Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Newsweek's Sharon Begley pens an interesting article about the math behind elections. As one of the mathematicians cited in the piece says, "election outcomes can more accurately reflect the choice of an election rule than the voters' wishes." Depending upon how the election rules are fashioned, you can get very different results based on the same set of candidates. That's a disturbing reality.
Our pick-your-favorite system, known as plurality voting, "may produce a winner who is the least acceptable to the majority of [GOP] voters," says Steven Brams of New York University, a pioneer in the application of math to voting. That happened in the 2000 presidential election, when Ralph Nader got about 95,000 votes in Florida. George W. Bush's winning margin was about 500. "Since a significant majority of Nader voters preferred Al Gore to Bush," says Brams, "the winner was the candidate least preferred by most voters."
Yikes! I believe at the time Nader not only fully knew about the above "flaw" in our system, but he's been quite public about saying we needed a president as horrible as Bush to wake us up, or to ignite the Democrats who in his mind became too much like the Republicans.

Lovely. Environment wrecked, Constitution pissed on, countless people dead, exploding debt, millions more without healthcare, U.S. global standing in the toilet -- thanks for exploiting that "flaw" Ralphie! Did it work to your liking?

Meanwhile, with Nader's prior endorsed candidate (Edwards) out of the picture, who will Ralph endorse now? Is he going to claim that he can't endorse any of the remaining candidates because they're much less progressive than Edwards? Will anyone honestly believe that red herring? Heck, the National Journal just rated Obama the #1 liberal senator in the country. Hillary ranked 16th.

It's hard to believe Edwards symbolized that great change Nader was looking for in the Democratic Party and yet Obama or Hillary are out of the question. We'll see what Ralph decides this time (yawn).

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