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Which is worse; Not voting or an uninformed vote?

Not voting
Total votes: 6 (22%)
Uninformed vote
Total votes: 21 (78%)
Total votes: 27

Re: American Election 2016 Redux

#18
BFett wrote:How would someone spoil their ballot? Is that like crossing out everything or writing a complaint in the margins?

If you don't like the choices how do you convey what you are looking for?
You can do literally anything that doesn't count as a valid vote. In last year's UK election I wrote "NO" next to all the candidates, added my own candidate (we don't have write-ins), wrote "NO" next to that one, and then added a second one and ticked it.

If you want to convey what you are looking for, there are two ways you can do this:

1. Get in contact with one of the candidates and tell them, or get in contact with someone who you'd be happy with and isn't running.

2. You could always write it on the ballot paper - typically representatives of all those listed on the ballot paper have to look at the paper to confirm it's spoiled (this is at least the case in the UK) and therefore they'll read it.

The first is the preferred option, but the second is more fun. :mrgreen:
Dinosawer wrote:Easy to fix though: make the presidentship go to the most popular nominee of the most popular party instead of just the most popular nominee overall. ;)
That doesn't really fix the problem, because it assumes everyone who voted for one nominee of a party would like any nominee of that party.

A better fix would be a preferential voting system.
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Re: American Election 2016 Redux

#19
Dinosawer wrote:
Flatfingers wrote: This is not an Electoral College "problem." This is simple math: if only one party splits their vote with multiple candidates, that party loses.
Easy to fix though: make the presidentship go to the most popular nominee of the most popular party instead of just the most popular nominee overall. ;)
That leads to the plausible possibility that the office could go to someone from a really extreme party who was supported by only 15% of the country. I'm not sure that's better than the current structure, which promotes coalescing around a generally acceptable (if still imperfect) candidate.

I should add that I'm not disagreeing with you just to be disagreeable. It's more that there is no perfect solution to how to best represent the interests of lots of people with wildly diverging beliefs about how everyone in a country ought to be ruled.

A system that structurally emphasizes an organizational "gravity" toward one candidate can lead to so-called pragmatists ("we have to win no matter what') using rhetoric and rules to prevent the nomination of the choice of the principled wing of the party. I think that's arguably exactly what happened to both of the major U.S. parties this year.

But a representative democracy that actually works is self-correcting: if your principles really are best, then you stop complaining, you work to do a better job of explaining the rightness of your governing beliefs, and you throw the bums out.

If however democracy is irreparably broken, then principles can be overcome by propaganda, there's no coming back from a single awful election winner, and this conversation is irrelevant.

I'm starting to think it's the latter, but maybe I'm wrong.

Re: American Election 2016 Redux

#20
When it comes to party representation, it's obvious why there is only one candidate per party (as Flat pointed out succinctly).

However, I think it is also a flaw when it comes to putting an entire branch of our government on a single person. I've always been a fan of parliaments so that each party gets represented.

I also believe that the vast majority of the infrastructure our government was built on needs reform. When the Republican party formed in the mid 1800s, the US population was less than 10% of what it is now. And then of course we have population density. It's typical that more rural areas will vote Republican while denser areas usually vote Democrat. And then there's Trump, which if Google's stats are to be believed, that he was 80% more likely to win in counties where the demographic consisted of people with less than 10% of them had a bachelor's degree. Yeah, correlation does not imply causation (despite it wiggling its eyebrows seductively at it).

Not to mention the whole electoral college issue. We've all seen The Trouble with the Electoral College, so I won't go into that here.

Ultimately, the idea of our government was great at the time, but like many things, they haven't been been adapted to conform with more current times and trends. I may not like the guy, but the fact Trump was able to utilize social media to his advantage to help get the word out probably saved quite a bit of effort traveling to those smaller towns/cities. That's just one example of utilizing current methods to do the job. Unless people adopt more current ways, they probably won't be able to keep up.
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Re: American Election 2016 Redux

#21
Flatfingers wrote:
Dinosawer wrote:
Flatfingers wrote: This is not an Electoral College "problem." This is simple math: if only one party splits their vote with multiple candidates, that party loses.
Easy to fix though: make the presidentship go to the most popular nominee of the most popular party instead of just the most popular nominee overall. ;)
That leads to the plausible possibility that the office could go to someone from a really extreme party who was supported by only 15% of the country. I'm not sure that's better than the current structure, which promotes coalescing around a generally acceptable (if still imperfect) candidate.
I think you misunderstand me. Or I don't quite get how that would happen, unless none of the mainstream parties managed to get more voters than the extreme party?

Take your example:
party 1 has nominee A and B, party 2 has nominee C.
Nominee A gets 31.3%. Nominee B gets 21.2%. Together that party collects 52.5% of the total vote.
Nominee C of the other party manages to score 40.1% of the vote.

First we look at the most popular party. That's party 1.
Then we look at the most popular person of that party. That's nominee A.
Thus, A would become president.


Our system here works different yet (better, of course *cough cough*):
we can vote for either a party (out of about 10) or one or more people of one party. (And, though the party leader will probably be most popular, we have the option to vote for whatever people we want).
Voting for a person also counts as vote for their party, and the personal votes are counted aside from the party votes.
Then our parliament is made, where each party gets a number of seats according to how many of the votes they got (where, for us, 20% was the largest party last election).
After that, negotiations start for the government. Due to the nature of Belgium and our complex system of different factions that don't get along, we can't just do it the same way as for our parliament as we would get nothing done, so the rule is, the government needs to consist of a group of parties that together represent more than 50% of the votes.
(As an example, our local semi-racist nationalistic party never gets into the government despite getting a fair share of the votes because nobody wants to work together with them and vice versa)
So after a few weeks (or in 2011, nearly 18 months :roll: ) they reach an accord, and that is that.
We don't really have anything akin to a president (because what's the point of having one person hold that much power in a democracy); closest is our prime minister which is also appointed in those negotiations. Not nearly as importan as a president though - I didn't even know the name of the current one :ghost:
In those, the personal votes are taken into account, though it's not necessarily the case that the person with the most votes becomes prime minister (last time it was the guy who lead the negotiations succesfully)
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Re: American Election 2016 Redux

#23
Dinosawer wrote:Our system here works different yet (better, of course *cough cough*):
we can vote for either a party (out of about 10) or one or more people of one party. (And, though the party leader will probably be most popular, we have the option to vote for whatever people we want).
Voting for a person also counts as vote for their party, and the personal votes are counted aside from the party votes.
...
Yeah, this is more representative, and obviously, having more than 2 parties is much, MUCH, MUCH better. Black and white is always wrong, as the world is in colors with many shades, and having many parties is one way to represent broader views and to avoid that a simplistic view dominates.

Now I love Belgium, but in Belgium, IMHO one ingredient is missing, the will to work together. This is where the system does not work so well, and why it is so difiicult to find an agreement. In our (way better :lol: ) system here in Switzerland, we "avoid" the problem by forcing collaboration. The executive branch itself is representative, elected by the legaslative houses, with 7 ministers usually coming from the four main parties (socialist, christian-republican, liberal-republican, populist right wing). The parties do not need to have an agreement, but the 7 individuals have to agree working together and tune down their own ideas during office.
It is a very stable system. The downside is that there is more a good administration than a strong leadership. But hey, this may even be the major advantage: we are not following any trends but stay on a course of consensus so that everybody can equally live with the result and is equally unhappy that his "hooby-cause" is unsifficiently taken care of :lol:

We have a saying: the correct consensus is reached when everybody leaves the negociation table equally unhappy.
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Re: American Election 2016 Redux

#25
The advertisements of political candidates do have some truth to them. You can determine some of their stances and values by watching them. It's an incomplete picture, but to say that you're "voting blind" if you base your vote on advertising, is inaccurate. No matter how much we research, we will never have the complete picture. All we can do is pick the one we think we like more, and hope the one elected was the better option.
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Re: American Election 2016 Redux

#26
Jazehiah wrote:The advertisements of political candidates do have some truth to them. You can determine some of their stances and values by watching them. It's an incomplete picture, but to say that you're "voting blind" if you base your vote on advertising, is inaccurate. No matter how much we research, we will never have the complete picture. All we can do is pick the one we think we like more, and hope the one elected was the better option.
True;

But in an environment where whoever generates the most 'hype' will also generate the most voter turnout for themself. Ultimately, in a 'perfect' world scenario, all the 'uninformed' or 'advertisement-based' votes will cancel each other out. Candidate 1 enrages enough people to vote for him that are the uninformed for him, while candidate 2 does the same for themself. Those *should* be equal numbers, but then we end up coming to the crux of the issue;

We elect whoever can grandstand the best.
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Re: American Election 2016 Redux

#28
CSE wrote:Now I love Belgium, but in Belgium, IMHO one ingredient is missing, the will to work together. This is where the system does not work so well, and why it is so difiicult to find an agreement. In our (way better :lol: ) system here in Switzerland, we "avoid" the problem by forcing collaboration.
:shifty: Yet still both countries continue to make exceedingly good chocolate. :?

Re: American Election 2016 Redux

#29
Graf wrote:On a side note, I learned in my macro class that it is apparently impossible to have a perfect voting system due to Arrow's Impossibility Theorem. Thoughts?
This is very interesting. I guess most votes are either "yes/no" (or between two candidates) OR do not need to yield a single answer (multi-party elections to a chamber). In both cases, this problem does not seem to apply.
We have here an intersting voting system for 3 alternatives (option 1/option 2/no change):
Everybody vote first for each option yes or no. And then add a preference between option 1 and 2.
If no option get 50%, then no change happen. If only one option get 50%, then it is selected. If both options get 50%, then the one with the most preference is selected. Thanks to this, it is e.g. not necessary to "tactically" vote for option 2 to reduce the chances of option 1 (as would be necessary if the option with the most vote would be selected) if one prefer no change. I guess this also solves the conflict for such cases.
Victor Tombs wrote: :shifty: Yet still both countries continue to make exceedingly good chocolate. :?
Indeed. But England makes "After Eight"s and this is also a non-negligible part of the world's cooking treasure ;)
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