idonno wrote:A third party voter has no power to pick a person they want in power. ... If geographies are not important and generating a set of representatives that is proportionally similar to the voter base in the state is the goal, which is what this test is checking for, there is no reason to continue disenfranchising anyone. Everyone can get their proportion of the vote counted (to some rounding error unless we want fractional representatives).
Nobody, regardless of party affiliation, has the power to get a representative with identical views to their own. The only way to even sort-of achieve that would be to have a direct democracy rather than a representative one. The best we can hope for is to have a representative who takes our views into account
along with the views of other voters.
In a PR system, you're guaranteed a representative of your own party. Unfortunately, if your party is small and doesn't make it into the governing coalition, your representative won't have any real power. (Maybe in a genuine deliberative democracy where the representatives argue with each other before making their decisions, having your guy in the room would be valuable: maybe he could win other representatives over. But there's no real incentive for parties or voters to select somebody who's capable of being won over rather than an ideologue who will hew to the party line, so in practice floor deliberation is irrelevant or absent.) Decisions will often be made by people who do not in any way represent you.
In an ideal FPTP system, there are two parties: one slightly-left-of-center and one slightly-right-of-center. You vote for whichever is closest to your view, so the winner is whoever comes closest to the median voter within your district. He won't necessarily belong to your party, but insofar as both parties are trying to reflect the median position and your position influenced the position of the median, your view does have an effect on the positions your representative takes. So whichever party is in power has to attempt to represent everyone
, not just its own members, if it wants to remain in power.
Admittedly, it isn't working well in the United States right now. Enough people don't vote, are prevented from voting, or vote for third parties that candidates can win by appealing to their party's base and/or donors rather than to the center. Also, gerrymandering presently disenfranchises far more Democratic voters than Republican ones, skewing the results. (The mechanism by which it does so is interesting: it packs Democrats into their own districts so that they'll have their own left-wing representatives in Congress who will always be outvoted by the representatives of the median non-packed voter. If such packing were illegal, then many of the people currently enjoying a powerless representative who shares their views would instead have a powerful representative whose views reflected the median between their views and the views of people on the other side of the gerrymandered-district-boundary.)
So the purpose of ending gerrymandering in a FPTP system is not to create proportional representation of the two major parties--which would not in itself help the problem of your representative always being outvoted--but rather to make it more likely that each
party will take every
voter's views into account rather than ignoring the voters in the packed districts. True, the proposed test for a gerrymander is to compare how many Democratic votes didn't matter with how many Republican votes didn't matter, by comparing the proportion of voters in each party with the proportion of representatives in each party. This may look like a move toward proportional representation, but it's got a different goal: the goal is for everybody's vote to matter, not for everybody to have a representative of his own party.