New Zealand’s Party System History

To take a diagrammatic look at New Zealand’s history of political parties is interesting not only from a historical perspective, but also in order to study the effect of electoral systems on party systems. In 1994, the country voted to change its electoral system from first-past-the-post to German-style mixed-member proportional (MMP), which is much less restrictive […]

The Condorcet-IRV Voting Method

The Condorcet-IRV voting method is a combination of instant-runoff voting (IRV) and the Condorcet winner criterion. In order to explain it, we must first understand these two things. The idea of instant-runoff voting is that in an election between three or more candidates, a mere plurality of the vote should not be enough to decide […]

Evolution of the Two-Party System

The chart below shows the history of American political parties in Congress, from the 1st (1789-91) through the 114th (2015-17). It is only part of the story of parties in the United States, as many have never won any seats at the federal level. These include the modern Libertarian and Green parties as well as the early abolitionist Liberty Party, to name just a few. […]

Skyfall and the Question of Bond’s Survival

Spoiler warning: This article is intended for people who have seen Skyfall. If you haven’t, I recommend you see it before reading further. I noticed something very strange watching Skyfall, the third James Bond film to star Daniel Craig and the first to be helmed by the acclaimed English director Sam Mendes. At the end of a gripping […]

Multimember District Representation in the US and in the States

Americans are used to electing our representatives from single-member districts. Since the 1970s, all members of the US House of Representatives have been elected this way. But in many cases prior to that, states elected some or all of their federal representatives from multimember districts, where two or more people represented the same geographical area. In […]

What Election Night Looks Like in a Multiparty System

It was interesting simply on the level of infographics to watch the BBC’s live coverage of last night’s election returns. Here are some of my impressions. For all the fanciness of the graphics you see on CNN, etc., there’s not that much to analyze when only two parties are competing. Below, we see the vote percentages […]

The Jospin Scenario: Why Top-Two and Two-Round Voting Systems are Fatally Flawed

In 2010, California adopted a “top-two” open primary system, in which the primary is nonpartisan and open to every voter. The top two vote-getters—regardless of party—advance to the general election. This was the result of voters’ approval of Proposition 14, which was designed to overcome the extreme gridlock from which the state government had suffered. […]