Consider a simplified approximate version of the 2000 US Presidential election. Here's approximately how (poll studies showed) the voters felt.
But the Nader-favorite voters, if forced to choose between Gore and Bush, favored Gore by about an 80:20 ratio. It was strategically stupid of them to vote honestly for their true favorite Nader. If they did so, as we can see, their most-hated candidate (Bush) would win easily. If every Nader voter instead refused to vote for Nader, then approximately this would have happened:
And Gore wins, which – in the view of about 80% of the Nader voters – was a better outcome. Our plurality voting system incentivizes voters to lie. And not only that, but to lie in such a way that "third parties" systematically are weakened and die.
So sure enough (studies showed) about 90% of the Nader-favorite voters did vote for somebody else! (How would you feel about that if you were Nader?) Here's how it went down (official election totals)
and Bush won. (Yes, Bush won with slightly fewer votes than Gore, thanks to his extremely close victory in the state of Florida and the USA's "electoral college" non-popular vote system.)
The 10% of Nader voters who voted honestly made a huge mistake by being honest, and they paid for it. But why should honestly voting for your favorite be a mistake? Couldn't there be a better voting system in which it is not a mistake? Meet Range Voting.
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