1) Jason, is that your point? Jadagul is reading you that way, but I'm not.Jadagul wrote:Thoreau: Jason's point is sometimes which candidates you're okay with having in office depend on which other candidates are in office. The classic example is the libertarian desire for gridlock--a number of people here will prefer a democrat for president if and only if republicans control congress.
2) I don't see how having more than 2 parties complicates your calculations so much. If I can elect somebody who is more or less in my direction on a broad range of issues, I know that he'll have to compromise, but at least I know something about where he'll be trying to get to in the compromise. OTOH, if I elect somebody who moves in a direction opposite mine on (at least) half of the issues, I never know whether his compromises will be to partially advance the part of his agenda that I agree with, or if his compromises will be to sacrifice the part that I agree with so he can advance the part that I disagree with.
Regarding the checks and balances aspect, if I elect an executive in a system with 3+ parties, I might not know for sure whether he'll face an opposition legislature, but at least the odds of him having a majority are lower. The odds might go up for him having a working majority on some subset of issues, but the odds of unified, across-the-board majority support go down substantially. And if I elect a legislator in a system with 3+ parties, again, I might not know whom he'll have to compromise with, but at least I know that he won't be compromising to advance the part of his agenda that I disagree with at the expense of the part that I do agree with.