Cooperative math is complicated - Macleans.ca

Cooperative math is complicated

Uniting the left is still harder than it sounds

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Paul Adams wonders what it would take for the New Democrats and Liberals to consider a merger. Greg Fingas notes a wrinkle in Joyce Murray’s cooperation proposal: Ms. Murray wants to combine the 2008 and 2011 election results for the purposes of figuring out where to cooperate, in part so that an “anomaly” like the NDP’s result in Quebec in 2011 can be accounted for.

Now, one of the main criticisms of strategic voting schemes has been their inevitable reliance on re-fighting the last war – with results ranging from ineffective to downright counterproductive. But Murray apparently isn’t satisfied with even that well-established level of failure. Instead, she’s going a step further into the past, seeking to incorporate yet another layer of past (and outdated) data from the 2008 election in order to try to make her proposal palatable among supporters who apparently want to live in denial that the most recent federal election actually happened.

Moreover, she’s explicitly declaring that a plan nominally aimed at expanding the number of progressive seats in Parliament will operate on the assumption that the largest actual grouping of such seats is an irrelevant “anomaly”. (Not that the NDP’s success in winning Quebec ridings from the Cons and Bloc would be subject to her cooperation plan in the first place – as in another familiar failing of strategic voting schemes, Murray doesn’t seem to recognize that a viable coalition needs to hold and build on the seats it actually holds rather than simply assuming the rest of the election will proceed exactly like the previous one.)

See previously: Gaming the system and Don’t go chasing waterfalls