Thursday, December 22, 2005

Natural Election

Have you ever looked under a microscope and saw a dancing hamster?

Let me rephrase that:

Is it justifiable to ask a candidate for a public office to withdraw his candidacy in favor of someone else?*

On one hand, no. While a candidate is running, the voter has a choice, and can exercise his democratic right to choose. If a candidate withdraws from elections then in effect he takes away a choice from the voter. Since the withdrawal is being made to help another candidate (and not for, say, medical reason), then he also in effect tries to make the choice for the voter. This effect, if not the intent, is counter intuitive and anti democratic.

On the other hand yes, as it is perfectly feasible (and happened before) that the two ideologically close candidates will split 60%, while the third candidate, representing a minority blessed with near-absence of leaders, will win the elections with 40% of popular vote. If the majority had even more leaders, then the situation gets even worse.

In other words, democratic elections automatically create problem #2, optimal solution to which demands having at most 2 candidates, which turns out to be the problem #1, i.e., non-democratic elections. In fact the Second Round was design to do just that: to force optimization condition, and trade soundness of the solution for completeness. A poor trade.

And this is the dancing hampster, ladies and gentlemen, little question that shows the big inadequacy of modern election system. How can we fix it? What do you think?


* The background:
Very recently Likud (right-wing party in Israel) was having elections for the leader. 3 people were left standing in the end, Netaniyahu, Shalom, and Feiglin. With Netaniyahu keeping the lead, Feiglin, not-so-distant third, but ideologically closer to Netaniahu then Shalom, was urged to withdraw his candidacy in favor of the leading candidate, to solidify his lead, as well as accused of stealing Netaniahu's brownie points, and the otherwise inevitable victory.

Monday, December 19, 2005


After long silence I am returning the the English-speaking blogsphere. Initially I was reluctant to do so, but the endless emails and home visits I was getting from my enormous pull of fans, elevating to threats to my well being, demanding my glorious return... have prompted me to give back some respect, and jump-start a fresh, popular... OK. Enough with the astroturfing. I am back.

Expect the unexpected!