The Instigator
ParaCox
Pro (for)
Winning
10 Points
The Contender
htennis
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Should The United States Adopt a Policy of Preferential Voting?

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
ParaCox
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/5/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,019 times Debate No: 27874
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (10)
Votes (3)

 

ParaCox

Pro

Just to clarify: By preferential voting I mean that instead of choosing one person/party to vote for you order the candidates in order of preference: i.e 1st Barack Obama then Gary Johnson then Mitt Romney, Barack would get 3 points and Gary 1. In this way, two similar candidates wouldn't hurt each other and the most universally acceptable candidate would likely win. I just think this is an interesting idea that would help prevent excessive partisanship and prevent Bush Vs Gore catastrophes. This would also give third parties a much better chance at winning, if we had preferential voting then Ross Pert would have likely won the 1992 election.

So thats the concept. As far as the argument goes, hypothetically preferential voting would foster moderation and universal approval as opposed to extremism and majority rule. It seems vaguely ridiculous for power to swing back and forth between two parties that try to undo whatever the last one had done. It's inefficient and results in hostility in the government and people.

For instance if you have three equally competent candidates, one far left, one far right, and a moderate. With preferential voting: the moderate would likely win and no one would be very upset . Without preferential voting almost no one would risk voting for the moderate, and if the far left candidate won with say 50.2% of the vote, very many would be upset, and the result would hardly represent the opinion of the people as a whole. This is an example of the same candidates with two sets of rules, and helps show how significant an improvement preferential voting can provide. I look forward to a response!
htennis

Con

Thank you for this debate.

PRO says that we need preferential voting in the system of the Borda count. I do not need to defend the current system, as the resolution does not specify if I have to, so I will defend approval voting.

Under his system, third party candidates do NOT win if the vote is split 50-50. If 5 people vote A>B>C, A has 15 and B has 5. Also, if the 5 people from the other party vote C>B>A, then C has 15 and B has 5. Overall, A has 15, B has 10, and C has 15. This does not solve for anything and we are still gridlocked. Still, since most people will vote for either A or C (representing Democrats or Republicans), the outcome will not change and the 50.2% could still win the election.

Even if a third party candidate wins the election, his/her reign will be filled with strife and conflict as will. Since the President is not clearly Democratic or Republican, more conflict will be fought on controlling the President. It would be better to have a President from one party so we can get things done.

Under a four candidate voting system, which could happen in an Presidential election, a candidate could win without getting any first place votes. Assuming third place gets 0 and fourth place gets -1 (continuing to go down), one could win getting all second place votes. I hope you can work this scenario out for yourself, but if you can't just ask the next round and I will provide it.

I think that approval voting should be implemented. Voters can "approve" of as many candidates as they want, and all of those candidates get a vote. For example, Voter A can "approve" of Obama and Johnson, but not Romney, so Obama (1), Romney (0), and Johnson (1). Or, they can approve of just Obama. In this way everyone is satisfied if one of their approved candidates is selected, and since some people approve of both the Democratic candidates and the Republican ones, it could prevent donkey voting and swing the outcome of an election.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 1
ParaCox

Pro

Thank you for an interesting perspective.

I"ll get right into it. My opponent has presented a scenario in which preferential voting does not work; however, this scenario has serious flaws.

The most obvious flaw is that the voting size he presents is 10. With an electorate of only ten citizens ANY system is likely to result in gridlock. Approval voting would actually make the scenario even worse, as the choices would be evenly balanced, resulting in 10 votes for each candidate and causing a three way tie.

The second serious flaw is that his scenario (second paragraph) assumes everyone is either a Democrat or Republican, no one is moderate, and libertarians or other types that defy classic left-right politics do not exist. This is not the case at all. A Gallup poll has concluded that 17% of Americans are centrists, 22% are libertarian, and 20% are Communitarian (socially conservative and fiscally liberal), with only 17% classic Republicans and 24% classic Democrats [1].

Using that data, I"ll present a scenario in which 100 million voted for either candidate A(Liberal), B(Conservative), or C(Moderate). The 24 million Democrats would vote ACB; that would be 72 million points for A and 24 million points for C. The 17 million Republicans would vote BCA for 68 million points for B and 17 million points for C. The 17 million moderates would vote equally CBA or CAB with 68 million points for C and 8.5 million votes for B and 8.5 million votes for A. The libertarians and Communitarians would be wild cards but most likely vote about equally their 42 million total votes dispersing to each for 56 million points. Total points: 136.5 million for A, 132.5 million for B, and 165 million for C.

My opponent made the statement "Under his system, third party candidates do NOT win if the vote is split 50-50." Above I have shown that the vote a) would NOT be split 50-50, it would be roughly even for all three, and b) the most moderate candidate (or in his words third party candidate) WOULD win.

My opponent claims, "Even if a third party candidate wins the election, his/her reign will be filled with strife and conflict as will. Since the President is not clearly Democratic or Republican, more conflict will be fought on controlling the President. It would be better to have a President from one party so we can get things done." Now, this is pure speculation.

History actually disagrees. Dwight D. Eisenhower (R) was a moderate and before he ran for reelection the Democrats considered nominating him if the Republicans did not [2]. In general, moderates not only represent the mean opinion of the people, but get along well enough with both parties. A partisan leader actually causes more conflict (as can be seen by the struggles between Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich in the 1990"s, which nearly caused a complete collapse of government on two occasions). As far as the president from one party comment, preferential voting would allow smaller parties to thrive. There would likely be much more powerful moderate, libertarian, and communitarian parties.

As to the four candidate scenario, a candidate COULD win without getting any first place votes, but that is unlikely as they would never get campaign funding without being someone's first choice. Also, the idea of preferential voting is that the person who is most acceptable to all would win. In the scenario I presented earlier, candidate C did not get the most first place votes (In that scenario A got 38% of the first place votes, B got 31%, C 31%), but he was the most acceptable overall. This system prevents tyranny of the majority, replacing it with the consensus of the public. It prevents extremists on either end from taking power.

As for approval voting, it does not solve all of the problems of our current system. Its major fault is it does not weight preference. Lets say I am a fiscal moderate and a social liberal, I like Barack Obama, Gary Johnson"s policies are acceptable, and I dislike Mitt Romney. Obviously I"ll approve Obama, but will I approve Johnson? On one hand I don"t mind him so I might as well, but on the other I like him less than Barack Obama. Since I like him less than Obama, it would be illogical to approve him, since not approving Johnson will increase Obama"s chance of winning and will not affect Romney"s. So I don"t vote for Johnson. A libertarian would follow the same train of logic and only vote for Johnson. A conservative would follow the same train of logic and only vote for Romney. The ultimate winner will be the one with the largest ideological following (libertarian, democrat, republican), NOT the candidate that is most acceptable to all.

I look forward to the next round.

Sources
1 http://reason.com...
2 http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org...
htennis

Con

He says a sample size of 10 is flawed. Ok, but multiply that by 31 million to get a situation in which chaos could happen.

He says that a lot of America is independents. However, if they did outnumber the major parties mike this, why didn't the election reflect this? Obama carried 51% and Romney carried 47.3%, instead of their respective 24% and 17%, as he says (1).

He says the moderate wins in his scenario. Fine, but the fact is that moderates may actually represent one party or another, even if they call themselves independents (2). They do this because they know that if they don't have a party's political backing, they have no shot at winning.

He doesn't respond to the fact that with a truly moderate president, nothing gets down. Not only will the Democrats and the Republicans be fighting over Congress, but now they would also be fighting over the Oval Office. The problem is not the election system, but rather the bipartisan system.

He says that approval voting will just be like our own system. However, this is false. He's using fallacious logic to assume that just because someone votes for Candidate A, they only approval of that candidate. Therefore, the best system to vote is approval voting.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2
ParaCox

Pro

All right, I"ll use this round to clarify my statements made during round 2 and refute a few of my opponents claims.

My opponent said "He says a sample size of 10 is flawed. Ok, but multiply that by 31 million to get a situation in which chaos could happen." I guess I need to go into more detail on why that is flawed and why 310,000,000 is such a vastly different number from 10 as far as probability goes.

Once more, in round one my opponent said "Under his system, third party candidates do NOT win if the vote is split 50-50." and then presented a situation in which there was an exact tie of 5 to 5. This is not terribly unlikely if there is a fifty percent chance of someone voting democrat or republican. This is nearly impossible with an electorate of 207,643,594 eligible voters [1]. The probability of EXACTLY 103,821,797 voting democratic and exactly 103,821,797 voting republican is miniscule. This is simple statistics, it is far more likely for a small sample size to be split 50-50 than a large one. THIS is why a sample size of 10 is flawed and why you can"t multiply it by 31 million and still have the same situation.

My opponent goes on to question why the current voting record does not match the scenario I provided in round 2. "He says that a lot of America is independents. However, if they did outnumber the major parties mike this, why didn't the election reflect this? Obama carried 51% and Romney carried 47.3%, instead of their respective 24% and 17%, as he says."

The reason the election didn"t reflect this is simple. There were only two major candidates running, and since the election was close and we have the voting system we do (as opposed to preferential voting) no one wasted their votes on a third party candidate. This situation is EXACTLY why I proposed preferential voting to begin with. Secondly, I did not say they got 24% and 17% of the vote, that was their core supporters, to quote my own argument in round 2: "In that scenario A got 38% of the first place votes, B got 31%, C 31%". Once more the reason the recent election had 51% to 47.3% is because there were only two major candidate. In 1992 there were 3 major candidates : Bill Clinton received 43% George H.W. Bush received 37.5%, and Ross Perot received 18.9% [1], numbers similar to my scenario. In the 1912 election Woodrow Wilson, William Howard Taft, and Theodore Roosevelt all ran against each other. Wilson got 41.8% Roosevelt got 27.4% and Taft got 23.2%, this is also comparable to my scenario [2].

My opponent goes on to say that moderates aren"t really moderate because they have a political party. "Fine, but the fact is that moderates may actually represent one party or another, even if they call themselves independents. They do this because they know that if they don't have a party's political backing, they have no shot at winning." This is technically true, but irrelevant. Ron Paul has a libertarian philosophy, but is a member of the republican party. Does his party membership affect his actions? Of course not, his voting record is that of a libertarian [3]. Also, with preferential voting parties without such as the Reform or Libertarian or Justice parties would gain power and candidates would be able to join the party of their ideology, making my opponents argument irrelevant.

My opponent claims that under moderate presidents nothing gets done, "He doesn't respond to the fact that with a truly moderate president, nothing gets down." This is completely untrue, moderate presidents don"t sit in the oval office twiddling their thumbs. Dwight D. Eisenhower ended the Korean War, Build the Interstate Highways, desegregated the Armed Forces, started the "atoms for peace" program, helping 3rd world nations with nuclear energy, founded NASA, and presided over a fantastic economy [4][5]. Moderate candidate Ross Perot was firmly against NAFTA, wanted to balance the budget, increase taxes on the wealthy, attack AIDS "at every level", ban the electoral college, and reduce the growth rate of the federal government [6]. That"s hardly nothing.

My opponent also says that when there is a moderate president "Not only will the Democrats and the Republicans be fighting over Congress, but now they would also be fighting over the Oval Office." This statement is a little bit bizarre, Democrats and Republicans have been fighting over the Oval Office as long as they have existed. Thats why the have presidential candidates. Romney and Obama were fighting over the Oval Office, after all.

My opponent says "The problem is not the election system, but rather the bipartisan system." I couldn"t agree more, preferential voting would give third party candidates a real shot at the presidency, dissolving the two party system.

My opponent finishes by saying, "He says that approval voting will just be like our own system. However, this is false. He's using fallacious logic to assume that just because someone votes for Candidate A, they only approval of that candidate. Therefore, the best system to vote is approval voting."

This is not fallacious logic:

most people like one candidate more than the rest (have a favorite).
with approval voting, approving someone who is not your favorite decreases your favorites chances of winning.
you want your favorite to win.
Therefore, you should only vote for favorite.

My opponent claimed that because I used fallacious logic the best system to vote for is approval voting, however I did not use fallacious logic. Therefore, by his own logical causality (which I have highlighted in bold) the best system is NOT approval voting.

I would like to thank htennis for this debate.

VOTE PRO!

Sources
1 http://en.wikipedia.org...
2 http://en.wikipedia.org...
3 http://www.ontheissues.org...
4 http://www.whitehouse.gov...
5 http://www.dwightdeisenhower.com...
6 http://www.ontheissues.org...
htennis

Con

Automatically you have to deter to CON simply because the system has been working so long and well. He has yet to prove why a third-party candidate in office would actually be good. Therefore, we have to assume that third-party candidates are not good for office and you should prefer a Democrat or a Republican. Because of this, vote CON.

He defends his voting system well, but the reason why he wants to implement this system (to get a third-party candidate in office) is flawed.

Thank you.
Debate Round No. 3
10 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
If you look under the voting questions, "Who made more convincing arguments" is worth 3 points, more than any other category. Meeting BoP is what would determine how those points are assigned.
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
Shared BoP is essentially who had the more convincing argument, who "won". If one side has BoP, they MUST be convincing. If they are not convincing, the other side automatically wins.

That's why I voted the way I did, I could not see either of you meeting BoP adequately, so I voted it a tie. However, your arguments were well structured and well sourced, so you earned points there.
Posted by ParaCox 4 years ago
ParaCox
Thats my bad for not properly explaining, so BoP is essentially the tiebreaker?
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
From my limited time on this website, usually burden of proof is assigned to the "instigator" in that if they fail to argue the point to satisfaction, the "contender" wins by default. For me, if it's not specifically assigned, I assume it's shared. That way, I simply have to be convinced, else I vote a tie, which is what I did here.

I understood how your preferential voting worked, although I didn't know that someone's entire order of preference had to be stated, I thought order past #1 would be optional. What I saw in your rebuttal against approval voting was that no one would bother to list anything other than their #1 preference in either scenario for fear of someone else winning. No one would list a #2 preference hoping that that #2 guy would win over their #1 guy. So, I remain unconvinced that either system would work and voted accordingly.
Posted by ParaCox 4 years ago
ParaCox
wichcirw, about the preferential voting, the idea was you could list them in whatever order you wanted but all the people would be on your list, i.e. you cant just put obama, you would have to order all the candidates in order of preference, and the points would be given as a result of that order. I guess I didn't explain that very well. Also, what is BoP? burden of proof? how does that work?
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
"Agree we need more political parties"

Strike this part of my comment. What I think we need is a redefining of the Republican Party into a viable alternative to the Democrats. I think Obama won because in many respects he was a better Republican than the Republican Party.
Posted by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
1) Well argued by PRO. Logic was concise, statistics were convincing. I only wish his argument was equally as convincing.
2) CON had a decent round #1, but simply could not keep pace with PRO.
3) PRO sourced, CON didn't.
4) I didn't see BoP assigned. I thought PRO was more convincing, but I did not think he met BoP for his stance. Therefore, to me it was a tie.

What failed to convince me of PRO's argument was the demonstration where he argued against approval voting. At first I thought he was arguing against his own case, and that is when I realized that even in a preferential voting system, people will not want anyone EXCEPT for their #1 choice to be President...the second preference wouldn't be assigned anyway. At least, that is how I interpreted the argument.

Agree we need more political parties, but that would probably make getting a significant plurality impossible at the national level and would probably create even more gridlock than we have now. I really don't see any other viable alternative than what we have today.

Anyway, well argued, PRO.
Posted by ParaCox 4 years ago
ParaCox
oops, my bolding didn't transfer from pages. its "He's using fallacious logic to assume that just because someone votes for Candidate A, they only approval of that candidate. Therefore, the best system to vote is approval voting."
Posted by htennis 4 years ago
htennis
My bad. Forgot sources in Round 2.
(1): http://en.wikipedia.org...
(2): http://en.wikipedia.org...
Posted by MacGruber 4 years ago
MacGruber
I agree with both arguments, but I will need to see htennis cite sources before I consider voting either way. PARACOX!
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by iamnotwhoiam 4 years ago
iamnotwhoiam
ParaCoxhtennisTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro made the case that moderates get things done. Con did not give any other reasons for opposing moderates. Pro made the case that moderates would get in and argued that would be better than the new President undoing the policies of the outgoing. Con didn't adequately refute this point.
Vote Placed by Magicr 4 years ago
Magicr
ParaCoxhtennisTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: A clear victory for Pro here as he addressed all of Con's args. Con basically conceded most points in R3 including dropping his claims about approval voting, but also presented a new argument for which he brought no evidence as well as claiming Pro never justified a need for preferential voting even though Pro did present a need in R1 that was never properly refuted. Conduct to Pro due to Con's last round new args.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 4 years ago
wrichcirw
ParaCoxhtennisTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:--Vote Checkmark3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: see comments