(Executive summary) (Pamphlet arguing for range voting for Socialists) (Letter to the Worker's World Party)
Here is the world's only actual data (as of 2005) about range & approval voting vis-a-vis US third parties – given in my paper (#82 here) coauthored with Doug Greene & Jacqueline Quintal.
This is based on a pseudo-election we conducted with real US voters (122 range voters and 656 approval voters) simultaneously with the 2004 presidential election as an exit poll.
[Warning: last 2 columns are NY-state and Philadelphia suburbs only, hence different sample than the "plur" column which is nationwide; e.g. nationwide election was won by Bush, but Kerry won NY and PA state. The "Total3rd" row is just the sum of Nader, Badnarik, Cobb, Peroutka, and Calero results – which is admittedly somewhat meaningless – but anyhow as you can see it actually would have exceeded Bush's total under range voting. Please see the full paper if you want, e.g, statistical error bars, which are omitted here for simplicity.]
As you can see, under range voting (RV) the third party candidates all would have done a lot better than under either approval voting (AV) or the current plurality (plur) system.
Warning: the data on Socialist Worker's Party candidate Calero is included with some trepidation because there was not much data on him. But as you can see what there was of it also suggested that he would have gotten lots more range votes than any other kind of votes. It suggests that, while Calero got 17000 times fewer plurality votes than Bush (and the ratio probably still would have been in the thousands even with Approval Voting) Calero would have gotten about 1/10 as many votes as Bush under Range Voting. Doesn't that seem more correctly representing what the US public really thinks?
Socialists are currently shut out of American politics. Rich fat cats control the government through their two handmaiden parties, and the rest of us are helpless to resist because the system is rigged so that no other party can get anything because all vote counts for third parties are hugely artificially lowered by the plurality voting system (as you can see from the data above, compare RV and plur columns to see the lowering under plur).
That isn't fair. This is a rigged game.
And with the Democrat and Republican Corporocrats in total control, they can and do continue to pull the levers of power to make the rich get even more ridiculously richer off the backs of the lower classes, who keep getting poorer and less powerful. During 1983-1998 the bottom 40% of US households lost 76% of their wealth whereas the wealth of the top 1% increased by 42%. I mean, hello! Does that strike you as a trend, or what?
The percentage of wage and salary workers who belong to labor unions decreased steadily from a high of 37.0% in 1960 to 12.9% in 2003 and still appears to be dropping (US dept. of Labor, bureau of statistics). Walmart deploys massive union-busting tactics and there is not a peep of complaint about it from the government, or the Democrats, or the Republicans.
About 12.5% of Americans and 20% of American children (and 30-40% of black ones) live below the poverty line – worse than just about every country in Europe – despite the fact the US often has the highest GDP per capita of any country. (Median US incomes failed to rise in 2005 for the 5th straight year [but prices kept rising... and the total size of the economy kept rising...] according to the US Census Bureau the longest stretch of income stagnation on record. [New York Times, 1 Sept. 2005, page A22, "Life in the bottom 80 percent".] Do those things strike you as a little off kilter?
The total number of US citizens residing in jail currently exceeds, on both an absolute and a per capita basis, that of any other country, no matter how repressive and totalitarian, making the USA not exactly the "land of freedom."
I could go on and on but you get the point.
Range voting is an important tool to make Socialism work because Socialism is about the people making good collective government decisions. And range voting is a far better procedure for doing that, because it makes the decision the people want, not the decision the big-money donors force the rest of us to accept.
With range voting, each voter expresses his opinion about all the candidates, not just one, in his vote – more information. And unlike most other voting systems, with range voting that information tends to be honest information, because while in most systems you are motivated to lie in your vote to make it more strategically effective – e.g. to mis-state your "favorite" – with range it is never strategically wise to mis-state your favorite. More information per vote. More-honest information too. Result: better collective decisions, better democracy, better Socialism.
The USA's immense and permanent 2-party domination is a consequence of the plurality voting system and Duverger's law. In any voting system in which Duverger's law holds (i.e. plurality and IRV voting, see also this and this), third parties are going to be permanent doormats. And the rest of us consequently are going to suffer from massively reduced voter choice, massive idea-deficit, and massive quality deficit in our government. Forever.
Incidentally, it is pretty damn interesting that the capitalist fat cats, when it is big TV revenue money at stake in the Olympics (gymnastic judging) employ range voting because if they employed plurality voting it'd be an outrage and it'd cost them viewership. But when it is our government, they find no need to use a good voting system – what the heck, we'll just use one that leads to permanent 2-party domination. Pretty damn interesting, don't you think?
So in summary, the question for Socialists when they consider "should we support range voting?" really is "do you like survival?" If you think survival is pretty important, then range voting should be your top priority. And I mean top. More important than every single other issue.
So join CRV now because it is the group pushing for range voting.
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