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Bernie Sanders - Halfway There\?

Consider this: Apple and GE, two of America's most profitable corporations, are paying Zero federal taxes. Their aggregate taxes paid to governments worldwide is 0\% and 3\%. Apple -- always the most innovative -- declares itself headquartered somewhere in cyber space where no tax laws apply. That assertion is uncontested by Washington. President Obama has ignored this scandalous tax evasion and his administration has taken no Executive initiatives.
Michael Brenner is a professor at the University of Pittsburgh.

to read his article "Bernie Sanders - Halfway There\?" published on 8/10/2015, click on
 link to www.huffingtonpost.com

"No, not to the nomination, much less the White House. What Sanders has done is to establish himself as a force in the Democratic Party's selection process. He has done so by demonstrating two qualities that have largely disappeared from America's political life over the past few decades. One is conviction and intellectual honesty. The other is articulate statement of a progressive creed that was the party's heart and soul when it dominated the country's electoral life, before lapsing into the "me-too" wing of our current Establishment uniparty. Sanders, thereby, has flinted a spark of life into those nominally liberal circles whose lazy and complacent inertia had led them to declare the compromised Hillary Clinton as their latest champion.

None of this was foreseen by the commentators and strategists who set the tone for our political discourse. Their domination of the electronic airways generates the Washington Consensus that few dare dispute. That consensus is invariably wrong - on almost every matter of electoral and policy consequences. They boast a record of unrelieved obtuseness that does nothing to undermine their authority in delimiting what or who qualifies for "serious" discussion.

The "experts," in their typical blinkered way, overlooked or grossly underestimated some stark truths. Most Americans are poorer today than they were 45 years ago..."

homepage: homepage: http://www.freembtranslations.net
address: address: www.openculture.com


Another Obama? 11.Aug.2015 12:59

blues

"What Sanders has done is to establish himself as a force in the Democratic Party's selection process. He has done so by demonstrating two qualities that have largely disappeared from America's political life over the past few decades. One is conviction and intellectual honesty."

-- Then how come Sanders' Senate votes are about 90% contradictory to what he claims to believe in? The best I can say is he is about 20% less awful than Hillary Clinton -- and that's not saying much.

Not everyone trusts Democrats.

what? 11.Aug.2015 19:15

...

" Then how come Sanders' Senate votes are about 90% contradictory to what he claims to believe in? "

What votes would those be? Looking at his voting record, it seems pretty consistent with what he has been saying. Some examples would be nice, especially since you're throwing around numbers like 90%

Let me guess - he voted against simple score voting, and you saw red and freaked out.

don't listen to blues 11.Aug.2015 19:43

anon2

He won't ever make sense.

More to the point? 12.Aug.2015 05:36

Mike Novack

a) Bernie Sanders ISN'T a Democrat. While it might seem strange to you that a candidate competes for a party's ballot line without being a member of that party, not unheard of. Perhaps the most famous politician who sometimes ran on another party's ballot line was Fiorello LaGuaria. Often on the outs with his own party (Republican) he sometimes ran and won using the Socialist Party's line.

b) He doesn't have an inconsistent voting record. But perhaps more important when tossing around percentages of votes, keep in mind that MOST of the votes are for routine matters, questions on which a socialist like Bernie isn't going to be voting differently than the average Republican or Democrat.

c) There hasn't been a "simple score voting" vote. And please, I don't mind touting single score voting, but with ALL possible voting methods, you need to describe the bad along with the good, because there is NO perfect method possible. No matter what the method, there will exist some possible distribution of voter preferences that will make a shambles out of it (see the work of Arrow et al.) What you have to argue for is that the times when your pet method DOESN'T work well aren't dangerous. For example, SIMPLE "IRV" (without first checking if there was a Condorcet candidate) might work well for our current problem being unable to cast a vote for our first choice. But under the circumstances where it works poorly (a Condorcet candidate was eliminated) it works VERY poorly (people would not accept the outcome*, rioting in the streets, civil war).

So please show us your analysis of "simple score" showing the preference distribution that makes it work poorly and then argue "but that's acceptable" (low risk). And if you think there would be no "worst case preference distribution" then you don't understand how to analyze the good and bad of voting systems.

* Things possible like violent swings back and forth between extremes, outcomes moving in the opposite direction from the change in voter preferences, etc. That proponents of IRV don't see that mainly because they look at only the CURRENT distribution of preferences (big parties in the middle; small parties outside) and not other possible distribution (big parties to the outside, small parties in between --- or three approximately same size parties and then a small shift in their numbers in the next election). In other words, horrible things can happen IF there was a Condorcet candidate that got eliminated)

What's Your Problem? 12.Aug.2015 23:03

blues

Yes, Bernie is actually a Democrat. That's all. He is a Democrat. Get used to that, since it's reality. In other words, part of the mafia. You don't really have any other way of thinking, I hope?

And yes, (about) 90% of his votes in the Senate have been fascist. This will be born out in the history to follow. Play against that history, and you will lose.

As far as simple score voting:

There are two entirely different kinds of elections, and kinds of "contestants". An election of the president of a science fiction novel forum is not at all the same thing as an election of a United States President. The former is really a contest between two (or more) individual candidates (and their agendas), but the latter is actually a contest between the weak and the mighty the well-supported candidates of a very few elites versus the grass-roots candidates of the vast multitude of non-elite people.

Simple score voting can be completely described in one short simple sentence: Give no vote at all, or from one to ten votes to any number of candidates you wish (up to some reasonable limit, say 20 candidates), and then simply add all the votes up.

It can be completely machine-free! If machines make tallying X time easier, they make coordinated rigging X times easier. Which can we truly afford???

Screw the Condorcet bullshit. This is NOT "game theory" where the candidates are "running" against one another. This is about the people shaking off the spoiler effect, and thus the two-party.

The answers really are vastly more simple than the bought-off Ivory Tower theorists would insist upon.

My problem? 13.Aug.2015 05:52

Mike Novack

It's not MY problem that you have no background in "theory of voting" (the good and bad points of any alternative method).

My reference to "Condorcet" was in regard to ONE of the suggested methods commonly called IRV, STV, etc. A method that would work well with our CURRENT distribution of preferences but could work VERY badly with different distributions (unless a Condorcet count done first --- Condorcet followed by IRV eliminates most of the danger situations). And yes, an onerous method of counting, but could be done without machines.

I am saying you have to do MORE than simply repeat how easy to do "simple score". You have to describe the preference distributions where it would give a very poor outcome and argue why those not dangerous. If you don't believe that there WOULD be such preference distributions then you are ignoring the work of mathematicians who have PROVED certain things about voting methods in general (no matter the method, there will exist a distribution of preferences that makes a shambles out of it).

I don't do this just to you. I also say the same thing to the people touting IRV as a cure all. In THAT case (for IRV) I can describe the "bad" distributions and go farther to point out that they are distributions which have had real historical existence in democratic societies. I haven't analyzed "simple score" in the same way but of course could (knowing that a "bad" distribution of preferences must exist isn't the same as knowing what it is)

But I leave it to you to do some of the preliminary work. You need to do more than argue how simple to do the count. You need to describe the circumstances (preference distributions) where it gives better results and then look at the distributions where it gives poor results. Those WILL exist. If and when you make a decent case FOR "simple score" and get more people interested but still haven't bothered to analyze for its weak points I might take the time to discover and point those out. But better if you did that first so could prepare arguments why those bad outcome not dangerous (not leading to people being unwilling to accept the bad outcome).

Sorry To Hear You Wasted Some Life Studying "Voting Theory" 13.Aug.2015 09:34

blues

You probably took one of those "voting theory" courses and got loaded up on a bunch of "voting system criteria". And were perhaps sold on the notion that the Condorcet voting method is some sort of "gold standard". Not only are Condorcet elections very complex to tally, but they do a poor job of removing the spoiler/ two-party effect, because they are too complex for voters to utilize effective strategy. The most simple forms of score voting makes it simple for them to utilize effective strategy. And people who insist upon voting "sincerely" or "honestly" or "voting their conscience", or to be more accurate "artlessly", can almost never enjoy reasonable voting effectiveness. For that they must vote artfully, i.e. strategically, and this will even eliminate issues with the (useless) election method criteria, such as "later-no-harm", etc.

Even Professor Kenneth Arrow, who won a Nobel Prize for proving that most election methods cannot satisfy all of a set of "accepted" criteria acknowledges that his proof does not apply to score voting. And he even advocates score voting.

You said:
/~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I am saying you have to do MORE than simply repeat how easy to do "simple score". You have to describe the preference distributions where it would give a very poor outcome and argue why those not dangerous. If you don't believe that there WOULD be such preference distributions then you are ignoring the work of mathematicians who have PROVED certain things about voting methods in general (no matter the method, there will exist a distribution of preferences that makes a shambles out of it).
\~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Well no that's simply wrong, since Arrow's impossibility theorem simply does not apply at all to score voting.

Score voting works very efficiently to provide voters with maximal voting effectiveness. It is as simple as it sounds, has no pathological corner case issues, and it "just works out of the box". Voting theory, and all its math and the "criteria" have been rendered superfluous by what we know now about score voting.

Simple score is merely a "stripped down" version, with no "zero votes", "averaged votes", etc.

So we need it to eliminate the two-party system.

Try THIS simple "test" 13.Aug.2015 11:48

Mike Novack

Indicate how it leads to an improved outcome (any great difference from plurality) for this simple preference distribution.

By the rule, all candidates on the ballot receive between 10 and 1 votes, right? So with three candidates on the ballot a voter's choice could be 10, 2, 1 (for that voter's first, second, and third choice). Assume all voters felt that way for their choice between three candidates, A, B, and C <<that's reasonable, not far fetched, would be YOUR choice if the contest between somebody you really liked and a Democrat and a Republican, between the latter two "not much difference" >>

OK, now assume that the 1st choice preferences were 40% for A, 35% for B, and 25% for C. Do the 1's and 2's contributed to the other candidates from C make any difference between A and B?

It's simply a "plurality" election in which voters who prefer C don;t have to feel their votes were wasted. It doesn't help if C voters choose to use their second choice strategically (giving 9) if C is a party in between A and B and some go one way, some the other. Also you might try looking at the situation where lots of parties. The winner might have only a small base of support.

The ONLY benefit is that those who prefer very minor choices can give those their 10 without losing their entire say in the election.

Your Example Seems To Involve Wrong Assumptions 13.Aug.2015 17:18

blues

You said:
"By the rule, all candidates on the ballot receive between 10 and 1 votes, right? So with three candidates on the ballot a voter's choice could be 10, 2, 1 (for that voter's first, second, and third choice)."

You must bear in mind that the voters should (for their own benefit) vote artfully (strategically), not artlessly (heroically, "sincerely"). For example, say there are three available candidates (I, J, K) and I give "I" 10 votes, and "J" 6 votes (which is probably dumb), and "K" no votes at all. And you give "I" no votes at all, and "J" 3 votes, and "K" 5 votes. Okay then I will get 2x as much "franchise" as you do! So you don't want to lose franchise pointlessly. This implies that each voter should give at least one candidate 10 votes.

Let's try an actual election (2000 presidential) with candidates:

Buchanan, Pat
Bush, George W.
Gore, Al
Nader, Ralph

Now say we both vote artfully (strategically), and my favorite happens to be Nader, and I am totally against Buchanan and Bush. Then a good strategy for me might be:

Buchanan, Pat (gets NO votes)
Bush, George W. (gets NO votes)
Gore, Al (gets 9 votes)
Nader, Ralph (gets 10 votes)

And your favorite happens to be (you're a "conservative" huh?) Buchanan, and you are totally against Gore and Nader. Then a good strategy for you might be:

Buchanan, Pat (gets 10 votes)
Bush, George W. (gets 9 votes)
Gore, Al (gets NO votes)
Nader, Ralph (gets NO votes)

With this strategy you are only sacrificing 1 vote on your Bush franchise option; in other words 10%. This is a small issue, since 10% is really small. The idea is that eventually Buchanan or Nader can win (some day). The lower digit choices are mostly "for show", although they might be used for candidates you would like to know more about.

This arrangement would come in very handy if we get stuck with a choice between, say, Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton.

My premise here is that elections are actually a contest between the "99%" typical people and the "1%" rich and powerful. Not so much a contest between the candidates. This seems to be something that the election theorists don't get.

So you see how this works, right?

Discuss the assumption that you are making 14.Aug.2015 04:40

Mike Novack

You are describing the situation where the electorate are divided into essentially TWO contesting factions, in this case call that "left" vs "right". For some (perhaps ideological) reason you believe that this is the ONLY way people can differ in what they want. You are describing how your proposed alternative voting method can improve the choice of candidates in THAT situation.

Since I can point to example democratic societies where the people are divided into more than two fundamental camps there is something wrong with that assumption "has to be two". Considering that you appear to wish for revolutionary (major) change, take you elections a bit farther down the road. Nader type support increases, so does Buchanan type support also, Gore and Bush type support decreases with those two factions moving towards each other until uniting somewhere in the center. Examine how it works with these THREE factions.

But even that is still a linear difference. Suppose that because of a number of orthogonal major issues with positions divide up among the factions, people's "next best" choice isn't necessarily an "adjacent" (in linear terms) faction. Again I can point to societies like that (even in our own history, 100 years ago, the left" had NO concern for the environment)

If we are to have EFFECTIVE vote counting reform, it needs to work over a wide range of potential divisions. It is terribly wrong to consider only existing divisions, especially since the method of counting votes can alter that (for a prime example: proportional representation with very low threshold fairly quickly causes fragmentation of factions down to sizes large enough to stay safely above the threshold)

Please Read The _Simple_ Rule 14.Aug.2015 11:08

blues

I said:
"Simple score voting can be completely described in one short simple sentence: Give no vote at all, or from one to ten votes to any number of candidates you wish (up to some reasonable limit, say 20 candidates), and then simply add all the votes up."

You said:
"You are describing the situation where the electorate are divided into essentially TWO contesting factions, in this case call that 'left' vs 'right'."

Just because my example involves just "TWO contesting factions", that does not mean that the voting is limited to such a restriction.

Let's begin with your above strategy, but let's also assume you have few more (hypothetical) concerns. Since you are aware of blues' vast following, you feel the need to hedge and give me 8 votes. Also you feel you must include a woman (hence Betty Boop). And an Italian person (Vito Corleone). Also you decided to write yourself in. Also you feel Jessie Ventura would be less bad than Al Gore and Ralph Nader.

Then a good strategy for you might be:

blues (gets 8 votes)
Boop, Betty (gets 10 votes)
Buchanan, Pat (gets 10 votes)
Bush, George W. (gets 9 votes)
Corleone, Vito (gets 10 votes)
Gore, Al (gets NO votes)
Nader, Ralph (gets NO votes)
Novack, Mike (gets 10 votes)
Ventura, Jessie (gets 9 votes)

Since there are no zero (0) votes, your actual ballot would look like:

blues (gets 8 votes)
Boop, Betty (gets 10 votes)
Buchanan, Pat (gets 10 votes)
Bush, George W. (gets 9 votes)
Corleone, Vito (gets 10 votes)
Novack, Mike (gets 10 votes)
Ventura, Jessie (gets 9 votes)

Allowing zero (0) votes could lead to the perverse situation where you and your buddies write blues in and you all give:

blues (gets 0 votes)

That's downright unneighborly.

Note that the rule includes the proviso: "(up to some reasonable limit, say 20 candidates)". That's there to prevent hackish people from going into voting booths with phone books and copying them into ballots. That gives room enough to accommodate up to twenty "factions". I think that probably should suffice.

(I also worked out how to do a party-free form using the same (or most any) method. But it looks more complicated than it is, so I'll wait awhile before discussing it.)

Correction For Last Paragraph 14.Aug.2015 11:15

blues

(I also worked out how to do a party-free form OF PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION using the same (or most any) method. But it looks more complicated than it is, so I'll wait awhile before discussing it.) (Sorry.)

"paty free" How? 16.Aug.2015 15:26

Mike Novack

While there are democratic systems where the concept of "party" is official perhaps it has escaped your notice but in our current system they aren't.

THAT is the problem with saying you want a "party free" system. HOW do you enforce that? In a free society? Are you proposing to make it illegal for people to associate? To collectivey worked for a shared agenda?

And I can't conceive of what you might mean by "proportional representation without parties". A proportional representation election always involves lists, slates, call them what you will. That the candidates who choose to associate to form a list and to collectively campaign for that list means that they constitute a "party". Now I can perhaps understand you thinking "not a party" if assembled ad hoc for just THIS election. But you could scarcely legislate against them remaining together to campaign for and push their shared agendas in subsequent elections and that's clearly what we mean when we say "party".

First Of All, Thanks Mike Novack! It's Too Hard to Bounce Surmises Against Fog! 21.Aug.2015 21:17

blues

Too damn hard to set to in a vacuum! Thank you for at least responding!

EVERY PUNDIT OF ANY STATURE INSISTS THE FINAL ELECTION WILL BE BETWEEN HILLARY CLINTON -- the fascist that makes Nixon look like a Boy Scout and "JEB" BUSH (total all-out NAZI).

... it turns out that the Ancient Spartans used score voting to make important collective decisions... sort of.

Yeah it's been around.

Mike - You almost certainly have been the victim of a "Social Futility 101" course in some degenerate college or university. THEY HATE DEMOCRACY!!!

They care NOT for the little people. Just load them down with fake "knowledge" and student loans.

So now I must go out on Main Street and tell the PEOPLE:

_DO NOT VOTE!!!_

Why vote for a two-party fraud that is really ONE PARTY? Why? Maybe I get bashed and busted by the well-paid hired cops. Because you folks can't see your way clear to demand simple score voting.

Maybe strip away even more of the rubbish. Try this rule instead of:

"Simple score voting can be completely described in one short simple sentence: Give no vote at all, or from one to ten votes to any number of candidates you wish (up to some reasonable limit, say 20 candidates), and then simply add all the votes up."

Even simpler and more stripped down:


"Simple score voting (style b) can be completely described in one short simple sentence: Give no vote at all, or either four or five votes to any number of candidates you wish (up to some reasonable limit, say 20 candidates), and then simply add all the votes up." With this strategy you are only sacrificing 2 votes on your franchise option; in other words 20%. This is even simpler. Don't vote at all for them, give them four votes, or give them five votes. Couldn't be easier!

As far as the party-free proportional representation scheme goes, this is my very own invention. You need decent High School math to grasp the simple formula, but it's just a simple "parabolic curve. The idea is to motivate people to vote for their favorites, while a few outliers get a certain amount of representation. And not political parties are involved. (Political parties, including the Green Party, have become utterly corrupt when power and money have become motivations.) Here's from my raw notes:


A formula for a proportional representation (multiple winner) election (e.g. for a legislature) without the involvement of parties, which could utilize simple score voting:

"Slots" correspond to seats in a legislature.

C Center Mark (for a given S)
W The Strongest Winner's Total
S A Slot Number (from 1 to T)
T The Total Number Of Slots

C = W ( 1 &#8722; [ ( S &#8722; 1 ) T ] )

Example:
Strongest Winner's Total = 310
Total Number Of Slots = 8

C = 310 ( 1 &#8722; [ ( S &#8722; 1 ) 8 ] )

Slot Number 1 Winner is 310 (This candidate has the Strongest Winner's Total.)
Slot Number 2 Winner is closest to 305.15625 (This is "C", the center mark for this slot "S".)
Slot Number 3 Winner is closest to 290.625
Slot Number 4 Winner is closest to 266.40625
Slot Number 5 Winner is closest to 232.5
Slot Number 6 Winner is closest to 188.90625
Slot Number 7 Winner is closest to 135.625
Slot Number 8 Winner is closest to 72.65625
Slot Number 9 "Winner" is closest to 0.0 (Cannot be a winner; the Total Number Of Slots is 8.)

The strongest winner is elected.

Then the candidate with the number of votes closest to the Slot Number 2 Center Mark is another winner, unless that closest number is the Number 1 Winner's number, in which case the one with the next number of votes closest to the Slot Number's Center Mark is the winner.

Then the candidate with the number of votes closest to the Slot Number 3 Center Mark is another winner, unless that closest number is the Number 2 Winner's number, in which case the one with the next number of votes closest to the Slot Number's Center Mark is the winner.

And so on, up to Slot Number 8.

The scores of the winners cluster around the one with the most votes, and thin out as the Slot Number increases. This is because the equation describes a parabolic curve. Note that always-corruptible political parties are not involved in this proportional election method at all (it is a party-less method).

To show that the center marks distribute according to a parabolic curve, consider a formula bearing simplifying constants:
C = W (1 - [(S - 1) T])
Now let W = 1, and T = 1.
Then: C = -(S - 1)
This would generate the "inverted graph of a parabolic curve" of a "quadratic function", similar to the one generated by the equation: y = x.
 http://www.webmath.com/plot.html

The slot numbers roughly correspond to minority groups. If a very low number of candidates run, the winning candidate for some given slot number could actually turn out to have more votes than the candidate that was previously chosen due to vote-number proximity to a previous (larger) center mark. Or there might simply be too few candidates to fill all the slots (seats). However, this method still provides results that nevertheless satisfactorily reflect the will of the voters.

STOP TRYING to "fix our HTML" in writer mode!!!!!!!!!! 21.Aug.2015 22:54

blues

NOT:

C = W ( 1 &#8722; [ ( S &#8722; 1 ) T ] )

NOR:

C = 310 ( 1 &#8722; [ ( S &#8722; 1 ) 8 ] )

This is better:

C = W x ( 1 - [ ( S - 1 ) (divided by) T ] )

C = 310 x ( 1 - [ ( S - 1 ) (divided by) 8 ] )