Electoral Reform BC Style

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NorthReport
Electoral Reform BC Style
Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:

4. They claim that MMP is too complicated for the B.C. voters to understand.

All around the world, people vote in various proportional representation systems, including MMP, which is used in countries like Germany and New Zealand. Those hundreds of millions of voters are no more intelligent than British Columbians. They just have fairer electoral systems.

I'm totally OK with that.  I don't think Canadians are stupid.

But haven't I heard somewhere that when PR has been on the menu, many diners didn't choose it because the waiter failed to make it clear to them what it was?

We cannot say, out of both sides of our mouth, that "there's nothing complicated about PR" and also "people didn't vote for it because they couldn't understand it".

JKR

I think all electoral systems are complicated to explain. Single-member plurality becomes very complicated to explain when obvious corollary questions are asked such as: 

- how can FPTP be legitimate since it can produce results that are unrepresentative of the voting population?

- how can FPTP be legitimate since it can ignore majority opinion?

NorthReport

Unfortunately when you are part of the one percenters, you can make anything legitimate with the people you control: your media, your tax accountants, your tax lawyers, and your politicans.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Single-member plurality becomes very complicated to explain when obvious corollary questions are asked such as

Except that people -- nothwithstanding you -- aren't really asking those questions and never really have.  To most people, the person who gets the most votes wins.  If not them, then who?  The person who got less?

Of course the details are that those winners become a "vote" unto themself, with the best of 338 such votes actually winning.  But people don't want to feel like they're just voting for a local schmuck -- they feel like (and want to feel like)  they're voting for the head honcho.

JKR

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Single-member plurality becomes very complicated to explain when obvious corollary questions are asked such as

Except that people -- nothwithstanding you -- aren't really asking those questions and never really have.  To most people, the person who gets the most votes wins.  If not them, then who?  The person who got less?

Why not the person the majority can agree on instead of just a plurality? All the political parties don't use plurality voting for their own voting. I think that shows what they really think about the ability of FPTP to pick the best person.

It seems to me that when 100 people are choosing which pizza to have at their dinner they almost always choose a PR system where most of them are able to get the slice of their choice instead of the one type of pizza chosen by a plurality. Or if for some strange reason they have to choose only one kind of pizza they choose the slice supported by the majority not just a plurality.

progressive17 progressive17's picture

What people can understand is the French system, which at least produces a real majority for the winner of the runoff. Maybe it should be promoted as a transitional step, because we would not need to define the regions for proportional lists. France has elected socialists many times. Their system seems to work well enough for that.

cco

A "real majority" via the artificial elimination of other choices. The French don't seem too happy with this system when it forces them to choose Chirac or Macron over a Nazi.

JKR

The 2-round plurality electoral system in France is bad but it is better than one round plurality, AKA FPTP. In France they have four political parties that can all get around 1/5th of the vote so it would be possible for the NAZI's there to win an election with just 24% of the vote in a FPTP election. Le Pen lost the first round by only 3% points but lost the second round by 32% because the National Front have very little growth in their vote. This two-round plurality election clearly showed how undemocratic one-round plurality voting, AKA FPTP is. The first round made it seem that Le Pen was almost tied for first and that she was very close to being the legitimate leader of France but the  second round showed how undemocratic it would have been to have just one round of plurality voting. The second-round exposed the National Front's lack of support as they were far away from being supported by a majority of the voters.

The Conservatives here in Canada would have relatively limited second-round growth so they are completely opposed to a two-round plurality system. The Liberals here in Canada have relatively a lot of second-round support so they would strongly support a two-round system. The NDP would benefit from a two-round system but not as much as the Liberals so they oppose it because it would help the Liberals even though it would hurt the Conservatives. The NDP supports PR.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_presidential_election,_2017

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
It seems to me that when 100 people are choosing which pizza to have at their dinner they almost always choose a PR system where most of them are able to get the slice of their choice instead of the one type of pizza chosen by a plurality. Or if for some strange reason they have to choose only one kind of pizza they choose the slice supported by the majority not just a plurality.

Of course when you're ordering 30 pizzas it's totally easy to order a few different types.  Unless "the majority" is planning on eating ALL the pizza, there's no reason why all pizzas should (e.g.) need to have pineapple on them just because 51 people want pineapple.

The better "FPTP" analogy in your example is probably the choice of only pizza, rather than pizza + Chinese + falafels + Thai.

Perhaps it was negotiated, and pizza won by being everyone's second choice.  Or maybe someone said "I don't want the hassle of making 4 different takeout orders, and most people want pizza" -- I don't know.  Maybe pizza is just the assumed natural foodstuff, or the compromise that everyone can live with -- like the Liberals! :)

NorthReport
Pogo Pogo's picture

Food by FPTP.  100 people are 10 tables.  And only one victor per table.  6 tables get ham and pineapple pizza and 4 tables get Chicken Chop Suey.  The 10 vegetarians have to eat when they get home.

In proportional there is vegetarian food for the 10 vegetarians.

JKR

Pogo wrote:

Food by FPTP.  100 people are 10 tables.  And only one victor per table.  6 tables get ham and pineapple pizza and 4 tables get Chicken Chop Suey.  The 10 vegetarians have to eat when they get home.

In proportional there is vegetarian food for the 10 vegetarians.

 

FPTP supporters would argue that members of the smaller Vegetarian Party can have much better pizza by just joining either the big-tent Ham and Pineapple Party or the big-tent Chicken Chop Suey Party. FPTP supporters go on to say that within those big-tent parties vegetarians can reduce the amount of ham or pineapple being put on pizzas and also put more veggies on pizzas. This isn't very appetizing to most vegetarians but the big-tent political insiders like it this way since it makes them a lot of dough.

JKR

Elizabeth May presented an interesting TedTalk on electoral reform:

https://youtu.be/xcwsSDynCcc