If the candidates have some flexibility in their opinions and good information about what the voters want, they will move their own positions towards the Best Position, because it increases their chances of being elected. The closer one candidate moves towards the Best Position, the closer the other candidate will have to move to remain electable. With good pre-election polling, both candidates will be able to determine very accurately how much they need to move. If they are both willing to adjust their positions near the Best Position the outcome of the race will depend on the accuracy of the polling. If the polling is perfect, all elections will end in near ties.

This process of adjusting position in response to polling may seem to compromise the integrity of the candidate, but it does produce candidates whose opinion is very close to the Best Position. This may be regarded as a successful outcome, because a candidate in the Best Position also does the best job of making the voters happy.

Actually, a winner in the Best Position doesn't necessarily make many voters happy; it just makes them less unhappy than they would be with a different winner. In the previous illustrations, the best position was also the most popular position. This is not always the case.

In this final example, the voters are polarized and the Best Position is highly unpopular. Still, it represents the most electable position, and also the position that makes the fewest people very unhappy. This is the best result that any system can produce.

So in the end, two-party democracy is not necessarily good at giving voters a chance to elect a candidate that they like. If the polls are very accurate and the candidates are flexible, a successful election is likely to produce two candidates whom the voter will regard as equally imperfect. The election results will be very close.

For all its problems, the two-party democracy does a good job of producing and selecting candidates that represent an acceptable compromise between a wide spectrum of opinions. If the process is working well, then by the time of the election many voters may feel that they have very little real choice.  This may seem like a failure, but actually it is a sign of success. It means that the system has produced candidates that represent the most acceptable compromise of the conflicting opinions of the voters. If this process has worked perfectly, the results of the election will be a tie.  Judging from the recent results of the American presidential election, democracy is working well.

Previous | Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 Beginning