alternative to both Bush and Gore, as he actually cares about some of the same major issues that I do, for example.

Not that it mattered; votes for Nader weren't counted in North Carolina, write-ins or otherwise.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

-1, two political parties... (1.16 / 18) (#25)
by StormShadow on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 01:15:02 AM EST

...out to be enough for America.


-----------------
oderint dum metuant - Cicero
We aren't killing enough of our [America's] enemies. Re-elect Bush in 2004 - Me
12/2003: This account is now closed. Password scrambled. Its been a pleasure.


out ==> ought [nt] (none / 0) (#26)
by StormShadow on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 01:18:31 AM EST



-----------------
oderint dum metuant - Cicero
We aren't killing enough of our [America's] enemies. Re-elect Bush in 2004 - Me
12/2003: This account is now closed. Password scrambled. Its been a pleasure.


[ Parent ]
That's a pity you think that (none / 2) (#40)
by eliasbizannes on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 07:17:17 AM EST

I come from Australia, and our government is based on the British Westminster system, where the party with the majority in the lower house (or house of representatives) becomes the executive and hence determines the Government of the day. This is different from the US where you have seperate elections for the executive and the legislature.

Anyway, the Australian experience has showen we rely on the third-parties. The two major parties have ideologically become difficult to seperate. It is up to these 'third parties' like the Greens and Democrats in the Senate, to make policy more digestible, and not dominated by the ideololgy of the Government of the day (who very often receive a golden handshake from the Opposition to support bills through the Senate). You need another voice, no matter how small the party.

[ Parent ]

Sure, mate. (none / 2) (#41)
by megid on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 08:11:07 AM EST

And three oil companies and one software company are also enough. Yeah, the democrats and republicans will NEVER do anything link a cartel.

--
"think first, write second, speak third."
[ Parent ]
Yes, once we get rid of the Republicans, the... (none / 2) (#81)
by Osama Bin Fabulous on Thu Nov 27, 2003 at 01:24:08 AM EST

...libertarians, the constitution party, and all the other fringers, then everything will be just perfect.

[ Parent ]
"spoil an election" ? (2.50 / 6) (#30)
by Djinh on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 05:03:57 AM EST

Can someone explain how a party can "spoil an election" ?

--
We are the Euro. Resistance is futile. All your dollars will be assimilated.
Do you remember three years ago? (none / 1) (#32)
by rvcx on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 05:21:47 AM EST

Suppose 60% of the population absolutely hates Bush. They'd prefer anyone more liberal. If they all voted for Gore, he'd win easily.

Now suppose that instead of just Gore, Nader enters the race. Suppose further that Nader and Gore have nearly identical views; liberals are equally likely to vote for Nader as for Gore.

The results come in 30% Gore, 30% Nader, 40% Bush. Considering that everyone who voted for Nader would have been much happier if Nader hadn't been in the running and Gore had won, I'd call that "spoiling" the election.

This is just a fundamental problem with the American voting system. Plurality voting only really works with two candidates. Other voting systems, such as "runoff voting", in which there are multiple voting rounds, or "instant runoff", in which voters rank their preferences, can actually account for more than two candidates.

The only reason the American system works as well as it does is because it uses a kind of runoff system: the political primaries of the two major parties. After each leg of the primaries, the trailing candidate(s) drop out. That's a decent system, but the truth is that only a tiny proportion of the population gets to take part in any single leg of the primaries.

[ Parent ]

differences (none / 1) (#36)
by Djinh on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 05:56:27 AM EST

I guess that you could call it "spoiling" under the American system, which is basically a two-party system with a president who has a huge amount of power.

Here in Holland we have many parties, a subset of which usually forms a coalition to govern. The Premier comes from the largest party, but doesn't have the far-reaching power the US President has.

Idividual parties might be unhappy because some other party has "stolen" votes from them, but you won't hear the voters themselves complain about "spoilt elections"...

Anyway, it's clear now.

--
We are the Euro. Resistance is futile. All your dollars will be assimilated.
[ Parent ]

The power of the US president (none / 0) (#45)
by igny ignoble on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 09:17:24 AM EST

The US president doesn't actually have as much power as you might think. Most of the real power is with the congress people and senators. In the end, they are the ones that are really fucking things up by pandering to big corp. Corporations don't get to vote in elections, why should they get to contribute to political campaigns?

[ Parent ]
Power of the US President (none / 1) (#50)
by Djinh on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 09:58:37 AM EST

I may be wrong here, but doesn't he have veto power over laws? And doesn't he get to appoint his friends to the supreme court?

Also, there seems to be a huge difference in how the US is run, depending on who is currently president. Is that coincidence?


--
We are the Euro. Resistance is futile. All your dollars will be assimilated.
[ Parent ]

yes, yes, and kinda (none / 1) (#73)
by Politburo on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 04:03:44 PM EST

Veto power: Yes, but Congress can override the veto.

Judicial nominations: Yes, but the Senate can choose to not confirm, or never address, a nomination.

Difference in how the US is run: Yes. This is mainly because the president also controls the executive departments. These include bodies such as the DoD, EPA, FDA, etc etc. Almost all of the executive departments are controlled by the president. Their spending is set by the Congress, but their policy is set by the president. Also, it also depends highly on the makeup of the Congress. If the president is in opposition to the Congress, like Reagan, his efforts will be stymied and he will have to comprimise. If the president's party controls the Congress, then they can pretty much do whatever they want, and that is what is happening now. Traditionally, American voters have preferred a divided government, where one party holds the Congress, and another holds the presidency. However, due to shifts in beliefs, demographics and population, that is quickly disappearing, imo.

[ Parent ]
Nasty business indeed (none / 0) (#129)
by andamac on Sun Nov 30, 2003 at 07:06:05 PM EST

When most of Congress is on the presidents side. Fortunately there's been some checking action happening. It's bad when one side has a majority in all aspects. It's bad for the country with the Republicans in control and it's been bad for California with the Democrats in control. We're all better off when both sides have to play together.

I'm not so sure there's enough information to establish a pattern of belief shift though, especially when the campaigning ability of candidates is such a tricky variable.

[ Parent ]

Not much (none / 1) (#75)
by rhino1302 on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 04:37:43 PM EST

Vetos can be overturned, besides they can only block change, not cause change. Supreme court justices are nominated by the president, but have to be approved by the Senate - and as we've seen lately it takes a 60% supermajority to appoint a presidental nominee due to filibusters.

The legislative branch has the most power, as it controls the purse strings. However it's also the most dysfunctional branch, and generally has a great deal of difficulty in wielding its power.

The President does have a lot of power when it comes to foreign policy, and that does change a lot from President to President. They have that power because it's embarassing for the legislature not to back them up. They don't have much power with regards to domestic policy, and therefore that doesn't change much from President to President.

The funny thing is that domestic policy is almost always much more important to voters than foreign policy (c.f. "It's the economy, stupid!"). Both Clinton and Bush campaigned on paying more attention to domestic matters and less to foreign matters then their predecessors. Once in office, foreign events caught up with them, though. That's an important thing to remember - US Presidents view foreign policy as a distraction that might lose them votes if mishandled, but won't win many votes if handled well.

[ Parent ]

Administrative power... (none / 0) (#151)
by unDees on Thu Dec 04, 2003 at 12:46:56 PM EST

Vetos can be overturned, besides they can only block change, not cause change.

Okay, but the President is in charge of the entire executive branch, and lackeys in this branch can write bills. Other lackeys can make sure some of that discretionary adminstrative money flows into Congress via lobbyists, and soon the bill becomes law.

Just because the President isn't actually voting on law doesn't mean he can't wield a great deal of influence to get laws made.

Your account balance is $0.02; to continue receiving our quality opinions, please remit payment as soon as possible.
[ Parent ]

Big Assumption (none / 2) (#62)
by CENGEL3 on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 12:11:55 PM EST

You are making a big assumption that everyone who voted for Nader would find Gore an acceptable choice if Nader were not in the race.... that simply isn't true.

Democracy only really works when people vote thier hearts.

The reason why election turnout is so abysmal in the U.S. is because too many people already think thier votes "don't count". The reason why alot of those people feel that way is because they don't like either of the major party candidates but don't feel that they have any other choice. They think that voting for a 3rd party doesn't have any meaning... but it does.

Every vote for a 3rd party candidate gets that party more funds to campaign in the next election and build a power base. It also forces the major parties to take notice and adopt some of the 3rd parties platform into thier own if they want to be successfull in the next election. That can be a very effective way for supporters of 3rd parties to get issues addressed that the major parties would otherwise choose to ignore.

Back when Perot ran for the first time, a whole new swath of people got involved in politics.... many voting for the first time in thier lives. In my book, thats a damn good thing and aught to be encouraged. It's just a shame it didn't stick.

If you want to blame some-one for "spoiling" the last election, Gore and the Democrats are just as responsible as Nader and the Greens. If they had wanted the support of the Nader crowd then the Dems should have expanded their platform to embrace the issues that were important to the Greens. The fact that Gore couldn't forge a coalition shows 3 things:

        1) The Green and Democrat positions aren't as idealogicaly compatible as you seem to imply.

                -OR-

         2) The Democrats are too intractable for thier own good and don't belong in power if they aren't willing to address issues that appeal to a broad swath of Americans.

                -OR-

          3) Gore just has terrible skills at forging consensus and putting together coalitions. A real problem for some-one who wants to be President.

[ Parent ]

parties versus candidates (none / 1) (#64)
by rvcx on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 12:34:36 PM EST

The idea of needing to build a new "power base" is a bit absurd. Nader was perfectly free to enter the Democratic primaries and get the nomination, but he didn't. If people really don't like the choices with which they are being presented on election day, their opportunity to make their voice heard is in the primaries, not by throwing their votes away on parties whose policies would be embraced by the major parties if they were popular enough to be important. In the US voters don't vote for a party; they vote for a candidate. (Some other countries really work the other way around.)

I'm also quite unimpressed with your "voting for the first time" assumptions. Every political candidate hears this lots of times, "I never voted until you came along". Bradley and McCain actually did this for the primaries. I think they helped their causes far more than Nader did, and they had the good sense to put their ideology before their own egos.

I certainly agree somewhat with a form of your point 3: Gore has terrible skills. The fact that a candidate who many considered far too liberal and far too green for the general population (he was almost certainly the most liberal environmentalist ever nominated) didn't get the environmentalist vote, and the fact that the guy who had to vision to get the initial funding for the ARPAnet project somehow let the internet be used against him as a gaffe, both demonstrate that he made plenty of mistakes himself. But it would by lunacy to include your point 2 without recognizing that the far for stubborn element of any such "coalition" would be Nader. In his mind he had nothing to lose, so he had no reason to compromise, and he didn't.

[ Parent ]

Counterpoints (none / 2) (#69)
by CENGEL3 on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 01:54:29 PM EST

Firstly, my point about "first time voters" for Perot is not just an assumption, not only does it happen to be true in my case, you can check voter registration statistics and see how many other people registered to vote for the first time during that election.

Secondly, you are the one making certain assumptions. Again what makes you assume that the people who voted for Nader would have found Gore acceptable had Nader not run. Heck, what makes you assume that even had Nader endorsed Gore that all his voters would have cast thier votes for Gore? Are they automotans with no minds of thier own save what Nader instructs?

Look, I was a McCain supporter during that election. After McCain lost the primary he endorsed Bush. That didn't mean that Bush was automaticaly going to get my vote. In point of fact, I was leaning towards voting for Gore until Gore made that comment about Naders supporters "throwing thier votes away".

You make a comment about Nader being perfectly free to enter the Democratic Primaries and try to win the nomination. By that same token Pat Buchannen was free to enter the Democratic Primaries and try to win the nomination. The thing you don't seem to grasp is that many of Naders supporters (and apparently Nader himself) don't see thier ideaology as any more compatible with the Democrats then Pat Buchannens. Not being a Green, myself, I don't know how accurate that is, but clearly they feel that way strongly enough... and that's all that is important. That's the whole point of having more then one party in the first place.


[ Parent ]

actually (none / 1) (#72)
by Politburo on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 03:59:21 PM EST

It still is an assumption. Because votes cannot be tracked to people, there's no way to say, definitively, that the newly registered voters were brought in by Perot (polls could assist in supporting the conclusion). However, that is highly likely, and I agree with that view.

[ Parent ]
re: actually (none / 0) (#136)
by louferd on Tue Dec 02, 2003 at 10:18:51 AM EST

There is, at least in NY, since a new registration requires you to put down your party affiliation.  If a significant portion of the newly registered voters  are not affiliated with the listed parties, compared to previous years, then you can reasonably assume that the independent candidate was the driving factor behind the surge in voter registration.


[ Parent ]
error (none / 2) (#74)
by mlc on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 04:29:35 PM EST

Considering that everyone who voted for Nader would have been much happier if Nader hadn't been in the running and Gore had won, I'd call that "spoiling" the election.

Ah, but that's a horribly invalid assumption. I can name people who voted for Nader but, had Nader not been running, most likely would've voted Bush, as well as people who would've just stayed home. And in a Bush v. Gore only contest, I personally probably would've just gone to the polls and voted for neither.

--
So the Berne Convention is the ultimate arbiter of truth and morality. Is this like Catholicism? -- Eight Star
[ Parent ]

How to spoil an election (none / 0) (#123)
by bolson on Sat Nov 29, 2003 at 07:05:13 PM EST

  1. Let power brokers in smokey rooms pick two candidates that 80% of the voters will wind up automatically votin for.
  2. Reinforce major democratic institutions that promote this power brokering.
  3. Profit!

Making Democracy Safe for the World (change the voting system)
[ Parent ]
Lobby (2.88 / 9) (#33)
by Scrymarch on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 05:32:20 AM EST

In other words, turn the Green Party into a lobby group when they have no chance of winning an election.

It sounds like a good idea.  There seems no immediate prospect for Condorcet or preferential ballots in the US any time soon.  With the current first past the post system all minor parties do is split the vote of their largest allies, effectively handing the election to the opposition.  I agree with other posters that it's bizarre the Green leadership have been this naive until now.

They should also add electoral reform to their platform, though.

Yep, that's about it (none / 2) (#49)
by simul on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 09:42:56 AM EST

Disband the electoral college and institute Approval Voting in all single winner elections and institute Proportional Representation in the formation of Congress.

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]
your list is so full of .... (2.85 / 7) (#34)
by dimaq on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 05:33:25 AM EST

e.g.

publicly acknowledge achievements blah blah - that's only sweettalk

endorse charities - methinks greens are not centered on charities anyways (?)

abandon timber business - my understanding is that greens (teh party, don't cofuse with green pieces *g*) don't want to ban timber trade, at best they would like to see those being sustainable, and prolly even less than that - perhaps proper accountability would suffice.

timber (none / 3) (#38)
by rvcx on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 06:13:50 AM EST

Frankly, the timber issue is a microcosm of the whole Green party platform. They don't have a real solution, but they don't like what's going on now.

Al Gore has been one of the most "green" congressmen in terms of forestry in attempting to make America's timber resources sustainable, yet during his campaign the Green party attacked him for allowing so many trees to be cut down.

Honestly, while "don't cut down the trees" sounds appealing to environmentalists, the issue is a hell of a lot more complex than that...

[ Parent ]

vote on bills... more fooey [nt] (none / 0) (#77)
by sim20 on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 06:50:36 PM EST



[ Parent ]
What Are The Issues? (2.80 / 5) (#37)
by freestylefiend on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 05:59:56 AM EST

Have you tried to decide which issues will be included in any endorsement requirement? If this can't be done by consensus, then maybe the idea is too troublesome to implement.

They are specific to each candidate: specify one (none / 0) (#97)
by simul on Fri Nov 28, 2003 at 01:11:28 PM EST

Give me two actual candidates (Dem, Repub) and a Green contender in an upcoming election where the Dems and Repubs will be close/split. A race you know about, Senatorial, whatever. I'll post some suggestions and a starting point.

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]
Who Negotiates? How Are They Constrained? (none / 0) (#108)
by freestylefiend on Sat Nov 29, 2003 at 09:26:45 AM EST

I am British and don't know about any US races.

If you could show me an example of a race and the endorsement requirements, then that would be very interesting. Perhaps this would be hard work. It seems reasonable that running a campaign should be hard work. I expect that the result is worth it and that endorsement requirements could still be a very good idea.

What I am most interested in is whether there is a method for choosing the endorsement requirements. Is there some ideal to which they must all conform (though they may differ from race to race)? Is there a formula for choosing them? Will they be chosen by some kind of election? Will they be dictated by a party leader? What can you tell me about the nature of all Green Party endorsement requirements? What makes it likely that Green Party supporters (those who support the party with votes) would agree with the endorsement requirements (as opposed to them agreeing that there should be endorsement requirements)?

[ Parent ]

System for choosing requirements (none / 0) (#117)
by simul on Sat Nov 29, 2003 at 12:27:53 PM EST

Consider the candidate requesting endorsement.  

1. What areas have they failed in the past on?  Write thse down.  For each area prepare a new activity that will repair or work towards repairing any damages done by the prior activity.  For example, a candidate that passed a bill resulting in job loss might be required to endorse or support a campaign to restore those jobs.

2. What are the candidates personal lies of business?  Are these run in a way that's compatible with Greens?  If not, require them to amend it.

3.Endorse or support a bill promoting Approval Voting, Proportional Representation, the Right to Vote amendment, or other core changes that help the Green Party.

These are 3 examples of actions that can happen *now* that will positively boost the awareness of the Green party, and may promote the sorts of reforms that the Greens stand for.

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]

I Think I Get It (none / 0) (#119)
by freestylefiend on Sat Nov 29, 2003 at 01:55:23 PM EST

Just to be sure, is this how it works?

The party members vote either directly on the endorsement criteria or on a representative responsible for setting them. Some elected official gets to decide whether endorsement will be granted on the basis of these criteria and if the party members disagree with the decision, then they can choose someone else or leave the party.

[ Parent ]

Party members should always vote on endorsement (none / 1) (#134)
by simul on Tue Dec 02, 2003 at 10:07:30 AM EST

Endorsement is a big decision. As big as voting on a nomination. any member or committe within the party can come up with endorsement criteria. Party members should vote on whether to accept the criteria, and the final endorsement decision. for efficiency, a steering committe or party official can be used to put these proposals before the party... so the party isn't voting on every line item...

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]
Stupid realo. (2.40 / 5) (#42)
by megid on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 08:15:28 AM EST

Yeah, real politics. You sound like Cicero, always hanging on either Pompeius or Caesar, never doing his own thing, just because the chances would be worse.

Fuck it, as a realo, you will never understand the value of dissidents, even when outgunned. With that kind of attitude, it will be always Pompeius or Caesar (= choose your imperialist asshole).

--
"think first, write second, speak third."

Dissidents are critical to the process (none / 0) (#95)
by simul on Fri Nov 28, 2003 at 12:59:44 PM EST

Otherwise what chips would "realo"'s be bargaining with?

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]
I read up on the "realo-fundi" debate (none / 0) (#96)
by simul on Fri Nov 28, 2003 at 01:09:37 PM EST

I think my position is in the middle. "Realos" have been known to form coalitions with old-school democratic parties around the world. That only weakens the party in the long term.

In order to have power, you need to produce an "action list" for endorsement. And each time an election comes around, you have a new list. You still maintain your own party identity, and you still run your own candidate if the endorsement negotiation falls through.

Any sort of "merging" or "coalition" would result in a net power loss.

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]

No runoff voting.. (2.70 / 10) (#43)
by McMasters on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 09:03:45 AM EST

...equal no third parties.

Thag no understand democracy.

-Thag

IRV is crap comparred to Approval voting (1.33 / 6) (#48)
by simul on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 09:40:24 AM EST

IRV does NOT allow for third parties. It is a lie propagated by the fascist CVD and Rob Richie. PR is the correct solution for Congress and AV is the correct solution for single-winner elections.

That's it.

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]

Approval Voting (none / 2) (#89)
by Wildgoose on Fri Nov 28, 2003 at 02:49:40 AM EST

...is a superb and fair voting system that is simple to operate and easy to understand. And your ridiculous diatribe has just harmed the prospects of more approval for Approval Voting. With friends like this, who needs enemies?

[ Parent ]
How is it rediculous? [nt] (none / 1) (#94)
by simul on Fri Nov 28, 2003 at 12:57:54 PM EST



Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]
Yup. But wait, there's more. (none / 0) (#120)
by bolson on Sat Nov 29, 2003 at 06:28:27 PM EST

IRV is pretty weak. I ran a few million simulated elections. short short version of the results here.

Acceptance does indeed do well, and is great for being inexpensive to implement, but there are better systems. I currently favor normalized-ratings as the best possible voting system. Better than Condorcet, and still can't be cheated (that I've found yet, peer review welcome).


Making Democracy Safe for the World (change the voting system)
[ Parent ]
Gotta love Catch-22 /nt (none / 1) (#99)
by skyknight on Fri Nov 28, 2003 at 03:14:23 PM EST



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Which election is this (2.16 / 6) (#46)
by Easyas123 on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 09:23:19 AM EST

that a canditadte will be willing to bend over to gain the suspect support of the Greens? Are there enough people in your party to effect an otcome in such a wholesale fasion? If so, where? Didn't the greens loose a lot of political clout by failing to make the cutoff during the last Presidential election? Doesn't that seem to indicate that they are not enough of a political force to effect anything?

***********************
As the wise men fortold.

Al Gore would have made endorsement concessions (none / 1) (#47)
by simul on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 09:37:45 AM EST

Michael Moore walked out of the Green party because they were too shortsighted to use their power.

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]
But wasn't (none / 0) (#54)
by Easyas123 on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 10:21:11 AM EST

he already pretty much down with the majority of their agenda? from what I remember, the things they wanted him to give up were parts of his core platform.

***********************
As the wise men fortold.
[ Parent ]

AFAICT he was never asked 4 anything specific (none / 0) (#105)
by simul on Fri Nov 28, 2003 at 09:42:15 PM EST

I heard Michael Moore walked out ofthe gpusa because for their failure to open negotiations with Gore in 2000.

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]
That's the point (none / 2) (#82)
by turg on Thu Nov 27, 2003 at 10:51:10 AM EST

that a canditadte will be willing to bend over to gain the suspect support of the Greens?

The point is to take the greens out of the position of being blamed for "vote splitting" (e.g. people who would have voted democrat voted green instead and that's why the dem candidate lost).

If a candidate isn't willing to do what it takes to get the green endorsement (which is most likely, I think), then the greens cannot be blamed for splitting the vote by running a candidate with an similar set of principles -- the (non-green) candidate will have rejected a set of principles which is evidently critical to the voting decision of those who eventually choose to vote green in that election.



[ Parent ]
Spoiler? Says who? (2.54 / 11) (#51)
by unixrat on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 10:04:46 AM EST

[ObDisclaimer: I voted for Nader/Laduke in 1996 and 2000]

This notion that the GP served as a 'spoiler' during the 2000 (or any election for that matter) is rooted in the two party mindset of the USA. As far as I'm concerned, my candidate got close to three million votes and two other, corrupt, distatseful candidates got more.

The only spoiler was that Gore didn't drop out and give his votes to Nader, which would have put him over the top. If Nader had gotten down on his knees and begged me personally to vote Gore, I still wouldn't have done it.

Until the GP (or any other small party) gives up the notion that they're just borrowing other people's votes, they will never progress.

why was Nader in the race? (1.00 / 4) (#53)
by rvcx on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 10:19:36 AM EST

What gives Nader the right to enter the race? Gore made it through the democratic primaries. As many problems as there are with that system, it gave the American population the opportunity to choose a good candidate from a wide field. If Gore had lost, he would have accepted that the population did not choose him, and recognized that the best way to advance the causes in which he believes would be to support whoever did win the primaries. He would sacrifice some of his own pride and his own ego for the advancement of his ideals.

Nader didn't have the character to do this. Despite the fact that it was an obvious truth that he could not win the election, he chose to try to gain publicity for himself, even if it meant that the ideals which he claims to support were trampled in the process. Environmental causes have been decimated by the Bush regime, and Nader contributed to that. This is an obvious case of a politican's mesiah complex overriding his duty to his platform.

[ Parent ]

Bottom Line (none / 2) (#58)
by CENGEL3 on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 11:21:13 AM EST

You have enough signatures to get on the ballot in all 50 states you have a RIGHT to run (and an obligation to the people who put you on the ballot). Anyone who tries to tell you differently is trying to become King, not President.

On a personal level, the main reason I voted for Bush is because Gores statement that people who voted for Nader were "throwing thier vote away".
I'm not a Nader supporter but that statement clearly showed me that all Gore cared about was winning.... he didn't care about HOW he won... and he didn't have any respect for representative government.


[ Parent ]

I'm about to give up... (none / 1) (#60)
by rvcx on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 11:42:22 AM EST

You voted against Gore because he said something that was obviously true to anyone with an ounce of sense? Voting for Nader was obviously no better than not voting at all in terms of choosing the winner. That's a fact. If you prefer politicians who never actually offer any concrete facts, then it doesn't surprise me at all that you support Bush.

Score one for Schwarzenegger/Bush "compassionate conservative" content-free politics.

[ Parent ]

Perhaps You Should (none / 2) (#66)
by CENGEL3 on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 01:24:33 PM EST

You should give up if you can't accept the fact that people have priorities and issues that are different then your own.

More important to me then whether Bush or Gore won the past Presidential election is getting more public participation in the American political proccess. Getting people to vote thier hearts and their conscience, getting them to vote for the candidate and platform that they feel best represents them. That is far more important (IMO) then the short term results of cynical party politics and winning a single election. The only way that politicians will EVER address difficult issues (and particulary issues which involve reforms of the current political process) is by forcing them to realize that they cannot win elections without doing so.

It may be "obviously true" to you that the Greens who voted for Nader "threw thier votes away". What's "obvious" to me is that the next Democratic Candidate will be forced to address thier issues if he wants a chance of winning. It seems to me they have succceded in getting portions of thier platform on the national agenda in a way they never could have otherwise.

Your vote and my vote count the same. In order to win your vote all a politician has to do is be the lesser of 2 evils. In order to win my vote a politician has to address the issues that are important to me. You tell me who has a better chance of having thier views truely represented on the national stage?

It is a fallacy that 3rd patry candidates can not be elected to important political offices. Minnesota proved that. It is a fallacy that people outside the regular political machine can not be elected to office. California proved that.
It is a fallacy that polls and "accepted political wisdom" are accurate predictors of who really "has a chance at winning".... countless elections have proven that.

Although I believed that Gore had better skills to be President, I chose not to vote for him because he made it patently obvious that he cared more about winning the election then about the health of the american political process. Bush is no saint in this regard either, but at least Bush did not make this BLATANTLY OBVIOUS BEFORE the election. I could not, in good conscience, vote for a candidate who did that. Bush, at least ran a campaign based on his ideaological differences with Nader and Gore.

By the way, it is quite disingenous to label either Schwarzenegger or Bush as "content-free politics". It is quite obvious to anyone who pays attention that they both have content... you simply don't like what that content is. Furthermore it displays a lack of understanding on your part to paint both candidates with the same brush. They differe on some very major points... for example, abortion.

[ Parent ]

One more try. (none / 1) (#67)
by rvcx on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 01:42:54 PM EST

I acknowledge your point that you want more people involved in the process. That's noble goal. There are ways to do that beyond third-party candidates. Further, there are a huge number of problems with third party candidates. Maybe Nader got a few thousand people to vote who wouldn't have. All we lost for it was our environment, our rights to privacy, and the United Nations. Thank God the Supreme Court has chosen to remain intact until the next election.

Come the next election, I do not expect the democrats to put forward a candidate for "green" than Gore. Look at the field; do you see any among them with anything like Gore's environmental record. Proof positive that Nader didn't help.

And I label both Bush and Schwarzenegger "content-free" because neither one compaigned on their issues. The RNC for Bush spoke on and on about "compassionate conservatism" and parading out every minority they could find. Their policies have not reflected any increased social programs, nor any stronger rights for minorities. Schwarzenegger refused throughout the campaign to actually state what he intended to do to fix the budget, he just said they he had the "courage to face the issue". Your comments indicate that you are interested in candidates who spend their time claiming good character. I prefer candidates who can prove they have qualifications to support my ideals. In both cases, both candidates did everything they could to duck the issue of abortion.

If you really want to affect the political process, then vote in the primaries. I can absolutely guarantee that you will never ever elect the person you think is the absolute best for the job to any high office. Understanding compromise is the first step to understanding democracy.

[ Parent ]

Let me make it clear to you (none / 1) (#70)
by pyramid termite on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 02:13:36 PM EST

I want a government that isn't beholden to corporate interests. Both the Republicans and Democrats are. If the Democrats want to have my vote, they'll have to EARN it by letting go of their pro-corporate stances. Otherwise, it'll be business as usual, and I won't be voting for that.

Some of us who vote for 3rd party candidates believe there are real principles involved here that transcend what the two big parties claim to stand for.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Hater (none / 0) (#118)
by saltmine on Sat Nov 29, 2003 at 01:37:30 PM EST

Don't hate, Gore was a dork and Bush was a prick so why not vote for Nader.  I voted for Nader in a state where Gore won anyways so my vote was as valuable as a Bush vote here.  

I mostly voted for Nader in the hope that he got a 5% vote and could be included in the next elections.  That didn't happen because fools like you would rather waste a vote on someone like Gore, out of fear.

The Democrats better come up with someone goof for the next election.  Dean is Dukakis and Clark is losing steam.  It looks like a landslide for Bush so I figure voting for Nader or some green again is more worth while.

You need to face the fact your party (democrats) have no direction, leadership and merely let the Republicans set the agenda so that half-wit Democrats can react to it.  Democrats are a failure, it's sad but true.  At least the Republicans get things done, albeit the wrong things.  But, the fact is they have direction and leadership so the Democrats are bound to failure for a long time to come.

 Repubicans suck but I don't see them losing anytime soon.  They are full of clever dirty tricks.  Vote Green, at least you don't look like a sap then.

[ Parent ]

whoa (none / 1) (#71)
by Politburo on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 03:54:29 PM EST

It is a fallacy that 3rd patry candidates can not be elected to important political offices. Minnesota proved that. It is a fallacy that people outside the regular political machine can not be elected to office. California proved that.

Both of your 'examples' involve celebrity, so I don't see how they truly disprove the notions you're attempting to dispell. In fact, almost all of the examples you can come up with will be celebrities or rich people. John Corzine: Money. Michael Bloomberg: Money. Jesse Ventura: Celebrity. Arnold Schwarzeneggar: Both. Yes there is an independent congressperson, but just one counter example isn't enough to show that the two parties can be beaten that easily.

What's "obvious" to me is that the next Democratic Candidate will be forced to address thier issues if he wants a chance of winning.

He won't have to. Bush has polarized everyone enough that only the most naieve and idealistic greens will continue to anonymously protest against the other two candidates. Add to that the fact that the democratic party, at least in the primary, has shifted to the left of where they were in 2000. One could argue that the shift is in fact addressing the issues, but I wouldn't agree.

Bush is no saint in this regard either, but at least Bush did not make this BLATANTLY OBVIOUS BEFORE the election.

You're right. It took until after the election for us to see that side of him.

[ Parent ]
if you care about public participation (none / 2) (#78)
by sim20 on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 06:55:53 PM EST

Then you should help me work on Approval Voting. It's a powerful new system that allows for third party candidates. IRV/PR systems have never resulted in a third party gaining widespread support in he last 80 years of their widespread use. Approval voting elections are held for the secretary general of the U.N. It fosters incremental progress and broad consensus.

[ Parent ]
It's called democracy and freedom (none / 3) (#59)
by godix on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 11:41:06 AM EST

There's this thing called the Constitution. That is what gives Nader, and any other American, the right to run as president.

Well, at least I shall die as I have lived. Completely surrounded by morons.
- Black Mage[ Parent ]
Fair enough (none / 3) (#61)
by rvcx on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 12:09:29 PM EST

I freely admit he did have a legal right.

Frankly, the fact that the US is the world's oldest democracy is clear from the shabbiness of the election procedure. An "electoral college" which has been hacked into a lousy approximation of nationwide plurality voting, and an election system which only accomodates two major parties are both real problems that I don't think the nation's founders would have intended.

Trying to actually patch those holes in the Constitution would be dangerous. Further, such issues should be relatively self-correcting: the population should eventually learn what "throwing away their votes" really does mean, and "spoiler candidates" should learn what it does to their platform. We still haven't seen (at least recently at the national level) superfluous candidates on the ballot win the election for different candidates with the same platform, so you can't really exploit these holes for your own gain.

And if Nader and his supporters are dumb enough to try it again? Well, if the idiots won't learn, then the system will ignore them. That's fair enough.

[ Parent ]

Approval Voting : Grok It (none / 3) (#63)
by simul on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 12:28:19 PM EST

If we used approval voting, then nader, and possibly harry brown would have been allowed to debate. if nader and brown had been allowed to debate, then more people would have been exposed to noncorporate points of view. if more people had been exposed to these points of view, then these parties would gain constituents. and under approval voting, these increases would not contend with the dualist dems and repubs. over time, we could have 4-6 viable parties.

Approval Voting is the only system that allows for a third party voice. IRV has been show to COMPLETELY SUCK.

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]

Approval voting also completely sucks (none / 3) (#65)
by rvcx on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 12:41:23 PM EST

In fact, it has been mathematically proven that all voting systems "completely suck" by some very reasonable definition of suck. In the "approval voting" case, if you like Nader a lot more than Gore, and Gore a lot more than Bush, then you don't know how to vote. Voting for both Nader and Gore means you haven't expressed your preference for Nader; not voting for Gore leads to exactly the "spoiler" scenario in plurality voting.

Both approval and instant-runoff have scenarios which are undesirable. Approval can still suffer the "spoiler" effect wherein the least popular candidate wins. IRV guarantees at least guarantess that the real nutjobs don't win, at the expense of not necessarily choosing the best among the most popular candidates. Combine this with the fact that it's always clear how to vote in IRV (there is no "gaming the system" voting strategy as with approval voting), and it's my preference.

[ Parent ]

yeah, but approval completely sucks slightly less (none / 0) (#85)
by Entendre Entendre on Thu Nov 27, 2003 at 02:59:08 PM EST

IRV invites continued negative campaigning as candidates give people reasons not to vote for the opposition. Approval voting would (in theory at least) reduce negative campaigning because nobody would want lose voter approval by being remembered as an asshole when it comes time to vote.

A reduction in negative campaigning would (again, in theory) increase voter turnout because fewer people would have the impression that all of the options suck.

--
Reduce firearm violence: aim carefully.
[ Parent ]

That's a feature, not a bug! (none / 1) (#93)
by simul on Fri Nov 28, 2003 at 12:54:28 PM EST

- I agree that all voting systems "suck". But some suck more than others.

- The reality of IRV is that people tend to vote conservatively, just as in pluralism for fear of vote-splitting. That's because IRV is nonmonotonic. See http://www.electionmethods.org/. This is an unpredictable result based on the theory of IRV. A way to circumvent this is to use STV.

- Yes, Approval Voting allows the voter to make some tough strategy decisions. Weighting and ranking systems, like IRV and, worse, STV, seem to put strategy in the hands of the counting machine. The voter is given little choice over strategic decisions and is thus a predictable machine. By thus being predictable their decisions are easier to analyze and manipulate by political strategists.

- Approval voting allows for a broad spectrum of strategy and is far more difficult to analyse except with empirical results. That's a feature, not a bug!

- IRV has been shown to result in two party dominance. Approval voting has not been shown to result in this.

- Approval voting is easier to count, is more understandable. More features.

- Approval voting results in greater voter satisfaction in the outcome... because of its transparency.

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]

Same facts, different conclusions (none / 0) (#127)
by rvcx on Sun Nov 30, 2003 at 01:30:47 PM EST

I certainly agree with you that IRV is not the ideal algorithm, but I think we probably both agree that it has the same interface as the best algorithm(s).

I hate the idea of trying to sell the country on Approval voting for two reasons, which I think any good software engineer will easily understand:

  1. Approval voting demands very complex decision making from the user/voter
  2. Approval voting is nothing but a stopgap technique, but requires an entirely new interface which is neither forward nor backward compatible.

When I say "complex decision making", I mean that there is no simple way to explain how users should vote. It always come down to the question "How do I define my approval threshold?" You can demonstrate approval voting with a ballot with Stalin on it, but I think that just shows the problem. I hate Bush. But I'd certainly approve him if the alternative is Stalin. Given a ballot with Gore, Bush, and Stalin, should I approve Bush as well as Gore, just to make sure Stalin doesn't get in? The notion of voters needing to study current polls to answer questions like that really worries me... Further, there is an obvious temptation for trailing candidates to try to add extreme alternatives just to skew the "approval" threshhold. Bush would love Buchanan to run, because Gore voters might them approve Bush just to make their extreme dislike to Buchanan known. (I really enjoyed implying a parallel between Buchanan and Stalin there.)

It's fair to argue that IRV voting has some problems with strategic voting as well, but in practice they would not crop up immediately. Only when a third-party candidate gets a large proportion of the vote does this even become relevent. More to the point the "fix" for the voting system is all in the algorithm, not the voting interface. If a newer voting system is to be introduced, I think it should use some kind of "preference matrix" interface, and ranking the candidates is very close to that.

Finally, if the country really did finally move over to IRV voting, then as soon as third parties began to threaten it would be in the interest of the major parties to change the tabulation algorithm from IRV to Condorcet.

[ Parent ]

Approval voting is not a stopgap (none / 0) (#135)
by simul on Tue Dec 02, 2003 at 10:10:42 AM EST

Approval voting collects the maximum amount of information for which there exists a provably correct counting algorithm.

Collecting any more information requires the counting authority to implement algorithms for discarding information. These algorithms can then be exploited by political strategists.

The interface is precisely what we should be using. Nothing more.

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]

Condorcet? (none / 0) (#137)
by simul on Tue Dec 02, 2003 at 10:20:31 AM EST

Ranked-ballot Condorcet is not an "optimal" algorithm, and does not allow a voter to rank two candidates *equally* for which he has no strong opinion about either way.

No voting system, other than approval, will result in a candidate that is most acceptable to most people. Approval voting *is* the best one. It is no transition system!

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]

ranked ballot versus approval ballot (none / 0) (#147)
by rvcx on Tue Dec 02, 2003 at 02:07:49 PM EST

Both are simplified interfaces to a full preference matrix. (You can easily turn either into such a matrix and then perform your election algorithm--whether that be IRV or Condorcet. Yes, it does work for approval systems.)

You seem to be blind to the problems of Approval voting. As I've pointed out, you can't avoid strategic voting in Approval systems; the single toughest decision for any voter is where they draw their "approval" threshold. If the voters draw their threshold at the wrong point (like all Democrats, who for argument's sake we'll assume are a slim majority, drawing it above Stalin but below Bush, and Republicans drawing it above Gore as well as Stalin) then the wrong person gets elected.

On theoretical grounds, if voters like any two candidates the same amount, then they can order them however they want on their ballot and their preferences are still reflected perfectly on their own ballot. The only issue here is that this "non-preference" can erase another voter's actual preference. This is just the tip of a whole different level of electoral problem. For any given preference a voter has, how strong is that preference? There are certainly election strategies which take account of such "strength of preference" metrics, but voting strategies get orders of magnitude more subtle and complex. Approval Voting's approach to these problems is incredibly crude, and if anything emphasizes such strategic problems. As I keep saying, the first thing a voter must consider in Approval voting is strategy, and such decisions which have nothing to do with actual preferences should have no place on the ballot.

Frankly, I find the idea of such "mental ties" to be far more theoretical than practical. If you really think it happens, then it is not at all uncommon to allow ranked ballots with ties on them: you can rank two candidates identically, if you wish. In this case, you can use a ranked ballot as an approval ballot simply by ranking all candidates either first (approve) or second (don't approve). The opposite cannot be said of approval ballots--there is no way to transform them to ranked ballots because much of the information about voter preference was discarded as part of the whole choose-a-threshold-and-convert-to-binary operation.

I say Condorcet voting is "optimal" because it subsumes all other "fair" voting algorithms, and I consider ranked ballots (with allowed ties) optimal because the only forms of preference matrix they can't describe are completely irrational ones (cyclic preferences, etc.).

Just to throw one more wrench into this debate, I must admit I'm not sure I really support any such voting reform. With much (most, by some polls) of the voting population claiming that they didn't see any difference between Gore and Bush in the last election, I have trouble seeing how giving them more options will actually get us more intelligent choices.

[ Parent ]

simplified interfaces... (none / 0) (#149)
by simul on Wed Dec 03, 2003 at 11:56:53 AM EST

> You seem to be blind to the problems of > Approval voting. As I've pointed out, you > can't avoid strategic voting in Approval > systems Condorcet counting algorithms take strategy away from the voters and put it in the hands of a computer algorithm.

Why is this a necessary step. Since when was "removing strategy" the goal of election reform?

I declare that a voting system should collect all and only the information that it can count with transparency, accuracy and integrity.

If this was your definition of a voting system, then you'd have to agree that "approval voting" is the best system. > For any given preference a voter has, > how strong is that preference?

You can modify the ballot so the voter ranks each candidate from 0 to 5 where:

  • 0: no approval
  • 1: slightly better than who we have
  • 2: a good candidate
  • 3: a great candidate

    Then you can create a preference matrix off of it and use condorcet counting.

    This avoids the problem of "psychologically forcing" voters to approve of candidates under ranked ballot systems. This is a combination of approval and condorcet that I would find acceptable over ranked ballots.

    > Approval Voting's approach to these > problems is incredibly crude, and > if anything emphasizes such strategic > problems. Again, you are assuming that strategy is a problem. It is the power of the voter to make strategic decisions. And taking this power away and putting it in the hands of a counting authority and computer algorithm is not something that I find desirable.

    I'd be interested in your analysis of the algorithm I described above. You can, obviously, increase the number of "preference levels" as needed. In my opinion, this will not change the results significantly. > Frankly, I find the idea of such > "mental ties" to be far more theoretical > than practical. If you really think > it happens, then it is not at all uncommon to > allow ranked ballots with ties on > them: you can rank two candidates > identically, if you wish. > In this case, you can use a ranked ballot > as an approval ballot simply by > ranking all candidates either > first (approve) or second (don't approve). This is not an acceptable analysis of ranked ballots. I find it very amusing that ranked ballot proselytizers frequently choose to use Approval analyses to prove that their ballots work. It's laughable. Voters may have chosen to strategize by placing a vote for 1 candidate or 3 candidates under Approval. There is no valid way to analyse ranked ballots "as if they weren't ranked".

    It has been wholly disproven in the literature... and hey IRV proponents always fall back on it.

    > Just to throw one more wrench into this > debate, I must admit I'm not sure I > really support any such voting reform.

    I'm sure that I do.

    I would support any ballot that allows the voter the freedom to make a choice on each candidate *independant of each other candidate*. It is the "combining the issue" that was the problem with plurality in the first place.

    > With much (most, by some polls) of > the voting population claiming that > they didn't see any difference > between Gore and Bush in the last > election, I have trouble seeing > how giving them more options > will actually get us more > intelligent choices.

    Under Approval Voting or IRV or any of these methods, Ralph Nader and Harry Brown would have been allowed to debate. They would have ripped Gore and Bush new butt-holes. It would have been worth every taxpayer penny on voting reform.

    Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
    [ Parent ]

  • You haven't thought this through... (none / 0) (#150)
    by rvcx on Wed Dec 03, 2003 at 01:26:30 PM EST

    (your formatting of quotes has a few problems; apologies if I've misunderstood)

    First, I assert that "strategic voting" is a bad thing. Elections should not be contests in which voters with better minds for (and knowledge of) strategy have more say in the outcome than voters without.

    Second, I assert that voters should be able to vote with no more knowledge than how much they like each of the candidates. Elections should not be contests in which voters who happen to be privvy to private information ("party members", for example) have more say in the outcome than voters who are not.

    If you disagree with either assertion please say so.

    As I have pointed out, Approval voting fails badly on both fronts. The single most important a voter faces is where to draw his approval threshhold, and this decision is aided greatly by accurate polls.

    Third, I find the following statement vacuous:

    I declare that a voting system should collect all and only the information that it can count with transparency, accuracy and integrity.

    Apart from suggesting that ballots should not ask people their favorite colors, I'm not sure this rules out any voting system. I suppose it gives lawyers plenty of room with "transparency, accuracy, and integrity"--whoever can define their counting algorithm in fewer words wins.

    Fourth, either you don't understand "rank 0 to 5" system or you have explained it very badly. You cannot encode "strength of preference" information in a preference matrix, by definition (each entry is binary). A user who declares that he prefers Gore to Bush by 5 to 0 might as well say he prefers him 1 to 0; the preference matrix is precisely the same. The system does not account for strength of preference.

    If you like this system, and are willing to extend the 0 to 5 range to any range, then let's suppose you extend it to the range of the number of candidates. You now have a ranked ballot, but voters are allowed to encode ties. Count this with Condorcet. If you agree with this, what's the problem?

    Fifth, handwaving and derision do not negate the simple system for using a ranked ballot (with ties) as an approval ballot. I've explained out how it works, and it is easily proven mathematically. "Wholly disproven in the literature" is not an argument either. I expect you and I are alone in this thread by now; I'd appreciate it if you'd refrain from showboat debating techniques.

    Sixth, I find your notion of choosing a candidate "independent of each other candidate" absolutely absurd. I don't like Gore. Or Nader. Or Brown. Or any president we've ever had. They're all assholes. I'd prefer most people I work with more. With an approval system, this attitude would make my ballot meaningless! (Note that your "rating" system only addresses this problem by taking us back to ranked ballots...)

    The options available are an integral part of making a choice. The goal is to make more than two options possible, and the way to do this is to make sure that a voter with a preference for a candidate who loses does not get ignored by the system when they also have other preferences.

    Finally, I'm still not sure about much more complex voting systems for nationwide elections. The public already has too much trouble getting the truth about just two candidates; I think the first step is finding a way to make voters better informed. (How many voters will go to the polls next year thinking we've found WMD in Iraq, or that it was Iraqi terrorists who carried out 9/11?) With a well-informed and motivated electorate, however, I would whole-heartedly endorse election reform.

    [ Parent ]

    Detailed responses to all your issue (none / 0) (#152)
    by simul on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 11:06:38 AM EST

    > First, I assert that "strategic voting" is
    > a bad thing. Elections should not be
    > contests in which voters with better
    > minds for (and knowledge of) strategy
    > have more say in the outcome than
    > voters without.

    True.  But I would place that as a lower priority, behind accuracy and integrity of the counting system.

    > Second, I assert that voters should be able
    > to vote with no more knowledge than how
    > much they like each of the candidates.

    Yes. I agree.

    > Elections should not be contests in which
    > voters who happen to be privvy to private
    > information ("party members", for example)
    > have more say in the outcome than voters
    > who are not.

    This I disagree with.  All elections are contests in which voters who have more information have more say in the outcome than voters who don't.  Access to information has and will always determines the power of a voter.  No system can change that.

    > As I have pointed out, Approval voting
    > fails badly on both fronts. The
    > single most important a voter faces is
    > where to draw his approval threshhold, '
    > and this decision is aided greatly
    > by accurate polls.

    However, an honest expression of "Approval" has been shown to be one of the the top 3 best possible strategies, in every study of Approval voting that's been made.

    > > I declare that a voting system should collect
    > > all and only the information that it can count
    > > with transparency, accuracy and integrity.

    > Apart from suggesting that ballots should
    > not ask people their favorite colors,
    > I'm not sure this rules out any voting
    > system.

    This would rule out collecting "ranked ballots" and counting them using IRV.  IRV fails to accurately count user's preferences according to nearly every modern mathematical analysis of voting systems.  That is what I would call "inaccurate".

    > If you like this system, and are willing
    > to extend the 0 to 5 range to any range,
    > then let's suppose you extend it to
    > the range of the number of candidates.
    > You now have a ranked ballot, but
    > voters are allowed to encode ties.  
    > Count this with Condorcet.
    > If you agree with this, what's the
    > problem?

    Fine, let's set it from 1 to 100. I agree with this as long as you do not ask the voters to rank the candidates.  Please understand, as any marketer or polling professional knows: the question you ask is *just as important* as the information you gather.

    > Fifth, handwaving and derision do not
    > negate the simple system for using a
    > ranked ballot (with ties) as an
    > approval ballot.

    I'm clad your proposed ranked ballot allows ties, and allows you to leave off candidates...equivalent to ranking them "lowest possible".

    Now.  

    How can you possibly deterime which candidates a voter would have "approved of" on an Approval ballot when handing them a ranked ballot?  

    All you can assume is that they would definitely have *not* approved of any canidates they ranked with the lowest score and definitely would have approved of any candidates they ranked with the highest score.

    That's it.

    Surely you can see that you simply don't have any more information about the voter's preferences.

    Perhaps their "third choice" is someone who they don't approve of at all, but figured was better then their fourth choice, and they were scared by the "ranking system" into voting for them?

    > Sixth, I find your notion of choosing a
    > candidate "independent of each other candidate"
    > absolutely absurd. I don't like Gore.
    > Or Nader. Or Brown. Or any president we've
    > ever had. They're all assholes. I'd prefer
    > most people I work with more.
    > With an approval system, this attitude
    > would make my ballot meaningless!

    We could make it mean something.  Here's how:

    Yes, it would score your ballot as zero approval for all candidates.  

    With an Approval ballot (even a scored ballot would be fine), we would have an accurate reflection of exactly how much Americans likes/dislikes the current representatives.

    Humans are meaning-making machines.  Under an approval system, we would take one look at an election where some guy with 15% approval wins, and start up a huge national ruckus about minimum approval ratings, etc.  The result of this would be, finally, candidates that most people really do approve of.

    We would then pass laws requiring, say, a minimum Approval rating of 20% ... in addidion to having the "largest" Approval rating.

    Trust me, we would do it.  

    IRV and ranked ballots hide this fundamental truth:  most people don't approve of any of the candidates.  Approval voting cracks it wide open.

    A scoring system (0 to 100 is fine) is roughly equivalent to Approval Voting.  Go ahead and count it using Condorcet....

    But it is NOT the same as ranked ballots.

    Because you can't rank all candidates as "zero" with a ranked ballot.

    You just can't.

    > Finally, I'm still not sure about much
    > more complex voting systems for
    > nationwide elections.

    Another reason I back straight Approval.  Everyone I talk to understands it.  Just check off all the ones you approve of.


    Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
    [ Parent ]

    You're on a different planet. (none / 0) (#153)
    by rvcx on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 12:27:53 PM EST

    Two-candidate plurality voting systems do not give more power to those with more information. In fact, no strategy-free voting system does. Information can obviously help voters establish their preferences, but once the preferences have been established each vote counts the same. Suppose two people like Gore better than Bush and Bush better than Stalin. Under an approval voting system, if one of them has access to accurate polling numbers, they can make sure that their vote counts. The other cannot. In such a case the system is no longer "one man, one vote". In Condorcet voting, both candidates can guarantee that their votes count. What's more, both votes count exactly equally.

    Your statement "an honest expression of 'Approval' has been shown to be one of the the top 3 best possible strategies, in every study of Approval voting that's been made" is exactly the kind of ignorant nonsense that irritates me. Say how or why or just shut up.

    Your contention that every piece of information collected on a ballot should used to determine the outcome is quite shallow and short-sighted. Obviously not all the information on a ballot will be used unless it's a two-party majority ballot. (Think about this before you blindly contradict me; it's a mathematical truth.)

    There certainly are a few useful mathematically defined evaluation criteria for voting systems that Approval meets but IRV does not (the most significant be monotonicity). Note that Condorcet is mathematically superior to Approval voting in every respect (as I have demonstrated: the counting strategy subsumes Approval). Even when compared with IRV voting, IRV only starts to deviate from mathematical perfection at precisely the point that strategic voting dominates the election results from Approval voting. In an election where a third-party candidate might be elected (ie distribution is somewhere around 33% for three candidates) there is a small chance of IRV choosing the second-best candidate instead of the best. Approval voting becomes entirely strategic in this case; with the correct strategy the least desirable candidate can win. (This happens if his supporters are the most stubborn while others are more tolerant. In approval voting moderates' votes are ignored while radicals' votes dominate the election!)

    You claim it's wrong to collect extraneous information, then you suggest that voters rate candidates from 1 to 100? Almost all their information is being blatantly thrown away!

    You have successfully demonstrated that an arbitrary ranked ballot cannot be transformed into an Approval ballot. Obviously! On an approval ballot a voter is unable to actually express all of his intentions! But ranked ballots (with ties) are provably better than approval ballots: if a voter wishes to vote in the Approval style, she may. The opposite is not true.

    Think this through: given an arbitrary ranked ballot, the voter's ballot contains more information than an approval ballot. What you don't know is where the "approval threshhold" would have been: maybe only the top two would have been approved, maybe all, maybe none. However, Condorcet voting guarantees that that voter's preferences affect the outcome exactly as though they had drawn their approval threshhol at the optimum place. If I know I like Gore, hate Stalin, and am ambivalent about Bush, then I need to decide whether or not to approve Bush depending on whether Stalin might win. But if I just rank them 1,3,2, then I am guaranteed that my preferences are counted no matter what. When deciding whether or not Stalin beats Bush, Condorcet treats my ballot as though I had approved Bush but not Stalin, even if I don't fully approve of Bush. Approval voting simply ignores the realistic preferences of malcontents like me.

    You seem to absolutely detest throwing away information between the ballot and the winner (despite the fact that this is inevitable), but you don't seem to care at all (in fact, you seem to encourage) throwing away as much information as possible in the voting booth itself. It's rather an odd position; again I just think you're not understanding the underlying knowlege-theoretics of any voting system.

    If you honestly believe this notion of 15% approvals happening but then being fixed by mythical "better candidates" then you are absolutely nuts. First, if you really think 70% of people really wouldn't vote for anyone then you've never done any user testing. Voters will almost always choose at least one. This is what I'm trying to explain about "approval threshholds": psychologically there is NO SUCH THING as an absolute rating for a candidate. Do even the most rudimentary testing and it will be obvious. The names on the ballot ABSOLUTELY, DEFINITELY affect who gets approved. I'll come back to this.

    Your contention that we'd get great candidates misses the whole point: I don't trust people I see on TV begging for votes. I feel I know my close friends, my family, and the people I work with. I see them on a daily basis, and I know how they think. I trust them. I would approve of most of them for an important office. No matter what you do, these localized centers of trust will never overlap to the extent that more than a tiny percentage of the country would approve of the same person. If people actually voted their feelings under an approval system, the winner would be chosen by less than 0.1% of the population. The winner would almost certainly be a cult or religious leader. I'd call this a very very undesirable outcome.

    Even the strongest proponents of approval voting (other than you, apparently), agree that the only sensible strategy for an approval system would be to approval of who you'd vote for in a plurality election, and also approve anyone you like more. This is a very different than what you're suggesting, and is clearly nothing but a stopgap on the way to introducing ranked ballots. Again, I urge you to think the mathematics through: "absolute ratings" fail every major criteria for voting system evaluation.

    And you can rate all candidates "0" on a ranked ballot: they all tie. Meaning this particular voting has absolutely no preference who wins. You seem to be trying to turn voting into some weird opinion poll instead of electing the best candidate. If voters really disapprove of all the candidates, and their votes are completely meaningless, then there is absolutely no reason for them to go to the polls.

    I think you are now getting confused between approval voting and modified majority voting. Several countries (including Russia) use a plurality voting scheme, but voters may choose "none of the above" as a candidate". Different systems vary, but the basic premise is that a candidate needs a certain percentage of the vote to win. In approval voting a "none of the above" vote is completely ignored. In modified majority voting, it is an active vote against all of the candidates.

    Finally, let's go back to a very simple demonstration that "absolute ratings" don't work. (And thus "just check the ones you approve of" doesn't work.)

    I like Gore.
    I hate Stalin.
    I am ambivalent about Bush.

    Note that I definitely prefer Bush to Stalin. If this were a plurality election between those two, I'd definitely choose Bush.

    The big question is "do I approve Bush?". If I am really able to answer this question objectively, then it's clear that I lose in an Approval election.

    Suppose I answer "yes". Then in an election between Gore and Bush, my vote is completely ignored. But I had a strong preference! That's not fair! I want my vote counted!

    Suppose I answer "no". In an election between Bush and Stalin, my vote is completely ignored. I wanted to vote against Stalin, but your voting system wouldn't let me!

    I suggest you back to wherever you first heard about Approval voting and get more information. There is a strong argument that it is superior to plurality voting, but primarily as a stopgap to provide visibility to third parties until a more sophisticated system which can actually accomodate three-party elections is implemented. Its only advantage over Condorcet ranked voting is ballot simplicity (which I consider less important than strategic simplicity); it is decidedly worse in terms of fairness.

    [ Parent ]

    Planet America calling ??? (none / 0) (#154)
    by simul on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 04:45:09 PM EST

    > Suppose two people like Gore better
    > than Bush and Bush better than
    > Stalin. Under an approval voting
    > system, if one of them has access
    > to accurate polling numbers, they
    > can make sure that their vote
    > counts. The other cannot. In such
    > a case the system is no longer
    > "one man, one vote". In Condorcet
    > voting, both candidates can
    > guarantee that their votes count.
    > What's more, both votes count exactly equally.

    Except for the minor flaws in Condorcet and the lack of its ability to resolve these flaws without tie-breaking strategies which, in the best systems, involve rolling a random number.

    > Your statement "an honest expression
    > of 'Approval' has been shown to be one
    > of the the top 3 best possible strategies

    Click here for a mathematical analysis of different strategies:
    http://www.electionmethods.org/Approval-1.html

    > Your contention that every piece of information
    > collected on a ballot should used to determine
    > the outcome is quite shallow and short-sighted.
    > Obviously not all the information on a ballot
    > will be used unless it's a two-party majority
    > ballot.

    Under an Approval ballot, all information is counted.  Likewise with Condorcet on a ranked ballot that allows ties.  Under IRV, the counting algorithm is such that it throws away way too much information.

    > Note that Condorcet is mathematically
    > superior to Approval voting in every
    > respect (as I have demonstrated: the
    > counting strategy subsumes Approval).

    I agree here.  However, I do not agree that ranked ballots are the best way to collect Condorcet information.  

    > You claim it's wrong to collect
    > extraneous information, then you
    > suggest that voters rate candidates
    > from 1 to 100? Almost all their
    > information is being blatantly thrown away!

    Is it?  Or can you use a bayesian sum of the approval ratings and then arrive at an accurate statistical global approval rating of each candidate?  Oh... wait... you can do that!  Whew.

    > But ranked ballots (with ties) are provably
    > better than approval ballots: if a voter
    > wishes to vote in the Approval style,
    > she may. The opposite is not true.

    Please explain how.

    > What you don't know is where the
    > "approval threshhold" would have been
    > : maybe only the top two would have
    > been approved, maybe all, maybe none.

    And this is the critical information that fans of IRV and Condorcet think is meaningless.  Do the voters actually like the candidates?  In your quest to determine which candidate can defeat all others you have forgotten the most important metric of all: approval.

    I agree that you can find the best candidate from among a set of candidates with ranked ballots.  I do not agree that you will find a candidate that people approve of.

    First, if you really think 70% of people really wouldn't vote for anyone then you've never done any user testing.

    45% of the people voted in 2000.  46% of them voted for Bush.

    Bush won with a 20.7% of the vote.

    Ouch.

    > If people actually voted their feelings
    > under an approval system, the winner
    > would be chosen by less than 0.1%
    > of the population.

    I know many, many people who, in 2000, approved of Gore and many who genuinely approved of Bush in the role of president.

    You may hang out in another country or something.

    > You seem to be trying to turn voting
    > into some weird opinion poll
    > instead of electing the best candidate.

    You seem to forget that Approval Voting almost always elects the Condorcet winner in elections.  There's a nice proof on that by Brams.


    Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
    [ Parent ]

    Getting closer. (none / 0) (#155)
    by rvcx on Fri Dec 05, 2003 at 05:47:38 PM EST

    I'm glad to see you seem to be warming up to Condorcet. As I've said, its "minor flaws" are provably present in Approval voting as well. As for tie-breaking, obviously no system can eliminate ties, and most definitions of Condorcet voting don't address how ties are resolved. (If your source for information on Condorcet recommends a roll of the dice, it can easily be replaced with any other heuristic, or simply an election result of "tie".) Regardless, in a sufficiently large population ties are extremely unlikely. (Florida 2000 is as close to a tie as could happen in practice, and obviously the numbers were never exactly equal, even as they changed.)

    I see your source for "honest approval as one of the best three strategies" that this actually has nothing to do with voting system. The linked page simply elaborates on my concern that much of Approval voting hinges on the individual strategies of individual voters. Again, I think the complexity of such strategies outweighs the difference in complexity between approval and ranked ballots.

    I'm not sure what kind of ballot you want to collect Condorcet information if it's not a ranked ballot. As pointed out, approval ballots simply do not allow voters to fully express their preferences. Admittedly there are a very few kinds of preferences (all extremely odd or irrational ones) which ranked ballots cannot express. I suppose you could use a full preference-matrix ballot, but again I don't think the benefits in expressiveness outweigh the costs in complexity.

    Your "baysian counting" strategy has actually been well-studies and is known in the literature as "cardinal voting". In brief, the only sensible way to use such a "cardinal ballot", in which you rate candidates on a scale, is to always give them either the maximum or minimum score. Cardinality voting is thus theoretically equivalent to approval voting, with the added problem that voters who don't fully understand the optimal stategy will cast "less powerful" votes than those who do. For this reason, cardinality voting is not considered a real candidate for election reform.

    As I've said before, a voter presented with a ranked ballot can use it as an approval ballot: vote all candidates of which the voter approves first (a tie) and all candidates of which the voter does not approve second (another tie). The resulting preference matrix is such that the voter prefers all approved candidates to all unapproved candidates, but has no preferences among either group. This preference matrix can be counted via Condorcet.

    My point about approval threshholds is that the notion of "approval" is pretty wishy-washy. Give voters really good candidates and their standards will go up; give them awful candidates and their standards will go down. I know an awful lot of people who claim to "approve" of Bush, but during the primaries claimed to only "approve" of McCain, claiming that Bush was corrupt. It's not that Bush got better; it's just that their standards changed. I claim to disapprove of Bush's job as president compared to what I think Gore, McCain or Bradley would have done, but I still approve of him as a world leader more than I approve of Stalin.

    And the fact that Approval normally selects the same winner as Condorcet doesn't really mean much; Instance Runoff and most other "seriously considered" election systems all usually agree with both. What I look for in an election system is how seamlessly a third party can rise from 0% to an election victory. With both Approval and Instant Runoff there's a significant problem right around the point where the third-party gets competitive. (With IRV it's to do with the counting system, with Approval it's to do with voters absolutely needing to use the right strategy to avoid help their least favorite candidate win.) Condorcet ranked-ballot voting is seamless, thus allowing a smooth transition from our current partisan system to a more open field.

    But coming back to whether it's a good idea, once you open up the national election to more than two parties, you open it up to more than just Nader and Brown. We just saw in California how a large number of candidates can lower, not raise, the level of debate in an election: nobody ever really addressed policy because they were too busy just trying to be heard over the other candidates. Maybe reform is a good starting point and maybe other problems with elections (financing, for example?) need to be addressed first. It's an open question.

    [ Parent ]

    No more ranked ballots (none / 0) (#156)
    by simul on Mon Dec 08, 2003 at 10:42:42 PM EST

    > I'm glad to see you seem to be warming up
    > to Condorcet. As I've said, its "minor
    > flaws" are provably present in Approval
    > voting as well. As for tie-breaking,

    Loop breaking, I should have said.  The problem with Condorcet is loops.  A can beat B, B can beat C, C can beat A.  This is frequent in Condorcet.  The typical solution is to discard preferences in some sort of manner such that the fewest preferences are discarded.  Sometimes there are situations where there is no optimal solution.  These are not "ties" in the sense of two votes coming out equal.  These are far more common in Condorcet algorithms.  And rolling the dice is really how they resolve them, in a manner weighted towards the majority preference.  I've done in depth reading on Condorcet systems.  

    > I'm not sure what kind of ballot you want to
    > collect Condorcet information if it's not a
    > ranked ballot.

    A "scored" ballot, where people rank candidates by assigning them a score from 1 to the number of candidates.

    > As pointed out, approval ballots simply
    > do not allow voters to fully express
    > their preferences.

    That is not the intention of a voting system.  A voting system's intention is to arrive at an outcome most acceptable to the most people.  Please grok this.

    > Your "Bayesian counting" strategy has
    > actually been well-studies and is
    > known in the literature as "cardinal
    > voting". In brief, the only sensible
    > way to use such a "cardinal ballot",
    > in which you rate candidates on a
    > scale, is to always give them
    > either the maximum or minimum score.

    If you use straight-Condorcet to count.. then people won't need to strategize with 1 or N, but you will be discarding the *distance between ranks*.  

    For example: if I rank candidates:

    A - 10
    B - 9
    C - 1

    That would be absolutely equivalent to:

    A - 3
    B - 2
    C - 1

    Under straight Condorcet.  You have completely discarded the absolute FACT that none of the candidates are actually Acceptable to the voter.

    This is want IRV and Condorcet does that I find inherently flawed.  I do believe it is possible to MAXIMIZE the Approval or Acceptability of candidates over time.  The only way to do that is to have a voting system that encourages "competition for broad appeal"

    Ranked ballots do not do this.

    Approval ballots do.

    Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
    [ Parent ]

    So what's your complaint with ranked ballots? (none / 1) (#157)
    by rvcx on Tue Dec 09, 2003 at 11:20:33 AM EST

    It's pretty clear that "loop breaking" is, if anything, an advantage of Condorcet over simple Approval voting. There are well-known ways to break loops which result in the fewest number of preferences thrown away; these algorithms do not depend on a "roll of the dice" to break such loops. If your reference for Condorcet information only contains information on naive randomized loop-breaking, you're missing out on much of the beauty of the system. The algorithm which is considered the "most fair" (usually known as "clone-free Smith set elimination") makes absolutely no use of random number generation.

    It must be noted that loops are actually extremely rare except in very close elections involving a great number of candidates. Approval voting is nearly useless for this type of election, so it's not really an alternative. (Voting is almost entirely strategic under Approval voting in such situations.)

    Approval voting avoid loops by simply throwing away as much voter information as possible before the ballots even come back. A radical liberal may only find Nader "acceptable", but they absolutely definitely want their voice to be counted if a very close race comes down to Gore and Bush. In Approval voting their preferences among the candidates they don't consider ideal are completely discarded. In Condorcet their preferences are used to make those tough decisions, including breaking loops.

    I keep going on about voters being able to "express their preferences" not because I think such expression is an end in itself, but because it's a very obvious information-theoretic proof of Approval voting's failure. If a user has strongly held beliefs about the candidates that they can't even express, then clearly the voting system is failing to count their vote. This is not a proof that the Condorcet method for counting all the information it collects is perfect, but it is proof that Approval fails in some fundamental ways.

    I fully grok that voting systems are about selecting candidates and not "expressing" things. That's precisely why I've taken such exception to your contention that the point of an election is to find out how many people "approve" of the winner. A media opinion poll is not a good voting system, and vice versa.

    I'm afraid I completely lost track of your logic at the end of your last post. You originally suggested that you supported "cardinal ballots", and I demonstrated that they can be transformed into Condorcet ballots and counted at least as well an a Approval ballot would have done. You suggested some Bayseian counting scheme, and I pointed out that such schemes (where the actual magnitude of a voter's preference matters) are absolutely no better than simple Approval voting because the only sensible strategy is for voters to only use the highest and lowest ratings.

    If your goal is to "maximize the approve or acceptability" of candidates over time, you have still provided absolutely no reason why approval ballots do this but ranked ballots do not. The whole point of any reasonable voting system is to find the candidate with "broad appeal". Ranked ballots absolutely do this; Approval ballots do not necessarily do this.

    If there will be five names on an Approval ballot, a candidate must do two things: she must get people to approve of her, and get people to disapprove of the other candidates. If she has a loyal minority (a cult leader, for example) who will vote for her regardless, then she is best served by spending her time getting others not to approve of anyone else. Such a system actually favors attack ads. Just as in the current system, it can be in a candidate's best interest to lower turnout by making all politicians look bad; in Approval voting lowered turnout means a raised Approval threshhold: voters will approve less people. A cult leader, for example, may be the favorite of 20% of the population, but the absolute least-favorite of the other 80%. If he manages to find enough dirt on the other candidates that they are unacceptable to most of the population, even if he makes himself look worse in the process, he will win easily.

    With five names on a ranked ballot, a candidate's sole concern is making themselves look better than as many of the other candidates as possible. Just making the whole race a very dirty political affair can't possibly help, because you can't just lower turnout by getting voters to approve of fewer candidates. A radical candidate who is the first-choice of a minority but the last-choice of most everyone stands to gain nothing from negative campaigning; making others look bad won't help him unless he makes himself look good by comparison.

    [ Parent ]

    Misquoting me a bit there (none / 0) (#158)
    by simul on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 03:11:55 AM EST

    > If a user has strongly held beliefs
    > about the candidates that they can't
    > even express, then clearly the voting
    > system is failing to count their vote.

    No, it's failing to take into account their preference.  Ranked ballots also fail miserably at this, as I pointed out previously.

    > That's precisely why I've taken such
    > exception to your contention that
    > the point of an election is to find
    > out how many people "approve" of the winner.

    My contention was that the point of an election is to find a result that the most people approve of.  There's a difference.

    > I'm afraid I completely lost track of
    > your logic at the end of your last post.
    > You originally suggested that
    > you supported "cardinal ballots",

    I do.

    > and I demonstrated that they can be
    > transformed into Condorcet ballots

    No you did not.  You through away all of the most important information and counted what you thought was important.  This is a critical concept.

    > and counted at least as well an a
    > Approval ballot would have done.

    It counts differently.  

    An Approval contest is not to beat the other candidates... it is a contest is to get as many people as possible to put your name on their ballot....

    There is a deep distinction here.

    > If your goal is to "maximize the approve
    > or acceptability" of candidates over time
    > , you have still provided absolutely
    > no reason why approval ballots do
    > this but ranked ballots do not.

    Ranked ballots merely pick the best candidate from a set and then report him as a majority winner.  There is no notion of "approval" in a ranked ballot.  Someone who votes A-0, B-1, C-2 (all bad rankings) gets the same vote as someone who votes A-7, B-8, C-9 (all good rankings)...  ranked ballots simply don't give any indication of the "strength of real support" for a candidate.  

    What's more, ranked ballots encourage voters to rank all the candidates, even when there are some about whom they have no strong opinion, potentially leading to outcomes that don't really reflect voter preferences.

    > The whole point of any reasonable
    > voting system is to find the
    > candidate with "broad appeal".

    Which Approval Voting does.  I think that's obvious.  The elected official will certainly be the one that the most voters checked-off on the ballot as "approved of".

    > Ranked ballots absolutely do this;

    That's a bold and unsupportable claim.  Ranked ballots *can* find the "best winner from a field of candidates".  IRV proponents even claim they find a "majoirty winner every time"... which is a complete joke.  Ranked ballots allow you to run Stalin against Nixon, elect Nixon and then claim a "majority winner".  

    Approval ballots will point out the lie in this.  Which is why politicans fear them.

    > If there will be five names on an
    > Approval ballot, a candidate must do
    > two things: she must get people to
    > approve of her, and get people to
    > disapprove of the other candidates.

    Not if there's a quorum.

    > Just making the whole race a very
    > dirty political affair can't possibly
    > help, because you can't just lower

    Why not?  Just get people to rank you as #1, and leave everyone else off the ballot or rank them last!  Throw as much dirt as you can at the others to push their ranking down!  Fuck Bush, rank him last!

    Sheesh.  You're kidding yourself if you think that *any* voting system can stop that.

    All sytems encourage attack ads.  In a
    ranked ballot you want to make sure
    people rank you over your nearest competitor.
    Same with approval, and plurality.  

    In approval and ranked ballots however, there's a
    fear that you may hand power to a third
    party by negative campaigning.  This is true of both, and is, ultimately, a non-issue.

    Attack ads in larger fields of candidates are more risky.  So you may want to address the fact that ranked ballots encourage two-party power.


    Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
    [ Parent ]

    Interesting to analyze (none / 0) (#159)
    by simul on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 03:29:20 AM EST

    You can see that Bush and Kucinich do better under IRV.

    Condorcet and Approval are nearly identical... but arguably, approval reports more meaningful results.   You can see that the winner, Howard Dean, only has a 60% approval.  That's a pretty good voter mandate... and is an indicator of the the strength of his office.

    This level could be used by Congress in negotiations, and is an important reflection of public support for a candidate.  

    You could make a rule that when the level approval levels slip too low, then President must give up the ability to nominate Cabinet members to the public.


    Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
    [ Parent ]

    Interesting to analyze (none / 0) (#160)
    by simul on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 03:29:42 AM EST

    http://bolson.org/2004/results.html

    You can see that Bush and Kucinich do better under IRV.

    Condorcet and Approval are nearly identical... but arguably, approval reports more meaningful results.   You can see that the winner, Howard Dean, only has a 60% approval.  That's a pretty good voter mandate... and is an indicator of the the strength of his office.

    This level could be used by Congress in negotiations, and is an important reflection of public support for a candidate.  

    You could make a rule that when the level approval levels slip too low, then President must give up the ability to nominate Cabinet members to the public.


    Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
    [ Parent ]

    Back in circles again. (none / 0) (#161)
    by rvcx on Fri Dec 12, 2003 at 12:04:16 PM EST

    I've tried to point this out multiple times, so let's address it independently of any other issue:

    A voter can not simply follow an absolute "approval threshold" when voting in an approval election. Beside the psychological fact that there is no such thing as an absolute rating of any opinion, only differential rating, approval election systems simply don't work if voters vote this way. It's a mathematical truth.

    Every explanation of approval voting I have ever come across makes clear that the simplest sensible way to vote is to vote for whom you would vote in a plurality election, and also vote for anyone you like more. There are other (more complex) ways to vote, but an absolute approval threshhold is not a rational voting strategy. I've pointed out several examples in which such a strategy effectively costs voters their right to vote: they have a preference, but are not allowed to express it.

    If you want an opinion poll, then run an opinion poll.

    [ Parent ]

    So use Cardinal/Condorcet voting (none / 0) (#162)
    by simul on Wed Dec 17, 2003 at 09:21:17 AM EST

    On an IRV ballot with a metaphorical Nixon, Stalin and Hitler,  Nixon would win with an 80% majority and a mandate of the people.

    On a Cardinal ballot (0-10) with the same candidates, you'd still see Nixon winning, but with a rating of 5% or less. Lots of people voting all zeroes, and some voting 1,0,0.  Etc.  

    This would not be a *mandate of the people* and would require a re-nomination or something.

    Ranked ballots throw out the notion of calculating and using this important vector of informtion... which is "How much power should we give the winner?"


    Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
    [ Parent ]

    You haven't answered the question. (none / 0) (#163)
    by rvcx on Wed Dec 17, 2003 at 11:27:16 AM EST

    My point was that approval voting does not work if voters try to use an "absolute threshhold". This is a well-known mathematical fact. Do you understand/agree? (yes or no)

    Please don't try to dodge the issue by pointing us at the usefulness of opinion polls or contradictory voting system alternatives. I promise we can come back to these things.

    [ Parent ]

    Approval voting works well in practice (none / 0) (#164)
    by simul on Wed Dec 17, 2003 at 03:50:34 PM EST

    OK, you've gone back to the topic of approval voting. I thought we'd come up with a nice new system of Cardinal ranking combined with Condorcet counting.

    All voting systems have problems.

    Approval voting is used to elect the secretary general of the U.N. It is used by many mathematical and statistical societies. SO in practice the theoretical "aaah the strategy is killing me" problem of which you speak does not occur.

    Most people have a notion of "approval". Is this guy "good enough for mayor"? Yes or No? It's not as hard a question to qnswer as you imply.

    Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
    [ Parent ]

    Not the question. (none / 0) (#165)
    by rvcx on Thu Dec 18, 2003 at 04:51:00 AM EST

    I did not ask whether or not "approval voting" is a good system.

    I asked whether you understood that "absolute approval threshholds" do not work. (You need to understand this to have any hope of understanding cardinal voting.)

    Many groups do use approval voting, but this in no way suggests they use them in the way you suggest. Asking people to vote by asking them if someone is "good enough to be mayor" is a very very very BAD voting system.

    [ Parent ]

    absolute thresholds work if you use condorcet .. (none / 0) (#166)
    by simul on Tue Dec 23, 2003 at 12:56:47 AM EST

    ranking candidates on a scale from 1-10 works if you use condorcet counting...

    this would alleviate my concern with ranked ballots, and your concern with approal/bayesian counting

    Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
    [ Parent ]

    I'll take that as a "yes" (none / 0) (#167)
    by rvcx on Tue Dec 23, 2003 at 07:16:57 AM EST

    Considering the number of times you've dodged the question, I'll assume that you agree "absolute threshholds" simply do not work.

    I believe I was originally the one who suggested using Condorcet counting for "cardinal" ballots, and I pointed out that a ranking of 1 to 10 or any such arbitrary range isn't necessarily good enough. What you need is a range from 1 to the number of candidates. And if you use Condorcet counting, then the actual numbers you use to rate candidates are completely irrelevent; only the relative ratings matter. This has clearly become nothing more than a ranked ballot with ties.

    I suppose you could "spin" the ballot design to claim that the chosen numbers were "ratings" and not "rankings", but this is nothing but intentionally confusing voters. The only thing that matters for Condorcet counting is how the candidates are ranked. If there are 50 candidates but most voters only really want to vote for four or five of them (and would presumably just let 45 others tie for last place), then you'd be asking voters to agonize over whether to rate their top candidate 40 or 45. Any interface designer will tell you this is just stupid; you'll cut the ease of voting by an order of magnitude for no good reason at all.

    As I've mentioned the "absolute" numbers chosen are irrelevent; only relative ranking matters. This is clear because having an opinion of all fifty candidates shouldn't change how you've voted on the top five. In this voting scenario, the voter no longer has the choice between 40 or 45; they need to use 50 for their top candidate. Any notion of "ratings" is thus clearly useless.

    You actually objected quite strongly to such a cardinal ballot-Condorcet counting system when I originally proposed it, primarily because it would clearly throw away information (the absolute ratings), and you proposed using some kind of Bayesian arithmetic to count ballots (which is decidedly not the same thing as Condorcet counting). This is an appealing notion, but is clearly mathematically unsound; the only rational voting strategy in a such a system is to vote either the maximum or minimum possible ratings, which reduces the election method back to approval voting.

    [ Parent ]

    The "second vector" of information (none / 0) (#168)
    by simul on Wed Dec 31, 2003 at 07:11:46 PM EST

    > Considering the number of times you've
    > dodged the question, I'll assume that
    > you agree "absolute threshholds" simply
    > do not work.

    Your "logical strategy" argument is correct.  All cardinal ballots that use summation are effectively equivalent to Approval voting, assuming that that a large majority of voters use strategic voting.  I would say that that assumption is a broad and is probably an invalid one.

    > I believe I was originally the one
    > who suggested using Condorcet
    > counting for "cardinal" ballots.

    Yes, it was a good idea.

    > and I pointed out that a ranking of 1 to
    > 10 or any such arbitrary range isn't
    > necessarily good enough.

    You could probably prove that the number becomes fairly meaningless after 7 or so ...  as far as influencing the actual results.

    > If you use Condorcet counting, then
    > the actual numbers you use to rate
    > candidates are completely irrelevent;
    > only the relative ratings matter.

    Assuming that you don't think that the level of public mandate for a cnadidate is an important second vecotr of information that can be used to grant or take away levels of power.

    Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
    [ Parent ]

    arrow's theorem (none / 2) (#122)
    by bolson on Sat Nov 29, 2003 at 06:51:52 PM EST

    mathematically proven that all voting systems "completely suck"

    You are sooooo misusing Arrow's Theorem. It really says that there is no perfect voting system for Arrow's definition of perfect.

    BUT, there can be a voting system which satisfies many of those important qualities and can be statistically demonstrated to be a utilitarian best (though, not perfect).


    Making Democracy Safe for the World (change the voting system)
    [ Parent ]
    An idea. (none / 2) (#91)
    by irrevenant on Fri Nov 28, 2003 at 06:18:01 AM EST

    Personally, I prefer IRV over Approval, but who says we're limited to two options (isn't that the very problem we're trying to eliminate :).

    Off the top of my head is there any reason why the following wouldn't work:

    Give each voter one vote, but allow them to split it, eg. "I want to vote 2/3 Nader, 1/3 Gore".  Then you just total all the votes, fractional or otherwise.

    Now, this might be too unwieldly for voters to handle, in which case we can 'pretty up the interface' a bit.

    1)  Make it very clear to voters that selecting more than one candidate splits their vote.
    2)  Allow them to rank candidates.
    3)  Calculate a voter's fractional vote for each candidate as follows: (number of candidates voted for - position ranked + 1) / factorial(number of votes)

    eg.  If you vote "Nader, Gore, Bush" in that order, then you end up with:

    Nader: (3-1+1=3)/6= 1/2
    Gore: (3-2+1=2)/6 = 1/3
    Bush: (3-3+1=1)/6 = 1/6

    etc.

    Thoughts?

    [ Parent ]

    thought (none / 0) (#109)
    by speek on Sat Nov 29, 2003 at 09:28:28 AM EST

    Splitting up your vote is a choice few would make for the same reason comment moderation became all 5's and 1's. No one wants to water down their vote. Ie, if all Dems water down their vote, and the republicans don't, that's no different than what we have now.

    --
    al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
    [ Parent ]

    simulate it (none / 0) (#121)
    by bolson on Sat Nov 29, 2003 at 06:45:04 PM EST

    I have a voting system simulation code and so far it seems that what you suggest will work well. It's fair, can't be strategized, and results in happy electorates. I did try running strategizers who put all on the favorite, vs honest voters, and honest voters tended to win.
    Making Democracy Safe for the World (change the voting system)
    [ Parent ]
    The electoral college is one of the best parts... (none / 0) (#126)
    by gte910h on Sun Nov 30, 2003 at 01:27:52 AM EST

    ...it makes candidates look at varied issues that travail different area's of the country. If it was just one man one vote, lightly populated area's wouldn't be campaigned towards nor would their interestes be watched over.


    [ Parent ]
    There was a goal Nader was trying to acheive... (none / 1) (#86)
    by amike on Thu Nov 27, 2003 at 06:23:59 PM EST

    Aside from the fact that Nader had the constitutional right to run in 2000, there was another reason that Nader ran. If he received 5% or more of the vote, then the Green Party would have received federal campaign matching funds in 2004. This would have greatly helped the Greens in getting the word out and possibly winning an election for once. Alas, that did not happen.



    ----------
    In a mad world, only the mad are sane. -Akira Kurosawa
    [ Parent ]
    Re: Spoiler? Says who? (none / 2) (#79)
    by Peahippo on Thu Nov 27, 2003 at 12:09:27 AM EST

    You said it; allow me to use supporting language because I'm probably as pissed off as you are, if not more.

    As soon as I saw the phrase "the Green party can never be fully blamed for spoiling an election", I knew the article was a lost cause. When I spank a child, and he claims it's child abuse like the liberal assholes in school teach him, I ignore it; in the same fashion, when an election is within the margin of votes that the Green candidate obtained, and someone yells "spoiler!", I also ignore it.

    Like 99% of the public debate in America, the scope of simul's argument has already been narrowed to the point where it just doesn't matter. And like a spreadsheet, the precision of results has lured us into thinking it represents reality.

    His premise is a fantasy. The Two Party System {tm} doesn't own my vote. Perhaps it does own the vote of K5er simul, but that's his mistake. And by not owning my vote, the mechanics of bickering about who gets it, don't apply.

    Greens should stand their own ground and their own candidates. Nader's run more than emphasized that the core plank concerns anti-corporate-goverance ... which is utterly incompatible with the planks in the Two Party System {tm}. You can't fit my concerns into a pro-profiteering, pro-corporation and pro-globalization party.

    It's a long road. I am looking forward to the day when a real candidate is on the podium for a debate, kind of like H. Ross Perot and his Veep running partner, but even further along ... like a housewife who has paid her bills for years and is disgusted by a Congress and President that think that running $100s of billions in overbudgeting and $10s of billions in trade imbalance is just fine. I am looking forward to the day when Nader will be allowed to debate the Two Party System {tm} candidates and to watch them squirm when he asks them about who has bought them and why.

    To simul I can further say: It is not our job as Greens, Libertarians or other dissenting voters to fall under the Democrat umbrella by whatever mechanism. Your Democratic party is dead and has failed to merit our votes. The fix to that isn't the band-aid of promises, but the radical surgery of excision. Or ... just for giggles ... a real Democrat stands up and starts supporting America's $8/hr worker for a fucking change.


    [ Parent ]
    Who Says? Nader. (none / 0) (#133)
    by cmholm on Mon Dec 01, 2003 at 10:16:15 PM EST

    Ralph made it abundantly clear that he hoped his candidacy would both build the Green Party and knock Gore's dick in the dust. The idea was that Bush and his buddies would fuck things up so badly that the masses would flock to the Greens and/or a more left wing Democratic Party within an election cycle or two.

    Unfortunately, Ralph greatly underestimated the willingness of the masses to either suck corporate cock, or be herded like the good little Rushties that a good 50% of them are. A strong Green Party showing during general elections merely pushes the GOP's dick further up everyone's ass.

    [ Parent ]

    Thank you (1.75 / 4) (#80)
    by sellison on Thu Nov 27, 2003 at 12:48:52 AM EST

    keep standing up for your principles (no matter how wrong they are).

    If everyone did this, America would be a far better place.

    The fact is the Democrat party should splinter into the radical econuts, the socialists, the feminists, etc.

    The thing is lurching along like a worn out frankenstein as it is, only being held together by paranoid fear of the Republicans, the basis for which only exists in the need for the McCullifs of the world to keep their cushy jobs, if the rank and file democrats knew the truth they would happily split into smaller parts based on honest principle rather than cobbled together fears and loathing of the honest and moral people on the Right side of things.



    "No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush
    [ Parent ]

    just for completeness... (none / 3) (#84)
    by Entendre Entendre on Thu Nov 27, 2003 at 02:48:57 PM EST

    The fact is the Democrat party should splinter into the radical econuts, the socialists, the feminists, etc.

    ...and the republicans should splinter into the small-government libertarians, the big-brother authorocrats, the evangelical Christians, etc, etc.

    Yeah, I'm just bitter. I'd probably vote republican myself if it wasn't for the Ashcrofts among them.

    --
    Reduce firearm violence: aim carefully.
    [ Parent ]

    Just to let you know (none / 3) (#87)
    by sellison on Thu Nov 27, 2003 at 07:13:09 PM EST

    I'm responding to this and other things in my diary since a coven of leftist censors has taken to following me around and zeroing all my comments, often before the person they are addressed to can even read them!

    This even though I never swear or use offensive language, which is what people are supposed to use zeros for!

    Anyway, I'd welcome your comments there, no point in discussing anything here since Newbie and his ilk will just delete the whole conversation!


    "No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered as patriots. This is one nation under God."- George H.W. Bush
    [ Parent ]

    it could happen (none / 0) (#130)
    by fenix down on Sun Nov 30, 2003 at 07:28:31 PM EST

    I think the Republicans are getting close to that. The classical conservatives are getting pissy about Bush, and they're definately more serious about it than the liberals were about Clinton's stage-dive to the center. The Democrats couldn't survive a split then, and still couldn't, but the conservatives and the neocon/Christians could both survive pretty well on their own. They'd just risk losing some power to the Democrats. Most Republicans wouldn't risk that for anything, but the longer they hang around in this Alexander the Great-esque stagnance, the more likely it gets. You can only pretend for so long that Tom Daschle is such a great and terrible threat that you can't afford infighting.

    [ Parent ]
    Nader/2000 (none / 1) (#92)
    by tunesmith on Fri Nov 28, 2003 at 06:23:48 AM EST

    Honestly, if you really were a "Nader or no one" voter in 2000, saw no difference between Gore and Bush, and would not have voted had the election only been between Gore and Bush, then it's hard to quarrel with you - you voted your principles. However, a lot of people voted for Nader while still preferring Gore to Bush, and these people were misguided. They were convinced to "vote their principles" using a system that had no room for them. If you try to vote your principles using a voting system that does not have room for those principles, then the end result is an unprincipled vote. If Nader voters supported Gore over Bush (and judging by what I remember from exit polling, I think about 2/3 of them did), then the only principled thing for them to do would have been to have voted for Gore while working their asses off to implement preference voting (Condorcet preferably) in their state. If the system doesn't have room for your principles, you don't just pretend that it does. You instead go for the best possible result while working your ass off to change the system so that it will have room for your principles. The Nader voters that preferred Gore over Bush were just the lazy kind of idealists that give idealists a bad name.
    Yes, I have a blog.
    [ Parent ]
    YHBT. YHL. HAND. (none / 1) (#113)
    by streetcornerhorse on Sat Nov 29, 2003 at 11:03:45 AM EST

    [EN TEA]
    YHBT. YHL. HAND.
    [ Parent ]
    I can see why the Green Party doesn't get anywhere (2.00 / 6) (#56)
    by fritz the cat on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 11:09:13 AM EST

    "If the party chooses to reply to an endorsement request, the party will commit to producing a specific list of required actions"

    What actions?

    DOING NOTHING FUCKING SOMETHING

    Actions are specific to the candidate (none / 2) (#57)
    by sim22 on Wed Nov 26, 2003 at 11:15:26 AM EST

    Please specify a proposed candidate seeking endorsement and I will provide a proposed example of the actions required.

    [ Parent ]
    do it for Dean then (none / 0) (#110)
    by speek on Sat Nov 29, 2003 at 09:36:01 AM EST


    --
    al queda is kicking themsleves for not knowing about the levees
    [ Parent ]

    Green Party endorsement (none / 1) (#83)
    by confundido on Thu Nov 27, 2003 at 01:08:49 PM EST

    GP Minnesota does have a specific endorsement policiy that any candidate can seek.  I sure it is similar on the national scene with conventions  and the like.

    one of the rubrics is specifically, that they must support the ten key values of a green.

    http://www.mngreens.org/tenkey.php

    I would have a hard time asking the green party to endorse somebody who hasn fully understood this or voting for somebody who has voted against the spirit of these values in the past.
    Aquí a nuestros portales ocasales lavados por la mar se hallará una mujer poderosa, cuyo fuego es el relámpago encarcelado, y su nombre Madre de los Exhiliados --Ema Lázaro, El nuevo coloso

    This is not specific, this is the kind of stuff... (none / 0) (#88)
    by simul on Fri Nov 28, 2003 at 01:33:06 AM EST

    This is not specific, this is the kind of stuff that makes it impossible to negotiate with the Green party. "Social justice" and "Ecological Wisdom" are not a specific action. They are subjective values.

    What you need to have power are objective milestones, and specific actions, not subjective "values".

    That's how hard-dealing politics works.

    If you are running candidates this year, and you have significant numbers, and you would like me and my friend to analyze your race to see if we can pull soe teeth for you, then email me.

    Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
    [ Parent ]

    Divest Israel (none / 0) (#90)
    by wij on Fri Nov 28, 2003 at 02:53:13 AM EST

    You should add a clause requiring the candidate to divest any investments they have in Israeli companies, at least until they withdraw to the 1947 boarders, allow the creation of a independent viable Palestinian state, and recognize the right of return for refugees and their decedents.

    "I am an intellectual of great merit, yet I am not adequately compensated for this by capitalism; this is the reason for my opposition to it."
    Heh. (none / 1) (#100)
    by tkatchev on Fri Nov 28, 2003 at 07:27:13 PM EST

    Is antisemitism the new trolling now?

       -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
    [ Parent ]

    anti-israel is not anti-semetic (none / 0) (#103)
    by simul on Fri Nov 28, 2003 at 09:40:15 PM EST

    judaism is a religion, not a country. when you mix the two, it's a recipe for trouble.

    Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
    [ Parent ]
    That said... (none / 0) (#114)
    by scruffyMark on Sat Nov 29, 2003 at 12:09:00 PM EST

    Check his sig - seems to support a theory that the humanoid does think antisemitism can be good for a laugh. Granted the quote is laughable, although more than a bit scary if authentic.

    [ Parent ]
    holocaust denial isnt' necessarilty anti-semitic (none / 0) (#116)
    by simul on Sat Nov 29, 2003 at 12:20:43 PM EST

    holocaust denial isn't' necessarily anti-semitic either. they happen to coincide a lot, admittedly. but people who attack holocaust denial on the grounds that it is anti-semitic are doing the holocaust deniers a service.

    Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
    [ Parent ]
    think (none / 0) (#124)
    by jdonnell on Sat Nov 29, 2003 at 08:09:23 PM EST

    Granted the quote is laughable, although more than a bit scary if authentic."
    If someone asks if the holocaust really happened the correct response is, "Here is the evidence". The correct response isn't, "Your a bigot". Asking for the evidence of the holocaust is not bigotry or anti-semetic, but denying the evidence once presented is. That's all Chomsky was saying and it isn't scary.

    blogbloc.com
    [ Parent ]
    The chomsky quote is authentic (none / 1) (#131)
    by wij on Sun Nov 30, 2003 at 08:12:27 PM EST

    The Chomsky quote is authentic, though, surprise surprise, it's only widely available in peices critical of him.

    This is the fullest version that I've found of it:

    "I see no anti-Semitic implications in denial of the existence of gas chambers or even denial of the Holocaust. Nor would there be anti-Semitic implications, per se, in the claim that the Holocaust (whether one believes it took place or not) is being exploited, viciously so, by apologists for Israeli repression and violence. I see no hint of anti-Semitic implications in Faurisson's work."

    Robert Faurisson, by the way, is a French holocaust denier. Chomsky has gotten more than a little flak from his association with him.

    I can't help but wonder if Chomsky would be probing the same anti-Semetic depths that chess-legend Bobby Fischer is, if he didn't have the anti-American outlet.

    "I am an intellectual of great merit, yet I am not adequately compensated for this by capitalism; this is the reason for my opposition to it."
    [ Parent ]

    Meh... (none / 2) (#98)
    by skyknight on Fri Nov 28, 2003 at 03:11:03 PM EST

    In close elections, many Democratic candidates would agree to fairly drastic personal and political actions in order to get a Green endorsement and an assured victory

    and subsequently go back on their word once they were in office, because it would be politically infeasible to follow through.

    I've read the Green Party platform. It's green, alright... It's also several dozen or so other ridiculous things that are either impractical, antithetical to personal freedom, outrageously entitlement oriented, or all three.



    It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
    if you *read* the proposal, you'll see that your (none / 0) (#102)
    by simul on Fri Nov 28, 2003 at 09:26:05 PM EST

    if you *read* the proposal, you'll see that your aregument doesn't make sense. all actions are prformed *before* endorsement. not *after*

    Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
    [ Parent ]
    You underestimate how slippery politicians are... (none / 1) (#104)
    by skyknight on Fri Nov 28, 2003 at 09:40:40 PM EST

    Also, you might note that politicians can't do anything until they are in power, so it doesn't make any sense to think that useful actions can be performed before endorsement. Nothing of consequence can happen until after election, and by that point it's too late.

    I think the real problem is that there is a two party stranglehold on the politics of the US. This is largely the result of our election system. Parties only get election funding if they capture a certain percentage of the vote, and they can only capture a certain percentage if they can get the kind of exposure that is impossible without adequate funding. I think this could be remedied with IRV. Under such a system people could vote their conscience without worrying about helping elect the perceived greater of two evils. This would have an avalanche effect as people's awareness of other parties grew in an autocatalytic fashion.

    If we had an IRV system, I think you would see a lot of people who typically vote Republican casting ballots with Libertarian as their first choice, and Republican as a second choice. Likewise, many people would cast ballots with Green as their first choice, and Democratic as their second choice. The electoral outcome of the event would be unchanged, but it would send a strong message and affect future elections.

    For example, last year in the MA gubernatorial race I wanted to vote for the Libertarian candidate, Carla Howell. However, the election was apt to be close, and while I did not like Romney (a Republican), electing him was the only way to avoid having an entirely Democrat run state without any checks and balances. A great many other people followed identical logic, with the result being that Romney won, and Howell got almost no votes at all.

    I think that you're attacking a very important problem, but that you're going about it the wrong way.



    It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
    [ Parent ]
    Cant do anything until "in power" (none / 2) (#115)
    by simul on Sat Nov 29, 2003 at 12:15:16 PM EST

    So Al Gore, as a politically connected Washington insider and former Vice President had "no power"?  You've got to be kidding me.

    Remember, Nader was running under the "let Nader debate" ticket.  Would Al Gore have

    > Nothing of consequence can happen until
    > after election, and by that point it's
    > too late.

    If you go in with that attidude then your argument holds.  However, I don't think that "nothing of consequence can happen" *ever* applies to *anyone*.  Incumbents running for office have lots of power.  Democratic and Republican politicians running for office are typically wealthy and connected individuals with more power to effect change in thier little finger than in the whole of the Green party.

    > I think the real problem is that there is a two > party stranglehold on the politics of the US.

    That's why I support Approval Voting.  It's the *only* system that accurately accounts for third parties and allows them to supercede dominant parties.  Other systems, like IRV and STV have been shown to deepen political power lines, dualism and classism.

    > I think this could be remedied with IRV.

    Australia has had IRV since 1918 and is still a two-party country.  Please consider backing Approval Voting.  

    http://bcn.boulder.co.us/government/approvalvote/goodsoc.html

    > The electoral outcome of the event would be
    > unchanged, but it would send a strong
    > message and affect future elections.

    IRV doesn't report results in a way that sends strong messages.  It reports confusing results that the majority of americans won't understand.

    > I think that you're attacking a very
    > important problem, but that you're going
    > about it the wrong way.

    If you look at the beginning of my post, you'll see that I was going about it in two ways.  

    1. working on creating a third party public negotiating strategy that fosters power for third parites

    2. promoting a voting reform system that's been shown to give more access to third parties: approval voting.

    Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
    [ Parent ]

    What about (none / 0) (#138)
    by Easyas123 on Tue Dec 02, 2003 at 11:58:31 AM EST

    The rule about winner take all elections? Simply put, if a stonger party detects that its vote is getting "stolen" by a similar, but weaker party, they will just modify their stance to absorb the smaller party. Perhaps not totally, but probably enough to make the weaker party more fringe than it was before.

    ***********************
    As the wise men fortold.
    [ Parent ]

    I think that winner take all elections suck... (none / 0) (#139)
    by skyknight on Tue Dec 02, 2003 at 12:43:37 PM EST

    You end up with governments that are not representative of the population at large, but rather representative of only the majority of the population. We should try to figure out how we can do away with such things altogether. Democracy is basically a government of "one size fits somebody, but a lot of people will be miserable".

    It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
    [ Parent ]
    Wouldn't (none / 0) (#142)
    by Easyas123 on Tue Dec 02, 2003 at 01:04:44 PM EST

    the alternitive be overly fractured? If two parties with shades of grey cannot get anything done, how well will 10-15 parties fare?

    Isn't the case that the majority are the only happy ones in a representitive partitioned system? if the Dems and the Greens whad the majority, the Libertarians and republicans woule be left out, yeah?

    Am I missing an essential part of the system?

    ***********************
    As the wise men fortold.
    [ Parent ]

    So, what's the problem? (none / 0) (#143)
    by skyknight on Tue Dec 02, 2003 at 01:12:48 PM EST

    I'm of the opinion that the harder it is to get things done in government, the better. That ensures that the things that the government does do are important, legitimate ventures that benefit everyone, as opposed things that are geared toward benefiting one group at the expense of another. As a libertarian, I see grid-lock as the closest thing to paradise that is reasonably possible.

    It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
    [ Parent ]
    I see. (none / 0) (#144)
    by Easyas123 on Tue Dec 02, 2003 at 01:19:34 PM EST

    I was coming from a position of having folks who favor alternate parties to the big two having a voice. I suppose a a libertarian this system wold work well for you, but I think the greens would be a little put out.

    Personally I support neutral ground dissemination of platforms and more open debates.

    Do the libertarians have a part per se? Or is it more of a philosophy? I often hear about them as the latter, but never hear of a candidate from the former.

    ***********************
    As the wise men fortold.
    [ Parent ]

    Libertarians have a party... (none / 0) (#145)
    by skyknight on Tue Dec 02, 2003 at 01:23:41 PM EST

    but unfortunately most of the vocal people in it are crazy. Usually the closest thing you'll see to a libertarian in government is a moderate republican, e.g. someone who is fiscally conservative, yet reasonably socially liberal.

    It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
    [ Parent ]
    Crazy like (none / 0) (#146)
    by Easyas123 on Tue Dec 02, 2003 at 01:36:32 PM EST

    privitized roads crazy or crazy like your land your laws crazy?

    ***********************
    As the wise men fortold.
    [ Parent ]

    Not exactly (none / 0) (#148)
    by error 404 on Wed Dec 03, 2003 at 11:16:04 AM EST

    There is a party called the Libertarian Party.

    Whethere it is a party for libertarians is another question altogether. One for which there is no single right answer. Read their documents and decide for yourself.

    I do not, personally, consider the party a way to advance my ideas of libertarianism. It seems to me that the party focuses too much on Federal power and would enable state and local threats to liberty to expand. I am also concerned with non-govornmental power as a threat to liberty.


    ..................................
    Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
    - Donovan

    [ Parent ]

    YHBT. YHL. HAND. (none / 3) (#112)
    by streetcornerhorse on Sat Nov 29, 2003 at 11:02:06 AM EST

    [EN TEA]
    YHBT. YHL. HAND.
    [ Parent ]
    Hm, I wish I had been around to -1 this... (3.00 / 4) (#107)
    by gilrain on Sat Nov 29, 2003 at 01:24:35 AM EST

    simul wrote it and sim1 through sim29 +1FPed it. It's not a bad article, but it seems stupid to support such blatant duping.

    YHBT. YHL. HAND. (none / 2) (#111)
    by streetcornerhorse on Sat Nov 29, 2003 at 10:56:59 AM EST


    YHBT. YHL. HAND.
    [ Parent ]
    Sorry (none / 0) (#132)
    by simul on Mon Dec 01, 2003 at 08:56:20 PM EST

    I'm a jerk, I admit it.

    Anything that involves strong political views gets dumped around here because of the structure of the site and I was feeling particularly forceful.

    It won't happen again.

    I thought of a way of making Kuri5hin's voting system work so that this cannot be compromised.

    Each user gets a profile. Each time a user votes up a story, his vote is recorded in his profile. The site is then tailored, based on cookies, to show you stories that appeal to you. Each time you vote for a story you are other stories that people who voted for that story voted for are moved up in your personal ranking.

    Anytime you vote for a story it shows up on your personal site, since it counts as 100% likelihood.

    If you haven't voted for a story, it's approval is calculated by using bayes to combine the correlations of the stories you have voted for coming up with a "likelihood" that you would have voted for it. If the likelihood is more than 50%, then the story is shown.

    Calculations are re-run in batch. This can be done rathr efficiently by precomputing the cross-correlations for each story. The math on this isn't too bad and it's been done before. You have to be sure to do it efficiently.

    Sure, the combined vote of members is used for new visitors, but that quickly changes, since every nonmember is also allowed to vote up or down any story!

    Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
    [ Parent ]

    The most important policy for the list (none / 2) (#125)
    by jdonnell on Sat Nov 29, 2003 at 08:18:27 PM EST

    To abolish the electoral college and implement a different election system such as instant run off voting or approval voting. I'll let the rest of you debate the merits of voting systems. This should be the first thing on the list!

    blogbloc.com
    Constructive Green party power in close elections | 168 comments (163 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
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