time to read 2 min | 325 words

So today we had elections, and by tonight you will have a lot of people doing a lot of electoral math.

I don’t like elections, because of an assumption problem. It isn’t linear. This is how we usually portray the choices in elections. You pick a candidate / party that fit where you are on this line.


In reality, this isn’t nearly as simple. Mostly because this one line assumes that there is a central idea that is important being anything else. But let us take a few examples:

  • Tax policy
  • Security policy
  • Gay marriage
  • Religion
  • Social justice
  • Climate change

Now, they don’t fit on a single line. Your position on gay marriage doesn’t impact what you want with regards to tax policy, for example. The real scenario is:

Now, usually there is some concentration of ideas, so it is typical that if you give me your idea about gay marriage, I can guess what your ideas about climate change are.

By the way, I am taking gay marriage and climate change as examples that are common in more than a single country.

But that is guessing. And in many cases, people are a lot more complex than that. We are limited to choosing a candidate, but what happens when we have someone who we support on issue X and oppose on issue Y? We have to make tradeoffs.

So you are limited to one vote, and have to choose something on this line. Yes, as a result of that you get commonalities, a lot of people that like position X also like position Y, but not always, and sometimes I find it abhorrent that someone with whom I share the position on X also have an opposed idea on Y.