Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Oscars, but for politics



Two recent news items have rekindled my firm belief that our current first-past-the-post voting system is a scourge upon the world and needs to be replaced with the borda count or some instant runoff variation.

First, Vox ran an article titled, The Oscars' voting process awards bland movies. With so much concern over extreme partisanship in congress compared to the generally moderate views of the public, it seems apt to consider the utility of voting systems that disproportionately benefit bland alternatives. The Borda count and IRV would result in more consensus candidates--an outcome I suspect most people would prefer. Just watch the video above, and replace 'movie' with 'political candidate'.

It's crucially important to remember that no voting system is impartial. Our plurality rule system may be the status quo, but it rewards bold, polarizing candidates and allows for the utterly insane spoiler effect. This brings me to the second relevant news story: Michael Bloomberg's potential independent run for the presidency.

It's unlikely that Bloomberg will run a campaign of any consequence. This is in part because, due to the spoiler effect, a run would essentially hand the presidency to the Republicans. Bloomberg would take more votes from Democrats than from Republicans. These perpetually-recurring calls for a credible, moderate, technocratic, independent presidential candidate are hard to endure because our voting system makes such a run suicidal from political perspective, despite the obvious appeal and benefit of the additional choices.

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