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New Democracy

by Maitreg

The term "democracy" has always been taught in our schools to be the single most powerful philosophy that makes the United States one of the greatest countries in history.  It's ultimately a majority rules philosophy that makes life much simpler with the entire voting process and governmental representation.   The big problem with the majority rules philosophy is that a minority loses.  "What's so bad about that", you ask?   "After all, isn't it fair if the majority has its way?"  Well, actually no.  Who defines the majority?  What exactly is a majority?  Is a majority over 50% of the population?  Or is a majority the largest number of voters?  These are two entirely different things.

Consider this.  In the infamous 1998 Minnesota governor election, the two largest parties, Republican and Democrat, had their usual representatives with Norm Coleman and Hubert "Skip" Humphrey respectively.  But then, to everyone's surprise, a third party candidate representing the Reform Party jumped into the scene.  Jesse Ventura was merely a joke and was, in fact, referred to by Hillary Clinton herself as a "side show".  Little did she know the impact he would have on the people of Minnesota and the future of politics.  He slowly crept up in the polls but he still only maintained a portion of less than 15% of the population as late as a week before the election.  But then, the night of election, something very odd happened.  He started showing very high numbers very early.  Had his "non-partisan" campaign really paid off?  Well, he won.  "Wow, he had 50% of the votes", you ask?  No, he didn't.  He actually had less than 40% of the votes.  Over 60% of the voters did NOT vote for their new governor.  The majority did NOT rule in this situation.  This is the major flaw of "democracy" as we know it.

Now imagine if there had been only two main candidates instead of three.  What if the remaining 60% of the population had all voted for a single candidate.  Then that same 60% would have won, right?  Maybe.  But then, 40% of the population didn't vote for the governor, so who really wins?  This is what has drawn me to my own conclusion, a new voting system I call "New Democracy".

This system, I believe, recognizes that everyone has a degree of happiness, instead of a love/hate vote.  How many people after the Minnesota election are pleased with the results?  Well, six months later, Ventura's approval rating exceeded 70%, so what happened to the 60% who didn't vote for him?  Most of them are pleased to a degree.   Maybe Ventura wasn't the first choice of the 60%, but would he have been their second?  Or maybe their third or fourth?  Or would he have been their last choice for governor?  We'll never know.  But that is exactly what "New Democracy" is all about.  I propose that we give voters a new system of ranking their choices instead of choosing their single favorite.  The sum of the rankings could then be tallied and a winner chosen based on the "total happiness" of the population, instead of the 40% who chose the winner as their favorite.  What percentage of the 60% that didn't vote for Ventura would have preferred him to another candidate?  What if the entire 60% absolutely hated him?   Should these preferences not come out in the polls?  Of course they should!

This system also addresses another topic, the idea of wasting your vote.   You can read more about these here:

bullet How to Avoid "Wasting Your Vote" by Leon Felkins
bulletThe Fallacy of the "Wasted" Vote by Tim Barber

You can also read more about third parties at 3PC.NET: Free Thinkers.


 

Responses

Thanks for the notice on your short essay on voting. It is a good essay and indicates that you are an original thinker, just like I think I am. The problem is, for both you and I, that others have already pursued these ideas to a great extent. The voting problem is a fascinating one and has had much written about it but I don't think anyone has a real solution yet (I think this  is called the Arrow Paradox, for Kenneth Arrow).

I'm not sure that even the majority should have their say. Consider this, most of the time the majority is misinformed and most of the time, it is the minority that gets things done. The American Revolution was opposed by about 60% of the people it is said. Today, the majority of the public supports the disgusting and wasteful "Drug War". So why not a system where the minority wins? :-)

Anyway, you have touched on a very complex issue, far too complex for such a short article. I would like to see you expand it if you have the time.

I originally wrote my essay with the title "The Voter's Paradox" (http://www.magnolia.net/~leonf/sd/vp-brf.html) ignorant of the fact that that term was already in use to identify a paradox that results from your proposed voting method. In "Preference" voting, sometimes a candidate can win that no one prefers!

Leon

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