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If it's Strategic Election Reform then the answer is everybody who doesn't unduly benefit from our current Winner-Take-All electoral system.  Unfortunately, those who do benefit unduly are a lot better organized than the rest of us.  And so it's incumbent on advocates for Strategic Election Reform to figure out who specifically would benefit moreso and be persuadable to sponsor a grass/net-roots movement for the use of 3-seated Hare-LR elections in state assembly elections.  

Here are some speculations and thoughts on this important issue:

  1. The lesser of the two major parties in a given state.  Our state politics tend to be dominated by one of the two major parties.  This is due to our use of only single-seated elections.  If we used three-seated LR Hare elections for state assemblies then third party assembly-persons would determine which of the two major parties is in power there.  The parity in ability to be in power in the state assembly will spill over to greater parity in other elections, due to the need for major intere$t$ to hedge more between the two major parties.  Thus, in California, their Republican party would benefit and in Texas, their Democratic party would benefit.
  1. Third parties.  Let's face it, the reason we have only two major parties is because we only use single-seated winner-take-all elections.  This doesn't change too much if you give voters more options in a single-seated election, like with FairVote's Instant Runoff Voting(IRV).  But if you had a 3-seated Hare LR then a third party could win the third seat with only as much as ten percent of the vote.  Now, you may say it's unfair to give a party that only received one-tenth of the votes one-third of the seats.  But this bias towards smaller parties is obviously offset by the overwhelming bias towards bigger parties in all of the winner-take-all single-seated elections used for pretty much almost all of the other elections.  
  1. Democratic Party activists.  When third parties are able to win some seats and potentially more influence through their grass-roots/net-root activism it will force the Democratic party to listen to their own activists and support more of their grass/net roots activism.  They'll need to do this to keep folks from abandoning ship.  And if the Local Third parties enabled by SER are more successful in increasing voter-turnout in elections then the political center will move to the left economically, helping progressive activists.
  1. Female Politicians.  3-seated Hare LR is a simple form of what's called a closed-list proportional representation election rule.  It is well known in comparative studies that the use of closed-list proportional representation increases dramatically the number of elected female politicians.  It's also known that female politicians tend to have different policy priorities than male politicians.  Thus, for us to use 3-seated Hare LR would help to ensure more balance among our political leaders.
  1. Disadvantaged Minority groups.  Historically, it's been the minority groups that have been able to play off the two major parties that have done the best.  The lower hurdles to winning the third seat in a 3-seated Hare LR election would increase the odds of a minority group being the decisive swing-voters.  In single-seated elections, too many groups don't have a realistic exit threat from the Democratic party and too easily their needs may not get the priority they deserve as the party focuses its election campaigns on "swing-voters".  
  1. Those effectively in power.  The twin evils of apathy and extremism are growing in the US and elsewhere.  More competitive elections and local third parties that appeal to voters neglected by the two major parties will subvert both of these evils.  And, the fact that Strategic Election Reform is only advocating for the use of 3-seated elections in state representative elections would stymie the emergence of more radical electoral reforms and more radical alternatives to our two major parties.  Even if the wealthy and powerful would lose more often due to Strategic Election Reform, their losses will not be dramatic.  So from an investment perspective, their lower-return to their $peech would be offset by a reduction in the variance of the return. And, we all care about both opportunity and security of what we have, the wealthy or powerful are not different in that sense.  

As such, the advocacy for 3-seated elections deserves more of the funds and time being channelled right now into valiant but unproductive efforts to get Campaign Finance Reform right or even the use of Instant Runoff Voting, which only provides at best half a loaf of what the use of 3-seated elections would provide, particularly if more third party supporters put more of their time and energy into local winnable campaigns and voted strategically together in less local elections.  

I'm sorry if that's not an easy read for folks.  Please, ask clarifying questions below!

dlw

Originally posted to SElectionR on Mon Dec 13, 2010 at 11:48 AM PST.

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