From a new, interesting piece in The New Yorker that reads like a few-page version of William Poundstone’s book “Gaming the Vote,” which is also worth reading (the full thing can be read here):
Why are the effects of an unfamiliar electoral system so hard to puzzle out in advance? One reason is that political parties will change their campaign strategies, and voters the way they vote, to adapt to the new rules, and such variables put us in the realm of behavior and culture. Meanwhile, the technical debate about electoral systems generally takes place in a vacuum from which voters’ capriciousness and local circumstances have been pumped out. Although almost any alternative voting scheme now on offer is likely to be better than first past the post, it’s unrealistic to think that one voting method would work equally well for, say, the legislature of a young African republic, the Presidency of an island in Oceania, the school board of a New England town, and the assembly of a country still scarred by civil war. If winner takes all is a poor electoral system, one size fits all is a poor way to pick its replacements.