America’s Electoral System Is Mathematically GUARANTEED to Produce Bad Results

Our System Forces a Two Party Race, Lacking Popular Representation

The Founding Fathers warned against a two-party system.

But the current election process guarantees a two-party system:

The electoral college can also severely skew the outcome. For example, it is possible for a presidential candidate to win even though 78% of the American public votes against him:

There are better alternatives. For example, direct democracy.

And the “Hot Or Not? voting system – technically called “range voting” – is also a better method:

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  • elohimessaim

    The alternate vote is arguably worse than first-past-the-post and does not prevent the spoiler effect! A much better system for single-winner elections is range voting (also known as score voting). See http://www.rangevoting.org/RangeVoting.html or http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuKDXeJt7KA.
    (I’ll try to post a concise and detailed explanation by the end of the day.)

  • par4

    Direct democracy is the only real democracy.

  • elohimessaim

    Perhaps, but I think deliberation is crucial, and a deliberative direct democracy seems economically infeasible. I strongly believe than all legitimacy stems from direct democracy, but that most month-to-month decisions should be made by individuals who have their cost-of-living covered to provide for deliberation. I believe such decisions are best made by citizens’ juries voting by secret ballot, kept in check by elected officials voting on-record.

  • ForestSilverwood

    It’s mainly the american TV news stations. They ONLY show two candidates. Ever. Things might be better off if they showed at least three, but I’d be happy if they showed NONE.

    It would be nice if the there was an official place to read the information of all the candidates on an alphabetical list on a website, and when you click their name, it takes you to ONE page. That page lets the candidate put up their plans, promises, and qualifications(school, previous jobs, etc).

  • elohimessaim

    I’m a fan of C. G. P. Grey, and the 1st, 2nd, and 4th videos are great. But, the 3rd one (“The Alternative Vote Explained”) advocates the alternative vote (AV), which is very bad. As Grey himself acknowledges at the 3 minute mark, AV tends towards 2 party domination. Basically: AV doesn’t solve anything!

    Grey claims that AV eliminates the spoiler effect, but this depends on how you define a spoiler. Going by the Wikipedia definition, Grey’s claim would be correct: here, “spoiler” would apply only to a fringe candidate who upsets the balance between two dominant front-runners. However, I think this definition is misleading. Taking a “spoiler” to be any candidate who doesn’t win the election but changes the result by running, AV still suffers from spoilers. (See: http://www.rangevoting.org/IRVpartic.html, and note that “Instant Runoff Voting” is another name for AV.)

    So, under AV, a fringe party could safely grow as long as it stays on the fringe; as soon as it gets anywhere close to a chance of winning, the “lesser of evils” effect kicks right back in, and voters tend to stick with the two major parties. It is my understanding that, in practice, third parties do not overcome the “lesser of evils” barrier under AV. (Look at the Australian House of Representatives: http://www.rangevoting.org/AustralianPol.html.)

    So, AV doesn’t seem to be much better than first-past-the-post (FPTP). Yes, it *reduces* the “lesser of evils” barrier — and you could argue about how much impact that might have in America — but it seems the barrier is still too high. Moreover, there is one way in which AV is clearly worse that FPTP: AV isn’t summable in precincts.

    Under FPTP, each precinct can hand-count their ballots, then the precinct subtotals can be added up to determine the election winner. However, this isn’t meaningfully possible under AV. (Under AV, it’s possible for a candidate to win in every precinct but not win the combined election! See: http://www.rangevoting.org/IrvNonAdd.html.) Under AV, precinct subtotals are essentially meaningless, and there needs to be some type of centralized counting. For one thing, this could lead to all sorts of re-counting nightmare scenarios. Moreover, if AV were widely adopted in the US, I’m concerned that electronic voting machines could be pushed on to every precinct. (Yes, many precincts use electronic voting machines today; under AV, however, such a system might become heavily entrenched.) I acknowledge that many Americans may trust these machines with their vote, but, I don’t. (See: The BRAD BLOG’s Democracy’s Gold Standard: http://www.bradblog.com/?p=7417) Admittedly, this concern is merely hypothetical, but it’s one I wanted to share with Washington’s Blog’s readers.

    To summarize: I believe AV is very pernicious. On the surface, it seems to give American voters more choice, but, ultimately, it just gives political insiders more opportunity to manipulate elections.

    A much better method for single-winner elections is range voting (RV, aka score voting). (See: http://www.rangevoting.org.) I have spent several years studying voting systems as a hobby; my conclusion is that, for offices like president and governor, RV (or some variant of RV) is the only method that makes sense. For seats in Congress, RV could still be used, though, a better option would be mixed member proportionality (MMP), as discussed in the 4th video. (I really am a C. G. P. Grey fan! It’s just AV that’s bad.) Personally, I’d like to have something like MMP for the Senate and a citizens’ jury for the House of Representatives. For the time being, though, pushing for RV to be implemented in several high-profile private organizations and smaller municipalities seems like a reasonable goal.

    P.S. I have no affiliation with the Center for Range Voting http://www.rangevoting.org, I just think they’re (mostly) right.

    P.P.S. My comment after par4′s was supposed to be a reply to par4.

    P.P.P.S. The first time I tried to post this, it didn’t seem to stick. I’m trying again.

 

 

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