Posts Tagged ‘elections’

Democrats. Bah.

May 31, 2008

The Democratic Party will be deciding today what to do about those pesky scoffrules in Michigan and Florida and their alleged delegates. They seem to be expending on awful lot of effort on figuring out details that just don’t matter—we all know Obama’s going to win, and the only real question is how quietly will Hillary go, and when. I suppose the theater is all about determining the exact level of respect Hillary and her legions of rabid supporters are entitled to. Sort of like mob boss negotiations in a more boring version of The Sopranos.

Oh, and the Democrats are also trying to un-piss-off the people of Michigan and Florida. To the people of Michigan and Florida I have two things to say: “Blame your idiot legislatures,” and “Oh, come on, your votes don’t count anyway.”

Should the Democratic Party’s motto be “It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time”? Regretting old decisions seems to be the party’s normal practice now. Besides the ill-considered proscription of large ornery states, we also have the decision to allocate delegates proportionally rather than winner-take-all, and of course the superdelegates.

And while I’m ranting about wasting time and energy, how about money? Wouldn’t the hundreds of millions spent so far, and yet to be spent, in this election have been better spent feeding the hungry? Sheltering the homeless? Aiding Chinese earthquake victims? Heck, buying every American a nice cup of coffee? If only Obama could use his superhuman fundraising powers for good…

Fun with voting

February 20, 2008

Speaking of the stupid ways we run our elections, I just saw this review of Gaming the Vote, about the stupid ways we run our elections.  I’ll try to read the actual book sometime soonish.

I do like the idea of Range Voting–I certainly don’t think it could be any worse than what we have now.  As far as I know it avoids most of the pathologies of our current plurality system (even with a pure popular vote, not worrying about the monkeywrenches due to the electoral college and whatnot), and the results are simple to understand and “obviously fair,” unlike, say, Condorcet voting and Borda count (which have problems of their own).

I think I like Approval Voting–a special case of Range Voting–even more.  I would expect it to produce generally similar results to Approval Voting when there are lots of voters (although rangevoting.org says not); and it’s much simpler.  Arrow’s Theorem doesn’t apply to either, as they are not based on pure preference orders.

Superdelegates

February 20, 2008

Having heard this on the radio the other day, I now think that the superdelegate system, and the alleged conundrum the poor things may face, is even sillier than I had thought.

First off, the Obaminators’ argument that the superdelegates should vote The Will of the People is obviously boneheaded (setting aside the obvious fact that the Obama camp would immediately say otherwise if he weren’t ahead in inferiordelegates).  If they were supposed to be rubber stamps, there would really be no point in having them at all; and indeed they were originally created to provide “leadership” in close cases.  Given the “leadership” the Democrats in Congress have shown the last few years, it’s hardly surprising that they’re desperately trying not to show any now.  (I find myself reminded of the GE Followship Award from 30 Rock.)
And beyond that, if the tallies are close enough that the superdelegates can matter, then really there’s no Will of the People to follow–the difference in the two would be within the margin of error of our ridiculous primary/caucus system, in comparison with which the Electoral College looks positively sane.  The superdelegates were a stupid solution to a stupid problem, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that they seem a bit problematic now.  Remember that the only time they’ve mattered before, the result was Walter Mondale.