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AV explained for cats
May 2, 2011 9:20 AM   Subscribe


 
what a great video - engaging and clear.
posted by facetious at 9:35 AM on May 2, 2011


You know, the funny thing is, my cats aren't. They are, however, pretty miffed that I'm not feeding them tuna on demand or waking up at 4 30 in the morning to pet them.
posted by Relay at 9:39 AM on May 2, 2011


Agreed -- I really enjoyed this excellent bit of educational programming, as did Miles the Siamese here on my chair arm. The dogs, not so much.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:40 AM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


The United Kingdom gets to vote for election reform?

Jealous.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:41 AM on May 2, 2011


I wish this is what my cat gets to vote for today. Would be nice not to have all this strategic voting talk come up every time a Canadian election rolls around...
posted by tronfunkinblo at 9:45 AM on May 2, 2011


Tuxedo cat Nose was rather startled by Reform Cat's lasering of the Houses of Parliament. She is therefore of the firm opinion that we should all take a little nap right now.
posted by likeso at 9:47 AM on May 2, 2011


So, here's a question: Is there any way we could get this kind of reform on the ballot in America at the federal level within our lifetimes? Or are we pretty much doomed now that we have two superparties and third parties that stand nearly no chance unless they have an established politician from one of the superparties on their side (as with Lieberman)?
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:53 AM on May 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Why do 1% of British cats get to vote?
posted by birdherder at 10:06 AM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


mccarty.tim:
Who knows? The conventional wisdom is that the two major parties are privileged by the current system and will never willingly vote to change it.

I am not sure that's entirely accurate though. Under the current system, both major parties are extremely vulnerable to political spoilers, third party candidates who have no chance of winning but who are very capable of wrecking things for one of the major parties. Ross Perot may well have served this function in Clinton's first election, and Ralph Nader definitely did when GWB became president, which as we all know was when we all started hearing that insane hooting noise throughout the media landscape.

As it is, it's only a matter of time until the major parties begin encouraging opposition candidates specifically to split the vote. And as in most cases when one says "it's only a matter of time until" in regards to modern politics, someone's probably already thought about doing it and has surreptitiously tried.

Think of it like this. Think Sarah Palin has no chance to become president? Absolutely false. There's enough uncertainly in the process that she could well come out on top of the GOP's primary. Then if someone bright and charismatic takes advantage of the dissatisfaction and disillusionment many have had with Obama (perhaps with hidden Republication funding -- and the way the PAC system is set up, they could receive this aid without even knowing its source) they could well split the vote and allow the shrieking harpy into office, immediately able to attack all kinds of other countries in order to feast on the succulent meat of their children.

Of course our system has many checks and balances to prevent her from exercising a gross abus ha ha hahaha WAAA-HAHAHA. Man, I almost thought I could keep a straight face there.

For all the differences between our governments, those of the U.S. and the U.K., there are also a good number of similarities. I think a lot of people are going to be watching how this turns out for them.
posted by JHarris at 10:21 AM on May 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Why do 1% of British cats get to vote?

Artifact of the peerage system?
posted by JHarris at 10:23 AM on May 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


As it is, it's only a matter of time until the major parties begin encouraging opposition candidates specifically to split the vote. And as in most cases when one says "it's only a matter of time until" in regards to modern politics, someone's probably already thought about doing it and has surreptitiously tried.

Having trouble thinking of the magic google phrases, but there was lots of this documented in the last election. Both GOP fundraising for lefty spoiler candidates, and at least one case of GOP paid registration of someone with the same / similar name as the dem candidate.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 10:32 AM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


MaxCat von Awesome prefers a party who believes in strong defenses and security, as evidenced by the toys he brings us on a daily basis.

SamCat von Awesome just wants to legalize it, maaaaaaaaaaaan........
posted by spinifex23 at 10:39 AM on May 2, 2011


Um, what's wrong with just having a run-off?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:40 AM on May 2, 2011


Takes longer and costs more.
posted by Justinian at 10:52 AM on May 2, 2011


It costs more than devising a secure system to tabulate all the preference votes?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:53 AM on May 2, 2011


So if you use First Past The Post you don't need a secure tabulating system?

/puzzled face

By the way, the narrator's 'teddibly british' voice makes this video 10 times as awesome.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:06 AM on May 2, 2011


I just asked Poppet Cat his opinion, and he said this:

"While I'm not convinced that AV is the right solution it is a step in the right direction and certainly much better than allowing the current system to continue. I'm believe the 'no' camp will take a win as an indication that the populace is happy with FPTP, which I do not believe to be true, thereby taking reform off the agenda for a substantial amount of time. I therefore urge all cats, and indeed humans, to vote 'yes' on May 5. By the way, Rabbit IAMs are not an acceptable breakfast food."

So there you have it.
posted by Summer at 11:26 AM on May 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


Nice video, I hope AV gets passed and that voter reform occurs sometime soon here in Canada. Something about the narrators accent felt weird to me, was it a case of a non-rhotic accent or just poor enunciation?
posted by Harpocrates at 11:27 AM on May 2, 2011


So if you use First Past The Post you don't need a secure tabulating system?

Sure you do, it's just that you can do it with slips of paper rather than a complex computer system. Even more simply when there's just two candidates on the ballot as in a run-off.

The video also over simplifies in that everyone who voted for a cat first wants any cat candidate over the dog. This is why in a two party system like the US, candidates come out more like toothless hyenas, refusing to take any stance that would define them as canine or feline.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:28 AM on May 2, 2011


My cats aren't British.
posted by briank at 11:28 AM on May 2, 2011


The 10th Regiment of Foot: If you're not aware, Alternative Voting is also sometimes called "Instant Runoff Voting". Having actual an run-off election is expensive, time consuming, and inconvenient. If you can come up with a system to keep track of a little more data, AV is not really any more expensive. Plus, when do you do a run-off? Every time nobody's got less than 50%? What if there's 5 candidates with 15-35% votes? You sure don't want to have to do 4 runoff elections, but it's also not idea to just guess what the results would be and eliminate potentially viable candidates

By not treating multiple strong candidates as an exception, but making it part of the normal process, AV encourages a more diverse pool of candidates, and by giving people the ability to vote for candidates they actually want, encourages more diverse voter turnout.

I don't know much about British politics and the ways in which is functional or disfunctional, but I pretty strongly believe that this is the single most important reform we need here in the US.
posted by aubilenon at 11:29 AM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


The problem is that Alternative Voting still has spoilers (e.g., Nader in 2000) and strategic voting. I mentioned this in another thread, but the Schultze method is superior.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 11:32 AM on May 2, 2011


Is there any way we could get this kind of reform on the ballot in America at the federal level within our lifetimes? Or are we pretty much doomed now that we have two superparties and third parties that stand nearly no chance unless they have an established politician from one of the superparties on their side (as with Lieberman)?

Whenever this comes up, some serious IRV haters start crawling out of the woodwork. It's weird.

Needless to say, though, I'd put money on DC getting a true IRV system very soon. For starters, our general election is mainly for show, while the real action takes place in the Democratic Primary. Many folks, local Democrats included, would like to see the party's stranglehold on DC politics ease off, especially considering the Dem's piss-poor advocacy for DC rights on the national level. "Thrown under the bus" doesn't even begin to describe how we've been treated recently. IRV would help break this pattern, and maybe put pressure on the national Democrats to start to advocate for their single most loyal electoral district.

More recently, we had a special election to fill a seat that was vacated after the last election, because the person holding it got elected to another office. This is a weird loophole that needs to be fixed, to avoid having to hold a second election that is expensive and poorly-attended ($18.50/vote!), but that's an issue for another day...

This special election produced an unusually large field of several very well-qualified progressive candidates, and one old racist curmudgeon. Just over 10% of registered voters showed up to the polls. The "progressive" vote was split among 3 candidates, each with 20-26% of the vote. The curmudgeon got 28% of the vote, and won. Polling leading up to the race was wildly inconsistent, which essentially made strategic voting impossible, and helped contribute to the outcome that we got.

If you'll do a little math, you'll notice that we elected somebody to one of the most powerful positions in the city with votes from just 2.8% of the electorate. That's insane, and there's no way that the existing councilmembers are going to allow a similar situation to play out in the future.

Honestly, I've never seen a more clear-cut case for IRV. Even if the AV referendum fails (spoiler: it will), I imagine that we'll be seeing a similar debate begin to play out in several jurisdictions across the US.
posted by schmod at 11:42 AM on May 2, 2011


This special election produced an unusually large field of several very well-qualified progressive candidates, and one old racist curmudgeon.

Vincent Orange may be a scum-sucking, corporate-sponsored politician of the lowest caliber, but I'd hardly call him a racist curmudgeon. That said, how would IRV get instituted in DC? Do you really think Orange and his ilk on the council would vote it in or that even if they did that Congress would let it fly?
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 11:50 AM on May 2, 2011


I am reminded of Arrow's Impossibility Theorem that basically states that all voting systems with more than 2 candidates can be 'gamed'
posted by Stu-Pendous at 12:01 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


The problem is that Alternative Voting still has spoilers (e.g., Nader in 2000) and strategic voting. I mentioned this in another thread, but the Schultze method is superior

I don't follow how AV would consider Nader a spoiler in 2000. With the fewest votes he would be eliminated and then his voters' Bush vs Gore preferences would be examined. These presumably would be the same as if Nader hadn't run, so Nader hasn't spoiled anything.

I hadn't heard of the Schultze method before. Reading up on it a little, it seems a bit opaque (Though it's possible Wikipedia just describes it poorly). However on the table comparing voting methods (again on wikipedia), I saw Ranked Pairs, which seems to offer most of the same benefits but be a little easier to wrap one's head around. I'm not sure how significant the difference between the two wind up being, in practice. In my mind, in the edge cases (widespread preference cycles, etc) there's no right answer really and there's a few possible results I'd consider acceptable.
posted by aubilenon at 12:54 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Stu-Pendous: Of course, that's the case with the system we have now. The goal is to make it surpassingly difficult to game, not impossible to game completely, which is likely impossible.

Also, to make sure there are checks on executive power, which of course Bush, exactly the kind of freak win the system should guard against, shredded to bits with no one raising a finger to stop him, and Obama, a constitutional law professor, hasn't done much to restore.
posted by JHarris at 1:01 PM on May 2, 2011


I am reminded of Arrow's Impossibility Theorem that basically states that all voting systems with more than 2 candidates can be 'gamed'

Not all of them. Granted, this system has its flaws, but it completely eliminates tactical voting.
posted by Mr. Pokeylope at 1:09 PM on May 2, 2011


The problem is that Alternative Voting still has spoilers (e.g., Nader in 2000) and strategic voting. I mentioned this in another thread, but the Schultze method is superior

I don't follow how AV would consider Nader a spoiler in 2000. With the fewest votes he would be eliminated and then his voters' Bush vs Gore preferences would be examined. These presumably would be the same as if Nader hadn't run, so Nader hasn't spoiled anything.


That's true. AV needs four candidates to have a spoiler. For example:

40 voters have preferences A, X, B, C
35 voters have preferences B, X, C, A
25 voters have preferences C, X, A, B

So, X is eliminated, then C, then B. So, A is elected, even though in an election between X and A, X would have won 60:40.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 1:10 PM on May 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


JHarris: The goal is to make it surpassingly difficult to game, not impossible to game completely, which is likely impossible.

Who should the Dog voters support? Not Dog clearly - he'll never get elected. They need to tactically-vote for Moderate Cat, since otherwise they'll get Casual Cat.

I'm not sure how this is surpassingly difficult to game...
posted by alasdair at 1:12 PM on May 2, 2011


In this example, B is a spoiler. Take him out, and you have:
40: A, X, C
35: X, C, A
25: C, X, A

AV eliminates C, then A, so it elects X. So, if B hadn't run, X would have won, but instead B runs — doesn't win — and ruins X's chances. B is a spoiler, so AV is still causes people to vote strategically.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 1:14 PM on May 2, 2011


So, X is eliminated, then C, then B. So, A is elected, even though in an election between X and A, X would have won 60:40.

But it's not an election between X and A. It's an election between A, B, C, and X. X apparently doesn't have enough support to become anyone's first choice. X sucks.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 1:20 PM on May 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't like the suggestion that all party leaders were elected under AV as it's not true. The Conservative party system is different, though it does still allow spoilers.
posted by Jehan at 1:21 PM on May 2, 2011


I'm not sure how this is surpassingly difficult to game...

I didn't say it was, just that that's the goal. In any way, it still has the effect under your scenario of giving the win to Moderate Cat, and not Dog. I do have my objections for casting Dog in the Tory role here. How about Weasel?)
posted by JHarris at 1:22 PM on May 2, 2011


Churchill Cat
posted by willie11 at 1:23 PM on May 2, 2011


So, X is eliminated, then C, then B. So, A is elected, even though in an election between X and A, X would have won 60:40.

But it's not an election between X and A. It's an election between A, B, C, and X. X apparently doesn't have enough support to become anyone's first choice.


One basic criterion for a voting system to be fair is the Condorcet criterion, which says that if there is a person who would win a two-candidate election against every other candidate, he should win the election. There's not always a Condorcet winner, but when there is, social theory suggests that that should be the winner.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 1:29 PM on May 2, 2011


I am reminded of Arrow's Impossibility Theorem that basically states that all voting systems with more than 2 candidates can be 'gamed'

Arrow's Impossibility Theorem, which says that you want three criteria:
• No dictatorship
• The Condorcet criterion that I just described, and
Independence of Irrelevant Alternatives (no spoilers)

If you replace the last criterion with
Independence of Smith-dominated alternatives (no spoilers by anyone who can't win, I think)

you have slightly weaker criteria that can be satisfied, for example, by the Schultze method.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 1:43 PM on May 2, 2011


shrieking harpy

Seriously, how many times does this need to be said? It is not okay to use sexist insults even when you disagree with someone's politics.
posted by nasreddin at 1:46 PM on May 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


> Something about the narrators accent felt weird to me, was it a case of a non-rhotic accent or just poor enunciation?

The narrator's parodying an old fashioned version of Received Pronunciation or BBC English - the way they talk in old (up to the end of the 1960s, I guess) British educational programmes. This is a non-rhotic accent, yes.
posted by paduasoy at 2:05 PM on May 2, 2011


"Sure you do, it's just that you can do [FPTP] with slips of paper rather than a complex computer system."

You can do AV with slips of paper too: one pile for each candidate, then redistribute the eliminated candidate's slips to the other piles.
posted by Auz at 2:13 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seriously, how many times does this need to be said? It is not okay to use sexist insults even when you disagree with someone's politics.

I'm sorry. I suppose wailing banshee is out too. Instead, may I amend my comment to "moaning wraith" or "cackling demlich?" (That last one might be better used for McCain though.) Still, there are plenty of entries left in the Monster Manual that adequately describe Palin I suppose.
posted by JHarris at 2:18 PM on May 2, 2011


Still, there are plenty of entries left in the Monster Manual that adequately describe Palin I suppose.

I suggest you go with "aurumvorax" if you want to keep it substantive.
posted by nasreddin at 2:58 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I feel this is a great explanation of "Alternative Vote", or instant runoff, or preferential voting as well call it in Australia.

You really want it, UK. Sure, it doesn't eliminate spoilers. It just neuters them and locks them in a padded room. But, at the same time, it allows serious third parties to have an influence and kick the big parties arses occasionally. Even a superficial examination of the "No to AV" campaign reveals that the people behind it are simply scared of losing their privileged position where they get to be elected without achieving anything near majority support.
posted by Jimbob at 3:02 PM on May 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


Mr. Pokeylope The problem is that if you get a bad roll when 90% of the people want one guy, you are going end up with a revolution. However, if you nondeterministically choose from the Smith set, then you get all three criteria from Arrow's impossibility theorem.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 3:03 PM on May 2, 2011


Oh yeah, what Auz said - as far as I'm aware, Australian elections are counted using slips of paper, putting them in piles and then shuffling them around. So much bullshit is being spread about the AV in Britain at the moment, it's incredible.
posted by Jimbob at 3:04 PM on May 2, 2011




No, but my beest is bewildered.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:20 PM on May 2, 2011


esprit de l'escalier, I would question your example.

X is everyone's second preference but gets no votes? Seems unlikely, but let's let it go.

Once X is eliminated her preferences go to ... nobody. The reason for this is she doesn't have any preferences because nobody voted for her.

Now C is eliminated and her preferences go to X. But because X has been eliminated, C's preferences go to A (the uniform third choice of C voters). This is enough for A to win.

Despite all this, 60% of voters prefer X to A.

This seems unfair (A shouldn't perhaps be elected when there's another, more popular candidate).

But is it really unfair? Is it likely? And does that make (presumably X) a spoiler?

Every single person voting puts X in second place but not a single one puts her first. Think about that. Can you really say 60% want her elected? There would have to be some reason why not a single voter put her first.

All of the C voters would rather have A than B, but A voters uniformly (and remember they are the plurality by a significant margin or else the example won't work) put C last. I can't think of a real world case where this is plausible (though I'd be interested to hear one).

Finally, all voters for all parties vote in exactly the same way. This could come close to happening in places where (like Australia) parties are allowed to give out "how to vote" cards and where (sadly, also like Australia) people follow them slavishly. But that's a good argument against "how to vote" cards, and a separate argument.

Given the significant number of jurisdictions with AV, has there ever been an election result that looks even a little like your example? If not, why should we worry about it?
posted by GeckoDundee at 4:11 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]




For a real-world imagine, imagine you have a space of positions in the shape of a triangle. At one corner, you have, people who are very liberal; at another, people who are fiscally conservative; at another, people who are socially conservative; finally, in the middle, you have moderates. Now, the moderates are everyone's second choice. No one puts a third choice or a fourth choice. Does this seem plausible to you?

(By the way, the third and fourth choices were not needed to make my example work.)

Let me illustrate another way to reason about why not electing the Condorcet winner (X) is wrong. Given the example:

40 voters have preferences A, X, B, C
35 voters have preferences B, X, C, A
25 voters have preferences C, X, A, B

Imagine you're one of the people who voted B, X, C, A. Now, if you know roughly what other people are thinking, then you know that B won't win. If you vote your true preference B, X, C, A, then X won't win either. So, you should actually ignore your first choice (B), but rather vote for X, strategically. This is exactly what we don't want. We want people to blindly vote their preferences.

On the other hand, imagine you're the candidate named "B." You should not run. Not only can you not win, but by running, you ruin X's chances of getting elected.

For the record, I prefer AV to FPTP, but I prefer Schultze to AV even though I realize that it would be almost impossible to explain it to most people.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 4:24 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's a lot of good information on election methods over at minguo.info. It's also got some good information on the problems with IRV - especially the fact that it's not that hard to get into situations where your vote for a candidate can actually make them more likely to lose, something I consider a significant flaw.

The author of the site also has information on another voting system I haven't seen mentioned here yet - approval voting (what AV is supposed to stand for, instead of being used to mean IRV by giving it a name that seems to imply that there are only two methods of voting available or somesuch). That is my personal favorite, as it's strictly better than FPTP, just as easy to vote with, and just as easy to understand the results, neither which can be said for IRV. I'm not saying IRV is hard to understand, just that it's harder than FPTP, which has allowed for IRV to be repealed multiple times in the US where localities have tried it out.
posted by evilangela at 4:46 PM on May 2, 2011


It's also got some good information on the problems with IRV - especially the fact that it's not that hard to get into situations where your vote for a candidate can actually make them more likely to lose, something I consider a significant flaw.

I do not understand their example as written, and have even greater problems with the mechanism they give for their preferred vote-counting mechanism, Condorcet, descends into linear algebra in all cases where there isn't a clear, unequivocal winner. Anyone have a better explanation for how this works the way evilangela says?
posted by JHarris at 5:20 PM on May 2, 2011



Sure you do, it's just that you can do it with slips of paper rather than a complex computer system.


What the what? This is just silly. You think AV didn't exist prior to computers or something? Goodness, Australia has been using it for decades, as have a lot of other countries - none of which rely on computers to do the tallying.

Additionally:

shrieking harpy

Seriously, how many times does this need to be said? It is not okay to use sexist insults even when you disagree with someone's politics.


Also, it's like, totally tautological. How many taciturn, diffident harpies do you meet? They're always shrieking about something.
posted by smoke at 5:32 PM on May 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Er, maybe I can ask that more clearly. How does AV sometimes penalize a candidate you're voting for in some instances?
posted by JHarris at 5:48 PM on May 2, 2011


Any state could adopt AV for any elections it wishes, including the selection of slates for Elector for President and Vice President, and election of Congressmen. AV and other STV systems are in place in municipal elections in several places in the country, although it should be noted that they're never free of controversy.

A much more well-established alternative to first-past-the-post in the US is the "jungle primary," where candidates of all parties contend in the primary, and the top 2 finishers irrespective of party contend in the general election. As of next year, this system will be used in California, Washington State and Louisiana, albeit not for President. The system mitigates the wasted vote issue in the general election. It has an advantage over STV systems in overwhelmingly one-party districts, in that it includes non-members of that party in the effective choice of representative. It also lets you vote third party in the primary and still have a viable vote in the general.
posted by MattD at 6:05 PM on May 2, 2011


Thanks for the elucidation. That's not an actual real world example, but it does come closer and it is indeed very plausible (except for some reason the social and fiscal conservatives always seem to join the same party). It also helps explain why a Condrocet winner should seem like the fair winner even if they were nobody's first choice.

However, the next example still seems to work only because the Condrocet winner gets zero first preferences. If that's necessary for your objection and if there is never a real world case of Condrocet winners who receive no first preferences, it seems AV is perfectly good for the real world.

On the other hand, these are obviously examples for the sake of simplicity. Perhaps there are real world cases where there are elements of this at play, even if they're not enough to make a radical difference between the two systems.

You've certainly inspired me to revisit Schultze.

It's also interesting to think about the difference for Australian politics. We have a "coalition" of a conservative party (uniformly fiscal, split down the middle on social) and an essentially agrarian socialist party, who sometimes field candidates against one another. In some states they are a merged party. We also have a "third party" option that has moved from being a moderate party (the now essentially defunct Democrats) to being a radical party (the Greens). I'd really like to know if this means our "third party" has moved from being Condrocet winners to being spoilers or if the Greens are actually moving towards being run off winners (the second choice of "doctor's wives" [ugh] and, bizarrely, many country voters). In other words has the policy space necessary to be the Condrocet winner shifted or has the AV system favoured spoilers over Condrocet winners?

Fascinating stuff.
posted by GeckoDundee at 7:04 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Posting in this thread as well as I feel bad because I've just said more or less this in the Canadian election thread and I remember rolling my eyes last year when the UK results were being talked about on Mefi and people kept jumping in with 'yeah, this exactly as bad as it is in my country, country X, lemme tell you about the last fifty years of elections in country X' so anyway...

If I was vaguely warm to the possibility of moving away from FPTP a couple of days ago, reading about the Canadian election has reminded me how painful it was waking up to a world where the Tories were in power on a minority in Parliament and a minority of the popular vote, and I find that I am now very strongly in favour of AV. So much so that I will have to stop myself from buttonholing my colleagues on the matter later today (I won't, I don't talk politics at work, but really want to persuade someone)
posted by calico at 11:15 PM on May 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


99% of cats may not be able to vote here in the UK, but a cat has led one of our smaller political parties in the past.
posted by dickasso at 3:24 AM on May 3, 2011


Very amusing. Might as well self-link to my own rant about the No to AV campaign to add to the chorus (if self-linking bothers you, just imagine I'd posted it here as a really long comment instead). Includes a Monty-Hall-esque attempt to reduce FPTP to absurdity, which in hindsight isn't as effective as pronouncing it "furtuhpurpuhtupuh".
posted by rory at 4:54 AM on May 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Still, there are plenty of entries left in the Monster Manual that adequately describe Palin I suppose.

I suggest you go with "aurumvorax" if you want to keep it substantive.


I was thinking something along the lines of Gelatinous Cube.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:00 AM on May 3, 2011


rory:
Wow, those anti-AV pamphlets seem reprehensible. Good call on mocking them!
posted by JHarris at 11:26 AM on May 3, 2011


Thanks, JHarris.

Another thing that bugs me about the No to AV mindset is the assertion that FPTP prevents coalitions and all the horse-trading that implies, while completely ignoring that all a system of strong major parties does is move the horse-trading behind closed party doors. Actually, "horse-trading" is a needlessly negative term itself; the better term is "politicking".

Even in a one-party state, plenty of politicking goes on: it's just that you have to join the party to take part in it, which is why so many people in such states do. (Which is not to denigrate the principled few who reject the whole system and criticise from the sidelines, but neither should we forget those who try to change their systems from within: those are the very kinds of people who brought down the Iron Curtain.)

Even in a strong-two party system, parliament largely becomes an irrelevance, as all the policy decisions are made behind closed doors and presented to parliament as a fait accompli. If you want to influence those decisions directly, you have to make your way behind those doors.

A system of multiple parties where none commands an outright majority, with all the compromises and coalitions that result, offers more of us a meaningful say in government policy without having to give over half our evenings to local branch meetings or our entire lives to politics.
posted by rory at 3:20 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


(Which is not to say that AV will by itself produce such a system! In Australia, minor parties mainly have influence because of proportional representation in the Senate, not because of AV in the House of Representatives.)
posted by rory at 3:23 AM on May 4, 2011


Even in a strong-two party system

Or, indeed, a strong two-party one.
posted by rory at 3:29 AM on May 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


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