micky107 wrote: ↑
Sun Aug 19, 2018 2:55 pm
Has to be the riding system in the US and Canada.
Solely popular vote may work for small, less diversified countries but not here.
Just because a region may not have a vast population doesn't mean it shouldn't have an equal say.
In fact, here in Canada, I would like to move further away from popular vote.
That means moving towards equalizing the ridings around the country.
Explain why that would be wrong.
There are pros and cons with both systems.
The good things about ridings with a first past the post or winner takes all system is that you have an obvious connection between a candidate and a region, each riding has its representative that is supposed to work for the best interest of that particular riding. This is also a more traditional system, where you gathered representatives from far apart places to a joint meeting in a time when there was no telecommunication available. It harks back to medieval times.
The bad things about ridings are basically these two:
1) fair representation: If you have a two party system with twenty ridings where one party wins with 51% of the vote and ten ridings where the other party gets 100% of the vote, assuming the ridings are of the same size, the party that won narrowly in twenty ridings will have a two thirds majority in parliament with just 34% of the total vote. Or say it's a first past the post system with three parties, and one of the parties gets 34% in every riding while the other two get 33% each. That means that despite all three parties having roughly the same amount of voters, one will win 100% of the seats. There will be two parties, each having nearly a third of the population behind it, but not a single seat in parliament
2) gerrymandering: because of the first problem, people have realized that in a system like this, the person who draws the lines on the map to determine the ridings controls who will win. Thus whoever is in power will attempt to redraw districts to win with as little a margin as possible in as many districts as possible, while attempting to lump as many as possible of those who vote for the opposition within as few districts as possible.
If districts/ridings were fixed over time, this would be less of a problem. But because those in power can redraw the lines, you run the risk of creating a situation where a minority wins every single time.
Proportional voting basically has opposite pros and cons.
Good things are that all voters receive a voice in parliament and that each vote carries the same weight as all other votes. A party that has 15% of the voters get 15% of the seats in parliament. This is fair representation. Also, gerrymandering is rendered useless. Since the seats are distributed based on the percentage of the total votes, it doesn't matter if you live in a district/riding with people who think like you or not. Your vote will count.
The bad thing about proportional voting is basically twofold as well:
1) not as clear ties between candidates and ridings: in order to get seats in parliament that corresponds to the share of votes each party recieves, you need bigger ridings, that elect multiple representatives, and you usually need to add a number of seats that are outside of the riding system, to adjust for discrepancies between the outcome in votes/seats. Thsi means that the connection between voter, riding and candidate gets less clear.
2) weaker governments: since it is harder to get a clear majority in a proportional system, a government must usually be formed by two or more parties forming a coalition. This means compromises must be made, and often parties cannot deliver on all their campaign promises, or if the tensions get to strong, the government will split because of differences that cannot be settled, and a new election must be held.
That being said, many countries in Northern Europe, like Germany and the Scandinavian countries have proportional systems and do rather well in most comparissons, whether regarding GDP per capita, employment, innovation, minorities rights, general happiness or what will you.
Another difference between the two systems is that in the first past the post/winner take all system you tend to get more drastic changes when there is a change of guards. In countries that use the proportional system change is often slower, as you need to get there through building consensus and compromising. Which of those scenarios that is better depends on the eye of the beholder. Change may be good, but so may stability.