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?

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* 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.

7 comments:

Irina Tsukerman said...

Force parties to cosolidate into several major parties... not coalitions of millions of parties, but several major ones, and compromise within their spectrum.

Yury Puzis said...

this is the solution I am tring to run away from. The less parties / candidates, the less choice there is (i.e. the more the choice is predetermined). In US there are 2 parties. When it comes to presidential elections, people get to choose out of 2 candidates, even though there are 10s of millions of potential candidates.

Irina Tsukerman said...

Don't forget that here we have the primaries. The Democratic primaries last time featured 9 (!) candidates. None of them were good.

criscollins0388 said...
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lucygilbert9364 said...
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Irina Tsukerman said...

*Sigh*. So now you've got spammers for company. That's what you get for not writing for so long!

Yury Puzis said...

it's like catching rust, isn't ? :)