Proportional representation is awful

Imagine 10% of your populace are Nazis. Most people would say 0% of Congress should be Nazis but you’re not most people you’re into Proportional representation so you think 10% of Congress should be Nazis. Now when we go to pass a spending bill to fund workers during a shutdown in order to get that 10% of the vote we need to make concessions to the Nazi party. Why? Because we want to be proportional.

It’s an idiotic system way worse than our current system.

Thats not the only issue or even the worst. There is a good and neutral coverage here.

What’s the worst issue with PR? Making it easier to elect Nazis seems like a pretty glaring flaw.

Nazis, Communist, Religious extremist can get seats in some systems, yes. But they must exist in the population to begin with. Giving crazies a voice would likely make them less likely to turn to violence. They will likely cause issues in a parliament. So yea it is bad but not the end of the world. I tend to want to give people with bad ideas the ability to speak them so that they can be corrected.

The bigger issues is with the increase to partisanship in partisan PR systems. Details here. The summary is that increased partisanship will marginalize the centerists who are actually the majority.

I would however argue that there are some non-partisan systems which could be called PR which are a net win.


We have a first amendment everyone already has a voice I’m talking about giving Nazis the power to pass laws. That’s not voice. No one is stopping Nazis from spouting their Nazi garbage they just need to get a majority to pass laws.

Let’s remove “Nazis” here and just say “Bad people”
If you’re a “bad person” and you are categorically denied representation, what means do you have? Your senators are legally bound to ignore your opinion on all subjects, not just the ones that are morally despicable. Violence is your only option. Inherently it’s undemocratic. Democracy is supposed to be ugly.

I’d recommend reading: Three Worlds Collide which discusses what humanity does when it finds itself face to face with a civilization that it cannot morally justify to allow to remain existing.

Another way of putting it is, at least you know exactly where the bad people are, instead of the system we have now (partisanship warning) where we have “bad people” who pretend to be “good people.”


Persuade people? If nazism is all that great there’s no reason a majority of people won’t embrace it. What if you can’t persuade people? then give up and realize your crappy ideology is crappy.

This is just a failure of imagination (which is I guess one of the many flaws of nazis) There are other options besides violence. Particularly when you consider how stunningly ineffective violence is. proportional voting gave nazis seats before the violence ever broke out. first past the point has denied nazis representation for forever and magically there’s not much violence. I actually just reject the premise

we know where the bad people are they spout off about how terrible they are online all the time. We don’t need to put people into public office to track them we can just follow them and see how awful they are.

at some point when you argue in favor of nazis getting elected so vehemently it’s difficult for me to assume that you are ignorant of history and I honestly just suspect you’re sympathetic to the nazi cause which I don’t get why anyone would ever be.

Proportional representation brings out the worse in people, Approval Voting brings out the best of people. If you want to get elected be a peacemaker (you know the people Jesus said were blessed) and find consensus and common ground. Proportional voting is by far the worst form of democracy.

So, you’re just short of calling me a Nazi, which I suggest you avoid.
Let’s have strong opinions, weakly held so we can all learn.

I question your definition of Democracy. Would you write it out in full for us, so we can understand?

Even in Approval Voting you can elect a bad person, if the population were Nazis. And let’s say it were 49% bad people then any winner would have to cater to those bad people’s whims in one form or another. Voting methods aren’t partisan, nor should they be. There shouldn’t be a poll test “Are you a support of -bad ideas-” primarily because the moment that becomes a tool, the bad people will use it to prevent good ideas.

In designing systems we need to think about how we can defend against bad ideas no matter what they’re named. Historically, bad people haven’t been pretending to be good people – they’re out their with their bad ideas and other bad people agree with them. The fault of the system is that in plurality voting ideological zealotry is rewarded. PR eliminates that flaw. It shows you exactly how many bad people there are, and then the good people can work to improve the situation with education, support, and leadership.

Consider the US Congress. How many of them do you think are bad people right now? Now ask yourself how many bad people are in the population in general? Are those numbers the same? (I suppose if you’re a pessimist, you could think that there are more bad people than good, which is definitely a problem). PR, in my mind, would reduce the number of bad people in power. That’s a great thing.


I’m not saying you’re a nazi, I’m saying you are too sympathetic to the Nazi cause.

I support Approval Voting because I want to make it impossible for Nazis to get into office. If you support Proportional representation, which makes it easier for Nazis to get elected, you should have the decency to explain why. I never hear PR lovers explain “I want to make it easier to elect nazis because…” I dont hear that and I want to know why. Why not defend your views?

Democracy is popular sovereignty. The governing force of our republic is a constitution written by us and maintained by us. If you want to think of Democracy as mob rule or majoritarianism where any infringement on the majorities right to oppress and enslave the minority that can be your definition of democracy but it isn’t mine.

There is no magical safe harbor that will make a society immune to poor leadership, however there are systems that poor leadership is easier to get. Monarchy is bad for this reason because its really easy to get an evil king. Proportional voting is bad because it makes it easy to elect nazis. Approval voting is the best because it makes it hardest for people to elect nazis.

The only good ideas are in the center thats how schelling points work. Good ideas are popular because lots of people hold them for a long time. Nazis don’t have good ideas which is why they are so few people in our democracy. Idiotic views like Socialism and Libertarianism are not popular because they are trash heap dumpster fires of thought.

Partisan Zeal is only a problem because we use Partisan Primaries to brew and distill it. The only thing partisan primaries do is create echo chambers that galvinize options to only the most hardened partisans. Approval Voting doesn’t need Primaries so we could have a single general election without partisan primaries. But CES is more into naval gazing about 12 part score systems with multi winners on a rotating basis with alternating criteria depending on the Chinese zodiac. I mean you’re so detached from reality you assume that voters are little rational computers who trust elections no matter what but that’s not reality.

Everyone in congress went through a partisan primary which is why they are all partisan hacks. Nearly every problem can be traced to partisan primaries.

Gerrymandering = only works because of partisan primaries. When 50% of the vote gives you a purified 100% partisan why pay more for your hack?

Incumbent Advantage = When you have a partisan primary why give up your incumbent advantage by primaring your corrupt incumbent? Better to play it safe and not primary him. With approval voting Incumbents face compeition from within and without their party in a general election.

Negative Attack Ads = When you use partisan primaries to reduce choice to a binary a vote against someone and a vote for someone are the exact same thing. So why not run attack ads since every vote you scare off will come your way in a binary election that resulted from what? you guessed it, PARTISAN PRIMARIES.

Like you people have so many degrees and so many papers from a paper mill how do you not grasp the nature of the problem? “If only we had a more complex voting system that satisfied this random criteria by maximizing blah blah blah blah” it’s nonsensical. Read the Declaration of independence. Government get’s its legitimacy from the Consent (AKA Agreement, AKA approval) of the governed.

Wow. Calling me a nazi sympathizer? You’re really missing the mark here. “I don’t want people to suffer.” -> “Some Nazis suffer” -> “I don’t want nazis to suffer” This train of logic is erroneous.

My argument is that having bad people have some representation is less dangerous than bad people having no representation.
Just because a bad person has an office, doesn’t mean they wield power. We should deny power from bad people, not representation.

I take offense at that. You don’t know the hard work the organization is doing building coalitions and winning races. CES is done being an academic organization and is now an advocacy organization. Look at the positive work done in Fargo and St. Louis. Not only that, but we’re also the only voting reform organization that’s focused on simplicity. That’s why we primarily endorse Approval Voting. But we also have to work with where people are right now.

Boards, City Councils, and Congress are very real organizations and they need to have a way to elect their board that’s better than Plurality At Large. PAV is a great solution for that. Multi Winner Approval Voting would tend to elect a lot of ‘look-alike’ candidates which would deprive minorities of their representation and would be a violation of various kinds of voting rights acts. Look at the suits that are currently in place in California for the California Voting Rights Act where Plurality At Large is being replaced with Districts, slicing and dicing cities.

Your argument is more akin to saying “We shouldn’t have multi-member organizations, only mayors/governors/presidents.”


I agree with pretty much all you are saying here but not so much with the tone. Single member approval is a very good system. Likely better than most PR system if other issues about partisanship are handled too.

I have talked to enough PR people to understand this. They are not Nazis but are often some other type of socialists. The fringes on the right tend to be too individualist for the underlying collectivism of PR to have appeal. Anyway, Their logic is that they want their group to get seats and are willing to risk that Nazis will too. In parliamentary systems the number of seats determines who selects the Prime Minister so the party who gets more popular vote than seats tends to advocate for PR. Again they are just willing to risk Nazis. They do not want them.

I pointed out before that non-partisan multi-member district systems will not elect Nazis and are PR by many definitions. A riding would have to be 20% Nazis if there are 5 members. This 20% is the same number of people as in a current district so it has about the same odds as the current system.

How would you decide who is allowed on the ballot?

It is not so much the CES that is advocating for complex systems but that people use this forum to do so. I am one of the people with many degrees (5 actually) who researches complex systems. As I said above I think a single member cardinal system is the way to go. I live in Canada so I tend to think about parliaments. So why would I spend my time researching systems which I would not want implemented? The answer is of course politics. Rather than rewriting it here is a link to me answering exactly that question a few weeks back

That is a fair point that there are other forms of social selection beyond political servants. For example I think approval voting would actually be bad for voting on Academy Awards since the spoiler effect is actually desirable when nominating art for awards since originality is the answer to immunizing one.

If 5 great movies come out in 1 year that are all really similar they should split the vote and the 1 really original film sneaks out the plurality.

But my criticism of CES still stands that I think they are bad at sending a clear message about reforming democracy in political elections. FairVote spreading lies about Rank voting and Proportional representation should be met with a full throated renunciation from the sane and that’s not what I see as an outsider viewing the situation.

The Weimar republic was crippled by Proportional representation it had something like 14 parties that all were fractured and impotent at building a meaningful consensus so in that vacuum rose up a small Nazi minority that grew like cancer. And the proportional rep crowd has no answer for what beyond a sheepish “nO sYsTeM iS pErFEcT” it’s not a legitimate position to hold.

When you cobble together a government from representation of the most disgusting views of society of course you’re going up have awful crap like that. Even parliamentary systems see this where you have coalitions of the worse sorts. Israel has something like 14 seats held by people actively seeking to destroy the State. Imagine if America had 14 senators saying we should abolish the union I mean it’s insanity.

Centrism is democracy. That’s who the Demos is is the center view. Yes it’s not sexy and exotic and the moderate sensible position isn’t full of crazed loons but it works. I don’t want to be led by the mad fringes


I agree with you that it tends to be fringe socialists who are big into PR since for the revolutionary left “The Worse, The Better”. That any chaos generated from an ineffective government can hopefully be steered towards a socialist utopia. That’s the same reason you see so many people so eager to keep the shut-down going on forever. The more economic damage inflicted and the more people who become reliant on handouts the easier it is for socialists and communists to replace a capitlist society of free and independent men with a vassal state of communism.

Without Partisan Primaries Ballot Access to would become a matter of some measure of support. The nice thing about approval voting is that having 100 names on the ballot is totally acceptable so long as the order of the names is in some form besides alphabetical. If you place a party letter next to the name of everyone on than a lot of people can party bloc vote mindlessly and the tie breaking will come from the more informed voters who become king makers by being more selective.

Rank voting systems you have to keep the ballot small since no one can honestly or meaningfully rank 50 people but with approval voting I can mark my 10 or so names and leave the other 90 blank. or I can mark the 50 that belong to the party I have.

We would have to kinda get a feel for what % of signature support a candidate needs to where we are keeping viable candidates from getting held out but are also holding back frivolous campaigns from clogging up the ballot. It’s the same thing we see with lawsuits in courts. Clearly we want judges to make summary decisions to throw out frivolous lawsuits, but its tough to draw the line perfectly where you don’t remove meritorious claims but you also cut the fat. It’ll take a continual examination and tweaking from Election Boards but we can do it I’m 100% confident.

Equal ranking works here.

Equal ranking reduces the number of Donkey votes and spoiled ballots but it doesn’t do anything to solve the problems every ordinal system has.

for example the more people on the ballot the more likely you are to eliminate a Condorcet candidate in the early rounds while the votes are being pulled together. When you have a system that isn’t immune to irreverent alternatives the more irrelevant alternatives you have the worse the system is going to perform.

I mean, arguably even cardinal methods aren’t immune to IIA failures in practice, so it’s probably worth it to quantify the failures.

Approval Voting is the most immune with Score voting being slightly less immune (which is why using score voting makes no sense to me, why weaken a system to get at the same result 99% of the time and the 1% where it is different is likely because people were manipulated by a fringe candidate shifting the overton window)

So that’s the answer? Signature support. How do you plan to prevent that from getting corrupted by finances. Or Socrates’ “Sweet shop Salesman”. I tend to think filtering them through something is a good plan. This is why I prefer the parliamentary system where the PM is selected from the whole of the House. This should be done through an approval vote from the parliament themselves.

The United States is better off when the executive isn’t a puppet of the legislature like in Parliamentary systems.

Some of the best years in America are when congress and the president are from seperate parties it checks people from moving too fast in any direction. Bill Clinton and Barack Obama both operated under Republican Congressional supervision and it tempered their presidencies.

Not necessarily. Sometimes one party or another passes a law that is controversial at the time (e.g. Social Security and Medicare) but later on become much more popular.