Thursday, July 19, 2007

Incomplete thoughts

I hope to enter the phrase "Sometimes you just got to let the monkey drink" into general usage. I think it's a good way to sum up the idea that there are times when you can't control the chaos around you and you should just let it go. Primarily designed for use while gambling.

The other thought I had this morning was that I wish we could put instant runoff voting (IRV) in place in the US. Basically it lets you vote for people in the order you would like them to be president (e.g. 1. Slappy, 2. Obama, 3. Perot). Then when your first choice gets slaughtered in the election, your vote gets transferred to the #2 choice. It all repeats until someone has a clear majority. That way you can vote for a third party and not jack over the election/throw your vote away.

The problem is that I'm guessing people would find it confusing and scary. But what's interesting to me is that I don't think you could get acceptance for it by having it in place in certain cities for local elections (which they are doing in places like Berkeley, where people would keel over in their Priuses if there was some progressive cause they weren't championing). No, the only way Americans will accept IRV is by using it in some kind of reality show, or game show, or reality game show, or game reality show, or possibly a dramedy (the 4077 votes that Hawkeye needs to shut the hell up now and then on MASH). I don't know what to think of the fact that Real World/Road Rules Challenge could be our best shot at voting reform.

14 comments:

Paul Fidalgo said...

I happened to come upon this post, and I think you have an interesting insight. One wonders how IRV could get itself insinuated into pop culture to make it more digestible. Any ideas?

B.E. Earl said...

I see a "Survivor: IRV" edition coming soon!

Carl Spackler said...

i think the American Idol concept is best. have all the candidates debate at various locations throughout the country and then every month one gets eliminated.

i think the voter turnout would be massive if it were done this way.

slappy said...

I wonder if James Carville would be available as one of the judges?

Bob Richard said...

Slappy: I'm guessing people would find it [IRV] confusing and scary.

This turns out not to be the case. Check out the exit polls done in San Francisco and Burlington. Given a small investment in voter education (done pretty well in both places), folks understand it, use it effectively, and like it.

Ɯbermilf said...

Can we vote for fictional characters?

slappy said...

Bob: I know it works locally, and especially younger voters who want more viable third party options (Booty would kill for a Libertarian choice) would love it. I think on a national scale, or even a state-wide scale, there would be more inertia and resistance. Remember the intelligence of a group is inversely proportional to the number of people in it.

Ubie: Why not? I'm a fictional character.

jamwall said...

Or the order could be like this:

1. Cowbell Gene
2. cowbell
3. Gene
4. Taco salad

slappy said...

Taco salad dropped out of the race to spend more time with his family. Also, he was caught with a dead hooker.

Lee Ann said...

"...the only way Americans will accept IRV is by using it in some kind of reality show, or game show, or reality game show, or game reality show, or possibly a dramedy", Isn't that sad Slappy?

TastyMcJ said...

It sounds like a plan.

I say we pitch some show to Spike or Fox where you set up a rotating, ring-like, multiple celebrity dunking booth.... You round up a bunch of 2nd rate reality-TV-bound-anyway actors, actresses, former icons, etc. and have them line up on a platform with trap doors.

Then, underneath that, you have another rotating ring of various tanks of liquids, sludge, etc. that the celebrities can fall into.

And maybe multiple stages of stuff, so you can tar and then feather, etc.

Then, there’s a fairly sizeable base of say, 100 or so contestants (and hell, why not make it interactive over the internet, start getting the whole country involved in the process) that have some sort of voting devices (this is where IRV comes in), and they all vote on what celebrity, what goo, what additional accoutrements, etc.

Then You get some fancy LCD screen with a graphical representation of each level of the IRV as it's calculated and processed, and then whoever 'wins' the vote gets dropped through whatever stuff.

This could be expanded upon, too... maybe split everyone up into 8 teams or somesuch, with certain team goals (and individual contestant goals, play-at-home goals, etc to promote backstabbing an entertainment value) like, “you want Gary Busey to be covered in pickled eggs and pork rinds, and then you win $50 and get to kick Gary Busey in the nuts"... and then there's a segment of the show where the teams can try to persuade one other (or within the team, since all votes will be counted individually, i.e.) to vote however you want; the internet can have a live chat thing, whatever... and then the internet and in-studio voting are combined...

This could then lead to complicated strategies, where you realize you can barter off your first vote if there’s a strong chance that the majority of the players aren’t going to vote for a particular guy anyway, and your second vote is the one that’s going to count, etc, etc....

There could be bounties or somesuch placed on certain celebrities each round that might penalize certain players or teams to shift the vote in certain directions....

And then at the end, there’s one winner or something that gets to take home a Cuisinart and the winning team gets crappy T-shirts and gift certificates to the Sizzler.

I’d watch it.

And I bet America would, too.

miss kendra said...

i had thoughts, but then tasty said we were going to sizzler.

i will have the surf and turf plz.

slappy said...

Lee Ann: It makes me cry a little.

Tasty: Good work. I'll arrange a pitch meeting with UPN.

Kendra: Only the best. It'll be Sizzler and Red Lobster forever, baby!

Nick said...

I'm going to The Lobster tonight! I'm so excited.