A friendly explanation of First Past the Post Voting
February 15, 2012 2:07 PM   Subscribe

This post was deleted for the following reason: Good stuff but we've seen these (and the guy's other work) recently. -- cortex

Every time someone reposts there somewhere, I always find myself wanting to rewatch Bedknobs and Broomsticks...
posted by trackofalljades at 2:11 PM on February 15, 2012

Bedknobs and Broomsticks is awesome, that's why you want to rewatch it.

Also, screw FPTP voting. Screw it a lot.
posted by Sticherbeast at 2:20 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

I feel like there have been a ton of C.G.P. Grey posts here lately, but I don't really mind. I was watching all of these last night, actually.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:34 PM on February 15, 2012

That guy talks so fast* I can barely understand a word he says. After about 15 seconds it just becomes fridgebuzz.

* I know that's kind of intentional, but still... breathing is good too.
posted by afx237vi at 2:38 PM on February 15, 2012

And proportional voting can raises the possibility of extremists getting elected.
And the Arrow Theorem tells us that any voting system can produce false-positive results.

The real message should be, every known voting system is flawed.

In the meantime, I will stick with FPTP just to ensure that extremist groups like the Jacques LePen and the BNP never have any chance of success.
posted by Flood at 2:45 PM on February 15, 2012

Wow, really? Crystal clear to me...
posted by uberchet at 2:46 PM on February 15, 2012

That guy talks so fast* I can barely understand a word he says. After about 15 seconds it just becomes fridgebuzz.

Uh, really? He talks at a normal pace. It may be a little fast, but it's pretty average. Is english not your first language?
posted by NerdcoreRising at 2:48 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

To clarify above, I meant the "is english not your first language" as a genuine question, not as a pejorative.
posted by NerdcoreRising at 2:48 PM on February 15, 2012

posted by XMLicious at 2:49 PM on February 15, 2012 [3 favorites]

I dunno, Flood. I'd prefer small pockets of extremists at either side to reversion to a centrist mean controlled by two camps and shifted via the Overton Window.
posted by Navelgazer at 2:52 PM on February 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Is english not your first language?

Yes, it's my first language... maybe it's the accent. I dunno, I have no trouble with the words, it's just the cadence. I zone out very quickly when I watch those videos.
posted by afx237vi at 2:54 PM on February 15, 2012

the problem is the electorate. they're the ones who are voting for this.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:55 PM on February 15, 2012

Both of these links were included in this much larger CGP Grey post just two and a half months ago.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:01 PM on February 15, 2012

That was great! A small thing about its making, but noted and appreciated: I liked the use of mixed-genders in the example, referring to Leopard as "she" and gorilla as "he", etc.
posted by Greg Nog at 3:03 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm for whatever system gives the Monster Raving Loony party a better chance at winning.

(For reference, that is NOT the Republicans.)
posted by delfin at 3:03 PM on February 15, 2012

I'll defend afx237vi, on the speed of the guy's speech. I understood it, but the guy definitely speaks at a faster than normal cadence. He's off to his next point before the last point sinks in.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:05 PM on February 15, 2012

All voting systems have flaws, but the best and easiest to implement is probably approval voting.
posted by stopgap at 3:06 PM on February 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'll defend FPTP. I think it works very well in Canada, despite the fact that I am infuriated by the current government.

"Inevitable two party system"

In theory yes, in practice no. Canada has had at least three major parties since the 1920s, usually more. Currently we have five, and all five are viable. The Bloc and Liberals got hammered last election but either might make a comeback. The Greens have their first seat and might grow. Maybe the NDP will hold on to their gains and form the next government. Who knows?

Canada gains or loses a major political party every ten years (on average over the past 100 years). It's one of the most appealing features of our political culture: parties that get lazy and go stale die.

"The spoiler effect"

That's a feature, not a bug. First-past-the-post favors big tent parties. The idea is that you have to build your ruling coalition before the election, when your party sets its platform. Building consensus across constituencies wins elections. If major constituencies are being ignored then splinter parties form. By splitting the vote, that constituency puts its former party-mates on notice that they will lose and lose and lose until their concerns are addressed.

Throughout the 1990s we had perpetual Liberal rule because the Progressive Conservatives and hard-right Reformers cared more about fighting each other over the future of the Canadian right than they did about winning elections. They split the right wing vote, giving the liberals massive majorities. When the Progressive Conservatives decided they'd rather accept hard-right ideology than let the Liberals keep running the show they surrendered, and the two parties merged back into one. People on the right in Canada are currently in agreement on a common agenda, which is why the Conservatives keep winning.

That does mean minority rule (the Conservatives have <50% support), but right now our four left and center-left parties seem to care more about jockeying with each other than with forming a common cause. They agree on some issues, but the differences between them are deep and real. Each is in some way intolerable to the others. For example, the Ignatieff era Liberals favored continuing the war in Afghanistan while most Green and NDP supporters were strongly opposed. The Conservatives are going to stay in power until some consensus develops as to what should replace them. That's not an undemocratic result.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:11 PM on February 15, 2012

Every time there's crazy right-wing news out of Texas there are a bunch of people who always react with some variation of, "Oh, Texas, you Republican wasteland." I encourage these people to watch the gerrymandering video.
posted by cmoj at 3:13 PM on February 15, 2012

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