Noncompliance of the Condorcet Criterion: Does Plurality Voting Justify a Contested Convention?

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In the current election, spectators have often wondered why someone like Trump, who has a 64% negative rating by likely voters according to the latest WSJ/NBC poll, has been dominating the primary season so far. For political scientists the answer is simple: plurality voting is not Condorcet compliant. In political science, a Condorcet method, is one in which a candidate that wins in a 1v1 matchup with each of the other candidates wins overall. If such a candidate exists, that person is called the Condorcet winner. Furthermore, a Condorcet loser is a candidate who loses to each opposing candidate in a 1v1 matchup, and the Condorcet criterion says that if such a candidate exists, he cannot win. If these criterion are satisfied, then the voting system is what is known as Condorcet consistent. Trump is a Condorcet loser because he loses to every other candidate in a head-to-head matchup. The question thus arises, do the flaws of plurality voting justify losing candidates remaining in the race past their point of feasible victory, in pursuit of a contested convention? First, I digress.

 

Condorcet winners and losers are very simple concepts in their most basic sense but are really difficult to apply to the United States system. The Condorcet criterion is an extension on majority rule and is compliant in majoritarian voting systems. In terms of this election the Condorcet loser violates the majority loser criterion because a majority of voters prefers every candidate one-on-one to Trump but Trump still wins. This is a great example of noncompliance of plurality voting to the Condorcet method. Here it doesn’t work because of the plurality. Trump can beat the lot when the entire field of candidates exists (by a margin of about 14 points).

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John Kasich is Bothering Me

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As of Sunday March 13, 2016, There are 1,368 delegates left to be won in the Republican presidential primaries. It takes 1,237 delegates to lock up the party’s nomination. Ohio Governor John Kasich has currently won 63 delegates, leaving him needing 1,174 more delegates to win the nomination. Now, 17 of the 30 states/territories remaining in the primary election season have winner-take-all delegate election systems, meaning candidates who win those states take all of the delegates from that state. Those 17 winner-take-all states comprise 901 of the delegates remaining. So basically, in order for John Kasich to win the nomination pre-Convention, he would need to win every single winner-take-all state and then on top of that dominate in the states with proportional delegate election systems. In other words, there’s a 0% chance John Kasich wins the nomination before the National Convention. Actually, given just how low Kasich is in the polls, it can be stated with 100% surety that Kasich will not even be able to take the lead either. Marco Rubio is on the verge of being in both of these categories too.

 

Yet, Kasich claimed as late as February 28th that if he wins Ohio he’s “off to the races.” Then last Friday, March 11th at an MSNBC town hall, he claimed that he can “absolutely win enough and go into the convention with the greatest number of delegates,” and reaffirmed, “That absolutely can happen.” Um, no Governor Kasich, no it can’t and you are not serving the American people well by telling them it can.

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Statistical Outlook: Can the GOP Candidates Really Beat Hillary?

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(In the graph above, anything below zero means Hillary loses)

All the GOP candidates say that they beat Hillary in the polls. This is true and untrue. It’s true because each has at least one major poll that has them beating Hillary in the general election, it’s untrue because they disregard average margin of error, which is based on sample size. The only one who REALLY has a legitimate claim is Marco Rubio, who even only slightly exceeds the average margin of error. My point is this: it’s a virtual tie across the board  right now between any GOP candidate and Hillary. As a note, there is almost no polling data on a Kasich v. Clinton general election, so he’s discluded from this. Let’s run it down:

 

Trump vs. Hillary:

 

Trump beats Hillary in one of the last six major polls. In all, the average of the polls gives Hillary a +6.3 lead. The average margin of error is 3.13, For a percentage interval of +3.17 – +9.43 for Hillary. Trump fares worse than the other GOP candidates, and yet in terms of electoral history, this too is a virtual tie.

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Super Tuesday Breakdown: Trump and Clinton Dominate

Here’s the likely winners for Super Tuesday states with avg. of polls lead in parenthesis:

GOP primaries:

Alabama: Trump (+17)

Georgia: Trump (+14)

Tennessee: Trump (+18)

Oklahoma: Trump (+11)

Massachusetts: Trump (+27)

Vermont: Trump (+15)

Virginia: Trump (+15)

Alaska: Trump or Cruz (Trump + 4 but only from one poll)

Arkansas: Trump or Cruz (Cruz +4)

Minnesota: Rubio (+2 but only from one poll)

Colorado: Trump or Rubio (Carson led in last major poll from Nov)

Wyoming: Any

Texas: Cruz or Trump (Cruz +9)

 

Democratic primaries:

Alabama: Clinton (+48)

Georgia: Clinton (+37)

Tennessee: Clinton (+26)

Oklahoma: Clinton or Sanders (Clinton +2)

Massachusetts: Clinton or Sanders (Clinton +7)

Vermont: Sanders (+74)

Virginia: Clinton (+22)

Arkansas: Clinton (+29)

Minnesota: Clinton (+34)

Colorado: Clinton (+28 but last major poll from Nov)

Texas: Clinton (+30)

 

Liberal Leaders Meet in D.C. to Discuss Rising Violent Crime in Their Cities

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So there was a meeting in D.C. about two weeks ago to discuss the stark rise in violent crime over the past year, especially in cities with liberal policies and mayors. The conclusion: police are “cowering” because of the war against them. And it’s true. Why would NYPD officers put themselves at risk for a leader like de Blasio who doesn’t stick up for them and has even attacked them? In general liberal leaders across the country have destroyed police morale and are contributing to the crumbling of American society. They need to be removed from office, because we are all in danger under their failed leadership. Police killings are fairly rare. Murder in general is not though; Nor is rape, or violent assault. These crimes are all skyrocketing under liberal leadership. But no one cares about the victims of these crimes. All anyone cares about is the rare unjustified police shooting. And so the mob has been riled up against the police under false pretenses. We get the society we deserve.

An Open Letter to Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois

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Dear Sen. Mark Kirk,

You have violated the American public by voting against de-funding Planned Parenthood. The issue is not about abortion, it’s about basic human values. Taxpayer funds are going to an organization that might possibly be in violation of federal law and who are clearly callous and despicable when it comes to the treatment of human life. It is horrifying that Americans are being forced to give their hard-earned money to them. You knew very well that there was a provision in the bill that rerouted the funding Planned Parenthood is receiving to other community health centers and you are being purposely dishonest with the American people when you claim that de-funding Planned Parenthood would “cut access to basic healthcare and contraception for women.” The staff at Planned Parenthood themselves often refer women to other doctors where they can get actual care. Again, you KNEW this when you voted but you still chose to let down the American people for the sake of your own reelection interests. This country has a rising “progressive far left” constituency, a President in power who is destroying American exceptionalism and the free market, and an educational system that trains students to hate this country. Those of us who still believe in American values (many of whom elected you into office) can use every helping hand we can get. You Senator, failed us. What was seen on those videos shocked humans across the country and world, pro-life and pro-choice alike. What those Planned Parenthood doctors said is a direct product of the loss of American principles and of the disintegration of the value of human life. I know that your vote might not have turned the tide but it would have shown that you stand for justice and for restoring this country to the land of compassion and prosperity that it was created to be. The men who founded this country dreamed of a land where people would rise up to lead this country out of their own benevolence. I believe they would be shocked and appalled to see what has manifested in Washington, D.C. today and they certainly would not respect a man who violates American integrity and humanity for the sake of his own benefit. I am only one disappointed American, but I can promise you there are many more, and if there is any justice left in this country, you will be voted out of office come your next election.

Sincerely,

Ben Ryan

Columbia University

Founder, GriffwoodPost.com

Please, For the Sake of Human Values, Let Us Not Turn From This

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America is facing a horrific scandal. No, this is not about Cecil the Lion (though certainly a troublesome story in its own right), instead this is about something a whole lot darker and more depraved. This is not the story of one man’s psychotic lust for animal heads on his wall, but of an entire system of ethics and morals gone awry. Yes, it’s time for Griffwood to cover the Planned Parenthood scandal, because hardly anyone else will give it a thorough examination.

As you may or may not know the Center For Medical Progress, an anti-abortion organization, recently conducted a sting in which it sent actors to pose as buyers of fetal tissue interested in obtaining specimens from Planned Parenthood (an organization that receives hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars every year). The “buyers” met with Planned Parenthood higher-ups and engaged them in discussions about the costs and techniques involved in the transfer of the fetal parts. All of it was secretly recorded on video and what transpired in the conversations shocked people across the country on both sides of the political aisle.

In this video we see Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Senior Director of Medical Services, Dr. Deborah Nucatola happily nosh away at her food and sip wine as she casually describes the techniques Planned Parenthood Doctors use during abortions to avoid “crushing” fetuses, in order to remove the parts more intact: “We’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact.” We also see her explain how the Federal Law banning partial-birth abortions is up for “interpretation” and seems to imply that some fetuses could be coming out alive.

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Police Killings Confrontation at Columbia University

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So some group was protesting on campus today. They were screaming about how the police are the modern day KKK and how officers are murdering black people off. I confronted them about their incendiary rhetoric and they predictably did not respond very well. The main guy who was yelling the worst things wouldn’t even face me, as he saw I was bringing in facts. The whole confrontation was much longer than the video, but their argument can be summed up by a few of their quotes to me:

“You seem to be wrapped up in facts.”
“I don’t want to listen to you.”
“Maybe the way you learn is fact-based, but that’s not the way I learn.”
“You’re white.”
“You’re speaking from privilege.”