Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I predict that the U.S. election winner...

...will not make a big difference to the country!

So vote 3rd party... and support electoral reform! If the people you would approve of aren't running for office, don't you think that could have something to do with our voting system?

First-past-the-post favors a two-party system and incumbents in particular. Right now, most rational independents wouldn't consider running for office, knowing they can't really win. That means that the independents that actually do run for office are few in number and either (1) know they can't win and just want a bit of spotlight for themselves or their message, or (2) are insane. It's no great surprise if you don't approve of any of them.

And if you're gonna support a new voting system, let me suggest that you support anything except IRV (instant runoff voting). Well, support IRV if it's the only choice, because anything is better than first-past-the-post. However, the other single-seat systems (where many candidates compete for a single-seat), such as Approval, Range voting (where you just give each candidate a rating from 0 to 5 or something), Ranked Pairs, are better.

Mind you, all these single-seat election systems are very flawed: they always reject (N-1)/N of the candidates running, which means everyone that runs (apart from the forerunner) must be willing to burn lots of cash with low chances of success, which tends to favor rich people (and a few others who have either strong stomachs for failure, or delusions that they have a shot).

Another major flaw with FPTP, IRV, Approval and so forth is that they assume that I want to vote for someone local. Where I live has nothing to do with who I want in the federal government! Why can't I choose among candidates across the country, or at least across the state? Give me Direct Representation!

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