Saturday, October 04, 2008

Strategic voting - all politics is local

Excellent post from 900 ft Jesus :

How you can be true to your party of choice and still vote strategically

OK, outside of the Libs, who really likes strategic voting?

No one. Every single election we have the Libs shouting at us at last minute: The Cons are coming! The Cons are coming! Vote for us or the Cons will get in!

There are many good arguments against strategic voting. It promotes a two party system by eroding long term support for third parties. It violates your right to vote for your favourite candidate. Faced with the option of strategic voting or having your least favoured candidate get in, many just opt for not voting at all. Your guy doesn't get his $1.67 per vote. And then there's the unabashed crust of the Libs and their Vote for us or the Cons will get in.

Yeah, that's what really burns, isn't it? In our crappy first-past-the-post system, the Libs really own the brand on strategic voting.

But that shouldn't make us stupid about it. Strategic voting means voting for whoever has the best chance of beating the Con candidate in your riding and only if it's a close two-way race, even if they are not your first choice, whether that be Lib, NDP, Green, or Bloc. All politics is local. If the Cons are a lock in your riding, vote for whoever you like. If the Libs, NDP, Bloc, or Greens are a lock in your riding, vote for whoever you like. But if two days before the election you discover you're in a swing riding with your guy 20% down in the polls, vote for whoever is close enough to the Cons to have your vote bring them down.

In the meantime, as 900 ft Jesus says, get out there and fight for your candidate of choice. Vote For Environment has five different major polls for every riding. Look 'em up, check into your riding and then make up your own mind. Democratic Space has a list of swing ridings and their recommendations.

First we get rid of the Cons. Then we get rid of first-past-the-post. Then we can vote with our hearts.


Anonymous said...

I can't believe you of all people would advocate such a disgusting sell-out. Frankly I'm appalled.


Saskboy said...

I've seen strategic/scared voting squeeze out the Saskatchewan Liberals in the last decade, and it will happen to the Greens and NDP this vote to a large extent. That's what makes it all a bigger shame that Dion won't work with Layton, and Layton won't work with May, and so the house of cards they've built will likely crash down on them in two weeks, leaving them with a minority of the seats. It stinks when a little subtle cooperation could easily net them all together an extra twenty seats without trying too hard.

RossK said...

I am not apalled.

I have come to this point from the other side, and I think the Giant J has written a heckuva post.


Alison said...

Ok, Mike, take Burnaby-Douglas. Look at it.
Supposing you are a lib. How are you going to vote?
Or you're a dipper in Etobicoke-Lakeshore. What are you going to do?
I am not advocating tactical voting across the board - that would be completely counterproductive.
But in those 30 or so local ridings where it could mean breaking the Cons? Yes, absolutely.
All politics is local.

Saskboy : I know. Sorry. Imperative we get electoral reform.
Not sure I agree though that it's the parties' job to smear their boundaries during an election. Rather it's our job to vote smart.

Ross : Thank you, dear.

Ok, have I made it clear enough that strategic voting is a tactic for a few local ridings and not an overall philosophy?

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